(246) 538-2277      info@barpbb.com       Mervue House, Marine Gardens, Hastings, Christ Church, Barbados

Better Life Gardening Project

blgp presentations
View the presentation for the Better Life Gardening Project workshops held on February 21 and March 1, 2017 at Skymall, Haggatt Hall.













 blgp garden01


This means cover your soil with grasses, leaves or any natural material that reduces the heat from the sun and the washing away or flooding of soil by heavy rain.

Any amount of mulch is better than none, but if you can get 2 inches of mulch cover you will have enough to reduce the amount of weeds that may grow.


This means planting a variety of crops at different times throughout the year. Just as children are a part of a family, so are different crops and each family uses similar parts of the soil for their nutrients, to grow well. They also attract similar pests. By changing crops you do not    take all the same benefits from the soil too quickly and pests do not get a chance to grow      too comfortable.

Learn about the various crop families and change your crop types at least twice per year.

This allows the soil to grow healthier crops and keeps the amount of pests very low.

Some crops can be grown that will benefit the following set of plantings.


Organic growing requires healthy soil and a mixture of the good things that are in the groundke humans, plants need some level of sunlight, water, oxygen, adequate space, and a well    rounded, natural diet in order to thrive and grow healthily.

Different pests not only eat plants, or suck the life out of them, pests also cause the plants the equivalent of what we humans call stress. Too much or too little sun, water, too little space and too much food can also be stressful to plants.

Soil that contains well composted, natural amendments, allows crops to grow more happily as their roots can expand in a loose, well formed and balanced environment. The balanced  soil allows plants to take just how much benefits they need from the soil, when they need it.

Plants, like humans respond well to care and attention, so pull weeds from around the crops. Drop your weeds into a compost heap and when they have dried out, add them back to the soill as mulch.



If we can keep our plants healthy and stress free, they will be more resistant to pests.

If we use crop rotation as a second strategy we will also reduce pest impact. It is important to inspect your crops frequently and to indentify pest or disease damage before the problem is too far gone.

It is also important to recognise and encourage natural insects that will eat the pests.

The use of sprays, even natural organic sprays is the 3rd and most often, last option.

Permitted Organic Inputs


Composted animal manures (if composted for 120 days). Manure can be left in an area and  covered with galvanise for a similar period.. Can also be used as liquid feeds.

Household/garden compost

Green manures, Legumes planted as part of a rotation.

Sea weed as a soil amendment and as liquid tea.

Formulas made from fish waste as liquid feeds.

Effective Microorganisms.,Epsom salts, act as microbe activators and nutrient facilitators in the soil.

Organic Pest Controls inputs

Neem teas or oil. (teas can be made from soaking neem tree trimmings or berries for 7 days)

Garlic teas as repellants.

Small amounts of washing up liquid and water (1 teaspoon liquid per gallon water)

Yellow sticky fly traps (Whitefly) Blue traps (Thrips) to both monitor and capture.

Pick off pests and observe and protect beneficials. Ladybugs, spiders & birds can be helpful.

Sweet marjoram plants for ants and other plants as repellants

The Barbados Association of Retired Persons Inc. (BARP) would like to thank the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), implemented by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the grant provided for the implementation of the Better Life Gardening Project as well as for the guidance and support provided by the National Coordinator and Programme Assistant during the period in review.

A sincere thank you is also extended to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management for their partnership through a portion of land at Bullens Agricultural Station, Holders Hill, St James and also the technical assistance provided by their staff. A special thank you is offered to the Permanent Secretary, Mr Esworth Reid and the present and former Officers in Charge at Bullens Agricultural Station, Mr Anthony Phillips and Mr Bernard Thompson respectively.

We also thank the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of BARP as well as the members of the Project Team, especially the trainers for their contribution to the project.








The BARP Better Life Gardening Project was conceptualised in an effort to encourage the sustainability of local backyard gardening and to increase public education and awareness in relation to the link between healthy eating, good nutrition and the reduction of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Given the burgeoning membership of BARP, the project creates a prime opportunity to encourage gardening activity to be done in a sustainable manner specifically targeting BARP members.

