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Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

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Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 5/17/2010, 10:54 am

We live just outside of Surigao City ee are accepted and feel very safe with the locals here. It is a nice safe small city with very friendly locals. It is only a 45 minute boat ride to Dinagat Island where the bulk of our farm is located. I am a retired Horticulturist/ Agriculturist, Texas Master Gardener, Master Propagator, and Certified Texas Horticulturist; with over 30 years experience in the Texas Gulf coast region. I am presently a volunteer consultant working with the local Agricultural departments in the coconut, fruit, and vegetable organic crop production. To help introduce organic compost, planting and fertilization techniques to the local farmers.

I will also 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.. It is a green, green business. We also have small facilities for Saltwater and fresh water fish production. We maintain our stocks and release our surplus into the ecology, which helps the local fishing communities. The types of chemical, improper training and knowledge of these chemical compounds, in relation to mixing, spraying, and storage; are causing heath issues, land and water contamination, and crop contamination. It is havering a devastating effect on the people, livestock, farmland, wildlife, and waterways.

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 to Organic fertilizer and natural compost, plus I am implementing square foot/ meter gardening techniques.

I am also using micro greenhouses converting them to screen-houses and rain-houses. To product quality crops even during the rainy seasons. 144 inches of annual rainfall means lots of rainy season here in Surigao area. I am consulting with the Philippines Agriculture Department here in Surigao Del Norte on the applications of these techniques.. This will allow the local farmers to grow more wholesome foods, but also achieving more volume, diversity, and varieties of crops. I am well acquainted with Square Foot Gardening, having first seen micro growing it in Okinawa in 1984. And reading Mel's book in 86. I have designed, built, and maintained these types of gardens and micro greenhouses for many years now.
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  timwardell on 5/21/2010, 11:01 am

Hi James,
Wow! Sounds like you're quite the plant expert! Glad to hear from someone in Asia on the Forum. From your post you are obviously very busy but are you introducing the locals to Square Meter Gardening in your "free" time. (Ha!) Very Happy
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 5/24/2010, 1:21 pm

timwardell,

I do extensive volunteer consulting work with the local Philippine Agricultural agency branch, local officials, engineers, and instructors in a satellite test program on Dinagat Island. They are trying to teach local farmers in the usage of organics, as a necessary alternative to the excessive usage of commercial fertilizers and pesticides. This dependency is poisoning the farmers, farmlands, and the ecology. They will then use the example of a successful program on Dinagat island, to allow the introduction of similar programs to other farming reagions. I am committed to making it a success, because these practices will greatly improve the farmers, their families, the communities, wildlife, and ecology.

I having seen micro farming in Okinawa 1985 and having discovered Mel's book on Square Foot Gardening in 1986, realized how the implementation of these practices could greatly increase the crop diversity and productivity of these small farms. There is large rice and coconut production and very little vegetable crop diversity. I want to find the best seed varieties and trying to avoid hybrid and genetic altered varieties. This will allow poor farmers to establish their own natural seed stocks, and the highest potential of overall crop success. This will allow farmers to be more productive and allow more diversity in their family's diet. They are often very limited in their varieties of vegetable grown. This greatly effects the overall health of the children raised on these small farms.

I have been asked to start a Gardening and Farm blog on two new Filipino forum websites, which I have am in the process of working on. Once I get all the information on these blogs that I hope to add on these sites; then I will approach much larger forums to provide them with a similar blog. The Philippine is an agrarian society that is starving for good information on organics, composting, modern farming techniques, and square foot gardening practices. I am desperately trying to find text information, photos, and videos to use in the blogs and to be used in a laptop and projector to help me show and instruct groups of farmers in these techniques.
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  timwardell on 5/24/2010, 4:24 pm

I applaud your efforts and wish you great success. I agree that the more people who can grow and raise their own food free of chemicals, pesticides, and corporate patented seed the better off we will all be. I truly hope that all goes well for your efforts. - Tim
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  Chopper on 5/24/2010, 10:10 pm

I assume you have looked at youtube for instructional video info. Our very own Tim Wardell has some very good ones on there. A search for SFG and his name should bring them up.

