• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
stewards:
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Beau Davidson
  • Jay Angler
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
gardeners:
  • thomas rubino
  • Casie Becker
  • Mike Barkley

permaculture advocate in Zimbabwe - too little/too much rain

 
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have collected over 3/4 of a bucket of dried cow-peas, from the maize field. We have also harvested the few plants we had planted as live mulch, there are parts where the live mulch seemed to be overpowering the vegetables,  so we agreed to remove the live mulch and try it out later. I think we need to be careful as to the timing of when to plant the mulch, the beds that had a good chomolia height were not negatively affected by the mulch. I have a really strong bias towards a live mulch, but caution is needed l guess.

Below, are two beds that we removed the live mulch from. One bed is as if nothing was done to it and the other bed has a gap on one area, where l think we planted the mulch when the chomolia was not yet tall enough.
IMG-20210426-WA0005.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG-20210426-WA0005.jpg]
IMG-20210426-WA0004.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG-20210426-WA0004.jpg]
IMG-20210426-WA0008.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG-20210426-WA0008.jpg]
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One very welcome potential that this year is likely to offer is time, time to just enjoy an activity. And I owe this to a different value system that I keep discovering as well as continueously improving systems .
Because we can cover a bit more work than we could, we have some extra time. Though this is temporary, as we are still growing, 10% of this time is going to be for dancing. I really enjoy dancing and l believe that the effort we put in things like stabilizing food...and other basics, should somehow be balanced with the effort we put in just ejoying life. Maybe I will share some of my dance moves as I learn, for now I still have two left feet. I look and count on the things that we have/will harvest this year, amongst maize, chomolia...e.t.c, dancing might be part of these achievements and its exciting.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
864
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That’s a lot of cowpeas! I grow them too, so I’m aware that you are growing and hand harvesting quite a lot. That’s wonderful! I still haven’t gotten around to trying the leaves in my cooking. I already have a variety of greens to choose from, so I simply haven’t gotten around to trying the cowpea greens. Because of you, I eventually will try them.

You have been doing quite a lot of farming work. It is looking better and better. I’m hoping that your fields continue to improve.

Thinking about dancing? Yes! Dancing is good for you spirit, your soul, your artistic heart, or whatever else you want to call it. I’ve never had lessons myself, but I will sing and dance while I work in my fields. People might think that I’m simply crazy, but I’m much happier working while I’m singing....and dancing a bit. So go ahead and dance. Feel how wonderful your body feels when you’re dancing in your fields. Good for you!
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Su, when that time comes, for you to try out cowpea leaves, it's the extremely tender ones that are eaten. Those that easily break off by simply pinching. Otherwise the other ones are too tough.

We have been collectively working on basics in growing things and though we have moved so much positively, what we produce cannot last a single family throughout a year, in terms of taking care of their basics, bills included. So now we are compressing all this work so that one person can maintain the stage we have gotten to so far. This frees up some labour for us to focus on growth even further, which is now more of a reality rather than a dream.
 
pollinator
Posts: 824
Location: Kansas
200
forest garden fungi bee medical herbs writing greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Rufaro Makamure wrote:What we produce cannot last a single family throughout a year, in terms of taking care of their basics, bills included. So now we are compressing all this work so that one person can maintain the stage we have gotten to so far. This frees up some labour for us to focus on growth even further, which is now more of a reality rather than a dream.

How many COULD be taken care of by what you already produce? If it lasts three people 6 months, or one person 6 months, that makes a difference in how you handle expansion and maintenance.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Summing up our average monthly  produce for a period of one year (assuming we will be consistent or improve), what we produce now, can last a single person( no children, no spouse)  3 months. This is just focusing on basics to make a person survive, looking at food, shelter, electricity/ alternative fuel, toiletries, water.

