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UNIVES1TY OF THE VIRGIN ISLAND
ST. CROIX .-_
"Agriculture Enhances Family Cooperation"
E ditor .............................................. C larice C C larke
Editorial Committee .........................Dr. D.S. Padda, Larry Bough
Dr. Erika Waters, Judy Salter
Jointly Sponsored by
The Virgin Islands Department of Economic Development and Agriculture
The University of the Virgin Islands
Cooperative Extension Service Agricultural Experiment Station
An Agriculture and Food Fair
Beatrice "Mopsy" Johnson
Beatrice "Mopsy" Johnson will be sorely missed
by all whose lives she touched.
Concerned with the preservation ofCrucian cuisine
and culture, Mrs. Johnson was a part of the Virgin
Islands Agriculture and Food Fair since its inception
in 1970. Nen Bea's food booth was a popular spot
each year, as, dressed in native costume, she
demonstrated the preparation of the local foods and
drinks she sold.
Although she was not able to attend recent fairs
due to her failing health, friends maintained a booth
in her name as a tribute to her devotion to preserving
Reprinting of articles is permitted as long as the Agriculture and Food Fair Bulletin is credited; mention
of product names in this book in no way implies endorsement by the authors or the Agriculture and
Food Fair Board of Directors.
A Publication of the 23rd Annual Virgin Islands
Agriculture and Food Fair
Bulletin Number 8
Table of Contents
1993-94 Fair Board of Directors .................................................................................................... 5
Message from Governor Alexander A. Farrelly ....................................................... ...................... 6
M message from Dr. Orville E. Kean ........................................................................................................ 7
Message from Commissioner Eric E. Dawson .................................................................................... 8
Food, Nutrition and H health ......................................................................................................... 9
Darshan S. Padda, Ph.D.
R recycling ..................................................................................................................................... 11
Experimental Efforts to Grow Juvenile Lobsters
in the V irgin Islands ............................................................................................................................ 13
Norman J. Quinn, Ph.D.
The Search For the St. John Baobab .......................................................................................... 16
John Rashford, Ph.D.
C citizen Politics ................................................................................................................ 20
Proper Use of Pesticides in Your Garden ................................................................................ 22
H harvesting Nature's Diversity .................................................................................. .................... 25
Helping Families With Money Management Problems........................................................... .... 27
The Status of Tropical Yams .................................................................................................. 29
Stafford M.A. Crossman
Pre-planning for Home Grounds Improvements ........................................................................ 74
Vegetable Production Using Fish Waste Water
in the V irgin Islands ............................................................................................. ......................... 40
Manuel C. Palada, Ph.D.
M marine O occupations on St. Croix ...................................................................................................... 50
Marcia G. Taylor
Breadfruit An Old Fruit With New Potential.............................................................................. ... 52
Christopher Ramcharan, Ph.D. and Ramonita Caines
Grazing Lands Application in the Virgin Islands ....................................................................... 55
Mario A. Morales
W hat's in a N am e? .............................................................................................................................. 57
Benefits of a Marine Fishery Reserve System
for the U.S. Virgin Islands ............................................................................................................ 59
Callum M. Roberts, Ph.D.
How to Manage Wastewater and Runoff From
Confined Anim al Facilities ....................................................................................... .....................62
Jeffrey J. Schmidt
Erosion and Soil Conservation.............................................................................................. ....... 64
Julie A. Wright
Sustainable Agriculture in the Virgin Islands..................................................................................... 66
Louis E. Petersen, Jr., Ph.D.
Documentation of Medicinal Plant Use in the USVI .................................................................. 68
Nitrogen Fixation A Natural Source of Nitrogen Fertilizer ................................. .................71
Antillean Treasure St. Croix's Salt River ................................................ ............................ 73
Vegetative, Erosion and Sedimentation Control Practices ...................................................... 74
Dale E. R. Morton
1994 Agriculture and Food
Fair Board of Directors
Commissioner Eric E. Dawson
Vice President of Operations
Eric L. Bough
Director of Food Exhibits
Director of Farm Exhibits
Director of Entertainment
Director of UVI Exhibits
Executive Vice President
Darshan S. Padda, Ph.D.
Clarice C. Clarke
Director of Youth Activities
Director of Off-Island Participation
Director of Rules and Awards
Arthur C. Petersen Jr., Ph.D.
Director of Livestock Exhibits
Director of Ground Decorations
ALEXANDER A. FARRELLY
I am pleased to extend greetings to the Department of Economic Development
and Agriculture and the University of the Virgin Islands' Land-Grant Program,
co-sponsors of the 1994 annual U.S. Virgin Islands Agriculture and Food Fair.
Because 1994 has been proclaimed the "Year of the Family," this year's
theme, "Agriculture Enhances Family Cooperation," promotes and stresses
agriculture as a family effort.
Educating our young people about the land, instilling in them the values
and importance of agriculture to the community, and allowing them the
opportunity to gain hands-on experience in cultuvation and raising livestock
On behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands, Mrs. Farrelly joins me in
commending the efforts of the organizers and co-sponsors for their collective
efforts in promoting agricultural prosperity and self-sufficiency for these
Message from Dr. Orville Kean F
President, University of the Virgin Islands
Welcome to the 1994 Agriculture and Food Fair. This year's theme,
"Agriculture Enhances Family Cooperation," is very appropriate as it emphasizes
the value of agriculture in our community and its effect on family life.
Agriculture plays a prominent role in the V.I., from the food we eat to the
environment we are striving to preserve. It is incumbent on us to acknowledge
this role, not only in the actual production of agricultural products, but also in
the maintenance of a higher quality of life in our communities.
UVI works with families in a number of ways. The latest research on
varieties and production techniques is investigated by our AES scientists, and
members of our extension team disseminate that information to growers. The
Cooperative Extension Service aids families by presenting information and
teaching skills for better living.
The Land-Grant staff consistently focuses their research and educational
efforts on contemporary issues like youth and families at risk, water quality,
resource conservation, food safety and sustainable economic development.
The Agriculture and Food Fair is, as always, a wonderful event for families
to enjoy together. Please enjoy the fair, as well as the articles in this bulletin.
I wish to congratulate the Agriculture and Food Fair Board for their dedication
to providing a meaningful community event for all the people of the Virgin
Orville Kean, Ph.D.
Te cVirgin Islads of the United Stme
DepartmeM rdcmanaic Develuajomr & AgPWtu
P.O.B 6400, Chadatte Anie6, SLThoma 80408
FAX (W09) 774-4390
"AGRICULTURE ENHANCES FAMILY COOPERATION"
Historically, the pursuit of agriculture has been a family affair, throughout the
world and most definitely in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The involvement of the
family in this enterprise has enhanced its growth and advancement throughout
No doubt, we have lost many family farms over along period of time, but the spirit
and determination are not lost. From the community gardens on St. Croix to the
farm plots at Northside, St. Thomas, we continue to see families pursuing this
vital and viable enterprise.
The St. Croix and St. Thomas Farmers Cooperatives have been formed and will
be very important in advancing the quality and quantity of agricultural
marketing. It is expected that certain crops will be marketed to the local
community, including hotels and restaurants. The Farmers Cooperatives offer a
means of enhancing family farms and their productivity.
Let us all ensure that the theme for the 1994 Agriculture and Food Fair receives
our support--Agriculture Enhances Family Cooperation.
Best wishes to everyone on this festive occasion.
Eric E. Dawson, Esq.
Food, Nutrition and Health
Darshan S. Padda, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research and Land-Grant Affairs
University of the Virgin Islands
As we come together once again on St. Croix to
celebrate the bounty of food in our Virgin Islands as well
as share the latest technical developments in food
production, I would like to take this opportunity to step
back from the immediate focus. Of course, the scientists
and specialists at the University of the Virgin Islands
Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) and Cooperative
Extension Service (CES) are working hard to improve
food production conditions for Virgin Islands
agriculturists; it is a crucial part of our work. But, it is
also only a part of the overall picture. An equally crucial
task is the promotion of good health and sound nutrition.
Consumers' interest in the relationship between what
they eat and their health offers an unprecedented
opportunity for agriculture. Increased understanding of
the relationship between food, diet and nutrition is critical
if Virgin Islanders are to achieve optimal health and
decrease their health care costs. The U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services' 1992 report, HealthyPeople
2000, calls for significant reductions in the incidence of
obesity, anemia, premature births, growth retardation
and osteoporosis. These conditions can be mitigated by
the improvements in the diet.
Nationally, 1993 marks the centennial of USDA's
involvement in nutrition research. Locally, as the
University's Land-Grant programs enter their third
decade, we too have renewed our commitment to the
health and nutritional needs of Virgin Islanders.
Good nutrition begins back at the seed, which is why
AES researchers are developing new strains of crops and
studying ways to produce more prolific harvests and more
nutritional food animals while reducing costs and
protecting the environment. Excellent examples are the
efforts of AES vegetables researchers, who have recently
published the results of five years of vegetables and fruit
trials designed to help local growers choose the varieties
that will produce best under VI conditions, and the
Aquaculture Program, which is refining systems that
allow small businessmen to produce both fish protein and
vegetable crops in limited space with limited input.
The Cooperative Extension Service, with offices on
all three islands, has also long been involved in providing
people the knowledge to make informed decisions about
what they eat. The CES Home Economics Program staff
helps people reduce the risk of disease while improving
consumer's ability to make informed choices related to
food safety, quality and composition.
A specific example is the Expanded Food and
Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), which helps
families gain knowledge, skills and behaviors that lead
to a healthier diet. Nationally and locally, families who
have completed this six-month program are able to
make significant improvements in their diets, while
spending less money on food. Extension nutrition efforts
also concentrate on health diets for diabetics and the
improvement of "native foods" in terms of fat, sodium,
sugar and calories.
The national EFNEP program has just initiated a
new phase of the program specifically designed to help
pregnant and nursing women improve their diets, and,
as a result, the health of their babies. Training is under
way, and this program will soon be available to Virgin
EFNEP is also an excellent example of the
collaborative nature of Land-Grant efforts. Just as AES
researchers work with local growers to provide specific
answers to their problems, EFNEP is a program which
uses paraprofessionals from the community to work
with their neighbors, spreading the knowledge as Virgin
Islanders and those who have chosen to make the Virgin
Islands their home help each other out.
A strong relationship between diet and health is
becoming clear with modern research. Recent findings
indicate that many health problems, e.g., heart diseases,
arteriosclerosis, cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypertension,
osteoporosis and anemia, may be caused or exacerbated
by nutrient imbalance or excessive consumption.
The August 9, 1993 issue of Newsweek included an
eye-opening article entitled, "Do Our Genes Determine
Which Foods We Should Eat?" According to the article,
native Hawaiians have the worst health profile in
America. More than 65% of them are obese, and their
mortality rates from cancer, heart disease and diabetes
are the highest in the nation. Dr. Terry Shintani, working
with native populations, sees diet as the chief culprit.
Diet programs are getting increased attention from
health care providers. In the VI, excessive use of fatty and
sugar-rich foods are causing health problems.
The relationship between people's diets and their
behavior is undergoing extensive study under a branch of
anthropology called Nutritional Anthropology. According a
to Professor Phillip T. James ofRowett Research Institute,
U.K., health patterns are changing in developing
countries. As a result of changing eating habits, the
incidence of heart disease, high blood pressure and
various types of cancers is increasing very rapidly.
Childhood obesity is now common in the Caribbean and
Latin America, and high blood pressure is becoming a
huge problem in West and East Africa. Heart disease is
escalating in Mexico, India and the Middle East. Heart
disease, diabetes and other chronic ailments are known
as modern afflictions because of their prevalence in
societies where people eat unhealthy diets, lead sedentary
lives and live under stressful conditions.
Optimal nutrition enables people to achieve their
genetic potential, feel their best, and decrease their
susceptibility to disease. Better health through improved
nutrition can increase quality of life, productivity, and
learning potential and can reduce health care costs. .
However, expanded investigations are needed on topics
such as the relationship of nutrients to gene regulation Dr. DarshanPadda, VicePresidentforResearchandLand-GrantAffairsat
and expression; role of food choice in promoting optimal the University of the Virgin Islands, and Dr. James Rakocy, Associate
health; behavioral aspects of food choice and demand; Director, AgrtculturalExperiment Station, examine varieties ofleaflettuce
use of biotechnology to increase the nutritive value of being cultured hydroponically in a tilapia production system.
food and retard spoilage after harvest; development of
technologies to monitor and maintain product quality;
and the impact of food labeling and other nutritional
education initiatives on consumer food choice.
The UVI Research and Land-Grant Programs
component is dedicated to the idea that nutrition is a
comprehensive effort, involving the new information
development and problem-solving skills of AES
researchers and diligent dissemination ofsound, research-
based knowledge to the community of CES specialists
and agents. The local efforts are also supported by the
entire network of 74 Land-Grant universities. Together,
we work toward the goal of improving the lives of the
people in these Virgin Islands.
Mrs. Miriam Greene, Extension Assistant -EFNEP, performs cholesterol
testing at the 1993 St. Thomas/St. John Agriculture and Food Fair.
Claude O. Markoe School- Sixth Grade
1993 Agrifest Winning Essay
What is recycling? The definition of recycling is "to
cause to undergo processes or treatment in order to be
The common products that can be recycled are paper,
aluminum, glass and plastic. After recycling, these
products can be used to make more aluminum cans or
more of the same products. For example, aluminum cans
can be used to make more aluminum cans, refrigerators,
stoves or airplanes. Plastic can be used to make radios,
toothbrushes and telephones. Paper can be used to make
postcards and other paper products. Glass can be used to
make windshields for cars.
You may be asking, "Why should we recycle?" We
should recycle because our very lives depend on recycling.
The birds in the air, the fishes in the sea, yes, the entire
environment depends on the recycling process.
Recycling will also reduce garbage landfills, ocean
dumping and incinerator use, which pollute the air.
Recycling is made easier with separate trash cans for
I think that more can be done in the area of education.
I am in the sixth grade and until researching essay, I
knew very little about recycling. All this needs to be
changed. Recycling should be taught from kindergarten
to college, since our very lives and futures depend on it.
I did not even know of the Anti-Litter and Beautification
Commission's [aluminum] can recycling pilot program,
which is located right here on St. Croix, at the Boys and
Girls Clubs in Estate Peter's Rest. They pay you five
cents for each can you take in for recycling. So you see,
there is also money in recycling.
Manufacturers can be a great help by making recyclable
products and using as little packaging as possible. For
customers, it is simple to buy recycled products and
recycle. Recycling helps us to have a cleaner environment.
Management and Staff
& FOOD FAIR
Experimental Efforts to Grow Juvenile Lobsters
in the Virgin Islands
Norman J. Quinn, Ph.D.
Environmental Research Unit, Eastern Caribbean Center
UVI Eastern Caribbean Center
Division ofScience andMath student, Ms. Ginger Chapman, spots apuerilis lobster on
a Witham collector. The collector had been in the water for two weeks.
There are about 30 species of spiny lobsters throughout
the world in the family Palinuridae. They are known as rock
lobsters, spiny lobsters, crayfish and langosta. The total
annual catch per year for the Caribbean for all species is over
50 thousand tons. The Caribbean spiny lobster (Panularius
argus) is the largest and the most widely distributed which
an important Virgin Islands fishery estimated at over 19
tons in 1988. The Caribbean spiny lobster's habitat occurs
from Brazil, through the Caribbean to Florida, the Bahamas
and up to North Carolina.
Lobster tails are sold in the local supermarkets for more
than $20 per pound and at even higher prices in Europe,
North America and Japan. Because of the high demand and
excellent prices, scientists are exploring different ways to
raise lobsters in captivity.
One approach is full-scale aquaculture, where the lobster
is raised throughout its entire life cycle in captivity. Although
researchers have successfully mated and spawned spiny
lobsters in captivity, they have found it difficult to rear the
larvae. The larvae are planktonic and can take up to eight
months to complete development. During this time they
feed and grow on plankton, going through about eight
metamorphoses in 8 12 months. The Japanese have been
successful in raising lobsters found in the Pacific from egg
to puerilis. However, this has proved to be expensive and
risky as there is high mortality in the larval stage.
Another approach is to collect puerili from the wild as
they drift inshore. The transparentpuerili settle readily on
artificial habitats, called Witham collectors, consisting of
PVC frames from which fibrous material is suspended. Air
conditioning filters made from hog's hair are common, but
mesh bags filled with sea grass, and algal-fouled ropes also
have been used. Within three days after settling, the puerili
will metamorphose into a pigmented stage with a carapace
length of 1/4".
In the Virgin Islands, settlement occurs all year round
with most settlement occurring from April to October.
Within any month settlement is strongly influenced by
lunar phase and the strength and direction of water currents.
Settlement is higher in and around mangroves than off
In our studies we found that a small, experimental
collector with about 18 square feet of settlement surface
area, located in a good settlement site, could collect up to 75
puerili per year. A commercial operation, depending upon
its scale, would probably need to consider using more and
larger collectors at given site, perhaps with more frequent
collections during the period with the highest settlement.
Growth comparison over 10 months. The lobster on right, caught on a
Witham collector, weighed less than 0.1 gram. The 20 gram lobster on left
was grown in university aquariums.
Clearly the collection ofpuerili is a cheap, easy and fast
technique with which to establish an aquaculture industry.
The practice, however, is equivalent to fishing and would
reduce the number of lobsters in the wild which could
potentially mature into adults.
In Trinidad, studies have found high numbers ofpuerilis
in coastal waters but few adult lobsters on the reefs. Scientists
there concluded that destruction of mangroves and sea grass
meadows and release of toxic compounds have created a
"bottleneck" and reduced the juvenile lobsters' survival
potential. In certain areas, it is possible thatlobster production
can be stimulated by collectingpuerili and raising them in
a controlled environment to a stage where they can be
released into the environment and have a greater chance to
During 1993, a pilot survival/growth study was conducted
at the MacLean Marine Science Center (MMSC). Recently
hatched brine shrimp (Artemia sp.) were fed to first stage
juvenile lobsters. After their initial molt in the aquarium,
which occurs in 25-33 days, they were fed shrimp, fish
scraps, dried fish flakes and algae.
Studies by the Harbor Branch Institute of Oceanography
(HBIO) found that lobsters fed primarily on fish or fish meal
suffered high mortality during molting. In a study supported
by a Florida electric power company, it was discovered that
the greatest growth rate for lobsters occurred when the
water temperature was sustained between 290 30C. As the
water cooled, the time period between molts increased and
At the MMSC flow-through aquarium, water
temperatures varied between 22 and 300 C. Over a 10
month period the lobsters we observed grew from 0.1 g at
collection to 15 18 g. This probably is too slow for most
A third approach would be to capture lobsters of the
minimal legal size (3.5") and place them in a controlled,
contained area connected to the sea. At 290C, HBIO found
that molting occurred every 50 60 days with an average
increase in body weight of approximately 40%. That means
the weight could double in four months.
Rapid growth at high temperatures over 2-3 months
makes this effort more plausible. However, the economics
would have to be considered carefully. A secure, well-
flushed location situated close to a cheap source of catch by-
products is essential, as is a plentiful supply of small
lobsters. That is a situation that is not common in the Virgin
There is also the additional risk of destruction of the
facilities. The period for fastest lobster growth is June
through October when sea water temperatures in the Virgin
Islands are commonly above 28 C. This coincides with the
hurricane season, which increases the risk of aquaculture
facilities being wiped out and the stock lost.
Interest in lobster mariculture is likely to continue to
increase as diet-conscious humans increase seafood
consumption. Maximum sustainable yields in many islands
have already been exceeded.
Presently, there is sufficient information and need to
begin pilot programs which could focus on establishing
commercial aquaculture production techniques that include
the development of optimal feeds for rapid growth, more
efficient puerilis collection, the effect of puerilis collection
on natural population levels, and the survival of raised
juveniles released into the wild.
Ms. Eve West, research assistant, examines a lobster.
ACCELYN T. MORTON
JULIE I. MORTON
A step above the rest
Village Mall 113 Barren Spot
P.O. Box 6227
Sunny Isle, St. Croix
U.S. Virgin Islands, 00823
The Quality of
Reflects the clean shore breezes
that freshens our pastures and blue
sea that frames them.
Our healthy flocks of cattle give
St. Croix the taste treat and
to please islander and tourist alike.
