Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Third Harvest

This is not the season for growing corn and beans - at least not traditionally. While the rest of the village is thinking about the upcoming rainy season, the Mziza farming club continues planting, growing, and harvesting, just as they do year round.

 Yesterday, we saw this maize garden approaching maturity. The sale of this crop will be enough to provide inputs for one acre of maize, which in turn will supply food for the farmer's family for the whole year.
Adjacent to the maize garden, a near quarter acre of beans will yield all the beans needed to last to the end of the rainy season, when the threat of hunger has passed. These farmers are serious about a three-harvest year.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Garden in Stages

Mpombe lead farmers recently learned how to use rope pumps for irrigation. Here is their garden at three stages during the training.

First they graded the field for an even contour.

Next, the most critical step was to make canals and beds for the water to flow to the crops.

Finally, they planted beans and tomatoes, covered with mulch, and started watering.

Just last week they called us to come and evaluate a new garden, which they prepared on their own to demonstrate their skill. They nailed it. Here they have planted more tomatoes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rope Pump at Malika Village - Video

We visited Malika Village yesterday, where farmers are getting the hang of the new pump. During our visit, they pumped the well dry irrigating their crops.It's time for a bigger well. 

Watering with buckets can be so slow that the well refills faster than farmers remove water. With the rope pump, they can drain a 500 gallon well in less than 20 minutes.

Crops are progressing well at the club's demonstration site. Farmers have already started enjoying the mustard greens and rape leaves. Check out the video below.

Friday, September 12, 2014

New windmill video

The windmill design has really come together over the last year. The reliability and output have improved. The windmill is sufficient for the demo garden, and our 2 farmers, Wallace and Custom, are able to focus on the crops rather than the exhausting work of pumping water.

We also use a windmill at Chifuchambewa where 15 farmers have divided 1 acre for windmill irrigation. The farmers have reported a number of passersby just stop to observe the windmill. Many of them think there is a gasoline engine hidden somewhere that turns the windmill and pumps the water. The farmers are always happy to explain that it's just the wind.

Here is a video of the windmill at the demo garden.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

Pest management @ Malika

The Malika club work on organic pest management at their training garden. Red spider mites, grasshoppers and moths destroy crops and frustrate the learning process. Farmers have learned that addressing the problems early reduce the need for chemical pesticides.

Many families cannot always wait the required number of days after applying chemicals to harvest and eat the veggies. Organic pest control allows them to harvest any crop right when it's needed, breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mpombe lead farmers

Lead farmers continue the training process, making water ways and basins.