Green Thumb

Easter weekend gardening

The joyous period of Easter is upon us. Easter is always a special time for us as we reflect and renew the daily hope that Christ […]

The Blue Economy

The ‘Blue Economy’ is an emerging concept that encourages sustainable exploitation, innovation, and stewardship of our ocean and its lifegiving ‘blue’ resources. Our oceans are important, […]

2024 Dry Season outlook

With the 2024 dry season being declared on January 10, a mere few days later bush fires could be seen along the sides of the highways […]

Here’s to a healthy new year with Papaya and Rosemary

A happy and healthy New Year! We are once again welcoming a new year of our lives. This year for the Green Thumb column, we will […]

November showers bring rapid growth

At the beginning of the 2023 Rainy Season, we experienced more hot and humid periods than wet ones which brought temperatures reaching up to 35 degrees […]

Processing cocoa beans to make chocolate

Trinidad is known to have the world’s best cocoa beans. Cacao, (Theobroma cacao) also called cocoa, is a tropical evergreen tree grown for its edible seeds. […]

My favourite plant? Caladiums!

Recently, I was asked by one of my students, “What is your favourite plant and why?”. Without hesitation, I eagerly answered: Caladiums! Yes, it’s not a […]

Help children develop ‘food empathy’ during the vacation

The July-August vacation is always a good period to teach your children new skills or refresh them in some of the life skills that are much […]

A whole lotta ‘Luffa’

Can you remember your grandmother using a weird cylindrical husk to wash wares and even shower with while you were growing up? These memories recently flashed […]

Consider a career in Agriculture

Agriculture is an important key to any country’s sustainability. A thriving agriculture sector in an economy has multiple benefits and can range from provision of food […]

Spending quality time with mom

The entire month of May is dedicated to all mothers. A mother is one who is a protector, authoritarian and friend. She is a selfless, loving […]

Keeping plants healthy during the heat

We are approaching the end of the 2023 Dry Season in May. Meanwhile, the sun has been out in all its glory for the last few […]

Dry Season peak

I am sure that most of you have noticed the bush fires in the past few days. We are in the peak of the Dry Season […]

Pick a pumpkin…

For many weeks, pumpkins have maintained a high retail price at the markets. Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata), belongs to the family ‘Cucurbitaceae’. Pumpkin is a good source […]

Keep calm… and use these plants in 2023

I would like to wish all readers a bright and prosperous 2023! As we enter the new year, we can use plants to bring calm and […]

The ‘Food Security In Parishes’ Project

For the past four years, the main goal of the Green Thumb column was to encourage our readers in the traditional and modern methods of producing […]

Solutions for food sustainability

PART ONE Increased flooding and rising food prices are two factors that we have been facing in the past few weeks. The MET office issued their […]

Leap of faith into agri-business

In the September 16–22 issue, we investigated the concept of agro-processing. To recap, agro-processing refers to a subset of manufacturing that processes raw materials and intermediate […]

All hail the goat!

In previous articles, we would have discussed small ruminant farming. Small ruminant farming is the farming of goats and sheep for meat, milk, skin for leather […]

The importance of Agro-processing

We live in times where food prices have skyrocketed, and the cost of living is constantly on the rise. Foreign exchange is also on an all-time […]

Fancy some medicinal tea?

In the past few weeks, most of my family and colleagues would have battled a version of the virus. As of two years now, the scare […]

Household favourites…indoor succulents

You often see them populating garden shops in all shapes and colours. In botany, succulent plants, also known as succulents, are plants with parts that are […]

Get your PPE for DIY landscaping

Beautiful landscaping is one such feature that really adds visual appeal to any home. There are many companies that offer landscaping services, but if you would […]

School is out, gardening is in!

The July-August vacation period is here once again. When school is out, I do believe that this is an important time to teach children many skills […]

The rising interest in alternative flours

With the recent increase in wheat flour prices, the alternative of utilising root crop flour has been peaked. Cassava and sweet potato flour have become viable […]

A long weekend of gardening…

The anticipation of a beautiful long weekend filled with festivities is amongst us! For some, it’s the perfect opportunity to start that do-it-yourself gardening project. It […]

Puppy-friendly plants

As a recent pet mom, it is always a challenge to keep my puppy away from all things green and chewable. If you own a dog, […]

Corn – just a-maize-ing!

