Soil

GROWING VEGETABLES FOR THE LESS FORTUNATE

“WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?”

One of SUCCESSFUL GARDENING PROJECTS’ aims is to encourage us all to think not only of ourselves, but of our neighbours and those in need.

Elkhart County (USA) are doing exactly this.

May the reblog of their August post spur you and whatever group you are part of, to do something similar in your own community

Elkhart County Grassroots Hub

Helping hands come in all shapes and sizes.

Elkhart County’s community gardens bring people together of all ages and from every walk of life. You DON’T have to be an experienced gardener to be of assistance. One woman who picked beans last night told me that she had never before picked a bean in her life. But, she said she likes how working in the garden makes her feel. “This feeds people here in our community,” she explains. “We can get a little sweaty and dirty for someone else. Giving back is a good thing.”

‘Seed to Feed’s’ coordinator, Dave Hochstetler, says that the vegetables are coming in so plentifully that “Seed to Feed” needs 30 pickers each time: Mondays at 9 a.m., Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Tell your churches, tell your clubs, tell your families. Great group project. Call Dave for details: 574-349-4905 or dhhooch@aol.com .

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Categories: Agriculture, Blessing, Commitment, Community, Donate, Farming, Food, Food crisis, Food security, God, Growing, healthy, Helping, Less fortunate, Neighbours, Plant, Poor, Produce, seedlings, seeds, Soil, Time, Vegetable gardener, Vegetables, Veggie garden | Leave a comment

VEGETABLE GROWING – KEEP THE SOIL “ON THE GROUND”

Soil erosion

Is your vegetable garden’s soil frittering away through soil erosion?

Here is a shocking statistic – though soil erosion is a natural process, human activity accelerates soil loss up to 24 billion tonnes every year. [1]

This is even more concerning, especially as topsoil contains most of the soil’s nutrients and organic matter. As one author put it, “Soil erosion: it can run away with your farm.” [3] (or even your vegetable patch!)

Add to this, wind, and the speed at which rain drops hit the earth (4.5 to 19 mph), can you afford to turn your hand at vegetable gardening or farming if the soil just won’t lie down?

HOW TO KEEP THE SOIL IN YOUR GARDEN – ON THE GROUND

The short answer is – mulch your vegetable garden . (You knew that, didn’t you.)

But here is something you may not know – don’t dig over your soil.
You’re probably wondering,
“If I don’t dig over the soil, how will I plant the seed/seedlings?”

To answer this question let me first tell you about two microbial life forms in your vegetable patch:
1. Aerobic microherd – these are all microbes that absolutely need oxygen in order to survive.
2. Anaerobic microherd – these are all microbes that don’t need oxygen to survive, but may or may not use oxygen in their life cycles.

If you dig over the soil in your vegetable garden, the microbes assigned their place in life will be turned upside down, and will die. Aerobic and anaerobic microbes are there to help you grow your vegetables to their optimum potential by improving he soil’s health and texture.

Consequence of digging over your garden?
Bang! goes your attempt at growing vegetables.

The answer?
Don’t plough, don’t overturn the soil like our predecessors taught us.

Here’s what you do:

  • You dig only where you will place the seed or seedling – click here to see how it is done.

Mulching
I had a wonderful time in Mwinilunga (Zambia’s North West Province). In 2009 Chief Kanyama invited me to train 36 villagers in the Farming God’s Way method (or, Foundations for Farming). They had never heard of mulching. But as soon as they understood the value of retaining moisture and keeping the ground “on the ground,” they set to it with vigour, collecting straw and old maize stalks to cover the land. They are now reaping harvests not heard of in their farming history.

The Benefits of Mulching[4]
• Mulching is essential to the survival of your landscape during a drought. Mulch will reduce the amount of water that evaporates from your soil, greatly reducing your need to water your vegetable plants.

• …improves the quality of your soil by breaking up clay and allowing better water and air movement through the soil. Mulch provides nutrients to sandy soil and improves its ability to hold water.

• …acts as an insulating layer on top of soil, keeping it cooler in the summer.

• …keeps weeds down, and the weeds that do grow are much easier to pull.

So! Are you ready to grow vegetables successfully?

