I think for people growing things everwhere, it is a bit of a guess as to when to plant. The seasons here take some getting used to, and even where we are now is quite different from Kigali. But on the advice of some locals combined with our own observations, Mike has started to plant.
We had a few rains that softened the ground a bit. It seems that now it will be dry and hot again for a few weeks before the heavy rains start. (But that’s just a guess, aided by internet weather reports.)
On the agenda for this season: Moringa. It can be kept as a hedge or grown into a large tree. Previous attempts at planting moringa have met with varied success, but after some research and experimentation, he thinks he has a method that works. (Soaking the seeds for 12-24 hours before planting seems to be important.) We’ll find out in a month or two. Once it gets going, moringa grows quickly and needs little attention.
Currently, he is trying to plant a hedge big enough so that our cows can eat moringa every day. Moringa can increase weight gain in cattle and can increase milk production to the tune of 50%. (Statistics vary, but 50% is a mid-range estimate.)
We also want to introduce moringa as a human food source. There are a lot of claims made about it as a healing supplement, but I’m not ready to advance any of those yet. But I’m willing to bet you could find it for an outrageous price in your local health food store. For our purposes, it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and is a good source of protein.
Its possible that we can help people start businesses growing moringa and selling it, but for now, we want to work on introducing it to people’s diets. Not an easy thing when people are very attached to eating a certain way, but there are already a few converts in the area. We’ll see how it goes, and for now we are just hoping for timely rain!