Thursday, August 25, 2011

cacao problems

This probably isn't of interest to anyone but us, but I want to record some of it here for my own memories. We were so excited because our root stock has been doing so well. We've had a good success ratio and had lots of small plants for grafting. Our only source of buds for us to graft has been at Marco's place in San Ignacio. It's exciting to see his trees, full of flowers and tiny pods. We select buds from the strongest trees with the most pods. Marco hasn't labeled his trees, but we know that his are grafted and a mix, so that's going to have to be good enough. Rene and I have collected buds 3 different times and returned home and grafted them the same day. We've been extremely careful with our grafts, but the end result after all this time is that we've had almost no success. We haven't been able to coordinate with Marco for help, so have been struggling on our own. Art & Rene have been extremely disappointed and wanted to give up, but I just can't. If they can do it in Toledo then, by darn, we can do it here in Cayo. It's just hard to have lost so much time and money with our experiments, but we're NOT giving up.

I've been looking at the grafts that we've lost and it seems that they're really wet, with some even having mold on them. We've had them under the trees, but not really under cover. We've had some serious rain lately at times, so that I'm pretty sure that that's our problem. It's not so much our grafting techniques as much as too much water. Marco had already told us that cacao doesn't want to have their feet wet all the time. This time we pulled out all the stops. Our friend Jane gave us a screened house that we'd hesitated to put up as it's not real heavy and we were afraid that the wind and rain would destroy it, but we need it, so up it went.

Fourth batch - Rene and I experimented with different kinds of grafts too with this batch. We left some buds long and not covered and used plastic wrap rather than the parafilm on most of the side grafts. We had already tried 2 unsuccessful grafts on several of the plants, so Rene cut the top off of them and tried a top graft. We put all of these in the screened house right away. We're hoping that in a couple of weeks we'll see an improved result. At that point we cut the tape off and expose the graft to the air. It's hard to work with your fingers crossed!

We've arranged with Marco to come up on Monday to review our problems and give us some advice. Rene feels badly that he didn't ask all the questions we have when he was in Toledo, but heck, he was really only there for one day and we think he learned a lot in a very short time. It's frustrating to learn by the "hunt and peck" system, but we'll get there. We also remind ourselves that the folks in Toledo were given everything by grants. They have concrete floor buildings, were given seed and unlimited help with growing, grafting and pruning. We're outsiders by being in Cayo as well as being gringos. It's just a fact of life here that we can't let make us angry. It seemed to us when we were actually living in the US that the immigrants got most of the assistance and priorities, but here in Belize it's just the opposite. Unless you're a wealthy gringo, you just shut your mouth and plug along trying not to make waves. We knew that coming in, so we try to make it work. The part that makes it acceptable is that we have friends in the same boat. It's easy to feel sorry for ourselves until we look at the plight of the local families and then we realize that we're doing ok. At least we have a great place to live and food. Many of them have next to nothing. That's for another posting. I can really get angry for them. My glass is still half full.

1 comment:

sandy a said...

your positive attitude is refreshing. I sincerely hope your new grafts do well!