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permaculture advocate in Zimbabwe - too little/too much rain

 
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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We seem to have gotten the hang of growing our vegetables in this heat. The seedlings we planted last week are green and growing. We have had to put a lot of branches to provide shade and this time it's working.

Out photo shoot pictures came out today, I just love being a lady now, they look so pretty.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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My sister sent me pictures of her working on her garden. It's been a year since she started staying at her new place and both her and the owner have been buying all their vegetables and she is starting now to try and grow her own. She says the owner of the place is now also clearing some space for growing their vegetables.

Her own growth in relation to how she plans to grow her food is entirely up to her. I am happy for now that she has piled up her organic matter and not burnt it. She says she wants to mulch as well as to make composts. I already like where she is going with this.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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Working with limits is forcing me to challenge myself in areas that are highly uncomfortable for me.

Today I had to be firm on the issue of down sizing the number of vegetable beds we have. I talked to Mai Kumbi and Kumbi about this, last week, and we agreed on the area we would continue with. I found Kumbi the day before yesterday, watering the area we had agreed not to water and when I asked why, the reason was it's because that's where they are taking their vegetables for their own use, since all other beds hardly have any leaves.

Today I found new beds with new suckers in that area and it did not make much sense to me. I am sure we had a discussion of why we need to reduce the area we are growing things.   It's not just the pump, but we need to concentrate our feed and energy on a smaller area to realise profits and grow from there.

I feel I have to address this.  It's not even an option for us to grow a lot of beds, we will not get anything. I have to stop planting of plants in more beds, before we succeed with the few beds we are working on. The problem is I do not like confrontation or disagreement. I don't know what to say, because at the back of my mind, telling someone I disagree with them, means I am not being a nice and understanding person.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1137
Location: Chicago
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That sounds like a difficult problem. Confrontation with partners is stressful.  Maybe if you approach it as though questioning your own memory or understanding, like “Did we come to an agreement yet about which beds we will grow this year? I had thought we could leave certain beds fallow…”

And really, it is the truth because regardless of what they said before, it is apparent from their actions that they did not agree.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
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I am meeting with Kumbi's mum and it's nerve wrecking. I am making my situation as clear to me as possible before I meet with her. Like you said Mk Neal
Their action shows they are disagreeing with my proposal, but they did not communicate.

How it's making me feel:

I feel disrespected because I believe I first talk to them of any ideas I have for us to plan together.

I feel like what I say does not matter

I need to understand if we are working together, or if there are two parties.

I need to know if they will be honest with me  when we talk.

What do I hope to get from this talk:

I hope they will know that it's okay to talk when we are in disagreement

I believe they think I am not good at farming ( I kind of struggle than I should) I hope they will not brush me off because of this.

I hope we will wish well for each other and plan to grow bigger together.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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I had a great talk. We addressed our issue and it was not an ugly talk at all. We agreed to communicate better if we are to develop. My sister laughed her guts out because I spent most of the morning preparing for this talk and it lasted less than 10 minutes.
Yesterday I learnt by accident that Kumbi and his mum wanted to remove the shells that we put in the raised beds and today I have learnt it's because they think the shells are burning the new suckers. We talked about this. I did put the shells generously and now I am confused, I think the suckers are burning because the heat is extreme and it's not giving them a chance to develop roots but maybe it's the shells. I thought the shells were supposed to have the opposite effect of cooling the ground. So we are trying out suckers which are from the abondoned beds that have already developed roots and we will leave the shells as they are for now.

Mai Kumbi says maize prices have gone up from $6, it's now $8 for a bucket. It has not rained yet and we are approaching mid December, I hope things turn around soon.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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Today was a great day. We got showers that actually wet the ground and I had a chance to dance in the rain celebrating. There was not much rain, but it looks like this week we might receive proper rain.

My sister made a rocket stove at her place. She usually talks about her plans prior to doing them, this time it was a surprise, a really good surprise to see her choosing to adopt a rocket stove at her place.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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Thank god it's raining, we have proper rain.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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I found out the reason that drove my sister into making a rocket stove. She has a lot of trees at her place, so she and her boys would just get firewood from their home. But on her way to her homestead, she saw trees that had been cut for selling firewood and that's when it struck her that we really are damaging the environment.

She is proposing that we find some kind of incentive to have people want to use these stoves. So we will be working together on this. She said one of the boys who stay at her homestead was super excited to see the stove. She has already told the boys that if they introduce these stoves to their families in their villages she will figure out what incentive to give them. In the long run, when the benefits of a rocket stove are felt there will be no need to give anyone an incentive.

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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
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Location: Zimbabwe
459
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We had our official first rocket stove meeting yesterday to build on our idea. We are certainly going to take our time to nurture this project. We have two places where we can assess and modify the rocket stove to fit the situation, and to check how it's appreciated. Rura, my sister's place has people who use fire only as their means of cooking. So we will be working closely with them to see if they will embrace the stove, without an incentive or force. Since it takes less effort to make a fire using a rocket stove, if we notice them resorting back to an open fire, it means there will be something the rocket stove is not satisfying and we hope they can be open with us.

The second place is at the plot. We use electricity and gas stoves for cooking, but we plan to dry cowpeas' leaves and for this we will be using fire. I will do the rocket stove and if Mai Kumbi likes it, she will want it for her homestead, where they use both open fire and gas for cooking.

For both places, if anyone verbalizes their interest in making rocket stoves at their homes, my sister offered to help with getting material for them. We are starting with common bricks, but if this thing grows and pulls whole villages, we might ask Soft foot Alliance to offer training for making rocket stoves from the soil, they are already doing this kind of thing.
 
master steward
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Location: southern Illinois, USA
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Hi Rufaro,

Do not underestimate the power of habit.  Too often a good idea or practice will not be accepted because someone has always done things a different way.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
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Location: Zimbabwe
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We are preparing for our tree planting day, tomorrow. This day is long over due, I have trees that are about a year old and everytime the day we plan for planting trees comes, there is something that happens to stop me from planting the trees.  I will try to replant the avocado trees that just grew on their own at the banana area. The roots got broken so I am not sure of my success, but it's worth trying.

I have 6 trees, 4 different types. I will plant with the rain garden in mind. I am not going to be able to work on it this year, I will see what next year will be like.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
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Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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This week I have had an opportunity to learn lifestyles of some people who are doing well who are from the past. They are both living lives that are beyond what I could have imagined. One is here in Zimbabwe and the other one is in Europe. I will say, the one who stays in Europe caught my attention so much. She showed life in the most simplest way, where she was just enjoying time with her family. She didn't even have makeup on, nor did she have clothes that are usually connected with success, the skimpy ones. She did show that she is a person of means and she was in a community that was so clean and organized, it was hard to think it was not a movie. It made me wonder if I am not basing my progress on mediocre things, not that I am pressured, but just that maybe my desires might be limited by all I know and there could really great things out there even in the line of what I am interested in. The difference between the living standards was so striking between here and Europe, how we are not raising our common living standards is not making sense.

I was actually celebrating a milestone, I have started doing dance and I am getting help from a cousin. To think that I actually have time to think and stress about dancing to me is such a good sign, it means I have room to stress about not so important things maybe meaning there is a load that was taken off as I progress in life. I do think though that such milestones are jokes in some people's eyes, after what I saw today. I don't want a mediocre life, though my dream is to help develop that great life where I was born.

My friend from Zim, after telling me his achievements asked me what I was upto in life. I am not proud of myself because I stammered a little at something I completely believe in and his look also was as if he was in shock of what I am referring to as achievements. I don't want to brush things aside because I am simply being stubborn. I need to know why I feel uncomfortable it could be something I have to address. Could I be working on the roots while others are busy picking fruits.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
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Location: Zimbabwe
459
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We managed to plant the trees we had set out to plant. We are using the wick irrigation method to water 4 of the trees. The snot apple and banana trees don't have wicks.
We wrapped cloth with cello tape to make some wicks and we used wool on the other. We then wrapped cloth to cover the cello tape to protect it from the sun.  The wicks are inserted in 5l plastic bottles which we filled with some rain water we collected from our rain water harvesting pit. The banana tree is inside the harvesting pit, it does not need extra water, at least for now.

Since 2017, we have planted a few indigenous non fruit trees and a couple of cactus plants. We will try to have one tree planting day yearly and we will see how many trees we can grow.

The maize plants survived and though the cobs will not be text book sizes, we will get something out of the field. We converted the vegetable beds into sweet potato heaps, that way we won't be tempted to grow more vegetables than we can handle.
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Cactus around faidherbia albida ( one of the few tree planting success)
Cactus around faidherbia albida ( one of the few tree planting success)
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Maize plant survived
Maize plant survived
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Posts: 24
Location: North Western North Carolina mountains
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Find and tap into Foundations for Farming in Zimbabwe. Make a real difference. https://youtu.be/jEtkjv3B8SU?feature=shared
 
This. Exactly this. This is what my therapist has been talking about. And now with a tiny ad:
FREE Perma Veggies Book! - Learn how to grow the most delicious and nutritious food with the least amount of work.
https://permies.com/t/238620/perennial-vegetables/FREE-Perma-Veggies-Book
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