Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Woodchip is a great soil amendment and adds nutrients into the soil slowly, I have observably proven this to myself last year on my Allotment where I stashed a few wheelbarrows of woodchip on a section of my plot because otherwise the communal woodchip would likely have been finished by the time I needed some.
Once I dug my pond out, I covered the mound of woodchip with the soil from within the pond, about 6 months later I finally started a new project in the place of the mound of soil where I discovered the very well composted woodchip and noticed when digging that the topsoil layer was darker within a few inches under the topsoil line, when I compared this to a section just a meter away, the soil was lightly coloured and only darker very close to the surface line…

Below is a great video proving and showing from day one to 8 years on, the soil is even dug down seriously deep to prove how far the amendment reached until the soil quality becomes poor again.

 

Important Note: If you obtain free woodchip from your local Tree Surgeons, always ask what tree/s were chipped! Basically, Broad Leaf are usually Alkaline or Neutral PH (Oak is Acidic though) and Coniferous are Acidic PH, So use Conifer Woodchip for pathways as less weeds will germinate amongst the mature rotting chips as well as a mulch for Acid loving plants like strawberries and Blueberries. Use the Broad Leaf for your beds and as a soil amender!

Video courtesy of youtube channel OneYardRevolution

In this video, the land owner describes the soil / subterrenian water issues, annual rainfall and family requirement calculations for an off grid system – how they are resolved, water storage and use, solar heating, solar water pumping, indigenous plants – as well as liquid fertilising – this is an almost off-grid Urban Permaculture Homestead and some things can be learned in this video tour.
I didn’t note any mentioned plans for animal keeping or even bees for that matter so it would be interesting to catch an update of the system and how it has changed or improved over the last few years since 2014…

I would reccommend that the land owner in this case to take a look into studying Holzer Permaculture specifically in Water Retention, this will help solve his water storage / retention issues.

The video is around 8 min’s and there are good ideas to follow from watching …

I have another Video Home tour, this one is from Johannesburg South Africa (I chose to find another one from this city as my previous one has had the video removed or deleted and I cannot find another copy).

This one is particularly exciting as he goes through his property’s greywater recycling system/s, bio digester, bio diesel refinery, whole garden and fruit trees including a little bit on tree grafting. This all is in a Townhouse Complex to top it off!
Enjoy the video and Happy Holidays to us Unfortunate ones who still have to work full time for a living! ….

GMO / Golden Rice has a competitor, it’s called Permaculture!!

Some of you have heard the lobby backed calls for the GMO Golden rice to be pushed into production asap because many people mainly in Asia suffer from vitamin A deficiency, Golden Rice is a Genetically Manipulated product whereby Vitamin A is forced into the genes of the original rice (The agenda is purely for profit as the multi billion dollar Biotech cartels have their investor’s interests to look after and please).

Ban Golden Rice - Philippines

Ban Golden Rice – Philippines

No doubt, someday soon, a Monsanto / Bayer / Syngenta / Dow / Du Pont / Pioneer et al Troll will pick up on this article and label me as a ”child killer standing in the way of poor 3rd world peoples health”, that’s absolutely fine, as they themselves ignore independent research into GM technology and only look at what the industry itself and it’s paid ‘scientists’ report on their completely ‘unbiased’ findings … I have looked at both sides of the story and theirs is Not convincing!

Ban Golden Rice - Philippines Protests

Ban Golden Rice – Philippines Protests

There are so many green / veggie foods high in vitamin A that can be grown Exactly where these people live, which makes this ”technology” completely unnecessary.

Ever heard of the Moringa Tree? AKA The Miracle Tree … Well IRRI definitely either has not or, they don’t want you to know! (IRRI = International Rice Research Institute) < Sponsored by US / EU Biotech and hosted in the Philippines.

Lets take a look at the three images that totally undermine the goals of the Golden Rice Lobby:

Moringa ''Miracle Tree'' Benefits / Nutrients

Moringa ”Miracle Tree” Benefits / Nutrient Composition

Moringa Leaves, Mineral / Vitamin Composition

Moringa Leaves, Mineral / Vitamin Composition

World Map where Moringa grows naturally / or when planted – this is exactly where it is needed. People don’t know so education is far more beneficial than some unproven technology

There you have it folks, Golden Rice Debunked in Three Images!

Dear Filipino People and the Philippine Government … IRRI’s budget in 2014 according to Wikipedia is USD 99.19 Million, Moringa Seeds are available online on sites such as Ebay. I did some calculations and this budget would buy 3,171,888,500 (Billion) Moringa Seeds for immediate planting worldwide, starting where there is the most recorded cases of Vitamin A deficiency !!
NOTE:
Moringa is grown in the Philippines already, but has clearly somehow skipped Media/ Authority attention … for some reason.

For further reading on GMO’s so you can come to your own conclusion, here are Independent websites containing articles and research into the controversial technology. I highly recommend you to Always look at what the alternative / independent media report on world changing issues as most likely, what you read in the newspapers is one sided (the side of the one paying the most money):

http://www.gmwatch.org/

http://www.anhinternational.org/

Good Documentary on GMO’s

http://permaculturenews.org/2015/07/16/the-power-of-duck-a-review/

If you have never heard of the Banana Circle, it may be because you live in a non tropical / sub tropical climate. They are a permaculture design and increase the yield of Banana and other fruits in this simple but very good guild.

Banana Circle 1

Banana Circle Guild with re-purposed sacks for mulch

The basic concept is to prepare a circular section of your area with a radius of about 2 meters (6 feet) plus, once you have measured everything out you start digging in the centre about 1 meter (3 feet) deep and placing all displaced soil around the edges of your measured out circle in a berm like fashion.
Once the centre ‘hole’ is complete and you have built the surrounding berm edge, you can plant 5-6 Banana suckers (baby banana plants) evenly spaced in the edge wall and throw in organic matter (vegetable / fruit scraps, leaves, wood etc.) into the centre hole.

Banana Circle 2

Newly dug out Banana Circle with green waste in the center cavity

The center hole is going to be constantly topped up with organic matter to break down and feed the bananas / other crops in the circle guild. The center cavity will encourage water absorption into the soil and the decomposing organic matter will prevent evaporation, any moisture from the decomposing organic matter will also seep into the soil and provide a nutrient rich liquid feed for all plants in the guild!
Many designers recommend planting Papaya (Pawpaw) trees between the Bananas, Sweet Potato underneath as ground cover, Lemongrass even Comfrey or other Herbs etc. where possible.

Birdseye diagram of a Banana Circle Guild design

Birdseye diagram of a Banana Circle Guild design

Once a mother banana plant dies or gets cut down after cropping, the results will be thrown into the compost centre and the baby suckers will be replanted right near where she was before and so on, therefore continuing the cycle and use of the prepared bed …
In many designs, people often have a greywater pipe leading into the centre of the circle as a recycling irrigation system, there are so many possibilities with this design I feel.

I hope that the pictures and diagrams are enough for those who may be able to install a Banana Circle, just in case, I’ve found a good 6 minute video showing the procedure:

Further Reading:

http://permaculturenews.org/2014/04/08/banana-circles/

Some of you may have heard of a keyhole garden or bed and wondered what it is all about? Well, it is quite simple in concept, can be as dramatic or simple as you like! There is no fixed dictated design which we must All follow, it is up to you based on your time available, materials at hand,resources, space etc.

Basically, it is normally a raised bed (High enough as to prevent much bending over) encircled with recycled rocks / bricks or other materials, but with a little opening so that you can reach into the middle without stretching over the bed and plants. In the middle there is a ”basket” which reaches down into the depths of the compost / soil and is open top so you can throw in food scraps and water the bed from there too.
Keyhole gardens seem to be popular in Africa especially in the north and there is even a UK based charity (Send A Cow) Who help promote these in the countries that they operate in. From what I gather, they do originate in Africa, possibly Kenya.

Traditional Keyhole Garden in North Africa

Below is a good diagram image of the keyhole garden design and concept:

Side / Overhead View Keyhole Garden Design

The benefits are that the design prevents strain from bending or over reaching, the composting system is built-in so there is no need for a separate compost pile or area, watering through the compost system helps to draw nutrients into the soil and towards the root area, the compost system is warm thereby creating a better environment for the plants and root system – this increases the season length as well!! and finally, no risk of compaction by stepping on the beds / soil.

Further examples of how individuals used the concept to their own requirement/s:

Keyhole Garden made from Recycled Bottles

Normal Bed with keyhole points for ease of access

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This is a very interesting and inspiring video from a South African based Bio Diesel manufacturer, includes a tour of their facility and explanation of how the fuel is made: