Berrysmith Foundation

Island time

Friday, April 05, 2013

Time has many different meanings; The Dutch are known for their everything-on-time-culture. In New Zealand I learned quickly to let this go a bit and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle.
Samoa is known for its own “Island time”, to me it sort of means to go with the flow and it will (?) happen.

Even though I know about this, it can give nice surprises for a newbie like me. For example a couple of weeks ago there was a big order of seedlings to go out. I was told we would go over to Tapatapao farm early to help out getting this order ready for transport.

No worries; I was ready to go at 7am, only to be picked up a couple hours later. There was a bit of carpooling involved so I got dropped off half way at the office for the car to be used for running some urgent errands.

Around 3pm we (finally!) end up at the farm to work on getting this order ready until all the daylight was used up. Lesson learned; I came more prepared the next day.

This month I have been sharing the Afiamalu farmhouse with Elizabeth who lived in this house with her parents & siblings 18 years ago. It is her first time back in Samoa and it is very nice to (re-) discover the house and farm with her. Thank you Elizabeth, it has been great having you around!

From Elizabeth I found out that there are cinnamon trees growing in the back yard! Cinnamon is one of my favourite spices; unfortunately some internet research informed me it is not so easy to get the cinnamon from the tree into a jar ready to use. For now I focus on learning how to make coconut yoghurt. So far I have only made it with canned Samoan coconut cream but the result is very tasty. I have offered a jar of yoghurt for a lesson in making cream from fresh coconut but the (island-) time is not ready yet.

Together with Elizabeth and two Afiamalu farm workers we have dismantled the broken tunnel house

Girl power - dismantling the greenhouse
and rediscovered the planting boxes, to make them ready for the new tomato plants to go in, now that the end of the wet season is in sight.

Rainfall here is still almost daily, especially here on the hill, we sometimes live in a cloud all day with no sunshine compared to Apia town where it can be sunny and steaming hot. For those dry gardens in New Zealand

Daily rainfall
I have collected some pristine rainwater, ready for pick up. Make your offer!

As a grower you learn to follow the seasons. Coming from the Northern Hemisphere I must admit that it has taken me a couple of years to align my bio-rhythm to the Southern Hemisphere in knowing that December is the new July; meaning Summer & warm weather etc.

In Samoa it is different again; on the 7th of April day-light-saving starts, around this time in New Zealand you start to clean up your garden and settle for a more indoor life, enjoy the fruits of your labour and making plans for the new growing season

Here there are only two seasons; wet from October till March

Lettuce harvest in the rain the Samoan way
& dry from April till September. The best growing season here is from April till September because most plants do prefer it cool and less wet. In the Northern Hemisphere this time of year Spring starts and so is the action for working in the garden, although this year the winter weather is holding on a bit longer.

Let me put this in order; I’m in the Southern Hemisphere where the clock goes on ‘wintertime’ but the growing calendar is similar to the Northern Hemisphere summer season. It makes me wonder; does this mean short or long (growing) days? Or is there another Island time here

For now I will keep observing and let nature teach me what time it is.

Last week I received the first module for the Australian distance learning course towards a diploma in organic production. The first module it is about soil and how to maintain and build it up using compost and/or worm farms, very interesting learning.

And Edwin Tamasese has taught me how to do brix testing on the crops; this job is added to my weekly tasks.

Brix testing Tapatapao
More about this another time.

I’m going to spend some time exploring one of the beaches on the other side of the island

Some Island time on the beach
before the garden gets really busy.

Have a great Easter weekend.

©2015 Berrysmith Foundation | Terms & Conditions | Security Policy