The deep green plants you see in this picture are Armenian cucumbers.  They cover about 25 feet of a hundred-foot row.  My family, friends and I are currently working 6,000 sq.ft. of 12,000 we hope to have planted by the end of August, though it is beginning to look as if the end of September is more realistic.  Those 6,000 sq.ft. include 3,000 sq.ft. defined by six, 100-foot planted rows and a central row open to driving a water tank down.  With the exception of monsoon season – July, August, September – the plants require manual watering every day.  Last year’s monsoon was a dud.  This

Squash in Crop Circles

year, we are experiencing some much-needed and welcome rain.  We’ve planted the second 3,000 sq.ft. in three-foot diameter circles, and we have 60+ circles growing spaghetti squash, corn, and beans – the three sisters.  We continue to learn much about growing in the desert.  We’re experimenting with the ‘crop circles,’ and so far, the seeds seem to do better in circles than in the rows.

I draw your attention to the Armenian cucumbers.  They were planted from seeds on May 15th.  Two months later, this 25-foot row is producing 20 beautiful cucumbers each week.  Here’s why that is so encouraging…

Armenian cucumbers

I call my agriculture project The Haitian Project because the vegetables we produce here, we sell and send 100% of the proceeds to our partners in Haiti.  Justin Ricot and his team at Guepard Boxing Club use the money to feed hungry children in the poorest and most dangerous ghetto in the Western Hemisphere, Cité Soleil.  This year, Justin has budgeted $1,281.05 each month to feed 250 children and young Haitians, four meals each week.  That’s about 28¢ a meal.

Our goal is that the plots we are growing in the Arizona desert will produce enough vegetables to support his food budget AND in the long term, his activity budget as well, another $12,000.

Back to the Armenian cucumbers… We sell them to a retailer for about $1 per cucumber, sometimes more, rarely less.  With my limited knowledge and farming skills, if we are producing 20 cucumbers each week on 25-feet, we should be able to produce 80 each week on a 100-foot row.  That’s $80 each week.  I’ll use $100 because I know we can produce more as our farming skills improve.  That’s $450 each month from one, 100-foot row.

Remember, we have six rows available to plant in the initial 3,000 sq.ft. The ‘circles’ will be equivalent to the six rows as well.

If we can produce in 12 available rows what we are producing on just 25 feet on our initial plot, the future looks promising AND realistic that we can fund Justin’s activities in Haiti for a full year.

Now you know why I am excited and encouraged. 

It has taken hard work, commitment, and patience, but we are seeing the fruits of our labor. 

While we work to bring our project up to full capacity, we are asking for donations to keep our kitchen open in Haiti.  If you would like to help, visit our sister website and read this article, “Requesting Help in Haiti.”

Together, we will make this world a better place to be.

Mitakuye Oyasin

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