Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Impressive results of the Chicken tractor

After series of failures to produce carrots dew to what I think is a sevare nematode infestation, our trial of carrots on one of the chicken tractor stations yielded excellent results.The carrots that we yielded were huge and healthy.This substantiate the theory that The use of chicken tractors or rather all live tractors does not only help to fertilize the soil but also to a greater extent controls pest both soil and airbone. The picture below shows a bunch of healthy carrots about 90 days old from our chicken tractor area.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Guano (Bat and seabird manure)


  • Guano fertilizer
  • Source
  • Nutrients
  • Benefits
  • Fertilizer forms
  • N.P.K. Analysis
  • Application Rate

The definition of the word guano varieties depending on which reference source you consult. One source suggests the word derived from the Quichua language of the Inca civilization and refers to the droppings of seabirds. While another implies it is from the Quichua language of the Inca civilization and that it refers to, feces and urine of seabirds, bats, and seals.
Regardless of the correct interpretation of the word it has been integrated into our language to refer to both seabirds and bats and is one of the finest natural fertilizers available on the market today.

Guano is collected from natural deposits of seabirds and bat droppings in areas where favorable climatic conditions insured a minimal loss of nutrients through leaching. Either from seabirds in coastal areas with minimal rainfall, or in the case of bats, from inside caves where climate has little or no effect on the guano deposit.

Guano contributes more than its share of nutrients to the soil. Both the bat and seabird guano are an exceptionally rich source of natural nutrients that supplies many beneficial enzymes and bacteria, large amounts of minor and trace minerals as well as being high in nitrogen and phosphorus.
Guano can vary greatly in the levels of N.P.K. and trace minerals and is dependent on many factors including, environment, mineral composition of the land or cave of the deposit, food source of the animal and age of the guano deposit. So as with other animal manures a chemical analysis of guano, is only a general approximation of the nutritional plant food value.

In addition to everything else bats droppings go through a process of natural decomposition aided by guano beetles and decomposing microbes, which help control many soil-borne diseases. These microbes help to break down any toxins in the soil and act as a natural fungicide when it is fed to plants via their leaves. It is these same properties of guano that also makes it an excellent compost activator.
The end result is a natural organic fertilizer that improves the natural balance of the soil, building and conditioner the texture and friability of it without increasing either salt content or acidity. Guano fertilizer is considered to be one of the top sources of organic nutrients available for vegetable gardeners today.

Guano usually comes to the gardener in the forms of powder, pellets or liquid. It can be applied as a top dressing and worked into the soil, mixed with water and applied as a foliar spray or injected into an irrigation system.Guano supplies both fast and slow release nutrients to the soil biological system.
As with all natural manures guano will need time to break down the nutrients into the soluble inorganic form needed for plants. Although guano fertilizer is one of the fastest manure to breakdown the amount of micro bacteria in your soil will have a bearing on the time this takes. Pure guano is applied in much smaller amounts than ordinary barnyard or poultry manure.

Guano Tea
To make guano tea for feeding plants, add 1 cup of guano powdered fertilizer to 1 gallon of water. Mix thoroughly and let stand for 24 hours. Strain the solids out and apply tea at 1 - 2 cups per plant. For larger plants apply 2 - 4 cups of tea. As with comfrey tea don’t waste the residue, use it to mulch around the root zone of established plants.


Guano Bat high N103.01.0
Guano Bat high P3.0101.0
Guano Seabird high N128.01.0
Guano Seabird high P1.0101.0
The large variations in the N.P.K content in guano from the different sources allow guano to be process for either high nitrogen or high phosphorus levels. Guano that is processed for high nitrogen is used primarily
for its nitrogen content but will still contain a good amount of phosphorous, potassium and micro-nutrients.
Similarly, guano fertilizer processed for high phosphorous will have some nitrogen, potassium and micro-nutrients.
The guano raw product can also be manipulated for the finished product to contain equal portions of both.

All garden vegetables will benefit from the nutrient rich guano. Leafy greens prefer high-nitrogen for growth, as the plant approaches budding and fruiting time the phosphorous, flowering guano, is more appropriate.
Average application of all guano is 1/2 to 2 pounds per 100 sq. ft. of vegetable garden preferably broadcast before planting.
For large transplants dig a hole 2-3 times larger than the root ball. Mix into the soil 1 cup of guano fertilizer.
For established Plants, Use 1/2 cup - 3 cups per plant depending on size. Lightly scratch into the top 1inch (2.5 cm) of soil and water thoroughly.

Seedlings and young tender plants do not need much fertilizer, if any is to be used, mix 1-2 heaping tablespoons per one gallon of potting soil or use a liquid solution.

Guano is excellent for adding to growing mixes in your container garden. New Container Plants add 2 Tbsp. per gallon of soil.
For established container plants use 1/2 cup 1 cup per plant. Lightly scratch the powder into the top 1inch (2.5 cm) of soil and water thoroughly.

