Update on Kiva Plantain Project

Workers in Arimae dig holes to plant plantain trees

Workers in Arimae dig holes to plant plantain trees

Editor's Note: This update was originally published on Kiva as an update to our project. 

In our last journal update we covered the process of incubating plantain seeds in the nursery. Since then the plantains grew to the appropriate size, and we began planting.

During the first couple of weeks in August, Liriano and the team from Arimae cleared the planting area of the thick undergrowth. The area was originally planted as a pure cocobolo (Rosewood) stand as part of a previous community project, but it had been some time since it was cleaned, so we spent a fair amount of labor machete-ing.

Once the area was cleared, we did what are called "plateos", or "8" clearing down to the dirt where the plantain sapling would be planted.

We dug the holes one foot deep so that the plant develops strong, deep roots, and space the stalks at 5 x 5 meters. As the rosewood is also planted at 5 x 5 meters, this means that we have one plantain stalk in the middle of every four cocobolo. We want to make sure that the stalk has room to develop its leaves and receives adequate sunlight.

Once we harvest the first round of plantains, we cut down the producing stalk, and choose the best offspring to grow for the second harvest. Since these grow off-center from the main stalk, they will need extra space to not interfere with the rosewood trees, and vice-versa.

On our next journal updated we'll cover what a typical cleaning looks like.