Women’s Garden Update

The hot season is swiftly and sweatily moving upon Ndorong-Sereer. We desperately need more trees in this town. While each family compound has one or two massive shade trees providing relief from this heat, the public spaces and unpaved paths are left bare and vulnerable. Parents are yelling at kids to not play so vigorously in the sun, and during the hours between noon and four, working outside is highly discouraged. To make the heat more bearable, we’ve decided to plant 300 trees in the public spaces of Ndorong-Sereer. We set up a tree nursery in the women’s garden and the women have begun filling tree sacks. There are 102 women in the garden and each woman will have 20 tree sacks and twenty trees (a felangaa Roog). A portion of the trees will be for the town, a portion will be for the live fence to protect the garden, and a portion will be fruit trees for the women to bring back to their compounds.

Women preparing the soil mix for the tree sacks. Two parts sifted sand and one part sifted cow manure, mix together, add water until moist, and fill until full. Each group brought their own sifted sand and manure to expedite the process.

Women preparing the soil mix for the tree sacks. Two parts sifted sand and one part sifted cow manure, mix together, add water until moist, and fill until full. Each group brought their own sifted sand and manure to expedite the process.


Women filling the tree sacks. Each woman is responsible for 10 small tree sacks and 10 large tree sacks. The small tree sacks can support the root systems of thorny live fencing species, shade trees, and smaller fruit trees until outplanting. The large sacks are for planting mangoes and cashews.

Women filling the tree sacks. Each woman is responsible for 10 small tree sacks and 10 large tree sacks. The small tree sacks can support the root systems of thorny live fencing species, shade trees, and smaller fruit trees until outplanting. The large sacks are for planting mangoes and cashews.


A 1x1x0.1m trench dug to prevent the tree sacks from tipping over. This entire trench will be filled with sacks.

A 1x1x0.1m trench dug to prevent the tree sacks from tipping over. This entire trench will be filled with sacks.

In addition to the trees, the women will start pepinieres for rainy season crops including cassava, bitter tomato, hot pepper, potatoes, and perhaps another round of eggplant. The currently planted eggplant is doing very well and starting to flower. It’s been intercropped with lettuce and replaced many of the dying cabbages. The cabbages have been ravaged and deformed by grasshoppers and onions are looking pretty puny. For the onions we’re thinking of making a compost tea, which is essentially soaking a large sack manure or compost in a barrel of water for a few weeks and then watering the plants for an extra boost of fertilizer. The tomatoes are the women’s pride and joy since they are growing vigorously and heavy with soon-to-be ripened fruits. The women also mulched with peanut shells but didn’t like the aesthetic so removed them. We’ll try millet chaff next time.

Eggplant intercropped with lettuce. The lettuce is on the perimeter of the beds.

Eggplant intercropped with lettuce. The lettuce is on the perimeter of the beds.


Okra growing along the berm of the bed. As it grows taller, it will provide shade for the other vegetables in the bed.

Okra growing along the berm of the bed. As it grows taller, it will provide shade for the other vegetables in the bed.


Corn planted along the berm of the bed. The corn grows very quickly and provides shade for the onions (note how small the onions are). In the background are the tomato beds.

Corn planted along the berm of the bed. The corn grows very quickly and provides shade for the onions (note how small the onions are). In the background are the tomato beds.


The tomatoes are thriving in the heat. Wish I could say the same.

The tomatoes are thriving in the heat. Wish I could say the same.

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3 comments on “Women’s Garden Update

  1. COOL! I hope the lettuces survive what seems like serious heat! How amazing that corn grows so fast. We had a heat wave, but now its cool and clammy as usual for this time of year. Love the blog!

  2. Dwyer says:

    DUDE!! The garden is looking fantastic. I love the idea of a living fence to protect it, wonderful work. I can’t tell you how proud of you I am seeing this come together.

  3. Jason Jin says:

    dude… I think the women’s garden needs another update already…

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