• 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:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
  • r ranson
  • Jay Angler
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Leigh Tate
  • Burra Maluca
master gardeners:
  • Christopher Weeks
  • Timothy Norton
gardeners:
  • Jeremy VanGelder
  • Paul Fookes
  • Tina Wolf

permaculture advocate in Zimbabwe - too little/too much rain

 
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
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
Hi Hugo, thank you for the compliment.
I buy commercial seeds, I have been trying to save up my own seeds, and develop a nursery for seeds that need to be nursed, but I cannot exactly say much about my success in this area.

I think the only other place I have seen seeds which are not the commercial ones, is a food festival I attended in our capital city a number of years back, apart from this there is really no other alternative
 
gardener
Posts: 974
Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
423
forest garden fish fungi trees food preservation cooking solar wood heat woodworking homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rufaro, that's a big shame! I believe every extreme soil type or climate should have their own seed developed especially for that soil type and climate. It used to be in Europe farmers would exchange seeds. I would really have expected that still to be widely used in rural Africa, of which i apparently know little.
The exchanges from farmers only happened with varieties that did well in the area, and because there where different varieties doing the rounds, they would freely cross and over time their offspring would get better and better adapted to the local circumstances. But then moodern agriculture took over, the Green Revolution, as they call it! It really was the chemical revolution and man thought we could change the soil, but we made it worse. And modern varieties need more protection then ever, more expensive inputs. You nicely work your way around it being a permaculture farmer. Doing well.
If we get some good results in arid areas, wiyh our breeder group, would you be interested in trying to grow out some? Just a few, to see how they do? If the post system will allow..I will tell you if i come across an African source of biological seeds. I only know in South Africa, but they were very much based on Swiss or French seeds, which is very different, although it seems to work.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
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 open to this thank you.
There is actually someone from this forum who tried sending drought resistant seeds, though it did not work out. I have experienced and witnessed a spirit of "Ubuntu" here on my thread and it's amazing and so hopeful that when all is said and done we are a unit trying to make our way through life. I am always surprised at the thought and time and kindness.

My purpose, as long as life circumstances are going to allow me is to develop our space into a place which will take care of the needs of those living on it now and in the future and in turn the people will care for the land and somehow the created micro environment should bring out the best out of the people and help in creating great relationships. So any help to shape this dream is more than welcome.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We harvested all our maize. It's really little this year, about a bag in total. Already maize is being sold for $12 a bucket, instead of the usual $3 to $5, and things nation wide really look bad, anyone who did not have irrigation did not get anything at all and that's the bulk of small holder farmers. We hear the government has started sourcing maize because the drought is a bad one. I will be sending images of the garden hopefully at the end of next week, we have a new strategy. We are planting seedlings and for the first hours of the day we are sprinkling water hourly because the heat is too much. We made a shade on one bed to see if we can control the intensity of the sun, if this works we can spread it across the beds.

Kumbi's father built a rocket stove at his rural home and said he was asked to make one for a relative so he might be making another. This is good news really needed to keep morals high. I don't know when I have longed to see just one person like the rocket stove enough to want to build it for themselves and this year is the year this has happened.
IMG-20240312-WA0011.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG-20240312-WA0011.jpg]
IMG_20240312_103531.jpg
Some of the maize and cow peas
Some of the maize and cow peas
IMG-20240313-WA0018.jpeg
The shelled maize
The shelled maize
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have tried out putting a shade that completely blocks out the sun for some part of the day on one of the beds and it seems to be working for our seedlings. I took material from an old sofa to try this out. We are going to put shades for as many beds as we can cover. The cost that I am going to pay for is for the supports, I will look for bamboo sticks and as for the cloths to cover the beds, we will use old material from whatever we can get a hold of, this way we can build the shades at a minimum cost. I am actually ripping all my old jeans for one of the shades and for the others we will use sacks that I got last year when we were carrying peanut shells.
The sun will be out from as early as 6 am to 6pm and in as much as the plants need it, it's just too intense. I will be checking though, if the shade becomes too much I will need to make adjustments.
IMG_20240320_120129.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20240320_120129.jpg]
IMG_20240320_122457.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20240320_122457.jpg]
IMG-20240320-WA0020.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG-20240320-WA0020.jpg]
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We are now working on our third shade and we are excited to see what the place will look like in 4 weeks' time. I made a spray from onions, cayene pepper and garlic, for the new seedlings, which were starting to show signs of being eaten by pests. We have also been picking up soil that looks rich as we go to the plot, and just like we make tea out of chicken manure, we are doing the same with the soil, hoping that some nutrients will dissolve in water. Then the mud from the water is spread in the beds and hopefully we will get nutrients from this soil. This year I will only buy manure with money from the sales we make, so before that, I will be thinking of various alternatives.
IMG_20240325_100737.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20240325_100737.jpg]
Soil we are picking on our way to the plot
IMG_20240325_100757.jpg
Soil water mixture
Soil water mixture
IMG_20240325_105810.jpg
Mud residue spread in beds
Mud residue spread in beds
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
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 checked the seedlings today and the pests are still a problem. I am going to look up another recipe online and try again using a natural pesticide.  There are small black insects boring the seedling leaves.

