With plenty of room for it, I’ve been dreaming of veggies from my own garden ever since I set foot on this property. Not only me, also Amadou had clear visions of all the veggies and fruits we would be harvesting from the garden.

We’ve planted a mango tree and a pomegranate. They are still small, but growing! It will probably take a few more years before they’ll be big enough to bear fruit, but it’s a lot of fun to watch the progress.
Many delicious papayas have been eaten from the trees in the garden. It turned out to be their last season. One after another they are collapsing. Apparently that’s the way it is: they give a lot of fruits before they die. So sad! But, luckily we’ve new ones growing on other spots in the garden and I’m looking forward to their fruits.
The lemon, guava and orange trees are doing wonderful, giving fruits all year round.

With the fruits doing so well, I had no doubt of veggies also being very successful in the garden. So, we went seed-shopping. Cucumbers, tomatoes, leek, carrots, zucchinis, and some other veggies were chosen.
Every day started with an inspection of the garden. Little plants that were spotted one day, were gone the next day. The birds loved them just as much as we did, as did the lizards…
So finally we decided to buy nets. Strange enough, still no veggies growing. A new ‘enemy’ has found its way to the garden: termites. Underground they eat the seeds before they even get a chance to sprout. Too bad they don’t like grasses and weeds…

No problem, I’ve been told by the locals, there’s a product against them. Sure, there is! It’s as toxic as it gets and most probably forbidden in Europe (and dumped in Africa…). I’m refusing to use it.
‘But Monique, why?’ Amadou has been asking me several times. ‘Everybody uses it! And it works!’ He’s right, but it’s not going to change my point of view. If I want to eat vegetables that were grown with these kind of products, I can buy them everywhere. And until I do have another option I will buy them.

However, whatever will be harvested from my garden, will be grown naturally!

So I’m waiting for the natural way to solve this challenge to unfold. And am grateful for the seeds and sprouts that are not being eaten. We’ve lots of pumpkins growing (apparently they don’t like them!) and even a few tomato and zucchini plants made it.

Amadou has given up trying to convince me to buy the pesticides. I’ve been explaining him why I don’t want to use them. That they do come with side effects that will not be seen immediately, but that will affect not only the land, but also the people.
Knowing his aversion to pharmaceutical products, I know he will understand this too. It will take a bit of time to sink in and it will take some time before he realizes that there is a connection between the quality of the fruits (he’s been raving about them and so have others!) and veggies from our garden and no pesticides having been used!

I’ve already bought a natural product against termites. It’s waiting on the kitchen table for the moment he’ll be ready to call the company for instructions. And then he’ll give it a try.

There’s a right time for everything!

About MoInMali

Monique is the founder of Papillon Reizen, a Mali based travel agency specialized in inspiring journeys in Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin. Fair-trade and with a heart for people, environment and culture. Small-scale group journeys as well as family trips and journeys tailored to your wishes. We love to share West Africa's beauty with you and take you on a journey to experience rather than to see. Monique lives in Mali with her Malian partner and shares some of her daily life experiences with you through this blog. For information on Papillon Reizen:
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