Sunday, May 26, 2019

++++++++++++ A Lending LIbrary and Horse Manure +++++++++

Fotos:  Tiger Griffin, Fco. Nava

Things keep growing and evolving at Vivero La Esperanza.

This Saturday we started with a class from our constant volunteer Mino on how to use lentil sprouts as a natural growing medium for our plants.

Our friend and volunteer Barb managed our Lending Library of books.  The children were to choose
a book to take home to read, returning it the following Saturday.

The youth thought it a brilliant idea...the hard part was having to make a choice.

New friends Steve Noll and Tiger Griffin visited us for the first time at the Vivero.

Mino, Felipe and Paula tended to out compost pile....things are heating up!

Brigadista Leader Anita Torres Guerrero arrived a short time later to give us an update
on the work the Brigadista youth are doing in the surrounding pueblos.

Our plant inventory area needed attention so Anita and the Brigadistas got right to work.

Much better!

One of our goals this Saturday was to collect aged/dried horse manure to use in the Vivero.

Brad Mowers and his crew of Job and Carlos Alfredo jumped onto Steve and Tiger's truck
and away they went.  They collected 14 costales of horse manure.

Steve Scooping 


A surprise visit from the Mayor, Sr. J. Trinidad Lopez Rivas, the founder of the Brigada Estatal program, delighted us all.  It is always helpful to have the Mayor at any of our gatherings.  Today was no exception.  We discussed the various programs under the Brigada Estatal umbrella,
Vivero La Esperanza being just one of many.

Brad's melon seedlings are doing well.

Another surprise was a gift package of seeds from our dear friend Jack West.
Thanks Jack, we already started using the seeds.

Anita was able to pick up a donation of fine linens from a hotel in Guadalajara
and distributed some to the people of San Juan Tecomatlan.

Our seedlings needed transplanting.

 Squash has arrived.

La Sra. Marielena, who is our garden godmother, opened her abarrotes doors to 
the most dedicated of our little garden helpers.

Gracias Sra. Marielena.

and thanks to our constant garden volunteer committee members, 

Mino y Felipe
Barb and Paula

Gracias to our new friends Tiger Griffin and Steve Noll, for the scoop.

and all the people who support our project to help
make our world a better place,
Poco A Poco.

I'm sure we will have many surprises next week.  Come join us in the garden!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Vivero La Esperanza - Wish List

Thank you to all the members and the Board of the Lake Chapala Garden Club.  Our presentation today at their monthly meeting was great!

Here is our wish list, in case you would like to contribute.

Introduction         Fco. Nava and Barb Reinhart, Volunteers

Vivero La Esperanza

Our vision is to have a nursery where we can grow from seed, organic plants to feed our communities, grow enough plants to have a surplus to sell for a profit to cover the working costs of the nursery, to have a place where we can hold gardening classes, a place where volunteers can come to work, learn, help and a place to hold reunions and meetings….a learning garden.


In July of 2017 I started working with Poco A Poco, a grass roots – direct connect organization that was taking donations from the Ajijic area to the towns of SPI.  Because of the need in these towns, Poco A Poco was growing quickly and thinking of developing several programs to address the needs of the SPI communities.

The townspeople were becoming ill, local community members (mostly youth) were dying of renal failure.  We began asking why and came up with several possible causes:  heavy metal laden water, poverty induced malnutrition, lack of proper hygiene and lack of education.  There is also a theory of genetic marker possible cause.

Working with Todd Stong, Havey Bernier and Pastor Guillermo P. Banuet of the Presbyterian Church Del Lago we started working on the water problem.

I decided to tackle the malnutrition problem by installing 4 model home gardens in the homes of 4 Brigadistas in SPI.  One was a larger plot of land, one a container garden, one a smaller farm like parcel and one next door to our Brigadista office.  These 4 gardens grew and grew, the families tending to them learning as we went.  In the end, the 4 model home gardens provided food for the families.  As word of these gardens grew, so did the demand for more home gardens.  We received a flood of request for home gardens.  The problem was where will the plants and materials, the volunteers and resources come from for these new home gardens?