SUPPORT ALL LOCAL AGRICULTURE
CASTLE NUGENT FARMS : GASPERI
The Search For The St. John Baobab
John Rashford, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Charleston
I have been mapping the distribution of baobab trees
(Adansonia digitata) in the United States Virgin Islands
over the past five years as part of a wider project aimed
at documenting the ways in which this species is being
dispersed in the Caribbean.
Although there are reports in the literature of baobabs
in St. Croix and St. Thomas, there are no reports for St.
John. In the spring of 1990, I submitted a grant to the
Virgin Islands Humanities Council for support to continue
this project. I was told by Magda Smith, Director of the
Council, that one of the council members from St. John
who had read my proposal was familiar with a baobab
tree on St. John. I was surprised.
Not only were there no reports of baobabs on St. John,
but I had made three trips to the island and despite my
many inquiries, the results were always negative. There
were two cases where people said there were baobabs, but
on close questioning, they turned out to be cotton trees
(Ceiba pentandra) instead. Others told me they tried to
grow baobabs on St. John but the young trees died after
a few years.
This paper then documents the search for St. John's
Description and Distribution
The baobab is a large deciduous tree native to the
seasonally dry regions of tropical Africa. It is immediately
distinguished by its enormous trunk or trunks that appear
strangely disproportionate to the tree's moderate height,
and its thick, rapidly tapering branches. This makes it a
conspicuous feature of the environnient wherever it grows.
The African baobab is one of the best known members
of the small paleotropical genus Adansonia of which
there are eight related species--seven in Madagascar and
one in Australia. The genus was named after the French
botanist Michel Adanson who encountered the tree while
traveling in Senegal from 1749 to 1753. Adanson was a
student c fthe eminent French botanist Bernard de Jussieu,
and it was Jussieu's report of Adanson' findings that led
Linnaeus to mention the tree in his Species Plantarum
published in 1753.
Digitata, the specific epithet of the species, refers to
the five fingerlike leaflets ofthe baobab's broad compound
leaves. The tree blooms in the spring and summer.
producing large, waxy, hibiscus-like flowers that are
white or creamy, and hang upside-down on long stalks.
From these flowers develop big, woody, oblong fruits
containing a white acidic pulp in which are embedded
many seeds. A fully grown baobab produces hundreds of
fruits. They mature through the summer and autumn and
ripen and fall from the tree in the winter, spring and early
The African baobab now grows in many parts of the
world although it remains a rare tree in most places.
Many beautiful examples can be found scattered
throughout the Caribbean. I have seen them in St. Croix.
St. Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad.
Tobago, Puerto Rico and St. Kitts.
There are also reports of the tree in Guadeloupe.
Martinique, St. Martin, Haiti, St. Vincent, Nevis.
Dominica, Bahamas and the Dutch Leeward Islands. Of
the islands I have visited, St. Croix has the most trees, the
widest variety of forms, and some of the most beautiful
On Saturday, December 15, I met Elroy Sprauve. at 10
a.m. at the Julius E. Sprauve School as we had agreed. He
was the member of the Humanities Council who had told
Magda Smith about the baobab on St. John. With him was
Jim Provost, a science teacher at the school, we picked
up Melville Samuel, a retired teacher from the same
school. This was a search indeed, for while Elrov
remembered a baobab growing in the midst of many large
rocks, in Estate Sieben, he had not been back to that spot
in many years.
Jim provided transportation with his jeep. From Cruz
Bay, it was 3.3 miles along the Centerline Road to the dirt
road where we turned south to Estate Sieben. About a
tenth of a mile along the dirt road we came to our first real
obstacle: a huge trunk and branches from a dead tree were
strewn straight across the road. We cut away the branches
with machetes. We hooked the trunk to the jeep with a
plastic rope, and, using a large branch as a lever.
maneuvered the trunk aside. It was here we had our first
encounter with the Catch-and-Keep plant (Acacia
westiana), whose thorns clung to the skin as readily as
they clung to clothing.
Another 1.4 miles along the dirt road and we were at
the place from which Elroy said we could walk to the
tree. Elroy was born on the estate and spent summer
holidays there when he attended school in the states. But
it was now more than 33 years since his father had sold
the 200 acre estate which became part of the National
Park Service and he had not been back since. The place
was covered with a thick bush that had overgrown the
area since it was last inhabited.
Armed with machetes, we began to clear a small path
in the direction of the tree. After an hour and fifteen
minutes of slow going, we realized we had passed the
place where the tree was thought to be. Elroy, Jim and
Melville know the area from many years of experience
and it was enlightening to listen to them reminisce.
As we made our way through the bush which
occasionally gave way to thick stands of small trees,
especially in the gut, they talked about the history and
ownership of the area, and of its plants and animals.
Melville was the gatherer of the group. He collected
continuously as we made our way to the tree, sharing his
love for and knowledge of St. John's plants and their
traditional uses. At first, he had a brown paper bag in
which he had limes, ferns for planting, and bay leaves.
The bay leaves, he said, were traditionally placed in
kitchen cabinets to keep insects out of flour and cornmeal.
When the paper bag began to fall apart, he took his
undershirt and, with a few knots, transformed it into a
carrying bag. It was Melville who provided Elroy and me
with our first taste of the fruit of a species of Bromelia.
It was very sweet and of an agreeable texture.
From where we were, we realized we had missed our
mark. We could see the bluff overlooking Fish Bay where
Elroy remembered seeing the tree, so we started in that
direction. We had met at the Sprauve School at 10 a.m.
and it was now 12:10 p.m. In a short while, however,
Elroy sighted the top of the baobab and pointed it out to
the rest of us. We could see it clearly; its bright yellow
and orange autumn lekves stood conspicuously above the
green leaves of a thick growth of trees covered with vines.
St. John's Baobab
It was a beautiful tree about 25 to 30 feet tall with a
single conical trunk. It was partly covered with vine and
access to the tree was blocked by small trees and shrubs
that had grown up at the foot of it. After removing these
plants, we measured the tree at 3 feet from the ground. It
was 14 feet 11 inches in circumference. Elroy did not
think it had grown very much over the past 30 years. This
was a small tree in comparison to the largest baobab on
St. Croix, which grows in Grove Place and measures 55
feet in circumference at 3 feet from the ground.
It was clear the tree had lost many of its branches from
the impact of Hurricane Hugo in September 1989. Similar
to other trees I saw in St. Croix, this one also had dead
branches hanging from it, and there were also dead
branches on the ground.
Elroy said the tree bore fruits, but he did not remember
anyone eating them. With most of the fruit-bearing
branches destroyed, there were no fruits to be seen on the
tree. I searched under the tree for evidence of floral parts
or fruits and found none.
As with baobabs in St. Croix, this tree also had termite
trails on the trunk and branches, and there were lizards
on the trunk. I have often found wasp nests on baobabs in
St. Croix, and we encountered a few as we made our way
through the bush, but there were none on this tree.
Standing at the base of the St. John baobab are (left to right) Jim Provost,
Melville Samuel and Elroy Sprauve.
A curiosity of the St. John baobab is that water enters
the tree through cavities that develop where large branches
have broken off close to the trunk; there were several such
places. Old baobabs are frequently hollow and they
become natural reservoirs. This is one characteristic that
makes this species so valuable to people, especially in the
dry tropics to which the tree is naturally adapted. The St.
John baobab collects water, but it passes through the
trunk and flows out via a large hole at the base of the tree.
Perched on a bluff overlooking the Caribbean Sea and
partly surrounded on the southeastern side by huge rocks
that provided comfortable places to sit, the baobab and its
location were as interesting as Elroy had described them.
Whether by accident or by design, the tree and its setting
did have the atmosphere of a special place.
Elroy remembered that this was where he and others
would play. He wondered in what ways the tree might
have been important to people before his time. The St.
John baobab is one of several I have found in the Caribbean
growing in places that are remote from human activities.
Yet, wherever I learned about the history of these
trees, they were always associated with settlement
activities in the past. It struck me that as in Africa, there
are baobabs in the Caribbean -- like this one on St. John-
-that reveal the site of a former settlement.
Hole at the base of the St. John baobab.
You can cut your cooking costs and whip up
some energy and cost savings right in your
kitchen. Here's some easy ways to do so:
1) Use the smallest appliances possible -
such as slow cookers, electric grills, and
toasters because they use less energy
than a conventional stove or oven.
2) Cover pots and pans to allow food to
3) Keep your oven and burners clean to
operate at their most efficient
4) Avoid opening the oven door to peek at
5) Cool food before putting it in the refrig-
erator or freezer.
6) Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator
7) Think about what you want to remove
from the refrigerator before you open
Extension Specialist 4-H
UVI Cooperative Extension Service
The lack of a more viable agriculture industry in the
U.S. Virgin Islands is a problem which must be addressed
by the people. For too long, we have waited on the
government to do something to rectify this solution. A
more viable agricultural industry would reduce our food
costs, provide us with a higher quality of fresh produce,
employ more Virgin Islanders and strengthen our
economy. During election campaigning, agriculture is
given a high priority among candidates seeking office.
However, after the successful election of these candidates,
agriculture is pushed back from the "top of the priority
list." Citizen politics can be used by committed people
to bring about a change in the state of the V.I. agriculture.
From its inception, Cooperative Extension Service
has recognized the important role people in need must
play to receive help from the government. This
observation can be found in the motto of the Cooperative
Extension Service--"Helping people help themselves."
Too often, the majority of the population believes
governmental efforts are the first recourse to fixing what
is wrong with society. "It is the politician's job," you will
hear them say.
Politics: Of the Citizen
Politics sometimes makes people think of corruption,
backroom deals, or negative ads on TV. Some feel it is
what other people (experts, politicians, lobbyists) do or
even worse, do to us. But politics used to mean something
else. The word meant activity "of the citizen"--that is, by
ordinary people. Politics was the way communities made
decisions and rules that people lived by. The role of
citizenship wasn't a boring duty, and it didn't mean just
voting. It meant the chance to make a difference. Early
citizen politics in the U.S. can be traced to the
Continental Congress of 1774 and 1775, which
established a relationship among the 13 original colonies
and created the Declaration of Independence to address
removing British sovereignty from U.S. soil.
Another definition of politics is the process of who
gets what, when and how. A person who determines such
a decision has demonstrated power. Power is the ability
to influence another's behavior. It may involve force
(coercion), persuasion or reward. The more power one
has over another, the greater is the change or the easier
is the change to accomplish. Power, like money, is a
means to an end.
Failure to exercise your power to create change in
your living conditions can be considered an act of apathy.
Apathy is as much a political position as is activism.
Either position will influence who gets what in our
society. In the words of a congressman, "government is
faced every day with a number of decisions and competing
priorities. The one that gets the greatest attention is the
one that more people are vocal about." Therefore. safe
streets, good schools, and clean food are all political
decisions influenced by who participates in them. who is
prevented from participating, and who chooses not to
People Must Take Action
The problems facing our society and the world today
are so overwhelming and complex that proper solutions
to them will involve many actions and approaches.
Young people and adults must begin to do something
about important issues in their communities such as
drugs, the need for recreational and learning centers.
improving schools, protecting wildlife habitat and the
environment, fighting poverty and homelessness.
They have already decided to help make a difference
and to be heard. Groups such as Our Town Frederiksted.
St. Croix 2000, and St. Croix Now are examples of
people who have begun to understand again what politics
means: ordinary people--not experts or political
professionals by themselves--possess the wisdom and
imagination necessary to solve major problems. Wisdom
and imagination come from people working together.
This is called citizen politics, which can be illustrated
using the following diagram.
The explanation is as follows: A person's private life
fosters his or her self-interest; self-interest motivates
participation in public life, and participation exposes
him or her to the diversity of opinion and the individual
concerns of his community. Including many people w ith
different opinions and contacts to address a problem
builds power. Power enables action to solve problems
and create changes in our living conditions or our behavior
Making It Happen
If you already have an idea for change that's worth
working for, the first step towards making it happen is to
incorporate a working group around the issue. Surround
yourself with people who can be supportive and
inspirational. It doesn't have to be a big group or your
closest friends. Talk with them about your ideas) and
work through the details. Try to agree on fundamentals.
If it is necessary, revise your ambitions and break up big
challenges into smaller ones. Be a team before you go out
Common ground is the key to expanding your team's
base of support Networking among your communities is
the best way to garner power and find friends in high
places who agree with you and can be very useful. Not
everyone is good material for your team. If the change
you want to make is an important one, you'll encounter
pressure and possibly harsh treatment. But building
power means you do not think in terms such as, "it's all
unfair to me." Rather, it is important to see the world for
what it is. You need to develop a practical solution or
reaction to what you see as a problem.
Unfortunately, most groups don't survive this most
important phase. But if everybody understands that life
is the art of compromise, as well as that the plan of action
should be a collective agreement, not one individual's
agenda, then the group will be successful.
After completing a plan of action, get involved with
"mapping out power." Understanding who holds what
power, where and what type of power they have will help
determine the type of actions you can take. Understanding
where someone's power lies is useful in figuring out how
to bring them into your work.
When you have completed each separate action in
your plan, evaluate your success. Evaluation helps the
group figure out if it is heading in the right direction or
following its mission.
Remember politics is an art, and collaborative problem
solving takes a lot of time. But it's worth it. So take the
time and trouble of building relationships with people
you need to work with and find out what you really want
out of the work you are doing together. Practice judgement
and deliberation. What is the problem? Who is involved?
What solutions do they offer and how do they see the
problem? What can we agree on, and what can I give up?
Think about those questions and talk about them with
others, and please try to have fun.
Politics is something we have some good natural
instinct about, but we need to practice. Watch for who
has particularly good skills in some areas, and ask them
to teach others. Remember if you are going to be effective
you need to diversify your group as much as possible. The
greater the diversity the more credence it gives to your
Some of these methods can assist our farmers and
other individuals to form cooperatives and to address
problems facing the establishment of agriculture as a
viable option in our economic growth. Our young people
can also use it to form groups to address problems that
will affect their future, and to improve the world they are
about to inherit.
\ public life
Proper Use of Pesticides in Your Garden
Extension Specialist Natural Resources
UVI Cooperative Extension Service
My first garden was one of the great experiences of my
life. It reinforced an idea that I had long believed in--that
one should do for oneself everything that one can.
Growing even a small plot of your own food has
tremendous implications physically, psychologically and
Over the years, gardening has become a pleasurable
family activity in the Virgin Islands, and one way many
families reduce their food costs. However, some gardeners
find it difficult to grow certain vegetable crops in the
islands because of pest problems.
Some gardeners have turned to pesticides for a quick
solution, yet pesticides have their disadvantages. They
must be used properly and carefully to achieve the best
results while protecting the user and the environment.
Gardeners who use pesticides should dress properly.
Chemicals used in the garden are potentially toxic,
particularly for children. The key to safe gardening in
the Virgin Islands is to view all pesticides as potentially
hazardous and to read the label before applying any
pesticide to your garden.
The four major routes for possible overexposure to
garden pesticides are contact with the skin, contact with
the eyes, inhalation of dusts or vapors, and oral contact
with fingers, hands or arms.
One way to avoid chemicals from contacting the skin
is to wear gloves. While gloves do not have to be thick to
be safe, they should be high-topped and preferably able
to be sealed over the long sleeves of a shirt or coveralls.
To protect the eyes, manufacturers of pesticides always
recommend some type of protective face mask or eye
gear. Wearing protective gear such as goggles or safety
glasses protects against damage from twigs and branches
as well as pesticide sprays. Gardeners who wear contact
lenses should know that chemicals that get trapped under
a lens can be particularly damaging.
Gardeners should not smoke when using pesticides
because of the increased possibility of inadvertent hand-
to-mouth transmission. The most common symptoms of
exposure to commonly used gardening chemicals, such
as organophosphate or carbamate, include either dry
mouth or excessive salivation, tingling of the fingers,
tearing of eyes, olurred vision, burning or itching
sensations, frequent urination or defecation, abdominal
cramps, nausea or vomiting, excessive sweating and
muscle tremors. Ifyou experience any of these symptoms.
immediately contact the hospital emergency room or a
physician. For prompt and accurate help, be prepared to
name the substance involved. Next, take a long and
thorough shower. If possible, have someone else in the
household call for assistance while you shower. because
symptoms of overexposure can progress quickly.
Medical specialists recommend that, even if symptoms
appear to be minor, avoid the garden for the remainder of
Special precautions are needed to protect children
from the effects of garden chemicals. Remember. infants
and toddlers are at particular risk of overexposure. They
may crawl through the garden, or eat or even suck on the
chemically treated leaves and earth.
Children should be kept away from all sprayed or
treated areas as long as the chemical persists, which may
take from days to weeks, depending upon the specific
chemical used and weather factors, such as wind or rain.
Garden chemicals should be treated as potential
poisons. Chemicals should be kept out of the reach of
children. Never store leftover chemicals in common
household containers, such as jars or bottles that may be
easily mistaken as containing something edible or
The University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative
Extension Service conducts free classes on pesticide
safety and other relative pesticide topics. As a society, we
must consider both the immediate and long-range effects
of our actions on irreplaceable natural resources.
Office (809) 773-1430
Fax (809) 773-5747
ABDALLAH'S DEPT. STORE
(FAR EAST INC.)
Walid Abdallah 2121 Company St., Christiansted
President St. Croix, U.S.V.I. 00820
Become a 4-H Member
The University of the Virgin Islands cooperative
Extension Service 4-H Program offers hands-on
experience in project areas such as arts and crafts,
citizenship, cultural awareness, foods and nutrition,
community service, leadership, and small livestock
(rabbits, sheep, goats, chickens, etc.).
4-H'ers meet new friends, learn new skills,
participate in club meetings, workshops, projects,
community service activities and summer camp. Any
youth age 5-19 may join.
Any interestedadults with the time and willingness
to work with children are welcome to be a part of the
Virgin Islands 4-H program.
For further information contact one of the 4-H
ST. CROIX 778-0246
Ms. Zoraida Jacobs, 4-H Program Leader
Mr. Joseph Fulgence, 4-H Specialist
Mrs. Sarah Smith, Agent
Mrs. Jillian Webster, Administrative Assistant
ST. THOMAS 774-0210
Ms. Yvonne Phillips, Extension Assistant II
ST. JOHN 776-6492
Ms. Carmen Wesselhoft, Extension Agent I
.fcti-I-A L .
Harvesting Nature's Diversity
Program Supervisor Agriculture
UVI Cooperative Extension Service
On October 16, 1993, the University of the Virgin
Islands Cooperative Extension Service sponsored the
13th World Food Day celebrations at the new Research
and Extension Center. This celebration consisted of
workshops and demonstrations on plant propagation,
food preservation and safety, and 4-H youth activities. A
large crowd from the community participated.
The Cooperative Extension Service has
commemorated World Food Day on October 16 for the
past 13 years. This has led people to inquire about the
significance of this important occasion.
World Food Day was first observed in 1981 by the 150
nations represented at the conference of the Food and
Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
(UN). The Food and Agricultural Organization is the
primary agency of the UN for technical assistance,
research and policymaking in world agriculture, fishing
and forestry. This celebration commemorates the date of
the founding of FAO. Today, more than 150 nations
celebrate this important occasion.
World Food Day is observed to increase public
awareness of the world food situation and to develop
national and international support for the struggle against
poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. It is also a time for
stock-taking on what can be done throughout the year to
advance the goals of food security for all people.
In the Virgin Islands, we observe World Food Day
because we are concerned about food production in the
territory, world food problems and what can be done to
alleviate them. This is especially true as the world
becomes increasingly interdependent. Food deficit
countries cannot solve these problems alone and it is in
our interest, as part of the international community, to
help to find ways to address the food problems. We are
aware that a society that guarantees the basis of life--
food--is also offering the hope for all that other blessings
of peace and justice are attainable as well.
The theme for this year's World Food Day, "Harvesting
Nature's Diversity," was chosen by the FAO to focus
specifically on biodiversity and its contribution to
humanity and food security. This is to increase awareness
of the threat to biodiversity and to mobilize action to
conserve this heritae and use it sustainably and equitably
for present and future generations.
The diversity of life on earth--plants, animals, and the
ecological systems of which they are a part --is essential
to the survival of humanity. Yet, we are losing nature's
biodiversity at an unprecedented rate. Natural habitats
are being destroyed, degraded and depleted with the loss
of countless wild species. Traditional crop varieties and
ancient animal breeds are being replaced by new ones
better suited to modern high-tech agriculture. In India,
10 rice varieties will soon cover three-quarters of an area
where once more than 30,000 different varieties were
grown. In Europe, half of the animal breeds that existed
at the start of this century are now extinct.
