Aphids wreak havoc, inspire improvements.

May 29-June 4, 2005

With Heather and Mark’s departure, we had room in the house for new volunteers. Those who arrived in the greenhouse were not friends, but enemies! Shocked as you may be with this less than usual portrayal of those who come to work for us, they were not men, not women, but APHIDS! Over the weekend at the greenhouse, this plague began to wreak havoc upon our Samangoes, Guachapellis and Aguias. Not the Aguias! Say it ain’t the Aguias… we only have 800 to spare! But in all seriousness, the infestation probably damaged around 1000 of our plants. We were able to control the outbreak with soapy water (old gardener’s trick), and probably will only lose around 100 Aguias, 20 Samangoes and 10 Guachapellis. It is sad, but them’s the breaks. It could have been much worse. As the greenhouse expansion continues we will hopefully avert these kinds of problems by having more air circulation and less density in our seedling storage area. These improvements will be completed in the coming weeks, thanks in part to a donation from two “anonymous” (former volunteers) donors!

We had many volunteers from the community this week in the field: Blas, Roni, and four members of Catherine’s family (all the way from the United States to visit her). Many hands made light work and we watered extensively at El Toro among other places. We have secured a new piece of land to plant in the El Toro drainage, adjacent to our current sites. I did a walk-through on this land after he offered the use of his cistern for our water. Not only did he go with me to buy the water truck, but has offered us the use of his remaining water until the truck arrives. There will be room for 200 trees on his property next year. Might I just add he has about 30 new piglets on his farm and are they ever cute this season!

Valentina arrived this week from Italy to initiate the Bioregional Education Program for local high school students and moved into the house on Monday. It’s great to have such a fabulous Spanish speaker around again! Always nice when old volunteers come back! Speaking of returning, Andrea Coronado from Canoa will be moving back in and volunteering with us in August. Cheers to having friends on board, both local and international!

Hasta pronto,

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