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permaculture advocate in Zimbabwe - too little/too much rain

 
pollinator
Posts: 194
Location: Zimbabwe
67
greening the desert
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Our pump is working now, which is good because the rains have not come yet. The rain has taken longer than usual to fall this year. In the past years, it has been shifting in a more subtle way. There was a time when rain would fall by mid October, it slowly changed, until end of October was the normal. This year, we are almost getting into mid November and the majority of areas have not received proper rain. There was a really good chance of it raining, at the beginning of the month with percentages on precipitation chances, ranging between 50% and 84%. We could see clouds forming, with some certainty of rain, but it would get extremly hot in the afternoons, clouds would form and in the evening, it would then become windy and a little chilly and no rain would fall. This week we are expecting it to rain, though the chance is lower than it was at the beginning of the month. We have started replanting some areas where the maize was affected to beyond survival. I have stopped completely working on the flowers and the kitchen garden, for now, our water resources and time are not allowing us to.

Despite the water troubles, our field has life in it, we are so thankful for that.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 194
Location: Zimbabwe
67
greening the desert
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It is now raining...! . Both the field and the chomolia beds look healthy. Chomolia is on demand, we are getting customers who come from great distances, than we normally get. We are putting more suckers to enable us to cope with the demand, as we are turning away more people than we serve.  

The neighbor right next to us has started preparing his land, they are using holes as well.
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Cowpeas
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Maize
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Chomolia
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Neighbor's field
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 194
Location: Zimbabwe
67
greening the desert
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Two uncles who stay in opposite parts of the country are adopting zai pits. The other one got manure from his animals the other is surrounded by trees and he got a lot of manure from under the trees.

Fertilizer and seed is becoming more and more expensive, finding alternative farming methods is becoming less of a luxury, but a necessity. I an glad we have an alternative to turn. I do not want to imagine what the possibility could be if we only relied on conventional farming.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 194
Location: Zimbabwe
67
greening the desert
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We have managed to mulch most of the sandy part and we decided its better to thickly mulch the area our mulch allows us to. We now get electricity for most of the afternoons so we can use our drip system, we finished laying the pipes.

My sister in-law showed me which leaves to pick from cow peas plants. These can be used as relish, so we will see if we can add this onto our income generating list of items We have started picking some cow-peas, which we intend to add to chicken feed mixture.
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thickly covered
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picking cowpeas leaves
 
pollinator
Posts: 1630
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Wow, the mulched area looks great!!!

Rufaro, I'm always interested to see what you are doing.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 194
Location: Zimbabwe
67
greening the desert
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Exciting times ahead...! We grew shallots less than 2 weeks back, it was just a single brown head, now it is green already. We have decided that for a business, instead of just concentrating on selling the tangible product from the garden or field, we will focus on "affordability " as a product. I don't know if this makes sense but, there has been inflation which has now gone out of hand, instead of taking this as an obstacle, we can choose to take it as an opportunity,  we can produce a lot more products and concentrate on pushing volumes rather than just increasing the prices.

If shallots are growing at this rate, we can put a very cheap price knowing we can grow more fast.
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shallots
shallots
 
pollinator
Posts: 328
Location: Utah
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From what you've discussed before I can't tell if you're focusing on seed saving at all.

Keep 2 seeds from every cob you harvest as long as it's not insect eaten or has other signs of weakness. A few full cobs that are completely healthy might be better than a few seeds from each, depending on your harvest.

Keep 1 bean pod from each bean plant, and so on. Collect only the healthiest, those that are not nibbled by insects or attacked by other pests.

If you haven't done this before, research it. You want to choose one or two criteria for each crop, and pick only the seeds that fill that criteria. As the seeds are planted on your land year after year they will slowly adapt to your conditions.
 
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I think a too short answer on seed saving can lead to problems.
For example with kale, if only CMS hybrids are available, advising to save seeds will lead to problems because it does not work.
With inbreeding plants like corn, only saving seeds from one or a few plants will lead to inbreeding depression, and a highly reduced yield within a few generation

As seed saving is an art, and too much to explain in one post, here a short description from specialists, and the agrodok on seed production.
https://www.realseeds.co.uk/seedsavinginfo.html
https://www.echocommunity.org/resources/96ff0021-b918-4bad-8220-c2cf3991c83a
 
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A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
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