Tour of McCropder Shamba

Shortly after our arrival here, we commandeered some of the empty garden (or "shamba" in Kiswahili) plots behind McCropder-plex. In addition to a nice plot to grow some of the more typical American foods, which we can't find around here (broccoli, spinach, basil) as well as some of the local foods that we enjoy (sweet potatoes, carrots, cilantro), we have a number of crops you don't often find stateside. Maggie is standing here next to our rosemary tree, which was featured before, now a shadow of it's former glory, but still huge.
Above you can see most of the shamba, in particular the banana trees that we transplanted as saplings a few months after getting here. We probably won't get any bananas from them before we leave, but it's been fun to watch them grow, and someone else can reap the benefit. Below, you can see the unique way that new leaves come to banana trees, namely by sprouting this vertical coil of leaf, that then unfolds one day.
This is one of the staple foods around here sikumu wiki, which is a kale that is cooked and served with maize meal (ugali). Sikumu wiki means literally "stretching the week", referring to how people eat it when they don't have enough other foods, and they need to get to the end of the week with something. It's harvested by plucking off leaves as you go, so that you're left with these denuded stalks that are still growing.
This is our big passion fruit vine. Passion fruit are yummy little round jobs that have little seeds and slurry inside that are definitely on the tart side. I'm convinced someone is pilfering our fruit, since none of us have had much yield from this vine, but at least it's fun to watch grow.One of the curious things about gardening in the tropics is the perpetual growing season. In certain contrast to Michigan, if something doesn't produce (we had some bum pumpkin plants a while back), you just rip them up and plant something else, so there is also a mix of growing stages among the plants in our shamba. In the foreground below, you can see some young ginger plants. We've had some fun harvesting these, and trying to find new recipes for ginger.
We're not sure how this papaya tree got planted, but there are two now, and they are growing well. My favorite feature of papaya trees is that they start to produce these huge fruit when they are still really short. In fact, ours is still below my waist, and yet you can see below some of the fruit growing, which (for those unfamiliar with the papaya) can be as large as an American football.
And finally, a couple of the nice flowers that are intermixed with our planted, providing a nice little contrast to the greenery.

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