Tips from an Amazon Gardener
As heard on radio, as seen in the Amazon, and now, on the TP blog, here are Dona Raimunda's chives protected against jealousy and evil by sentinel eggs.
photo credit: Ketzel Levine, NPR
Dona Raimunda is a rock star. A meteor shower. A force of nature. It's amazing to me how that much personality can be contained in such a diminutive body.
She is the mother of farmer Rosario Costa Cabral, the Amazon farmer featured in these pages a few months back. Rosario has made a name for herself growing crops never before tried in her region of the Amazon flood plain, where she's encouraged other farmers to branch out.
Whereas Rosario relies on observation and experimentation, her mother channels ancestral know-how.
Dona Raimunda regularly wanders past her seedlings in the course of the day and blows a bit of her tobacco smoke from her pipe to keep away the crickets and discourage butterflies from depositing their eggs.photo credit: Ketzel Levine, NPR
Dona Raimunda is who-knows-what-generation caboclo, the Brazilian word for the ethnically mixed people who live in the Amazon. In my Weekend Edition Sunda radio piece about Dona Raimunda, I listed six tongue-in-cheek gardening tips I'd observed watching this caboclo gardener at work. My hunch is they'll make a whole lot more sense if you care to join me in her Amazon garden but in any case, here they are:
#1 Mind how you talk to your plants
#2 Cucumbers and cabbage are sworn enemies and cannot be grown together
#3 Chili peppers are stubbornly reluctantly to let go of their fruit
#4 Plants are no co-dependent; they don't care if you garden in a bad mood
#5 Ugly chives save lives (a reference to putting anti-evil eggs in the vegetable garden)
#6 Smokers are welcome in the garden
She is a rare beauty, the dona, but this isn't a very typical pose. She's usually up to something: telling stories, making acai, and of course, talking to her plants.photo credit: Ketzel Levine
3:31 PM ET | 03-22-2008 | permalink