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permaculture advocate in Zimbabwe - too little/too much rain

 
pollinator
Posts: 179
Location: Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Europe
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During a hard rain, I sometimes go for a walk around the fields to look how the water is flowing. I want it to stay on my field but not to cause damage.
 
pollinator
Posts: 267
Location: Zimbabwe
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We have planted sunflower along the fence from the outside, and inside the fence, we added lima beans. The area we put sunflowers gave us a nice harvest of organic material for feeding the soil.  The rain is raining so much with short breaks and I think I will make pathways to direct water to trees and the hedge, and stop putting it in the field.

My uncle from Hurungwe paid a visit. I had been the one to go to see his place but I did not make it, it still is a bucket list item maybe for next year. He is done with securing his garden from being destroyed by cows and he planted some live fence which will replace the branches, twigs... which will eventually rot. His next target is securing his seed source. In the past years he would sometimes buy from what he would get from his field, and in most cases he would get help from family members when his time for nursing his seeds arrived. The target is to have his produce take care of this, and he will send a draft of how he will tackle this. He helped us with our banana plants at the plot, which have not been producing fruit. The best time I had with him was dancing together, our meeting was not too intense, I think it is also something we are developing generally in the house, learning how to enjoy moments together.

With my mum's place, we have been focusing on time management as a primal target. Normal working time starts at eight for professional jobs and we have been aiming at consistently matching this, and we are not too bad now. The next step is to prioritise, planning in a way that makes effort beneficial.  The plants we are looking at to assess effort vs benefit are, maize, cowpeas, pumpkin, covo, and little focus is on chickens, I am not yet sure we have what it takes to care for them properly. Feed for the birds in the coming year, is the reason why we are putting sunflowers.      
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pile of weeds from along the fence
pile of weeds from along the fence
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diversity: bean harvest has been a great incentive to add ,more plants
diversity: bean harvest has been a great incentive to add ,more plants
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more lima beans planted along the fence
more lima beans planted along the fence
 
Posts: 143
Location: Eilean a' Cheo
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Hi Rufaro, I'm new to this forum and have enjoyed reading your thread.  I think you could write a good book about your experiences!  It must be very satisfying looking back and seeing how far you have come, and that your neighbours recognise your successes by copying you.  It is a good farmer who leaves the soil in better state than they started (whatever their yield)!
I'm thinking about your 'sandy soil' patch in the field and wonder if it is worth all the extra effort you put in to get the maize to grow well there.  Maybe you could consider planting shrubs or trees that would dig deeper with their roots and provide shelter?  I have heard of the moringa tree, which is apparently being planted further north than you and has several uses, both edible and non edible.  One good thing about it is that it is supposed to be very quick growing even from seed, giving a yeild the first year, so you could quickly see whether it works for you.  It is just an idea for you.  I hope you have a good growing year this year.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 267
Location: Zimbabwe
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A book! Nancy thank you...! Nicest complement!! I will be happy to have a good writer take it up, if it is a possibility/ something even worth considering.  

The sandy patch from inside the yard has greatly improved and it has indeed taken a lot of hard work, just to prove it can be grown on, just as on the good soil. The objective is to have so many things growing in fields, other than a traditional maize field with little to no trees and the current limited diversity on the plants grown. The other thing is with changing times, the big commercial farms we used to rely on for food no longer produce anywhere near what thy used to and a lot of food is imported, and very expensive in comparison with normal/ average income. If we could have small scale farmers grow food throughout the year, using the proper farming methods (pro-saving the earth), as opposed to waiting only for the rain, it will not only secure food, but I believe it will help in the water cycle balance, the reasons follow
  • having plants growing for most of the year will keep the ground moist and cool as opposed to only three months of growing and leaving the ground bare, the rest of the time
  • spreading water harvesting in multiple household will have a compounded effect on reducing runoff, further increasing water percolation and the volume of water that will be stored in the ground