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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  timwardell on 5/24/2010, 10:17 pm

@ Chopper - I appreciate the free plug Chopper, but given James' credentials I doubt I can show him anything he doesn't already know. In this case he's Yoda and I'm Luke Skywalker's 3rd cousin twice removed. Very Happy
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 5/25/2010, 1:54 am

timwardell wrote:@ Chopper - I appreciate the free plug Chopper, but given James' credentials I doubt I can show him anything he doesn't already know. In this case he's Yoda and I'm Luke Skywalker's 3rd cousin twice removed. Very Happy

A picture is worth a thousand words. I would like to look up any Youtube videos that you have posted. And with your permission I would like to post their URL links. I am looking for any useful digital text, photos, and or videos that can show the processes and end results of those processes. I am kicking myself now because all the years I practiced and built square foot gardens I never took any photos are videos.

The concept of square foot gardening is like trying to describe a moose to those that have never see one before. I am looking for photos and videos that show the diversity of varieties and volume of vegetables that can be grown in a minimum of space. Photos showing wire and wooden trellises for growing climbing vegetable varieties, and any raised bed constructions. I specialize in micro greenhouses, and want to use this with raised beds so crops can be protected during the rainy seasons. Surigao Del Norte region receives 144" of annual rainfall a year. The micro greenhouses can be converted to be used as screened shade houses/rain canopies, in conjunction with raised beds can help prevent insect infestation, bird guards, root rot and fungus infestations. Proper use of organics, composting, manure teas, and homemade fish emulsions will allow the local farmers to totally break their dependency of commercial fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 5/25/2010, 4:47 am

Chopper wrote:I assume you have looked at youtube for instructional video info. Our very own Tim Wardell has some very good ones on there. A search for SFG and his name should bring them up.

No I have not, but I will sure be glad to look for them on Youtube. Thank you for bringing them to my attention.
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  timwardell on 5/25/2010, 9:29 am

James,
If you haven't done so already, check out the gallery of 'users personal albums' here in the forum - http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/gallery/personal.htm

Lots of people have posted pics of their SFGs from all over the country and several other countries. It's a very diverse group.
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  timwardell on 5/25/2010, 11:23 am

James,
Here's another thought. If you want I can create a Gallery for you here on the Forum wherein I can gather (with the help of other Forum members) photos and/links to videos that can help you in your efforts. In your previous post you said,

"I am looking for any useful digital text, photos, and or videos that can show the processes and end results of those processes. Photos showing wire and wooden trellises for growing climbing vegetable varieties, and any raised bed constructions."

If you'd care to add or elaborate on this (or not) I'll post it in the general SFG topic area, create a gallery for you, and ask for submissions to it. I'll have links to approriate videos posted here in this thread. Sound good?
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  junequilt on 5/25/2010, 12:09 pm

James, my hat (as it were) off to you! You are doing great work in an area of the world that obviously needs you. IMHO, organic is the way of the future if our planet is to survive. Have you checked out the Rodale Institute as a possible source of some of the materials you are looking for?
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 5/26/2010, 9:38 am

junequilt wrote:James, my hat (as it were) off to you! You are doing great work in an area of the world that obviously needs you. IMHO, organic is the way of the future if our planet is to survive. Have you checked out the Rodale Institute as a possible source of some of the materials you are looking for?
Thank you for the information on this website, I will look at it to see if it is a source of any information I can find useful.
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 5/26/2010, 9:41 am

timwardell wrote:James,
If you haven't done so already, check out the gallery of 'users personal albums' here in the forum - http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/gallery/personal.htm

Lots of people have posted pics of their SFGs from all over the country and several other countries. It's a very diverse group.

Thank you for this URL, it is nice to see members investing the time and resources to build nice gardens. I will add some pictures of my own soon.
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New Thread for Resources

Post  timwardell on 5/26/2010, 1:31 pm

If anyone reading this thread has any photos and/or links to videos that you think might be helpful or useful for James' efforts in the Philippines, please post them here: http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/asia-f23/helpful-photos-links-t2454.htm

THANKS! Very Happy
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 5/27/2010, 10:13 am

Thank you, that is most kind of you. I am sure it will become very useful.
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  kalantasgardens on 4/10/2012, 3:14 am

This is quite a stumble! SFG is really really something that should answer our (Filipino) needs. My first time read so I am still not that familiar with SFG but from what I read from this thread - and some info about vertical gardening, this is really a treasure.

To this site I thank you for having such site with helpful people! I am from Davao City, Philippines. I don't know about farming because I live in the City. My interest is in vermicomposting and I have successfully use this method to take care of my kitchen waste and some garden wastes for more than five years now. I have set up a website in order to share my experiences.

I never thought of myself a green thumb but I do wish I could successfully grow some food! Maybe with the use of SFG.

To James, it's been two years now since this thread started, I wish I could get more information on your endeavor.

More power to all of you guys!
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/10/2012, 6:53 am

Hi kalantasgardens and welcome to the Forum.

I just read in another post today that it is common to use carbonized rice hulls as a substitute for vermiculite or perlite in the Philippines to lighten the soil. Is that something you have access to?

My neighbor comes from Dao.

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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  kalantasgardens on 4/10/2012, 7:33 am

Hello!
I've read about carbonize rice hull and how it is made. I'll try to look for that in the suburbs - I live in a city and only have experience in vermicomposting.

You may call me a newbie in gardening. Especially vegetable ones. But if it is a sub for vermiculite then I am sure I can get my hands on those.

Thanks!
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 6/28/2012, 11:08 am

kalantasgardens wrote:This is quite a stumble! SFG is really really something that should answer our (Filipino) needs. My first time read so I am still not that familiar with SFG but from what I read from this thread - and some info about vertical gardening, this is really a treasure.

To this site I thank you for having such site with helpful people! I am from Davao City, Philippines. I don't know about farming because I live in the City. My interest is in vermicomposting and I have successfully use this method to take care of my kitchen waste and some garden wastes for more than five years now. I have set up a website in order to share my experiences.

I never thought of myself a green thumb but I do wish I could successfully grow some food! Maybe with the use of SFG.

To James, it's been two years now since this thread started, I wish I could get more information on your endeavor.

More power to all of you guys!
I am glad you are interested in SFG because it is so adaptable yet versatile to the area. I would be more than glad to help answer any questions that you might have. We have enjoyed our life here and I apologize for not contributing more on the forum. I have been busy between being a Mod a couple of Philippine expat websites, working on the farm, and doing volunteer counseling here on organics and soil technologies to local farmers. But most of all I have been organizing the Table of Contents on a Agricultural/ Horticultural book series of 14 books on the horticultural sciences as they relate to Tropical and Sub Tropical conditions as they relate to this region of the world. I hope to eventually compile them into a WIKI page to be used as a free-access reference tool for local farmers and schools. I am presently working on a progressive kindergarden-4th year High School curriculum on Botany and Horticulture studies. This will allow the schools here in the Philippines a free downloadable curriculum that will be supplemented by the WIKI page reference material. This will be done on a non-profit format with free public access. It will probably keep me busy for the next 20 years.
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  kalantasgardens on 6/29/2012, 5:47 am

Looking forward to your wikis especially the program that integrates this into Phil. Education.
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 6/29/2012, 9:07 am

kalantasgardens wrote:Looking forward to your wikis especially the program that integrates this into Phil. Education.

I see that you are from the Davao area. Here is a gardening blog site that is run by a Canadian in the Davao area http://asia.groups.yahoo.com/group/philventures/ you might find some use in. I myself was a member but had a unnecessary tiff with the site owner over a post that I had accidentally posted in the wrong thread. The site sends emails that allow you to post directly onto the blog, and being the first site that I had ever been on with this setup was a bit confusing. I found it a bit too clickish for my taste and the site owner to be a bit over the top, so I will never post on the site again. That being said, it has 300 gardening enthusiast that can probably help you with information and resources in your area. I see it as having benefit, and will reference this site to gardeners, but I will never contribute to the group again. I just have better things to do with my time. Their loss, not mine, but still does not change the point that others can find the site useful. I still am happy helping expats living here in the Philippines with their gardening questions on two expat forums were I am a presently a Moderator in their Farm/Gardening sections.

