Q: When’s the best time to plant fruit trees?

A: Five years a go.
The second best time is right now, so we got to it. Here’s a detailed description on How to Plant Bread Fruit Trees:
Bread Fruit is such a huge producer of food and low in manual labour because it’s a fruit tree. It’s a great substitute for potatoes or any other starchy vegetable, and whats more, you can mix it with some cinnamon blend it up and you’ve got pancake mix.
The fastest way to start a new tree is to find a root shoot, get it out of the ground with about 5 inches of root either side, and then plant it into bags in the shade and cut off the big leaves.
Victor told us he probably had some root shoots over at his 104 year old Grandmother’s property. We met her as she was relaxing in her chair and she greeted us. I spent then next while pondering about some of the things she might have seen in her century as we wondered off toward the river where we started to find root shoots. There weren’t many and it took an eagle eye to spot them.
bread fruit

finding the shoots under the mother tree was no easy feat

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We got them back to the greenhouse at Taino Farm and planted them in bags where they’ll remain until they begin to grow new leaves.  Young trees still prefer shade, so we’ll plant them next to a Pigeon pea or Moringa to provide them with shade as they grow. Pigeon pea and Moringa are also nitrogen fixing plants, which means that as the Bread Fruit tree grows, we will be able to chop and drop branches from these trees to mulch to earth around the new trees, give them nutrients and keep invasive grasses away.

Screen shot 2013-09-16 at 3.45.09 PM

By using this method, our baby Bread Fruits should be bearing fruit in 3-5 years as apposed to 5-10 years if planted from seed.
Can’t wait to eat breadfruit pancakes in September 2016!


These past two weeks have really flown by at Taino Farm. With a constant stream of workers coming into the farm, the “tranquillo” vibe that normally flows with my workdays has been changed to “mas rapido por favor!” Viktor, Neo, and Juan finally finished the majority of the raised beds in the garden and with the walls up it was time to amend the soil.

When I first arrived I made the mistake of simply looking under my microscope, seeing good protozoa and fungal numbers and throwing one layer of mulch on the top of the soil. This lead to the constant need for the addition of organic material to the first smaller garden we created. This time I asked for some advice. Viktor did an amazing job of aiding me in that process, as well as improving my wheelbarrowing skills.

garden bed in the tropics

Creating the perfect soil in our tropical beds was a multi-step process

So this is how we did it:

  1. We started off with one wheelbarrow full of sand per raised bed (2ft by 16ft).
  2. Tilled that in with a mattock to decrease the amount of compaction that occurs in clay soil and also help with water retention.
  3. Then added the next layer, three full wheelbarrows of horse manure and sawdust that had been composted down.
  4. On top of that, we added a five-gallon bucket of goat manure, and half that bucket of bat guano per bed.
  5. Once all of that was added we tilled with the mattock one more time.
  6. Then we threw in a wheelbarrow full of coconut husk and did one final tilling.

All in all, It was a lot of work! But thankfully we had a constant stream of amazing volunteers. Special thanks to Charlie Durrant, Ollie, Stef and her team of youngsters from Estrellas de Los Brazos, the team from Extreme Hotel, and many more!

Dominican kid helping to improve soil

Thanks to our team of enthusiastic volunteers! especially the kids at Estrellas de Los Brazos

Mondays and Tuesdays seem to be the days that most of the intensive work gets done, while the rest of the week is dedicated to working in the food forest. The food forest is amazing as well! ATN (say it out loud and you pronounce his name phonetically) is our new intern, here on the farm. He has been traveling around the property weaving nests out of branches to create raised garden beds in the food forest around the fruit trees.

food forest trellising

Food Forest Trellising with bird nest technique

Other than that, I wish I could say there isn’t much, but there is ALWAYS a lot of work to be done. So now I gotta get back out there! Please feel free to come down to Taino Farms in Los Brazos and volunteer any day you would like! We always need a helping hand and we’re only 30 min away from Cabarete on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. Interested in long term apprenticeship programs for accreditation in permaculture, aquaponics, and organic farming? Stay tuned for more information on upcoming educational programs at Taino.

Check out the video that charlie made for the raised bed construction day: