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Down On The "farm" Today


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Hi Folks 

Just spent the morning getting in some more green manures. I'm concentrating on the area that will eventually become raised beds ( approx 500 square metres). After a couple of fairly heavy storms there's a bit of moisture in the soil (this is the topsoil I had delivered) and it appears to be fairly free draining already. Indeed in some areas its as good as the soil in some of my veg beds back in the UK !! Just been breaking up the inevitable crust and seeing as someone has walked off with my hoe had to resort to using the rake, which is doing the job apart from in a couple of areas where there are some clay deposits.

Luckily I've had a little helper with me, a young lad of 7 or 8 was out in the paddy with his hoe looking for land crabs with his scruffy little dog . After some initial shyness he hopped over the fence to come and see what I was doing . It didn't take much encouragement to get him digging and he worked away in silence for about 5 minutes before giving me a huge grin and bursting into song ! He had a great little voice and it was good to have a bit of company. I practised my basic Thai and discovered his name was Don. I didn't figure it would last long and that he viewed it as a bit of a game but 2 hours later he was still digging away happy as larry !! We took a break and I shared my water bottle with my new found mate as he told me the Thai names for the numerous birds that have taken to sitting on the fence posts around the plot and were foraging for insects in the freshly turned soil and then it was back to the job in hand.

I decided it wuold be good to get Don sowing some seeds (I always enjoyed it as a kid when dad gave me responsibilities like this) and although he was hesitant at first, he soon got the hang of it and was merrily broadcasting away. Lunch beckoned and I asked Don if he was hungry and wanted to eat some noodles at the local shop ? No he replied but soon changed his mind when I offered to buy him some "kanom" as payment for his hard work ! So off to my nieces shop and after thirstily guzzling a bottle of orange juice and clasping a bag of crisps Don thanked me profusely and skipped merrily off to tell his mates about  his mornings exploits with the "farang".

Looks like I might have my first apprentice as a lad of this age showing such application to what is probably the most boring job of all ( we turned over about 150 square meters and Don must have done at least 25% of it ) is sure to be fascinated when we get into the growing and harvesting bit (I know I was ).Hopefully I will meet Don again someday on the plot and hopefully he brings some mates and they unlike many kids in the UK will have the opportunity to learn that potatoes don't grow on trees :o   !! What a great morning !!

Cheers J     

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Good on you J. Sounds like you're living the dream. Always nice to read such a positive post. Good luck with Don. You may be the catalyst to a wonderful future career for him :o .

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That's a nice story, sounds like Don already has an appreciation of nature, maybe you are about to become a mentor. Will be great if he becomes a regular little helper.

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Hi folks

Turned up at the plot this morning and Don was there waiting for me :o !!

Turns out his name is actually Ton and he lives in the nearest shack to my plot. He is actually related to the wife, second cousin's son I think.

We worked over another area and sowed up some more green manure but it's been a bit of a scorcher today and neither of us was as keen as yesterday !! I'd had a couple of beers too many last night and had a bit of a hangover !! So we knocked that on the head and Ton helped me lime the pond. We then set to planting up a jackfruit . The ground was like concrete and full of stones and it must of taken us an hour to dig the hole !!

Unlike yesterday, today Ton was up for a bowl of noodles, the poor little lad was starving and had second helpings. Turns out they are one of the poorest families in the village .

Then I got Ton to fetch and carry water up from the pond and we filled the hole and allowed it to soak in and then filled it with a mix of well matured manure, soil and composted coconut husks . A load more water, a cardboard mulch mat some rice straw and some more compost finished it off and then we banged in a stake. The missus had come out to join us so she was able to translate the reasons for what we were doing and take some photos. Ton asked me if he would be able to eat some of the fruit and I promised him the first one which resulted in a huge hug, he really is a great little kid !

Got too hot to carry on so we called it a day although I'll go back this evening. Ton asked if he can come to play again tomorrow and I explained it was work. No he insisted it was too much fun to be work !!  

