October 8-12, 2007
Summary: This week we were blessed with some natural rain to help the watering efforts of the revegetation sites. The rains were a little unusual for this time of year. This is typically the driest time, but we are expecting a wetter than usual rainy season, so it was not entirely surprising. It was an opportunity to refocus efforts on work in the greenhouse.
Monday we went bottle hunting and then headed to the greenhouse. On the bus ride I met an acquaintance, Wilmer, who works for the Consejo Provincial reforestation program. They have large seed banks of Caoba, Balsamo, and Cedro. He agreed to donate some seeds to us.
At the greenhouse, the compost was turned. Newly collected bottles were washed and cut, and a batch of Guachapeli seeds was planted. We’ve stumbled upon a new technique for germinating Guachapeli seeds. They are removed from their papery casing and then soaked in room temperature water for about 24 hours. Some of the seeds then begin to germinate on their own. The germinating seeds are then planted directly into a three-liter bottle prepared with soil, skipping the seedbed stage entirely. This method saves time, space and energy.
An extension is being constructed at the University campus. Around the main building and slightly up a hill are some abandoned pig stalls, which we are converting for storage of trees in three-liter bottles. The greenhouse is overflowing and to accommodate all of the trees and continue planting more seeds, we are moving the tallest trees into the additional space. The frames for the roofs of the stalls are being renovated and covered with green mesh.
In the afternoon I caught a boat across the Rio Chone to meet with Wilmer and pick up several hundred seeds each of Caoba, Balsamo, and Cedro. While in San Vicente I also purchased some green netting for the greenhouse extension.
There were more sprinkles Tuesday morning. We went back to the greenhouse, to install the roof on the extension and plant more Guachapeli. A seedbed full of Tierramonte (the leaves of this shrub are famous as mulch) needed to be transplanted and we began work on that. New seedbeds were also prepared.
On Wednesday the Maria Dolores and Don Pepe sites were watered. Despite the fact that only a little rain has fallen, these two sites are the most exposed and need the most help. Additionally, rain has been concentrated around the Bahia area, and has been weaker farther inland, increasing the need to continue watering there. We then walked to the greenhouse and finished transplanting the bed of Tierramonte and planted three beds of newly acquired seeds.
Early Thursday morning there was even more rain. We walked about the puddle-strewn streets of Bahia, distributing the remaining copies of the first edition of Eco-Noticias to schools, restaurants, hotels, and pedestrians. Cori spent the morning in the office, translating the Bioregional Education booklet. Ricardito came by and gave us a ride to the plastic recycling guy in Leonidas Plaza. A batch of plastic scraps was dropped off. From there we drove out to the garbage dump and picked up more abandoned sacks of compost from the city’s defunct garbage separation program. The sacks were taken to the greenhouse where they will be put to much better use. While at the greenhouse, Samango seeds were prepared by removing them from the pulpy seed pods.
We finished up the week in the greenhouse again where plants were watered before the weekend and more soil for seedbeds and transplanting was prepared. The bed with Tierramonte in it was remade and planted with Cedro seeds.