This Week at KITA – Worms, Neem and Moringa!

Compost: Worm Heaven

IMG_2815
Vermicomposter – a.k.a. worm heaven/compost factory

Worms! As a follow-up to Melissa’s guest blog, we’re going to check back in with the worm project today. The 3rd year students in the permaculture class are in charge of the vermicompost. They have completed building the structure and have searched for and added their worms. For the first few days, the worms needed to acclimatize, so they were wriggling around in a mixture of soil and mushroom compost, leftover from the on-campus mushroom cropping project. After their acclimatization, partially decomposed compost has been added, and the worms are tasked with breaking this down!

IMG_2824
Students adding worms to the compost

 

The resulting compost the worms produce, sometimes called vermicast, worm castings, worm humus, or worm manure, has been shown to contain reduced levels of contaminants and a higher saturation of nutrients than do organic materials prior to vermicomposting.

IMG_2829
African Night Crawlers

 

Neem Pesticide

The Neem tree, found growing abundantly across Ghana, produces leaves and seeds – both which make a great pesticide. As part of morning chores, students collect neem leaves, soak them in water overnight, pound the leaves into a paste, and create a very powerful insecticidal solution. We now have a backpack sprayer to use for applying the solution, which saves time and labour.

IMG_2821
Gideon spraying cabbage nursery with neem solution

 

Neem insecticide can be used on many crops and protects against a variety of insects. The great thing about this insecticide is that it is not harmful for the person using it, it does not pollute water supplies, and it does not harm beneficial or harmless insects. Nature provides a lot of solutions to our problems, we just have to look out for them!

IMG_2822
Lettuce, pepper, moringa nursery getting its dose of neem

 

In the above photos, you can see Gideon applying the neem solution to cabbages growing under shade netting. The cabbages were previously experiencing issues with insects chewing holes in the leaves, and now are hole free. Gideon says that in the Northern Region of Ghana, where he’s from, neem grows everywhere but is not commonly used as an insecticide. Spreading this simple technique across Ghana would have a huge impact on reducing the use of pesticides.

IMG_2838
Mr. Frimpong transplanting cabbages

 

More Moringa

IMG_0483
Jason and George harvesting dried moringa pods

 

Jason Tsichlis, completing his Masters Degree at University of California, Davis in International Agricultural Development, is at KITA for the next week to help out with the Moringa Training Project, funded by USAID’s Trellis Fund. The Trellis Fund links US Graduate students to projects in order to benefit both the student and the organization. And Jason has thankfully been linked to us!

IMG_0488
Moringa plantation with George

 

Jason has previously served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso, where he worked on a moringa cultivation and transformation project. He has only been here for a few days, but he’s been very productive and very proactive, especially considering our frequent power outages. He’s working on creating educational materials, designing packaging, and checking all of our facts to make sure the training is as scientifically based as possible.

IMG_0473
Jason fixing up the solar dryer for moringa leaves

 

Please check back on this website every Friday for more updates on KITA! Or check out our websites at www.kitaghana.org and www.facebook.com/kita.ghana, for more information and updates.  Email Samuel at director@kitaghana.org or Christy at  christycook@kitaghana.org for more information on KITA.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s