Belize's most complete independent agricultural publication


Jenny Wildman

Jenny Wildman has 39 articles published.

Bamboos for Belize by Marquita Stanko and Taylor Walker

in Featured/Issue 38 by

Bamboos are some of the most useful plant species on earth. There are over 1000 species of bamboo distributed throughout the world that have been used for many practical purposes throughout history such as building shelter, making everyday tools and utensils and even as a food product. Bamboos originate from tropical, subtropical and temperate climates and grow on a wide range of soils. Many of the finest native and non-native bamboo species thrive right here in Belize. Our bamboo project began in 2005 in Rancho Dolores, Belize District with the formation of Tropical Agro-Forestry, Ltd. Our desire was to introduce new varieties in Belize that exhibit exceptional characteristics for use in furniture making, landscaping and interior construction. We began working…

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Beyond the Backyard Aloe: An Excellent Choice by Jenny Wildman

in Issue 38 by

Aloe vera has been revered as a healing plant for centuries and graces gardens throughout the world. The Maya called it the fountain of youth. Others know it as the immortality plant, savila, kumari, first aid plant, Barbados aloe, crocodile tail, lily of the desert, xabila, simple Bible, single Bible and here in Creole sink am Bible, names showing confidence in its power to cure most ailments. There are hundreds of species of aloe but only one proudly carrying the name “true” ie: aloe vera or Aloe barbadensis which is thought closely related to the Aloe perryl endemic to Yemen. Aloe vera originated in northern Africa and is depicted on murals in the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs, where it…

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Beyond the Backyard: Suck Your Way to Health

in Featured/Issue 37 by

By Jenny Wildman I came across an article about a strange fruit that can boost your brain function – something all seniors think of when they cannot remember names or misplace their glasses. The picture was that of the fruit known here as kenep, kinnip or guayo. The deciduous, polygamous kenep tree is part of the soapberry family along with logan, rambutan and lychee, all cousins to the northern chestnut. The scientific name is Melicoccus bijugatus commonly referred to as Spanish lime, quenepa, genip, chennet, talpajocote and mamoncillo from the verb mamar to suck. Kenep trees are native to South America and the Island of Margarita and also found in drier woodlands and gardens of the Caribbean and Central America.…

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Beyond The Backyard – Ghosts Of The Graveyard

in Featured/Issue 33 by

They stand erect and tall as guardian soldiers, swords at the ready, ever on duty in our cemeteries. The dagger like plants of Draceanaafromontana and then Yucca were planted at the headstone or in place of one at unmarked graves to ward off evil and keep restless spirits from wandering. They are profoundly significant as a symbol of eternity and mourning in the cultural beliefs of tropical Africa. The tradition continued throughout the Americas and the Caribbean settlements, the Yucca becoming our sentinel. The name Yucca applies to more than 50 species that have mostly adapted to all types of terrain and share characteristics of appearance and chemistry. They are evergreens, drought tolerant, spread rapidly, fire adaptive, prefer full sun…

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Blue Moon Over Big Falls

in Issue 33 by

Chocolate lovers congregated for the gala event of the 10th Annual Cacao Festival, now being called the Chocolate Festival, on May 20, not quite the full flower moon evening (full moon was actually Saturday) but close enough to add magic to the magnificent setting around the pool and lush tropical gardens at Big Falls Lodge, Toledo. This year the exhibitors offering samples of their products and very informative discussion regarding their procedures and mission were: Xoco, an event sponsor who focuses on supplying high end quality cacao beans to chocolatiers worldwide and now farming in Belize. Cotton Tree, who makes chocolate exclusively from beans from the Toledo District. Each batch of chocolate is created from the beans of a single…

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Beyond the Backyard Tomatillos…The Taste of Mexico

in Featured/Issue 34 by

Beyond the Backyard Tomatillos…The Taste of Mexico By Jenny Wildman   I was horrified when I first heard that some of my favorite vegetables, potatoes, aubergines (eggplant), tomatoes, and all peppers are part of the extensive nightshade family, Solanaceae, most of which can be toxic to humans. As children we were taught to avoid the pernicious deadly nightshade (Bella Donna) and thinking of anything as mildly related was somewhat unnerving. This is the plant dwale that contains poisonous alkaloids responsible for witches flying, murder and mayhem, delirium and death. Yet it was historically an important ingredient in medicine and still today is used in some pharmaceuticals.   One branch of the nightshade family is Physalis which translated means bladder, as…

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Sweet and Sour Dreams

in Featured/Issue 32 by

March 2015 ( not April Fools day) we are reading in the news that a thousand year old Anglo Saxon recipe found in the British Library that is actually ninety percent effective in the eradication of the superbug MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). Following the directions to the letter, scientists concocted a stew of onions, leaks, and garlic, stewed in vintage wine and cows’ bile in a brass vessel for nine days to an amazing success. It may appear to be improbable that, after all, this time we are finding simple ingredients have the power to cure devastating diseases, but perhaps we need to pay more attention. For centuries folk healers around the world have claimed that God created plants…

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Beyond The Backyard – A Leaf From My Recipe Book

in Featured/Issue 31 by

Eating from the wild can create an unexpected culinary masterpiece or become a recipe for disaster. It is important to have sufficient information. Knowing something to be edible is not enough to prevent you from harm. Knowledge of content and preparation is essential. My daughter-in-law decorated our dinner plates with the wonderful heart shaped leaves of the taro plant commonly called elephant ears placed under some delicious stewed chicken. Whilst scooping up the juices my son popped  the leaf in his mouth chewed it up and moments later was gasping for water and on the verge of a trip to the emergency room even though that would have meant  thirty miles of rough roads at night. These plants have saponins…

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Beyond The Backyard – Tropical Pioneers

in Issue 30 by

Two trees that could be confused at a distance and have a lot in common are the trumpet tree and the balsa tree. Both arrived in my garden uninvited but the more I study them my respect increases.They are both fast growing indigenous jungle plants that play a very important role in the eco system. Cecropia named after the mythical first king of Athens Cecrops may have about 25 species in Belize of the family Urticaceae. Perhaps the most common is Cecropia peltata called the umbrella tree, embauba, trumpet tree, guarmo, yarumo and kooche as it is everywhere you look. It has been a seriously studied jungle weed due to its interdependency with biting Azteca ants who colonize its hollow…

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Beyond The Backyard – Paternal Instinct

in Featured/Issue 29 by

This foot long pod can be seen as revered and depicted in the Pre Colombian ceramics of the early Incas and pods found in tombs. With over 300 species of Inga growing in the tropical Americas perhaps for the past two million years, many of which are recorded as growing in Belize, how do I know which pod I hold in my hand? I was introduced to this as the ice cream bean and told there were three types growing around Dangriga. Searching pictures I found Inga edulis, Inga punctata, Inga feuillei and Inga spectabilis all referred to as the ice cream bean. Other names are Shimbillo, Chochoki, Guamo, Joaquiniquil, Pacay and here at market and in Maya back yards…

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