Thursday, 30 June 2011

Tomatoes by Mkhululi Ncube

Mkhululi training farmers on tomatoes

Tomatoes are a very good crop. They are part of God’s creation and it’s good to work with God in growing tomatoes.

There are many types of tomatoes but the two we will focus on are indeterminate and determinate variety.
Indeterminate is the type which does not stop growing and can give fruits for 2 – 3 years whereas the determinate variety has a very short life span.

Determinate tomato variety: This variety has the advantage in that you get your money back very quickly after it has been sold at the market. You can destroy pests and diseases easily. It is easy and cheap to maintain because you only need to mulch and not tellace. Unlike the indeterminate, you need tellacing whereby you’ll need to buy straining wire, bailing twine and poles.

Farmers tasting tomato products

There are many tomato products that we will see, use and talk about. As tomato farmers, we re not going to grow table top tomatoes but a tomato that is going for processing. The tomato fruit is the most liked fruit in the world. We are part of a big picture when we are growing tomatoes. Let’s get going! Tomato fruit is special especially when it is processed because it can get exported world wide and it takes a while before they rot.

Some Products from Tomatoes:
1. Tomato sauce
2. Tomato paste
3. Tomato puree
4. Tinned fish has tomatoes in it
5. Tomato Crisps
6. Baked beans has tomato in it
7. Peeled tomatoes

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Looking Ahead

1. 40 farmers will be receiving Foundations for Farming training on the 28th - 30th June 2011.

2. There will be a follow up "Compost" training with the farmers at Antelope on the 22nd June 2011.

3. The Model Farmers - soon to be Missionary Field Officers - will be moving to Antelope on 1 August 2011.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Making Compost by Tawanda Moyo pt 3

Tawanda Moyo

Planning of the compost pile:
1. Collecting of material can be done over a number of weeks or months.
2. Keep different materials separate. The season for compost is at the end of summer (March) because there will be an abundance of green material which is difficult to find in large quantities at other times of the year.
3. If adequate quantities of material have been collected, then you are ready to start making your compost.
4. Use a drum to drench material to avoid water wastage.
5. Have your six pegs/poles arranged in the shape of 2 squares adjacent to each other.
Why? So as to turn your compost from one square to the other and back again.

Construction of compost
1. Put dry material where our pile would be built.
2. Do not attempt to make layers of different materials but make a good blend as we build.
3. Make the sides of the pile straight and vertical.
4. Maintain corners so that we can not end up with a pyramid but a cube.
5. Continue building up to the required standards.
6. Put a layer of thatching grass on top of the pile. This is recommended in high rainfall periods so as to avoid excess water from the pile and to prevent premature cooling.

Compost Demo

Indicators of good compost?
1. Smell - Good smell
2. Colour – deep rich brown humus
3. Texture – Crumbs, air passages

Friday, 10 June 2011

Making Compost by Tawanda Moyo pt 2

Tawanda Moyo

Reasons of temperature and its management:
Temperature is the key factor which will allow you to produce good quality compost. The heat is responsible for killing all seeds and pathogens and it helps avoid the re-infecting of the next crop with the same disease. One needs to know when to turn.

When to turn compost?
1. At 60 or 70 degrees centigrade
2. Once every 7 -8 days
3. Remaining in desired temperature zone for at least 3 days

How to turn?
4. Expose new material to the required heat.
5. Move the material that is inside outside and visa versa
6. Allow moisture to be replaced

Why do we turn the compost?
1. Stop the pile from heating.
2. Get a re-supply of oxygen
3. Allow moisture to be added
4. Outside material moved to the centre

Tawanda making compost

Compost making

What would happen if we did not turn the compost?
1. Our compost would overheat and kill the bacteria
2. Our compost would run out of oxygen and go anaerobic.
3. The compost may run out of moisture and cool down too soon.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Making Compost by Tawanda Moyo

Compost is something that most people have heard about, made or used sometime during their life but few know how to make it to a high standard. Compost must be of high quality, free from weed seeds and any pathogens.

What is compost?
It is the use of fungi and bacteria in the decomposition of organic material. It is the aerobic decomposition by fungi and bacteria in a mixture of organic material. This means that in the presence of oxygen, the plant material will breakdown by the action of the bacteria and fungi.

Advantages of making compost
1. Easy to produce
2. Reliable quality to all
3. It is cheap

Ingredients Required
1. Green material
2. Dry material
3. Nitrogen
4. Water
5. Oxygen –is the air around us. We need to ensure that conditions in our compost are suitable for air penetration. We do this by not compacting our compost, turning on time, not adding too much water.
6. Micro-organisms: these are bacteria and fungi. Bacteria: primary decomposers, feed on plant sugars, reproduce rapidly, they create heat and they decompose complex carbons.

Making Compost

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Beyond Belief Training

Farmers from Antelope

40 farmers from Antelope came to Ebenezer for three days of training. The focus was on Spiritual and agriculture teaching. Most of the farmers were surprised at how the two interlink.
Stephen Manhanga spoke on the four spiritual principles of Foundations for Farming - on time, to standard, without wastage and with joy. The Missionary Field Officers conducted the practical side of the training by doing demonstrations on compost, land preparation, grading, harvesting and marketing.

Farmers discussing what they have learnt

The training was a life changing experience for many of the farmers, who were exposed to the Spiritual and physical importance of farming to their community, Zimbabwe and the continent for the first time. As an aid to training many games and team building activities were included in the three days. This brought a lot of fun and laughter to the days. New friendships were made and existing ones strengthened. All in all, the farmers had a really good time.

Farmers enjoying a game

Read on for more information on the training of the Beyond Belief farmers..........