I read about two opposite watering methods, one advocates for watering without soaking the vegetable beds too much and doing it frequently, so that water is not wasted by sipping through the soil too much to the non-root level. The other one l read quite recently opposes this. It supports soaking the beds then prolonging the periods in-between watering days. The surface dries up, but deep in the soil it will be wet and this encourages the roots to grow deeper in search of moisture and the deeper the roots go, the more resilient the plant will be. We started with the first method and it works now we are trying the second one then we will compare the benefits. We are on day 4 after the first soak, and the beds we thoroughly watered are still very wet, under the thick mulch. This has a potential of freeing up time even more.

We finally did a planned dancing session. We had so much fun, my sister is teaching me. I take my hat off to all dancers, it is not an easy task. Remembering moves while trying to keep up with the beat is one thing, and loosening up and being flexible is another. I dance a lot spontaneously, now l am looking at a more coordinated dancing style. So l will include a video of my present dance moves and once in a while include my moves as I develop.  
IMG_20210511_133744.jpg
my sister harvesting choumollier for selling
my sister harvesting choumollier for selling
IMG_20210511_132304.jpg
Mitchell and myself being taught how to dance
Mitchell and myself being taught how to dance
collage-(4).jpg
[Thumbnail for collage-(4).jpg]
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have included a video of my niece and myself, dancing and just having a good time and we both enjoy having a good time. She had gone back to her home, for a couple of weeks and I could feel the void, I was glad to hear she was coming to stay with us again for a little while longer and it's good moments like this one (dancing) with her, that I missed the most


 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Burning of forests has started earlier this year, we usually get to July and August before the burning starts. We had already started storing grass for mulching needs for the rest of the year and we hoped to have collected a lot more, we are glad we had started though.
IMG_20210511_133721.jpg
collected grass
collected grass
IMG_20210519_095703.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210519_095703.jpg]
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The kitchen garden space has been idle for sometime now. We tried growing sunflowers during the rainy period but it was a complete failure, out of the whole space we got literally one super sized one and the rest did not even germinate. When my niece came back for the second time she asked if she could start her own garden where we used to have the kitchen garden and it was an issue we debated on greatly. I know the responsibility that comes with growing even the smallest of spaces and I wasn't sure if my niece had reached the time when she can be in charge of an entire garden space.  She's only 14 years old and we are currently home schooling her for the time she is with us, I am now against the  theoretical approach of our education system, but no matter how convinced l am that this small garden can give her an experience that she might never get whilst sitting on a desk, it was a difficult decision to allow her to use her free time doing her own garden. We eventually allowed her and l do not regret us having allowed her. I personally do not interfere at all with what she does. She always checks progress in her garden, l do not know how many times a day she goes to look at her plants (l get her because l used to do this when l started). There was one morning she came into the house with a crushed spirit. Donkeys had eaten her plants. She wanted to quit and she had made  up her mind, her other aunt sat down with her and asked her if it was this easy for her to give up on something she fought so hard for, it took her over a day and l saw her fixing her garden. I am so proud to show off her effort and l know there is so much character building as she grows her plants.
20210523_082649.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20210523_082649.jpg]
20210523_082627.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20210523_082627.jpg]
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We are officially adding tomatoes to the list of crops we will be growing annually and our first  official trial is in winter I am crossing my fingers it works because it will add a good amount to what we are making income wise. We are trying  inter-cropping onions with tomatoes as well as choumollier, so there is that additional potential income too. Last year we weren't successful with intercropping choumollier and onions, the onions failed to grow bulbs. We sampled a few onions in rape beds and it's still too early but they look healthy.

If there is anything l am so anxiously waiting for is the profit phase it's long overdue. Every successful crop is like a HALLELUJAH. l do see some progress but my resilience is growing so thin now. It's almost five years now and in as much as I can put my money on the fact that it is not just how much money you give a person that makes them live a stable life, but it's got a lot to do with how well one uses their resources, l feel l nearly reached my breaking point. I am sharing this because today  I am getting the message that it's not yet time for me to go, indirectly of course. The past months have been crazy as I have been trying to prove that we have been  working and we have changed completely from the position we used to be. l asked if we could start recording savings we would have made, by reducing input costs and in real life divert this money to the growth of our plot. I had noticed that most of the growth is now mainly through donations and yet we could create a source of capital with what we are saving. I also feel l need to be careful and start working on being independent financially, things are uncertain and l also raised this.