We now have four shades and we are still proceeding.
IMG_20240326_145445.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20240326_145445.jpg]
IMG_20240326_145333.jpg
The little black insect
The little black insect
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
greening the desert
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In my shona language there is a saying which goes like this, "a good deed that you do, you have done it for yourself" (chakanaka chawaita, wazviitira). I am seeing this happening. We seem to be experiencing a rough patch with the drought and economy, where we just woke up with our local currency we have been using, no longer working on some platforms without any warning. A similar situation happened to us in 2008 when people's money in their banks had a number of zeros slashed, if for example a person had $1000, it would be turned into a $1 depending on the number of zeros they removed. There was a serious shortage of food in that year and we are afraid we will have a repeat of this, in this year. With some of my siblings, we planned to stock up grain and the guy who has helped us with this is the man with the peanut butter business whom I have been working with. His business is a lot more stable now and he helped us find and transport grain cheaper, and he just helped, no payment was required. When I started working with him, I would have never guessed he would help us in this way. We might not have a repeat of 2008, but for now I have witnessed Ubuntu spirit directly being paid back to me and all because of a decision I did in 2021, to join gigatonne and it looked like we had not benefited at all, from this. What I did not notice is, there were connections I made which are now paying off.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
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 are finally getting somewhere with the seedlings. They responded to the tea I was making from the soil, but though the seedlings looked better than most times we have tried, the growth was still stunted. We ended up spreading a lot of the soil before soaking it and it's looking great now. The seedlings are still tiny but I feel the difference shows, they look healthier now.

I harvested a bag of compost from the banana area, and I am already adding compost tea at least once a week. The feed our soil required was beyond what I could have imagined, to think if the organic matter, and teas we have been putting and the change is showing after adding a generous amount of soil.
IMG-20240407-WA0020.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG-20240407-WA0020.jpg]
IMG-20240407-WA0021.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG-20240407-WA0021.jpg]
IMG-20240407-WA0019.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG-20240407-WA0019.jpg]
Pouring compost tea into beds
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
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
There is one thing I have realised as I am working at the plot. Even if wealth is created by the presence of labour, capital and land, there is something I can't explain yet, which if missing, the presence of labour, capital and land is not as effective, resulting in the labour being unproductive. We have been working on the vegetable beds and I could see everyone involved is doing their best, but our best was just not enough and there was no coodination in what we were doing (we are now concretely 4 people working together). Last weekend, we met to address some issues, and it's like we are a completely different team, as if we have grown to a very different level and each one of us knows we have so much to gain if we work together.
Today was our first day to do a task the four of us all at once. We were collecting black soil to put in the beds and we covered 11 beds in 5 hours with black soil and are planning to do this again in the coming week until we finish all the beds. Images are still not too different from the past ones, as the seedlings are still small, but the place will be looking a lot different soon, if we continue with whatever is now going on at the plot. We had reached a ceiling in our growth but we seem to have broken this and it's exciting.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
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
We finished about half of the area that has vegetables. The work is so intense, my sister and Kumbi's mom were managing our work and I was tired way before we were any where close to finishing. Their presence was so good,  it is true that people have different strengths. When we were carrying buckets and spreading the soil in beds it wasn't easy but reflecting over the area we have covered, I am grateful the two pushed us like they did.
IMG-20240415-WA0007.jpg
Our production line
Our production line
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
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
We managed to collect soil that covers all the vegetable beds and also bought chicken manure that will be enough for making chicken soup for the month, again, for all the beds. Today we had 7 people on this job Kumbi's father joined us and also a friend of Kumbi's whom he called to come and help us. It's getting more exciting as I see our little place become a place of hope. Things have been going down the hill in my country economically and I can proudly say there are people who now are placing their hope in what they might get out of working on our land. It is a dream/ wish in the process of coming true, in one of my past threads, I mentioned how success is associated with moving away to developed places, and that my wish is to see a place develop from one no one wants, to one people yearn to live in. We are still working on standing on our feet, but to just hear that there are people who now place their hope at the plot is comforting. It is a lot of responsibility in a way but it's worth carrying.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
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
It's after 11pm and I have just had a man who has been arrested twice for attempting to rape come to my house. I was lucky today, there is something called grace in this world. A bad thing can happen to anyone and we are grossly mistaken if we think we are the clever ones, there is every reason to be thankful for some situation we might consider really bad, without knowing things can be worse. Crime is at it's peak and I feel so helpless. The man was not arrested or anything and I am staying up hoping he doesn't come back.

I cannot sleep or feel anything all I can do is to write here, having a tomorrow is such a precious gift and I am am not sure there is much an individual can do, maybe people were right that the only answer is to find a life outside the country as it's impossible to try and fix things,  even if fixing things means fixing what is within your reach matter how small. We seem to have gotten something right as I will show in pictures, as promised, meaning we can do something about food accessibility, I don't what to do with regards to crime this part is so much beyond me. It was not making sense to me that we all move out of the country, we will just increase  pressure wherever we migrate to and who knows what things will be like in 50 years to come, we might run out of these places to run to.

Right now I do not know what to do, I am so different from those around me I have just realised how vulnerable and isolated I am.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 593
Location: Zimbabwe
470
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
I have been in a blurry space, though I am not being driven by fear, I am certainly not clear about a lot of things. My sister visited for the weekend and we actually enjoyed our time together.

I reported the young man who was at my place and the best the police could do was to warn him, because nothing happened and he has been in and out of jail because of related cases. Initially I was afraid to see him, but when I did, it really hit me how young he is and as we walked out of the police station he apologized so genuinely. His father was also there and he really looked helpless and sorry.  We are all in places where we need to be heard and even if we exchange words in dialogues, I don't think we really hear each other and the distance we are creating is making us turn against each other and we are horrible to each other. I cannot excuse the young man's intentions, but when I saw and heard him talk, he sounded like someone who was aldo afraid. Josh Groban's song "You are loved (Don't give up) makes so much sense now. We all want to be understood and to be heard and I think these two things are becoming uncommon.
 
He's dead Jim. Grab his tricorder. I'll get his wallet and this tiny ad:
full time farm crew job w/ housing
https://permies.com/t/178213/jobs-offered/experiences/full-time-farm-crew-member
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic