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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 42 Kakamega June 19, 2011


It’s the weekend here in Kenya and it’s a slow news day.  Today was just a day to sit in the gazebo and work on the computer and wait for the rain.  I worked on pricing for Pastor John’s other ½ acre plot that he would like to convert to passion fruit.  This plot presently has maize on it and will not be ready to plant until later this summer.  I am so glad that I was able to see the other orchard in Bungoma.  It has become apparent that the costs to plant orchards could be considerably less on larger plots by using the large posts at the end of the rows and much smaller posts in between.  John’s plot is 22 meters by 92 meters and the contour of the plot requires the rows be 92 meters long.  Following the KARI guidelines this would have meant putting a support post every 6 meters and would require 16 posts per row for a total of 160 posts.  At 100 Ksh a post this is 16,000 Ksh or $200.00 for posts.  As with the picture below we could just put in the braced end posts with one or two support posts down the row to hold up the wire.  Each plant will also have a branch or something stuck into the ground that will take the vine up to the wire and provide added support.  I would assume that we could make the end supports for around 200 Ksh and the center posts for 80 Ksh.  We can also drop the height of the posts to 8 or 9 feet vs. 10.  So now the total for the supports is less then 5600 Ksh or about $70.00.  I believe that we could also drop the gage of the support wire and reduce that cost considerably as well.  Once we start to buy large amounts of seedlings I want to be able to get a better price for them.  Especially if they have plenty of time to make them.  I would really love to be able to get a half acre planted for around $500.00 to make it simple.

Larger end posts and smaller gage wire

Center posts and twigs for vines to grow up to wire

I need to start working on these blogs in the morning it seems like every time I start to write the power goes out and I end up writing in the dark.  Tomorrow we will be going back to the orchard site and start the process of planting the passion fruit.  I hope the seedlings survived the weekend at John’s place.  I can imagine going there in the morning and they have all been eaten by his goats or cows.  On the way to the orchard we will need to pick up some fertilizer and find some cow poop to mix in with the top soil.  We have 174 seedlings and each plant will need a 2 x 2 x 2 foot hole dug.  The top soil will then need to be mixed with a handful of fertilizer and a cow patty or two.  Then the hole must be refilled with the mixture and inch or so below the surrounding dirt to collect water for a few weeks.  Then the rest of the mixture will be added at a later date.  Once we put in the seedling we will have to cut a long branch or twig to guide the vine up to the wire.  I believe that the planting will take some time.  Tomorrow looks to be another exciting day playing with cow poop and dirt. 

Take care and God bless


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