I had to justify what we have done. Like how we have reduced our dependency on external financial input in growing crops and caring for the plot. By external  l mean other people assisting, and also, having us as a family working and earning income elsewhere and 'investing' it in something that will not only waste money but also time and effort. There is some stability with maize and now choumollier and we are adding more crops without additional labour. The achievements were not too clear, because we are not holding a lot of money as profit and things went sour at home. I needed a break and l mentioned l wanted to go away for a little while, but without being direct, there was mention of how we still need to work at the plot and how I am the one who likes farming. We even went through some of the achievements together this time and they were acknowledged. So there is every reason why profits should come like yesterday it makes so many things clearer .






IMG_20210525_121237.jpg
building a wall using grass
building a wall using grass
20210527_060539.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20210527_060539.jpg]
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The nights are getting colder. Out of 69 young tomato plants  that we have,  7 have been damaged the. We are increasing watering as well as feeding, we have bottles we filled with water which will hopefully store the heat absorbed from the sun during the day, to keep the plants warm at night. The older plants were all not affected, but the leaves are wilting and some are developing spots.

We are still discussing our (mum and myself) achievements. Money has never been an easy topic and we are trying to put everything into monetary terms. We cannot runaway from how we need to be financially wise as we work on our place. Understanding the importance of hardwork has been easy, but its smart working that we need to develop. All our concentration had been mostly on planting and now we are putting most of our energy on the output.  Both on plant output and now what we are adding is fulfillment of a specific desire. Our goal has been working on mum's retirement. But beause of how broad this is, other than finding less cost effective ways of growing our plants, we have not really channelled money we would have saved on something that will actually make us achieve our goal faster. Now we have to be more specific, we are aiming at reducing running costs, but l feel it is equally important to know what we can purchase and improve our system with.
We managed to eliminate the cost of artificial fertilisers, first, and we just took note of the amount/cost as something we removed from the budget and we were not bothered by where this amount would then go to. We are changing this approach we are now going to replace an expense that we would have successfully eliminated with an action that will promote growth. An example is how when it is outside the rainy season composting or buying of manure seems like a luxury, yet to get the most from our garden we have to give a little, back. We could take a percentage of the money we saved and channel it to composting/ liquid fertilser material, until we can get rid of this cost as well. One thing for sure is we will get more out of the plot.

So l realised that the more we were saving the more mum started noticing how she needed to help relatives and even us as her children. I think its noble to help, but there should be care in what is available to give and what is not. It might seem selfish for her to put money into tools that fast track profits at the plot, but she would have saved her loved ones and herself  by setting up a system that can take care of her with little dependency.
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 824
Location: Kansas
200
forest garden fungi bee medical herbs writing greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It can be really frustrating to watch. My Dad wants to give. He's never been in a position where he can, but to watch him pouring 2/3 of his monthly income into people and projects that already have MUCH more than he does is frustrating. Even my siblings--they're all financially stable (even if far from rich) but he wants to give to them. Most of them will hand the money right back to me and I put it away for him. :)

But he wants so badly to be useful, and doesn't see value in anything except money. Giving his time, or just talking to someone on the phone, he doesn't see that as helping or giving. But he also doesn't see the value in not being a burden to others in the future. He considers it selfish to save or keep anything for himself now and would gladly give away everything he has without a thought for the future. He thinks I'm being selfish for wanting him to keep what he has. (And in a way it is selfish, since as the caregiver if he gives away everything I have to take up the slack.)

I do understand where it's coming from, but it's massively frustrating. I have tried arguing with him, discussing it, but the best I've found is a small notebook where I write down how much he's giving away and give him a total at the end of the month. It seems to make a difference. Knowing the "savings" are not visible to him, the debits can be.

