As the New Moon rises, so begin my plans for the new organic garden.
Located just north of Castries, St Lucia, Windward Islands
Latitude 13 53' North of the Equator
Longitude 60 68' West of Greenwich
Totally tropical, as they say.
Left behind is my corporate life of yesteryear and the chilly winters of North Yorkshire, UK - replaced with a tropical paradise and the realisation of a long held dream.
Dream no more, the reality is upon me - tempus fugit, momento mori, the time is now etc., etc.,
Baby steps - I begin cultivating the land purchased in 1924 by the grandfather I never knew, (who sadly passed away in 1927), and suddenly it feels like a huge responsibility!
Clearing years of wild growth that produces nothing edible; preparing the ground that has slept peacefully for the 80+ years since purchased and planting, planting, planting.
Embracing old local methods, steeped in tradition, we will plant by the phases of the moon. It's easy really - things that grow upwards are planted 3 days before Full Moon and things that grow downwards, 3 days after Full Moon. And of course one never, never plants anything during the periods when the changing of the phases occur - apparently. Tradition has it that anything planted on those days will wither and die, or at very best, be barren.
Other local superstitions require a young, nubile girl to hold coconut trees and breadfruit trees during planting to ensure abundance and fruitfulness - literally and figuratively. Squatting on one's haunches during planting will bring early fruiting whilst the tree is still young and low. Who am I to challenge such trusted and long held beliefs. So we too will embrace the culture of my ancestors - we will trust and let nature do her thing, like so many before us.
As the first plantings of mango, cashew, coffee, cocoa, banana, breadfruit, lime, tangerine,
grapefruit, avocado, almond, wax apple and love apple are done, I am filled with a sense of pride at this achievement; and as Hurricane Irene vanishes off to the north, Hurricane Katia is hot on her heels. Let us hope this is not a case of pride before a fall....