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Organic Gardening in Fiji

Organic Gardening in Fiji

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Published by Rhiannon Petty
By Brian Smithers and Illustrated by Matthew Roy, thanks to Mary of the Fiji Home Gardeners group for providing. This is for download by group members.
By Brian Smithers and Illustrated by Matthew Roy, thanks to Mary of the Fiji Home Gardeners group for providing. This is for download by group members.

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Published by: Rhiannon Petty on Feb 02, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/04/2013

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Organic GardeningIn Fiji
By Brian SmithersIllustrations by Matthew Roy
 
1
Introduction
If you are holding this book in your hand, it is either because someone is forcingyou, or you have found yourself in Fiji with a desire to eat fresh vegetables, agardening spade, and a bit of confusion. Here in Fiji, we are attempting to growfoods that we enjoy from places like Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the USand often, it is not going very well. It turns out that there are reasons for this.(Keep reading.)This book has come out of my experience in gardening in Fiji after falling in lovewith gardening in temperate Oregon. Who am I? I am glad you asked. Myname is Brian Smithers and I am a garden lover, moonlighting as a Peace CorpsVolunteer. I am also a facultative vegetarian (not always an option) and prefer toeat my veggies local and organic. This can be quite difficult in Fiji since thetraditional foods are not long on the vegetables I am used to, making gardening amust. The good news is that I love it.When I set about digging and planting, I ran into plenty of problems that I wasnot used to in Oregon and went looking for resources on gardening in Fiji. WhatI found were scant. The Ministry of Agriculture used to put out a guide called
―Fiji Crop Farmer’s Guide,‖ but that
has been out of print for a few yearsawaiting the updated version. It is a very useful guide for specific crops but asfar as garden practices go, it is silent. I am actively holding my breath for thenewer version. You should not.
The second resource that I found is a book called ―Growing Vegetables in Fiji‖
by Kirk Dahlgren, a former Country Director of Peace Corps Fiji. This book waswritten in 1981, and most recently issued in 1989 by ECHO after they found itburied in the Peace Corps library and re-
released it. Dahlgren’s book is
wonderful, and there is very little in the book you are now holding
that doesn’t
owe a debt of gratitude to his, but having been written in 1981, it is outdated.While many of the gardening practices are sound, in a sign of the times, thesolution to pests and nutrient deficiency in his book is to spray it with apetrochemical. Now that we know what we know about the dangers to theenvironment of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, especially when itcomes to destroying coral reef, I am sure that even Dahlgren would agree thatgardening practices have changed and that an upgrade to his book is in order.There are many new varieties of vegetables that have been developed since 1981that do much better in the tropics and have been included in this book. With
 
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these updates, this book picks up where Dahlgren left off. To be clear, this is nota replacement f 
or Dahlgren’s book. This book is void of many of Dahlgren’s
charts and numbers loses its usefulness in planting on a commercial scale. Forthose who seek more technical advice, you may still need to find a copy of 
―Growing Vegetables in Fiji.‖
Backyard gardener and small farmer, read on.Last but not least, you are reading version 1.0 of this book, and as all books gothat are written under a deadline, it is sure to be rife with errors and inadequate inmultitudinous ways. Please forgive those inadequacies and rest in the knowledgethat work continues to make version 2.0 even better. Better yet, let me know if 
you there is something that will make the next version even better. I won’t be
mad at you. Happy digging!

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