She sits in the top of the greenest tree
She sends out an aroma of undefined love! It drips on down in a mist from above!
The soil is so fertile it’s almost vulgar. At night I go out and smell it, or maybe “huff” is the better verb, given how deviant it feels to lurk among the shadows in a geosmin euphoria.
I made some plans for what to grow. The land to which I have access is municipal; I do not own it. But empty land doesn’t bear the same foreboding aura here that it does in the States. Nobody will yell at you or issue a ticket for making cordial use of unoccupied land.
Bananas were first, because they are so easy. It is a copy and paste job. An empty lot nearby featured a thriving grove, so we dug up rhizomes and hacked them to pieces with a machete and buried them. That was in July. Two months later a litter of baby plants caroused in the sun. (You can see a few below.)Their stems raced skyward; their leaves broadened into solar panels.
The new bananas valiantly abided a hurricane and an earthquake. From us they required nothing, so we moved on to the next crop.
A low-effort way to make planting decisions is to walk around and see what thrives in live soil without intervention. Here, on the 21st parallel north, there is: noni, guava, passionfruit, Surinam cherry, papaya, jackfruit. Also a ton of castor bean, aka Ricinus communis, aka the source of the poison that the guy on Breaking Bad used to vanquish his enemies.
Ricin is easy to prepare and I take a certain pride in passing the trees every day, knowing that I can but choose not to euthanize myself.
I decided on Surinam cherries because they are convenient (self-fruiting) and look like Italian Renaissance hats:
Plus, how often do you get to eat a food that is “tufted”? Plus^2, the taste is unique; like eating a tart cherry upon which a sprig of tarragon has been placed. Plus^3, the trees repel flies.
I couldn’t access any local trees to get cuttings—they were all guarded by brambles or, in one case, a menacing cur—but my seed hookup came through. Now I just need a container the size of a garbage bin…