Since our initial assessment of the problem, we have met as a group to discuss our course of action and have also received some additional information from Tamarin.
Following our initial assessment, we decided that we needed a better picture of what the situation is on the ground in order to point us in the right direction. We asked Tamarin to provide us with her own assessment of the soil, the conditions for growing vegetables at this time of year, and most importantly the ability of the people to sustain a garden.
First, we learned that most of the top soil is sandy and infertile, but the soil underneath is very rich and great for growing vegetables. It is very likely that we will need to do some digging and composting to prep the garden. We will also need to surround the garden with some sort of fence and/or tarp in order to keep animals, small children and hopefully sand out of the garden. Depending on what we plant in the garden we may also need to include a shade cloth for summertime, and we will try to make it quick and easy to set up.
Although it will be winter at the time of our visit, we have begun to establish a list of vegetables that can grow well in these conditions. Snow peas, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, beets, onions, kale, leeks, potatoes and radishes are just a few of the favorable winter vegetables that were brought up during our meeting.
Our next course of action will be to conduct a more detailed analysis of the weather conditions and the soil on location and narrow down our list of vegetables to those that will produce the greatest yield most efficiently. Because we are unfamiliar with the culinary culture of South Africa, we will also need to be sure that all of the vegetables we select are popular amongst the people.
As for the ability of the people to maintain our garden, Tamarin’s response was reassuring. She suggested that we may actually learn a thing or two from them – noting that some of them have successfully kept their own small gardens. We know that we have the human resources to sustain the garden after we leave, we just have to make sure we leave them with the appropriate tools and establish a good plan of action. Knowing this, we are optimistic about the project and will remain in close contact with Tamarin in the next few days as we decide where we will procure our supplies and begin to develop our plan of action. We will submit a list of veggies to Tamarin for quotes and feedback as soon as possible.