Nathanael Szobody

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since Apr 25, 2015
Boudamasa, Chad
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Recent posts by Nathanael Szobody

Steve Thorn wrote:

Nathanael Szobody wrote:With irrigation or without?

Preferably without, but I know in your dry climate that could be extremely challenging and limiting. If you noted which ones you used irrigation for and which ones you didn't, I think that would be super helpful information!

I guess I'm really in more of a zone 12, so if I can grow it, so can you
Without irrigation:

Jujube Senegal
Guddaim (Grewia tenax); this one is my all-time favorite. It is a wild bush in northern Sahel that grows kind of like a wild rose bush. I grow it in my yard. The fruit are tiny--like currents and pretty dry when ripe. They are LOADED in iron, calcium and potassium. Soaked in water they produce a juice somewhere between peach and guava flavored.

With irrigation, anything tropical. In addition to those already mentioned I have:

Date palm

But really, anything tropical. Start with bananas and papayas, because they grow quickly and can provide microclimate for starting other stuff.

6 days ago
A. What do you want in a wall calendar? Same format as picture calendars, but larger, with more room to write stuff without feeling cramped.

B. What do you hate in a wall calendar? cliché photos.

C. What about the picture page?  Love it?  Hate it? Love it.
    C.i. if you hate it, what would you rather have?
   C.ii. If you love it, what is your favourite kind of picture? 1, simple, not too busy; 2, no people; 3, interesting and not too cliché.
D.  Would you buy something like this? If it is original and artistic, absolutely.

A photo constest will likely yield great results with appropriate guidlines.
6 days ago
If I may throw another climate in the mix...

Sweet potato leaves (!!!)
Lablab leaves

Those are all growing in my yard.
1 week ago
What about a video tour? I learned LOADS from Geoff Lawton's farm tour.
Thanks for sharing your experience Irene! If your drawing is an indication, it looks like the sides of the pond were significantly steeper than a 1:2 ratio. Might that have contributed to the clay displacement?
(Checked out your site--awesome work!)
1 week ago
My climate is really hot and the soil is all sand. I thought if I have a pond I could grow bananas and papaya around it to provide some shady micro-climate for aquaculture. So the question is, how thick of clay do I need to lay to seal up the pond? I could layer it with green plant material to gley it, but I know in the long run I will still need to have substantial clay. But how much?
1 week ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:Yes it is, Africa seems to be one of the most resistant areas when it comes to farmers making the necessary changes to their thinking too.

Once we can get all farmers realizing that they must focus on growing their soil instead of growing plants (crops) then the world will be in a good position to provide enough food for the growing population.


This is partly due to the fact that the Western ag system has been fed to them as their greatest hope. There are many beneficial traditional agricultural practices in Africa that have been abandoned because of the promise of fertilizers and pesticides. Yes, traditional African agriculture is slash and burn, but it also was no-till and fields were left fallow for decades at a time. The plow was introduced by colonialists. It dramatically boosted production in the short term and allowed individuals to mono-crop much larger surfaces...and then become dependent on chemical fertilizers to maintain that yield. If you think plowing depletes soil in the temperate regions of the world, the heat of the tropics absolutely devours plowed soil. Again, it boosts yield impressively, but according to my observation it only lasts about ten years before the field is spent. And that's just with oxen-drawn plows!

If that weren't hard enough, Western ag companies introduced hybrid corn (now GMO corn, of course) in places like Kenya and Zimbabwe, along with chemical fertilizers as a way to maintain yield. Basically in a hot climate, your field is just a hydroponic medium at that point, EXTREMELY vulnerable to variations in rainfall. So you can say that African farmers are "resistant" to making changes, but the fact is, they're trapped by the ag companies in a neo-colonialism. In places like Chad, where I live, the ag companies haven't made it here yet, but they're still trapped by poverty. You can't afford to experiment with "sustainable" methods when the method you know is the only thing between you and starvation from one year to the next.

You want change in Africa? Get on a plane and roll up your sleeves, like Mr. Johann van der Ham. In the African context only personal investment will produce development in thinking.
1 week ago
Sounds like a plan Rufaro; progress is in baby steps.
3 weeks ago
Hi Rufaro,

One of the first ways to control pests is to rotate crops. If you've been growing corn on the same plot for a few years then it's no surprise you have to treat for pests.

Try something different next year: beans, watermelon, okra, roselle, cucumbers and egusi melon, sesame seeds and bambura nuts or peanuts are all great African crops you could put in there instead of corn. I would stay away from corn for a few years now that you have a pest infestation.

Peace, Nathanael
3 weeks ago