The name may be striking, maybe it can coincide with the name of a typical store of agricultural products in a big city or town. We have decided to call it this way for several reasons: the first one is because our orchard , although it is located in the periphery, we are also in the city. The second one, because it is a project carried out by Parochial Caritas where many children are integrated in it. The third reason, because it can be the subject of the End-of- Career Project of one of our university students and fourth “simply because we wanted to”, we really like the name.
We´re going to describe our reasons, mainly the first three ones:
Since last year, some kids who have finished the basic agricultural training during the missions are living with us,
and now they are helping us with the vegetable orchard, while they are
studying other professional courses (some of them Clinical Assistant and another one Computer and Telecommunications). This year they have committed with the project and they are in charge of the of the orchard, they have the help of other mates, mainly to prepare the ground (digging, raking, cleaning grasses) as well as the daily watering, and some other tasks
such as sowing, preparing and maintaining the fence , they even push the cows out when they gatecrash! because they don´t always respect the security measures.
One of the first things has been to restructure the spaces: the land of the traditional orchard has been reduced and new spaces have been created. The first and essential, because of the
difficulty of maintenance of the perimeter fenced. In second place to have the crops in a more controlled place and in a space that was not being very well exploited. In the photo you can see the new spaces,
we have taken advantage of the top of a cracked rainwater cistern, currently cracked, which in some time has been used as a garden. We think it can be a good
space for very rainy and hot weather because it has a good drainage, although it´s still a theory to prove.
Another new space or new modality is the vertical orchard, which is a totally new experience for us. We have searched for information through several sites on the internet… we will see what the result will be. The process is in the beginning, we have waited for the ground to be a bit dry to prevent the bamboo canes from rotting quickly.
You can see the previous assembly oto organize the reeds (they are still green) and also the real disposition.
Among the most innovative crops are the radishes, which are growing very well, we have already begun to eat them.
The carrots are still underground and, although outside the orchard itself, a nursery of stone pines (the last 100 pine nuts planted in cans took fifteen days to germinate),
not to mention our collection of avocado trees, which are practically armored to cattle proof. And, of course, there are traditional crops: tomato, lettuce, cabbage, (these are
the speciality of the house), some chards and our “flagship product”: the pumpkin, taking advantage of both the leaves and the fruit, is a plant that cows respect, ( at least they do not eat it, although they can step on it) is the only crop that is “outside the walls”.
With the arrival of the new parish priest and the relocation of the parish church and headquarters to a new location, outside our precinct, we have had many changes both in the Center and in the life and activities of our parish, S. Pedro Claver.
Due to his interest in the social situation of the environment and assistance to people with few economic resources, he has started up Parochial Cáritas which has, among other activities, the “urban orchards” project, which has the help of Italian funding. It offered, mainly to young people of the parish,
the opportunity to get involved in this project which has the advice and follow-up of an Agricultural Engineer with many years of work experience in Mozambique; seeds and materials
for cultivation(rakes and watering cans) are also provided. The basic idea is to make a small plot of land as productive as possible in order to improve the family’s diet and even to obtain benefits through the sale of the products.
S. Jerónimo´s Lar already has its first graduates from the university.
The first one graduated in nursing, and he had a scholarship offered by a Spanish company for some time, another one
will soon graduate in Information Sciences and the third will do it next year, and he is the one who plans to prepare their final project on urban orchards : urban, district and provincial
planning. We wish him everything goes well. He has the idea and the material to prepare it, he just needs to develop the project, make the presentation and, of course, to get the best results.
We hope we can tell you good news very soon.