Christoph Day

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since Jul 10, 2017
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forest garden greening the desert tiny house
Talakag/Bukidnon/Mindanao/Philippines
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Recent posts by Christoph Day

Hi, Maureen,

Here is a Video of how I eat Elephant-grass (= Nappier-grass)

I hope that will make you going. It.s delicious anyway.
If your plants have enough water and you throw soil on the plants, they make new shoots.
So, enjoy watching a human Gorilla.
1 year ago
Hi Maureen,

Middle October I visited my former landlord in Cagayan de Oro. He told me, that he and the kids around him ate the young shoots of Napier grass when he was small because it was so sweet. He became a tall guy.
Yes, there are these tiny hairs. I can not confirm, that they are itchy. After removing them from the skin there is no irritation anymore. I don't mind the hairs. Maybe J figured out how to hold it without getting much of then stuck in the skin. Maybe I make a slight turning movement with my hand so that the hairs break and don't enter into the skin anymore. There are different varieties of Napier grass. There are with many, little and no hairs. On my farm, I think I have a variety with moderate hairiness. On the place of my wife, the Napier has many hairs but I don't treat them differently. In traditional Celtic medicine, they used branches with thorns and needles to spread and by this weaken the energy of illnesses. So by handling the Napier grass, you get a free reflex-zone treatment on your palms. I can not remember when I had to pull out the hairs of Napier grass from my skin anymore and I remember, years ago, I did pull out hairs of Napier grass from my skin.

Thank you for the tip with aliexpress and sharing your experiences with it. I think I will also try to order there.

I would be interested, to see your chick brooding project. I am planning on making Paddock shift with goats and chickens. Maybe I can get some impulse of how to start.

best regards

Christoph
1 year ago
I was reading further in your posts and give some thoughts together:
You said, you made a salad from the weeds. That is very good, because weeds have 10 to 80 and more times the nutrients than their cultivated relatives have. In addition I red in “Die Kulturpflanzen der Tropen und Subtropen” that people in those regions should eat more green leaves to escape protein deficiency. At the moment I eat mostly cooked food and I observed that If I have around 60% non-starch vegetables, I can stand the time between meals easy, while if I eat maize or rice with very little dried fish (very salty). I am mostly hungry before the next meal even I had eaten twice as much rice or maize than if I have vegetables.
Head-Letuce seeds are sold in tropical countries, because they can grow in the highlands at 1500m and above.
The same with Lentils. We planted Lentils on around 700m above sea level and they did not flower even after one year.
Sweet Pepper: it germinates very irregularly. This also the Bingenheimer Saatgut AG stated. When I was sewing Sweet Pepper this year in a seedbox with 1” diameter rolls of banana leaves filled with compost, Seedlings germinated over a period of 3 month. The fastest were those we had forgotten for a few weeks in a bowl. The bowl was exposed to rain and so the seeds were soaked in water for weeks.
Unsupportive spouses: as you might have also noticed already – I also have this. And I just let her now doing what she wants, anyway she don’t make much changes on the farm. I engage myself with others and since she noticed that I did this, she even became a little bit nicer. Lately a Moslem bought some trees (fast growing Legium- and shade tree) from me. He saw my ram pump and invited me to come over to his uncle and to his father in law to plan and realize water supply systems with ram pump. When I arrived at the father in laws place, I learned that he is also practicing organic farming. They directly started digging for a reservoir. Sadly later the son of the owner of the place, which had allowed the operation, stopped us. Now they must look for another spring. What I want to say with this is: It’s much more enjoyable to be with conscious people with a progressive drive.
When you were talking about carrying the water I thought this could be something for you. Small Ram Pumps can work with as little as 3l/min of Water. After I was with the people which started digging for the reservoir, I finished and published my report about my own Ram Pump Project. I Still had some questions and the owner of the forum answered them and now I have a bunch of tasks which shall insure, that my Ram Pump will run smooth as soon as I have accomplished my tasks. He encurraged me also to make additional a small Ram Pump for drinking water. While doing this, I could also help you with planning your own Ram Pump. This small Ram Pump could cost you around $100.- + piping and may be a storage tank and some labour for digging canals for the pipes and reservoir and may be a little foundation or core (for safety with lid) for the Ram Pump.
I would be interested in the seed source from china which you found. That’s also interesting for my location.
Do I understand it correct, that your house is made of mud? Did you use a foundation? If Yes what material did you use and how thick? Did you make a wall out of natural stones one to two feet above ground and started with the cob then or did you start with cob direct on the ground? I saw a sketches and pictures of houses in Ghana where they start with the cob direct above ground, but it looks like arid climate there. The climate on your place is more similar to ours. That’s why I ask. What is the make of your floor? I live in a house with lots of wood borer and I want to build houses of mud in the future.
Pleasant thoughts and best regards
Christoph
1 year ago

Maureen Atsali wrote:The challenges...
-All of the soil issues I have touched on before.  It has improved, but it is still pretty pathetic.  I dump all the mulch and compost on it I can, but the tropical conditions eat through it faster than I produce it.  As for the erosion factor, I haven't done much about that yet, except to try and keep the soil covered in mulch, planted, or otherwise undisturbed.  More erosion control is on the to do list this year.
- By far my biggest losses come from my nearby neighbors - on two fronts.  Their domestic animals which escape or free range onto my property.  Cows, pigs and chickens.  And its not just accidental... I have found their cows TIED in my garden. Secondly thieves of the two legged variety.  They will steal anything.  Sugarcane, greens, fruits, fish from the pond, the dog's chains. The man next door tries to sneak in and cut my Napier grass for his cows.  This last fall my husband caught 4 of that man's kids digging up sweet potatoes and hiding them in the coat of the littlest one.  A few weeks ago someone dug up two young papaya trees that were about 4 feet tall and took the whole trees.  This is a cultural problem here...people pull each other down.  This mentality of "if I can't succeed, neither should you."  Aside from that, especially during the dry season, people are experiencing hunger.  

My husband thinks a good fence will curb that problem.  I am not so optimistic.  It might deter the animals, but I think it will just be a challenge to the people.  Either way, we can't afford to fence the entire 2.5 acres right now, and we have so many other projects on the table.  And projects are a subject for another post.

- The third challenge is ME.  I pretty much handle all the farm work alone.  My husband hates farm work, probably because he was forced to do it as a child.  He runs a tree and timber service.  I love the farm work, but find 2.5 acres an awful lot for one person to manage.  And I am slightly disabled and there is no mechanization.  I can only put in about 2 hours of hard labor a day.  Ohh and add to that that I am highly distractable.  I get side tracked, have too many things going at once, and have a hard time finishing a project.

Fourth is finances.  We survive on 400 USD a month, give or take.  Because we have no debt and no bills and life is fairly cheap here, we are able to survive. But it doesn't leave much for savings, investments, improvements, or emergencies.  We had a terrible problem last month when my 13 yo needed an emergency surgery.  Really opened my eyes for the need of some reserve, which really requires more income.

Always open to new ideas in solving these problems!



Hi Maureen,

I am on the Philippines since 2008. There I work on 4.5 ha. I have made much similar experiences and so I have also thought about solutions to problems we have in common. At least it's great, that you are already able to feed many people with what you grow on your farm. I just go through this post from the beginning:
- Erosion: I am planing to make canals along the niveau lines. For this I mow down the bushy area with a bush scythe and then find the niveau lines using a hoss niveller. The hoss niveller ismade od 2 straight stcks, 2 nails and a 5+m transparent hoss. The ends of the hoss are nailed on the upper end on a 1.5m and 1.65m long stick. The longer stick gets a mark at the hight of 15 cm. This Stick is pushed into the soil unto the mark. Then you let the other stick stand beside the first and mark both at the same hight around 50cm below the top. Then you fill the hoss with water (may be colored) up to the mark. Then you go with the second stick along the niveau line. In a distance of 2 to 3 m you look for the point with the same level than the 1st stick. This is there where the water level is at the mark when you let the stick stand on the soil. There you push another stick into the soil as marker. Then you go back to the 1st stick and push another stick as marker into the soil. Then you go with the longer stick of your niveller to the 1st mark and repeat the process. I plan to digg above the lines and bud up and compact the soil below. Then pull the mulch over the so created hill. The hill I plant with a dense line of Nappier grass and maybe Vetiver Grass which is very good for erosion controll and even naturally forming terasses. The young shoots (up to 1.5m high of Nappier grass we (My 5 year old son Pasquale and I) eat. They are sweet and juicy. The fibres which we can not cut with our teath we spit out after removing the juice and soft tissues through thorough jewing. This is a complete food and if you eat additional leaves of herbs, bushes and trees and flowers, you get the cross-yests for digesting the grass and additional clorophyll. In the nght, I can feel that my body repairs its cells after I had eaten like 10 to 20 sticks of Naper grass. And a month ago I had 3 single weeks with little interruption, where I ate much Napier grass beside fern, other greens and few fruits. There a tooth which was broken and already covered with meat, started to grow again. On the hill I want also to plant other plants like Banana and Papaya. Above the canal I want to plant cover crops to be mowed regularly to get mulch for the hils. The more the area shapes into terasses, the more you can plant higher feeding plants on the terrases. The problem with hale, we don't have. Strong rain we have also. I saw to 2 drawings about rainfall. The first showed a land bare of forest and only the high mountains are having forest. There around the high mountans are short (few minutes to few hours) strong rains. Ths is our situation and we are near high mountains. The other drawing showed a land covered with forest and there is longer equal distributed misty rain. In Malaysa (on Borneo) is a project were a big forest was planted and they got regular rain back. Even neighboring areas benefith from this project. Only during tmes of strong winds the clowds are blown away. I came also across Mucuna bracteata, a Velvet bean which can buid up 30cm of humus and organic matter in 3 years. I red you planted already amaranth which brings P into the soil. This is what the Mucuna bracteata needs. In the first year it grows slow. From then on very fast. It's not easy to get seeds. It's also still on my list. Else I also started to collect different kinds of cover crops locally. I also made the experience that seeds are hard to import and if this was possible, many didn't grow.
- I want to plant thorny bamboo around my farm. This makes a dense unpassable thicket. The shoots are eadible (at least cooked). I tried already to make seedlings from cuttings. Most are growing. First I have to secure the boundaries, which is a complicated thing because our neighbours trespassed on almost each side of the farm, there is no law, the local Government don't work and the Department for Environment and Natural Resources is affraid to go there to settle the boundaries. There is one Ombudsman for the whole Island of Mindanao. Currently I write a report when I have some spare time. We have here the same cultural problem. My brother in law said it is different in his town. If somebody is successfull with something, others try to make it even better. This seems to be few excemptions.
- Your third challenge ist also my challenge. Except that I am not disabled and my wife loves farm work but wants her own projects where she want to ignore that the soil is infertil which reflects in the results and on. Principally I don't need my own projects, if I have somebody to guide on a meaningfull way that makes sense and is sound, I am verry willing to follow. But this I don't have, so I have to deside for the projects to be done and I have to do them as well. In one or two weeks I want to go to the capital of our Province to look for Nastus Elatus (good to eate raw - another Power food) Bamboo cuttngs. There I want to post a bill at the universitiy for agriculture students who want to be my companions. I offer food, accommodation and a share of profit.
I am interested, how you keep your animals. We had pigs, but they didn't grow well, maybe because of the infertil soil. May be I can adapt some of your practices.
best regards
Christoph
1 year ago

Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit wrote:Put the carrot seeds in a glass of handwarm water for 6 hours OR in a glass of wet sand for 5 days and directly seed them. I like the method with sand best, the seeds are easier to sprinkle when they are mixed with sand. It is very important to keep them moist till they germinate otherwise they burst. You can use a sieve to cover the seeds with fine soil or: Just put some fine sand on top of them. Fine seedbed is a must for small seeds.

They take awfully long to germinate so don't forget to mark the place where you put them and reduce competetion by weeding.

ediblecities idea to cover them with board is good to keep the seeds moist but it is a really bad idead when you have a problem with slugs. Slugs gather under board and wooden planks. In fact: I always leave some wooden planks lying around and check under them frequently. I pick the slugs gathering there put them in a plastic bag and throw them in a trash can. Heartless, I know.

Heartfully, I would put them in a net or clothbag together with a stone, big enough that the bag will drown in water. Then put the bag/net in a buket/drum full water, stirr regularly for oxigenation and use after completely decomposition as fertilizer for plants which have a big nutrion consumption like Squash, Watermelon, Tomatoes, Peppers, Grapes. Dillute 1:10. This is the same process than the "Road-Kill-Brew" of the bio-dynamic farming. Can be with compostpreparations 502 - 507 (Dandelion, Yarrow, Camomile, Stinging Nettle, Oak Bark, Equisetum). It can be done with all kinds of Insects, Rats, Mice, dead Lifestock, any dead animals, you come across with. Important is to make sure, that the dead animals stay under water so that you are still able to stir. The more oxigen inthe Water the faster the breake down and the bigger the surface to volume ratio, the faster is the breake down. For example slugs have a relative big surface to volume ratio, Ants would have an even bigger surface to volume ratio while a pig would have a small surface to volume ratio.

1 year ago
Here on the Philippines they sell this on the market for vegetable soup with or without cococream (I call it cococream because what you buy as coconut milk is made of the presscake/extraction grates, a byproduct in making virgin coconut oil, coco cream is made of fresh unprocessed coconut meat).

When I was renting a room in a subdivision in Cagayan de Oro, the Pigweed grew together with Jute, Guava, Moringa and Sweet Potato on lots without buildings. I collected leaves of the fore mentioned plants frequently to make smoothies together with the water of Young Coconut, Banana, Lemonsito, Ginger, Chili Pepper and other fruits.

The pigweed was not invasive on this place. On my farm 50km inland on around 650m above sea-level, my wife even had to plant it. It was growing to 4'+. As of now it didn't multiply by itself.

I want to plant Amarant on my farm because I have red (in "Die Kulturpflanzen der Tropen und Subtropen" that it grows on poor soil and it accumulates Calcium and Phosphorus. This would then also serve as green Manure for Velvet Bean 'Mucuna bracteata', which can create a 1' layer of organic matter in 3 years, which is then attracting beneficial fungy and microorganisms.
1 year ago
Until a few weeks ago, I did not know that I had invented a 100% organic Varnish in 2010. It is made out of Tabon-Tabon, a fruit that is like a nut and water. The Varnish is pasty to thick liquid, depending on how much water was added during the blending. Traditionaly Tabon-Tabon is used on the Philippines to seal Sombreros and Negos (flat baskets to seperate heavy from light things like rice hulls from rice grains) by just wiping the in halves cut kernel on the surface to be sealed. It was also used to protect wood. Because of the waterprove character of this varnish, I suggest to apply it on dry wood. The pasty consistence makes that cracks in the wood can be filled up. If nessesary apply it rwice.
This Mushroom comes with its own Mosquitonet. Found in our flower/herb garden on Mindanao/Philippines
1 year ago