Living In The Philippines Forum

Getting Prepared For The Philippines => Hobbies and Interests => Topic started by: Lei on April 14, 2014, 05:20:06 PM

Title: Permaculture....anyone?
Post by: Lei on April 14, 2014, 05:20:06 PM
I quit my job a week ago and so I AM FREE as a bird! Two more weeks and I am heading home. But even without a job, my days been quite busy but  I am not complaining. I enrolled in an online course on Permaculture design, I am doing some volunteer work at the Green house Hawaii, been active at the church, Word of Life Hawaii, a few errands here and there and dinner envites from friends had been very frequent lately. I Read ,read, read..then there's my ballroom dance class and practice for the upcoming routine performance. Literally,  am having a ball! Two years ago, after my son graduated from college, I began to think of retiring and going back to the Philippines. A lot of my relatives and friends thought it's a crazy're too young to retire yet! (I am 56). What you're going to do there? To answer that, Well I am very fortunate to own a lovely place in Baguio and those couple of weeks spent there every year on vacations were never boring! I can sleep in and not to worry about getting up to go to work or make breakfast. I can leisurely work with the beautiful plants surrounding the house which I had planted over the years, go visit the orchidarium and buy more plants. Walk the dog, chitchat with the neighbors and best of all....I got time to read! Then a year ago, a course in Aquaculture was offered at the University of Hawaii. As a graduate in Agriculture back in the Philippines, it's a field I am interested in. Part of the course is about permaculture and I got to intern on the weekends at a local permaculture farm. I'm sold! It's all about sustainability, caring for the earth, caring for people and returning the surplus back to the people and to the earth.  I am also looking at attending a post graduate course in organic farming in Benguet which is close to my place or a permaculture design course at CabioKid farm in Nueva Ecija in June. I hope to learn as much as I can  and it's my wish to give back to my own people and country. By the way,  Cabiokid has a volunteer(ista) program where one can pay 15 dollars a day for food(organically grown) and accommodation(You stay in a bamboo house)while working/learning about living sustainably.  For the price, not bad huh. You can also learn bamboo engineering ( of course, for an extra fee)and from there you can explore other areas in the Island. I am not advertising the farm and I don't have any connection. I just felt it deserved mentioning as the farm is doing such a wonderful job helping the surrounding communities and schools as well as making the world a better place to live.
Title: Re: Permaculture....anyone?
Post by: meylou on April 15, 2014, 11:56:25 AM
Hi Julie,

I thought by now you're in Baguio already.  Anyway, i'm glad you finally officially retired. Congratulations!  It looks like you are well prepared to be an organic farmer.  Good for you.  There's plenty of things for you to do, I'm sure. Gardening is so rewarding, growing your own food is even better. Our garden now is producing green beans, which I share with neighbors, okra, cilantro, tomatoes, and red leaf lettuce. Of course, plenty of sunrise papayas now. For the first time, our caimito tree, which I started from seed 5 years, produced very sweet caimitos (star apple fruits).

Let us know when you do finally make it to Baguio and do keep in touch always. Keep us informed on how you're doing in the Philippines.  Stay safe and lots of luck to you.  :-)
Title: Re: Permaculture....anyone?
Post by: Lei on April 15, 2014, 01:49:28 PM
Hi Meylou,
Caimito tree... bearing fruits in just five years wow Meylou that tree must be sitting in a nice fertile soil and receiving lots of TLC!. How true Meylou that it is indeed very rewarding growing our own food. Here in Oahu,  I tried growing mine in containers due to space limitations but it's not the same as having a raised garden bed or a small food forest in your backyard.  My hats off to you and your husband and how lucky your neighbors are to be the recipient of those fresh, clean vegetables and fruits! Local fruits and veggies here in Honolulu is so expensive! 5.99 a lb for okra or eggplant, 7.99 a lb for bittermelon I can't afford to make pinakbet anymore. I am bringing home 200 dollars worth of heirloom vegetable seeds and yes for sure I will be doing some serious gardening when I get home.

Title: Re: Permaculture....anyone?
Post by: hitekcountry on April 16, 2014, 08:23:33 AM
Speaking of organic farming and Nueva Ecija, our driver when I was there lived about 10 miles south of San Jose, Nueva Ecija. He was starting a business producing organic fertilizer. He was really enthusiastic about the idea. We got to visit his farm and I was able to get videos of his operation. It was very interesting. He said the problem he had was no one wanted to take the chance of switching to his fertilizer and loose a crop if the results were bad.  So he would give them enough for a small section of their private garden and the results were always impressive. Even then many were afraid to switch.
Title: Re: Permaculture....anyone?
Post by: Gray Wolf on April 16, 2014, 09:57:44 PM
Change is hard, especially when one's way of doing things is ingrained in the culture
Title: Re: Permaculture....anyone?
Post by: suzukig1 on April 17, 2014, 09:58:01 AM fertilizer... He said the problem he had was no one wanted to take the chance of switching to his fertilizer and loose a crop if the results were bad.  So he would give them enough for a small section of their private garden and the results were always impressive. Even then many were afraid to switch.

There are many positive reasons why farmers would want to use organic fertilizers over chemical fertilizers but crop yield is not one of them.  Assuming both are used properly chemical fertilizers will result in a higher crop yield than organic fertilizers.  Chemical fertilizers have different optimal formulations for different crops.  This cannot be done with organic fertilizers.  My wife grows corn and tobacco and uses different chemical fertilizers for each.
Title: Re: Permaculture....anyone?
Post by: Lei on April 18, 2014, 06:55:20 PM
I wish I have the ability to express myself better or rather intellectually but I am limited. What I know is Organic farming is different from to ethics, design and sustainability. There's a lot of info on the subject online and for starter if interested I suggest watching You tube "How Cuba survived peak oil" documentary. It's an eye opener.

In mono culture crop  like corn and tobacco, I agree that it's impossible to grow these high feeder crops commercially without using synthetic fertilizers and toxic chemicals. It's an endless cycle of of spray spray and putting more and more of the synthetic fertilizer as the soil had become depleted  and the pest had become resistant. The toxic chemicals  kills all the microorganisms that live in the soil not to mention how detrimental it is to humans by contact and by polluting the water we drink. The runoff from the field when it rained flows into our river and what it does to our marine life, it's obvious. I know...because I grew up in a community whose main crop is tobacco, corn and rice. My brother grows tobacco and considering the high cost of inputs, hard work, cutting the trees to cure it and  a bargain price when it's time to sell, it's a shame. Only the middle man, the politicians who gets the lion share of the sin tax and the tobacco companies gets richer.  Most people there now drink filtered water and gone are the frogs, the crabs, shrimps, little fishes in the river where me and my village friends used to have fun catching to bring home to mom to cook for dinner. I don't even see birds or butterflies anymore. I heard news of "blue babies syndrome" in the northern part of my province as a result of high nitrogen concentration generated from fertilizer used in agricultural farms. And then how can we be sure if those chemicals we sprayed in our crops then  feed to our children are not those banned from other countries. Yes like what Manong GW said, change is hard esp when one's way of doing things is ingrained in the culture.  I can add apathy ,ignorance to that.  But all is not lost for many of us are blessed with the heart and intellect to understand difficult or complex subjects so that we can do our share as a role model or as educator.