Erich Sysak

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since Mar 12, 2013
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Recent posts by Erich Sysak

Woozie Wikfors wrote:Please consider the vast amount of evaporation you will get from the pond surface.  Might be a deal breaker in Arizona...

There is a formula that calculates evaporation and gives you the right depth. 4 meters seems to be the most common
3 months ago
This is the normal way of doing things in Asia, but sometimes a well is unnecessary if catching enough rain.
3 months ago
In Farmers of 40 Centuries King describes huge numbers of people engaged in collecting waste and material for composting. I get the impression this is the main activity of many.
6 months ago

Jeremy DuCheny wrote:Hey Erich,

I'm currently using a site called Mobincubewebpage to design a similar app.  Everything is graphical and it allows for the app to be published both on Apple and Google Play.  There is no coding involved, unless you get highly involved.  But you can use a database to list your produce, update it, and even set up communications with customers.  The great thing as well is that if you design your own app, you can add your own graphics to the app, and really personalize it.  You can also put ads on the app and generate some income that way.  I use inkscape for the graphics, another free program. Let me know if you need any help getting started.


Thank you!
11 months ago
Anyone know of a free app that can list what is available on the farm? I can list all of my stuff for customers and they can reply, etc....I am a real newbie and not sure about the correct keywords to describe these kinds of sw....Cheers,

11 months ago

Maureen Atsali wrote:Keep in mind that while bananas are thirsty, they don't like wet feet.  They will rot and get diseased if they are in standing water or an excessively soggy place.  I planted some in a rather swampy area.  They did fantastic in the drought, but rotted in the rains.  If you are planting in a soggy area, I think you did the right thing to put them up on the berms.

The berm height seems right, but we shall see about width. We will see this rainy season.
11 months ago

Rene Nijstad wrote:I don't know how much rain you normally get, so it could be way more than what we receive. We're getting on average about 1200-1400 mm per year I think, from October to December, then mostly a pause of about 2 months and then it rains again from March to May or a bit longer. We have bananas and plantain all over the land in lots of different circumstances, dry or wet, sheltered or open, on slopes, on terraces and below swales.

I'll upload 2 pictures. The first one shows plantain we got from our wettest spot, there water comes up out of the ground during the rainy season. It's been completely waterlogged for months, during the time the fruits developed. It clearly rather likes this super wet spot. The picture below shows the fruits from plants on slopes, where water retention is low, compared to what we get from the plants in terraces. Not super wet, just wet and then dryer during the dry times. Both of these were harvested at the end of the drought caused by last El NiƱo.

That is extraordinary. Rainy season has started here very early and I think I will try this. Thank you for the inspiration! May through September...lots of rain, about not far off from your average.
11 months ago

Rene Nijstad wrote:Hi Erich,

We are in a wet-dry tropical climate as well. Bananas planted on the swale mount don't do well here. The mount dries out quite quickly in the dry season and bananas like to have a lot of water. They also tend to fall more quickly when sticking out above the field. You could try planting some more below the swale mount, or inside the channel of the swale itself and compare if you see differences. Planting in pits as mentioned before also works. Because our terrain is rather steep, we plant them on terraces. On slopes we see the same problem as on the swale mounts, not enough water in the dry season and they fall over more often.

Thank you, all, for posting, very helpful to pull all of this information in...Rene, do you have bananas in the water all rainy season? In rainy season here the mounts are filled with water. The water flows down the slope to the bottom of the farm, but is still constantly full of water for almost 4 months.
11 months ago

Maureen Atsali wrote:Hi Erich, I can't really advise about the swales, since we go the opposite route and plant ours in pits.  I am guessing you planted yours on berms because it is too wet to plant them down?

Are the nutrients getting a chance to get down to the corm, or might they be washing into the swales?  I have seen Indian banana farmers who dig a little ring around the banana, and fill it with whatever goodness they want to feed the banana.  Or if you have stones, you could build little stone circles. 

Another consideration - you mentioned a drought.  Bananas will go dormant during extreme weather.  They stop growing.  Thus it could set them back a couple months.  

Best of luck!

Thanks, Maureen. Yes, it floods 4  or 5 months every year. ONly rice grown here in the past. We did have a drought. Maybe thats all it is...a few extra months...
11 months ago

Maureen Atsali wrote:If you look at your "pups" (we call them suckers) do they have round, fat leaves, or sharp, narrow leaves?  These are a good indicator of corm health.  The narrow leaf, called a "sword sucker", indicates a good, strong, healthy corm.  It is getting all it needs from the corm and doesn't need big fleshy leaves.  These are the best kind to dig up and transplant, as they will give good fruit yeilds.  The sucker with fat round leaves is a water sucker.  These indicate a weaker corm, as the sucker needs big leaves to get more sun to support themselves.  These are not good for planting.  They grow slowly and produce substandard fruits. 

So some questions... Where did your bananas come from?  Tissue culture, water suckers or sword suckers? If you started with water suckers, you will get a slow start.

If your " pups" are water suckers, I would slash them down, they are taking energy from the corm which could be used for fruits.  They make good animal fodder and mulch.

Any time I get more than 4 sword  suckers, I remove a couple to plant elsewhere.  Leave a couple to replace the mature one, remove the rest to save that energy.

I would also say, be patient.  Our first bananas took about 16 to 18 months to mature and fruit.  Our soil is pretty crappy, so I figured that's why it took so long.  We also throw manure and mulch around ours.

Hi Maureen,

Thank you for your reply. My main question is about the width of the swale. I wonder if the banana needs a specific amount of space in 360 degrees bc all of the other health indications are very good. Lots of spear suckers. They all came from spears from a friend's farm. The soil is full of mycorizzhae, mulch, etc...

Patience, yes. Bananas take a long time. I must remind myself. They are lovely, though. And they make a little shade for the fruit trees which are just now poking up from beneath the banana leaves.

I have noticed they are about half as large as the bananas they originally came from at my friend's farm. He has them in pits dug out by a backhoe, so they have about equal space all around. I have mine on swales dug by hand so they are not as wide as they are long.

Just considering digging more and widening the areas, but this is a massive amount of work so I wonder if it is meaningful work!

11 months ago