Tag Archives: nature

Watermelon with seeds please!

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I started my trial seed garden around May 15th.

It is only about 6′ x 8′ but I managed to fit quite a few plants and seeds into it.

I cheated and bought some plants that were already started.

I knew it was early and I was a bit concerned about all of this cold weather we have been having this spring. I even covered everything with plastic bags on the night they predicted frost.

I learned a great trick from my mother in law to stop grubs from eating the leaves without killing them by drowning them in beer.

You put crushed egg shells around the plants and the grubs don’t like to pass over the sharp broken shells.

I think I will try crushing them by hand in future though as the blender turned some of them into powder.

Here they are spread around the plants

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Here is my seed garden now as of June 13, 2013. I say seed garden because I will be letting a lot of it go to seed so I can collect the seeds to send to Africa.

I have planted:

broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, climber beans, cucumbers, yellow zucchini, green onions, basil, thyme, rosemary, organo from plants.

red & white potatoes, sunflowers and sweet peppers of course from seed

coriander, tarragon, parsley and cherry tomatoes came up from seed

in the ground from last year.

I  have  a blackberry & blueberry bush squeezed in there as well.

Isn’t it beautiful!

Through saving seeds to send to Africa I have learned more than my stomach can handle. I say my stomach because I feel sick when I think of the way Monsanto, Dow and many companies are destroying our food supply by genetically modifying our vegetables.

Round up is a Monsanto pesticide that kills plants. Monsanto developed a genetically modified canola seed that is not susceptible to Round Up.

In 1997 Round up was introduced in Canada and three farmers in Saskatchewan planted round up resistant canola. Their farms were adjacent to 70 year old Percy Schmeiser’s farm.

Canola is a self pollinating crop so the Round up resistant gene is spread to surrounding fields naturally.

Monsanto sued Percy Schmeiser in 1998 for planting Round up proof canola seed which he didn’t plant. Therefore a farmer who has been saving CLEAN seed each year to re plant would have the round up resistant gene in his seeds if it was planted next to a Round up crop.

If you want to read more just do a google search on Monsanto in Canada. There are many cases where Monsanto has sued farmers for using their PATENT seed and now thankfully many farmers are suing Monsanto for having their seed on farmers fields who never planted it.

We Must Stop Monsanto or we will not have CLEAN seed much longer.

I wanted to buy a watermelon so I could save the seeds for Africa. I went to Sobeys and was told that they don’t order anything but SEEDLESS watermelons.

I was also told I could get one at Knob Hill Farms so I went there and bought one.

I subsequently emailed Sobeys to show my distain and emailed Knob Hill Farms to thank them and tell them to keep up the great work.

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Out of these two pieces of watermelon I got 59 seeds.

Wish me luck that they grow in Africa.

I will plant one in my trial seed garden and see.

So if you have a watermelon this summer, save the seeds as they may not be around much longer.

Also if anyone has any seed from those beautiful field tomatoes from days gone by, save those or donate a few to The Toronto Seed Bank. They will put them in a vault.

Save Those Seeds. Thankx

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Compost making in a hot climate

I am so excited!

We are well under way in Zambia.

Fredrick has finally got the computer and printer set up. I sent him the money to buy a computer so I could send him articles and instructions of how to grow many things. It probably would have been less expensive and a newer computer if I had bought it here but it was going to cost me more to send it than purchasing the computer.

He has printed off the step by step instructions on how to make a compost pit in a hot climate like Zambia. They certainly don’t waste anything over there as all of the food scraps, if there are any, would go to the dogs, chickens, oxen or cattle.

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This is a chicken proof stand to grow seedlings. Note the roof over head to give some relief from the hot sun and the chickens cannot steal the young plants.

This picture is compliments of Ripple Africa and so is the composting process which Fredrick is using in Zambia.

COMPOST MAKING

  • Compost: Compost needs to be made in April so that it is ready for tube filling in June

( compost can be ready for use in six weeks). Typically, compost should be made in pits

– a pit of 2 metres( 6 1/2 ft.)  long by 1 metre (3 ¼ ft) wide and I metre ( 3 ¼ ft) deep will produce enough compost for up to 8,000 small polythene tubes.

  • Compost making process: The first layer in the bottom of the pit is 10cm (4 inches) of forest or dambo soil. The second layer is 10cm (4 inches) of leaves or grass which should be compacted by walking on top of it. The third layer is 10 cm (4 inches) of manure. Except for the first layer, each layer should be watered with three watering cans of water before adding the next layer. These layers are then repeated in the same order until the pit is full. Normally. There will be three layers of each material in a 1 metre deep pit. The compost pit should be completed with a final 10cm (4inches) layer of soil which is compacted by walking on it, and the finished compost heap should be the same level as the surrounding ground.

Compost Layers

Final Layer- Dambo or forest soil 10cm
Manure 10cm
Leaves/grass 10cm
Dambo or forest soil 10cm
Manure 10cm
Leaves/grass 10cm
Dambo or forest soil 10cm
Manure 10cm
Leaves/grass 10 cm
Dambo or forest soil 10cm

Tube filling mix

Dambo soil 2 parts

Compost 2 parts

Sand 1 part

Compost provides the nutrients for the tree seedlings and vegetable seeds. This picture is also from Ripple Africa.org.

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When the Road is done, they will come!

Here is a little video I have done from footage in Zambia when we were there in August 2012.

I was trying to relate this video to The Silozi Seed Bank and Trees for Elephants but was not thinking I would be making a short film when I was there so I am limited with my choice of footage.

Obviously the Elephants are my love and I think will keep tourism in Africa. If we can grow trees to sell to private and National parks, maybe we can save the Elephants, reforest the land, reduce erosion and create an income for the people.

There are no Elephants in Kalabo or Liuwa Plains National Park so it is a perfect place to grow the trees that Elephants love to eat. We will also grow chilies to sell as chilies are a deterrent to elephants raiding gardens.

Millions of acres of grasslands are burnt in Africa to kill ticks and encourage new growth for their cattle but it has devastating effects by putting carbon into the atmosphere and drying up the earth so natural watering holes are reduced. A more holistic approach is needed by mulching the grass and using it with cow manure to replenish the soil instead of burning off all of the goodness. It is hard work turning soil by hand to make a garden.

It is also necessary to plant gardens in areas close to water. People will walk miles to plant gardens and set up grass huts to live in while the gardens grow. Sweet potatoes grow well in Zambia.

This is a 1.17 minute piece of the road that took us 7 hours to cross from Mongu to Kalabo. We had a 4×4 CRV but it was low and we got stuck twice. Construction on this road started in 2011 and once completed will allow easier access from Mongu  to Kalabo and even on to Angola. This new traffic will increase trade and commerce for the area.

And finally the children. I hope that The Silozi Seed Bank will bring fresh vegetables to many villages so they will have better variety and nutrition for all.

Niagara Falls 102 Years ago

NIAGARA FALLS 102 YEARS AGO !

                      1911 Photos of Niagara Falls..

Margaret writes:
Her mother had a cousin living in Niagara Falls that year.  She told the family 
that she and her neighbours woke up in the night feeling something was wrong.   
It took a while but they finally realized that it was the lack of noise.  They had 
all become so used to the roar of the falls that the silence was unusual enough 
to alert their senses.  Of course at that time nearly all the houses were near the 
falls.  Amazing pictures!  Almost 102 years old.  Can you imagine walking on 
Niagara falls?