The traditional knowledge and skills of indigenous
people, who selected, bred and cultivated these varieties
over thousands of years, is disappearing, often along with
the people themselves. These losses threaten world
agriculture and, in the longer term, humanity itself.
When natural diversity is lost, so too is irreplaceable
genetic material. In order to breed and develop new
adaptable and varied strains, this genetic information
must be saved. We can only guess at the potentially
valuable animals, aquatic life, trees and plants that have
already been lost, unrecorded and unexplored by science.
Biodiversity to Feed People
Biodiversity provides the raw materials, in this case
combinations of genes, that are the essential building
blocks of the plant varieties and animal breeds upon
which agriculture depends. The thousands of different,
genetically unique varieties of crops and animal breeds in
existence are the result of millions of years of natural
biological evolution, as well as careful selection and
nurturing by our farming and herding ancestors during
12,000 or so years of agriculture. They are supplemented
by wild resources such as fish, game and forest products,
many of which, although used, have yet to be properly
Crop and Livestock
Thousands of plants are edible; a few hundred are
used as human food. But only nine--wheat, rice, maize,
barley, sorghum/ millet, sweet potato/yam, sugar cane
and soybean--provide three-quarters of the plant
kingdom's contribution to human energy. The wealth of
crop varieties built up over thousands of years is being
lost at an alarming rate. It has been estimated that, since
the beginning of this century, about 75 percent of the
genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost.
The reduction in the crop gene pool has accelerated
since the 1950s when the Green Revolution introduced
intensive agriculture to large parts of the developing
world. The traditional diversity of cross varieties has
been replaced by monocultures of high applications of
pesticides and fertilizers over vast tracts of land. Yet,
many of the varieties being lost may contain genes that
crop breeders and biotechnologists could use to develop
even more productive varieties or to increase pest
resistance. When genetic uniformity left the United
States maize crop vulnerable to a blight that destroyed
almost $100 million worth of maize in 1970, for example.
resistance to the virulent disease was eventually found in
an African maize variety.
A similar pattern of genetic erosion and increased
vulnerability is occurring among domesticated animals.
The threat to livestock diversity comes mainly from the
highly specialized nature of modern livestock production.
One in four breeds found outside Europe could be at risk
of extinction. Yet, to be productive, commercial breeds
introduced from the developed world often need
management and technologies that are neither affordable
nor sustainable for most farmers in the developing world.
A typical example of successful breeding is the Senepol
cattle found in St. Croix and other parts of the United
States. This cattle is highly adapted to the subtropics and
resistant to many tropical ticks because its original parent
is the N'dama cattle of West Africa. The N'dama has
developed resistance over thousands of years to
trypanosomiasis, a devastating disease that threatens
millions of cattle in Africa. When a breed does become
extinct, an already narrow genetic base shrinks
The world's forest covers between 3,000 million and
3,500 million hectares--an area equal to North and South
America combined. Home to an estimated 300 million
people, they are declining at an unprecedented rate. Of
greatest concern are the tropical forests. Scientists
estimate that they were destroyed at a rate of 15.4 million
hectares per year between 1980 and 1990. The causes
vary from region to region but include clearing of forest
land for agricultural use, excessive cutting for charcoal
and fuel wood, unsustainable shifting cultivation,
uncontrolled logging, expansion of urban and industrial
areas, and conversion to pasture.
When forests decline or are removed, the animals and
plants living in them disappear as well. Present rates of
destruction of closed tropical rain forest could mean the
loss of as many as 100 species per day, many of whose
potential value to society and ecological importance have
yet tobe discovered. The bark of the western yew tree was
recently found to be the source of taxol. one of the most
potent anticancer substances ever found.
Everyone depends in some way on the planet's
biological resources. To halt their decline is, therefore.
everyone's responsibility. In response there has been a
grassroots conservation movement spreading throughout
the world, spearheaded by Greenpeace. In the United
States, a network of nearly 1.000 farmers and gardeners.
the Seed Savers Exchange, locates and conserves
thousands of endangered vegetable varieties.
The Extension System also has embarked on a vigorous
program of sustainable agriculture through its programs
and is teaching farmers how to conserve and protect the
environment while still deriving a good profit. Sustainable
agriculture and rural development highlights the need
for the conservation of genetic resources and biodiversity
World Food Day provides an urgent reminder of the
need for global, national and local action to conserve and
utilize biodiversity. Continuation of this action will help
ensure the survival and influence the future evolution of
both human civilization and life on earth.
Tel.: (809) 773-2366
Fax.: (809) 773-2187
ORANGE GROVE SHOPPING CENTER
Christiansted, St Croix, U.S V 1 00820
A FULL SERVICE TRAVEL AGENCY
CRUISES AND RECREATIONAL PACKAGE
TOURS FOR COUPLES AND GROUPS
SAIR HOTELS CARS TOURS RAIL.
VISIT ORLANDO, NEW YORK,
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EXCITEMENT FUN THRILLS -
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The Agriculture and Food Fair
Participants, Management and Staff
"TRAVEL WITH THE BEST
LET KAY DO THE REST" 773-2366
Helping Families With Money Management Problems
Extension Assistant Home Economics
UVI Cooperative Extension Service
How to Make Your Money Go Further
The way you spend your money today will determine
what you have six months from now, a year from now,
five years from now or in your lifetime. You control your
financial destiny. You are responsible for the amount of
money you earn and the amount of money you spend.
Good money managers manage their money and do
not allow the money to manage them. They use the money
for the things that are important to them. In other words,
they use the money for things they need and not for things
Do you have control of the way you spend your money?
Do you live within your income, or do you have to borrow
or use savings to meet your expenses?
Living within your income requires careful planning.
It requires self discipline and the ability to say no to
The ability to manage money has to be learned,
developed and practiced, not once in a while, but on a
daily basis. The following are eight steps to successful
1. Get yourself organized.
2. Set goals. Decide what you want to do with your
3. Look at all available resources.
4. Decide how much your money is worth.
5. Find out how much money you make.
6. Find out how much money you spend.
7. Set up a plan for spending your money and stick to
8. Evaluate your spending plan.
Following these eight steps will help you get control
of your spending habits.
Here are the Danger Signals of Too Much Debt:
If many of these danger signals seem familiar to you,
then you may be headed for financial trouble.
1. You think of credit as cash, not debt.
2. Your debts are greater than your assets.
3. You owe more than seven creditors.
4. You are an impulsive or compulsive spender.
5. You and your spouse are dishonest with each other
about your use of credit.
6. You don't know how much your monthly living
expenses are and how much your total debt is.
7. Your expected increase in income is already
committed to paying off debts.
8. You depend on extra income, such as earnings by
a second person or overtime by the breadwinner, to
help you make ends meet.
9. You have less than two months take-home pay in
cash or savings which you can get to quickly.
10.You have to pay back several installment payments
that will take more than 12 months to pay off.
11.You have more than 20% of your take-home pay
committed to credit payments other than your
12. You get behind in utility or rent payments.
13. You have to consolidate several loans into one or
reduce monthly payments by extending current
loans to pay other debts.
14. You cannot afford to pay regular living expenses
or credit payments; therefore you:
are being billed for payments,
take out a loan,
skip payments, or
pay only the minimum amount due on your
How to Get Out of Financial Trouble
Our dollar buys less and less these days. As the dollar
has lost its value over the years, more and more individuals
and families have turned to credit as a source of extra
More people have used credit because it has been
There is a way you can get out of debt. You can set up
your own debt management plan. Completing this debt
management plan will take patience. You will have to
stick with it until all your debts are paid. Paying a little
back is better than doing nothing or worrying about the
Paying a small amount will give you a sense of control.
It will start you on your way to solving your financial
To Set Up a Debt Management Plan,
Follow These Steps:
1. Find out who you owe and how much you owe.
2. Decide how much you can pay back and when you
can pay it back.
3. Set up a plan for paying back your debts.
4. Discuss your plan with your creditors.
5. Control your spending by sticking with your debt
management plan until all debts are repaid.
6. Occasionally look over your plan to see if you are
keeping up with your debt and your daily living
7. If there is a change in your income, you may need
to raise or lower your monthly payments.
8. Repay debts within a specified length of time.
The UVI-CES, Home Economics program conducts
free money management classes that will teach you how
to control spending and maintain discipline in your
4. '4, 4
# in service...
Free Baggers, carry out is
a service. No tipping please.
*Western Union, the fastest
way to send money
Gift Certificates, the perfect
gift for any occasion
We are an active part of the
community and gladly support
SPitch in! Anti Litter Campaign
St. Thomas: St. Croix:
*Long Bay *Golden Rock
Four Winds La Reine
The Frame Up
Craft and Art Supplies
Daniel N. Holm, CPF
RFD 1, Box 6108
Kingshill, St. Croix U.S.V.I. 00850
Member ofProfessional Picture Framers Assoc.
The Status of Tropical Yams
Stafford M. A. Crossman
UVI Agricultural Experiment Station
Yams belong to the genus Dioscorea, which includes
predominantly tropical plants. The tubers of these plants
are annual organs which produce shoots, then shrivel
away. New tubers are then produced which remain
dormant before producing new shoots.
Yams are an important crop in the Caribbean where,
because the crop is expensive to produce, prices are
higher than for other root and tuber crops. However, the
Caribbean is second only to West Africa as a producing
region. The crop is important because it provides a high
quality of staple food calories.
The nutritional qualities of yams are comparable to
potatoes and are higher than most other root and tuber
crops. D. alata has 30% dry matter, 28% starch, 1.1-
2.8% crude protein, 5-8 mg/100 mg vitamin C.
Carbohydrates are the major dry matter component of
yams. Most of the carbohydrate is starch. The protein is
low in sulfur containing amino acids.
Tubers of some cultivars may be irregular in shape,
which makes peeling an arduous task. Additionally,
when the tuber is cut, a sticky, slippery substance
mucilagee, which is mostly glycoprotein) exudes from
the cut or peeled area.
Yams may be boiled and served in sliced pieces, in
soups or mashed. They also can be roasted, baked, or
sliced and fried.
Caribbean Yam Species
The species of yams grown in the Caribbean are as
Dioscorea alata (Greater yam, Water yam. Winged
yam, Asiatic yam or White yam).
First cultivated in Southeast Asia, this was carried to
Africa and the New World by Portuguese and Spanish
traders. It is the highest yielding of the cultivated yams,
and is the preferred species in most parts of the world.
In the Eastern Caribbean it is the most popular yam.
A large number of cultivars have been recorded, varying
in shape and color of leaves, stem and tubers.
The normal growing period is eight to ten months and
the tubers have a dormancy period of three to four months
before sprouting. Plants produce one to several tubers
which may be entire or branched and may occur in many
shapes (such as spherical, cylindrical, spindular, deltoid,
and clavate). The bark of the tuber varies in shades of
brown. The flesh may be white, cream, yellow, pinkish or
purple, and the cortex may be a different color. A
combination of characteristics can be used to identify
The most widely distributed species ofyam, Dioscorea
alata is the most extensively cultivated in the Caribbean.
It is also the only yam species grown commercially in the
D. bulbifera (Aerial yam).
The subterranean tubers of this variety are reduced
and usually hard, bitter and unpalatable. Aerial tubers, or
bulbils, produced in the leaf axils are fleshy, flattened
and gray or brown in color. They are succulent and edible
but may require detoxification.
D. cayenensis (Yellow yam or Twelve month yam).
A native of West Africa brought to the West Indies in
the 16th century, this species requires 12 months to reach
full maturity and can be harvested at any time of the year.
If the tuber is carefully removed, leaving the head of the
tuber attached to the parent plant, another tuber or group
of a few tubers soon will be produced.
This species is hardier, higher yielding and may be
harvested over a longer period of time than D. rotundata.
The tuber flesh is usually pale yellow in color, has a short
dormancy period and does not store well. Stems of the
plants are spiny.
D. esculenta (Lesser yam, Potato yam).
This yam produces a cluster of small, ovoid, shallowly
produced tubers resembling potatoes. Tubers have a thin
brownish skin and bruise very easily. They have a short
dormancy period, soft texture, whitish flesh with very
low fiber content and good palatability, and are free of
toxicity, with a slightly sweetish taste. Stems of the
plants are very spiny. This species is seldom utilized in
D. rotundata (White yam. Guinea yam, Eight months
This is the most important cultivated species in West
Africa where it originated, it was taken early in the post-
Columbian times to the West Indies. A crop is produced
in 8-10 months.
The dormant period of the tubers permits extended
storage in good conditions. The tuber flesh is white in
color and the plant stems are usually spiny. Similar to D.
cayenensis in production and method of harvest, D.
rotundata is grown on a greater acreage than any other
species in the world.
Native to South America, this is the only food yam
which originated in the New World. It produces a group
of small, flavorful tubers. The flesh may be white, yellow,
pink or purple.
Yam Production in the Caribbean
In most local yam production fields, the crop is not
fertilized, has applied irrigation and usually is only
weeded when infestations are severe. The crop is planted
and expected to grow with minimum management, even
though research has demonstrated that this crop does
respond to increased levels of inputs and technology.
Yields can be substantially increased if plant nutrition,
water requirements and germplasm selection are given
Ideally, yams require deep, loose, free-draining, friable
soil in which to grow. However, the soil in the Virgin
Islands poses some stress conditions for plant growth
--high soil pH, deficiencies in phosphorous and
micronutrients, heavy soils and low annual rainfall (a
deficit in 10-12 months, annually). Clay soils can become
waterlogged and allow insufficient aeration for the roots
and tubers; these soils also make harvesting difficult.
Compared to other root crops, yams require the most
intensive management and highest soil fertility levels to
obtain a high yield of good quality tubers. The crop
requires a great deal of labor for its cultivation; as a
result, the tubers are an expensive commodity.
Yams are usually planted on mounds, hills, banks or
ridges. Harvesting is very laborious but is simplified if
planting is done on ridges. Yams do not grow well in poor
soils and do not tolerate prolonged periods of drought
without a drastic reduction in yield. Avoiding moisture
stress is critical during weeks 14 to 20, a period when all
of the food reserves of the seed piece have been exhausted.
At that time, the plant shoots are then making rapid
growth before vigorous tuber bulking. Moisture stress
also delays tuber initiation.
Tubers develop best when rainfall or irrigation is
frequent, so that the soil is almost constantly wet. But,
they also require good drainage for best growth. Standing
water causes waterlogging, which prevents normal root
respiration and encourages rots and wilts. Yams have
fibrous root systems which grow more or less horizontally
within the soil and lie close to the surface. Most roots
occur within the top 30 cm of soil and are easily damaged
by cultivation, weeding or drying-out of the soil.
In the Caribbean, the growing season for yams is
fixed. Planting occurs during the month of May. This is
easy to remember because MAY is YAM spelled
backwards. May also is the month when farmers are
assured of some precipitation to break the drought of the
previous months. The long days of summer are favorable
for vine, while the short days later in the growing season
are ideal for tuber formation and growth.
Early planting does not necessarily increase yield.
however, because the yam must go through its normal
dormancy period. Planting late reduces the length of the
growing season and results in reduced vine production
and thus reduced yield.
Research in the Caribbean has shown that increasing
yam plant populations by closer spacing causes a reduction
in tuber size, a larger proportion of better-shaped yams
and increased yields. Closer spacing also reduces the
amount of time needed for plants to cover the soil.
reducing competition from weeds. Healthy, mature yam
plants are vigorously competitive with weeds and usually
shade-out most weeds during the second half of the
growing season. However, weeds can be a serious problem
before plants become well established.
When weeding, care must be taken to avoid damaging
the plant roots. Mulching helps to reduce weed growth.
conserve moisture and moderate the soil temperature
Mulching is more important in yams than in other root
crops, because, unlike sweet potatoes. yams are more
susceptible to mechanical injury that occurs during hand-
Yams produce higher yields when provided with
supports for climbing. Usually referred to as staking, this
practice increases the photosynthetic area for plants.
Yams are frequently used in intercropping systems.
This is a normal practice in Caribbean nations. Corn.
pigeon peas and cassava are popular intercrops used in
the Virgin Islands. Corn should be interplanted with
yams when the yams are at a stage requiring support soon
after the corn has matured.
The crop develops most rapidly during the final
months and vines usually die back at maturity. Harvesting
normally is performed from December to February.
The Use of Fertilizers on Yam Crops
Because newly planted yams can feed on a food
reserve in the seed pieces during the early stages of
growth, the crop requires high levels of nutrients for later
growth. Different yam varieties will respond differently
to the same fertilizer application. Therefore, it is important
to know the response potential of a particular variety
before fertilizer recommendations can be made. These
recommendations will vary based upon soil type and local
climatic conditions. Intensively managed and fertilized
yams will produce high yields of marketable tubers.
Nitrogen is considered to be the most important
nutrient element in yam production because its application
significantly increases yields. This element appears
desirable during the first half of the growing season, and,
when applied 60-90 days after planting (or germination
if planted before sprouting), causes the plants to produce
better yields than earlier or later applications. Potassium
is not very important, while phosphorous, which is
efficiently used by the plant, gives only small positive
Late applications of fertilizer, particularly nitrogen,
can cause damage to the plants if the fertilizer comes in
direct contact with the plant foliage; physical damage
also may occur during the
actual application. Ideally,
it is best to apply all Yams and
fertilizer before the crop
develops a dense foliage in Afri
Fertilization of yams is Yams serve as a dieta
best achieved by use of the crop plays an important
organic manures and slow- life, especially in the yam
release fertilizers which can most of the continent's yt
be applied before, at, or Important annual fest
soon after planting, and and harvesting. The harvf
which provide nutrients "New Yam Festival." Th
over a long period of time. indicate the high status an
If the crop is irrigated, given to the yam.
nutrients can be easily Status is often deter
supplied at any stage of man's yam harvest, regard
plant growth by the other crop he produces.
fertigation method. The highest indigei
Fertilizer application is developed (Ashanti, Dahc
most beneficial if the "yam zone." In West Af
nutrients are available visitors and is preferred
during the time the plant crops, despite the factthat
changes its dependence
from the seed piece to true
autotrophy. Fertilizer can be applied about one to two
months after emergence. At this time, the root system is
extensive enough to absorb and utilize the fertilizers.
Nitrogen application will allow the development of a
large leaf area to provide a sufficient photosynthetic area
for rapid tuber development and growth.
Yam Plant Propagation
Yam plants can be propagated by tuber cuttings (seed
pieces), small tubers, bulbils, seeds, vine cuttings or
tissue culture. Vegetative propagation by tubers is by far
the most common and commercially important. The
selection and preparation of good quality planting
materials is perhaps the most important aspect and is
certainly the quickest way to increase crop production.
Many farmers do not use good quality seed, despite the
obvious advantages. Farmers are slow to change from the
old practice of setting aside their planting materials on a
nonselective basis, as seed for their next crop. The usual
practice is based upon economics; the best yams are sold
to generate maximum farm income, leaving inferior
tubers for use as planting material. However, selected
tubers should be large and from vigorous, healthy plants.
At the end of the dormancy period, the yams begin to
sprout. Seed pieces taken from the top of the tubers sprout
more readily and give higher yields than from other tuber
sections (middle and bottom). This is because the
headpiece of the tuber contains preformed buds (in the
primary nodal complex) which sprout readily.
Other cut pieces do not contain buds, but rapidly
develop buds on the skin surface. Cut surfaces of the seed
pieces should be allowed to
air dry for at least one to two
their role days or they can be treated
to prevent rotting. When the
an life tuber is cut in the process of
seed-piece preparation the
staple in Africa, where integrity of the protective
-ole in the socio-religious layer is broken; the cut
neofWest Africa where surfaces are weak areas
is are produced. through which rotting can
als are held at planting begin. In general, the
festival is known as the greater the cut surface on
festivities for this crop the seed piece, the greater
sentimental attachments its tendency to rot after
led by the quantity of a Because the cut flesh
ess of how much of any surfaces are more subject to
rotting than other parts of
us cultures in Africa the yam, they often are
ley, Ife and Benin) in the treated with lime (calcium
ca, the yam is served to hydroxide), wood ashes or
o other root and tuber fungicides. The aim for each
ams are more expensive. seed piece should be to
maximize the amount of
tuber skin and minimize the
amount of cut surface through which rotting can occur.
Seed pieces can be planted a few days after the cutting
operation or held until they sprout. Planting can stimulate
germination. If held until they sprout, the seed pieces
must be handled more carefully and be correctly oriented
in the soil when planted. If planted before sprouting
occurs, weeds might germinate before, during or just
after sprouting. This means weeding will have to be
performed during the early stages of germination, risking
damage to the young sprouts. Mulching or the application
of a preemergence herbicide can reduce this problem,
when seed pieces are planted before they sprout.
Large seed pieces sprout more readily and produce
more vigorous plants than smaller pieces. Tuber yield
has been found to increase with larger seed pieces from
the middle portion of the tuber, but not from seed pieces
from the tuber head. Similar yields will be obtained from
both large and small seed pieces from the head of the
tuber, regardless of plant spacing.
Large seed pieces ensure crop survival if drought
conditions occur soon after planting. Small pieces,
although more likely to rot, produce smaller yams, but
probably yield more on a weight per weight ratio basis
than larger pieces. A much higher planting density can
be utilized with small pieces. Seed piece size can be used
to control the desired size of the harvested tubers. Planting
distances also must be adjusted with seed piece size.
Yams can be left in the ground after maturing and
harvested when needed for marketing or consumption.
When left in the ground for extended periods, they will
become predisposed to weed overgrowth, praedial larceny,
attacks by insects and rodents, sun-scalding or exposed
tubers and premature sprouting. Yams that are damaged
during harvesting must be used almost immediately,
before they become infected with fungi which can quickly
cause the whole tuber to rot.
Yams store well for periods up to several months after
harvest and are easy to handle. They may lose flavor and
quality during storage.
The tubers must not be cut or bruised if they are to be
stored. Yams are harvested over a limited period of time
so the tubers must be stored for several months. However,
they do store well and are easy to handle.
The tubers lose weight during storage, usually 10-
15% during the first three months and 30% or more after
six months. The major cause of this loss of weight is
respiration. Storage rots, particularly where tubers are
damaged, may cause appreciable losses. Flavor and quality
also are affected during prolonged storage. Some
chemicals can increase the dormancy period by inhibiting
Martin, F.W. 1972. Yam Production kMethods.
USDA-ARS Production Report No. 147.
Martin, F.W. 1976. Tropical Yams and Their
Potential. Part 3. Dioscorea alata. USDA
Agriculture Handbook No. 495.
Onwueme, I.C. 1978. The tropical tuber crops John
Wiley & Sons Ltd. New York, NY.
Purseglove, J.W. 1972. Tropical Crops--
Monocotyledons. Longman Group Ltd. London.
1 Hour Photo
Devoini g N
P.O. BOX 4401
CHRISTIANSTED, ST. CROIX
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS 00822-4401
Charles Anthony, President
DON'T GET IN OVER YOUR HEAD,
CALL A LICENSED PLUMBING &
GENERAL CONTRACTOR INSTEAD
PHONE: (809) 778-7073 FAX: (809) 773-0991
P.O. BOX 7725
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Pre-planning for Home Grounds Improvements
Extension Agent Agriculture & Natural Resources
UVI Cooperative Extension Service
Have you ever been walking along on a sidewalk and
come upon a section where the roots of a large tree have
displaced the sidewalk? Do you have a soursop tree that,
every time the wind blows, one of its branches disconnects
your telephone line?
If you had only known that the lovely bush that grows
so well on your uncle's rocky soil would end up taking
over your whole yard, you probably would not have
planted it there. (Fig. 1).
These are just some of the very real situations that
occur in and around homes and other landscaped areas in
the Virgin Islands. Many of these situations could have
b:en prevented if a plan of the landscape had been made
prior to installation.
Pre-planning your home landscape could save you the
time and expense of having to make costly corrections to
This article will discuss the importance of planning
as well as the process of designing your landscape on
paper. These concepts can be used for undeveloped
landscapes or adapted for existing landscapes.
The Importance of Pre-Planning
Pre-planning your home landscape is important for
several reasons. One is that the plan helps you to organize
your thoughts, ideas and actions.
A written plan will help you to organize the where,
how and when of your actions. This will facilitate the
Pre-planning affords you the opportunity to see
potential problems and make the necessary corrections
on paper, rather than in the landscape, which could be
One of the most important reasons for planning is that
a good plan allows you to have a "bird's eye" view of your
landscape before, during and after any changes are made
in the landscape.
Imagine yourself in a helicopter looking down on
your property. You can see everything on your property
from one end to the other. Things that couldn't be
observed from ground level come into plain view. Having
a "bird's eye" view helps to put into perspective all the
other reasons for pre-planning.
Items Needed in Planning
To obtain that "bird's eye" view, a sketch pad for
drawing your landscape is necessary. If you have a site
plan or property map, either one will be adequate. The
house doesn't have to be included on either, but it would
be helpful. Having the map or making the drawing will
allow you to document what's on the property.
Before you begin drawing, you may want to walk
around your property and take notes of such things as
plant names, problem areas, changes in soil color, and
things you like about your landscape. Anything that
would help you or a professional in the decision-making
process should be written in your notes.
Two other items that are useful, but not necessary,
area a camera and a plant press. A camera provides a
pictorial perspective of before and after scenes or niay
serve as evidence in court if a dispute arises.
A plant press is used in the collection of unknown
plants for identification purposes. The Natural Resources
component of the Extension Service can provide you
with information on how to prepare a plant for
The Planning Process
Document What is on the Property
Now that you have your sketch pad or your site plan,
you need to begin drawing the basic outline of what is on
your property. You don't have to be an artist or a
landscape architect or designer to sketch your landscape.
Office supply stores sell landscape templates (Fig.2)
Figure 2 Landscape Template
that assist you in drawing plants and placing other items
on the landscape in actual scale and proportion to the way
your property is laid out.
When drawing trees, shrubs, hedges and other items
in your landscape, you should include the names of
known plants. Indicate not only the distance between
plants, but also the distance between the house and other
items in the landscape.
There should also be some indication on your map as
to how your land is shaped. For example, show in some
way things such as high spots, low spots, hills, level
Utilities (telephone, cable and power lines, the septic
system, gas tanks and even wash rooms) are very important
items to have on your map. When these particular items
are not considered in the planning process, costly problems
may develop later. Roads, sidewalks, and parking areas
should be placed in proportion to the house.
Remember also when drawing the house on the map.
to place the house according to where it is situated on the
property. Is your house more to the front, the center, or
the back of the property? This helps reduce errors when
At this point your map should have all of the items in
your landscape, beginning with a base drawing (Fig.3)
and a better representation of your landscape (Fig. 4).
Don't forget to include your neighbor's boundaries.
Determine What You Would Like on the Property
Before you determine what you want to do with your
landscape, there are four things you should keep in mind.
One is that you may not get everything that you want or
do what you would like to do. A Colorado Blue Spruce
might look good in Colorado, but may not last a week in
the climate of the Virgin Islands.
Also consider the territorial laws and statutes that
govern earth changes and the removal of certain types
and sizes of trees and shrubs. The Office of Coastal Zone
Management can provide such information.
You need to determine how much time you have to
make the necessary changes and the follow-up
maintenance that will be required. Are you a daily or
weekend gardener? Do you go out into your landscape
once a month or once a year perhaps? Knowing this
information will help you to decide the extent and degree
of the changes made to your landscape.
Do you have special needs such as handicap ramps.
storage house, sandbox, or dog houses .-iat should be
included? You should plan for these.
Most important of all, how much money do you have
to spend? This will determine whether or not you will
eliminate some items from your landscape plan or carry
out your landscape plan in phases. A general rule is to
think generously, then go back and count the cost.
I would Like to Add or Subtract
From My Landscape. .
This is the exciting part of landscape planning --
when you decide what you would like to add to or subtract
from your landscape. Start with a basic theme. For
example you may want to have an oriental theme in your
garden. This could include such things as a mini-waterfall
or ponds containing gold fish and lily pads. A natural
wilderness may be ideal for your location. Native and/or
existing vegetation that attract certain types of birds or
insects such as butterflies could work as well.
You may want to consider adding some color or
fragrance. The children may have outgrown the sandbox
or their mini volleyball court may be nothing but a patch
of Guinea grass. These areas could easily be converted
into raised garden beds for herbs, flowers or vegetables.
Is your house on a noisy street corner or in need of
some privacy? You can design your landscape for noise
reduction and include plants that will create a barrier
between you and your neighbor.
When planning your landscape changes, keep in mind
that the little bush you plant next to your patio may grow
into a 60-ft. tall tree. Keep plant size in proportion to your
After you have rearranged, added and subtracted the
items on your map, you should have your "bird's eye"
view of your new landscape (Fig. 5). At this point it would
be a good idea to mentally put yourself on your front
porch and imagine seeing the changes you have made.
If you like what you see then it is time to begin
carrying out your plans. Remember, all of this is done on
paper before the first plant is planted, before the first tree
is rooted out, or before you put up the first box in your box
Last but not least, seek professional help from either
the Cooperative Extension Service or a reputable
landscape architect or landscape designer.
The Cooperative Extension Service does not develop
landscape designs, but we can help you to go through the
decision making process and provide you with the
necessary information you would need to make an
Duffield, M. and Jones, W.D.; Plantsfor Dry Climates.
HP Books, Los Angeles, California.
Smyser, C.A.; Nature's Design, 1982. Rodale Press,
Inc. Emmaus, Pennsylvania, pg. 3,9 & 123.
Schubert, T.H.; Trees for Urban Use in Puerto Rico
and the Virgin Islands. 1979. General Technical
Report SO-27. Southern Forest Experimentation
Station Southern Region, Forest Service USDA.
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Vegetable Production Using Fish Waste Water
in the Virgin Islands
Manuel C. Palada, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
UVI Agricultural Experiment Station
Although the Virgin Islands receives an annual average
rainfall of more than 1,000 mm (40 inches), shortage of
water for crop production remains a major problem
Water resources for irrigation are limited because
there are no rivers or natural lakes which could be tapped
for irrigating agricultural lands. Most underground
wells are not productive and are of low water quality.
Therefore, there is a need to explore alternative sources
of water for irrigation.
Vegetable production is perhaps the first industry that
is most adversely affected by shortage of irrigation water.
Vegetable growers lack the incentive to produce vegetables
year-round because of erratic rainfall pattern and
undependable water supply. These conditions result in
an unsteady supply of locally-grown fresh vegetables and
drives up the prices of produce at local food stores and
Therefore, alternative water sources for irrigation
must be explored if the Virgin Islands wants to be self-
sufficient in vegetables and provide a continuous supply
of fresh produce throughout the year.
Recycled waste water from households and industries
is one alternative. The other is to use saline water which
is not fit for domestic use. However, recycled waste water
from an intensive aquaculture system (fish culture in
container tanks) is a potential source of irrigation water
for vegetable crops.
Using fish waste water benefits vegetable production
in two ways. First, waste water reduces the need for high
quality irrigation water, which is very costly. Second,
fish waste water contains some essential plant nutrients
useful to crops, ultimately reducing the need for additional
The dual use of fish waste water therefore will reduce
the requirement for irrigation water and lower fertilizer
use in vegetable production. Growers will be able to
reduce overall production cost and increase economic
If vegetable production can be integrated into an
aquaculture system, farmers will be able to boost their
income from both fish and vegetable crops while
conserving water resources and fertilizer.
Review of Related Studies
There are few studies involving the use of fish waste
water or manure to irrigate and fertilize vegetable crops.
However, integration of fish culture with other farm
activities has been practiced in Asia for centuries (Colman
and Edwards, 1987). Most of these integrated systems
consist of farm activities that benefit fish production. For
example, fish are cultured extensively at low stocking
rates in ponds and benefit from by-products of crop/
livestock enterprise which provide nutrient inputs
(Schmittou et al., 1985; Tan and Knoo, 1980).
The most common method of integrating crops and
fish in the same environment is the rice/fish culture in
Asia. The practice of stocking fish in rice ponds probably
came about from harvesting wild fish that entered the
ponds at the beginning of the planting season (Pillay.
1990). Indeed, integration of fish culture and rice
farming may increase rice yields as much as 15% while
producing 500 kg/ha of fish per rice crop (Lightfoot et al..
Most of the few studies performed in the past involved
growing vegetable crops in a hydroponic system
containing water coming from fish culture in tanks and
recycled back into tanks (Nair et al.. 1985: Rakocy.
In North Carolina, studies by McMurtry. et al.. 1993.
demonstrated the potential of using waste water from
recirculating aquaculture systems of tilapia in irrigating
greenhouse tomatoes. They found that tissue
concentrations of major nutrients such as N. P. K and Mg
were not limiting. This indicates that irrigation with fish
waste water provides optimum nutrient levels for tomatoes.
Olson (1991) also evaluated the potential use of trout
manure as a fertilizer in Idaho. In a greenhouse study
comparing fish manure and a commercial fertilizer with
the same nitrogen content, results showed that the yield
of spring wheat from manure was comparable to yields
from one third of the commercial fertilizer.
Favorable results have been reported using fish waste
water to irrigate leafy greens (Ervin, 1977) and melons
(New Alchemy Institute, 1982). In a study using the
effluent from tilapia culture tanks to irrigate lettuce.
celery and cabbage, researchers at the New Alchemy
Institute found no improved yields using fish waste
compared to a control.
They suggested three reasons for this result. High
rainfall may have leached the nutrients deep into the soil,
mulch applied to the plots may have supplied nutrients at
levels adequate for plant growth or nutrients in the fish
tank effluent were not immediately available to the
At the University of the Virgin Islands Agricultural
Experiment Station (UVI/AES), a project has been
initiated to integrate fish culture in tanks with field
production of vegetable crops. One of the objectives of
the project is to evaluate the use of fish waste water for
enhancing vegetable production, thereby reducing
irrigation and fertilizer requirements.
The purpose of this article is to present the results of
field trials conducted in 1992 and 1993 usingbell peppers.
The results presented are data obtained from the crop
component of the integrated project.
Approach and Methods
The project was initiated in September 1992 using the
research facilities of the Aquaculture Program at UVI/
AES. The source of fish waste water and sludge was from
tilapia raised at low and high stocking densities in
culture tanks containing 31.2 cu.m. (8,237 gallons) of
Culture tanks were aerated with vertical-lift pumps
and wastes were removed daily using settling tanks. The
fish were fed daily using commercial feed. The fish were
raised for a total of 20 weeks.
Pepper Trial 1992
Pepper seedlings were transplanted on August 25 into
three-row plots measuring 4.2 m long and 1.8 m wide.
Seven treatments were arranged in a randomized,
complete block design with four replications. The choice
of treatments allowed a comparison between fish waste
water and conventionalinorganic and organic fertilizers.
The treatments were as follows:
Tl Low stocking density culture water. The culture
water from the three low stocking density tanks were
combined and applied to individual pepper plants by
hand. This treatment represented lower concentration of
nutrients in the waste water.
T2 High stocking density culture water. This
treatment was similar to T1, but with waste water from
the high stocking density culture tanks. This treatment
represented higher concentration of nutrients in the
T3 Sludge. This treatment consisted of liquid sludge
combined from six settling tanks and applied to individual
plants by hand. This treatment represented fish manure.
T4 Liquid inorganic fertilizer (drip). This treatment
consisted of nitrogen fertilizer applied at recommended
rate using drip irrigation (Fertigation).
T5 Liquid inorganic fertilizer (manual). This
treatment was similar to T4, but applied by hand.
T6 Granular inorganic fertilizer. This treatment
represented the conventional method of applying
fertilizer. The fertilizer was applied in bands around
individual plants at the recommended rate.
T7 Cow manure. A dry composted cow manure was
incorporated into the soil prior to transplanting ofpeppers.
Treatment Plant Dry Fruit Total Marketable
height weight size yield yield
(cm) (g/plt) (g) (t/ha) (t/ha)
Fish water 1 16 8.5 71 2.82 1.85
Fish water 2 17 11.6 81 4.12 3.75
Fish sludge 18 17.0 74 6.62 5.00
Fertilizer (drip) 22 18.6 69 10.60 8.98
Fertilizer (hand) 21 13.9 58 5.28 4.54
Fertilizer grann) 20 13.5 67 5.60 4.63
Cow manure 18 11.4 52 4.68 3.98
Table 1. Plant height, dry matter weight and yield ofpepper as affected by fish waste, cow manure and commercialfertilizers. Ul 7/4ES, 1992.
Initial applications of 100 kg/ha of phosphorus and
potassium were made to all the inorganic fertilizer
treatments. Nitrogen was applied at the rate of 100 kg/
ha to T6 (granular inorganic fertilizer). Fish culture
water and sludge were applied 10 times throughout the
experiment. The liquid inorganic fertilizer (both drip
and hand) was applied seven times for a total application
of 200 kg/ha. Cow manure (2% N) was applied at a rate
of 10 tons/ha.
Peppers were harvested three times over a four-month
growing period. Data were collected on plant height, dry
matter weight, fruit size, total and marketable yields.
The unusually heavy rainfall in September through
November resulted in disturbance of plots, washing, and
leaching of nutrients applied in different treatments.
Despite this, significant differences among treatments
Data in Table 1 show that plants grown with inorganic
fertilizers were generally taller than plants grown with
organic fertilizers (cow manure, fish waste water and
sludge). Mean plant dry matter weight was highest with
drip fertigation, followed by plants grown with sludge.
Lowest plant dry matter weight was observed in plants
grown with the low stocking density culture water. Plants
grown with the tilapia culture water and sludge had
higher average fruit weight (indicating better quality)
than plants of the other treatments. Plants grown with
drip fertigation produced significantly higher total and
marketable yields than from the other treatments.
Plants applied with fish sludge produced the second
highest yield, suggesting the potential of this manure in
vegetable production. Although yield differences were
not significant, yield from this treatment was higher than
commercial fertilizer treatments applied manually either
in liquid or granular forms. This would indicate that fish
sludge is a good substitute for commercial fertilizer.
Thus, for a vegetable grower who wants to cut his
fertilizer cost, use of fish manure is an alternative.
Analysis of fish culture water and sludge indicated
that concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus increased
with time. As the trial progressed, application of fish
waste water and sludge provided additional nutrients to
pepper plants. This suggests that nutrient contribution
from fish sludge may reduce or eliminate the need for
commercial fertilizer in resource-limited vegetable
Pepper Trial 1993
A similar trial was conducted in 1993; however, the
treatments were modified. The fish waste water treatments
were applied by drip irrigation and treatments with cow
manure and hand-applied liquid inorganic fertilizers
were eliminated. Fish waste water resulting from two
water exchange rates (0% and 5% by volume) were
applied using two types of drip emitters. The Hardie
Treatment Water Drip Plant Fruit Total Marketable
exch. emit.' height size2 yield yield
(%) (cm) (g) (t/ha) (t/ha)
Fish water 1 0 TK 40 69 12.4 7.1
Fish water 2 0 E-2 32 65 13.0 7.3
Fish water 3 5 TK 37 70 13.0 10.0
Fish water 4 5 E-2 33 68 11.0 6.4
Fish sludge BSG 36 68 15.4 10.4
Fertigation E-2 32 64 10.5 5.8
Fertilizer (G) E-2 32 58 10.4 6.9
'TK = Turbo-Key, E-2 = Hardie E-2, BSG = Bow Smith Gripper.
2Based on marketable fruits.
Table 2. Plant height, fruit size and yield ofpepper applied with fish waste water and sludge under drip irrigation. UV7/AES, 1993.
Turbo Key emitters and the Hardie E-2 emitters were
selected on the basis of reducing clogging in the drip
system. The liquid sludge treatment was applied through
the drip system using the Bow Smith Gripper emitters.
The fish waste water and sludge treatments were
applied once or twice per week for a total of 25 applications
over a three-month growing period. Treatment with
fertigation received 12 applications. Granular fertilizer
treatment received three band applications. Peppers
were harvested eight times during the period from July to
Differences in plant height at final harvest were not
significant between treatments; however, plants grown
with fish waste water and sludge were taller than plants
applied with inorganic fertilizers (Table 2). There were
no differences in the average fruit size among treatments,
but again plants applied with fish waste water and sludge
produced relatively larger fruits than plants applied with
In terms of total yield, small differences were observed
among treatments; however, the highest total yield was
obtained from treatments applied with sludge (15.1 t/ha).
Treatments applied with fish waste water had similar
total yield and were slightly higher than treatments with
fertigation and band application.
In terms of marketable yield, plants grown with
sludge produced the highest yield (10.4 t/ha) followed by
plants grown with fish waste water at 5% exchange rate
using the Turbo Key emitters (10.0 t/ha).