The same goes for non-monetary savings and debits. You've been working on this project pretty much non-stop for five years. The debits are starting to out-weigh the benefits, not only because things aren't moving along as fast as you would have liked, but also because others have a picture of you that doesn't fit anymore. There's a lot of friction in trying to fit into the old world when you're ready for a new world. Not necessarily as a location, but as a state of mind.

There's also the fear (on your side, but probably also on hers) that if you leave she'll fall back into her old habits and everything will be lost. It leaves you caught between the needs of the "family," your mothers needs (which are not necessarily the same) and your own needs which are NOT the same.

I don't know if this is making sense. It seems to me that your Mum is scared of being left alone, scared of being left responsible for what you have built and not being able to maintain it. She hasn't learned yet that you're working on resilient systems that should be able to maintain themselves in time.

I hope this helps. I have to leave for a few hours--I'll write more later if you need it.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you!!!  Please write I do need this. I will also keep writing even with all my flaws l need to know if my thoughts are in the right place.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have pruned all our tomatoes, removing most leaves that looked unhealthy. With tomato growing, we would have been content with the first harvest, but this time around we want to push the fruit production phase as much as possible.

We learnt of how others build soil up around the bottom part of their tomato plants as they grow so we are trying this also.
IMG_20210531_111312.jpg
Some leaves are wilting
Some leaves are wilting
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Its almost a week now, since we put chicken soup on our tomatoes, there are bright yellow and healthy tiny flowers popping up on the tomatoes including the older ones that we have already harvested from. Before adding feed and building soil around the tomato plants, the flowers were close to off white, it was as if they were coming out almost dry. It might be a little early to celebrate but l like the positive signs.

My niece harvested her first bundle of vegetables from her little garden.It seems she has found a way of earning herself some pocket money, her grandmother decided she will be buying her vegetables. We can take the opportunity to teach her profit and loss/ accounting with some practica l elements, from her garden. We are learning the hard way, it would be nice if she knows now, things l wish l had known early on.

Tariro, thats my niece's name, seems to be shaping her own curriculum. Today as we were walking to the plot we took a different route than usual. We went through the forest and it was so cool as we passed trees. We also experienced this when we took a walk through houses in the low density area. She took note of this and asked. The common thing was the density of trees. We got to talk about advantages of trees and other things related to trees. The word transpiration came up and her eyes lit. She remembered it from class, and she was so excited to know what it actually is beyond words. I am glad we do have this time together.

We are still taking about wealth and savings with mother.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We got our second harvest from the mature plants. They seem to still be going. The fruits are being eaten and we are suspecting rodents, so we are harvesting all the tomatoes before they turn red. The temperatures are getting lower and lower. Some beans were also affected by  the cold.
20210606_154804.jpg
second harvest
second harvest
20210606_154136.jpg
rodent problem
rodent problem
20210605_142629.jpg
tomato plant affected by the cold
tomato plant affected by the cold
20210605_142031.jpg
bean plant affected by the cold
bean plant affected by the cold
20210605_142741.jpg
piled some soil around the tomatoes
piled some soil around the tomatoes
20210605_142145.jpg
healthy flowers still coming out
healthy flowers still coming out
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It is mid year now and we are still haresting crops that we got from the rain. Below is a heap of sweet potatoes, we are harvesting all of them as they are also being eaten by rodents. We will store them in a hole, which is what mum's family used to do when she was younger and the other family staying at the plot still do at their home in the rural area. It will be the first time l am witnessing this kind of storage so l do not know yet how this is going to be done.

Its been two months now since we started eating sweet potatoes. We got quite a bit this year. Our maize will last us till end of this month for the two families and this too is a good achievement.
IMG_20210611_131126.jpg
sweet potatoes
sweet potatoes
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 824
Location: Kansas
200
forest garden fungi bee medical herbs writing greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Beautiful!