  • once households pass the phase of trying to secure food, they can open up their minds to greater issues like the contribution of a single farmer's farming methods to climate change. It will be easier to introduce growing of trees, not only for food consumption. An example is in our field, last year is the only time everyone was on board with growing a thorny indigenous tree (more than 3 years since introducing permaculture), not because of its edible fruits, but because it grows easily, it fixes nitrogen and it will be a good wind break. It is like, as a family we are seeing past "we need food now", and we are investing in an environment of abundance (holistically) instead (permaculture is earning trust because of the past results). This year, we have many cow peas and pumpkin plants that have emerged, wihin the maize field, if we manage to have a good yield on these, it will take a little attention from maize, once we get the benefits from these crops. We can experiment with these in the kitchen as well as in generating income. I am sure there will be gradual changes in the quantities of maize we consume per year, I will be recording this also. This will help in devaluing the importance of maize as the main source of food and it will be a matter of time before fields will look like forest, with trees, multiple plant species, e.t.c. The only trick is just having one family successfully implementing this I think. Everyone else will tag along. This year, I was happy, I saw a second family using buckets to water their field, before the rain came. They have a well and not a borehole but it still is a good water source and they cannot afford an irrigation system yet (assumption). Since in the meantime maize is "the food" and it is pricey, instead of looking at what they do not have they are using the resources they have to grow the maize. They have labor, water, and land. It is not convenient to water using buckets, but, it is watering and it assures availability of food/ maize at the end of the growing period and it can be a stepping stone to building a convenient life. The money and time used to buy and look for maize/ mealie-meal, or to buy inputs and grow things that would have a high chance of drying up due to excessive heat and no supplementary watering to back the rain up, could be saved up to set up an irrigation system and eventually drill a borehole, if it becomes a necessity, until we develop and grow food adaptive to our environment. If an ordinary farmer with a well can grow the maize just as good as a farmer with a borehole and irrigation systems, it lessens the value put on maize also.  
     
    Rufaro Makamure
    pollinator
    Posts: 267
    Location: Zimbabwe
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    The field is drenched in water, it is difficult to remember that only a few weeks ago it was scotching hot. We have started diverting water, starting with the vegetable garden. The maize is also being attacked by pests.

    On a higher note, there are few cow peas plants that emerged, from the first cow peas planting batch, they have grown and they are beautiful. With how grass is becoming more and more scarce, this is the way to go.
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    Rufaro Makamure
    pollinator
    Posts: 267
    Location: Zimbabwe
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    We ridged the vegetable beds and created a path for the water going round the field and not through it. That way we give it enough time to sink without damaging our plants and excess of it will flow out of our yard.
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    pollinator
    Posts: 554
    Location: Utah
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    As far as the pests, have you looked at what plants are not affected based on what is growing nearby? I'm guessing you've got some attractants (bait) combinations and some deterrents. Maybe do a test based on this?

    Also, I'm curious about the setup of your fields. Would it be possible to do some swales at the top of the slope to catch some of that runoff before it goes into your drainage ditches? Then it might flow downhill and continue to water your garden after the rain stops.
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    Hi Lauren.

    I did not quite understand what you said about pests.
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    The rain stopped again for sometime, and we got a little bit of sun today. The maize field is now good after redirecting the runoff, the water collects in the holes when it is raining, and when the rain stops it quickly sips into the soil.

    The sight of some of the vegetable beds is not too far from disheartening. The leaves look like they are wilting. We bought some poultry litter, which we put in some of the beds with the hope of redeeming our vegetables.  We have also been putting cut weeds in these beds. We might be too late for this season because it is still raining and I am not sure how much the organic matter and manure will help for now. We will continue adding weed cuttings, if not for helping our vegetables this season, it will be in preparation for the new plants we will put. We have started harvesting the wilted leaves before they rot, and we will boil and dry them( common way of preserving these leaves around here), that way we will at least get something out of our effort. I had expected so much from the vegetable beds income wise.
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    added chicken litter to covo beds
    added chicken litter to covo beds
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    cutting covo for drying
    cutting covo for drying
     
    Rufaro Makamure
    pollinator
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    The sun is out again today and we are loving it.  We have started harvesting maize form the part we were drip irrigating and boiled maize is such a tasty treat. The monkeys beat us to the maize again this year and today they meant business. They are not afraid of people anymore and they do not even run far when we chase them away and the moment we would busy ourselves with other things they were not wasting time and they were grabbing as much cobs as possible. We made a scare crow, so hopefully that will keep them away for some time.