Generally, treatments applied with fish waste water
and sludge had higher marketable yields than treatments
with fertigation and band fertilizer application (Table 2).
This result would suggest that waste water and sludge
from fish culture are definitely good alternative sources
of irrigation water and fertilizer for vegetable crops.
Pepper yields from plots applied with fish wastes are
comparable to or even higher than yields from plants
grown in plots with conventional inorganic fertilizer.
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FAX (809) 778-8077
P.O. Box 8560 Sunny Isle
St. Croix, U.S.V.I. 00823-8560
Summary and Applications
The two years of field trials demonstrated the positive
benefits of using fish waste water and sludge (manure) in
pepper production. In the first year, yield of peppers
applied with sludge was comparable with yield of
fertigated peppers. In the second year, yield from sludge
treatment was better than yield from conventional
treatments of fertigation and granular inorganic
fertilizers. It is possible to grow vegetable crops using
fish waste water and sludge without external inorganic
Yields can be sustained and maintained at levels
comparable to yields obtained by using commercial
inorganic fertilizers. The economic implications of the
results of the experiments on peppers would impact
vegetable growers in the Virgin Islands in the way they
grow and manage their crops. Reducing production cost
could translate into increased economic returns. Savings
from water and fertilizer costs can result in increased
Therefore, from both economic and environmental
perspectives, growers should consider the potential of
using alternative irrigation water and fertilizer sources
such as fish waste and sludge.
Colman. J. and P. Edwards. 1987. Feeding Pathways
and Environmental Constraints in Waste-fed
Aquaculture: Balance Optimization. Pages 240-
281 in D.J.W. Moriarty and R.S.P. Pullin, editors.
Detritus and Microbial Ecology in Aquaculture.
CLARM Conference Proceedings 14, International
Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management,
Ervin, S. 1977. Fertile Fish Pond Water Irrigation
Trials. J. New Alchemists 4:59-60.
Lightfoot, C., P.A. Roger, A.G. Caguan and C.R. de
la Cruz. 1990. A Fish Crop Afav Improve Rice
Yields and Ricefields. Naga 4:12-13.
McMurtry, M.R., D.C. Sanders, P.V. Nelson and A.
Nash. 1993. AMineral Nutrient Concentration and
Uptake by Tomato Irrigated With Recirculating
Aquaculture Water as Influenced by Quantity of
Fish Waste Products Supplied. Journal of Plant
Nair, A., J.E. Rakocy and J.A. Hargreaves. 1985.
Water Quality Characteristics of a Closed
Recirculating System for Tilapia Culture and
Tomato Hydroponics. Pages 223-254 in:
Proceedings Second International Conference on
Warmwater Aquaculture Fin-fish. Division of
Continuing Education, Brigham Young Univ.
RODGERS VARIETY STORE
FOR ALL YOUR CLOTHING NEEDS
New Alchemy Institute. 1982. Assessment of
Semi-closed, Renewable Resource-based
Aquaculture System. Progress Report No. 6. New
Alchemy Institute, East Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Agriculture & Food
21-E La Grande Princesse
Christiansted, St. Croix
U.S. Virgin Islands 00820
Olson, G.L. 1991. The Use ofTroutManure Fertilizer
for Idaho Crops. Presented at the National Workshop
for Waste Management, Kansas City, Missouri, July
Pillay, T.V.R. 1990. Aquaculture: Principles and
Practices. Blackwell Scientific Publications Ltd.,
Oxford, England. 575 p.
Rakocy, J.E. 1989a. A Recirculating System for
Tilapia Culture and Vegetable Hydroponics in the
Caribbean. 24 p. In: Proceedings, Auburn
Symposium on Fisheries and Aquacultures, Sept.
20-22, 1984. Brown Printing Co., Montgomery,
Rakocy, J.E. 1989b. Vegetable Hydroponics and
Fish Culture: A Productive Interface. World
Schmittou, H.R., J.H. Grover, S.B. Peterson, A.R.
Librero, H.B. Rabanal, A.A. Portugal and M.
Adriano. 1985. Development ofA quaculture in the
Philippines, Research and Development Series No.
32. International Center for Aquaculture, Auburn
University, Auburn, Alabama.
Tan, E.S.P. and K.H. Khoo. 1980. The Integration of
Fish Farming with Agriculture in Malaysia. Pages
175-187 inR.S.V. PullinandZ.H. Shehadeh, editors.
Integrated Agriculture-Aquaculture Farming
Systems. CLARM Conference Proceedings 4,
International Center for Living Aquatic Resources
Management, Manila, Philippines.
A Day at the Fair Agrifest 1993
Educational, Cultural and Fun!
Showmanship, senior division, to Roseanne Will. Kofi Boateng,
Agfair Livestock Director, looks on.
Kai Burk, center, was recipient of the 1993 Youth Award. UVI
President Dr. Orville Kean presents the award while Extension
Agent Sarah Smith looks on.
Sen. Bingley Richardson, left, presents Environomental
Recognition Award to Olasee Davis.
Dr. Darshan Padda presents third place award in Rabbit
Showmanship, senior division, to Jeff Girton.
Breeders ofSenepol Cattle
ANNALY FARMS INC.
(Local and U.S. Choice)
Pork 0 Chicken 0 Fish 0 Vegetables
Quality at low prices
Estate Upper Love RT # 72
Monday Friday 8:00-4:30, Saturday 8:00-12:30
Marine Occupations on St. Croix
Marcia G. Taylor Marine Advisor
University of the Virgin Islands
Eastern Caribbean Center
Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Services
A visitor to the Virgin Islands is immediately struck
by the overwhelming presence of the sea--its color and
scent permeate the atmosphere of the islands. But there
is more to the Caribbean than its azure beauty.
These clear, productive waters provide enormous
opportunities for employment. In addition to fishing, the
islands' diverse marine life and clear warm waters provide
abundant opportunities for recreational industries and
other marine related occupations. The marine recreational
industry alone is estimated to be 7% of the Gross Territ oria!
Product. Indeed, our waters are one of our most valuable
Although many opportunities exist for employment in
the marine occupations, they are not recognized and
enjoyed equally by all parts of the population. Jobs in
water sports, marine science, and yachting seem to be
dominated by people from the continental U.S., and
many of the fishermen and small boaters are from Puerto
Rico or other Caribbean islands.
Recently, as part of course I took at UVI--Career
Employment in Marine Occupations by Birthplace
= Marine Occupations
- General Population
One way to get children interested in marine activities is to enroll them in
the Kids And the Sea Program (KATS).
Development Counseling--Sandra Baldauf and I surveyed
individuals working in marine occupations on St. Croix.
We took a list of marine businesses previously compiled
for another study and updated it by adding new marine
employment opportunities and deleting those that no
All businesses and agencies on the list were either
called or visited and queried about the number of
employees in marine occupations and their place of birth.
A total of 43 businesses and agencies provided
information about the birthplace of 218 employees
working in marine occupations. In addition, 44 fishermen
were surveyed. Of this total of 262 workers, 19.5% were
locally born, 63.3% were born in the continental United
States, and 17.2% were born in other areas (other islands
We interviewed 100 workers to find out why they
entered marine occupations. More than 70% said that
early childhood experiences most influenced their interest
in the marine environment. More than 90% also indicated
that they knew how to swim.
The percentage of locally born individuals in marine
occupations was calculated and compared to census data
(Figure 1). The data collected in this study suggests that
the percentage of locally born individuals employed in
marine occupations is less than half the general
population, while the percentage of people from the
continental US in marine occupations is five times that
found in the general population.
If what this study suggests is true, why does this
disparity exist? Perhaps it can be attributed to the lack of
early exposure to the marine environment and the limited
educational opportunities on St. Croix. There are few
opportunities for local children to learn how to swim,
dive or boat. More Virgin Islands' youths should be
encouraged to take advantage of the many marine
occupations available in these islands.
At least one program which began recently seeks to
give high school students more exposure to their coastal
resources, at Central High School's Wilson Marine Center.
But it is impossible for those who are interested in
studying the marine environment to seek a graduate
degree in any of the sciences on St. Croix.
In an occupation which does not require formal
training, such as fishing, representation of the local
population is much higher, but is still lower than that of
people from Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands.
Because the sea and the activity that it inspires and
generates are so much a part of St. Croix's environment,
it is important that everyone takes advantage of the many
opportunities it affords. Children should be encouraged
to learn to swim and snorkel at a young age and participate
in aquatic activities.
One way to get children interested in marine activities
is to enroll them in the Kids And the Sea Program
(KATS) developed by the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory
Service (VIMAS) and sponsored by the Rotary Club of St.
The KATS program teaches basic seamanship and
small craft handling to children 9 14 years of age.
Children learn water skills using small boats and a
variety of topics such as weather, navigation, first aid,
and marine life. It allows children to have fun and
become more comfortable in the marine environment.
VIMAS or the Rotary Club of St. Croix Mid-Isle can
supply information about the KATS program.
HOURS: MON. 8:30- 5:30
WED. 9:30 5:30
THURS. 8:30 5:30
FRI. 8:30 5:30
SAT 8:30 12:30
IFCP LE SUN. CLOSED
P.O. BOX 3908
CHRISTIANSTED, ST. CROIX
(809) 773-0354 U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS 00822
Breadfruit An Old Fruit With New Potential
Christopher Ramcharan, Ph.D. Horticulturist
UVI Agricultural Experiment Station
and Ramonita Caines Extension Specialist, Foods and Nutrition
UVI Cooperative Extension Service
Did you know that the breadfruit (panapen, pana) so and female flowers on the same branches. The fruit is
common in the backyards and home gardens of the multiple, 20-30 cm long by 10-20 cm in diameter with an
Virgin Islands is not indigenous to the Caribbean, but a average weight of 1-4 kg. A healthy tree can produce up
native of Polynesia? There it is known as ulu, kuru, uru to 700 fruits per year. The edible portion of the pulp is
or uto. white, fibrous and mealy, but becomes yellow and softer
The breadfruit was introduced by Captain William as the fruit matures.
Bligh (of Mutiny on the Bounty fame) on his second During the Second World War, when German U-
voyage 200 years ago, initially to St. Vincent (Jan. 22, boats severely restricted the importation of wheat flour
1793) and laterthe same year to Jamaica (Feb. 5, 1793). and potatoes into the Caribbean, the previously
It is also interesting to note that some other well- forgotten breadfruitregaineditsprominencebecause
known Caribbean crops introduced on that famous it provided an instant substitute for the imported
voyage included mango, coffee, coconut, Malay staples whether boiled, roasted, baked, fried or
apple (pomerac, pomarosa), guava, made into flour. The breadfruit is usually
jackfruit, carambola and black pepper. r., boiled or steamed after removal of the outer
The breadfruit, so named because of skin and central core, but it
its similarity in flavor, texture can be roasted whole, even
and usage to bread, is on an open fire.
botanically known as It is a relatively
Artocarpusaltilissyn. A. -, i nutritious fruit, with
communis, and belongs 77% moisture content
to the family Maraceae, 1 and a nutrient
which includes other composition per 100 g
well-known plants such sample having a
as ficus, Trumpet tree, relatively low energy
fustic and jackfruit. level of81kilocalories, 1.3
The breadfruit is an ....' gprotein,27mgcalcium. 29
attractive, branching tree mg vitamin C and 1.8 g fiber
growing up to 15-20 meters with with appreciable levels of potassium
large, glossy, deeply incised and a small amount of iron and the B-
palmate-shaped leaves. Although not drought-tolerant, complex vitamins--niacin and
it can grow best in areas of medium to high rainfall at low riboflavin.
elevations and can tolerate some salt spray and soil Breadfruit can, therefore, substitute as an excellent
conditions. staple in a controlled or weight-reducing diet because of
Under Virgin Islandsconditions, the breadfruit thrives its relatively high fiber content and low energy level.
best in wind-protected areas with adequate irrigation Among its fatty acid constituents is linoleic acid, essential
that can include gray cistern water. On caliche-based for proper body growth and development.
soils it is best to shallow-plant the breadfruit and Many recipes using breadfruit contain high energy
continually build up the surrounding topsoil with compost sources such as coconut milk and cured meats, which
or other organic matter. A periodic application of a make up for its low energy level. Breadnut, or seeded
complete NPK fertilizer such as 10.10.10 at 0.4 kg (1 lb.) breadfruit (chataigne, pana de pepita), has higher energy
per 2.5 cm. of stem diameter, applied to the dripline area and protein levels, with only 20% moisture and 434
of the tree is recommended. kilocalories, 15 g protein, 29 g fat, 66 mg calcium, 380
The tree is monoecious, but with separate male spikes mg potassium and 320 mg phosphorus and 6.7 mg iron
per 100 g of dried seed sample, but with only negligible
amounts of Vitamin C.
Drawbacks in Breadfruit Production
Among the many constraints of breadfruit production
and utilization are the large size of trees, the lack of
simple propagation methods, the low shelf life and
perishability of the fruit itself. The first limitation can be
alleviated by varietal screening for low-growing cultivars
with good yields and desirable fruit characteristics.
Traditionally, the breadfruit is propagated by ringing
the roots or taking root cuttings. However, repeated usage
of this method puts great stress on the parent tree, making
it more prone to pests and diseases and lowering its
Micropropagation, which is increasingly being used
to propagate fruit species, could be an ideal method for
propagating breadfruit. A Caribbean Basin Administrative
Group grant awarded to the University of the Virgin
Islands Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) is
specifically designed to research the micropropagation of
This is one of the first projects to be undertaken in the
new biotechnology laboratory of the Research and
Fruits of the breadfruit are normally harvested in the
mature green stage, which, by experience, is determined
by size, firmness, skin color and low latex flow from
injured fruit stems. However, within two to three days of
harvesting, mature fruits under ambient conditions ripen
and soften, thus severely limiting local marketability and
restricting export potential of the fruit. Retardation of
ripening is therefore critical for improving the market
At the post harvest physiology laboratory of the
University of the West Indies in Trinidad, a storage
temperature of 160 at 90% relative humidity was found
optimal for extended storage life up to 10 days. At 16 C
and a controlled atmosphere of high RH and 5% carbon
dioxide and 5% oxygen, storage life was further extended
up to 25 days with little skin deterioration and loss of
firmness of fruits.
A less expensive, but just as effective, method involves
modified atmosphere (MA) storage in which the fruits are
wrapped in polyethylene film and then stored at 160 C.
Alternatively, waxing of refrigerated fruits also improves
storage for up to two weeks, further retarding skin
browning. The prospects for improved storability are
Breadfruit can be processed in a variety of ways.
Breadfruit flour can be made by sound processing
techniques; reconstituted slices of dried breadfruit have
been found to have good texture and flavor comparable to
freshly cooked slices. Similarly, rehydrated freeze-dried
breadfruit has good eating quality.
Fruit slices canned in brine are a well-recognized
Jamaican export item and breadfruit chips have had
consumer acceptance comparable to that of potato chips
in Puerto Rico.
There is also the potential for producing animal feed
from the breadfruit skin and inner core--two fruit
components normally discarded.
Prospects for processing breadfruit into a variety of
products for both the local and foreign markets are
therefore virtually unlimited.
Two hundred years ago, the breadfruit was introduced
into the Caribbean, where it was considered an ideal crop
to solve the famine and malnutrition of the slaves.
Today, with its aesthetic and nutritional value, storage
and processing potential more fully understood, the
"lowly" breadfruit has truly come into its own. The
breadfruit is now grown and appreciated throughout the
Caribbean. Its versatility as a food crop is highlighted in
the following recipes.
Information for this article was provided courtesy
of the Extension Newsletter, a publication of the
Department of Agricultural Extension, Faculty of
Agriculture, the University of the West Indies, St.
Augustine, Trinidad, Vol. 24 No. 2, June/July 1993.
Selected Breadfruit Recipes
1/2 medium breadfruit (cooked
1/2 cup cooked carrot
1 tsp. minced onion
1/2 cup diced sweet pepper
1 large tomato
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut cooked breadfruit into 1-inch cubes or as desired.
Add peas, carrots, sweet pepper, onion, mayonnaise and
salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Arrange breadfruit
mixture on a platter with lettuce leaves and tomato.
Breadfruit Fish Cakes
2 cups cooked flaked fish or soaked and washed dried
fish (minced cooked meat may be used)
1 medium onion
1 tsp. lime juice
2 egg whites
2 cups riced breadfruit
1 oz. margarine
1 tsp. thyme
1 stalk green onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying.
Mince the seasoning and sautd in the margarine.
Remove from fire. Beat the egg whites until stiff, stir into
the riced breadfruit and flaked fish, then add seasoning.
Beat well. Check taste. Add again. Drop spoonfuls into
bread crumbs, shape as desired. Fry in hot oil, turning to
get brown all over.
Drain on absorbent paper. Arrange on a flat dish.
Garnish with slices of sweet pepper. Serve warm as a
main dish for breakfast, lunch or supper.
Breadfruit Cou-cou (Fungi)
Boil 1 pound breadfruit with 2 or 3 ounces of home
corned pork. Mash the fruit smoothly and cut up the meat
very fine; add some green seasoning. Leave just enough
of the breadfruit water in the pan to "turn" the cou-cou.
Add the breadfruit mixture and stir until all the breadfruit
water has been absorbed. Bowl and turn on to a dish.
Breadfruit Cream Punch
2 pegs breadfruit (1/4) medium
Sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. white rum
2 tbsp. wine
4 cups water
Wash breadfruit, cut off 1/2, cut into boiling sized
pieces and boil until tender in salted water. Put all
ingredients into an electric blender and blend well. Serve
on cracked ice.
1/2 cup mature breadfruit
1/4 cup skimmed milk
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
Mix milk in 1/2 cup water. Mix breadfruit in remaining
water. Simmer, stir and cook 5 minutes. Remove and stir
in milk. Put back to simmer and stir for 3 more minutes
or until well-cooked. Add vanilla and sugar. Serve.
1 medium breadfruit
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
2 tsp. prepared mustard
3 tbsp. breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Wash unpeeled breadfruit and cut into 4 pieces
lengthwise. Remove core from each piece. Steam boil in
2 1/2 cups water with salt until tender. Grate cheese and
divide into three portions. Grease two pie dishes. Heat
margarine slowly and stir in the flour, mustard and
nutmeg. Remove from heat and stir in two portions of
cheese with the milk and the egg gradually. Return to
heat. Keep stirring until mixture thickens.
When breadfruit is cooked and cooled, peel and cut
into 1/4-inch strips, cutting across the pieces. Heat oven
to 4000 F. Pour the cheese sauce over the breadfruit
pieces. Stir without breaking the pieces. Pour this mixture
into the pie dishes.
Mix the remainder of the cheese with the bread
crumbs. Sprinkle over top of pies. Brown in oven for
about 15 minutes. Cut each pie into eight pieces for main
dish or 16 as side dish.
Panapen En Escabeche
4 tazas de aqua
2 chariditas de sail
1 taza de aceite
1 cebola grande, rebandad
2 dientes de ajo, machacados
1/2 taza de vinagre
2 hojas de laurel
1 cucharadita de pimienta en grano
Monde el panapen y cortelo en trojos grandes. Eche el
panapen en las 4 tazas de aqua y a hirviendo y sazonada
con el sal. Cueza a fuego moderato tapadas, hasta que
ablande (15 a 20 minutes).
Corte el panapen cocido, en trozos pequenos. En una
sarten, sofria en aceite la cebolla, loa ajos, las hojas de
laurel y la pimienta. Anada el vinagre.Cueza la salsa a
fueo lento por unos minutes (hasta que la cebolla este
blanda). Retire del fuego y vierta la salsa sobre el panapen
cocido. Sirva caliento o frio. Puede adornar con tiritas de
pimiento morron y rueditas de pimiento verde. Sugerencias
para servir: Acompanelo con carnes y pescado.
Grazing Lands Application in the Virgin Islands
Mario A. Morales
US Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service
Resource Conservation & Development
USVI Field Office
The USDA Soil Conservation Servicesoon will
introduce a new and exciting technology called Grazing
Lands Application (GLA) to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
GLA is a user-friendly decision support system (computer
program) designed to assist resource managers establish
effective, efficient and sustainable grazing management
plans and/or schemes.
The GLA program combines general and local
expertise with the knowledge of the local producer to
customize management plans to each land user's situation.