I had previously moderated and heavily contributed to gardening sections on two Filipino forum sites a few years back which both shut down losing all my works contained within their archives. That and experiences with difficulty searching contributed information on other forums is what led me to decide to devote myself to writing a 24 book Horticultural library on the horticultural sciences as they apply to farm and garden here in the Philippines and neighboring countries of this area. It was Caraga Regional Governor Mrs. Sol Matugas who first asked me to help start a Gardening program and a botany curriculum for Caraga Regional School here in Surigao City. This is what further led to my decision to write a progressive curriculum that would start in kindergarten and progress through High school. If I build a Wiki page that can host the curriculum and allow free access to videos, illustrations, projects, and supportive references; then it could be used by the poorest schools and local farmers. The students would learn solid skills and this would trickle into the Provinces and poorer farming regions. I once sent a email to Mel asking for some donated digitally formatted reference materials to be used to help teach locals farmers and students but I never got a reply back from the man or his staff, so I can only assume that he was either just too busy at the time or just uninterested. pity for it would have been helpful with what I am doing.

I hope to have enough written material and the funds to start building this Wiki page by this time next year or at least by the next. It is a lot of organization, research, and writing to be done. I have decided that it will be kept as both non-profit and open-access so all students, local farmers, and interested individuals can have free and total access to this information in the hope it will enrich lives. I will plan on using precepts from future farm proceeds to pay for the building and maintenance of the Wiki site. I get one step closer every day.
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  kalantasgardens on 6/29/2012, 11:13 pm

Thanks, James. I'll look into the group - it seems an active group.

As far as I know, you're tha man! Smile

Take care,

Ben
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  plantoid on 7/4/2012, 5:41 pm

James perhaps look up the Berkley 18 day hot composting system if you don't already know what it is about & use it .

It is a simple way of getting basic materials in the right quantities to produce high grade balanced composts in around 18 days .

In some of the poorer regions of the world the priests have taught and use .. The holy trinity of Father , son & holy ghost words to indicate which pile of turned compost is which.

ie Father is the first this gets turned into son on the fourth day after making it , then holy ghost and then the apostles follow on with matthew , Mark Luke & John at three day intervals .

John is the final turned pile where it sits for three more days then it is ready to use in the gardens and around shrubs and trees.

Some of the qualified / certified SFG teachers have experience of these matters and should be a good source of information .

click on any person who has the green certified square foot teacher script by their avatar and they should be able to give you better information.

One last thing do you grow " Bocking 14 " comfrey in the Phillipines
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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 8/6/2014, 1:40 am

kalantasgardens wrote:This is quite a stumble!  SFG is really really something that should answer our (Filipino) needs.  My first time read so I am still not that familiar with SFG but from what I read from this thread - and some info about vertical gardening, this is really a treasure.

To this site I thank you for having such site with helpful people!  I am from Davao City, Philippines.  I don't know about farming because I live in the City.  My interest is in vermicomposting and I have successfully use this method to take care of my kitchen waste and some garden wastes for more than five years now.  I have set up a website in order to share my experiences.

I never thought of myself a green thumb but I do wish I could successfully grow some food!  Maybe with the use of SFG.

To James, it's been two years now since this thread started, I wish I could get more information on your endeavor.

More power to all of you guys!
Well our son graduated High school and has moved to Austin, Texas so we started the move from Surigao City over to our farm on Dinagat Island a few months age and finally have all our possessions moved to the farm now. It was quite a chore moving everything by boat, tribikes and motorcycles but it is all done and now we are trying to get settled in. In a couple of months the rainy season will start so it will be mid March to mid April before we get the crops in the ground so we are just relaxing and enjoying the calm before the storms so to speak. I will start posting much more regularly now that we are finally at the farm full-time and can start getting many of our farm and garden projects completed.
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Ready to tackle the jungle

Post  jamesmusslewhite on 8/6/2014, 1:53 am

Well we have finally started clearing back the jungle undergrowth as we have let the land sit for almost 7 years now as it is our desire to get or farm eventually organic certified. So here I sit with a fresh seaweed salad (just picked this morning), a tree ripened avocado and bromeliad ripen pineapple for lunch. This is one of the great things about living on the farm so close to the Pacific Ocean. You can see what I call the jungle "Square foot Gardening" survival kit.  Very Happy 

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Re: Square Foot/ meter Gardening in the Philippines

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