Let me know how this has made a difference to the health of your vegetables.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Acknowledgements

[1] http://www.envirothon.org/pdf/CG/using_the_USLE.pdf

[2] http://www2.kenyon.edu/projects/farmschool/types/soil.htmhttps://www.google.co.za/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=speed+at+which+rain+hits+the+soil&oq=speed+at+which+rain+hits+the+soil&gs_l

[3] http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/organic/2002114848008095.html

[4] http://www.ccwater.com/files/Drought101Mulch.pdf

Categories: Agriculture, ecology, Farming, Food, Food crisis, Food security, Growing, healthy, Increased yields, Mulch, Nutriets, Organic, Organic matter, Plant, plants, Preparation, Produce, Rain, seedlings, seeds, Self-seeding, Soil, Vegetable gardener, Vegetables, Veggie garden, Wind, Zero tillage | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GROWING VEGETABLES – THE “COMPANION PLANTING” WAY

Margaret Roberts’ passion for growing vegetables and herbs is clearly evident in the way she writes in her book titled, “Companion Planting.”

Each herb and vegetable is introduced with a short history of the plant, its culinary, medicinal and pest repellent properties. She has trialed each and every entry in her many books, and pioneered organic methods before the word “organic” was ever coined.

There is so much to garner from her books.

The first book I bought I gave to a Chief in Kanyama, Mwinilunga District, Zambia. I could not do without my own copy for along, so, I bought another copy – and was robbed!.

So I bought a third copy.

As you can tell, I am passionate about growing vegetables the Companion Planting way. There is much information to be culled from it. For instance, I set up two Excel schedules: one reflected the medicinal properties of the herbs and the ailments it can either relieve or cure. The other dealt with herbs that could control pests.

Margaret Roberts also provides recipes for sprays to protect your vegetables and herbs, and provides references to herbs that break down compost.

In her book, “The Essential Margaret Roberts, my 100 Favourite herbs,” she outlines how to plan a herb garden, propagation of vegetables plants, and much-much more.

For more information on Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre, click here.

Categories: Agriculture, Companion planting, ecology, Farming, Food, Food security, Green manure, healthy, manure, Nutriets, Organic, Pest, Plant, plants, Preparation, Produce, Save money, seedlings, seeds, Self-seeding, Soil, Vegetables, Weeds | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WHAT IS “FARMING GOD’S WAY”?

Farming God’s Way, as the middle word attests, is a farming model unashamedly based on biblical as well as practical principles, like no other.

No burning/ploughing
It overturns the idea that one has to plough the land and burn the old maize stalks and bean vines.

Debunks the myths of poverty
On another level, the biblical training addresses the myths of poverty. Those who have implemented Farming God’s Way confirm that, not only does Farming God’s Way work (agriculturally), but it has set them free to prosper.

Soil improvement
By addressing the consequences of ploughing and burning the fields, farmers mindsets are challenged to implement zero tillage, mulching, and composting.

Click here to read more: BROCHURE.

Categories: Agriculture, ecology, Farming, Food, Food security, God, Growing, Land, Organic, Plant, Preparation, Produce, Soil, Vegetables, Zero tillage | Leave a comment

GROWING VEGETABLES – A SUCCESS STORY (cont’d)

Clearing a field in Kanyamaland

Later, after I had shared with him about Farming God’s way while we sat under a thatched gazebo he kept repeating something to his retainer (assistant) in the Lunda dialect.

I noticed there was a hint of tears in his eyes. His retainer turned to me and translated: “The Chief says he’s overwhelmed. He’s overwhelmed…overwhelmed!

Apparently over a period of six years the Chief had promises from two guys who had offered to train his villagers in Farming God’s Way, but they had failed to follow through on their promises. Now here before him was an “old” lady who had come all the way from South Africa – whom he did not know – who was available and offering to do the job. 

2010/2011

A fall in February 2010 in which my collarbone and thumb broke meant I could not return in May 2010 to follow up on the training with Chief Kanyama’s villagers. This was particularly disheartening as the accident set the five-year oversight programme back a full year.  But by July 2011 my passion (and the Lord’s) to settle in Mwinilunga could no longer be delayed, and by 15 December 2011 I was on my way, lock, stock and barrel (the saga is recounted in http://backthewaywecame.wordpress.com/).