The GLA program provides a venue for land users and
producers to record and analyze economic and ecological
information. The land user is able to create various "what
if..." scenarios, associate the various scenarios to
information that is in the GLA program and analyze
results to make an informed decision.
How does this GLA program work? Six data bases are
maintained and localized. These six databases are the
foundation of GLA: 1) Client Information, 2) Animal
Data Resources, 3) Plant/Soil Resources, 4) Decision
Support, 5) Economic Analysis, and 6) Backup & Restore
This menu provides information about individual
clients, forage inventory, herd definition and a grazing
scheduler. Client information includes name, address
and other business information of individual producers.
The forage inventory includes soils and forage inventories
unique to the individual farm, feed management systems,
and net effects of improvement practices on forage
inventories. It also allows for the modification of general
forage databases to accurately show forage production of
Animal Data Resources
This menu stores animal attributes such as kind, class,
breed, age, weight and diet preference. It also includes
information on feedstuffs such as nutritive content,
digestibility and net energy as it pertains to the individual
Plant/Soil Data Resources
This menu includes general plant information such as
species names, plant preferences, growth curves and
plant site information. Data can be incorporated to
customize all general soils/plant information. Soils/plant
production links, plant growth curves and range site
determinations are established and can be modified.
Woodlands, native pastures, hayland, cropland and
improved pasture information also is established and can
be customized. Improvement practices also can be
analyzed for increase or decrease in production for an
individual farm for various time periods.
This includes the following packages: a management
evaluation system, a multi-species stocking calculator
and a nutritional balance analyzer.
The management evaluation system basically evaluates
the chance for the economic success of selected
improvement practices. It can be used to double-check
decisions made by the producer.
The multi-species stocking calculator can be used to
identify livestock type and class ratios that can best
utilize the available forage.
The nutritional balance analyzer identifies the
nutritional profile and needs of the individual herds.
Animal descriptions, environmental factors and animal
performance goals are analyzed and compared to the
available forage base, available concentrates and roughage
and other information. From this data, supplemental
feeding schemes can be formulated and price comparisons
can be analyzed to obtain the best feeding rations for
This helps the producer to estimate the return on
investments for range improvement practices and/or
grazing management practices. This database can be
used to account for annual costs and revenues. The
database can compare any number of management and/
or improvement practices. It also can compare various
combinations of management and/or improvement
practices to each other. These comparisons then can be
analyzed as alternatives to present management. This
database stores general economic information, animal
demand information and rainfall data. It also can assist
the producer to project variable costs for specific livestock
enterprises, project offspring production and manage
animal selling weights and market information. And the
producer can create a profile for improvement practices.
Backup and Restore
The last database is the Backup and Restore Menu.
That is basically a computer systems management menu.
Anyone that has dealt with computers knows that a
backup and restore process is necessary.
The GLA program can be of great assistance to
producers. If used properly, this system can help producers
make better management decisions. It also provides a
venue to predict the increased productivity of a single or
any number of improvement practices.
The GLA program contains general information that
can be modified to fit individual producers and/or farms.
The USDA Soil Conservation Service, in conjunction
with the Virgin Islands Resource Conservation and
Development Council and the Virgin Islands Conservation
District, is extremely happy to bring this new technology
to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This year, we will be gathering the necessary general
data. We plan to use this new technology in the Virgin
Islands in the very near future.
-5 Wthe tool box
The Island's Best Selection
Screws and Tools
Located on North Shore Road
What's in a Name?
Extension Agent Livestock
UVI Cooperative Extension Service
If you have ever stood over the meat counter at the
supermarket and pondered over what to buy for supper,
this article is for you. With so many different types and
cuts of meat available, and current health issues in the
forefront, it is no wonder many consumers are confused
about what to buy.
Some meats come in only one or two varieties, so the
decisions left to the consumer are how large a package to
purchase and whether to buy fresh or frozen. These meats
include chevon (goat), rabbit, and poultry products such
as turkey, goose and duck. No age distinction is made in
the naming of these meats. Standard practice is that only
young animals are offered for commercial sale. Except in
turkeys, distinction between the sexes is very rarely used
in these products.
Chevon (goat meat) is probably the most common and
popular of the non-poultry specialty meats. It can be
found in almost every grocery store in the V.I., large or
small, and is an important part of the cultural diet of the
"Goat water" (broth) is an integral part in the
celebrations and carnivals throughout the Caribbean and
any good cook will have a secret recipe for the ultimate
goat dish. Traditionally, chevon has been an inexpensive
way to provide high quality protein for families. Much of
the goat consumed throughout the Caribbean is
homegrown and can be raised more economically than
Older goat meat, especially that from intact (not
castrated) males, will tend to require longer, slower
cooking times to assure tenderness, and creative seasoning
to cover the musky taste characteristic of goats.
Commercially raised chevon is from young does or
castrated males (wethers) and will not have the strong,
Rabbit has long been a part of the diet in Europe and
the European Caribbean islands and is slowly gaining
popularity in the United States. Currently most of the
rabbit found in the supermarkets in the Virgin Islands is
frozen, but many small farmers have discovered the ease
of raising the animals for meat, and it is not difficult for
the consumer to find fresh rabbit.
For many years doctors have acknowledged the value
of rabbit meat in low fat, low cholesterol diets. It is easier
to digest than other meats, yet provides high quality
protein. It also is a versatile meat and can be used in any
way that a chicken would be used.
Chicken is a category all to itself. Distinction is made
for both sex and age of the bird at the time it is butchered.
The youngest product is the Rock Cornish Game Hen.
This bird is about 4 weeks old. It is the smallest chicken
on the market and has the highest bone-to-meat ratio,
which means that there is less meat than bone in the bird.
Fryers and broilers are 8-10 weeks old at time of
butchering and are suitable for exactly what their names
suggest, as well as about anything else you would want to
use a chicken for. They still are very young and tender
and contain enough fat to make them very succulent.
Roasters are usually 10-14 weeks of age and have
filled out significantly. These are still tender and have
enough fat so that they are still very juicy when baked or
roasted. They weigh 6-8 pounds, so one can easily feed a
Capons are castrated male chickens that are raised
until they are 8-12 pounds. Because they have been
castrated, they do not develop the secondary sex
characteristics that cause the meat to get tough and
unpalatable and can be kept longer before butchering.
Older chickens are called stewing hens, soup hens
and stags. These are mature birds that have passed their
prime and are usually extremely tough, requiring long,
slow cooking to make them reasonably tender.
The meat of the sheep comes in two basic categories,
lamb and mutton. Essentially, lamb is a young sheep, of
either sex or castrated, that was butchered before it
reached 1 year of age, while mutton is sheep older than 1
year. The actual determination is made by the presence or
absence of a "break joint" in the knee of the animal.
Lamb is more tender and has a milder flavor than
mutton. In addition, it can be cooked by almost any
method with satisfactory results. Mutton, on the other
hand, is primarily ground or stewed.
The meat of swine, or pigs, referred to as pork, is
utilized in a variety of ways. Small, young pigs such as
suckling or feeder pigs often are roasted whole for
barbecues. These are pigs that dress out anywhere from
20 70 pounds.
Roast pig (lechon) is a traditional "festival" food in
the Caribbean. Lechon is a staple for any celebration,
large or small. Distinctive seasoning and slow roasting
over a charcoal pit produces an end product unequalled in
flavor and tenderness.
Standard pork found in the supermarket is from pigs
that are older and dress out at about 150-200 pounds. It
is from barrows and gilts exclusively, because meat from
the intact males (boars) has a very strong, unpleasant
odor and taste.
Old pigs are used for sausage because tenderness is not
a requirement for meat that is ground and any strong
flavors that might be present in the meat are masked by
the seasonings in the sausage mix.
Meat from cattle is placed into two categories--veal
and beef. Veal is from very young cattle raised on a
special diet. Usually, this diet is a liquid formula that
contains all of the nutrients the calf needs except iron.
The formula is designed to allow the calf to grow quickly,
yet maintain the very tender, light colored meat that is
recognized as veal.
Beef is from cattle over 1 year of age. It is characterized
by the vibrant red color of the tissue and is probably the
most recognizable meat product in the supermarket today.
Most of the beef comes from heifers and steers. Meat
from intact males tends to be tougher and have a stringier
texture. Bulls butchered before 18 months of age usually
do not present a problem with acceptability of product.
Most of the local Senepol beef sold in the Virgin
Islands is from young bulls butchered at about 12-16
months of age. It is a very lean and flavorful product and
is in high demand.
Meat from older bulls and cows will be darker red in
color and have yellower fat. It is most commonly used for
stew meat and ground beef because it is not as tender as
the young beef.
ANIMAL MALE FEMALE GENERIC MALE FEMALE CASTRATED MEAT
YOUNG YOUNG YOUNG* MALE
CATTLE BULL COW CALF BULL CALF/ HEIFER STEER VEAL-LESS THAN 1 YEAR,
BULLOCK FORMULA FED
OLDER THAN 1 YEAR
PIGS/ BOAR SOW PIGLET N/A GILT BARROW PORK
SHEEP RAM EWE LAMB RAM LAMB EWE LAMB WETHER LAMB-LESS THAN 1 YEAR
MUTTON- SHEEP OLDER
THAN 1 YEAR
GOATS BUCK DOF KID BUCKLING DOELING WETHER CHEVON
CHICKENS ROOSTER/ HEN CHICK COCKEREL PULLET CAPON CHICKEN-CORNISH HEN,
COCK FRYER, BROILER,
ROASTER, STEWER HEN,
CAPON, STAG, SOUP HEN
TURKEYS TOM HEN POULT N/A N/A N/A TURKEY
RABBITS BUCK DOE KIT BUCKLING DOELING N/A RABBIT
GEESE GANDER GOOSE GOSLING N/A N/A N/A GOOSE
DUCK DRAKE HEN DUCKLING N/A N/A N/A DUCK
* FEMALE YOUNG RETAIN THIS NAME UNTIL THEY HAVE THEIR FIRST OFFSPRING
Benefits of a Marine Fishery Reserve System
for the U.S. Virgin Islands
Callum M. Roberts, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor Marine Ecology
UVI Eastern Caribbean Center
Virgin Islands Fisheries in Crisis
Over the last 20 years it has become much harder to
make a living by fishing in the Virgin Islands. The boom
years have long gone when traps could be hauled so full
of fish that they would be bursting at the seams.
Joe LaPlace tells of how, in the late 1940s, lobster
were so abundant that fishermen could collect them by
the armful while wading. They were so common that
they once were used to bait fish traps.
Although fishermen's tales are notorious and are
traditionally to be taken with a pinch of salt, fishermen
in the Virgin Islands should be taken very seriously when
they claim catches were much bigger and easier to get a
few decades ago. The figures back them up.
In 1950 Joe LaPlace was able to catch enough fish to
make a good living using just 12 traps. Now, the average
fisherman here sets more than 100 traps and doesn't
catch any more fish.
Figures on landings from Puerto Rico paint a bleak
picture of what is happening to fisheries in this region.
Numbers of fishermen increased by nearly 30% between
1931 and 1989, as has their ability to catch fish. The
increase may be due to the fact that they all used motorized
boats now, while just over 1% had them in 1931.
Nevertheless, catches actually FELL by one quarter over
the same period. The fishery is in dire straits.
There are other indications, as well as falling numbers
of fishes and declining catches, that all is not well. The
average sizes offish caught are becoming smaller, and in
many cases fish are caught well before they become old
enough to reproduce. Dr. Yvonne Sadovy reported recently
that more than 90% of red hind caught in Puerto Rico
Managing reef fisheries
Faced with these shocking figures, it is clear that the
fisheries need to be properly managed to sustain catches
over the long term. Management measures have been in
place for some time now, both here and in Puerto Rico.
A complex set of regulations have been put together
to attempt to allow stocks to recover from heavy
Enforcing these regulations can be very complex and
expensive. Not only that, but the regulations themselves
I V Proposed marine fishery reserve:
Virgin Islands: Marine Reserve System
can be confusing. Next year, Nassau grouper below 20"
will be illegal, and the year after that those below 21".
The conch regulations recently considered by the
Caribbean Fishery Management Council were so complex
that even the experts could not agree on what they meant.
Confusion is heaped upon confusion when you realize
rules applying to federal waters (greater than 3 miles
offshore in the U.S. Virgin Islands and greater than 10.38
miles offshore in Puerto Rico) do not necessarily apply to
territorial waters. Despite all these well-intentioned
measures, management on a species-by-species basis is
not producing the hoped-for results.
Why are Reef Fisheries so Difficult to Manage?
Why are these kinds of measures not working, when
similar kinds of restrictions have worked before for
fisheries such as those for herring or cod in the northern
Atlantic? The difference is that the fisheries of temperate
waters are rather simple, usually with only one or a few
species being caught at a time by one kind of fishing gear
at a time.
By contrast, reef fisheries are incredibly complex.
Characteristically, a wide range of species are caught
using many different methods, and each gear used is
capable of catching many different species. Applying
management measures to individual species is fraught
with difficulty because the rules which govern temperate
fisheries are violated for reef fisheries.
Take the example of the Nassau grouper. This species
becomes sexually mature at an age of about six years. By
this time it has grown quite large, much larger than most
other species which are commonly caught in these waters.
Things are complicated further because this species
changes sex, starting out as a female and becoming a
male later on if it lives long enough. To keep enough
males in the population to spawn with the females, it is
important that sufficient numbers of very large fish
The usual approach to managing a trap or net fishery
is to set the mesh size which will allow enough sexually
mature fish to escape to maintain the population. The
trouble is, there isn't a trap which catches only Nassau
groupers. The same kinds of traps catch a very wide range
of species. If you set the mesh size large enough to
manage the Nassau grouper fishery properly, you would
catch hardly anything else because the other fishes present
are typically smaller than Nassau grouper. This is the
crux of the problem. Different species require different
management methods, and some of those methods are
Is There a Better Way?
It is against this background that the idea of using
marine fishery reserves to manage fisheries was born.
The idea is tuo completely close off certain areas to
fishing. Such a system of reserves could have many
advantages over conventional management methods.
Some 21 separate benefits have been listed by the South-
East Fisheries Center in Florida. The most important
benefits are that they can:
1. Protect spawning stocks. This is especially important
for species which are very easily caught, such as Nassau
2. Provide a source of eggs and larvae to restock
3. Provide supplemental restocking of adjacent fishing
grounds through emigration of fishes. Increased catches
close to reserves will help to offset loss of fishing grounds
due to reserve establishment.
4. Provide some insurance against management failures
in fished areas. This is particularly pertinent to the
situation in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. If
you virtually wipe out a species outside a reserve, then at
least there will be some left inside to keep the species
5. Marine reserves are much simpler to understand
and enforce than other kinds of fishery regulations.
St. Thomas and St. John already have a system of
marine fishery reserves, but it is still only on paper.
Figure 1 shows the impressive system established
collaboratively between the fishermen of the Virgin Islands
and the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
This was approved by the Legislature but still awaits
the Governor's signature. To gain approval, the system
must be extended also to St. Croix, where fishermen still
must be persuaded that reserves will benefit them in the
Research on Marine Fishery Reserves at UVI
Marine fishery reserves have attracted an enormous
amount of interest throughout the world and studies into
how well they work are being undertaken all over the
tropics. In the Caribbean, the University of the Virgin
Islands and University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant are
leading the field. The United States Agency for
International Development recently approved a $100,000
grant for the Eastern Caribbean Center to study the
design and function of reserves in the Caribbean.
Unfortunately, to find working reserves, we must go to St.
Meanwhile, the University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant is
launching a 10-year Research Initiative on Marine Fishery
Reserves to study how best to establish them and what
their effects will be on local communities.
There is already an impressive amount of evidence
that fishery reserves will help restore the fishing grounds
of the Virgin Islands. While further research will improve
our understanding, the time is ripe to get the reserve
system enacted here. By the time scientists provide
unassailable evidence that reserves are a good thing, it
may be too late to save the fisheries of the Virgin Islands
and Puerto Rico.
ViV f'l ll 0
Vrirgin Islands Alumine Corporation
P.O. Box 1525, Kingshill, St. Croix, U.S.V.I. 00851
How to Manage Wastewater and Runoff
From Confined Animal Facilities
Jeffrey J. Schmidt
US Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service
USVI Field Office
Whether a farm is large or small, all operations have
common problems relating to confined animal facilities. In
the United States Virgin Islands two categories are the most
common and at the same time very different. The potential
for water quality problems exists with both large and small
In one category, there are less than a few dozen farms
with large enough systems (usually more than 75 head of
stock) to support controls or measures that are engineered,
designed and constructed, but which may require large sums
of monetary support. Most commonly, herds on these farms
are either dairy, beef, swine, sheep, goats or poultry.
On the other hand, there are virtually hundreds of small
operations of confined animals. The animals common in this
group are more of a mix than the preceding category. Again,
each situation is different, as are the problems. Five goats
can be more hazardous than 20 cows if the confinement
location is not appropriate.
Of course there are the herds that just roam, graze or
browse. Common to this group are horses and goats. It
should be noted that any animal can be a roamer, should
gates be left open or fences be in dire need of repair. Certain
animal types are common to an area in the Virgin Islands,
rather than the rule. In other words, these domesticated
animals do not roam from coast to coast in search of food or
forage, but stay in an area big enough to support the herd, and
do not venture from there.
This is commonly referred to as the land's "carrying
capacity." This refers more directly to the plants' ability to
survive grazing pressure. These roamers also can be
detrimental to humans, other livestock herds, and to
themselves as well.
Wastewater management problems often arise when
livestock are added to a farm without increasing the land
base. When land and animals are out of balance--that is, the
waste produced greatly exceeds the capacity of the land to
utilize the nutrients in the waste product--we find that water
quality problems begin to show.
Unfortunately, these problems can go unnoticed for a
long period of time. Some examples could be fish kills, odor,
drinking water contamination, or even bacteria-related
diseases spreading to humans. A common bacteria in these
cases is E-Coli.
Careful observation and common sense can often
determine whether a given farm practice is likely to cause the
quality of water to deteriorate or affect the environment. The
quality of water can be adversely affected if manure runs into
streams or guts as a result of land application, spillage.
storage overflow, or deliberate dumping. Increased bacterial
counts can indicate this has happened. Several illnesses can
be attributed to high bacteria counts in water systems.
Common are typhoid, hepatitis, bronchitis, and even urnary
infections, all of which can be fatal if not treated.
Increased nutrients such as nitrogen in the groundwater
can cause drinking water problems for water well users.
Nitrate poisoning is possible which can be serious, but more
so to infants.
More often than not, rainfall transports the w aste products
into the groundwater and/or across the soil surface. Nutrients
in manure applied to the soil at rates that exceed the soil's and
plants' ability to break down or uptake the nutrients, can
leach into groundwater or be carried off-site with runoff
water and eroded soil into the sea. This off-site transport is
often referred to as non-point source pollution.
The reasons for developing and maintaining a sound
wastewater management plan include: environmental benefits
to the public; economic benefits to the farmer: and compliance
with laws and regulations concerning environmental quality
Let us explore managing waste from a large animal
facility first to learn the general principles of waste
management or runoff control. The two are synonymous A
component of waste management is controlling runoff to and
from the confined facility.
A system to manage waste and runoff from a confined
animal facility must be developed using a total systems
approach. A total system accounts for all the waste associated
with an agricultural enterprise throughout the year. from
production to utilization, from extra feed to overflowing
watering tanks, from parlor flushing to excess bedding. and
from manure storage to application. In short, it is the
management of all the waste, all the time. all the NwaN
With this in mind, inventory all of the resources associated
with the agricultural enterprise. This list is not all inclusive
The accuracy of identifying the resources allo s more
functional alternatives to be developed. Some of the data can
be easily measured, such as the number of acres available to
spread waste. Other data may be less tangible, not easily
measured, but rather rely on personal discussions,
observations, or just plain common sense judgement.
Theinventory includes: type oflivestock, type ofoperation,
breed, size (number of stock, ages, weights, replacements),
feeding components, site location, bedding, present facility,
land availability, soils, topography, rainfall, geology, crops,.
labor availability, equipment availability, level of producer
management, adjacent land use, livestock travel routes,
confinement days, laws and regulations, utilities, landscape
resources, flexibility, expansion opportunities, and producer
Once a thorough investigation ofthe resources is complete,
arrange the information into six categories for interpretation
and evaluation. They are: 1) Production, 2) Collection, 3)
Storage, 4) Treatment, 5) Transfer, and 6) Utilization.