This was when the ideal of a nursery/vivero that could grow plant seedlings from seed was born….a learning garden where the local people could come help in the development and maintenance of their community garden….a place for reunions…a place to dig your hands into the soil and see beautiful things happen.

In October of 2018 we were offered a plot of empty land in the town of San Juan Tecomatlan de Los Chiles Verdes, just east of San Nicolas.  With the help of the Brigada’s attorney, were able to negotiate a letter of agreement/ term for use of the land for a Vivero for 3 years.  In January of 2019 we broke ground…later to find out that the plot had been used originally as a dump for local landfill materials.  So our initial idea of digging up the soil was abandoned and topsoil used.

Starting from scratch is not new to me.  We’d tried this once before and were partially successful.  Here we were again with less than ideal land, but with a town filled with Brigadistas ready to work.  And work they did, moving large pieces of concrete block, clearing the plot of years of dead plant growth, digging into hard, dry highly clay soil.

Another challenge was that the plot of land had neither access to electricity nor a clear water source.  We work during daylight hours, doing everything manually.  We did discover that an abandoned, covered up well was on the property and once used.  We uncovered the well to find water, which we have been using as an emergency water source.  The townspeople started to allow us to use their water to fill our barrels.  Since water is scarce in these towns, this was an amazing gesture.

People were helping, local children showing up to assist and play in the garden.  Friends were donating ornamentals from their gardens and we were now able to pot and sell some of our plants.

The need for food is still great.  Our initial attempts at having the Brigadistas start and take care of our seedlings is not panning out as I would have liked.  These are young people (10 to 18 years old) who have school, family, work commitments, are teenagers mostly.  Their care of the seedlings is inconsistent.  We’re trying to find a better way.

The seed for the Vivero has been planted.  We are seeing growth in the ground as well as the community.  But we still need help.

How Can You Help?

Donations    We need the following for our Vivero:

raised bed planters
exterior benches
wood clamps
screw drivers
a tall ladder and a short ladder

Presently what we need most are seed plant starters.  If you are someone who likes to start plants from seed, we would welcome donations of seedling for the following, most requested plants:

  o   Chiles (all kinds)
  o   Onions
  o   Radishes
  o   Garlic
  o   Broccoli
  o   Cabbage
  o   Melons
  o   Cilantro
  o   Carrots
  o   Kale
  o   Swiss Chard
  o   Tomatoes
  o   Moringa
  o   Red Peppers
  o   Corn
  o   Squash

Ø Cash donations to cover the cost of a new tool shed.

o Shelving for housing seeds (seed bank), books etc.

o Visual books on plants, flowers, recycling, container 
   gardening, mother earth.
o Pots - terra cotta, Talavera that we could plant for sales.
o Paint for painting plastic pots to look fancier, for sale.

Thank you.   Gracias to all the volunteers and supporters of this project,
especially the Lake Chapala Garden Club, that has been assisting us

Monday, May 6, 2019

---------------- Good Soil....Is There Anything Better? -----------------

Todays' surprise was a delivery of good soil and compost from our friends

Rebecca and Cristobal Cruz Contreras of Riberas De La Pilar.

Since our lot was landfill, we needed this topsoil mixture to maximize the
growth and health of our plants.

Everyone pitched in to help unload.

Meanwhile our volunteers got right to weeding.

Beauty in the garden.

With ample soil and compost it felt as if mana were falling from heaven.

New planting beds were made.

Finished bed ready for planting

We also got right to planting in pots, from the generous donation
of cuttings that Margaret and Brian Quinn gave us from their lovely garden.

Preparing Malvas (Geraniums) 

The boys really enjoyed mixing good soil and compost.

As we potted we spoke of how to prepare the cuttings for the soil and spoke of the 
importance of composting as well.

Our inventory was growing quickly.


Another good day of work in the vivero/nursery.

We'd like to thank Margaret and Brian Quinn for their donation of plants,
Rebecca and Cristobal Cruz Contreras for their wonderful soil and compost,
The Lake Chapala Garden Club for their continued support,
And all our volunteers who come out regularly to help.

We are in the vivero/nursery every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Come by and visit when you can.