The overall goal of the project:
To improve the productivity and sustainability of local food gardening and to increase public education and awareness in relation to healthy eating.

The objectives:
1. To train groups of BARP members (2 groups/15 per course) directly on sustainable gardening practices, over a period of one year;
2. To share all training materials with all BARP members (40,000 plus) and families, through online streaming/display and use of other media;
3. To sensitise all BARP members to the need for mitigation, adaption/resilience to climate change and its linkages between wholesome food and good health and;
4. To sensitise government to the needs of civil society in relation to sustainable gardening practices.

The workshops comprised of lectures and practical demonstrations over a four-week period from Tuesday October 18 to Thursday November 10, 2016. At the end of the training period, a field trip to St Andrew was held on Tuesday November 15, 2016.

In total, there were four (4) lectures and four (4) demonstrations; the lectures were held on Tuesdays in Seminar Room 2, Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St Michael and demonstrations were held on Thursdays at Bullens Agricultural Station, Holders Hill, St James.








Making Your Own Natural Pesticides

These natural pest deterrents and natural pesticides can be applied with a sprayer or watering can or by dipping leafy twigs into the solution and sprinkling it onto the plants. Use a stick to apply the solution to the underside of leaves. Don’t leave pesticides outside or sitting around where they could be mistakenly consumed by animals or humans. All food treated with natural pesticides should be washed in clean water before being sold or eaten.

Chilies or Hot Peppers

Boil a bowlful (half a kg of sliced ripe chili peppers) in 3 litres of water for 15 to 20 minutes. Alternatively boil 5-6 Scotch Bonnet peppers in a medium saucepan for 15 to 20 minutes. Add 30 grams of soap and stir to make solution soapy (so it will adhere to the plants). Add 3 more litres of water, let cool and strain. Instead of boiling peppers can be put in a bucket of water and left to draw for 4 to 5 days. Add soap and proceed as above.


Use on vegetable gardens against caterpillars, aphids, flies, ants and other pests. Apply once a week if there is no rain, 2-3 times a week if it rains.


Grind fresh leaves, dilute with water and strain. Let draw in container for 4-5 days.


Particularly effective on caterpillars and weevils. Spray daily for 2 weeks to interrupt caterpillar reproduction cycle.


Dry ½ to 1 Kg of young flowers until they are crumbly. Boil in 4 litres of water for 15 to 20 minutes. Add soap and stir. Add 4 litres of water. Strain before using in a sprayer. Store extra dried flowers or pesticide solution in a dry place away from direct sunlight. Use liquid as soon as it cools. Apply in the same way as the pepper spray. Best results if applied after sundown.


Use on vegetable gardens against caterpillars, aphids, flies, ants and other pests. Apply once a week if there is no rain, 2-3 times a week if it rains. Powder of cut flowers can be sprinkled around the house to kill pleas and on beds to kill bed bugs.


Mexican Marigolds

Place large quantities of freshly gathered flowers, leaves and stalks in a bucket of water. Let stand for 5 to 7 days to decay. Stir often so material decays evenly. When decayed, dilute with equal amount of water and add soap.


Acts as crop strengthener to help potatoes, beans, tomatoes and peas resist blight, mildew and other fungal diseases. Begin spraying before diseases start: continue regularly once a week. Effective if weather is not too damp. Also repels aphids, caterpillars and flies. Decayed flowers. Leaves and stalks can also be used as mulch


Wood Ash

Use fresh (but not hot) ash from cooking fires. Any sort of wood will do, although ash from eucalyptus or Cyprus trees is most effective. Sprinkle handfuls of ash around seedlings as soon as they sprout to repel cut worms. Replace after every rain. Need only apply for the first 2-3 weeks (until plants are too big for worms to cut).


Also effective against root maggots, snails and slugs. Surrounding entire plot with 8 to 10 centimetre trench with ash has the same effect.



Boil double handful of dry leaves (200 grams) with some ground leaves (snuff) or cigarette ends in 3 to 4 litres of water for 15 to 20 minutes. Add 30 grams of soap and stir while letting solution cool. Add 3 to 4 more litres of water. Filter through light cloth.


