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Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

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Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 5/17/2010, 8:11 am

I retired and moved with my family to Surigao City which is on the Northern point of the big Island of Mindanao. Our son was accepted to 1st year Caraga Regional Science High School in Surigao City. It is one of the top High Schools in the Philippines. We have lived in the Us for over 24 years and moved just before my son's 14th birthday. We wanted him to attend school here and learn about the
Pinoy culture. My wife and son are both Dual-citizens, and we wanted to be able to enjoy the last few years before he is off to college. It is a good life here. We are blessed

I am a retired Horticulturist/ Agriculturist, Texas Master Gardener, Master Propagator, and Certified Texas Horticulturist; and have been in this field for over 30 years in the Texas Gulf coast region. I am working with the local Agricultural department in coconut, fruit, and vegetable crop production. To help introduce organic compost, planting and fertilization techniques to the local farmers. I will also help them produce natural fertilizers. This will allow local farmers to increase yields and minimize the fertilizer toxicity of their environment. This will help minimize the impact on the mangroves fish breeding grounds and the depleting coral beds. I also want to help start small facilities for Saltwater and fresh water fish production. To maintain fish stocks to be released back into the ecology, which will help the local fishing communities. Such facilities have been successful replenishing game fish in the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast Regions.

We have a 6-1/2 hector (aprox. 18 acres) coconut and rice farm (1,800 Mature Coconut Trees and 2 hectors Rice and Caladium fields) on Dinagat Island which is 45 minutes by boat from Surigao City. The farm has three different fresh water sources, and is very fertile land. It produces 3 copra harvest and 3 rice harvest a year. We also have Mango, papaya, avocado, jack fruit, banana, calamandin, pineapple, sweet potato, cassava, and guava. There are several other varieties of fruits and vegetables. I am trying to fully convert this farm to total Organic using only organic fertilizers and natural compost, plus I am implementing square foot gardening techniques, but have to convert this over to Square Meter Gardening. I am consulting with the Philippines Agriculture Department here in Surigao Del Norte on the applications of these techniques.. I am well acquainted with Square Foot Gardening, having first seen it in Okinawa in 1984. I have designed, built, and maintained these types of gardens for most of my career.

jamesmusslewhite

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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/17/2010, 9:06 am

Welcome! When you have an opportunity, would you post a pic of your square meter garden? I'd love to see it. I hope you will become a regular here as we surely could use your expertise, and perhaps we can be of assistance to you as well. SFG really is a world-wide community.

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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  Chopper on 5/17/2010, 1:17 pm

Wow. So what are you using the SFG techniques for - your personal garden? And is this something you are sharing with the people in town?

I imagine bugs can be an issue there. How do you deal with that?

Very interesting and I look forward to hearing more from you and your garden.

Chopper

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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 5/17/2010, 2:53 pm

Chopper,

I am using SFG but having to relate everything to the standard metric system which is used here.I am presently working on an 18 acre garden. I am converting to full organics by utilizing organic compost, manure teas, fresh emulsified fish. I plan to earthworm farm, bee Keep, fish farm, and grow organic livestock. My farm will be the standard.

I get to talk to small groups of farmers and instruct them in crop rotation, proper pruning, deep root fertilization, establishing and maintaining a proper compost pile, soil technology, container growing, propagation techniques , grafts, sprayer safety; that is just a few topics that I cover. On Dinagat Island local officials are trying to establish a control group of test subject farmers, to teach how to convert to organics. If successful the program will expand and implemented in Siargao Island and areas around Surigao City. Surigao City is the "Gateway to Mindanao" I want this program to work; because if it works and spreads, then it could eventually effect millions.

jamesmusslewhite

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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  Chopper on 5/17/2010, 8:25 pm

Very cool. I am not sure what you can possibly get in the way of info from us, but I am certain we can all learn a lot from you. You have taken on a big project, and an important one. Please keep us informed.

Chopper

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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  Dietryin on 5/18/2010, 1:19 am

Welcome

Dietryin

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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  SFGHQSTAFF on 5/18/2010, 8:19 am

Fantastic, 18 acres! Square Meter Gardening is the norm for you. How much are you planning on using as an SFG? Sounds like a tremendous project!

SFGHQSTAFF
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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 5/18/2010, 9:30 am

the whole farm. I can use it as a working model, displaying all aspects of proper farming techniques, cultivation, organics, and SFG practices. The farm will show that organics in conjunction with knowledge and solid farming/ gardening practices; can increase the quality and quantity of the crops, while enriching the quality of the farmer's lives. Only through example will the local authorities and farmers see that they too can break away from the excessive dependency of commercial fertilizers and pesticides.

