Last year’s rain-fed harvests in the Community Gardens were poor. Because of the extreme weather, just 7 of the 35 gardens had produced some harvest for the vulnerable, but low yields. The indigenous vegetables were also disappointing, despite expert advice, with low germination in the community. Vegetables grown on site were much more successful and benefited many.
13 Community Rain-fed gardens are planned for this season, growing sorghum, pigeon peas and soya.
Also we’ll re-establish a tree nursery, specialising in species excellent for composting and high nutrient value.
90% of our neighbours are impoverished subsistence farmers, trying to grow enough maize to feed their families - but failing. Our aim is to help them help themselves, and we are redirecting attention from crop to soil quality.
With this in mind, we are trialling an agricultural programme -
“Farming God’s Way”.
The key elements of this radical approach are:
a) little soil disturbance (no ploughing),
b) rotation of crops, and
c) maintaining a mulch blanket for water
conservation, minimising soil erosion and
Reported results are impressive. It’s a precise plan, carefully measured and managed, but this in itself is a major challenge to this often chaotic society.
But people are still hungry.....
We prepared two 6mx 6m plots, one according to the FGW model, and the other in standard ridged format. Each will be planted with maize and soya, and we’ll compare the results next Spring.
Against the backdrop of over-reliance on grossly expensive fertiliser, we’re training in composting and manure production, leading by example, clearly demonstrating the immense value of both by higher yields and improved soil.
Geof, an agriculturalist visiting from the UK, collects mulch to enhance soil quality.
Turning the compost - all to a strict time frame
Our integrated approach to Projects helps them support each other - the bran taken from milling the maize in our Food Programme, provides the basis for goat food, with their manure enriching the soil for our crops. Crop residues become compost or the mulch blanket for water and soil retention
“Fertilizer-Free” Site, we’re leading by example - using and training in manure and compost production
Topping up with water - we have to pay ladies to carry water from a muddy river as community or borehole water is too precious.
Preparing land according to
“Farming God’s Way”
This is page 2 Autumn trip 2010