I have a question for you. You started this project about 5 years ago, if I remember, and at the time you were focused entirely on maize. Now you have four (?) different major crops and it's holding you through into June.

How long would the maize alone have lasted when you started? When you look at your progress, what are you seeing?
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Lauren Ritz wrote:When you look at your progress, what are you seeing?



I see true and on going development, in a regenerative way.
The meaning of development as stated by Mohamed Rabie
     "It involves the application of certain economic and technical measures to utilise available resources to instigate economic growth and improve people's quality of life"

It is true that when I started, the main focus was on maize. We had our hands unbelievably full, with only this crop and everything else was secondary. Mentally, growing maize would take the whole year, now l hardly think of maize outside the actual farming season. It's becoming the secondary crop in terms of attention. Below is our progress in the last five years

Before 2016
We would grow maize as a tradition believing that the harvest would take off some financial strain.

2016-2017
There was beautiful rain. We got 26 bags of maize from 2&1/2 acres for a total cost of not less than US$432, without a guarantee for any yield.We were not adding any value financially.

2017-2018
We received erratic rain. We got 10bags from only 1/2 of an acre at around $298. Still financially it did not make much sense, but there was an increase in yield guarantee.

2018-2019 we got 7 bags; and in 2019 to 2020 we got 6 bags. The amount of rain we were receiving was decreasing as the years progressed, to the point of a drought, but the yield guarantee, did not decrease much. In both seasons we were conscious of the financial side to the growing of maize and we were using inputs from within the plot as much as we could, "though l didn't keep track of the actual costs".

2020-2021
We had floods. We got 5 bags plus 3months' supply of green mealies. We had a profit of $141 when we valued the maize we got with inputs directly related with maize growing.

We also have sweet potatoes, cow peas, beans, and time for other things in life. We were food secure during the pandemic.

For the above mentioned things, l am sure of our positive growth.

 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We harvested our tomatoes for the third time. We are in disbelief of how the older plants seem to be still producing fruit. I saw a tall tomato plant once in real life in a green house that l visited, which is where l borrowed the concept of pruning suckers. The rodents are still a menace, we are trying to beat them at harvesting but they are now targeting the very small fruits.

We have been successful with our seedlings this time. We have onions and rape. The onions are big enough to transplant and we are circling the tomato plants first, this will give us more for our space. We summed up onions that can go into the tomato space and they are about 600 plants. The onions we planted together with rape seem to be looking good, we are about to remove the aged rape plants and the space will continue being productive.
20210619_123638.jpg
3rd harvest
3rd harvest
20210619_134609.jpg
rape seedlings
rape seedlings
20210619_134558.jpg
onion seedlings
onion seedlings
20210619_134616.jpg
onions & rape
onions & rape
20210619_133149.jpg
onions just planted around tomatoes
onions just planted around tomatoes
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 824
Location: Kansas
200
forest garden fungi bee medical herbs writing greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bucket trap for the rodents?
 
Posts: 32
Location: phoenix, az
6
forest garden trees greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
are you talking about oil in a bucket?
i saw a rat in my backyard the other day, but i have a little turtle wandering around and a lot of birds. so i didnt want to put y poison out
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 824
Location: Kansas
200
forest garden fungi bee medical herbs writing greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
No, a bucket trap is just a large bucket 1/3 or half full of water. It has to be deep enough that the rodents can't reach the bottom when they fall in. It's generally done with a bar across the top that's free to roll with some kind of bait attached to it (peanut butter or similar). The rats or mice get out on the bar, it rolls under them, they're dumped in the water and they can't swim.

A friend of mine had rats getting into her sunflower seeds, so she planned to build one but only got it partially done--no rolling bar or ramp up to the edge of the bucket. She scattered the seeds over the water and they went in apparently thinking it was a solid surface. She said she caught 6 in one night.