Alternatives can be selected that best fit the site conditions,
livestock operation, and the producer's objectives. When
selecting and considering alternatives, always keep in mind
that the purpose of managing animal wastewater is to not
detrimentally affect water quality or the environment.
Components of the previously mentioned categories are
more commonly known as "alternatives available to manage
wastewater and runoff." They include, but again are not
limited to: roof gutters, clean water diversions, dirty water
diversions, alley scrapers, flush alleys, ponds, tanks, dry
stack, lagoons, composters, solid separators, settling basins,
pipelines, hauling equipment, pumps, push-off ramps,
irrigation systems, spreaders, commercial sale, refeeding,
bedding, energy generation, and artificial wetland wastewater
treatment. This last alternative is excitingly new for the
Virgin Islands and may hold great promise because of our
shrinking agricultural land base.
In a smaller operation, all the principles of planning and
data collection are the same, but with a smaller land base and
less financial capital to build the same controls as needed in
a larger operation.
Some suggestions work for larger operations as well.
These happen to be virtually cost-free. The first thing that
can be done is to reduce the stock size. Prevent stock from
entering watering facilities, streams, ponds and diversions;
rotate pastures; rearrange feeding areas away from steep
slopes; create buffer strips; repair fencing; feed in bunks, not
Common-sense approaches can be found every day.
Animal waste management is not a one-day event, because
conditions are constantly changing in any farming or animal
Managing wastewater and runoff from confined animal
facilities has many available alternatives as well as many
problems. Because of the variety of alternatives, solutions,
conditions and situations that the management system must
incorporate, no one procedure can be followed to arrive at a
one-system design. One recommendation may be ideal for
one farm and completely inappropriate for another.
Alternatives are always available. Whether they are the ones
that fit your operation, or are feasible for you, may be a
completely different matter.
The most important thing is to recognize a problem, even
a potential problem, and to take positive steps to protect,
restore and improve the environment.
Basic measures in managing confined animal facilities.
Erosion and Soil Conservation
Julie A. Wright
Extension Specialist Natural Resources
UVI Cooperative Extension Service
Soil erosion is one of the most serious environmental
threats facing the Virgin Islands today. Excessive
sediment from construction sites, dirt roads and farmland
is one of the primary causes of water quality degradation
in the Virgin Islands. Because of the small size of our
islands, any activity that disturbs the soil can directly
affect our coastal waters, often within a very short time
period. All land is a potential source of eroding soil.
What is Erosion?
Water erosion is the loosening and removal of soil
particles from the land surface by raindrops or running
water. (Erosion can also be caused by wind, but that is not
a significant factor in the Virgin Islands.) Erosion is a
natural process; however, removal of vegetation from the
land surface during land clearing for development,
planting, or by grazing can dramatically increase the
volume of soil lost from the land surface.
The primary factors influencing the extent of erosion
are the amount and intensity of rainfall, soil
characteristics, the amount of vegetation present, and
Once soils begin to erode, then a corresponding
process, sedimentation, begins to occur. Sedimentation
is the deposition of eroded soil particles that are suspended
in storm water runoff onto flood plains and other low-
lying areas, or into guts, ponds and coastal waters.
Suspended sediment delivered by storm water runoff is
one of the most prevalent pollutants in Virgin Islands'
What are the Effects of Erosion?
A 1986 study of erosion rates on St. Thomas and St.
Croix estimated erosion from a disturbed dirt road site to
be 591 tons/acre/year (Wernicke, Seymour and Mangold,
1986). This is significantly greater than natural rates of
erosion that average 1-5 tons/acre/year. Both surface and
ground waters can be adversely affected.
Sediment deposition into coastal waters can have
many short- and long-term adverse impacts on salt pond
and coastal water ecosystems. These impacts include:
increased turbidity (or cloudiness), reduced light
penetration (which adversely affects coral and seagrass
growth), clogging of fish gills and filters, reduced
spawning and juvenile fish survival, and damage to
commercial and recreational fisheries (Schueler, 1987).
Heavy sediment deposition in coastal waters also smothers
seagrass communities and coral reefs, increases
sedimentation of channels and harbors (requiring more
frequent dredging), changes bottom composition, and
leads to loss of use for recreational purposes (such as
swimming and snorkeling). The primary cause of coral
reef degradation in coastal areas is attributed to land
disturbances and dredging activities due to urban
development (Rogers, 1990).
How Can I Tell if Erosion is Occurring
on My Land?
Although almost everyone recognizes a gully or
sediment deposits as a sign of erosion, not all erosion is
that easily recognized. Muddy water in a gut or drainage
ditch or on a driveway indicates erosion is occurring. Bi.t
it may be visible only for a short time following a
rainstorm. The damage will continue unless something
is done to stop it. Here are some other, even less obvious.
signs that erosion is occurring:
Bare spots on the lawn or property:
Tree roots showing above ground (although some
trees, like ficus, grow this way naturally):
Gullies beginning to show;
Built-up silt in depressions or low-lying areas:
Soil splashed on windows and outside walls:
Drainage or gut channels becoming wider and
Increase of fallen trees in guts.
Erosion can occur any place where water flows over
bare soil. For example, a site that has vegetation on it can
be eroding where grass and brush cover is thin, where
weeds with poor root systems grow, and where water flow
patterns prevent permanent forms of vegetation from
How Can I Conserve My Soil
by Preventing Erosion?
There are many simple soil conservation steps that
individual homeowners and farmers can use to help save
Leave as much native vegetation as possible on the
site when building or clearing.
Construct driveways and paths with gravel, crushed
stone, or brick rather than asphalt or concrete. This
will allow more rain to absorb into the ground.
Build terraces (using either stone or a bunch grass
like vetiver) on steep slopes to slow runoff and trap
Rotate livestock among pastures so that the land
does not become overgrazed (i.e., do not wait until
livestock denude a pasture of vegetation before
moving them to a new pasture).
Keep livestock out of streams and guts. Not only do
livestock pollute streams and guts by directly
depositing manure in them, they also cause erosion
by trampling the sides and bottoms of guts.
Seed newly graded areas immediately after earth
moving is complete, and mulch with cut grasses
(like Guinea grass) or wood chips until seedlings
Build driveways and roads along slope contours
rather than up and down the slope.
Plant crops along slope contours rather than up and
down the slope.
Plant erosion-resistant grasses or ground covers on
steep lopes and other eroding areas to hold the soil
Use erosion control matting or mulch to protect soil
from erosion until vegetation is established.
Plant ground covers in shaded areas where grass is
difficult to establish.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Undated. Soil
Conservation--Simple Ways to Save the Bay.
Rogers, C.S. 1990. Responses ofCoral Reefs and Reef
Organisms to Sedimentation, Marine Ecology
Progress Series, 62:185-202.
Schueler, T.R. 1987, Controlling Urban Runoff A
PracticalManualfor Planning andDesigning Urban
BMPs. Metropolitan Washington Council of
Governments, Publication Number 87703,
Wernicke, W., A. Seymour, and R. Mangold. 1986.
Sediment Study in the St. Thomas, St. Croix, Areas
of the United States Virgin Islands. Donald E.
Hamlin Consulting Engineers for the Virgin Islands
Department of Conservation and Cultural Affairs,
St. Thomas, USVI.
Esso S & S Service Center
Backhoe & Towing Service
772-1007 772-3364 771-0044
Francis Laurancen P.O. 6745 Sunny Isle
Manager St. Croix, U.S.V.I. 00823
Sustainable Agriculture in the Virgin Islands
Louis E. Petersen, Jr., Ph.D.
District Supervisor, St. Thomas/St. John
UVI Cooperative Extension Service
According to the Food, Agriculture, Conservation
and Trade Act of 1990, sustainable agriculture is an
integrated system of plant and animal production practices
having a site-specific application that will, over the long-
term, satisfy human food and fiber needs; enhance
environmental quality and the natural resource base
upon which the agricultural economy depends; make the
most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-
farm/ranch resources and integrate, where appropriate,
natural biological cycles and controls; sustain the
economic viability of farm/ranch operations; and enhance
the quality of life for farmers/ranchers and society as a
Simply stated, sustainable agriculture refers to
agricultural systems that are designed to be productive
while being ecologically sound, economically viable,
sociallyjust and humane. These systems are comprised of
practices such as composting, intercropping, multiple
cropping, crop rotation, terracing, diligent record-
keeping, appropriate varietal selection, and the use of
While some of these methods and technologies may be
new to farmers and home gardeners in the Virgin Islands,
many have long been in use as a consequence of tradition
Terracing refers to the construction of earth
embankments, channels, or combinations of both across
the slope of the land. This has been practiced for hundreds
of years in the Virgin Islands, especially on St. Thomas
and St. John, where the terrain is hilly and often very
steep. The most common type of terrace constructed by
local farmers uses rocks to contain and stabilize the soil.
This makes good use of the many available rocks which
characterize our soils. Terracing reduces soil erosion and
runoff as well as creates a more manageable working area
for the farmer as the area is leveled.
Another practice which helps to conserve our natural
resources is mulching. This involves the use of synthetic
or organic materials such as straw, grass cuttings, leaves.
manure, wood chips, plastic or woven fabric to cover the
ground surface around plants to conserve soil moisture
and control the growth of weeds.
Mulched plants need water less frequently than non-
mulched plants. Mulching also reduces runoff and soil
erosion because the materials used provide a protective
covering for the soil. Organic materials such as manure
and grass cuttings are more commonly used in the Virgin
Islands rather than synthetic ones. Organic mulch
materials gradually decompose and enhance soil structure
and fertility. On the other hand, synthetic options such as
plastic are more durable and can last from one planting
season to the next.
Biodegradable plastics have been developed and have
great potential usage for Virgin Island farmers who avoid
the use of conventional grades of plastic.
The importance of proper varietal selection of crop
types is often underestimated by farmers and home
gardeners in the Virgin Islands. By choosing the
Pro"f leTerrace for
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appropriate varieties of fruits or vegetables in production
systems, lower inputs of pesticides, fertilizers and even
water may be necessary. Modern varieties which are
tolerant to diseases, insects, existing soil conditions and
drought should be used whenever available.
Crop rotation refers to a system of planting crops in a
compatible and complementary manner to prevent the
potential buildup of pest populations on a given farm site.
It is well known that the potential for disease and insect
problems (especially soilborne problems) increases when
the same or similar crops are grown successively on the
Crop rotation relies on the diversity between plant
types to interfere with the natural life cycle of insects and
disease-causing organisms. Consequently, the quantities
of pesticides used for crop production can potentially be
reduced and, therefore, their environmental impact.
In addition, when the same or similar crops are
repeatedly grown on the same plot of land, soil fertility
levels decline due to the constant demand for the same
quality and quantity of nutrients. This usually leads to
unnecessary applications of fertilizer to restore soil
fertility. Crop rotation uses plants which are appreciably
different so that soil nutrient reserves are not exhausted,
resulting in "tired soils."
Similarly, the practice of intercropping is based on
the principle that similar plant types attract similar pest
problems while a diversified population of plants guards
against this. Hence, intercropping involves the growing
of two or more totally different species together in the
same field. As with crop rotation, to reduce the potential
of a pest outbreak is to reduce the potential environmental
impact of pesticides.
Practically all farmers and home gardeners in the
Virgin Islands traditionally practice intercropping due to
the unavailability of another very limited and expensive
resource--land. Farmers and gardeners must use their
land prudently in order to get as much production as
possible from small acreages.
Another important practice which needs more attention
on the part of Virgin Island farmers is record-keeping.
Good record-keeping (in conjunction with soil testing)
can help farmers decide if, for example, a fertilizer
application is necessary. Fertilizer applications often are
made at random without considering the date of the last
application or the current fertility status of the plot in
question. This can result in unnecessary applications of
fertilizers which, in turn, can eventually contaminate our
A good record-keeping system also documents a crop
history (i.e. the sequence in which crops have been
planted on a farm site). Such information can facilitate an
effective crop rotation system which, as was mentioned
previously, is a pest control measure and which prevents
the exhaustion of soil reserves.
Fresh water is quantitatively a very limited natural
resource in the Virgin Islands. Therefore, measures must
be taken to make the most efficient use of this precious
Many producers in the Virgin Islands still supply
water to their crops by means of the "conventional" hose
or a bucket. Besides causing mechanical damage to
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2. Fertilizer (1 cup/layer)
3. Leaves, manure, etc.
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plants, this system makes wasteful and inefficient usage
of water. Most of the applied water never reaches the
plants for which it was intended, and instead contributes
to runoff, erosion and sedimentation of soil particles.
On the other hand, drip irrigation technology is
strongly advocated for use in crop production because
water use efficiency is maximized. This is accomplished
by gradually supplying plants with small amounts of
water in a dripping manner through tubes for periods of
time. This ensures maximum uptake and utilization of
the water by plants, and there is no resultant runoff, soil
erosion or sedimentation. The use of drip irrigation
systems as a production practice is gradually becoming
more commonplace among Virgin Island farmers.
Composting is the practice of managing the
decomposition of organic matter such as plant or animal
residue or waste which results in a rich humus material
which can be used as a fertilizer, mulch or to improve soil
structure. Composting, therefore, represents a means of
recycling the otherwise refuse by-products of agricultural
activity and reincorporating these organic materials into
continued agricultural production systems.
The concept of a properly managed, scientific system
of organic matter decomposition is relatively new to crop
producers in the Virgin Islands, but should be strongly
Although the examples given herein are from the
perspective of crop production, sustainable agriculture is
also practiced in livestock production. For example, poor
record-keeping in pasture management can result in
overgrazing and thus, poor management of animal manure
and soil erosion.
Sustainable agriculture represents one of many
initiatives to address the issue of environmental
preservation. With the assistance of the agricultural
agencies of the Virgin Islands, our farmers can also make
significant contributions toward the conservation of our
natural resources to ensure tomorrow's food production.
Documentation of Medicinal Plant Use in the USVI
Extension Agent Natural Resources
UVI Cooperative Extension Service
Until the recent past, much of the information about
medicinal plant use in the USVI was effectively
communicated verbally or by example from one generation
to the next. According to many native Virgin Islanders,
these traditional methods of communication are no longer
common, and much of this information may already have
been lost with the passing of those who possessed this
The preservation of what remains of this information
concerning traditional plant use is important to
researchers, physicians, pharmacologists and
ethnobotanists who are searching for natural products
derived from plants which may be effective against
health disorders. Researchers and others document
traditional medicinal plant usage by interviewing
knowledgeable informants (oral history techniques) and
making collections of plants herbariumm techniques).
These methods of documenting medicinal plant use
may also be of value to Virgin Islanders who are in
danger of losing information about how plants were used
and their associated traditional values. Since 1991, the
University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), through the
Eastern Caribbean Center (ECC) and the Cooperative
Extension Service (CES), has been engaged in a project
to broaden the existing information base regarding the
use of plants for medicinal purposes in the USVI.
As part of this ongoing project, ECC and CES staff, as
well as UVI students, have been interviewing Virgin
Islanders who are knowledgeable about medicinal plants.
Medicinal plant specimens collected by staff, students
and the interviewees are being added to the diagnostic
herbarium housed at CES (UVI, St. Thomas campus).
Information on traditional plant usage derived from
interviews will be presented in fact sheets and an ECC-
Learning about plants in the traditional way seemed
to be associated with development of values such as
responsibility, self-discipline, self-sufficiency, respect
for others and the environment. Excerpts from some of
these interviews will be featured throughout the remainder
of this article. It is the author's feeling that much of this
information is best communicated in the actual words of
the interviewees recorded in transcripts.
Those who were interviewed expressed similar
remembrances of the ways information was passed on to
them. One interviewee in St. Thomas, commercial dress
designer Idrena Millin Henderson, was asked how old
she was when she started learning about plants. She
responded that learning about plants was a natural part
of growing up:
"You soak it in, they didn't just teach us. ... If you
know a sickness somebody have, they tell you go get this
or go get that. They tell you what bush to get and so ...
or how many to get of what, go bring. ... You 're a child:
you never forget .. because you know, the thought of
death, itjars you. . It does something to your memory
that you would forgett because you have to try to save
that life. You can 't afford to see a life go, and you could
have saved it ... Therefore, it's an experience, itjust get
in the brain and it stays in there. It records it. and it 's
back in there, somewhere in there . When the time
come, this thing just thrown so, in front of you. ... I was
15 years old. I had to learn how to care for the sick. "
When interviewed, Olivia H. Henry of St. Croix.
author of a CES publication, Bush Teas of St. Croi.
(1983), recalled how she and other children learned
about using plants: "Mother is cooking on her little wood
fire. She says, 'Go over there. Go pick apiece of that, and
bring it to me. When my grandmother had us in the
kitchen, we couldn't talk. We had to keep our mouths
shut. We had to concentrate on what we were doing. "
Also present at the interview with Ms. Henry was
experienced herbalist Cleopha Bennett Brady. Ms. Brad',
also remembered learning about plants as a child when
her grandfather made the gathering of herbs a priority.
Ms. Brady described how her grandfather and other "old
people "instructed her when she came home from school:
"'Go and get the hand weight. I want you to go to the
land, and I want you to bring this herb and that herb. '
Then after we have done that, they will tell us, 'Sit down
now and do your homework, and then you can tell me
what happened at school today. We have forgotten that.
. My ancestors never wrote books. They passed it on. "
Ms. Brady feels that the "hands on" learning experience
is more valuable than just written information,.
Ms. Henderson learned about plants from her great-
grandmother, who was brought to St. Thomas from West
Africa as a slave; she lived well over 100 years. When
asked if her great-grandmother ever talked about
medicinal plants that she had known in Africa, Ms.
Henderson responded: "No, they never talked about
these things. The slave-masters wanted them to forget
African culture altogether, and they introduced them to
these other things. But something they never forget.. .
the weeds is the same; they 're tropical and they're the
same thing. Most all the weeds.., they know the use of
them because that's what medicine they had when they
came over here. . These things are growing wild all
about. They 're native to the place; so they used them. "
Interviewees generally acknowledged the primary
importance of the Afro-Caribbean influence in the
development of local traditional plant usage. The
influences of the Caribbean Indians and the Europeans
were also recognized. Joseph LaPlace, retired Master
Fisherman with the Virgin Islands Division of Fish and
Wildlife and member of the St. Thomas French
community, learned about local medicinal plants mainly
from his grandmother. He claimed that the French
residents, who have maintained a long tradition of using
local medicinal plants, originally learned how to use
them from the African slaves. According to Ms.
Henderson, when the French settled on St. Thomas, they
cultivated and marketed the "bush" to meet the needs of
the African population.
Several interviewees suggested that, during slavery
and after emancipation, much of the local population was
forced to be self-sufficient, depending upon local plants
for medicinal and other basic needs. For example, Ms.
Henderson recalled: "When I was born [ca. 1915], and
just before, when my father was growing up. . They
couldn't buy toothpaste .... A man had to work for 35
cents a day! A woman worked for 10 cents a day!" Her
father used maran bush (Croton sp.), which grew near
the estate where he lived, as a tooth cleanser. "You take
the young part, the end. You rub it up, and you do your
teeth, 'round and 'round. The tartar, it takes it all out. It
doesn't permit it to grow. ... It helps the gums."
Ms. Henderson described another former common
"day to day" use of the popular plant, sweet scent
(Pluchea symphytifolia), as a deodorant. "When I was a
kid, a girl, I simply bathed with this in cold water (with
the addition of sweet scent tea)for 10-15 minutes .. "
Or, she said, "You rub fresh leaves up in the water."
Felicia Cains Martin of St. John was interviewed by
her granddaughter Donna Roberts, project participant
from Virgin Islands Environmental Research Station
(VIERS-ECC). Ms. Martin also recommended the use of
sweet scent for removing underarm odor by rubbing five
or seven fresh leaves on underarms or bathing in cooled
liquid in which 11 leaves have been boiled. (Several
interviewees commented on the tradition of using odd
numbers of leaves in medicinal preparations.)
Interviewees stressed the importance of plants used
during childbirth under conditions that demanded self-
sufficiency. Ms. Henderson recalled: "All babies were
born at home. The hospital didn't birth babies until
someplace around 1939-40, andwe didn 't have midwives
attending babies. But we were all attended to, and my
mother was taken care of by my father. "
Ms. Henderson identified the now locally rare plant of
the moist forest, mother bush (Lepianthes peltatum). as
one of the plants used during childbirth when she was a
young girl. According to Ms. Henderson, its method of
use was kept secret by the women, and unfortunately its
use was not passed on to her. She believes that it was used
in some way to assist with the delivery.
After the births of her 10 children, Louise Sewer of
East End, St. John, used a traditional bush bath consisting
of an odd number (usually five) of plants such as
turpentine bush (Bursera simaruba), bay leaf (Pimenta
racemosa), cotton bush (Gossypium barbadense) and
worrywine (Stachytarphetajamaicensis). According to
Ms. Sewer: "When a mother gives birth to a baby in those
days, eight days after, they have to have a bush bath...
. You put them [plants] in a brass pot. Cool them down.
. They claimed that used to strengthen you. Other
interviewees mentioned the importance of bush baths to
bathe both the mother and the newborn baby.
The declining numbers or disappearance of
traditionally used plants was cause for concern amongst
all interviewees involved in this project. Ms. Henry
noted: A lot of things I used to see around, I don 't see
anymore. For instance, Ms. Brady observed that people
cut back valuable plants like the native soapy-soapy
(Anredera leptostachys) traditionally used to soothe
children's skin rashes. Apparently the soapy-soapy has
not recovered in the areas where it was cleaned out on St.
Croix. According to Ms. Brady: "It's (soapy-soapy) very
good, but it's very sensitive. Once you start cutting her,
you are saying to her that you don't need her anymore,
and she doesn't show back up.
Ms. Henderson is saddened that the earlier mentioned
mother bush is disappearing along with its native habitat,
the subtropical moist forest. She explained: "The place
where this was growing was mostly spring land. The
spring used to be there, but this spring takes a lower level
under ground once you take the bushes, the trees that
used to keep the place cool because the roots ofthe plants
are drawing the water upward ... Ifyou cut them down,
these things (mother bush) are not liable to grow
Along with the loss of plants, the loss of details about
how medicinal plants have been traditionally used is
acknowledged by all interviewees who feel that they
don't know as much a their ancestors.
Ms. Martin's detailed recipes are probably closer to
those of the past. Her instructions for using soursop
(Annona muricata) for cooling the body and for prickly
heat include specific notes on what part and at what stage
it should be gathered ("the fruit.. when it'sfull, set in
a dark place to ripen. "), preparation ("Remove seeds
from pulp with a fork. Add a little salt, lime and brown
sugar and whisk with a fork with enough water to create
a drink. "), and dosage ("one glassful before bed, twice a
Interviewees stressed the need to preserve what is left
of the traditional information base. Ms. Brady expressed
one view of why this information is being lost. "We do not
take into consideration our old folks here that have died
with their knowledge, and do you know why? They were
In addition, Ms. Henderson cautioned, "All this
knowledge will be gone, and we will have nobody to teach
us anything. This age people with the traditional
knowledge have almost died out. .. We have to identify
these things anywhere they're growing. Something should
be done to preserve the medicinal plants.... They should
be protected. Look man; spare that tree! Touch not a
single bough. For you [the tree] have protected me!"
Brady, Cleopha Bennett and Olivia H. Henry. 1992.
Audio tapes and transcripts of a personal interview
on St. Croix by Toni Thomas. University of the
Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service, St.
Henderson, Idrena. 1993. Audio tapes and transcripts
of a personal interview on St. Thomas by Toni
Thomas. University of the Virgin Islands
Cooperative Extension Service, St. Thomas, USVI.
LaPlace, Joseph, 1991. Transcript of a personal
interview on St. Thomas by Toni Thomas and
Elizabeth Righter. University of the Virgin Islands
Cooperative Extension Service, St. Thomas, USVI.
Martin, Felicia Cains. 1992. Transcript of a personal
interview on St. John by Donna Roberts. University
ofthe Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands Environmental
Research State, St. John, USVI.
Ragster, LaVerne E. and Simone L. Heyliger. 1988.
The Role of Plants in Medicine in the U.S. Virgin
Islands. Presentation to the Caribbean Studies
Association Conference in Guadeloupe.
Sewer, Louis. 1993. Transcript of a personal interview
on St. Thomas by Toni Thomas. University of the
Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service, St.
Nitrogen Fixation--A Natural Source
of Nitrogen Fertilizer
Research Specialist Forestry
UVI Agricultural Experiment Station
Nitrogen is one of the most important elements for all
life on earth. In both plants and animals it is an essential
nutrient required for good growth and development and
one of the building blocks of cells. In agricultural
production, nitrogen is often the limiting factor that
causes poor crop growth and low harvests of many fruits,
grains and vegetables.
It is ironic that while nitrogen is all around us, very
little is actually available for us to use. Nitrogen is one of
the most abundant elements on earth. In fact, the air we
breathe is almost 80% nitrogen!
Unfortunately, neither plants nor animals can make
use of nitrogen in its elemental form (N ). Thus, while
nitrogen is avery abundant element, the quantity available
for use by plants, and subsequently by animals, is actually
very limited. In the soil, nitrogen is taken up by plant
roots in one of two forms, either as ammonium (NH4) or
as nitrate (NO,). The quantities of naturally occurring
ammonium and/or nitrate in the soil are relatively small
and come mainly from three sources: 1) breakdown of
rocks and minerals containing nitrogen, 2) atmospheric
nitrogen deposited in the soil by rainfall, and 3) nitrogen
Nitrogen fixation is the process by which nitrogen in the
air is combined, or "fixed," with hydrogen or oxygen by
microorganisms to make another form of nitrogen--
ammonia (NH3). Certain specialized microorganisms
have the ability to convert elemental nitrogen to ammonia.
These microorganisms can transfer nitrogen directly to
plants or release the nitrogen to the soil when they die and
decompose. Nitrogen fixation is the largest source of
nitrogen for plant growth in many ecosystems. Scientists
have calculated that total nitrogen fixation contributes
approximately 110 million tons of nitrogen per year to
The Role of Legumes in Nitrogen Fixation
Although there are many different soil microorganisms
that can "fix" nitrogen, the most widely known is a class
of soil bacteria called rhizobium. To fix nitrogen, the
bacteria rhizobium forms an association with a group of
plants called legumes, one of the largest plant families.
Pigeon pea, kidney bean, peanut, soybean, tan-tan,
flamboyant, tamarind and tibet are all legumes. The
rhizobia living in the soil invade the roots of legume
plants and form nodules on the roots. The rhizobia inside
the nodules then can convert nitrogen gas to ammonia,
some of which is used by the plant for growth. Because of
its increased growth, the plant can convert more carbon
dioxide (CO,) from the air to carbon through
photosynthesis. Some of this carbon is transferred to the
rhizobia for use as an energy source. Thus, the association
between the rhizobium and the legume is beneficial for
both organisms. Such a mutually beneficial relationship
is called a symbiosis.
Why is the legume-rhizobium symbiosis important to
us? Nitrogen fixation, as a result of the legume-rhizobium
association, is one of the largest suppliers of nitrogen to
ecosystems. Without this input of nitrogen, many of our
natural systems, such as forests and grasslands, would
slowly decline for lack of nitrogen. Humans and animals
depend on nitrogen fixation, either directly or indirectly,
to supply much of their protein needs. Nitrogen fixation
is also very important to agriculture. Many legume-based
cropping systems rely on nitrogen fixation to supply a
portion of their nitrogen fertilizer requirements.
Taking Advantage of Nitrogen Fixation
We can take advantage of nitrogen fixation in three
important ways. By eating the seeds of leguminous plants,
we can utilize the nitrogen directly in the form ofproteins-
-essential building blocks for human growth and
development. Many of us already benefit from this when
we eat pigeon peas, beans, peanut butter, lentils, soy milk
or tofu. We also utilize nitrogen fixation when we feed
protein-rich forages to livestock. Animals also require
protein for growth. By including legumes in pastures for
grazing or by feeding livestock fodder high in nitrogen,
we help to improve their production of meat and milk.
Finally, we can use legumes as a source of nitrogen
fertilizer for our crops.
The use of legumes as a source of nitrogen for fertilizer
is an age-old agricultural practice; but it is one that has
received new attention recently with the increased interest
in low input, sustainable agriculture. There are a number
of ways to integrate legumes into agriculture in order to
benefit from their nitrogen fixing ability. These include
green manures, intercropping and crop rotations.
Plants that are added to the soil to supply nutrients are
called green manures. Green manures are organic, low-
cost, beneficial for the soil and decrease our dependence
on imported chemical fertilizers.
Although any plant can be used as a green manure,
legumes are especially beneficial because they have a
high nitrogen content and break down quickly in the soil,
thus making the nitrogen readily available to the crop.
Green manures are chopped up and incorporated into the
soil before planting a crop.
Green manures can also be used as mulch around
plants. As a mulch they will contribute nitrogen to the
crop and at the same time reduce water loss and weed
growth. Leguminous trees are a good source of green
manure since they produce so much green, leafy material.
Trees such as tan-tan, tibet or madreado (Gliricidia
sepium), can be planted around the edges of a field to
serve as wind breaks or living fences and pruned
occasionally for green manure. Trees can also be planted
in rows in the field with the areas between the tree rows
used for growing crops. The trees are cut prior to planting
the crop and their prunings used as green manure.
Interplanting legumes with other crops is another way
to take advantage of legumes' nitrogen fixing ability. As
a plant grows, it is constantly producing new parts and
casting off old ones. Root turnover--the process of growing
new roots and shedding old roots--happens continuously
and is an important way nitrogen is transferred from
legumes to other plants. There also is direct transfer of
nitrogen from one plant to another when roots come in
contact with each other.
Interplanting can take many forms. Rows of
leguminous plants such as pigeon pea or cow pea can be
alternated with rows of grains or vegetables. Beans can
be planted at the base of corn plants and allowed to climb
the corn stalks. Or legumes can be planted around other
crops to act as "nurse crops," such as leguminous trees
around a fruit tree.
Another form of Interplanting is to use legumes as a
cover crop or "living mulch." A living mulch is a low-
growing or spreading legume that is planted over an
entire field. Just enough space is cleared in the mulch to
allow planting the individual crop plants. The living
mulch supplies nitrogen to the crop plants and reduces
weed growth. Living mulches are especially useful in
In many pastures it is common to have legumes
interplanted with grasses. Forage legumes supply nitrogen
to the grasses and also are a protein source for livestock.
In legume-grass pastures it is important not to allow
overgrazing because livestock will selectively graze
legumes and eventually eliminate them from the pasture.
The final method to take advantage of legumes in
agriculture is crop rotation. Instead of growing the same
crop continuously in a field, a rotation is used that
includes a legume. A farm plot or garden might be
divided into three or four sections with a different crop
grown in each section. The crops are rotated from section
to section each year or growing season. If a legume crop
is included in the rotation, the legume will add nitrogen
to the soil that can be utilized by the next crop.
A variation of crop rotation is fallowing. Every three
or four years a farm field is allowed to "rest" or is left
uncultivated (fallow) in order to accumulate nutrients
and break to cycle of weeds and pest outbreaks.
In enrichment fallows, a green manure crop is planted
in the fallow field and plowed into the soil instead of
harvesting the crop. This practice greatly increases the
amount of nutrients (especially nitrogen) accumulated
during the fallow. By plowing the legume back into the
field the nutrients are available for the next crop to use.
Although using legumes in agriculture is a good
practice, there are drawbacks. Green manuring is a
labor-intensive process. Green manures need to be
chopped and tilled or hoed into the soil, or spread on the
ground as a mulch. If trees are used as green manures
they must be pruned and green material stripped from the
Often the green manures must be carried to the farm
plot from another site. If grown on the farm, they may
take up valuable planting space. Large amounts must be
used to equal a given amount of chemical fertilizer.
Legumes used as intercrops may also compete with other
crop plants for water, nutrients, sunlight and space. For
the most part, these disadvantages are far outweighed by
reduced feed and fertilizer costs and improved soil
Because of the importance nitrogen has to all living
things, nitrogen fixation is one of the most significant
processes in nature. An understanding of the legume-
rhizobium symbiosis and the role it plays in nitrogen
fixation can be advantageous to the farmer. By
incorporating legumes in cropping systems and increasing
the use of green manures, we can make use of a free
source of nitrogen fertilizer, decrease commercial
fertilizer costs, improve our soils and begin to farm on a
more sustainable basis.
Norris Benjamin, Sr.
Norris Benjamin, Jr.
Centerline Cash & Carry
PH.: (809) 772-2260
FAX: (809) 772-4811
2B Mt. Pleasant
Frederiksted, St. Croix
Antillean Treasure St. Croix's Salt River
St. Croix Environmental Association
To find a precious jewel nestled on St. Croix's north
shore is surely an event worthy of note. And that is
exactly what has been occurring for many 20th century
"explorers" during the past three years. Almost 2,000 of
them have "discovered" the historical and environmental
wonders which comprise the Salt River basin.
Who are these adventurous "explorers?" They are
students, most of whom attend St. Croix public schools,
although some have come from St. Thomas.
Why don't you join us for a typical field trip around
Salt River and learn just why it is considered such a
treasure, with so many facets intermeshing to make a
harmonious continuum between land and sea?
First we go to Columbus Look-Out on a hilltop in
Judith's Fancy. Here we have a breathtaking view of the
scenery around the bay, with Blue Mountain and Mount
Eagle looming in the west; below are the Concordia hills
which also serve as a major source of Salt River's
headwaters, mostly in the rainy season.
To the north is the bay mouth near Columbus beach
where the first exploring party stopped for water 500
years ago; beyond that is where Columbus' fleet of 17
vessels was anchored. The promontory jutting into the
sea was named Cabo des Flechas (Cape of the Arrows)
by Columbus because it was there that the first recorded
skirmish or conflict occurred between Europeans and
indigenous peoples of the New World.
Let us drive now to the actual Salt River, which runs
parallel to the North Shore Road until it meanders across
a large flood plain. This flat area is filled with hundreds
of huge land crab holes that help absorb sudden flood
waters, thus protecting the bay and reefs beyond.
It is here that the giant swamp ferns grow and great
looping vines criss-cross the river until it empties among
the black and red mangroves leading into Sugar Bay.
Here also you will find ancient fossils of clams and snails
and warblers during fall and spring.
If we are lucky we might catch a ride with one of the
dive captains at the marina who will take us through the
mangroves so we can have a close-up look at sponges,
spiders, tiny snails and oysters, all clinging to the
mangrove prop roots. One of the Caribbean's largest
rookeries was in the tree tops of the most seaward of the
large red mangroves prior to Hurricane Hugo. Now, most
of the remaining birds nest near the marina. These
include occasional white-crowned and scaly-naped
pigeons, various egrets and herons; we might even hear
the "kuk-kuk-kuk" of the mangrove cuckoo.
Crossing the turtle and eelgrass beds of the shallow
middle bay, we tell our "explorers" about this important
"grazing" area for conch, shrimp, crab andyoung lobster.
Out beyond the bay mouth we can see the surf breaking
and we point out where once Aquarius, the underwater
human habitat, lay anchored 60 feet down. It served as a
marine research home for aquanauts who studied the
many fish living there.
Our boat now heads closer to the eastern shore of Salt
River Bay near Crescent Beach and we disembark briefly
to explore the rocky shoreline where the endangered
Least terns lay their eggs among the coral rubble. Several
of the tiny, white fork-tailed seabirds swoop and swirl,
all the while emitting tinkling cries, and we maintain a
respectful distance from their nesting site which is not
far from hawksbill turtle nests. Further inland, on a
grassy sward, is the burial ground of Salt River's first
residents--Tainos and Caribs--who lived in a village
across the bay.
We board our boat once more for our return to the
marina, first heading south into Triton Bay. It is late
afternoon now and time for a quick look at the small
bluntheaded sharks as they come swirling through the
water in search of running sprat.
As we sit watching this hunting foray, we suddenly
detect movement on the grass bank of the adjacent Nature
Conservancy Wildlife Preserve. The bushes part and
staring at us intently are a full-sized doe, a two-point
buck and small speckled pre-yearling. We know this
sanctuary is home to many deer families. With a flit of
white tails and a quick leap, they disappear into the bush.
Our captain heads west now, into the brilliant sunset--a
perfect climax to our field trip to explore St. Croix's
sparkling jewel called Salt River.
Vegetative, Erosion and Sedimentation
Dale E. R. Morton
Extension Agent Agriculture & Natural Resources
UVI Cooperative Extension Service
Soil--this isthe medium in whichplants grow and obtain
most of their nutrients. The soils in the Virgin Islands are
varied in nutrient content, pH. etc. Because the Virgin
Islands are hilly and small in size, soil is easily lost from the
land to the sea by means of erosion.
Erosion is the loss of soil from an area by the forces of
wind and water. Sedimentation refers to the transport and
deposit of soil particles due to erosion. Because soil is
formed very slowly over many decades and can be lost
overnight, it is imperative to do all within our means to
conserve and protect this limited resource. Therefore, some
type of soil conservation practice should be implemented.
Erosion and soil formation take place all the time. It is
when erosion occurs at an accelerated rate, producing large
quantities of sediment, that we usually express concern. The
loss of soil from croplands, homesites, construction areas,
etc., is hazardous to marine life and costly to those who have
to pay for the removal of sediment from public places.
The cost and environmental impact of soil erosion can
be greatly reduced by using vegetative control measures.
Once vegetation is established, the roots hold the soil in
place and the canopy of the plant protects the soil from the
force of the rain and reduces the velocity of the wind. It is
very important to remember to avoid leaving soil exposed
for an extended period of time. When it is absolutely
necessary to remove vegetation, make sure the smallest
possible area is disturbed.
There are several ways to use vegetation to control soil
erosion--establishment of lawns, grasslands and pasture,
contour farming, grass terraces and windbreaks. In selecting
which option is best for a particular situation, consideration
should be given to slope, soil type and maintenance, and
Many Virgin Islanders use grasses to make lawns.
When choosing the type of grass, consider the fertility of the
soil, the availability of water and the slope of land. Once
selection is made, establishment can be by seed, sprig, plugs
or sod. The latter two are not very common here.
To establish the lawn one can broadcast the seed and
mulch the area. The University of the Virgin Islands
Extension Service booklet, "Virgin Islands Home Lawns,"
provides more information on selection of grasses for
Ground covers such as ground orchid or air plant
(Catopsis morreniana), oyster plant (Rhoeo bicolor),
wandering Jew (Zebrina pendula), and wedelia (Wedelia
triobata) are sometimes used in those areas where the slopes
are too steep for the establishment of lawns. Ground covers
also have to be selected based on the soil condition, the effect
desired, and the availability of water.
The beach morning glory (pomoea pes-caprae) is an
excellent choice to control erosion on or near costal areas..
All of these ground covers have to be dense to provide the
best erosion and sediment control. Therefore, close planting
and fertilization are recommended to hasten the thickening
and to prevent the formation of gullies.
The practice of planting vegetation on the contour of
hills should be encouraged. Another vegetative practice is
grass terracing. The grass, khus khus (Vetiveriazizanioides),
is planted on the contour in strips. As a result, the flow of
water is reduce; the sediments become trapped behind it.
The areas in between are then cultivated and have the
advantage of better water infiltration and percolation. This
practice is not commonly implemented here, but I think it
is one to be advocated in agricultural areas; it would be less
labor intensive compared with the rock terraces which are
more commonly used in the V.I.
Another means of erosion and sedimentation control is
the use of windbreaks. Inmany Caribbean islands, Australian
pine (Casuarina equisetifolia) is planted in windbreaks
along the coastlines. These reduce the force of the wind.
thereby reducing erosion. The trees' needles and cones
drop, covering the soil and protecting it from further
erosion. Hedges of tan tan (Leucaena glauca) can also be
used to make windbreaks in areas further inland.
Finally, the best and easiest means to control soil erosion
is by allowing areas to remain established in their natural
vegetation. These plants are usually well adapted to the area
and generally thrive. They maintain a good level of erosion
control because the canopy and leaf litter which protect the
soil from the impact of the rain and reduce the velocity of the
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Farm Family of the Year
Mr. and Mrs. Ickford Benjamin received the Farm Family of the Year Award at the 1993 Agriculture and Food Fair.
Presenting the award to Mr. Benjamin for his years of dedication and commitment to farming in the Virgin Islands were
Lieutenant Governor DerekM. Hodge and Dr. Darshan Padda, (left).
UNIVERSITY O~ THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
ST. C Ci.!
The V.I. Department of
Economic Development and Agriculture
The University of the Virgin Islands
Cooperative Extension Service
Agricultural Experiment Station