| May 17, 2018
Farmers are planting their water-saving trees!
Acacia seedlings in their nursery
Our farmers in Tanzania 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. Many of the trees that a farmer will plant in their Forest Garden are thorny species that are planted around the perimeter of a garden as a living fence to keep out livestock. Many of these tree species, such as Acacia mellifera, grow very well in arid areas and need little water. They grow well into a fence, sequester carbon, and their seed pods provide fodder for livestock and traditional medicines.
For example, in order to propagate this tree, farmers have to learn seed treatment and planting techniques. In order to grow, the seed pod must be soaked in water for a few hours and then the seeds come out easily for planting in nurseries. When it comes time to out-plant the tree into the fence line, farmers must space the seedlings close together (about a fist's distance) so that they can form an impenetrable barrier as they grow.
Building capacity of farmers to grow these trees is what makes our Forest Garden Approach and training unique and empowering. As our Tanzania farmers are in the middle of their nursery and planting times, we are happy to have your support for their work. Happy planting!
A farmer ready to plant her seedling
A variety of seedlings soon ready for planting