What do you get when you mix Neem leaves, grasscutter dung, and spent ground nut plants? And, why would you want to?

What do you get when you mix Neem leaves, grasscutter dung, and spent ground nut plants? And, why would you want to?

Members of the Building Solid Foundations Agriculture Team are searching for the optimal compost recipe. At first they intended to include leaves from the Neem tree because these trees are so plentiful in Apam. They’ve since learned that Neem trees are also known as insecticide trees because their leaves repel insects and bacteria. As any composter knows, microscopic organisms play an important role in creating nutrient-rich compost.

Agriculture Team members, including Sam Vaughn and Ackie Atkinson, and Master Gardeners Frank Reed, George Fetrow, and Jerry Cook, are rethinking the perfect compost recipe. When the team travels to Dawurampong Technical High School and Apam High School next September, they will be ready to test a revised compost recipe.

Students at those High Schools have been using 5-10-10 fertilizer, bought by Building Solid Foundations and shipped to Ghana, for the vegetable gardens that they are learning to plant and tend.

Where to buy 5-10-10 fertilizer in Apam?

Even if packaged fertilizer was available in Apam, who could afford it? Not the schools, not the students, not their parents. The solution, according to Building Solid Foundations Head of Agricultural Projects, Ackie Atkinson, is compost.

Grace Quartey, Co-Founder and Executive Director, explains it this way “The Team could routinely ship fertilizer to Apam, but that defeats our goal of helping Apamers improve their lives through sustainable projects. We want to assist Apamers by sharing skills and knowledge. We don’t want to create a climate where people are continuously dependent on our support.”

Teaching students and teachers how to build compost bins and brainstorming the perfect compost recipe rank high on the Agriculture Team’s plans for 2013. Their passion is sharing their combined 100+ years of gardening experience with students – in the classroom, and outside digging, planting, and caring for vegetable gardens.

Gardens that are currently underway or in the final planning stages at the schools include garden eggs (small-ish eggplants), ground nuts (peanuts), tomatoes, okra, hot peppers, and beans.

You can help…

Do you have a gently used rake, garden hose, hoe, shovel or other gardening tool that you aren’t using? Please email hollie@buildingsolidfoundations.org if you would like to donate them for the Apam vegetable gardens.