I will strive to design and implement these practices over the whole of the 18 acre farm; so as to obtain the proper organic certifications, for all fruits, vegetables, and livestock. I promise I will take photos, and videos of my steps during this process and will share them with your members.

jamesmusslewhite

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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 11/25/2011, 3:07 am

Sorry that I have not been around for a while. We had to wait for a concrete two-lane road to cut through the upper side of our farm property on Dinagat Island, plus they needed to cut some of our hill property back to help avoid landslides and a dangerously sharp curve in the new road. We are now down to only 12-1/2 acres but had some serious land excavation done on the road side property in exchange. It was a fair trade and the Dinagat Island road engineers and road construction crews were very professional, and the land work done for exchange for our lost property; seems more than a fair exchange for the new upgrade to my property.

We are getting settled in for the yearly Typhoon seasons' rain, and it will then seem like it rains almost nonstop until mid March. That's because it does.



I will be pushing on with an organics and "Square-foot/ square-meter" gardening program. I hope to break ground by April, this will allow the soils to sit and be properly cultivated. The compost will then be applied before next school cycle. I give Caraga Regional Gov. Sol Matugas full credit for having inspired me to do this for her. She understood that Caraga is the most improvised Region in the Philippines, and that such programs could help young Filipinos to learn produce a more enrich and diverse crop while having to potential to greatly increase a small farms' yearly crop production. And that the students Course Studies then would filter out into the heavily agrarian societies of the Provinces. Have presently about 20 little agricultural projects on the fire right now, but it will all have to wait until March. You don't mess with mother nature here on the edge of the ecosystem. Very Happy

I will post some Pics. Sorry have to run....

jamesmusslewhite

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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  boffer on 11/25/2011, 9:33 am

Welcome back. Your name came up just last weekend, as we have a forum member now who has a house in the Philippines and friends who are quite active gardeners there. I look forward to seeing your pictures.

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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  walshevak on 11/26/2011, 10:58 am

Hi James,

Welcome back. I have friends in Palawan who have been trying to garden. The soil in Puerto Princesa City is worthless, but up in the mountains near the native village the grandmother has 3 farms that grow bananas, coconut, and coffee.

My friends had good success with kale, chard and basil. Some limited success with beans and lettuce. All the tomato plants died or didn't flower.



Kay

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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 11/26/2011, 6:42 pm

Vegetables here are a problem, tomatoes especially. This Spring I am going to setup a raised-bed poly-covered mico-greenhouse 12x50 foot and 7-8 foot at the peak. It will be constructed by building two 50 x4-1/2 foot raised beds, side by side, from hollow block at a height of 1-1/2 to 2 foot in height. Then I will use 4"x4" poles layed sideways on the top outer two sides the full 50 foot length. I then at a depth of 2-1/2"-3" drive 60d galvanize pole spike nails at 2 foot intervals. These act as supports for the green house ribs. Take 20 foot standard PVC 3/4" water pipe and bow and stick the PVC pipe over the 60d spikes every 2 feet. This is important" you must run a 50 foot strip of chicken wire down the length on top of the crown of the PVC ribs. This is so thin wire can be used to twist each rib in place at 2 foot intervals. This to prevent ribs from separating and causing heavy water collection on the covering poly which can cause damage, collapse, inconvenience, and repair expenses. then store bought 20x100 foot 6 mil rolled poly plastic works great as a greenhouse covering. This will help me grow delicate vegetation and tomatoes even through the heavy 4 month rain season.

I will build up my soils through organic composting and will properly sterilize the soils used in the tomato house, I want to see if by restriction of human access, soil sterilization, and tight sound controls and procedures; if it is possible to grow varieties of tomatoes common in the States. There is a blight here that decimates all but only a few small-fruit tomatoe varities that are usally grown here by local farms. I miss the "Beef Steak" and "Big Boy" varieties when cooking or having sandwiches. Here they can grow an Avocado the size of a softball but a tomato only the size of a golf ball.

jamesmusslewhite

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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

Post  Kelejan on 11/27/2011, 7:51 am

I wish you success in your tomato project and of course success in every aspect of what you are trying to do.

I hope you do have a little time to keep us updated, as I find it fascinating. It will do so much for the local people.

Kelejan

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Re: Hello from Surigao City, Philippines

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