Roots Season 1 Results

January 3, 2014 in Agriculture, Projects, Roots International by Roots International

Roots Season 1 Results

Wet season – July-Nov 2013

First season trials included:

Chili Pepper – These peppers were very productive and enjoyed when added to other foods for flavor.  There is little market locally for this hot pepper, but some success selling to the Ethiopians living in Yei.  A larger market and higher price exists in Juba.  We will continue to grow and explore other uses such as perimeter planting to deter insects, chili powder production, and homemade insecticidal soaps.

Cherokee Purple Tomato – We grew a small sample due to poor germination method.  The fruit struggled to ripen in the hot weather and production was quite low. Also much of the leaves were lost due to early blight.  Some seed was saved to try planting in future.  Other heirloom varieties grown commercially in Florida have been sourced to try during the next rainy season.

California Wonder Bell Pepper – Unfortunately due to some confusion while Scott was first settling in Yei, there only managed to be two plants grown to maturity.  However one of the two plants after bearing its first fruit, set about twenty fruit on a plant no more than 18” tall!  We have ordered more seed of this type as well as other highly productive varieties to test during the dry season.  There is a large market for sweet pepper and a high price (approx.3 for $1.00)

Zucchini – We grew about a dozen plants on arrival and enjoyed the first set of fruit.  The rains kept the soil too wet so they did not survive much longer than that.  The second crop was heavily affected by the insects which were disturbing the melons.  To see that the melons could be properly tested we used the zucchini as a sacrifice to keep the bugs away.  This dry season we have planted more zucchini and will be able to grow enough to start establishing a local market.  Those who have tried this squash enjoyed it very much when added to beans which are typically eaten with rice, potatoes, or cassava.

Charleston Grey Watermelon – Grew well, but fruit rotted during the rainy season.  Plants were mulched heavily towards the end of the rainy season but the fruit still rotted.  We have planted some smaller varieties during the dry season in hopes that will bring of good results.  Large melons sell for over $3.00 each so we are hopeful to find a productive variety for this area.

Cantaloupe – Same results as watermelon.  Seedlings were bothered by insects but grew back after weekly spraying of insecticidal soap.  Cantaloupe, though originating in Africa, is not seen in South Sudan or even Uganda.  We are anxious to see them growing and will consider it a great achievement.  We have been describing cantaloupe as similar to a papaya but one that grows on a vine!

*Special thanks to Jenky Montgomery of Ararat, Virginia for donating the above seeds from her local nursery.

Asian Yardlong bean – This bean germinated very fast and needed little maintenance.  We provided trellis for their vines to grow on using cassava stalks.  Since the trial packages are small (about 40 seeds) we planted only six.  Of the five plants that grew, they produced many large pods which we saved for seed.  After counting with the help of some of our little neighbors, we had counted about 415 seeds.  We recalled the parable of the sower and wondered if we had kept the weeds from growing if they would have produced a hundred fold.  We will grow these during the next rainy season mostly for introduction as a fresh green bean.

*Many thanks to ECHO of Ft. Myers, Florida for provided this seed along with others as part of their ambassador program which assists missionaries and farmers in the third world.

Green Zebra Tomato – This tomato produced quite well which it is known for to those who grow it in the US.  This tomato did not suffer from early blight as much as other varieties which were growing.  Despite lacking water towards the end of the rainy season it managed to live and allow some fruit to fully ripen.  We have saved many seeds to try again next rainy season.