If you look up bucket trap you'll probably find some decent plans. Lots of variations.
 
master gardener
Posts: 2384
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland
871
transportation dog forest garden foraging trees books food preservation woodworking wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I can't help thinking that trapping/killing/poisoning pests isn't a particularly Permie thing to do.  I know it's tempting, but in a healthy system predators should balance out the pests. Bucket traps in particular I believe are illegal in the EU because they are considered cruel.
Obviously Rufaro has created a lovely food supply for the local rodent population, so what she needs is balance.  What are the local predators of rodents?  Can she provide habitat for them to encourage them to keep the rodents in check?  Or make the tomatoes less desirable to the nibblers? There are suggestions on this Permies thread about rats something may help, but it would need to suit Rufaro's site.
Our vole population tends to go through cycles. It boomed as soon as we let the grass grow; they eat a lot of grass but it also gives cover from birds which are one of their local predators.  They killed several of our young trees in the early days, but vole guards around the trunks of new trees was enough to protect them.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ooops... I am a little embarrassed but I will be honest anyway. I had celebratory, intentions but for obvious reasons l will not go into detail. I have no intentions of being cruel but the rats are driving us insane. l will look at the thread and see if there are any other alternative solutions .

You know it's not the first time l have been in a conflicted position. I wonder , how or when does one know when to make a trade off/ compromise as one tries to develop a regenerative system.
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 824
Location: Kansas
200
forest garden fungi bee medical herbs writing greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You have to create a balance. I don't know what kind of predator pressure there might be in your area, but the bucket trap is an OPTION, and one far less hurtful and "cruel" than most traps and poison. If there isn't sufficient predator pressure to keep them under control, encouraging predators may NOT be the answer depending on the circumstances.

You need a solution that doesn't create a threat to livestock (yours or others) or people and also allows you to eat what you grow. Permaculture is about what works. I suspect that most purmaculture "purists" have never relied on what they grow--the safety net has always been there. You rely on what you can grow. There are solutions. I gave you one, and I do NOT think that it is against permaculture principles.

In a wild situation, there would likely be enough predators to keep the rats under control, but you do not live in a place where wild cats, hyenas, and other similar "wild" predators should be encouraged. In that case, you need to take the position of the predator. Just like you take the position of the herd animal by disturbing the land, you take the position of the ruminant by spreading vegetation and fertilizing. These are systems you have taken on responsibility for. Control of animals is no different, assuming that you take the position that you don't destroy or kill wantonly.

You protect yourself and your food systems, protect what you have built from an already out of control problem.
 
Nancy Reading
master gardener
Posts: 2384
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland
871
transportation dog forest garden foraging trees books food preservation woodworking wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I felt guilty soon after I posted, but haven't caught back up on this thread until now.  Although I didn't actually use the 'should' word, my terminology came perilously close and for that I humbly apologise.

I appreciate that everyone here is on a journey, myself included.  I am blessed to be able to rely on others for the majority of my food, and when my crops do not mature I can shrug my shoulders and buy something else.  Don't feel guilt Rufaro.  Nature is cruel.  Without knowing your environment, I can't offer better suggestions, so if you need to fight for your crops then do it, but maybe you will find a way of letting nature do the dirty work for you.
 
jer ander
Posts: 32
Location: phoenix, az
6
forest garden trees greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
thanks, in a city backyard its good for me
 
gardener
Posts: 2325
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
639
trees food preservation solar greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Personally, I think trapping and killing pests is fine. Farms and gardens are food-rich environments, and rats can really proliferate and destroy all the yield.