Sadly, all communication was lost between Chief Kanyama and myself between 2009 and 2011due to consistent cell phone and internet network failure, and miscommunication at other times, via an intermediary.

2012

It was therefore only in June 2012 that I learned of the “first in a lifetime” abundant harvests being reaped in Chief Kanyama’s Kingdom as a result of implementing the training they had received – Farming God’s Way . A staff member at Keepers International, a civil engineer working on a hydro project in Kanyama Kingdom, the District Commissioner and members of the Department of Agriculture in Mwinilunga were all equally amazed at the results of this training.

This truly is a success story and validates the belief that Farming God’s Way is the way to go when training the poor. Not only that they may have food to eat, but they will learn to run their farms as a business to enable them to send their children to school, build homes for their families, afford medical treatment, and much, much more.

For further information about Farming God’s Way, click on this link – FGW

Categories: Agriculture, ecology, Farming, Farming God's Way, Food, God, Growing, healthy, Land, manure, Nutriets, Plant, Preparation, Produce, Soil, Vegetables, Zero tillage | Leave a comment

GROWING VEGETABLES – BLOOD AND BONE IN THE COMPOST?

When I first heard  of adding a blood and bone meal to add to one’s compost I mentally gagged at the thought of what it may do to the vegetables I wanted to grow? We’ve all heard at one time or another that blood can become contaminated. How then can it be dug into our compost? The health implications made me shudder.

But I later learned that the blood is not used before it is dried, and the mixture of blood and bone is put through a steaming process to clean it. One can be assured then, that what you buy at the butchery is safe. I would, however, not recommend buying it from a butchery in a rural area where steaming facilities are not available. So there is no threat to one’s vegetable patch.

Because of its nitrogen fixing properties and its calcium and phosphorous nutrients. blood and bone mix is excellent for mixing into compost which will later be added to the soil in your vegetable garden. I would recommend, however, that you first have the soil tested for nutrient content. You don’t’ want, for instance, to have too much, for instance, as it will affect your vegetables and they may even die off.

The good news is – bone and blood m eliminates the need to buy fertilizer, and is probably cheaper.

The bottom line is – how can you best improve the soil in your vegetable garden AND save money? I can recommend Jonathan White’s article on composting. Here is an extract from his article on composting  –

“Do you consider composting as just another way to dispose of unwanted vegetable waste, pruned branches, twigs, grass and leaves? Whilst this may be a valid solution to deal with rubbish, composting can be valuable option when used in the right way.

“For instance, compost builds valuable nutrients that will feed the soil in which you grow vegetables that will in turn one day, feed you and your family.  I only use compost on my vegetable gardens.  Manage your vegetable garden using compost, and it will become an integral part of the whole food production system.  Creating compost is a way to collect nutrients in one form – waste – to turn it into another form – food.

“Most people throw away what is left over after preparing vegetables for a meal. In other words, they buy X amount of nutrients, take what they need for the moment, and discard the rest. That’s like throwing Dollars into the rubbish bin.

To “raise capital” on the discarded parts of the vegetables, put this “capital” to work in your vegetable garden. That way the nutrients will be used again and again without any cost to you.

“What a way to save money!

“Put differently:
Composting creates a nutrient cycle on our property.

“We are part of that cycle because we consume the nutrients when they are, for a brief time, in a useful form.  Then the discarded portion returns to the compost to slowly make their way into another useful form – then we consume them again.

“This cycle can continue indefinitely. Of course, some nutrients you will never see again. But with diligence you will be surprised how much compost you can create to generate more nutrients than you can recycle.

“My composting system is large because I have a few large vegetable gardens. I believe that the size of your vegetable garden should be determined by how much compost you can create, and not merely by the amount of space you have in your backyard.

“To run a rich, high yielding vegetable garden you need to have some sort of soil conditioning plan, and the best thing for your soil is a generous layer of good compost on the surface a few times per year. “

To read more, click on this link, COMPOSTING.

Categories: Agriculture, Blood and bone mix, Compost, ecology, Farming, Food, Food crisis, Food security, Growing, Mulch, Organic, Organic matter, Plant, Produce, seedlings, seeds, Self-seeding, Soil, Vegetable gardener, Vegetables, Veggie garden, Zero tillage | Leave a comment

ARE THERE PROBLEMS WITH TRADITIONAL VEGETABLE GARDENING?

PROBLEMS NEED SOLUTIONS

  • Traditional vegetable gardens require an enormous amount of hard work.
    It takes a lot of time, dedication and a year-round commitment
    to grow your own food the traditional way.
  • Then there are bare patches in your patch.
    To an ecologist, this is a niche space for colonizers …
    weeds…that deprive your vegetables of nutrients.
  • Not only do they deplete nutrients, but, it takes too much time
    to attend to weeding when you could be doing something else

HOWEVER, THERE IS A SOLUTION!

We must use a technique that combines –

PEST,  PLANT & SOIL ecology plus CROP MANAGEMENT into a method that addresses the causes of these problems. 

The technique must be efficient enough to be economically viable,
and produce enough food, per given area, to compete against traditional techniques. 

 

Jonathan White, an environmental scientist has been testing an ecologically-based method of growing food for several years.  This method promotes

  • zero tillage
  • zero chemicals
  • has minimal weeds, and
  • requires a fraction of the physical attention (when compared to traditional vegetable gardening).
  • It also produces several times more, per given area, and
  • provides food every single day of the year.

 

His ecologically-based garden mimics nature in such a way that the garden

  • looks and acts like a natural ecosystem.
  • Succession layering of plants (just as we see in natural ecosystems) offers natural pest management.
  • It also naturally eliminates the need for crop rotation
  • Naturally eliminates the need resting beds
  • Naturally eliminates the need for green manure crops

Soil management is addressed in a natural way – so the soil’s structure and fertility gets richer and richer, year after year.

Another benefit of this method is automatic regeneration through self-seeding. This occurs naturally as dormant seeds germinate, filling empty niche spaces with desirable plants, and not weeds.

Traditional gardeners need convincing. So here’s the deal:
This ecologically-based method requires such little human intervention you may become frustrated with not having much to do in your vegetable garden. There! I’ve said it. But it’s true. In this ecologically based method nature will take the reins, and in your experience you will find that nature’s ecological laws are one hundred per cent reliable.

This method of growing your vegetables takes away all the mysticism of being an expert.  It is so simple, any person, under any conditions, can do it.  

THIS LEADER IN VEGETABLE

GARDENING

…produces many times more food with a fraction of the effort.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY
FOR THE
UNEMPLOYED

In May 2011 fin24 reported: “South Africa’s latest unemployment figure [is the highest among] 61 [countries] surveyed by Bloomberg.”http://www.fin24.com/Economy/SA-unemployment-rate-among-worlds-highest-20110504

Despite this news, South Africa’s unemployed have a window of opportunity.
THEY CAN OBTAIN LAND

– AT NO COST –

from their rural authorities on which to grow their own vegetables; land that can turn their joblessness into a business opportunity to break the back of grinding poverty.

Should you choose to donate your Food4Wealth order to a worthy cause in South Africa or elsewhere,

YOUR PURCHASE

will kick-start a walk to freedom

for these “captives of unemployment”

DOUBLE BLESSING

TWO RECIPIENTS will benefit from A SINGLE PURCHASE

yourself, (or your beneficiary)
WerthWorx will receive a commission for referring the product.
(This will support their work among the poor in Mwinilunga , Zambia)
(see
http://www.werthworx.wozaonline.com )

TO PURCHASE

Click the link below to order via Clickbank

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Download and print this FREE pamphlet on time-saving vegetable growing by clicking on the link below:

PROBLEMS WITH TRADITIONAL VEGGIE GARDENING

Categories: Agriculture, Bare patches, Blessing, Business opportunity, Clickbank, Commitment, Donate, Ecologist, Economical, Farming, Food, Food crisis, Green manure, Growing, healthy, Land, Nutriets, Pest, Plant, plants, Poor, Produce, rural authorities, Self-seeding, Soil, Time, Traditional gardening, Vegetables, Weeds, Zero Chemicals, Zero tillage | Leave a comment

IS GROWING VEGETABLES IN TYRES A HEALTH HAZARD? – THE ‘TRUTH’

Goodyear Tyre factory

Goodyear Tyres

I recall, while in junior grade at Riebeek College, Uitenhage, our class was taken on a tour of  the Goodyear Tyre factory. My one overriding reaction was to the smell of rubber; I wondered how the workers could bear to breathe the fumes.

Many years later the company’s workers went on strike and burned tyres in protest, as can be seen from the photo below. What chemicals were released into the atmosphere as the tyres went up in smoke?

Strikers burning tyres at Goodyear Tyre factory in Uitenhage

I like the idea of growing vegetables in tyres (American: tires).
Especially as it would settle the question of recycling them. (Unless of course, you’re a sculptor, or furniture designer, as you will see from the photos further down.) However, I came across two sites you may want to view: The 5400 Square Foot Homestead, and Environment and Human Health, Inc.

Instead of recommending the use of tyres in which to grow your vegetables successfully – and if you are keen on recycling those you see on the side of the road or when you dump your refuse – here are some uses for discarded tyres.

Tyre made into a pouffe

You’ll never slip off this seat

A modern toilet seat

Categories: Agriculture, chemicals, containers, eat, Farming, Food, Growing, healthy, Preparation, Recycle, Soil, Toxic, Toxins, Tyres, Vegetables | Leave a comment

GROWING VEGETABLES – TITLE DEEDS and GOD’S EARTH

box beds

Some of my readers may be surprised to see the word, “God” in a vegetable gardening/farming blog.
I like to refer to him as Yahweh (YHWH), simply because that is his name.

 But this does not explain why I’m mentioning him at all.

As you read the Old Covenant carefully you will soon pick up that mostly YHWH disciplined Israel by withholding the rain, which resulted in famine.

Parched river

As soon as YHWH touched the sky and the earth growing vegetables became impossible,
and the people of Israel cried out in response to his correction,
“Help! We’re dying,” and he answered,
“If you return to me I will return to you.”
There are many side issues we could engage in regarding this. But the question remains…

Not right!

Who owns the land on which to grow vegetables?

Land is a huge issue in many countries.

When the Olympics were held in China stories abounded of how the Chinese government moved people from the homes they owned, to make way to build the Olympic stadium.

How could their government do this them?

Despite having proof of ownership of dwellings, no Chinese person owns the land on which their homes are built.

The land, says the Chinese government, belongs to the State.

YHWH says otherwise. I believe Him.

Why?

Because earthquakes and volcanoes have a will of their own and can shake the living daylights out of both us, and our properties.

Earthquakes submit to a higher power

They know more about title deed than we do, and are no respecter of persons when they feel the urge to move.

Farming God’s Way addresses the land issue;
it is foundational to understanding how we steward it,
whether we own the title deeds or rent the land.

YWHW says in Leviticus 25:23,
The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine…”
In another place we read, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.

To give an example of his ownership, here’s an interesting anecdote:

A rural farmer who adhered to the Farming God’s Way model tells how a herd of elephants  ate everything in sight – excepting his crops of maize and beans which was in full view of the herd.  The reason?  The farmer and his family offered their land back to YHWH, and asked him to protect it. No need to place fetishes and conduct incantations to protect the land to ensure a successful yield. Rather offer it to the One to whom it ultimately belongs. Go to http://www.werthworx.wozaonlin.com (Articles to download) to read more farmers’ testimonies.

I can personally attest to the efficacy of offering the land back to its Creator – and the harvest of vegetables reaped.

In 2009 I trained a Chief in Kanyama Kingdom 74 kilometres from Mwinilunga, a town situated between the Angolan and Democratic Republic of Congo borders in Zambia. They embraced the Farming God’s Way model, committed the land to YHWH among other things, and today they are reaping harvests not seen in the entire history of farming in their territory. For further testimony to the power of committing the land back to YHWH, watch the video, The Pineapple Story at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYM-4mGYzzE . It is the testimony of Veteran Missionary to Irian Jaya, Indonesia, Otto Koning, of his battle with the very people to whom he had been sent to evangelise, and how they stole everything from him that they could lay their hands on. Eventually he committed the land to YHWH. Watch what happens. An abundance of vegetables, fruit, and much more.It is hilarious! But brings home the point: everything we have is because YHWH has provided it.

