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permaculture advocate in Zimbabwe - too little/too much rain

 
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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We went to the plot today, we have had showers since morning. We are still getting hours of heavy rains and today one of the predictions says we will receive around 32mm of water. It's getting difficult to keep a level head with plenty of things happening and this includes a cholera outbreak and flooding.

I planted some more grass and my sister got more cucumbers. I saved up some money and bought some groceries for reselling, this I owe to the different skills that we possess, i.e., Mai Kumbi my sister and myself. Mai Kumbi is an opportunists and is in touch with what's happening around, my sister is firm and has her eye focused on profit making and I have created an environment that allows us to benefit positively from each other. We have gotten our first profits and we are all excited. This is one of the things that is making it better today. Otherwise I am controlling my anxiety so that I do not get into a panic mode that's draining and really does not benefit me at all, and I will say I am doing way better than in the past.
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This is our city center
This is our city center
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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I had forgotten a very brief conversation that occured at the plot.  Mai Kumbi helped with weeding in the field and she saw a lot of worms. She got concerned and asked if I had noticed the unusual worm quantities. I remember telling her, that worms are a large contributer of the feed that the maize gets, sometime back when she asked what my soil has that makes us not to put any store bought fertilizer. She might have heard what I told her then, but I don't think she understood. I still can't tell whether she got it this time around but I know that continued exposure will make her understand eventually. There are now a lot of worms in the field and it's noticeable as proven above.

The cow peas plants are beginning to spread.
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Water harvesting pit is full.
Water harvesting pit is full.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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We had our second production meeting today and it was a success. Towards the end of the meeting I sat staring at my sister and my mind drifted. I remembered our first attempt at discussing about productivity and it was a total disaster. We found ourselves arguing and the meeting became about everything else but the plot, if my other sister was not around, we wouldn't be working together. She heard us shouting at each other and she kept her cool and during diner, she asked calmly how our meeting went and we both exploded and she talked to us until we got back to our senses and remembered that we both just wanted things to work, so we rescheduled our meeting and it was a success.

The main things we talked about today were crops we want to add to what we are already growing that can help boost profit, how we can slowly introduce growth without straining the resources we already have. It was quite eye opening and my sister offered to present on product life cycle to help assist with creating a common understanding of things from a business perspective.

There were no predicted heavy rains and it is not raining today. I am glad I did not waste my time freaking out about this.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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I am celebrating a dance triumph. I have a dance routine I saw online, from South Africa and since before Christmas I have been trying to copy it with zero success. I could not understand how this guy would move so fast and still listen to the song enough to dance to the rhythm. I got it now and I will share this later on, I needed to let it out to someone otherwise I was going to wake my sister up and I'm certain this wouldn't have ended well.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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There are two things, either last night I was seeing things where in my head I thought I was really good at dancing while in reality it was something else, or I felt so shy today I lost my groove. I tried to dance for my sister but it was so difficult. I was actually glad I wrote that I will share my video in the heat of the moment, because it meant I had to dance and I tried many times. It was so much easier having someone to be dancing with, alone it is a piece of work. I am committed though to mastering dancing, I don't think I should be this self conscious with dancing. I have included the video I am coping and the one I did.

https://youtu.be/4aBtb82moO0?feature=shared


https://youtube.com/shorts/k7Yx0U2uhzQ?feature=shared
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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I went to continue with weeding of the field to expose the cowpeas and I was so happy to find Mai Kumbi using the rocket stove. She and her husband are planning on making one at their homestead. They were concerned about the top seat for the pot, but I told them anything from little stones can do,  to just help the fire breathe, will be fine. I will see if my sister can help me get a seat since she had already said whoever wants to build a stove and has limited material, she is willing to sponser if she is in a good financial space at the time. This is to just keep the couple excited about making their own stove.

It's like the weeds in the field are on steroids, it's as if we never weeded. I found that such a huge area has already been weeded, the family (Mai Kumbi and family) at the plot was weeding even when it was raining and I appreciate this so much. It's still so wet and we cannot use a hoe to remove the weeds so we are pulling them out. The area I managed to pull out was so small and my hands were sore already. I am really surprised Mai Kumbi and her husband weeded such a big space.
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There are so many weeds
There are so many weeds
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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I have started with my seedling growing trials. This year what I am changing is the pressure I put on myself to get things right and quickly. So I put a few onion seeds down and I am working on the right depth. The first trial has almost half that didn't getminate and I think I need to deepen the seeds, the other seedlings look like they wilt after germination as if the root system is too exposed and I also noticed that the side that had poor germination was damper than the other one, so I need to try and have my trays as level as possible. I put a few beetroot seeds and I started with a depth of roughly an inch, I will check after 7 days how the germination will be. My target is to have healthy seedlings in the ground by end of March for both onions and beets.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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It's been over a year since we started working with the peanut butter business. The owner has proven to be honorable because he repayed all of his loan. The slight problem is that we run the risk of crippling him thinking we are helping him. He still wants a loan of the same amount for the same exact inputs as last year which is worrying because it could mean there is no growth whatsoever. Our interaction with him could help him see for himself what his true problem could be if we can make him be honest to us and himself about what is going on in his business.