    I hope the monkeys can be seen in the tree included in the pictures.
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    scarecrow
    scarecrow
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    monkeys in a tree
    monkeys in a tree
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    early maize harvest
    early maize harvest
     
    Lauren Ritz
    pollinator
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    Location: Utah
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    You stated:

    Rufaro Makamure wrote:The maize is also being attacked by pests.



    From the pictures it appears that not all plants are being attacked. I'm wondering if the companion plants are having an effect here. If you have beans around some (just as an example) and pumpkins around others, and those surrounded by pumpkins are not being attacked, either the beans might be attracting the pests or the pumpkins might be keeping them away. By knowing which plants are being attacked and which are not, you can start to determine how to use the plants to prevent pests.
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    Oh okay I get it now, I will have a look and I appreciate the advise.

    We are continuing with adding cut weeds into vegetable beds, we are still on the first layer, but we intend to put a lot, giving time for the layers to dry up and turning them in the beds. Some of the vegetables are now a right off, so we removed and replanted, in some beds. In the maize field, the tallest maize has started tasseling. We do not have to put as much effort in the field this year, we are now getting most of the weeds for the vegetable beds from the field. We planted maize on patches which had some beans as well as cabbages, so the whole area of our field now has maize.

    Too much water has taken us by surprise and we have been affected, but there is an upside to this also. The resilience that we are building up in the maize field has been put too the test and though we are still developing, our field has done us proud so far. The upside is that, the situation resulting from too much rain, is giving us a practical platform to look at opportunity cost, in our daily choices, ( I discovered the term yesterday). It best describes one of the main concepts, which if we learn, will have a huge impact on how things will turn out, opposite to the usual, i.e., so much effort and very little benefit, if any at all.

    Making the decision to scale down and only focus on our yard first, in growing things, instead of adding rented spaces has been a victory. We have more time, money and energy that we are concentrating on a manageable area. We still need to establish what we truly can sustain within the yard though, given the resources we have. I feel like even though we scaled down, we are still spreading our resources thinly, by trying out many things within a short space of time and this has a tendency of depriving the plants of important resources, like proper feed, watering time, pest control, e.t.c... We are both (mother and myself) at extreme ends. If I had the chance I would grow one crop until I was sure I can handle it and then add another only after I know I have mastered the first, then keep on repeating this approach until we get to the fullest capacity the field can handle. Mother on the other hand is not afraid of trying out various things, especially what seems to be selling more in the season. From the time we started working together, I have been seeing the pros and cons of being rigid with a plan, and I appreciate that there are some moments when plans change to suit the dynamic environment we are in. An example is with the maize we are eating now. I was completely against having it planted, because I was so afraid that, one, it will be too demanding labor wise since most of its growing time would be in  the dry period, and 2, it would also encroach into the farming season, and in someway we would have missed the full benefit of the rain in the whole field, since the maize would be almost mature, but still in the field. Well, both my suspicions came to pass, but the high moral, brought by the fresh maize cobs, is priceless. In the past days, since we started harvesting the maize, there is a different mood and the effort being put in recovering from the excess rain damage is beautiful.

    I still think we are spreading our resources thinly as we try out growing/ doing multiple things, but I also know that we can only develop by trying out a variety of new activities. How to get an equilibrium between being too cautious in attempting to not waste resources on non beneficial efforts, vs, developing through trying out new things is the million dollar question. When I stumbled at opportunity cost, I got an idea on using this as a tool to help us in getting to this equilibrium. We have had choices we have been making the whole of our lives, we could try to revisit our past pivotal choices, and also try to imagine how if we had made our choices differently, how would we see our present state like. Then we can take this and mirror it into the choices we have made at the plot and their impact, looking at where we might be, had we not chosen those choices. Hopefully this will bring an awareness to, how much every time we think we have no option, we actually have and also, that, whatever choice we do not make, has its benefits that it goes with.

    I have included pictures of the fruit trees that that have fruit on them this year. Also one most welcome development is that, my sister  who likes cooking can now make home made custard, thanks to the chickens for making eggs available, who knew that not much is needed in making custard. She is also helping with making mum acquire a taste for the mowa vegetable"amaranth" and all the other new foodstuffs we intend to introduce her too. In her last attempt she put it in stewed beef, adding multiple things including, okra (I have never seen this anywhere)...it tasted really good.

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    Rufaro Makamure
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    Posts: 267
    Location: Zimbabwe
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    We have harvested a reasonable quantity of the comfrey leaves, left them in the sun for some weeks, and we made a fertiliser. We fed a small part of the maize which is among the shortest batch and we will be assessing to see if it will look any different from the others with time.

    The onions from the sandy party we worked on were a lot better in terms of quantity and size as compared to the onions we would usually get, so the effort of feeding the soil paid off.  
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    comfrey fertiliser
    comfrey fertiliser
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    onion harvest
    onion harvest
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    tallest maize
    tallest maize
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    middle length
    middle length
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    shortest maize
    shortest maize
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    We are still talking about opportunity cost. We briefly talked about past decisions, starting from mum’s parents and the decisions that my mother thinks her parents made that have shaped her life a certain way both in a positive and negative way. As we continue with the discussion, one of the things I am slowly realising is that, no matter what the outcome of my decision to put a professional job on hold to try and create a regenerative and sustainable home for my family will be, it is never going to be seen as an opportunity. Judging from the slow positive changes happening I do not think I will do anything differently if I were to go back in time. It’s just that the feeling that comes with this realisation is not a really good one.

    We were now bouncing back from the effects of excess rain, even though we still had light rain almost daily. But for about fifteen hours now it has been showering non-stop and I have been looking through the window watching the water flowing outside. I am not going to the plot today, emotionally I feel so drained I cannot put it in words. What I know though is, tomorrow, I will be working on the second layer of organic matter for the vegetable beds, and see if we cannot beat this rain. The lima bean plants along the fence were drowned, I have already planted new seeds. The pumpkin plants are growing bigger and bigger, meaning there is a possibility of a different kind of harvest in the field end of this season, I am hoping it produces a yield that will provide food for more than five months.
     
    Posts: 47
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    Hi Rufaro,

    I have followed your journey over the years and have always admired your efforts.

    I have lived in South Africa for a large part of my life even though I now live in Australia.
    I have an understanding of Africa and how it's very different from the USA and Europe.

    I’d like to give you my 2 cents worth. You need to look at the big picture –

    The facts as I see them – Zimbabwe is in decline, the value of the money is worth less every day.
    The job you left, your destiny was in someone else's hands and could have changed at any time.

    What you have done is taken control back, you are feeding your family and having excess to sell.

    Growing food is not easy and you will have setbacks all the time but that is what life is about how
    do you overcome them?

    Simply don’t give up, carry on doing what you are doing, growing food and gaining valuable experience.

    Concentrate on improving the soil, protect it like your child.

    I work with soil using minerals and microbes endeavoring to produce nutrient-dense foods, it’s all in the life within the soil.

    Rhodesia was the breadbasket of Africa and there is no reason that it can’t be that again
    with the likes of people like you.

    If you ever need any advice or help, or just want to talk, please get back to me.

    Regards
    Keep on growing and never give up.

    Anthony


     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    Thank you for the encouraging words.
     
    pollinator
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    Rufaro Makamure wrote:I am slowly realising is that, no matter what the outcome of my decision to put a professional job on hold to try and create a regenerative and sustainable home for my family will be, it is never going to be seen as an opportunity. Judging from the slow positive changes happening I do not think I will do anything differently if I were to go back in time. It’s just that the feeling that comes with this realisation is not a really good one.



    Ooh why not? What would you have gotten out of the professional job that you do not get out of your present circumstances? You would have been away from home all day, giving your work to someone else for much less than it's value always wishing you had more time with you mother and family. and time is one thing none of us can make more of.
    I have a masters degree but I do not use it at all, I work as you do on the land and sell vegetables to pay the bills. the ability to make the decision to not earn a (high) wage and instead be home doing what I want when I want is an amazing opportunity that many on here wish they had. You can be there for your mother and your community and in slowly regenerating the land you steward you are also being there for the entire planet. If everyone did what you are doing then we would not have 99% of the world problems we have right now.
     
    Lauren Ritz
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    Skandi, if I'm understanding Rufaro's words correctly, she's not talking about an opportunity for her, but others seeing what she has done as valuable or important. It goes back to the social expectation that only work for "others" is valuable and that those who work the land are wasting their social value. Similar to the way people in the west see women as "useless" who choose to raise their own children. If some action does not lead to the social recognition of others, it is considered meaningless, even if it feeds her family.

    It's not easy to work past that, to put your own value on your actions rather than accepting the value placed on your work by others. I keep fighting that, and keep falling back into the same trap. I know what I'm doing is important, but others don't set the same value on it so I have this constant battle of what I should be doing according to society and what I am doing. The battle leads to exhaustion and depression if I let it. The expectations of society are so deeply ingrained that it's sometimes hard to even see them, let alone fight them.
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    It is raining, but our afternoon has been a hot one which is really good. We have been turning the first layer of weeds and putting the second layer in the vegetable beds (we are no longer cutting, it was time consuming). On the beds we have been working on, the pruned vegetables’ leaves are growing big. There is a side that we have not yet worked on at all and the difference shows. Most of the lima bean plants and the tomato plants are not redeemable.  

    I found that writing in this thread helped me in planning and creating a road-map for what I wish to achieve, and there is some exposure in learning how things can be done differently. I would like to involve mother and possibly have her share how she is running her homestead with others. I need some help though from anyone, to start a dialogue, of some sort with her (within this thread), as I think this is more engaging and it will give the conversation more weight, as it will be bigger than just the two of us. Her name is Rabecca.
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    second mulch layer
    second mulch layer
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    lima beans affected by water
    lima beans affected by water
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    vegetable beds not yet worked on
    vegetable beds not yet worked on
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    We harvested the mature maize and we are using the greens to add to the mulch for the vegetable beds. Boiled maize will be in season mostly in March/ April (with the exception of the commercially grown, which is always in season but pricey, and always the first few cobs are the tastiest. We have our cousins (still young) who are spending their christmas holiday with us and we usually serve boiled maize for lunch, the satisfying thing is how eagerly they wait for lunch.  
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    using greens from maize as mulch
    using greens from maize as mulch
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    We are now working on the third layer of weeds, for the chou moellier (so it turns out that all along I had been spelling this vegetable as chomolia instead of chou moellier, a type of kale) beds and the weeds are blending with the soil beautifully. The maize has cobs and some of the pumpkin plants, which grew by themselves now have fruits. We have also started harvesting the cow peas leaves, though the plants that germinated are few. I am still sowing cow peas every opportunity I get. The lima beans along the fence that we sowed is germinating well, one edge of the field which we are also using as a path of excess water has sweet potato mounts, and these too are looking good.
    IMG-20210104-WA0006.jpg
    chou moellier beds
    chou moellier beds
    IMG-20210104-WA0014.jpg
    maize crop
    maize crop
    IMG-20210104-WA0010.jpg
    pumpkin
    pumpkin
    IMG-20210104-WA0012(1).jpg
    sweet potatoes
    sweet potatoes
    IMG-20210104-WA0009.jpg
    lima beans
    lima beans
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    Posts: 267
    Location: Zimbabwe
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    This season we have received plenty of rain. We've had a tropical storm since December, which resulted in floods and it is still raining. We have seen challenges that come with flooding but also we have seen our maize field's resilience and it is heart warming to know that stability is possible even when there are erratic and extreme weather conditions. What I will not sugar coat is how demanding it is to reach this stable point. With our vegetable area, I have lost count of how many layers of weeds we have put so far. Most of the plants did not make it, but what consoles us is how the density of earth worms has increased in the beds. We are no longer adding weeds in some beds (We seem to have put so much), the plan now is to grow cow peas as the live mulch, to protect the earth worms from the sun, when it does come.  
    20210129_102930.jpg
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    majority of the cobs are really huge
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    [Thumbnail for 20210126_092646.jpg]
    cow peas
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    [Thumbnail for 20210126_092530.jpg]
    bottle gourd
    20210126_091949.jpg
    [Thumbnail for 20210126_091949.jpg]
    choumoellier beds
     
    Lauren Ritz
    pollinator
    Posts: 554
    Location: Utah
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    I'm curious if you've studied Zephaniah Maseko at all? He was in Zimbabwe as well, and I believe the foundation he started is still around. Called the Rain Farmer.
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    Oh yes!
    I know about Zephaniah Phiri Maseko. I first heard of him when I did my PDC classes. I think he really did great things and I respect what he did, unlike these days where information is more accessible, his youthful time was a lot different, having him approach farming like he did is pretty amazing. His home area is relatively close to where I stay and it is among the places I wish to visit some time in the future.
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    Posts: 267
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    The cow peas seeds I planted are now germinating nicely. I am anticipating an added value to cow peas this year at least starting with my family, if we manage to harvest a lot of the leaves as well as the pods, which is a highly probable thing. I have included pictures of the harvest that we have made so far, from the scattered plants ( sugar beans, cow peas pods, as well as both dried and fresh cow peas leaves) and all from the same space as the maize.
    20210202_164844.jpg
    [Thumbnail for 20210202_164844.jpg]
    sugar beans, cow peas pods and both fresh and dried cow peas leaves
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    This season has been intense. But one thing I am discovering about farming or life in general is that, every season has it's highs and lows and in most cases as you experience an incident, it seems to be the most intense, so I suppose after sometime, there will be something else that will overtake this season's experience. One memorable incident which has made me believe in miracles, happened when I was getting back from the plot, one particular day. On this day, it started raining heavily when I was still in the field and I had to wait for it to die down a bit for me to head home. There is a route I usually use which has a small river (normally a dry place), this one was out of question, the river would be full after such a heavy pour and so I took a long route, which has no river. Along the way as I passed some people's houses, they were scooping water out of their houses, then I knew I was not to underestimate how much it had rained. I got to some road and it had turned into some kind of river, and this was the road I was to use. I saw three men who were way ahead of me who seemed to have a hang of things so it gave me courage to continue, there was no one else in the vicinity. I got to some section which was really wide, with water everywhere and I had the confidence that I could cross since the men whom I had seen had passed in a fairly easy way.

    As I walked, it seemed to get deeper and deeper and I was failing to understand how a road could be deep in a bad way.Just when I was in real panic mode and was kind of stuck, at that moment some man came from behind, with shoes in one hand, and he just grabbed my hand and started walking with me. He opened his mouth to say something and I smelt alcohol and all I could visualise was the both of us falling, I assumed he would not have good balance. I started pulling my hand away and at the same time unconsciously taking the deeper route. He did not let go, he was pulling me in a non negotiating way and he seemed to know where exactly to step. As soon as we got to a relatively safe space he just let go of me and did not even look back for me to see his face or say thank you.

    Worms have been magical, we are now mounting weeds on the cow peas in the field, hopefully plenty of worms will breed around the plants, this has turned out to be the easiest way of feeding our plants. So we will see how the cow peas (nyemba beans) will do. We have not put any other kind of manure other than piling weeds. The cow peas in the vegetable garden looks great, and it looks like it will turn out into a beautiful live mulch. We tried putting sugar beans in the vegetable beds, but these ended up outgrowing choumoellier plants, so we are putting a pause on this.

     
    20210207_091556.jpg
    [Thumbnail for 20210207_091556.jpg]
    beautiful cow peas plant as promising live mulch
    20210207_112303.jpg
    [Thumbnail for 20210207_112303.jpg]
    piling weeds on cow peas plants
    20210207_112459.jpg
    sugar beans outgrew choumoellier
    sugar beans outgrew choumoellier
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    We had a second lock-down soon after New year's and one of the children who had come for holidays to our place did not get a chance to go back home. We have spent so much time together at the plot and all the while she will be asking so many questions, especially about how we are growing things. Why we mix different plants, why we do not use fertiliser...e.t.c.  She stays in a rural place, so she knows a lot about growing and farming in general. I always try to explain the best way I can, but I can tell she does not get much of what I say. I am not too worried about her understanding things now, I think, to have her just seeing what is going on and asking so many questions and storing this in her subconscious mind is good enough. If she ever in her adult life considers farming, I know she will have more to chose from, from her knowledge base, also if she hears about the different farming alternatives as she progresses in life, some of the things will be more than theory.

    Today though has been different. We were harvesting bottle gourd and she asked me how many bags of maize we were expecting from the field, and mentioned the number she thought we would likely get because of how small our field is in comparison to what she is used to. Her number was two 50kg bags. When I told her we are expecting not less than 6, 50kg bags she was astonished. We had a long talk about how it is not about the size of the field but how properly managed a space is and today she was all ears, but still not believing. I forgot all about this but later on in the day, when we got home, she checked with my mother if I was being truthful about our past harvests, and she came back to me again. I then remembered I have everything on this thread, when she saw the pictures and the recorded yields she believed and still remained super surprised. I hope the maize dries up quickly and we get to shell the maize and see how much we harvest in her presence.  
    20210210_183211.jpg
    checking out the thread for past harvests
    checking out the thread for past harvests
     
    Nancy Reading
    Posts: 143
    Location: Eilean a' Cheo
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    Rufaro,
    And the other great thing is the other crops you are growing, not just maize!  If one thing does less well one year, hopefully another will do better.
     
    Lauren Ritz
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    Nancy Reading wrote:Rufaro,
    And the other great thing is the other crops you are growing, not just maize!  If one thing does less well one year, hopefully another will do better.


    Not the least of which appears to be a young mind.
     
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    Location: Oregon (Portland Metro) Zone 8B
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    rufaro I just spent the last 2 hours reading your entire thread from start to finish. all four years and this has been the most exciting, beautiful project I have ever seen. What you wrote here gives me hope for the future. I am blessed to have been born in the richest country in the world. And yet still here injustices are rampant and the effects of climate change are begining to take their toll (The fires we had last year, I will never forget the months of drought and the way dark clouds rolled in and darkened the city with ash and smoke). I cannot stop wildfires, I cannot stop global powers and the ultra rich. But I can plant a garden. I can mulch my yard and plant fruit trees. I can talk to my neighbors. and I can prepare us for change.
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    Thank you.
     
    Rufaro Makamure
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    We have harvested and dried a lot of cow peas leaves, we are now selling some. It's been about four days since I put a notice to let people know we have the dried leaves. One packet was bought on the first day, which was great, then things went on hold, not even to just inquire about the price. I know it's  still early but I am getting  nervous. To make it worse, my brother visited and made an innocent comment on how it is embarrassing to have cow peas leaves being sold at home. If we consider the norm on success locally, he is right, but looking  at it differently it's difficult to understand that a kind of food  defines success . It has only intensified the pressure of selling  a lot  of the leaves. I still have high hopes because quite a number of people around are either from mum's generation or moved from the rural area to the urban area. They are likely going to buy, simply because they are familiar with cow peas leaves as a tasty relish. The other leverage  is, choumoellier, the common vegetable  is scarce because of excessive rain we got. I am still on the second packet.
     
    Anthony Saber
    Posts: 47
    Location: Noosa Hinterland QLD, Australia
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    Hi Rufaro,

    Not sure if cow pea leaves are so called normal food in Zim. You may need to educate the locals by making up a pot and giving them a tasting. If they like it they will buy it, if not it may be a crop not to grow in the future. I believe it could also be feed to life stock. Ignore all  negative comments you hear and just get on with producing food.

    Cheers
    Anthony
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