A liquid guano solution can be applied more often. Mix 1-2 cup of guano into about 5 gallons of water. One application of liquid guano every second week will be enough to gauge future applications. Liquid fertilizer is excellent if plant deficiencies are discovered and immediate nutrient addition is needed as with all liquid fertilizers the plant nutrients are immediately available to the plant.

Because of the various choices of NPK content in guano fertilizer it can be used as a natural alternative to chemical solution for growing hydroponically.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

latest pics

As the wet season is over everything is getting better , the chicken tractor area is the most beautiful site. Tomatoes had been affected by fungal rust so they did not do well. We are now beginning to build a small green  house for cold sensative plants and for tomatoes again.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Holistic Resource management

"Ever since I started practising agriculture nothing appeals to me as sensible as management of resources holistically. There is a chance of bringing our earth to harmony again if our management of LAND is focused on Beauty, Permanency and Healthy. We always try to make profit on every economic venture we do in life but it seems we don't really know what profit is in terms of our future our resources and our humanity.

In a attempt to help new farmers in southern Africa, I had published full page letter in the famous South African Farmers weekly magazine on the 18 of February 2011. This was the second of my publications in this international magazine following my "They are more than ignorant" article which won letter of the month prize in the same magazine- November 2009, all my articles were highlighting importance of understanding sustainable agricultural practices and developing suitable extension systems and training to farmers.
 Below is a copy of my article in the 18 feb Farmers weekly magazine, The editor might have changed something but this is what I sent to him(hadn't got a copy of the magazine yet)

They need goals!

"""Editor, it is of great concern to me that most of the so called emerging farmers are failing to put the land under productive use. I had personally concluded that among others the lack of productivity comes from not knowing what to do with the land rather than lacking capacity. It is widely believed that capacity is what emerging farmers need but I am putting that second to goals and objectives.
Farmers need to  understand that, when they have taken up or acquired land by whatever means the fist and foremost thing is to clearly layout  what they  intend to achieve in form of short comprehensive statements that are usually known as objectives. As farming is not only turning available agricultural resources into money but also a way of turning some of the available money into resources that enhances and helps the ecosystem to ultimately support your farming process. Sadly a few farmers even the experienced ones does not understand the principle of holistic goal formation. The way in which every aspect present on the farm is considered in forming goals, the way of putting landscape and quality of life first before production and profit. Jumping into applying tools or production principles on the land without well designed and collectively attained goals is just like a military troop following the command to grab their guns and put them into use with little or no knowledge of what they are fighting for and for how long. Our lands have different characteristics, brittle, non-brittle, arid, arable, low velds and high velds all these determine what one can use his/her farm for. It is not what the neighbor is doing that controls your objectives and goals.
 I think goal formation had never been so useful until now when our Earth is showing big signs of misuse and is unfortunately throwing natural disasters and climate change in the face of the poor and emerging farmers. This might seem to be a big challenge that one farmer’s effort cannot make a dent, but following a well planned mission will make a difference at least to one’s farm. Clearly stating what kind of legumes you need to establish, how many thorn trees you want to see per acre, how much ground cover must be left your pastures when the herd is moved to another, location of water troughs and how many ox-packers you want to see hanging around with your herd in 2 years time .These factors determines what your farm will finally look like and comprise of, they are therefore called landscape goals. Emerging livestock farmers’ objectives must be focused mostly on designing their landscape than on profit figures. This holistic approach will help them to build a stable, diverse and sustainable environment that will produce milk and meat almost entirely as by- products.     
I have been discreetly following a group of residents in my farm community here who have a great quest of benefiting from land reform program but are failing to reach the department of lands’ offices because of lack of consensus on what the land will be used for. In this case where a family or a group of people are shareholders and decision makers, the goal formation process must better not include the word profit at all but come as statements that describe the QUALITY OF LIFE that everybody is looking forward to get from the land. Every one should think deeply about their lives and freely put forward their values broadly in terms of cultural activity, employment opportunities, security, freedom, healthy, food, etc. Taking statements like ‘making profit from vegetables’ as a goal will normally raise conflicts on what tools to apply and therefore cause a deadlock. The values of life mentioned above will ultimately make profit if well followed. A group of emerging farmers working on creation of employment and production of health food as a goal will obviously realize some money accumulating in their accounts not only from dividends but reduced supermarket purchases as they start producing to meet their healthy food goal.
Our small scale and emerging farmers are devoid of goals and their inexperience in setting them rationally leads to much confusion, unattainable goals, non-goals and goals mixed with tools. Without goals land cannot be managed sensibly let alone economically. I understand they are emerging but as long as they are not emerging from mars lets teach them to set goals and objectives first.  
Thank you """          

Friday, February 25, 2011

mission statement

The Manda wilderness agro-ecological centre is committed to improve rural livelihoods through hands-on training on sustainable integrated farming and bio-technology systems. Mwap is specializing in the reduction of the dependence syndrome that have for many grown in the economically disadvantaged residents of the Niassa province. Among others Mwap will work with villagers to help eradicate poverty, improve household food production and develop entrepreneurship skills within villagers.