 I've uploaded some photos here Jandtaas photos

That's all folks J

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Yes, nice story JT,

My day yesterday, [sat] finally got the mrs away from the salon cos i wanted her to talk about things on the farm, where to start new compost heaps for yet another banana plantation, we were on her Wave, once inside the gate she got angry, whats wrong? "i told mr Poo to frim all the dead and drooping banana leaves yesterday, look, that plant has long bract, why he no cut!!" i said you programmed him to cut the leaves not the purple bracts, he done as you said, so off she went checking all the plants, i still think the poor bugger will get an earfull tomorrow,,

I went off to pick some cherry tomatoes, 7bht kilo local market, Last night mrs made some tomato jam and will make mango chutney ect in the week,

On the way to the papaya plantation, we had to stop under the tamarind trees and pick up windfall, about 4 kilo, the shell is soft but the pulp is still good, specially steamed for 20 mins,

then the kanoon tree, must be 30 good fruits, best at this stage looks about 16kilo, but not ready yet, finally got to the ground for bananas and decided where to put the heaps, this will be chicken crap and banana waste, [there was a 100 big bags CC delivered last week for 1900bht, ] from a battery farm, at the top of the hillside, mrs spotted some full grown green bananas, so these were cut down to take home, oh yes, i forgot the 4 big [going yellow] papayas we picked, walking back down the farm, mrs wanted some green mango, so 10 or so were knocked out of the tree,

So weve got 3kilo tomato

4 kilo tamarind

banana with 7 hands

Mango 10?

4 large papaya

various leaves from a creeper mrs cooks with fish

On a honda wave,,

Just as we were leaving, BiL turns up in pick-up with 5 big bags of cow crap,and 3 big bags of coconut husks, all free, so another bonus,

On the way home, there were a lot of people at the cake ladies house [this lady walks the streets of Namsom selling lovely puff pastry pasties] mrs stopped and asked whats wrong? she was crying, her husband dead that morning, 47 yo, i asked mrs, Lo Cal? tap water? no she said, too many years spray poison, no mask, liver stop work, its a shame these nice thai people dont understand much about personal protection or poisons,

A sad end to an otherwise nice day, Cheers, Lickey..

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Hi Lickey great stuff

While I'm just starting out you're reaping the rewards of your hard work !!Glad you're overloading the Wave in true Thai style !!

This morning "Ton" couldn't wait for me to get started and came to the house looking for me !! Talk about keen !!

we've now planted up some banana and papaya, a pineapple I've had growing in a tub, a salee and a couple of som-o that I've grown from seed as well as lemon grass  and some galangal. The missus has a long list of planting material that I'm after and is going to keep her eye out at the local nurseries and up in the city where she will be working whilst I'm in the UK. Her sister who is also keen on growing is gonna keep an eye out on the plot and plant some bits and bobs (she's propagating some cha-om at the moment ) in return for the use of a bit of the land to grow some veg .

And young "Ton" is gonna be my waterer until the rainy season arrives !!

So although its only a small start  it is progress and hopefully left in safe hands !!

I start my journey back to the UK tomorrow so will catch up with you all in about a weeks time

Cheers for now guys J 

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On reading posters record of their day on the farm I had a little nostalgic trip back to a typical day on the farm about 55 years ago (your allowed a bit of melancholia when you get to 70 :o ).

A typical day in a far southern winter was to out of bed at 4am to listen to 1 hour of hillbilly music on shortwave while we had brekky of country baked bread ,toasted over the coals and smothered in lamb dripping ( guaranteed to stick to your ribs ) .

Then at 5am ,the Bristol freighter used to fly over our valley on the way to Hobart, this signalled it was time to go around our 500 rabbit traps,collect our bunnies and spring traps that were still set (stopped the sheep getting caught during the day ), at dusk they were reset.

Back to our very non- palatial abode ( 3 room vertical plank , outside dunny ) with up to 400 bunnies slung over our Clydesdale to skin and dress them ,peg out the skins and pack carcases in newspaper lined banana boxes for the morning milk truck to take to the butcher in the city.

Then it would be ,hitch up bonnie the Clydesdale to a sled or cart and off to dig a tonne of spuds and slash-hook a patch of bracken fern ready for ploughing for our next planting.

Mum would turn up about noon with lamb sandwiches and a beer bottle of cold tea for lunch ,then work all day until time to reset our trap line .

Ah ,those were the days, no electricity or running water , the only thing remotely mechanical was our model A Ford ute ,hand crank start .

Like the song says "Those were the days my friend" :D

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You had a tractor? 'And a toilet? You silver spooners. :D:o Our "tractor" could be a spiteful [email protected] "Stay away from his arse-end lad".

Nan, Grandad and 2 sons ran a small 30 acre farm in Co Cavan, Eire. Spent every summer there, from age six.

First day there, Nan gave me a huge pail to fetch water from the pump down the lane. By the time I dragged the thing back it was half empty. Grandad, a fearsome man, commented on it. "Ahh, would you ever shut up. Half a bucket and it's still more than you ever brought up from the well", fires back Nan. I crept deeper into her skirts. Peeped out at Grandad. He looked up from his breakfast.....and gave me a little wink.

I cried every year when it was time to go home.

Regards.

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Reminds me when me and brother used to help granma on her large garden, saturday afternoons, we didnt have a tele so dad would come with us, he would watch football and we would cut grass, edging,weeding veg ect, our reward, small tin of ambrosia creamed rice and a haircut, we both looked like ww1 german fighter pilots when she finished,

And today on the farm, carted 10 sacks chicken crap up 1 side & down the other side to make a new compost heap, on a hand trolley, 3/4 at a time, in the mix went 20 chopped banana culms & tamarind waste, leaves ect, then gave it all a good soaking turned and soaked again, then off to the other side of the farm and started carting compost onto the old banana plants, done about 20 plants, meanwhile i had some pigeon peas soaking, and in 1 hour they were soft already, so drained them and broadcast about 1 rai, some winged bean seeds were added also, 5/30 and dusk is coming with the storm clouds, just in case it didnt rain, quickly watered the cherry tomatoes and went home,

JT, it was a well established fruit farm before i came here 3 years ago, it was just that mrs family had lost interest in it because of careers whatever, it was a bit of a jungle and the bore water had run out, so rather than sitting in the salon all day watching pretty girls in different states of dress i took an interest in the farm, cost 50k to get round the water problem ect, my new interest in organics has re-newed my vigour for growing stuff, im sure i will get a kick out of seeing things grow healthy and strong in good ground,

Thanks all, Lickey,,

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You had a tractor? 'And a toilet? You silver spooners. :D:D Our "tractor" could be a spiteful [email protected] "Stay away from his arse-end lad".

Nan, Grandad and 2 sons ran a small 30 acre farm in Co Cavan, Eire. Spent every summer there, from age six.

First day there, Nan gave me a huge pail to fetch water from the pump down the lane. By the time I dragged the thing back it was half empty. Grandad, a fearsome man, commented on it. "Ahh, would you ever shut up. Half a bucket and it's still more than you ever brought up from the well", fires back Nan. I crept deeper into her skirts. Peeped out at Grandad. He looked up from his breakfast.....and gave me a little wink.

I cried every year when it was time to go home.

Regards.

Yep tt ,and what a toilet it was, 5 foot x3 foot galvanised iron with a 15 inch wide plank with a hole cut in it , built on a sledge ,what is known in Oz as a long drop .

You just dig a 3 foot deep hole ,drag the iron monster into position and your away, when the hole is full enough to start giving splashback its time to dig another hole ,drag the toilet to its new position ,a few shovel fulls of dirt to cover (hoping to remember where it is for future reference,yuk ).

Always placed at least 50 yards from the house to minimise the pong and the flies in the house, guaranteed to get the heart going if you need to go number 2 in bare feet during a white frost. With practice a 7 second 50 yard dash is possible.

Of course every long drop toilet comes with a stolen phone book nailed to back of the door, "no," not to read . :o

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What we call in Suffolk UK, the "Golden Bucket" or "Thunderbox", had one till the mid sixties, dad would put the contents on the muck heap and turn in, and that Izal toilet paper, pre cling film i think, When we finally got tap water and eletrity and sewerage, dad saw this as a great opurtunity for a ses pit, where the sewerage could ferment and go straight on the garden, so the 3mtr cube was dug and lined, any overflow went into the ditch alongside the garden, Us boys got the job of ladling it into buckets, cant remember it smelling much though, perhaps cos it was fermented or the detergants in it??

So there you go, Humanure aint that new!!

Today, turned 2 new heaps getting ready for the mulch, picked 2 ks of cherry toms, [6bht kilo market same with white and green makua,kilo cucumber,10bht] we only sell if we get overloaded, or give some to good customers at mrs Salon, Thank god for front door sales of Tamarind and banana, since we started this mid Jan, 31k + to date, ideal if you are on a busy street, bit of beer money ect for me,

Cheers, Lickey..

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  • 3 weeks later...

Jandtaa, your experiences with Ton remind me of a young helper I had in India; and my first real experience with farming. At 23 I volunteered with a project in rural Tamilnadu, south of Madras, in 1970-71. Because of my previous landscape tractor experience I was put in charge of operating and maintaining two British made Allis Chalmers ED-40, 35 hp diesel agricultural tractors. I was also assigned to train local village young men in tractor operation.

Murugan was a 15 year old boy from the village adjacent to the bungalow where I stayed and shop I worked out of. The tractors were the first he had seen, as the farming in that area was all worked with bullocks and buffalos. He just started showing up everyday and helping in small ways whenever the occasion arose. He was from a poor family that was from the “untouchable” caste, so his education had been cut short. But he was a smart kid and had learned rudimentary English in the little schooling that he had received.

Murugan became my constant companion and Tamil/English translator. He wasn’t really old enough to be accepted into the training program, but he became invaluable to me as a helper. He rode along on the tractor and he was on top of the world, with the biggest smile you can imagine. He helped me hook up implements and trailers, change wheel-weights, set sight poles for plowing patterns, and choose and teach the selected trainees. After awhile I started to let him drive sometimes, to plow or till, so I could take a break in the shade of a banyan tree. He got pretty good and learned all the basics, including some wrenching back at the shop.

I was learning too. My father was a landscape horticulturist and state parks designer, not a farmer. Growing up in the suburbs, aside from our backyard small orchard, vegetable garden and chicken pen, I had little experience in agriculture at the time. So on every trip to the city of Madras for parts, I would search the English language book stores for anything I could get my hands on about soils, tractors, farming and automotive mechanics. And back at our project sites I would rely on Murugan to help me talk to the village farmers, to learn about the local crops and farming methods.

I only spent two years there in south India, but when I returned to visit 20 years later, I found Murugan on a brand new Massey Furguson with his son by his side. He had become a foreman and tractor operator for a large landholder. His incredible smile was bigger than ever. He had defied caste limitations with his intelligence, curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and life. don

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Honestly one of the best threads I've ever read on TV. I'm not a farmer by any stretch of the imagination but really enjoying this. Keep it up guys :o

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Keep reading Judas, im sure there is more to come, It is a nice thread without any contradictions and will run for a long time as such,,

Jandtaa and Dr Treelove were/are lucky to have protoges, i unfortunatley am stuck with Mr Poo, hes about 50yo, and a bit stuck in his ways, even though ive threatened to put his spray gun where the sun doesnt shine!!

Un-beknown to me the mrs told Poo to clean the weeds out of the makua, DOH!!!! i told mrs that i wanted to pull up all the weeds after a couple of storms, compost them to add nitrogen and kill the seeds ect, what Poo had done is hoed them all and then stacked them round the base of the makua plants, so we all know what will happen when it rains!!

Todays visit was for investigative purposes only, it was 42c when i left home at 2.30pm, far too hot for work, [for me anyway] first visit was the kanoon tree, 1 of the fruits is expanding from the inside out nicely, white places are appearing in the green thorny skin, this one will weigh about 11 kilo, the biggest one about 17kilo is still green all over, god knows how much it will weigh when its ready, best was 2 years ago, 19kilo, that was from another tree that got struck by ligthning last year, but its bearing fruit again, I then tieded up a compost heap, and the red wrigglers are back! i must post a pic of these soon, perhaps its the recent adtion of kitchen waste made them return or the departing of the rhino bettle larvae?

Quick walk through the banana plantations found one plant with yellowing nanas so took that home and called the banana buyer, i reckon about 350 hands to go tomorrow, and onto the Lychee trees, only 3, but two are covered with fruit, [pics soon] i got a bucket and scissors and started cutting sprigs off, but there was no way i could keep the red ants off me, in my hair,up my legs,down my shirt, nipping at me, where is Mr Poo?? :o

I also took 2 green mangoes home to make some more hot mango pickle, really nice and natural!

Cheers, Lickey..

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Nice ones Drtreelove and Lickey,

Judas, you have good taste. This thread sort of reminds me of "Jack Hargreaves" but in Thailand. Sorry the name will mean nothing unless you are a 50 + year old Brit. I loved "Out of Town" when I was a boy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twy2Qa1HPXA...feature=related

I wish that i had something to contribute to this thread, but nothing much happens in my little kitchen garden. Especially now as it's so hot in the day. I just basically go early morning, make sure it's well watered and pull a few weeds, but even then I'm soaked in sweat in no time.

We had a goodly drop of rain last night and it always amazes me the difference that makes. Just makes the garden look so much brighter and healthier. Mind you, soon there will be too much of it!

Keep the stories coming people. They brighten everyones day :o

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Hi Loong, what a loveley old boy Jack Hargreaves is, i never saw the TV series, perhaps it was regional? Dad had the sheep sheares in his garage/workshop, used to use them for cutting brass shim paper for building upbearing surfaces,worn UJ cup holders ect..

Onto today, Mrs Me and Mr Poo braved the red ants in the lychee trees, in 40 mins we picked 28kilos, ive never seen Mr Poo work so quick, we were all bitten all over,My job was to hold the basket while Mrs & Poo cut off the sprigs, i thought it was safe for me, but the ants decided otherwise, they were out of the basket and up my arms in seconds, so that was one tree all around within arms reach, in a few days after we sell these, mrs told Poo to bring his bamboo ladder and get into the top, i really think he might have a bad back for a week or two to avoid this,

Then we we went to the Kanoon tree, [this should make you laugh] Mrs & Poo studied the fruits, and in the end mrs decided to take the big one, Poo is saying no, its not ready!! Mrs says yes, it will be ready in a few days at home, Poo looks at me and waves his hand across his throat, saying, no no, no good!theres more thai chat, Poo is saying wait till hot sun, ants sleep, mrs is saying, so will you! and she went off to fetch some cord to lower the fruit to the ground, [15ft high] gives the cord to poo who goes to the tree base, he gives me a look like hes wiping his bum and the paper splits, i really feel sorry for him, before he even gets to the Kanoon the red ants are up his legs and biting,, he ties the cord around the stem, chops the stem and lowers it to the ground, hes down the tree and runs of about 20mtrs shouting and swearing in Thai, mrs was laughing, she said hes got 200 ants on his coconuts, and not happy!! poor bugger,

We put all the stuff in the motorbike trailer and Poo brought it home for us, 1 kilomtre, after he left, i asked mrs how much you give Poo,40bht she said, so i bought 2 bottles of Leo and took to him, he really deserved it poor sod..

Heres a few pics of todays endeavours,

The lychees, Poo up the kanoon tree, the 19.5 kilo kanoon [best before was 19 kilo] and this evenings sunset, not a bad day really,

Sometimes Loong, i wish i had a kitchen garden, but with days like this, 40 rai has its moments,Bananas, tomorrow, buyer ladies pick-up blew its radiator,

Cheers all, Lickey..

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Hi Jandtaa,

Lovely story. I just finished building my house on my 20 rai and have got some raised beds just like yours that I wanted to plant fertilizing stuff to dig in later. Noticed your pictures of the green manure seed mix. Where do you get it from? Do you have to mix it up yourself? Be very kind if I could have some details as I'm a novice.

PS My hous is in Nakhon Nayok.

Thanks

Nick

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Hi folks,

Well it's been a while !! I've been flat out at work since my return to the UK, what with the Easter Hols and covering for the head chef whilst he takes some hard earned leave, coupled with a busy sowing and planting schedule in the kitchen garden I've had very little time to peruse TV forum.

 Today's been a rare day off and after a spell of really good weather it's peeing it down !! bloody typical !! Oh well gives me a chance to catch up with you guys.

 Great to read some of the anecdotes and stories in this thread !! Great stuff :D !

Don you must be really proud that you made such a difference to the young Indian lad's life.

 Lickey, good to hear everything is well on the farm and that Mr. Poo is keeping you busy and the rest of us entertained !! I have a mental image of the guy as a Thai farming version of the hapless Manuel from "fawlty towers"... "but mr. Lickey ees no ready yes !?!" :o  

TT cheers for bumping the thread ! I agree it deserves a few stars maybe you could suggest it in the forum support topic ?

 Loong don't remember JH myself although my father has fond memories :D ! Apparently enjoyed his fishing programme and one called "farm progress".

Nickcar, yes I mixed the green manure seed myself from a variety of sources check out this link for some really good info from the members. green manure pinned thread

 Glad everyone is enjoying reading this thread, great to see some non-farmers tuning in :D !!

 I now have nearly a thousand lettuce in various stages of development and too many other veg to mention sown up. Busy time in the community with lambing starting last week, my neighbours ewes are due to lamb this week so might need to give him a hand as many of the lads are reporting problems with births due to big lambs this spring.I'll leave you with a photo of some of the lettuce growing on staging in the polytunnel.

 cheers for now J

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some really good looking lettuce there Jandtaa, wish i could do the same here, one of my favorite dishes is prawn cocktail, in this heat i dont need a big spicy meal like thais eat 3 times a day, weve had a bit of rain and 2 big storms, and looking at the Tamarind trees today, the flowers were unphased by this and look good,

A few days ago, a young lady came to the salon, she was selling hydroponic salad veg, and she guaranted no chems, i have to say, [looks like spinach] steamed this for 1 min, ate with some poached fish, and it really was good, she has invited us to go to her farm [with cam] and have a look round, will do this in the next few days and post some pics,

So the lychee are nearly all picked and sold, i think 70kilo from 2 trees, Mr Poo is happy with this! Kanoon, the 19.5 kilo sold all in 3 days, but near another 30 fruits on tree, Poo not to happy with this, because of his friends [red ants] Mango, still have lots in the 10 trees, so im busy making chutneys and pickles,

Today, Poo has been broadcasting the pigeon peas, without soaking for a few hours, he tells Mrs he can smell rain coming tomorrow, me? i also have a good "nose" for rain, and after a long motorbike career, i have had many broken bones that ache before the rain starts, So Manuel [Fawlty Towers] versus Inspector Dreyfus, [Pink panther films] if he is right, the nervous giggle and twitch will occur im sure, if he is wrong, then he can water 6rai with a hosepipe!!

Best wishes all, Lickey.

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Methinks Mr Poo is in for a hard day tomorrow.......as I write this, it's just started to rain here?? Maybe Mr Poo's nose needs more respect.

For forecasts I go here: http://www.wunderground.com/global/stations/48431.html

I like their format (percentage rain predictions) and normally very accurate. Tonight's chance of rain was 20%.

Regards.

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Mr Poo is out with the hose tomorrow! the clouds skirted Namsom again,there were only light winds, it needs a good wind here for a storm to penetrate the mountains surrounding Namsom,If i can see the temple across the road [50mts] its not raining, if i cant see the temple, its raining big time,

Yes TT, ive looked at all the possible weather-web sites for this area, they all show cloud ect, but the mountains rule the winds, so the bore pump is still going at night.

Todays temp was 39c in the shade at 1pm and now 12.15am 33c, so once the gout clears up in my ankle i will be doing a rain dance,, could be a long dance though, it doesnt usally start here till mid May...

Cheers, Lickey.

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Hi Lickey great stuff

While I'm just starting out you're reaping the rewards of your hard work !!Glad you're overloading the Wave in true Thai style !!

This morning "Ton" couldn't wait for me to get started and came to the house looking for me !! Talk about keen !!

we've now planted up some banana and papaya, a pineapple I've had growing in a tub, a salee and a couple of som-o that I've grown from seed as well as lemon grass and some galangal. The missus has a long list of planting material that I'm after and is going to keep her eye out at the local nurseries and up in the city where she will be working whilst I'm in the UK. Her sister who is also keen on growing is gonna keep an eye out on the plot and plant some bits and bobs (she's propagating some cha-om at the moment ) in return for the use of a bit of the land to grow some veg .

And young "Ton" is gonna be my waterer until the rainy season arrives !!

So although its only a small start it is progress and hopefully left in safe hands !!

I start my journey back to the UK tomorrow so will catch up with you all in about a weeks time

Cheers for now guys J

Hi J

Great reading and good on you to bring the young kid on board, looks like your soil is very dry and hard, similar to what we had a few years back, takes some time though. in Sarabui all the kids want to do is steal to play cards, or go to town to do drugs

great to read your colums, keep them coming.

Regards

John

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Gardening as therapy

And the biointensive method

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biointensive

I'm a tree surgeon by trade, and big tree technical rigging climber; but the intense physical work took its toll on my body over the years, plus a mountain bike accident last year, sent me to the surgeons for total knee replacements, wrist and shoulder rebuilds. So with my interest in organic gardening , I've incorporated some down to earth, hobby gardening in my rehabilitation program.

In the mid 1970's I was fortunate to spend some time working at a Biodynamic-French Intensive research garden with John Jeavons, the author of the classic book How To Grow More Vegetables… mentioned in the Wikipedia article that I have attached to this post. There I learned the basics of this interesting and productive system.

I've had different garden plots at various residences over the years, but this week I have started building a biointensive bed at my home near Chiang Mai. I'm not an expert, but I'll take you along as best I can if you're interested. Comments and contributions from those who may know more are welcome.

I don't have a lot of space where I am now, but decided to put my first bed in between some young fruit trees that my landlord over-planted. Eventually the trees will grow up and shade out the garden, but even if I have to abandon this spot, will get two or three years of veggies out of it and the improved soil will benefit the trees and their expanding root systems.

Biointensive planting beds, like any garden, are better growing grounds as time goes on, and the cumulative effects of soil fertility enhancement are realized. I may lose that long term benefit because of the situation with the trees, but any vegetable garden is better than none; and I need the exercise to suplement my cycling, swimming, weight training and hiking program.

I started by laying out a 20 foot long by 5 foot wide bed, giving 100 square feet of growing space. The 5 foot width allows me to reach the center of the bed from each side, for planting and weeding operations, so I don't have to tromp on the soil and create compaction. I spread about a cubic meter of sand to incorporate into the heavy clay soil, to improve the soil structure. I added some dolomite to begin to correct an acidic soil condition. I have a mature compost heap that I will turn out and incorporate into the planting bed this week.

Attached: My step-daughter Apple came out to see what I was doing, so I had her rake out the sand and dolomite. My composting article, with pics.

OK I have to go and buy some seeds to start some vegetable plants. Soon I'll do the double digging method that is fundamental to the biodynamic-french intensive system. That will give me the workout I need. And that's just for starters, we have a farm in the family in Mae Taeng, where I hope to convert some of the existing conventional row planting into biointensive beds. That'll keep me busy, and healthy. don

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HORT_FORUM_2_Composting.pdf

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Hi Dr Don, i have much the same issues as you regarding health, but not so bad, just permenant back ache caused by protruding discs, I could relax all day here, but no point in that, makes things worse!!

Those trees/shrubs bodering you new bed, could you not prune them and start a new long-term compost heap? therefore keeping your new bed longer and also compost yearly to dig in for better soil, Im very new to organic [any type of soil farming] and its a real pleasure to read and digest all organic posts.

Here in Namsom, its just started to rain big time, 2 days now and every 3 hours a real big fundork, big lightning strikes all round the mountains, managed to get 3 more Kanoons, 16 kilo,14 kilo and 9 kilo yesterday in the storm break, seems the red ants [and Mr poo] have gone to ground, i dont blame him, the mossies are in their element now.

The banana buyer came today, arranged to meet on farm at 12 miday, it started raining at 12 and stopped at 2pm, same time we finished, talk about Drowned on the Farm today!!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Busy today in the garden with some seedlings. My wife bought a roll of mozzie netting and made 'tents' for young trees to prevent bug attack. She got the idea from from a local orchard where the same with decent size trees. Besides preventing attack, it provides some shade and protection from rain.

Is anyone else familiar with these tents?

The bamboo stakes come are from our property. The same bamboo was used to make the trolley, which is now about 12 months old. It's extremely light and strong. I've load around 250kgs without a problem.

Before putting the tents up I throw down a layer of compost/manure and then put some coco mats as a mulch, these mats come from old mattresses.

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Edited by Smithson
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Hi Smithson, That tent looks very much like a smaller version the local hydroponics lady has, hers has a thick plastic sheet in the top to stop the worsrt of the rain, the side sheets are a very fine mesh, but does allow airborne moisture through,i forgot to take my cam but will visit again soon,

I like your bamboo trolley, can you tow it behind a honda wave? is it stable or subject to speed wobbles?

So, onto the farm, well, Mrs cant get tongue roud the word umbrella, so we call it a mushroom, and theres plenty of mushroom motorbikes now, it pisses down every day now, and i pick my moments to go to the farm,

The Kanoon [jackfruit,breadfruit whatever you want to call it] is still going strong, we take 3 fruits a day, once they let of a distintive aroma, they are ready to open, this really is a messy job, the center of the fruit is full of a very sticky latex, if you have to do this, put plastic bags on your hands, and if some still gets through, wash hands in cooking oil. Mrs sold 16 kilos before i woke at 9.30am, 15bht kilo.

Bamboo, we have 2 different species, one that never grows over 1 inch in dia, the other grows to 1.5 in dia, the smaller 1 started new shoots, mrs broke them off and boiled till tender, wow, so delicious with mango chutney, [home made]

Then a quick walk through the banana plantations, cutting a few ready looking bunches, for sale at the salon, they are in the gas bin tonight, yellow in 24 hours, Next is check the Makua, lots of white, a few green ones, this is always last job because there is something on the plants that makes our skin itch!!

Dawn & dusk mossies? i wish!! they are here all day, specially now its raining a lot, I wanted to dig some more of the trench to bury coconut husks and rotting wood, banana culms and leaves, but the insects trying to get into my eyes and the mossies made me feel about as welcome as Gary Glitter at a Nativety play, so i will get the full Thai farmers slow cooker hat and clothes soon,

Cheers, Lickey..

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