My earliest and perhaps fondest memory of planting a crop was the first time I planted corn seeds. I recall being only six years old, sprinkling […]

Mary’s gold – flowers for our Mother

It’s the month of May once again where we celebrate all mothers. Mother Mary is our first mother as she was exemplified for her humility to […]

Which is better: traditional or technology-driven?

In my recent conversations, the debate of growing crops traditionally was compared to the modern techniques that exist for crop production. In this article, we will […]

Moving towards Climate-Smart Agriculture

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrated approach to managing landscapes, cropland, livestock, forests, and fisheries, that address the interlinked challenges of food security and accelerating climate […]

Ever heard of ‘wild marjoram’? Get to know your herbs

Herbs are broadly defined as any type of plant material used for scent or flavour or medicinal or spiritual purposes. Thousands of herbs are used all […]

Dry season means ‘wild’ market prices

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service declared the start of this year’s Dry Season on January 6, 2022. According to the Met Office, compared to 2021 […]

The Grow Room Initiative

After decades of steady decline, the number of people who suffer from hunger, as measured by the prevalence of undernourishment, began to slowly increase again in […]

Spruce up with Christmas plants

As the world-altering Covid-19 pandemic evolves, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced it has designated the new strain a “variant of concern” and named it Omicron. […]

Smart Advent shopping during a pandemic

The Season of Advent is once again upon us. There are four Sundays before Christmas, and the season is a particularly important time in the Church […]

Opportunities in agriculture

It has always been a mindset to think about promising careers as being jobs in the fields of Law, Medicine and Engineering. This has been so […]

The allocations to agriculture: Budget 2022

In case you missed it, the Finance Minister Colm Imbert has announced a $52.4 billion budget for the next fiscal year. The theme for the budget […]

Green bouquets

The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. The Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on October 7. October falls during […]

Ever heard of soil fertigation and solarisation?

Fertigation is the direct application of fertilisers for soil adjustments, water adjustments and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system. In this system, fertiliser solution is […]

Safety during flooding

A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry. Floods are an area of study of the discipline hydrology and are […]

Agriculture initiatives behind prison walls

The Trinidad and Tobago Prisons Service is privileged to have Commissioner Dennis Pulchan leading their organisation. In his 38 years of service, Commissioner Pulchan has worked […]

From cruise ships to soursop – with short crops in between

By Sydney Valere For over 25 years, my line of work has been one of touring and guiding tourists and cruise ship passengers to all the […]

My ficus needs help!

Rayanna, I have a ficus that was doing so well. It was full and we were able to shape it etc. Then all of a sudden, […]

Microgreens and their nutritional value

Microgreens are young vegetable greens picked just after the first leaves have developed. They are approximately 1–3 inches (2.5–7.5 cm) tall and are known for their […]

Garden tips for the rainy season

In the tropics, we have two seasons, the dry season and the rainy season. We have entered the rainy season which began at the start of […]

Sweet peppers, melongene perfect for Corpus Christi planting

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi is a celebration associated with the commemoration of Jesus Christ’s Last Supper with His apostles before His crucifixion and the celebration […]

Grow your own…Cucumbers ‘come in’ quickly

Over a year has passed since COVID-19 has plagued our world. It is very sad to state that in our country, we are facing a crisis […]

Give mom some flowers associated with Mother’s Day

May is once again here where we celebrate Mother’s Day and our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary throughout the month. Flowers, chocolates, and cards are popular gifts […]

The impact of volcanic eruptions on agriculture and soils

Volcanoes are natural structures formed from plate tectonic movement where one plate moves under the other and delves into magma under the mantle, allowing magma to […]

Lenten diet: from seafood to smoothies

The month of March marks exactly one year since the COVID-19 pandemic entered our borders. It has been a testing year, but we are nevertheless thankful […]

Importance of women in agriculture

Compared to men, women and girls are still more severely affected by poverty, hunger and disease. When food is scarce, female family members often get the […]


A mushroom is a body of fungus that takes the form of a domed cap on the stalk, with gills on the underside of the cap.  […]

Caring for our country’s wildlife

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most bio-diverse places in the world, filled with wildlife unlike any other. ‘Wildlife’ can be defined as all organisms […]

Precision agriculture – less input, more output

‘Precision agriculture’ is simply new ways and use of technologies to increase crop yields and profitability while lowering traditional amounts of input needed to grow crops […]

In the new year, plant some more!

I am sure many of us are breathing a sigh of relief as 2020 ends! The year 2020 has definitely proven to us that we should […]

Plants to make your Advent and Christmas pop!

It has been a whirlwind of a year but somehow, we’ve made it to the month of December! Even though we may not feel like it, […]

Beautiful flowers for the dead

Earlier this month the Church commemorated two important solemnities. The Solemnity of All Saints on November 1 which dates to the 4th century is a day […]

Some real Sorrel

As Christmas approaches, one can expect to see vendors in vans or on foot selling bags of bright, red sorrel. Caribbean sorrel is actually the sepals […]

In this trying season, let’s turn to agriculture

The much anticipated 2020-2021 Trinidad and Tobago Budget was read on October 5, with the follow-up debate on Friday 9. With post-budget talks reflecting fears of […]

Live humbly, spend wisely, grow food abundantly

The economic impact of COVID-19, according to the World Bank could push near 100 million people to the edge of the extreme poverty line. It also […]

Boil your cassava well

Cassava has been an integral part of the diet of this region since the days when only the First Peoples inhabited the islands of the Caribbean […]

Plants to remember September and Our Lady of Sorrows

The Church celebrates the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15 during the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. This season is represented by the […]

Tips for Maintaining Your Garden During the Rainy Season

Successful gardening requires a combination of sufficient sunlight, moisture and healthy soil. This may seem easy enough to achieve but during the rainy season all these […]

Let’s grow some lettuce

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is probably the most efficient crops to grow hydroponically. It belongs to the Asteraceae daisy group. Known for being a leaf vegetable used […]

Treating with Pest, Diseases and Nutrient Deficiencies During the Rainy Season

While the rainy season provides an abundance of water for your garden, it unfortunately also gives rise to certain pests, diseases and nutrient deficiencies. As worrying […]

Go ‘Kratky’ – just set and forget

In previous articles, we have explored many different types of hydroponic systems. A recap: hydroponics is the art of growing plants without soil but by using […]

Beauty Formulations using Plants

By Rayanna Boodram If you go to any beauty counter, it is guaranteed that you will find rows of skincare products featuring plant-based extracts. There are […]

Advantages of Small Ruminant Farming

An important and traditional branch of livestock farming that has been regularly ignored and undermined is small ruminant farming. ‘Small ruminant farming’ is the farming of […]

The many uses of cocos genus

The coconut palm and some of its most basic by-products have been serving Caribbean societies for as long as we can remember. The coconut is a […]

Kale Grow Guide

In the recent years, kale has slowly progressed its way into our diets. Whether in a soup, salad or smoothie, it is definitely one of the […]

Enter the Dragon…fruit

It’s the latest fruit craze. Dragon fruit, also known as ‘pitaya’, is the fruit of several different Hylocereus cactus species. The plant, native to Southern Mexico […]

The Wonders of Lemon-Grass

After the last article on ‘Herbal Remedies’, my Green Thumb fans, your request to delve into the wonders of lemongrass have been answered. Cymbopogon citratus, commonly […]

Tea for two? Try some herbal

Herbalism is the study of botany and the use of medicinal plants. Herbal remedies date back to the Paleolithic Age, which is approximately 60,000 years ago. […]

Growing healthy seedlings

A healthy plant begins with a healthy seedling. Over the past few weeks, I have been observing the wonderful trend of pop-up vegetable stalls now providing […]

