Hi readers! I’m sorry it has been so long since I have updated here. First winter came and killed off my sweet peppers right on the vine, although my cherry tomatoes lasted a little longer…
Anyway, since the last time I updated here a great deal has changed in my life, most importantly that I am moving to China. I have given away all of my plants in Albuquerque and made a small kitchen garden for my brother with some of my seed stash. Currently I am visiting my family and friends in Puerto Rico before flying to Changchun, China.
This is all part of my new 5 year plan, the end result of which I hope will be to develop an organic farm here in Puerto Rico. My plan is relatively simple at this stage: Go to China, save mucho dinero, come back and buy a convenient chunk of land, build an Earthship style home and begin growing organic and heirloom foods. The specifics are a bit more complex…
Puerto Rico simply does not have a sustainably minded culture yet. So little in fact that when my friend and I asked the bartender to reuse our plastic cups for the next drink, he looked at us as though we were mocking him and threw them out. My family is presently quite confused about this goal. They understand in theory that it can be done, they just do not believe it can be done HERE. I am inclined to agree with them. Puerto Rico does not have a barter culture either. To get around these problems my current plan is to resort to sites like couchsurfing.org. I plan to offer people a free place to stay here in lovely tropical PR in exchange for helping me do some predetermined project such as putting up solar panels or building a wall. My old roommate seemed pretty excited about this idea since she is studying architecture, so she will be able to go crazy with the design. As for building materials, I will probably use soda cans filled with local clay, glass bottle for interior walls and cement in place of adobe/cob since it is quite rainy here. I think I will be able to get the majority of the building supplies for free or very cheap by offering to haul trash for people. However I will still probably have to buy the interior building supplies like cabinetry.
I plan to visit some rice patties in Guillin, China to try and learn how they build the platforms since I think a modified version could work really well since I want to buy cheap, steep mountainside land. Instead of having water filled platforms I would have well drained platforms to avoid dengue mosquitoes and landslides (PR is a rain forest so water will be a problem). Then I plan to plant a variety of local plants and non invasive heirlooms; mostly organics. Local food I plan to have include green pigeon peas (gandules verdes), plantains, ajies dulces, bananas, various tubers and starchy tree fruit, coconut, papaya and pineapple as well as herbs such as recao and cilantro. The more standard stuff would be carrots, peppers, onions, various potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, mesclun, legumes, cantaloupe, watermelon and more along that line.
Besides all of this, I hope to have at least a few animals, like chickens, a pig and maybe a few goats. It would be really cool to learn to make goat cheese. My bro the cheese freak would really love that, especially if I could make blue cheese.
Anyway for now I estimate it will take me between 18-24 months for me to save enough money to do this, although if the US $ stays as low as it is or gets lower I may be able to come back sooner than planned.
What do you think of my ideas? Have any suggestions? Know anything I should consider? Tell me about it! And in the meantime check out these books: