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permaculture advocate in Zimbabwe - too little/too much rain

 
pollinator
Posts: 237
Location: North Island, New Zealand
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Rufaro -- The growing white spots on your tomatoes look like the work of leaf miners. They are insects that burrow inside the leaf and eat tunnels between the skin on either side, turning it from green to white. You can see them in your photo as little black squiggles in the white space. Because they are inside the leaf, they are protected from sprays, but I have had good luck pinching the leaf and squishing the larvae while it's inside. No sprays needed!

Good luck with your tomatoes, and sorry that your flowers got eaten. I've had the same thing happen with trays of seedlings (though it was slugs rather than rats) and know how frustrating it is!
 
pollinator
Posts: 590
Location: Zimbabwe
465
greening the desert
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Thank you for your kind words. I managed to get a trap, and there are two wild cats I used to chase away because they would upset our dogs. I have now tried to block the dogs from entering the tomato area and I left some opening for the cats let's hope they will feel safe enough to come down and clear the rats. More flowers and my sister's pepper were eaten.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 590
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My traps are catching other things but rats. The dogs found their way inside, got caught on one trap and tore it (hard cover with glue on it where if a rat walks on, it's supposed to stick), and they licked all the peanut butter from the other one which is a bucket filled almost to the full with water and has peanut butter smeared just above the water level. If done properly it should drown the rats that fall into the bucket reaching for the peanut butter. A bird got trapped as well and I had to wash glue off it's feathers to enable it to fly.
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Sticky rat trap
Sticky rat trap
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Bird got caught
Bird got caught
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 590
Location: Zimbabwe
465
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Hooray!!! I CAUGHT A RAT TODAY!!! Iam really happy.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 590
Location: Zimbabwe
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I went to the plot after a really long time. Kumbi wasn't there, he got a temporary painting job. His mother was there and she looked a little uneasy talking about Kumbi's absence. I was actually happy because the plot is not holding anyone as a prisoner. Mai Kumbi came back from her rural home and she said she has started on her pits, but she didn't have a phone that takes pictures, so I am waiting to see her work whenever she can take pictures. Everyone involved at the plot has some flexibility now. Electricity at the plot is still a problem, but the garden is green. Though we have not grown in terms of what we are producing, we all now have time, better than before.

Mai Kumbi had one of her clients for her flowers that she sell, come to the plot and it happened that the women was my mum's church mate. They got to talk and from their discussion she prayed for mum thanking her for the good impact she still has in people's lives even today, when she is not around anymore. I wasn't there, but hearing that a good prayer was made for mother, not from her family and in a random circumstance leaves a feeling that's undescribable. I can't bring my parents back but the least I can do is to live life in a way that honors them.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
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465
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I met with the local business owner I have been building a relationship with. He produces a lot of peanut shells and my wish is for all of them to be dumped at the plot so that these can be useful in growing things. Working out the feasibility of this was taking long so I decided to meet and talk about this with the owner. He has a better flow of money, which can help move the shells to the plot, I wanted to negotiate with him, to facilitate the moving of waste to the plot and I can then pay monthly installments for the moved shells.
This way, the shells do not pile up in his yard, which will push him to discard of them near his yard to become just waste. He agreed to this, so this could be one time investment that could pay off.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 590
Location: Zimbabwe
465
greening the desert
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The tomato plants have taken really long for them to move from flowering to the fruit stage, but I am glad that I now have small little tomatoes on my vines.
The rodents are still a problem, now they are eating the tomato leaves. I am now looking for a mechanical rat trap, I think this will be less expensive in the long run as opposed to constantly buying the sticky boards that are like consumables.
Some tomato plants are wilting and I had suspected that my watering was not enough because I didn't want to drown the plants. I have increased my watering but things are not looking good on some plants it's worrying. I have opened one side of the plastic maybe increased air circulation could help. One plant really looks cooked, the leaves are flacid and they look softer than usual. I don't know what is going on.
I am also happy about a potential buyer of ducks, that I found through the peanut butter business owner. I have been wanting to sell some of the ducks to cut down on feed, but it was not easy for me to market. Apo who is the owner of the peanut butter business, has a number of connections and when I mentioned my intentions he easily linked me with someone who also rears and sells ducks. He is coming tomorrow to see the ducks, so it is exciting.
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master pollinator
Posts: 4639
Location: Due to winter mortality, I stubbornly state, zone 7a Tennessee
1975
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Hollo Rufaro, how is your health now?

The picture of your plant where leaves are missing may be dropped from stress, or a pest ate them. I don't know if you have tomato hornworms where you are tbough. Below are articles on the pest, and one has a video of what its poop looks like. They tipically feed at night.

https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/field/hornworm.htm

https://www.yourindoorherbs.com/hornworm-poop-look-like/
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
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Location: Zimbabwe
465
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Thank you Joylynn. I am going to be on the lookout for hornworms. Today the plants are showing remarkable improvements. Late yesterday I went around and drained water in pockets that looked like they had too much water, after my continuous watering as I am now in a firefighting mode and I might have overwatered the plants. There was no sign of improvement at all so I also added more soil and topped off with compost from the banana area before retiring for the evening. When I woke up things look brighter. There is just some wilted parts here and there but all plants show that they are recovering.

Thank you for inquiring about my health as well. My pain is on and off, but for some time now I have had no pain whatsoever.

I have included an image of a wilted plant I sent in the previous thread which had been worsening in the past two days no matter how much I watered it. It looks so much better today.
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Compost from banana area
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
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Location: Zimbabwe
465
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I was continuously monitoring the tomatoes and by midday the tomatoes on one side had started wilting badly. When I sood close to them I realized it was burning, the plastic was concentrating heat on them. I have decided to remove the plastic. It is very cold in the evenings but I am now in a position where it's either the tomatoes are cooked by the heat or by the cold and the heat has already threatened.

So far the only pests I am seeing are leaf miners.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
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Location: Zimbabwe
465
greening the desert
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My friend brought her second batch of dried sadza waste (mealie meal thick porridge waste). I proudly showed her the tomatoes and although it has been a long wait for her to see fruits, she was impressed. I appreciate her patience and effort towards the 'tomato -waste reduction' experiment of mine. I will have the waste weighed and somehow see how many tomatoes I can trade with part kitchen waste and part money. Soon enough it won't be waste, if this plan succeeds.

I also bought 3 metal rat traps that I can use for a very long time and I have set these up. I will see if I can catch any rats by tomorrow. Some beetroot, pepper and onion plants were eaten. The pepper plant had fruit and both the fruit and the plant itself were chewed almost to nothing. There are white tiny pests starting to crowd on my tomatoes (maybe white flies or aphids), they are still on one plant and I will spray the garlic solution and see how this goes.
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Total dried waste received
Total dried waste received
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 590
Location: Zimbabwe
465
greening the desert
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One of the traps caught a rat today which is good news. I put the traps out early yesterday with peanut butter as bait. Not a single rat touched the traps even all night. Today I had to put little pieces of meat and I found one caught.

I met with Kumbi to talk about the square foot garden concept and garden designing that will help us harvest water. That's picking from last year's plans, we are now going towards the rainy season, which is when the beds can be worked on easily when they are wet. I used a lot of images to aid with the vision, including a basket with a variety of harvested vegetables as well as a place that had flooded water which was not all being diverted away from the garden, but was kind of being managed, so as to help share the visual of what could be. It's really good to have someone to meet with and discuss plans of the garden design. I am not a solo band anymore. Some of the images I picked from the internet are below.
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A bed can have multiple plants
A bed can have multiple plants
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Some Flood water is allowed to infiltrate
Some Flood water is allowed to infiltrate
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 590
Location: Zimbabwe
465
greening the desert
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There are times when winters seem to dominate the sunny days in life. A number of pieces have been coming together especially in building a sustainable home, very small steps, but very important ones. Getting people to work with, who are genuinely interested in growth of the place, getting resources to better our running of the place, connecting with people and most importantly creating time. I managed to sell 2 ducks which is a big thing for me.
The joys are short lived I feel. Today I realized that I am bleeding when I go to the ladies, I feel no pain though my stomach feels unusual sometimes. At least I am grateful for zero pain, which is something I am poor at handling. I have let my siblings down greatly and I have no idea how I can handle this. I honestly felt dawn was so near for all of us economically. I can't be the one to pull the family down with hospital expenses.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 590
Location: Zimbabwe
465
greening the desert
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I thought long and hard about my situation last night and I realized I could end up being irresponsible no matter what my intentions might be, if I do not react accordingly to my health situation. I have told my sisters, my brother is not well himself so I am not going to tell him. Then I had raised money to fix the pipes for the tank that fed the drip lines at the plot, I will use this to go and get checked. If my sister offers to help, I am going to then use her money to fix pipes and have the course of progress get back on track at the plot. So far at the plot, the expenses we have eliminated and benefits we get are:
1) monthly electricity costs (the family staying at the plot covers this).
2) monthly salary for someone taking care of the place is not needed anymore.
3) we have saved mealie meal and part of duck feed expenses since we harvested up to this month.
4) we were getting half of our home water bill being paid by the monthly vegetable sales.

For the family staying at the plot
1) they no longer pay monthly home rentals.
2) the son now has a monthly allowance from the vegetable sales.

The space is slowly starting to benefit everyone taking care of it. If we fix the tank, we might increase our harvest, because the raised tank will ease watering ofthe field, since water pressure will be high and a bigger space can be watered in a short period of time, meaning we would have something supporting our small pump. We will again try growing cow peas with maize, and if we get it right, ontop of an increased maize harvest, we can have cow peas and it's dried leaves to add on to growth in income generation. In the long run we will have a self sustaining regenerative homestead.
 
Roses are red, violets are blue. Some poems rhyme and some don't. And some poems are a tiny ad.
Green University by Thomas Elpel
https://permies.com/t/243115/Green-University-Thomas-Elpel
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