Managing pests and diseases in your garden using natural methods

Insects are very harmful to gardens. They chew, bite and suck on plants causing damage to the leaves, stems and roots which overall decrease the photosynthetic […]

Create a garden for our Mother

The month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary. For us Catholics, during the entire month of May, it is customary to commemorate […]

Flood-Tolerant Plants

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service predicted that the dry season for 2020 will last from January to May 2020. There is no fixed date for […]

A really ‘egg’-citing project

Prioritising food security is everyone’s business these days. If you have not realised by now, we have reverted to the ‘old time’ days where kitchen and […]

Watch, wipe, and wash before you cook

Staying healthy during COVID-19  COVID-19 has been around for weeks and from the daily reports released by the Ministry of Health, it is expected to last […]

Five fun gardening ideas for Easter

Easter 2020 is here! Due to COVID-19 we are indoors but keeping our spirits high and celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. […]

Food Safety in the face of COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that usually cause respiratory illness. They include viruses that cause the common cold and more serious illnesses such as Middle […]

Planning your Lenten meals – fish or vegan?

Lent is the period where we reflect on Jesus Christ and the time He spent in the wilderness enduring temptation. For us Catholics, the Lenten period […]

Smart farming – the future of agriculture

Innovation is extremely vital in modern-day agriculture. The industry continues to face challenges such as shortage of labour, reduced annual budgets from governments and the many […]

Caring for your cactus

Cactus, deriving from the family Cactaceae, has over 1750 known species. It is popularly known that cacti are perfect for areas with intense humidity. It is […]

Outlook for 2020’s dry season

With the blink of an eye, we are in the final week of January 2020, and it seems that only yesterday was New Year’s Day. As […]

To solve a soursop situation

Dear Rayanna, My name is Amrad and I am an avid reader of your articles. I need some help for my soursop tree. Up to about […]

Let’s diversify into agriculture in 2020

The year is once again coming to an end and I’m sure that we can all agree that 2019 brought many challenges. Rising food prices, fuel […]

A not-so-traditional Christmas shopping list

We’re well into Advent now but also preparing for Christmas, the season where we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. By now […]

An Advent touch to your home décor

The season of Advent is once again upon us. Advent commences four Sundays before Christmas and is a very important time in the Catholic Church as […]

Just what your garden needs– earthworms!

Earthworms, belonging to the phylum Annelida, are tubed-shaped segmented worms. They are found in soils throughout the world. These decomposers (organism that feeds on decomposing organic […]

‘Mums’ the flower to remember

As we know, the month of November is dedicated to the departed. It begins with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day and continues throughout the […]

What to do with a sick plant

Just like human beings, plants get sick. All plants are susceptible to diseases. A plant becomes diseased when it is disturbed by a causal agent which […]

Understanding hurricanes

Since 1970, the North Atlantic has had an increase in hurricane activity. Data is showing that climate change increases the chances of these devastating weather events […]

Climate change and the Amazon

The Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest in the world. It is approximately six million square kilometers making up 40 per cent of Brazil’s total […]

Soursop for restful ZZZ

It happens to everyone! We can all relate to those nights where we need to sleep but for some reason we just cannot. A restless night […]

Own land? Try investment farming

Investing is the act of taking money and placing it into property, shares, ventures and financial schemes with the expectation of achieving a profit. Investment farming […]

Prepare your garden for an active rainy season

The wet/rainy season has begun and I am sure we are all very happy that the rain is finally here. Our mountains are once again starting […]

In the garden with Dad

It’s the one special day that we celebrate dads around the world. Usually when we think of gifts for our fathers/grandfathers/godfathers/father figures, it is usually associated […]

Plant protection for pets from pests

We simply cannot live without them! Pets, especially dogs and cats, have become integral parts of our families. Pet parents are now ensuring that their ‘fur […]

Give Aeroponics a try

For the past year we have continually examined hydroponics and its many benefits. Hydroponics, the practice of growing plants without soil as a growth medium, has […]

When the Poui blooms

There is a saying “April showers bring May flowers”. The Easter period is the time of year where our gardens awaken with beautifully coloured petals and […]

Bush fire fury

In the past weeks the trend of bush fires has been rampant. As the temperatures rise during the day, these fires ignite, naturally or by human […]

Shopping for seafood

It is a fact that seafood is staple for a Lenten diet. In Church history, there was no rule on the consumption of fish for days […]

How about a Lenten detox?

The 40-day period of Lent, which began on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday, represents the time Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ spent in […]

Powerful and popular – Turmeric vs Saffron

IT IS VERY DIFFICULT to distinguish turmeric from saffron because of the similar bright yellow colour. However, do not be fooled as turmeric and saffron are […]

Ah, smell the roses…

Valentine’s Day, celebrated February 14 annually across the globe, is the day where we show the people who mean most to us how much we love […]

Growing terrific tomatoes

Food security is everyone’s responsibility and it begins at home. Due to the harsh dry season and unpredictable rainy season, I am sure we are all […]

What’s in your grow box?

Grow boxes are container-based gardens which can be both soil or hydroponically based. They are usually square or rectangular and can be constructed using plastic, wood, […]

Prepping for the coming Dry Season

As 2018 comes to an end and 2019 approaches, the negative impacts of climate change will continue to increase. The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services issued […]

The colours of Christmas

With Christmas a little over a week away, it’s important to remember the reason for the season, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As the days […]

How to make your Poinsettia bloom for the season

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us! Christmas is the season where we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. […]

Remembering our Departed with flowers

Job 14:2 tells us “Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain”. In the Holy Bible, […]

Rehabilitating flooded lands

A fortnight ago, Trinidad and Tobago was severely affected by heavy rainfall initiated by an ITCZ which resulted in heavy flooding. Properties, personal belongings and vehicles […]

Taking care of Succulents

In Botany (the study of plants), succulents are plants that possess thick, fleshy leaves which are used as water storage. They have unique, striking appearances which […]

Pigeon peas for your Christmas pots 

Even though we are in the month of September, most of us are already planning for Christmas. In the Caribbean, it is a Christmas tradition to have […]

Diversify to agriculture  

By now we are all aware that jobs in Trinidad and Tobago are very difficult to obtain. It is without doubt that we live in a […]

The beauty of bees

There are over 20,000 known species of bees worldwide. Bees are one of the most helpful creatures even though many see them as being pests. The […]

Gardening tips for the rainy season

For the past two weeks, Trinidad & Tobago has experienced heavy rainfall which is expected to continue since we are only one month into the rainy […]

Constructing a backyard NFT Hydroponic System

In the May 6 column, we learnt about Nutrient Flow Technique (NFT) Hydroponic Systems. As promised, the below gives details for the design of a backyard […]

Propagating plants? Just make the cut

Today, you can find just about any plant type in your plant shop. According to the variety or variegation of the plant, it can be quite […]

Tips to design your own landscape

Landscape architecture involves the design of a specific area to achieve social, environmental or aesthetic results. It adds value to properties, creates a serene environment and […]

Argh! Weeds! How to manage them

As we come to the end of the dry season and welcome the rainy season in June, we can expect frequent showers of rain. Plants prefer […]

Hydroponics: Understanding NFT

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is one of the five types of hydroponic systems. Simple backyard systems or commercial crop production can be done with this system […]

Taking care of your Annuals

Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle from germination, flowering and seed production, within one year or a single growing season. The entire plant (roots, […]

Caring for your Palms

Palms, belonging to the family Arecaceae, consist of over 2,600 species and are grown in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Today, as we celebrate […]

Pest and disease control in your garden

by Rayanna Boodram PART 1 All plants are susceptible to pests and diseases. Climate change and agriculture are interrelated processes. Climate change can simply be defined as […]

When being in ‘deep water’ means growth

Welcome to ‘Green Thumb!’ Each article will be focused on tips and DIY (do-it-yourself) projects that you can try at home. I have dedicated my career […]