Posh Farming

…. with a girl in the city

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L and the retaining wall

We had a stone wall put in at the back of the yard because the engineers thought that we should. I must admit that I only agreed because they said it was for the security of my family and property (the wall was ridiculously expensive).

Prior to the wall I had a beautiful natural rock face with ferns growing on it. I had planned to intersperse that with orchids to add to its natural beauty. Now, there is nothing natural looking about this wall. It’s functional I guess but it will need work to make it look ‘natural’. Furthermore, I didn’t like the stone man – L (the one building the wall). Prior to working on the wall L gave me a fine cussing for not employing him as promised (we made no such promise) and when the contractor employed him unwittingly, he tried to cheat us in the process.


The tractor preparing for the wall

The Cussing (cursing):- When it first appeared as though we would be doing construction work on the property, a lot of persons (masons, stone experts, designers, welders, plumbers, everybody) came by to give us their names and numbers in the hope that they would get a job. We’d already employed a contractor who came with his crew so we took the numbers but made no promises to anyone. When the work began, L realised he wasn’t shortlisted and waited for me to arrive home one day so he could express his disappointment in us for not giving him the job my husband had promised him. Now this is Jamaica so one had to handle this very carefully, just in case. So I told him that the current plan did not include stone work and in the future, it would be best to speak directly to the contractor, who was responsible for all labour on the project (I later regretted telling him to do so). It turned out that L’s brother (also a stone man) is in the contractor’s crew and when the time came for the wall, he (the brother) was on another project and recommended L, who had done ad hoc work for the contractor in the past when the brother wasn’t available. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the man who had given me a piece of his mind in the past was now working in my yard. I shared the experience with the contractor who agreed to keep his role on the project to the bare minimum.


The tractor with a part of the wall in the background.

Cheating:– The wall was supposed to be a four week project but I noticed that L and his crew would come at around 10 in the morning and they would leave at around 2 p.m. Now I wasn’t used to this schedule since the contractor’s men usually worked from sunrise to sunset, and sometimes under the street light. Realising that L was looking to make this into a longer than necessary process, I spoke to the contractor, who spoke to L and the speed picked up. We made the timeline but not before he tried to add on unnecessary features to the project which would mean paying him more (had to nip that in the bud) and him charging us for things he didn’t do, as well as things he didn’t have to do but did. For example, the stones for the wall came from our property (that’s what the tractor was used for). L went above the house, smashed some rocks he wasn’t supposed to, and this compromised some of the rocks which remained. He then wanted us to pay him to stabilise the rocks he compromised. Since it was all for the safety of my family, I agreed to pay him with the assurance from the contractor that this was the one and only job L would get from us.

L is history, the wall is completed and I now need to make it work for me. I am trying to see a vertival posh farm in the future. What do you think?

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The neglected cantaloupes

Remember those cantaloupe seeds that I planted? Well, I ignored them and they grew and produced like crazy. It was a rocky patch and after a few days they emerged like weeds. I now have big ones and small ones. I’ve shared with the workmen, neighbours and friends, made juices and smoothies and it is still bearing. As for the corn, only a few survived, and the ones that did, were long and thin (remember, the corns were disturbed as the men mined for stones, so they were lodged in very unsuitable rocky soil).

I’m very proud of the collection. The watermelons didn’t do as well. I’m only seeing two growing; they too were planted where the men mined for rocks.

And as for the health benefits of the cantaloupe,it has been identified as one of the best fruits to eat for breakfast and it’s an important nutrient for smooth, younger-looking skin because of its high water concentration. This also helps one to stay hydrated and feeling full for longer.

I’ve learned that it is a great source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids – beta-carotene content can reach levels as high as 3,138 micrograms (per 100 grams of fresh weight)). That’s about 30 times higher than the beta-carotene content of fresh oranges but less than the beta-carotene range for fresh carrots (about 8,300 micrograms). As a source of vitamin A, 100 g provides 3382 IU or about 112% of recommended daily levels, one of the highest among cucurbita fruits. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant and is essential for healthy vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A has been known to help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. It is also:

  • very low in calories (100 g fruit has just 34 calories) and fats. Nonetheless, the fruit is rich in numerous health promoting poly-phenolic plant derived compounds, vitamins, and minerals that are absolute for optimum health.
  • rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants have the ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen-free radicals and hence; offer protection against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
  • an important dietary carotenoid, selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eye where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV light-filtering functions. It, thus, offers protection of eyes from “Age-related macular degeneration” (ARMD) disease in the elderly.
  • a moderate source of electrolyte, potassium. 100 g fruit provides 267 mg of this electrolyte. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps control heart rate and blood pressure. It thus offers protection against stroke, and coronary heart diseases.

    The fruit also contains moderate levels of B-complex vitamins, such as niacin, pantothenic acid and vitamin C, and minerals like manganese. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Commercially, muskmelons are being used to extract an enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which plays a vital role as strong first-line antioxidant defenses inside the human body.

The total antioxidant strength measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of cantaloupe melons is 315 µmol TE/100 g. The value for honeydew melon is 241 µmol TE/100 g.

According to the George Mateljan Foundation, intake of cantaloupe has been found to lower the risk of metabolic syndrome. In a study involving hundreds of women living and teaching in Tehran, Iran, the lowest risk of metabolic syndrome was found to occur in women who ate a minimum of 12 ounces of fruit per day. The five primary fruits involved were apples, grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, and bananas. Women who consumed the largest amounts of these fruits were also determined to have the healthiest levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in their bloodstream. CRP is an indicator very commonly used to assess levels of inflammation, and it’s very likely that the anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in cantaloupe and other fruits contributed not only to these participants’ healthy levels of CRP but also to their decreased risk of metabolic syndrome.

So maybe you should add some cantaloupe to your posh farm. I can now say, it is one of the easiest fruit to produce. Here is the full shebang according to the USDA.

Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 34 Kcal 1.5%
Carbohydrates 8.6 g 6.5%
Protein 0.84 g 1.5%
Total Fat 0.19 g <1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g 2.25%
Folates 21 µg 5%
Niacin 0.734 mg 4.5%
Pantothenic acid 0.105 mg 2%
Pyridoxine 0.072 mg 5.5%
Riboflavin 0.026 mg 2%
Thiamin 0.017 mg 1%
Vitamin A 3382 IU 112%
Vitamin C 36.7 mg 61%
Vitamin E 0.05 mg 0.5%
Vitamin K 2.5 mcg 2%
Sodium 1 mg 0%
Potassium 267 mg 6%
Calcium 9 mg 1%
Copper 41 µg 4.5%
Iron 0.21 mg 2.5%
Magnesium 12 mg 3%
Manganese 0.041 mg 2%
Zinc 0.18 mg 1.5%
Carotene-alpha 2020 µg
Crypto-xanthin-beta 1 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 26 µg



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Ode to my grandfather

Since I began reflecting on the early years of my life, the role my grandparents, especially my grandfather played in my life has become even clearer. As a family (mom, sisters, dad, cousins) we all agree that Mass Reg. was the glue that held our family together. The women (mother and grandmother) spoke more frequently, they were the primary disciplinarians; but it was our grandfather who established the boundaries for our family. So, as we approach fathers day, this post is in honor of my grandfather, Mass Reg.

My grandfather rose before the sun each day,
And made the trek to the farm without delay.
He started early, so he could have a day well spent,
Working in the sun with his back mostly bent.

His machete, his crocus bag and his hat on his head,
Were the tools he needed to get his day started.
He began with some tea, and breakfast would follow later,
And he would work in the soil, and never falter.
Even as his body aged, and he barely could see,
He farmed around the house because it kept him lively.

He loved the land, his wife, his children and all the grand-pickney dem
We all felt like his favourite because on Papa we could depend.
To the community, he was leader, wise one, counsellor, and friend,
He laboured and toiled as a faithful Baptist brethren.
A man of example, he showed how it was to be done,
How men should be real husbands and raise up their sons.

He led family devotions each week before dawn,
Getting everyone involved before the cock could sound an alarm.
Waking up at what felt like midnight was certainly no fun,
But we do not regret the work Papa has done.
None of his children or grandchildren were ever left wanting,
We are who we are because Papa planted.

He was a farmer at heart, in word, and in deed,
Planting in our lives, the things that we would need.
Things that have shaped us, that we cannot measure,
Things that we hold dear, and we will always treasure.
He planted in the earth and gave us food,
He invested in the soil of our hearts and led us to good.

Love you Mass Reg.

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The Jackfruit


I loooove jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus). Not the soft, soggy type which is almost like eating butter, but rather the firm delicious ones that are a delight to eat and leave you wanting more. I particularly do not like the stain it produces so I must admit, eating it can be a chore….but that doesn’t stop me. My hfh hates the smell; so, I get to enjoy it all by myself 🙂 .

Well, I just found out that this fruit has a lot of health benefits. According to the food network, the jackfruit is a nutritional powerhouse. At just 95 calories, it is  packed with protein, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamins B and C. The USDA says one cup provides 25% of the B6 vitamins that an adult needs.

The video below also promotes it as a possible solution to world hunger. This looks like a tree that I should definitely have in my Posh farm arsenal but I’ll need a few more acres to keep the smell away from the house (I still need to keep the peace at home 🙂 ).

In the meantime, what do you have in your arsenal?

Until next time, continue to enjoy what you  plant. Happy Poshfarming!