The mice that come into my house and garden can swim. (I haven't seen actual rats here yet in the first 3 years.)  Here in India there are cheap locally-made live traps for rats, box-shaped. I then put the whole trap into a bucket of water and the mouse drowns in less than a minute. The time I tried opening the trap and dropping the mouse in, it swam for ages, at least a half hour. Anyway, then I pull the whole trap out and drop the wet mouse outside. I figure the magpies will come and eat it safely without poison or sticky-glue, and maybe the magpies will sometimes catch a live one, I don't know.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Storage of sweet potatoes has turned out to be so simple. It  involves just digging a hole big enough to fit available sweet potatoes, then putting ash first and then adding the sweet potatoes alternating them with soil and if there is a lot of ash, it can also be added in these layers, until all the sweet potatoes are covered. This is usually done when the sweet potatoes are being attacked by pests and also it makes them easier to access, instead of digging them out always when one needs to cook.

Over a year and a half ago,  I shared how to make a rocket stove with the family we are working with. They used it for a little while but then abandoned it and little was said about it, no matter how much l would probe. They have started using it and I am glad. Now is when they talk about why they had stopped. Among the reasons, one was that the available firewood wasn't dry enough which made it difficult to manage the fire and generally how it is just difficult to embrace change. They are using it now because it is really hard to get big logs, they just pick twigs and a few logs now, for them to prepare a meal. It's good to they kept the rocket stove idea.

For the month of June mother got $20 worth of manure and we have been using it to make manure tea that we have been using on our plants weekly. Meanwhile we have been piling all the chicken waste, banana stems, bedding , comfrey leaves
..., and we have been busy making our own compost. We agreed this is our next step in balancing what we are getting from the land,  to add to mulching and watering.
20210629_114417.jpg
sweet potatoes yet to cover hole
sweet potatoes yet to cover hole
IMG_20210629_102317.jpg
compost tea
compost tea
20210629_101438.jpg
composting area
composting area
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Last week is a week, if given a choice I would erase completely from my memory, my mum tested positive for the corona virus and I think she got the bitter end of it. In this darkest time is when l am grateful, even much more, for discovering permaculture, a change of values and so many things that l have picked along the way. Every single thing has been building up to make the past week unbelievably easier. All the right people at the right place and in the right mood, and a system that is friendly and beneficial to it's inhabitants, making extreme conditions tolerable without being limited by money or bigger systems that might not be functioning well, is what we have been building all along.

I will not talk much about food supplies and some financial cushion, it's the most obvious. The environment that we created is priceless. Mother is in pain but she has people around her, and so many things that could have stressed her are things we were working on as we've been implementing regenerative practices.  She is a beautiful soul she deserves all this in such a time. We dance for her, my niece is learning how to read so she reads for her and there is a lot of story telling. I have put a video of our dancing. In this world, there are somethings that cannot be bought.

       

 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 824
Location: Kansas
200
forest garden fungi bee medical herbs writing greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's extremely important to have people around that you love and trust in a crisis.

Praying for you and your family.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for your prayers. It's so unfortunate mum is no longer with us, it's been about a week.
 
gardener
Posts: 2762
Location: South of Capricorn
1254
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm so sorry to hear about your mother, Rufaro. It sounds like you did everything you could to keep her surrounded with love as this was happening. I'm holding you and your family in the light.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The past week has been the first time in weeks, I have been to the plot. I do not think anything is ever going to be the same, mum was the centre of literally everything and right now everything is scattered.
When I was looking at resilience there is nowhere in this universe I could have seen myself preparing for this scenario but I will be honest it is not all doom and gloom. I am grateful for the improved environment which allowed us to enjoy each other’s company and also for the time we shared. It was not all rosy especially recently, where we would fight ‘I feel we were becoming more honest with each other’. What makes it less painful is what we would fight for, trying to build a home that takes care of it’s occupants, the only issue being we perceived the world differently and we had to work, to get to a common ground, as opposed to imposing things on each other.
I owe it all to the discovery of permaculture as well as regeneration. I stand here and talk of the presence of scattered pieces that we can pick up and build something with, we could be having nothing but just a void. For this I thank Soft Foot Alliance who planted this seed and as friends they allowed me to see their journey as they built their Trust. They are an NGO working with a rural community in Hwange, living really close to a game park. As I watched their journey, I started believing that every single person has some power to change things, and it has so much to do with how we ‘tread’ on this earth, i.e, earth care, people care...  
My biggest question is, have we built enough to make mum’s legacy go on in her absence, are we going to be resilient to what l consider to be a catastrophe?
 