My challenge is I feel like my partner in helping small businesses grow is leaving me to deal with everything by myself. He did put it in the money, but I am on the ground, and at least talking about strategies and plans on what it is we want to build could go a long way in clarifying what action to take. At the moment I am stuck with a peanut butter business in need of help and I cannot do much without an agreed on course of action, that separates us from micro-financers who might not necessarily have any interest in growing a business, but are only after making interest on capital.

Then for my 'school crush friend' he made a voice call days after I had blocked him. He stays in another country, where he relocated so as to earn a living and for him to make a voice call is a lot financially. When I saw the voice call I had to revisit my action of blocking this man. This is one person in a foreign land, who just needed a friend to talk to as he goes through a rough patch in life and because of my misplaced way of thinking that I really can choose to put aside I had chosen not to be there for him. So much for people care principles. I had to unblock him and sort out my thoughts and so far I am glad I did this. I am there helping my friend and I am doing this with the cleanest thoughts.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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We have new ducklings, again we got 8 ducklings. We seem to now, be doing something right. There are 4 more ducks that are sitting on eggs. I have harvested some of the vertiver grass so that we can use it for bedding, also so that it makes sense a little why grass growing could potentially be beneficial to us. Two trees were accidentally buried with soil and died, and I can't help to think that to an extent it is because the trees aren't that important, so I will try to prove how necessary some of the things I believe are important actually are, when I can.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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It's like pieces of the puzzle are coming together at the plot. For the first time ever we have over 30 ducklings. We need to work on protecting them form the rats or whatever would eat them.
I think there is a level that the plot has grown to, which is so different from all the past years.  I seem to be in a place where the combination of labour, land and capital is easier to work with to become productive. My sister is using her accounting skills to help with the financial side, Mai Kumbi her life experience to bring opportunities and Kumbi his effort to make things happen at the plot and all this is happening within my means. I can't wait to actually have a big tangible desire be satisfied, the joys of life, new wonderful things being supported by our own little space.  That will be a dream come true.
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Rufaro Makamure
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Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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We are now picking up some of the dry cobs from the field, termites are chewing the stalks causing them to fall and then they end up eating the cobs, I think rats are also eating the fallen cobs. The cobs are smaller than I am used to but, what we have is nothing short of a miracle.
We are also harvesting cowpeas' leaves, they are still just a few though.

It's been a while since we got rain, we need it for the silking maize that's in the field.

My sister's cucumber project was affected by the excess water that we had. I hope I will be able to discuss with her on what I realised. I think that as we grow, there is more to growth than just focusing on what brings in a lot of money in a short space of time. We need to also grow with the space in terms of our capacity to handle the cash crops as they seem to need a little more attention. We are definitely putting our second vegetable in the choumoullier beds, by beginning of March, in the raised bed area. That way we can manage our growth without increasing labour or land.

For now we are fortunate to have people who want to work with us. We are doing extra projects outside farming to earn income with them, so that they do not feel the need to move away. This will buy us time to multiply our produce and when the plot can satisfy everyone, it will be a lot easier then.
Exciting times really, for me to be talking in such a way in 2024. There was a very dark time when I was so sure all of this dream of mine was over.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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We have had no rain and I had to choose not to water the remaining half of the maize field, which had reached silking stage. The reason is judging from the first half I have an idea of what our effort will yield and it's not much. Since I now have willing people to work with, increasing the plot's income is now at the top of my list, if I am to keep these people interested.

We concentrated instead, on planting beetroots in choumollier beds. We did battle with the sun a lot but we finally beat it. We however lost all our beets seedlings to creatures or pests. Leaves would fall to the ground, or have big holes and eventually the whole plant would die. I feel like my main aim of regenerating the land is my enemy in this instance. Our vegetable beds seem to be a habitat for so many creatures because of the mulch and zero fertilizer. The creatures have no knowledge of how they are munching on our hard earned labour.

I got stuck for a moment because going the non-regenerative way  route is not an option but it's proving to be impossible. I then remembered that when we plant in the rain seedlings have a better chance of surviving and once they pass a certain stage, they are not bothered much by the creatures. So I had planned using the weather forecast to plant in the last week of February into the beginning of March where rain was being predicted. This was okay, because we have another issue, there is only one seedling producer we saw with beetroot seedlings and we have to plant before he runs out. I checked the weather again today, things shifted, it looks like we won't have rain until end of March and this is definitely too late. So I now need to look at how to make concoctions that deter pests from beets and then try planting one bed. If it works I can plant the rest.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
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There are a few beets that I seeing in spots within the beds that survived.
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gardener
Posts: 974
Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
423
forest garden fish fungi trees food preservation cooking solar wood heat woodworking homestead
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Hello Rufaro. Good to see you're doing well with the land.
I wondered what seeds you use? Do you buy commercially bred or do you safe your own?
I'm asking because i'm part of a breeders collective and we have a new member up in Aleria who has quite a hard time sourcing seed companies which will ship internationally. And in Africa sadly there isn't a lot of choice, then i thought to ask you!
 
The problems of the world fade way as you eat a piece of pie. This tiny ad has never known problems:
full time farm crew job w/ housing
https://permies.com/t/178213/jobs-offered/experiences/full-time-farm-crew-member
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