Well, we didn't anticipate how much we would get into agriculture when we moved to Honduras, but so it is. We think that we can grow great food for kids and that this will help us provide for them and be partially self-sustaining. We think that this will be a great environment for kids to grow up in, where they learn the value of hard work and methods of providing for themselves in the future.
Where we live, agriculture is how nearly everyone makes a living. We heard some wise advice recently that we've taken to heart: the world survives through agriculture and so we shouldn't be just trying to give people other careers and moving them into the cities. What they need are methods and specialization to be farmers that aren't poor farmers. So, we want to invest in agricultural projects to help our community and to teach the children we care for, while educating them, opening their horizons, and giving them options for their lives. Poverty is a lack of options.
So, enough theory. We have planted 10 acres of mahogany in the past year and we have more mahogany and teak starts growing. We have two acres of coffee that produce well and we are considering planting more. We have an acre of bananas and plantains that should start producing in about six months. The plan is to see which varieties of bananas and plantains do best for us, so we can plant more of that type.
We planted several hundred fruit trees last year, of various types, and we have about 130 more fruit tree seedlings that we recently grafted. The cashew trees we started have done extremely well and we have about 100 to plant. Recently we tried some Asian vegetables in the garden and they did really well, so we're hoping to do some more experimenting in this department, as we continue learning about vegetable gardening in the tropics.
The newest project has been researching vanilla. We had about 20 vanilla vines planted and then Jason discovered that we have a small island in our river just about covered with vanilla. We're hoping it's the same variety, so we can make our very own vanilla bean ice cream and of course have beans to sell. But the tricky thing with vanilla is that it only flowers like 2-3 days a year and you have to be out there to hand pollinate it when it does.
One poor tree behind our house is so heavy with mangoes that it's branches are breaking off. Four branches fell in less than a day, so we put in supports for a couple of the remaining branches, in hopes that they'll hold on. The bucket in the photo was about half of what we gathered from the fallen branches. We're hoping they ripen up well. We love mangoes!