Alternative Community Farmer/WPB.FL

  (WPB, Florida)
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Tackling the S.Florida DRAUGHT part I: Problems and Solutions-The Rain Barrel and The Water Banking

For the ordinary urban farmer here in S.Florida there are two kinds of challenges.

1-The man made ..

2-The  Nature Made.

Here in Flotrida we have  the EVERGLADES and the once known RIVER of GRASS.Both were the natural feeding water system to the acquifers and water resources.Untill man made canals were dug into the land to carry out and drain the water into the Atalntic and Gulf of Mexico to make room for development .

Now we are crying wolf and rushing to impose fines and water restrictions as water becomes so scarce with the never ending DRAUGHT  !

The climate change is changing theway we do agriculture world wide as water becopmes less available.So man invented a solution :Water banks.

Well , it is not that NEW innovation or discovery as you might change the name of water wells to water banks per se!

I personally use the RAIN BARRELS as an alternative.You might be interested in the Water Banks , here are some sources:

http://westernfarmpress.com/management/underground-water-banks-tackle-drought

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/27/science/earth/27waterbank.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=water%20banks%20&st=cse

 

The Chinese proverb goes: It is better to light a candle rather than curse darkness.

Offering and sharing solutions is the positive way to meet the challenges .Have you done your share in sharing some positive thought srecently to convert a lemon into a lemonade?

 

 
 

Finally it RAINED..in S.Florida.Thank you Father Heaven!The plants are Happily growing thereafter!HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY

Why th eNews papers always sound the ALARM and print SAD news most of the TIME?This is making us turn off the TV and RADIO and NEWS PAPER and start employing our heads and hands in the garden.The news are bountiful and beautiful from the S.Florida garden.The rain finally hit the ground.

The taken for granted  FOUR FREE valuables(FEWA ):,Fire,Earth ,Air ,WATER.They are really the ones that sustain LIFE on EARTH.It is not the computer or TV or the car or the fancy house and clothes that define our LIVES and who we are.It is not the paper money or the jobs we hold .It is simply the four elements.This will bring in the NUMBER FOUR.

 

Soon we will be celebrating FOURTH of JULY.Instead of lighting the sky with FIRES that might be sending flames into the EARTH and starting more BUSH FIRES.Let us plant a TREE or a GARDEN.

 

Make it a habit to save on the precious water.Let us start to grow our own food and declare our INDEPENDENCE from the IMPORTED produce .

I am celebrating this FOURTH of JULY by adding more gardens to our precious land.A PRODUCTIVE garden will be born  in Jupiter on July 1st and I will be involved .Happy Fourth of JULY!

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When Water follows the Fire track in Californa and dries out the farm land.Is there a lesson for FARMERS to learn from the Death Valley Draught?

I was reading the article of "Climate Countdown "-

www.motherjones.com 

November-December issue .

 I wanted to share with fellow farmers what struck my attention.I suggest you read the article and draw some personal lessons as well.

"Farmers knew that their water supply could disappear at any time but the dollar signs overwhelmed the warning signs".I qoute from the article which echoes Dr.richard walker , an economic geography professor at the university of California- Berkley.He continues to say:"It is the phenomenon of collective madness,collective beleif,which is no different from Wall Street or American car companies."

As California farmers groups led by the California Latino Water Coalition march for water , we in the other side go around our business and forget that a threat to our farms as great as the water draught will take away our livlihood.We let HR 2749 and other controls go by untill the day it touches our door steps .Then we wake up.The collective acts we family farmers lack goes back to the same bottom line roots of the dollar sign.We skip reading other signs and wrtings on the wall just to follow what we have been programmed to do :Work work work !

Sometimes we need to take a break and sit down to smell the roses and have a chat with each others about common concerns.We need to connect for the common good of all.We need to re-establish the bond with each others as we connect with earth by being the Earth-keepers.

I see that those who wrote the agricultural text books and spread the ideology of Fertilizers and Pesticides ,take the lead in gathering the farmers again under the banner of Organic farming.Why do not we have our own grass root organic farmers take the lead instead?It is our beleifs that are so overwhelmed by the dollar sign that keep us to bring change from within our family farmers movement not just follow and be passive.Being active and productive is not just limited to our land work.We need to bring more representatives from within our family farms to be our voice at the House and the Senate.Let us sow the seed and talk to our kids about that may be they will be the new leaders that will represent us?Let us involve the youth in our farms and let them take the toil in the soil to college and further beyond.Let them be our future  voices  REPRESENTATIVES to Washington.

 

 

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What you need to know before you grow Draught Tolerant NATIVE herbs/ vegetable/Fruit plants

Most people look you in the eye and check out your color ,your accent and your clothes then they give you a label or a stereotype of what kind of a person you are according to their own standards..People in general judge and have preconceived ideas and want to know about WHERE other people COME FROM..They in contrast do not ask the grocery store produce clerk where their FRUITS and VEGGIES COME FROM !!!

