Browsing Category: Agriculture

Gardening Tips: How to Learn Your Garden’s Soil Type

Whether you’re a farmer planting miles of crops or you’re looking to start a small garden in your backyard, one of the first steps is learning what kind of soil you’ll be planting in. The three main types of soil are sand, silt, and clay. Each holds nutrients and water differently. To give your garden the best chance to flourish, try this trick to determine your soil type:

After your soil has settled to the bottom of your water bottle, you’ll know what percentage of your soil is sand, silt, and clay. Just like Convoy of Hope Agriculture participants, you can use this information to learn which things will grow and thrive best in your region.

SAND

Soil with a lot of sand can drain water more efficiently than other soil types, which can lead to the loss of nutrients. This also means the soil will warm faster in the spring. Sandy soil is best for growing vegetable root crops like carrots and potatoes, and bulbs like tulips and sun roses. Other crops that are good with this soil type include:

  • Lettuce
  • Collard greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries

SILT

Silty soil drains well but retains more water than sandy soil. This soil type is great for shrubs, climbers, grasses, and perennials. Trees, vegetables, and fruits that love moisture can also do well in silty soil, but make sure they have adequate drainage. Other crops that are good to plant in this soil type include:

  • Blackberries
  • Beach roses
  • Raspberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Hops
  • Grapes
  • Rye
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Ginger
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

CLAY

Clay soil holds the most water, which means it will also be the slowest to warm when spring arrives. Like silty soil, clay soil works great for perennials and shrubs. This soil also works well for summer crop vegetables like corn and ornamental trees, such as lavender, cacti, and cherry blossoms. Other crops that are good with this soil type include:

  • Aster
  • Flowering quince
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Grapes 
  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Peaches

For more information on determining your soil type, click here to download a resource from Virginia State University. To learn more about how Convoy of Hope trains individuals in our Agriculture program, visit convoyofhope.org/ag.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Agriculture

Cultivating Vegetables & a Brighter Future

Rosa politely smiled as she showed her mother how to plant tomato seeds. The Honduran tween talked about the importance of the soil, how deep the holes for each seed should be, and how often they should be watered.

This skill is just one of the many that Rosa is learning in her Girls’ Empowerment group, a vital part of Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment initiative.

“I was very shy and insecure of myself. I did not think I could change,” she said. “But when I entered the club, I made many friends. I work better with people and now I am stronger. They have helped me with my personal development.”

The past year has been brutal for those living in Honduras. As the second-poorest country in Central America, the economic fallout that came during COVID-19 sent many of its residents deeper into poverty. Hurricanes Eta and Iota — both doing extensive damage across Central America — destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure. With so much fear and uncertainty, many are living without hope.

For Rosa, her Girls’ Empowerment group acts as a shelter from the storms of life. “My teacher talks to us a lot and gives us confidence to talk to her about things that make me feel insecure. The agriculture program has helped me to keep busier. It has benefited me and my family in eating healthy.”

Without Girls’ Empowerment, Rosa would be missing a vital link to community in a time where it’s needed most. Thank you for giving her the chance to thrive.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Agriculture / Women's Empowerment

After Years of drought, Kenyan Villages have Clean Water

The music was blaring, people were singing and dancing, and smiles were abundant. It was a fitting celebration for this Kenyan village, which for the first time in years, has a source of clean water.

Throughout Kenya, similar celebrations ensued where Convoy of Hope drilled boreholes — similar to wells — and installed systems that hold up to 6 million gallons of water. For many, these celebrations mark the end of a dark era, one that began in 2016 during severe drought.

“The cycle of drought in Kenya has been getting tighter and tighter through the years,” Chris Dudley, Convoy of Hope’s Stabilization & Humanitarian Intervention Director, said. “Drought used to happen once every 10 or 15 years, but now it’s happening every few years.”

In recent years, Kenyan families have watched their cattle wither away. For these people, lack of water meant no irrigation, no viability for livestock, and no way to provide for their families.

“Shortly after [one catchment system] was built, there were several days of rain that almost filled it,” Chris said. “This water was used for several months to help keep livestock alive and to irrigate small farms. For many pastoralist communities, their livestock is their currency, so helping keep [them] alive is huge.”

Like water, hope changes shape from time to time. Both are vital. For people affected by the drought in Kenya, hope comes in the form of a sustainable water source and is provided as a direct result of support from people like you.

While this crisis persists, we will continue to provide help and hope to people in need. To join us in our mission, click here.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Agriculture / Field Story