I’ve highlighted the foundation for maximum yield and best practice
to achieve the most nutritious crops.

Now let’s get down to basics.

As silly as it may feel to you, go over to your vegetable garden right now, or to where your vegetable/herb pot plants have been placed. Or if you have a plot of ground, take a drive to it and stand on the land.

Lift it up some of the soil to YHWH. Acknowledge in his presence that the earth and all that is in it belongs to Him, and commit the soil to him, expressing your intention to steward it according to his best practice which is ecologically sound.

Offer the soil to Yahweh

Categories: Agriculture, Anthills, Farming, Fertiliser, Food, Food crisis, God, Growing, Land, manure, Preparation, Soil, Title Deeds, Vegetables, Warning | Leave a comment

GROW VEGETABLES – IN LIGHT OF THE LOOMING FOOD CRISIS

We may read about the East Africa Drought CrisisGlobal Food Crisis 2010Looming Food Crisis to hit Afghanistan and Africa First, and articles about the imminent shortage of food in the world.
But for you who are reading this post right now,
the situation is much closer to home at the vegetable stall and in a shopping mall near to where you live.

Prices are sky high.

To give you an idea of price increases of canned vegetables – between November 2011 to date I bought 7 months worth of canned vegetables to take with me when I relocated to Mwinilunga. In November each can of vegetables cost R6.69 (that’s approx. 77c (USD). Today, 12 months later, the same can of vegetables costs R11.99. That is a R5.30 increase within a year(approx. USD1.39).

This is just one commodity. Purchase organically grown vegetables and the price escalates.

This blog is about growing your own vegetables.

I will provide you with three excellent vegetable growing models to do so from which you may choose.

The idea is to get you growing a nutritious resource in your back yard, or in strategically placed pots in your apartment or on the balcony. If you are blessed with a half acre or some hectares, even better.

Not only would I encourage you to begin growing your own vegetables for personal consumption – but the idea is also to create an opportunity for you to engage in community projects. I am greatly inspired by the Elkhart County Grassroots Hub, a blog that was introduced to me when I first started blogging myself. PLEASE visit this blog. There are wonderful related articles such as:

Let us not sit back and bewail rising prices.

Buy the best seed possible – ensure it is not contaminated

When we do begin to plant, let us do so with the best vegetable seed possible. Seed that has no trace of insecticide or pesticide, or has been organically modified in any way. It is essential – no…let me rather say, it is absolutely essential to read the small print on every packet of seed we buy. I guarantee without fear of contradiction, that the seed you buy has been treated with either insecticide or pesticides. Please read, “The Danger of Pesticides on Humans,” to gain a fuller understanding of this problem.

in 2011 I planned to relocate from Johannesburg to Mwinilunga, Zambia. The idea was to train poor subsistence farmers in the three models of farming being highlighted in this blog. The question was, where to purchase uncontaminated seed? Especially non-genetically modified seed?

Fortunately, during a visit to the Kensington Public Library near Rhodes Park in Johannesburg (South Africa), I met Tony Lopes, a permaculture vegetable gardener. He was been given permission to showcase this model of planting in the library grounds.

In discussion with him about where to source non-genetically modified seed he told me about a company called, Living Seeds. I’ve since learned about Seed Savers Exchange as well. These companies provide an inestimable service, ensuring that the vegetables you grow are insecticide and pesticide free – and that you remain healthy.

Read the small print
Next time you want to grow vegetables, read the small print, then do the right thing.

It’s time to act.

===================
see also:

http://www.facebook.com/colleen werth
http://www.werthworx.wozaonline.co.za
http://www.backthewaywecame.wordpress.com

Categories: Agriculture, Anthills, Farming, Fertiliser, Food, Food crisis, God, Growing, Land, manure, Preparation, Soil, Title Deeds, Vegetables, Warning | Leave a comment

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