DRAUGHT TOLERANT PLANTS....Which actually is a creation term of our own imagination, just like any other stereotype labels , keep the fashion of promoting and circulating the innocent LIES we learned or created.

Best thing to identify  people is  by their  culture /environment /earth or soil where their roots developed.The environment:Earth or soil and climate are the major differential  that gives us an identity of who we are and where do we belong to grow.The food which we  grew locally harvested and consumed tell the tale about our body and mind constitution. Apply the same concept to plants.Input equals output.Feed oneself trash and junk and be what you eat.Feed your GMO plants synthetic chemicals and pesticides and reap the same .

The soil ,the humidity,the temperature construe important factors that determine which plant or person fit in which land or soil.Those factors are so interdependent and interrelated to both  humans and plants.So I find the people who come from the desert or the tropics eat food that fits into their nature and the environment where they grew up.

We hear stories about Global Warming and people start repeating those stories.Hear this: The Farmer Almanac - 2009 is talking about Global Cooling...how many of us beleive it is the opposite that is going on.

So , back to the LABELED"Draught Tolerant" plants. .FIRST, Look for those pointers :Good soil preparation and drainage,mulch,organic matter,Shade,Good Root System and the dooubledig/trenches/raised beds dimensions depending whether your garden falls in areas prone or not to flooding!

Then pick a native plant and grow it.So many garden books describe native shrubs and ornamentals and ignore to list any veggies or herbs, for example.

I will make an exception and give  you a sample of what I grow in the draught of Florida summer, as an example:

A)Veggies: Okra , beans,eggplants, cherry tomato, tubers like sweat potato,cacti,kalaloo or caribean spinach,corn and Armenian cucumber.

B)Herbs: Cuban oregano,aloe vera,rosemary,lavender,lemon grass,NEEM Tree,Bay Tree.

C)Fruit: Watermelon,mango tree,papaya tree,pineapple

Practice makes perfect and the more you garden or farm the more of an expert you become.There is a learning curve to cover and local HANDS ON workshops offered by your local farmer or gardener are the best to check out first.

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Learn How to set up a Draught Tolerant Organic Garden in South Florida

Organic gardening in South Florida is a challenge.Gardening in the drought is another obstacle.For the new comers to the Torpical and Sub-tropical new zones of 9-10-11, you better do your home work first and learn about tropical gardening.

On saturday March 14 th I fascilitated a workshop on Basic Organic Gardening and I was swamped with a lot of attendants.i am planning another workshop on April 11th on Container Organic Gardening and here is the key.

I have noticed that while growing tomatos in containers during the drought season I was saving on the water bill and getting good results as well from my containers.A local farmer at the workshop asked me what do I add that my tomatoes have a lot of flowers while hers had a lot of leaf.I answered: Water!

Another good suggestion to consider in drought climates is : improve the texture of the soil by adding : sphagnum,vermiculites,saw dust,mulch to keep moisture longer in the soil.

Another solution to lack of water is to HARVEST THE RAIN.

Rain barrels now are in big demand.You can make your own like I do.

There are a lot of info at the internet where you may tap and lots of books at the library.

Another good suggestion for the Tropical region: Try to grow native plants .For example: I grow a native spinach called KALALOO or caribean spinach.It does not need a lot of water .

Best thing is to check web sites like localharvest.org and attend local workshops and classes that are offered for FREE.

Good luck in your gardening efforts..

 

 
 

Tropical farming Secrets REVEALED:How to grow a bountiful garden in the DRAUGHT and still save on water bills in Florida?

There has been little or no rain for the last two months here in WPB/Florida.I noticed that the water canals are bottom dry around the Acareage and my friend who has an herb nursery is on the brink of shutting down operations as her water supply has shrinked not to mention the decline of business due to the economic crunch!

Never the less I kept my garden undeterred and coping with the draught by applying an ancient water conserving technique known as "the Roman Canals farming".

Secret # 1) SHAPE:

I simply built a garden in the oval SHAPE of a Roman Stadium with a water collecting canal in its circum- center. Whenever it rains , the water instead of running off and out collects in the canal and spreads out  .Whenever it does not rain I use city water once a week and it is working.

Secret #2)Plant NATURE:

I choose draught tolerant native plants that have been culyivated and harvested in Florida.Their DNA has already been developed to tolerate the climatic effects of the TROPICS..Example:Wild cherry tomatoes ,caribean Spinach(kalaloo) , Southern collard green,Tropical Neem fruit tree,Tropical Papaya fruit.

Secret # 3) Soil texture:

I build up my soil from scratch using mainly compost and manure plus other organic ingredients -offcourse I wish to keep my formula for myself! The trick is to get the soil trap as much moisture as long as possible and be insulating to the Blazing Florida Heat !

Secret # 4) Location Location Location of your garden plot!

Happy farming .Tony

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