Almost every house in the village has banana and papaya trees growing in the grey water zone. These are the source of the fruit that is pivotal in our diet. Hand delivered, organic, zero food miles, and the price is right. Pumpkin vines ramble around the yards, and small plots are set aside for spring onions, chilli, soya beans and leafy greens. The more enthusiastic gardeners have a second, larger plot that is shared with neighbors and other family members. They tend to neat beds protected from the free range livestock with rocks, sticks and living posts. Soil varies between red loam and a black clay that hardens like a rock when dry. There is no volcanic activity in this part of the archipelago; therefore none of the fertile earth that feeds the crops of Java and Bali.
The common practice is to burn manure on the surface and dig in the ash. The addition of compost or mulch is not widespread. Watering is by hand, hauled from a nearby well, except in the sizable sweet potato crops that are planted in swamps. Every time I visit the local gardeners, I return home with renewed vigor for my little keyhole plots. The rocket and basil seeds germinated in 48 hours, and the seedlings I received from a friend are sprouting new leaves. Hopefully, by the time the in-laws arrive in August, I'll be picking fresh greens.