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Aug 14, 2018

It's nursery time!

A tree grows in a nursery
A tree grows in a nursery

The past few months have been a busy time for our Tanzania Forest Garden farmers. This summer, each farmer has been preparing tree nurseries for outplanting. You may think that planting trees is simple, but in fact it takes a lot of work!

For each tree to have the best chance of survival, there are several important steps that must occur. To plant nurseries, farmer must properly prepare their soil with a mixture of compost, dirt, and sometimes ash or other natural inputs. After the seedling mixture is composed and ready to go, farmers then prepare their seeds for planting. Each seed requires different kinds of preparation: some seeds can simply be planted, while others require a cold or hot soak to break the seed casing. Other seeds must be planted in a certain direction in order to germinate, so it's important to know how to prepare the seeds for the best chance of germination and survival!

Once the seedlings are in the nurseries, each little tree takes anywhere from 4-10 weeks, depending on the species, for each tree to become big and strong enough to outplant into fields. During this time, farmers must protect their young trees by keeping them out of the mid-day, direct, hot sun and by watering them daily in the morning or evening in order to prevent too much water from evaporating in the mid-day sun. This process helps to conserve water use. With TREES' help, farmers learn to plan accordingly for the appropriate outplanting time to make sure they're starting their nurseries in time to outplant during the rainy season. At this time, TREES staff offers support to farmers in planning, planting, and outplanting their new trees.

When farmers are ready to outplant their trees into their Forest Gardens, they plant during the rains so that the newly planted trees are more likely to survive. Each farmer protects their trees, either with an already existing live fence or by building protective barriers out of locally available materials.

After the trees are planted in Forest Gardens, our local staff visits each farmer to measure survival rates of the young trees and help farmers plan for next year.

Each nursery takes a lot of work, but for Forest Garden farmers, the effort is worth the payoff when the Forest Garden is growing strong, providing food, timber, fodder, and income for farming families!

Watering the tree nursery
Watering the tree nursery
Trees ready for outplanting during rains
Trees ready for outplanting during rains

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Aug 14, 2018

Nursery Planting in Uganda

A farmer with her baby tree ready to outplant
A farmer with her baby tree ready to outplant

The past few months kicked off nursery planting season for our Ugandan Forest Garden farmers. This summer, each farmer has been preparing tree nurseries for outplanting. You may think that planting trees is simple, but in fact it takes a lot of work!

For each tree to have the best chance of survival, there are several important steps that must occur. To plant nurseries, farmer must properly prepare their soil with a mixture of compost, dirt, and sometimes ash or other natural inputs. After the seedling mixture is composed and ready to go, farmers then prepare their seeds for planting. Each seed requires different kinds of preparation: some seeds can simply be planted, while others require a cold or hot soak to break the seed casing. Other seeds must be planted in a certain direction in order to germinate, so it's important to know how to prepare the seeds for the best chance of germination and survival!

Once the seedlings are in the nurseries, each little tree takes anywhere from 4-10 weeks, depending on the species, for each tree to become big and strong enough to outplant into fields. During this time, farmers must protect their young trees by keeping them out of the mid-day, direct, hot sun and by watering them daily in the morning or evening in order to prevent too much water from evaporating in the mid-day sun. This process helps to conserve water use. With TREES' help, farmers learn to plan accordingly for the appropriate outplanting time to make sure they're starting their nurseries in time to outplant during the rainy season. At this time, TREES staff offers support to farmers in planning, planting, and outplanting their new trees.

When farmers are ready to outplant their trees into their Forest Gardens, they plant during the rains so that the newly planted trees are more likely to survive. Each farmer protects their trees, either with an already existing live fence or by building protective barriers out of locally available materials.

After the trees are planted in Forest Gardens, our local staff visits each farmer to measure survival rates of the young trees and help farmers plan for next year.

Each nursery takes a lot of work, but for Forest Garden farmers, the effort is worth the payoff when the Forest Garden is growing strong, providing food, timber, fodder, and income for farming families!

A mango tree ready to plant in the Forest Garden
A mango tree ready to plant in the Forest Garden

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May 17, 2018

Planting season is underway!

A farmer shows off her mango seedling
A farmer shows off her mango seedling

Our farmers in Uganda have been keeping very busy preparing their vegetable and tree nurseries to plant around and within their Forest Gardens. This time of year is one of the most important as it sets the foundations for success for farmers in our program. Before Forest Gardens, farmers would plant a monocrop, sometimes with a very small home garden that allowed them to have one pay day a year and did not focus on higher value crops such as fruits. Now that farmers have Forest Gardens, we build their capacity as farmers to cultivate a wide variety of fruit trees, nut trees, medicinal plants, fodder trees, and field and vegetable crops to support themselves and their families.

Each farmer works hard to grow healthy tree seedlings and understand the important processes that it takes to create a successful tree nursery and thus a successful foundation for their Forest Gardens. For example, mango trees are easy to grow from seed as long as you have the proper techniques and a little knowledge. Mango seeds -the pits of the fruit- should be kept moist so they can germinate more easily and should be grown in a larger pot or bag because of their long taproot. Once farmers know this information and have selected good, locally adapted seed varieties, they're able to grow strong trees in their nursery for out-planting. Down the road, farmers will learn to graft high-value varieties onto these locally adapted mangos, and in turn they can sell at these larger, jucier, sweeter fruits at market during off-peak times for more cash than other mango fruits. 

Building capacity of farmers to grow these trees is what makes our Forest Garden Approach and training unique and empowering. As our Uganda farmers are in the middle of their nursery and planting times, we are happy to have your support for their projects. Happy planting!

A grafted mango fetches a higher price at market
A grafted mango fetches a higher price at market

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