Statia :: PinR October Report

P1050800First month of PinR @ botan programme

Started work on monday 7 October after being welcomed by garden intern Susanne Bollinger. Settled in at the new intern house near Smoke Alley and stayed there for about a week.
Taken stock of Aardwerk resources in storage here and there and moved most of it to Botan. Set up “camp” at botan and moved there permanently by the second weekend of October.
Adopted three cats to assist in pest control at the Botan. STENAPA approved support and a small budget for the cats.
First survey of Botan systems (water, power, housing, food). Identified priorities: water & power, renovating Visitor Centre.

P1050863Renovation of Visitor Centre

To provide innovative and improved services to visitors (like information, fresh drinks & snacks with resources from the garden), the building must be emptied, kitchen moved to the current shed. In order for the shed to accommodate the kitchen facilities, it must be emptied and tools stored in the service pavilion (former volunteers’ pavilion). To build the new service pavilion, the current unstable roof must be deconstructed and rebuilt. So priority in renovation the VC is the construction of a new service pavilion, starting with the deconstruction of the current one. .

Water/power

This turned out to be a power issue to start with.
Nadio pumped water in our header tank. Little water remains in the VC cistern. Another gutter to fix there.

Food

Planted two former tent sites and replanted part of the veggie patch with pumpkins, cucumber, courgettes, beans, moringa trees and pineapples. Propagated lemon grass. Planted seeds of passiflora (12 species) as a new signature collection (Passion of Statia). Collecting Jumbie beans as a possible product for sale (internet ordering).
Susan and I are tasked with planting a reconstruction provisioning garden @ the museum in view of the king’s visit in November. Planted and watered the plot in week 2, 3 and 4.
P1050849The first and only animal system I intend to introduce is a 3-cat family to manage rat, mice and bird pests. They arrived in the second week and have settled in nicely. Steve approved the adoption and kindly allocated a modest allowance for cat food. The cats names are: Chance (black & white mother cat), Havoc (tabby male kitten) and Chaos (tortoise shell female kitten) after feline characters in one of my favorite George RR Martin novels.
The shade house proves to be vulnerable to mice/rats & bird invasions, raiding seeds and seedlings. This compromises the garden’s ability to propagate plants. The state of repair of the shade house is fairly typical of most garden systems, now about 15 years old.
After 15 years of operations, many systems are overdue for major overhaul. Although over the years volunteers, interns and staff have done a fabulous job of making the garden into a breautiful oasis of tranquility on Statia.
Bringing relief and improvement in such a situation needs sustained and substantial input of resources, time and motivation by all parties. It also provides an opportunity for innovation and development. Which is what we will explore in the months to come.

Visitors

Total visitors recorded in October 2013: 50. There are visitors on most days. Ranging from 1 or 2 to 20. In general we only see chickens roaming the garden. There was only one occurrence of pigs reported. Other evidence of recent “pig action” visible in the garden.

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