Hello gardeners, I Have a heart-warming story to tell this month of an orphanage in Zambia. Haxnicks has been preparing a new vegetable garden far from its homeland in sunny Zambia. Inspired by my great grand-daughter Lali Cardozo and her work with an orphanage near Lusaka, we sent out a team of enthusiastic gardeners. They were armed with Haxnicks products, a generous donation of seeds from Suttons and lots of energy. Our aim was to kick-start a vegetable garden enabling the children of the orphanage to grow some exciting new fruit and veg. This will make a refreshing and healthy change from maize and cabbage.
Seed selection at the orphanage
What to plant?
Lots of children from the orphanage chose their own packets of seeds to plant. They all wanted to plant cucumbers, strawberries and melons!
Rootrainers were the perfect solution for planting the larger seeds such as squash, melons and cucumbers and the speciality tomatoes. When the Rootrainers ran out the children ran off to find any old empty plastic water bottles, or cups to sow more seeds in.
Easy net tunnels were just the thing for protecting the seedlings in pots. Micromesh fabric was the ideal solution to protect against heavy downpours of rain during the rainy season. Micromesh barriers were put up around the beds to protect them from the cats, dogs, snails and wandering children. Birdscare was used to ward off the birds. Last but not least the ornamental frame of Big Ben was erected at the top of the patch. It is hoped that eventually peas will clamber up and the children will have great fun harvesting them.
We have Lift off!
With a downpour of rain and temperatures of 25 degrees within 4 days all the radishes had appeared. As well as all the squash, melons and courgettes. 100% germination rate in the Rootrainers! As a result, the children are hoping that they will have more than they can eat, and some to sell in the market.
The orphanage has the space to make the garden bigger and Haxnicks plan to return to help expand the garden. Ultimately, we plan to build a fence around it with a gate and set up an automatic watering system to start. Now the gardening team have returned, wondering in anticipation which seedlings are appearing. Hoping the rain doesn't wash them away or suffering from drought and will mature into healthy bumper crops to fuel the children and a market stall business. Lali hopes to be send some updates and let us all know how things are progressing. In the meantime she has sent this to tell you a little bit more about her friend Jeannie's orphanage.
'My friend Jeannie Mulenga is the inspiration behind The Heal Project, a charity set up in 1999 in Zambia. The Heal Project supports people living with HIV/Aids in Zambia working together towards a better life. Jeannie has 3 of her own children. As well as thirty children who have nowhere else to turn, all of whom have lost their parents and many of whom are living with HIV. If you have been inspired, as I have by Jeanie and her wonderful children then please have a look at our Just Giving page.'
I hope to be able to update you all soon with how things are going and growing at the orphanage. In the meantime,