His brown thumb makes green gardens

Carlos Robles promotes home grown vegetables and herbs

thumb: carlosroblesweb

Maura Curley

He’s a seasoned administrator, who has worked for the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service for more than half his life. But more recently Carlos Robles, extension specialist and acting district supervisor of UVI’s Cooperative Extension Service in St. Thomas and St. John, has become a well-known television personality in the Virgin Islands. He is host for Home Grown on Virgin Islands public television station WTJX–TV, where he promotes the benefits of home gardens.

Robles is a natural in his role of providing public relations for plants. A native of St. Thomas, he has a master’s degree in horticulture, and has an encyclopedic mind regarding the many variables to consider when planting and nurturing vegetables and herbs.

Robles, who sprinkles his instructions with the added nutrient of good humor, demystifies the growing process. " I tell people to look at my thumb - it's brown!", he says emphasizing that no magic green is required

Robles wants more islanders to enjoy the pleasures of home grown greens, tomatoes, peppers, basil, scallions, cucumbers, beets and more.

Home Grown offers hands on instructions and highlights actual home gardens in St.Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, where Robles and residents plant. Gardens range from dug in the earth to those planted in pots on terraces and in rocky terrain.

Home Grown was designed to address several issues, including the high cost and poor quality of fresh foods imported to the Virgin Islands. The show aims to encourage healthy eating habits, and awareness about cost savings, which people can enjoy when they grow what they consume.

Home Grown also draws attention to UVI's Cooperative Extension Service, a many faceted program, which provides community information, education and technical advice about a variety of topics, ranging from agriculture to the “ home economics” of sewing and woodworking.

A native of St. Thomas, Robles began working for UVI’s extension service in 1981, when he was still a student. Later he left the territory briefly to study at the University of Florida where he received his master’s degree in horticulture. He now lives in St. Thomas with his wife Ursula. Daughters Kira, 23, Kerish 21, and Kyana 19, are pursuing careers in graphic design, culinary arts, and nursing.

Robles says his family’s lifestyle has always been focused on good natural eating. And yes, he does tend to the home garden he planted at his mother’s house, where hegrows herbs for bush tea, broccoli, cauliflower and eggplant.

Note:Home Grown is produced by WTJX Channel 12 in partnership with UVI’s Cooperative Extension Service (CES) and the VI Department of Agriculture. New episodes of “Home Grown” will air at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, on channels 12 and 90 (St. Thomas/St. John Innovative Cable TV channel 13). Episodes will be re-run 7 p.m. Sunday, 6 p.m. Tuesday, and 1 p.m. Saturday.

Photo of Carlos Robles, courtesy UVI Cooperative Extension Service.


Carlos Robles speaks with Maura Curley about home gardening

Maura Curley is publisher of virginvoices.com

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