Spray on plants to kill stem borers and on plants infested with caterpillars, aphids, flies, mites or scale insects. Brush on hides of sheep, cattle or goats infested with ticks. Apply once a week. After 2 to 3 washings, ticks will disappear. Soak bedding with solution to kill bed bugs and fleas.

*Crops sprayed with it should not be harvested for at least 4 days after spraying and should be washed thoroughly with clear water before eating*


Recipes for Natural Pesticides/Deterrents


Pepper Combination all Purpose Sprays

1. Blend 3 hot peppers, 2 onions and a bulb of garlic in 1 litre of water. Boil, let stand for 2 days. Strain. This may be frozen for future use.

2. 6 cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp dried hot pepper, 1 minced onion, 1 tsp pure soap (not detergent) and 1 gallon of hot water.

Blend and let sit for 1-2 days. Strain and use and spray. Ground cayenne or red hot pepper can also be sprinkled on the leaves of plants (apply when leaves are slightly damp) to repel chewing insects. Protects plants from cabbage worms, caterpillars, hornworms, aphids, flea beetles and other chewing sucking insects.


Onion Spray

Blend one unpeeled opinion with 1 litre of water until it is milky colour. Strain. Helpful with aphids and red spider mites.


Garlic Spray

Soak 4 garlic cloves in 1 L of cold water for 3 days. Blend and strain. Helpful with ants, caterpillars and cabbage worms.


Neem Spray

Crush 500 grams of neem seeds. Mix the crushed seeds with 10 L of water and leave to stand for at least 5 hours (preferably overnight). Strain this through heavy cloth or gauze and it is ready for spraying.

Chive Tea

Pour 600 ml of boiling water over ¼ cup of dried chives. Leave to infuse for one hour. Strain. Dilute 1 part spray to 2 parts water. Helpful for scale and mildew.

Salt Spray

Mix 125g salt with 9 litre of water and 30 grams of soft soap. Helpful in controlling white cabbage butterfly.

*When using any pest control apply before sunrise and after sunset so that foraging bees are not affected. Use several times a day if the pest problem is chronic and after rain*

*Homemade sprays should be stored in a glass bottle in a dark place away from children. Most of these sprays may be stored for up to a month. The pulp left after straining the mixtures can be dug into the garden or put in your compost heap*








BLGP img 01


The benefits of vegetables to health

  • Therapeutic and nutritional benefits of gardening
  • Lowering non communicable diseases

The value of plants

  • What is a vegetable/fruit?
  • What is organic gardening?
  • The relevance of climate change
  • Importance of climate smart gardening and sustainability

Safety aspects  

Demonstration of raised beds

  • Solutions to location challenges/limited space
  • Approaches to planting
    • Planting in open beds, square foot gardening, the permaculture approach or planting in containers
    • Aquaponics and organoponic systems (field trip)
    • Importance and aims of irrigation/water harvest
    • Bed preparation: tillage; incorporating organic matter (types, amounts, placement)
      • The importance of soil and why soil pH is important? (Compost in containers)
      • Organic matter
      • Preparing plant beds

      Grow boxes

      Growing in containers (types and uses)

Soil and Compost

What to grow?

  • Direct seeded vs seedlings
  • Companion crops
  • Crop rotation groups and varieties

Preparation and How to Plant?

  • Garden Plan – importance of having a good planting technique
  • Planting - How to sow seeds?/ How to produce seedlings?/ Care of seedlings
  • Hardening off and Transplanting

The Garden Plan

Sustainable Plant Care

  • Watering techniques
    • Irrigation and water harvesting (efficient water use)
    • Setting up irrigation


  • Types and how to apply

Managing Pests and Diseases

  • Control Strategies
  • Organic Pest Controls
    • Insect spray
    • Neem
    • Compost tea
    • Soap
  • Use of protective structures, greenhouses, row covers, etc.

Fertilizing – Reinvigorating soils

  • Organic fertilizers with compost
  • Making compost as a soil amendment
  • Making fertilizer
  • Roles that bacteria play

Managing Pests and Diseases

  • Control Strategies/ Organic Pest Controls