Nancy Reading
master gardener
Posts: 2384
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland
871
transportation dog forest garden foraging trees books food preservation woodworking wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm sorry for your loss Rufaro.  Nothing can take away the pain just now, but try and remember the good times together.

Whatever happens, the knowledge you have built up will not be lost.  i hope you can still continue the work you were doing together.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am working on being clear of what we have built, to have a rough idea of where to start. I will continue at the plot and I will share what the place is like, with the hope of continuing and growing into a food secure and warm place. The memories form the backbone of all we were doing and l will start with sharing some of our moments together. We got the gift of plenty of time together and l find myself battling between, the question 'why so soon' and appreciating the privilege we had. l did not have that much time with dad but l feel  l shared time with him through mum as she was building on their dream.
 
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: Zimbabwe
208
greening the desert
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The second thing I will share is what we built together. Below is a set of goals I wrote 4 years ago:

As I mentioned the objective of my farming is to introduce sustainable agriculture in my area.

Second would be the introduction of indigenous crops that are more drought resistant (still focusing on food crops) and also to introduce variety for nutritional value.

Third goal would now be to concentrate on conscious action to improve our environment,...



What we achieved, is

  • a place to explore regenerative (better than sustainable) agriculture, in baby steps. So far we have replaced fertilizer with soil growing, replaced mono-cropping with inter-cropping, introduced water harvesting and water conservation techniques. We have one official follower, my uncle, whose progress I will share. One neighbor used zai pits last year, l will  share what will happen in the coming planting season.


  • we now grow cowpeas and these have resulted in an additional meal 'mutakura' i.e boiled grains


  • we have grown some trees in an effort to improve the environment


  • Automatically, there were personal skills being improved along the way. Like planning, financial literacy and communication. Communication is the area we had started to actively work on.

     
    Rufaro Makamure
    pollinator
    Posts: 376
    Location: Zimbabwe
    208
    greening the desert
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Now I am continuing with what we had mastered to grow a bit consistently i.e. choumollier and maize. We are almost done with digging of zai pits and we will be filing them up with any manure we can get our hands on.

    We increased number of onion plants and we are adding beans. These will be inter-cropped with choumollier. When we started, we planted the beans directly into the beds, but the mulch seemed so thick and had the highest probability of obstructing the proper germination of the beans so we planted some beans in pockets from egg trays and we are excited it seems to be working. We are also planting lima beans along the fence.

    We are suspending chickens and tomatoes for when we have stabilized.
    20210812_082549.jpg
    beans germination
    beans germination
     
    Rufaro Makamure
    pollinator
    Posts: 376
    Location: Zimbabwe
    208
    greening the desert
    • Likes 5
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I am also going to keep working with my uncle, on his homestead. He sent images on his progress. We had talked about a fence for his garden because almost every year his garden would be destroyed by cows and goats. We also talked about the importance of securing basics first like food before aiming for high goals. He sent images of the live fence he grew and also the maize he has been barter trading for, with his tomatoes.  
    IMG-20210712-WA0021.jpg
    hedge growing around the garden
    hedge growing around the garden
    IMG-20210712-WA0020.jpg
    [Thumbnail for IMG-20210712-WA0020.jpg]
    IMG-20210712-WA0013.jpg
    what he got from barter trading
    what he got from barter trading
    IMG-20210712-WA0015.jpg
    from his field
    from his field
    IMG-20210712-WA0019.jpg
    his chickens have feed also
    his chickens have feed also
     
    The only cure for that is hours of television radiation. And this tiny ad:
    Earth Friendly Heat - Full Event - 16 hours of video
    https://permies.com/wiki/188928/Earth-Friendly-Heat-Full-Event
    reply
      Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic