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Plant, pray and profit


Plant, pray and profit

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SOME PEOPLE HAVE THE GREEN THUMB but 75-year-old Dennis Peniston seems to have ten green fingers.
The retiree says it takes more than water and fertilizers to produce a great crop. He mentioned prayer, soil-testing and leaving the land fallow at times.
“People pass here and ask me how I get my plants so green. Some even come from Christ Church to ask, but when I tell them, they say it is too much work,” Peniston told the SUNDAY?SUN outside his Fairfield Main Road, Black Rock, St Michael home.
The retired Transport Board driver says he grows corn, potatoes, peanuts, yams, beans, tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, lettuce and herbs at different times of the year and in different years, and the crops are always bountiful.
“In order for the ground to feed you, you have to feed the ground,” he pointed out. “So I work the land for six years and let it rest for the seventh year and let God nourish the ground and put back what I take out.
“Rain doesn’t nourish the mould; it simply passes through; so that is why the Father says to rest it.”
Peniston sends samples of his soil to Miami in the United States for analysis so he knows exactly what it is composed of and what fertilizer to use.
“You have to take two handfuls of mould to the agricultural factory in St John along with about $30 and let them ship it to Miami, where it will be tested and refined. This will tell you what kind of manure you have to use in the ground,” he explained.
Peniston was a seaman for 20 years, from 1962 to 1982, before joining the Transport Board, a job he said he enjoyed until his retirement in 2001.
He added he trained himself to grow his crops but attributed his skill to the “Heavenly Father”.
He said that during that entire year he allowed his ground to rest, he forked fertilizer as well as “mud” from the sugar factory and chicken manure into the land.
“I don’t use herbicides; my biggest problem is butterflies which lay their eggs on the undersides of the leaves so I use agro-chemicals to get rid of pests and Barbados Crop Mix to help keep the plants green and fresh,” he explained.
   “My ground is always fertile; so people keep asking me about it, but you have to have a mind for it and you have to pray while you are sowing the seeds,” he said.