Tuesday, 23 June 2020

ORGANIC FARMNG - UPDATE FROM THE SAND'S FARM AND SOME PEST CONTROL INFO

It is now, at the end of the rains, as the sun shines and the farm has been growing well for months that the greatest fight with pests is. 
Assorted Veggies going to the restaurant this morning. 23 June 2020

On an Organic farm one cannot use pesticides as these toxic chemical killers are not organic and they poison produce with what has been proven to be 'cancer causing' toxins. As a result, if you are into natural 'organic farming' one has to accept a degree of losses. 
One of the views across the Sand's Farm
In our limited experience from these coastal, tropical conditions- Organic farming for successful commercial production might be more possible (with a higher yeild) inside a controlled environment like a green house. The question however is- Is there an alternative to the PLASTIC sheeting or shade net used? Please let us know if there is.

Our first red Radish
Right now we are fighting a battle on the Sand's farm. As many of you may know the produce as late off the farm has been incredible, we have been blessed so far.. and now we have challenges.
Pests hand-picked off the greens.. chicken food
Damage done

We have found the biggest 'current' pest issue is caused by Grasshoppers and Caterpillars which have recently been laid as eggs of the salads and spinaches by their 'sun-loving' parents. The two varieties we are finding the most have a habit of eating what they can of the fresh growing leaves before moving down the stem in the day time, hiding among the base of the leaf stems, destroying any chance of fresh leaves. One little Caterpillar can make one salad no longer produce new leaves.

This growth point is decimated










So what are we doing to try to stop them? Well we have been spraying on the natural Neem tree based 'deterrent' that we have been using to 'deter' the pests. It is hard to have an exact measure of the success of this deterrent but as the years go on we have added to it to try to improve the success.




How we make our pest deterrent- take a bunch of fresh Neem tree shoots which coppice off cut stumps, these are ground up with water to make a bitter liquid once the Neem leaves are sieved out.. to help the deterrent 'bind' to the leaf (last a little longer) add a 'little' soap. Recently we have started to add some Marigold to the Neem mix also.

Hand removal is labor intensive but over the last three days we have
managed to get a bit of control over the starving, vegetaran zombie
Caterpilars.
 In some bad pest cases try a little chilli, garlic, onion or even some tobacco leaf soaked into the 'potion'. Tobacco leaves are said by many 'old wives with tails' to be the best pest deterrent. Whether any of these methods or concoctions makes the leaf taste odd is really up to how strong the mix is, has it rained a lot, are the leaves washed properly before use.

P.S- Remember, leaves need to 'photosynthesise' and 'transpire'.. so too much of a oily or soapy layer on their leaves can slow their growth or damage them.

Monday, 8 June 2020

ORGANIC FARMING- SUCCESS

After much talk about all the ways to go about farming organically or trying to live sustainably it's only right that some photos of evidence that these techniques have worked for us are shared. Given we are at a time of abundance on The Sands at Nomad's farm.






















Some of the old Jacuzzis we have now been growing from for two rain seasons. We put in some topsoil when we first started, added worms and compost over time. As they are off the ground there are fewer pests.





Caterpillar 'munch-marks' on leaves is a sign that no pesticides are sprayed onto the leaves. The same rule goes for fruit.. few 'naturally grown' tomatoes are perfect.





















We are producing less Eggs as the hotel is closed (C19) so the demand is low. We are letting our hens SIT on their eggs so 'hopefully' giving us more 'layers' in the future.. and the result of this?
                                                         
Despite the efforts of a very wily 'Slender Mongoose' we have 8 NEW CHICKS as of this morning.
Isa and Zaidi planting out seedling















                                                     




The photograph above on the left is 'outside' the fence of the Sand's Organic Farm. Boundary fences have been planted with Passion Fruit with the intention of them producing enough for lucky by-passers to pick.








LHS- A photo of the farm during rain. In this Photo one could find Bananas, Papaya, Passion Fruit, Rucola, Egg plant, Okra, Lettuce, Spinach, Mchicha, Sage, Kress, Tomatoes, a worm farm, fish tanks and lots of various repurposed waste made useful.

         


Monday, 1 June 2020

ORGANIC FARMING- USE STANDING WATER TO 'BREED' DRAGONFLIES

WAS- A Drinks fridge at The Sands at Nomad Beach Bar
NOW- Fish breeding, Dragonfly and Frog breeding.
(Noisy 'Guttural Toads' can't get into this)

As we have mentioned before in this Blog Dragonflies are one of the useful insects to have on your farm (or around your house). They are predatory, they catch flying bugs out of the air using technologically advanced flight and huge compound eyes. They are said to have one of the highest known hunting success rates of any species.

Reeds and Lilies are nursery areas
 for Frogs, Toads, Spiders and Dragonflies 
Previous photo zoomed in on this
 recently metamorphasised Dragonfly
     
Some Insects that dragonflies help to control:

Flies
Mosquitos
Midges
Butterflies
Moths
Grasshoppers
..and surely many more region dependent.


Not bad for an un-paid agile, aerial, Askari. 
(AKA-Security guard)


Dragonflies need standing water for them to lay their eggs and for the larvae to live for the first cycle of its life.. eating tadpoles and aquatic insects. Then once it is ready for the second cycle of life it climbs out of the water onto reeds or lilies where it metamorphasises or 'moults' into a Dragonfly.


Color the Life Cycle: Dragonfly | Worksheet | Education.com
Image Source- education.com





All you need to do is make a pond, or fill a broken water tank, or an old fridge (see below example off the Sand's Farm) with water, put in some aquatic plants to clean it, a few fish and tadpoles to eat the algae and Mosquito larvae, and there you have a Dragonfly 'AND' Frog/Toad breeding program.
(The Anti-pest army)

It's useful to harvest fast growing aquatic plants before they cover the water surface. Lilies, like these above are rich in Ammonia and Nitrates. 

About ten kilograms (wet) is removed every two weeks or so to be added to our compost making.

(double or quadruple the use of a plant or space)

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