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Three top gardening tips from Bolivia

Heading out into the garden this Bank Holiday weekend? Then you might be interested in these three tips from Catalina – a fellow gardener in Bolivia!

Catalina tending plants

Catalina tending plants. Credit: Practical Action

Come rain or shine, you can find Catalina in the nursery she shares with 11 other women in her community.

Together they grow citrus fruits and cocoa, which they tend with much love.

Catalina has a special role in the group. She is a 'promoter'.

This means that she receives agricultural training from our partner, Soluciones Practicas (Practical Action).

She then passes on her knowledge and skills to the other women in her group.

Catalina's top tips

1. Preparing the ground

Earth is levelled with a flat metal bar and then dug to break up the soil structure.

2. Sowing seeds

Catalina sows the seeds in seed beds. 'When the seedlings have sprouted, we take them out and transplant them to the nursery.

'We keep them until they are the thickness of a pencil.'

Once they are big enough, they can be sold.

3. How to keep bugs off!

Catalina has a special recipe for controlling insects.

Crush 1kg papaya leaves in a bucket. Pour 1 litre of water on top of them and let them ferment for 48 hours.

Once fermented, drain well (keeping the liquid but removing the crushed leaves).

Grate ¼ of a bar of soap into the water and, once the soap has dissolved, add in another 5 litres of water.

Water this on to your plants and voilà! - bug free.

  • We are happy ladies because we have support to help us grow - we hope this kind of support continues.'

A source of income

With these top tips, which Catalina learnt from Practical Action, the nursery is going from strength to strength.

People come from far and wide to visit, often to buy the seedlings.

However, it is the fruit of these plants – the cocoa beans and citrus fruits – that will make money.

'When they grow up, they will be a source of income,' says Catalina.

Support to keep growing

Catalina and the other women in her nursery group are very thankful for the help they've been given.

'We are happy ladies because we have support to help us grow - we hope this kind of support continues.'

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