Friday, December 28, 2007

Holiday Break

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and may we all have a very Prosperous New Year!!! Make sure to include organic fruits and vegetables on your dining tables this holiday season.

We were so busy this month that we weren't able to post articles here in our blog, we apologize for that. We will continue to give you advice on organic farming starting next week. Meanwhile, enjoy the holidays!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Trees (part 1)

We also grow fruit trees in our farm. Here are some photos, more to come...

These are latexless jackfruits (langka).

And this is a Longkong (lanzones) tree.

Other trees include different varieties of mangoes and rambutan, chico, durian, mangosteen, pomelo, oranges, and many more. I will try to take more pictures next time.
We've never used chemicals in our farm. All of our fruit trees are grown organically.
You are very welcome to see for yourselves.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

After 2 Weeks

Two more weeks and our spiral plot will give its first batch of salad greens.

Pest Control

This is a praying mantis waiting on top of a French marigold. Praying mantises or mantids are among the list of common beneficial insects and is also overrated. They don't just eat pests, they may also eat other beneficial insects.
About marigolds, it is said that French marigolds are the most potent pest control among the different varieties of marigolds. I've also read and observed that they do not really repel insects, they even attract them. Maybe that's why this mantis picked this spot. Too bad she's not that well camouflaged. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Vermicomposting 101

First thing to do is choose a location where your vermibin won't get hit by direct sunlight or rain. You may use any kind of container to start with, even old bath tubs. Or, you may dig at least 12 inches into the soil. Since I know they can't live in the soil, i don't bother putting liners but you may do so for easy harvest.

Gather some dried leaves from your garden. Shredded leaves are better but shredders are very expensive. Pile the leaves on your vermibin (not exceeding 12 inches in depth). Water the dried leaves everyday for at least 4 days to a week. This will serve as your bedding. Check the temperature of your bedding, if it's cold to the touch on the 4th day, you're ready to buy some African night crawlers or blue worms.

Rule of thumb is one kilo of composting worms for every square meter of bedding (12 inch deep).

Place the worms on top of the bedding. Never try to put them under, let them find their way through you bedding.

If the parameters of your bin is just right, all of the worms will dive-in in less than 5 minutes.
Things to remember:
Use only dried leaves as bedding.
Temperature should be from 24 to 28 degrees Celsius.
Moisture should be at least 70% (water at least 2x a day).
One kilogram of worms for every square meter of bedding.
Feed them with kitchen refuse (vegetables, fruits and grains only. NO meat please).
Feed them half of their body weight per day. (1 kg. of worms, 1/2 kg. of food a day).
If you have further questions, just post a comment. I know i forgot to put some details, don't be afraid to ask...

A better look at the Greenhouse

Last week, somebody requested for a sketch or blue print of our greenhouse. Sad to say we don't have both. I hope these pictures help. Click on them to enlarge.

Front, with sliding door.

What they did first was bend two pipes, 1/2 and 3/4. The outer part is the 1/2 pipe and the inner part, 3/4.

The greenhouse is made of 10 sets of these bended pipes. 5 on the first half and 5 on the other half.


Identity Crisis

This papaya think she's a mango.

Did you know? (part 1)

First of all, this is not a frog, this is a toad.
I've tried this with toads of different sizes. When you put them up-side-down on top of your palm or on a soft, smooth surface, they just lay still.
( don't mind those dirty hands, at least they're soft and smooth :) )

And when you tickle the side of their stomach, they make a laughing sound. Maybe they really are laughing.
Oh! One more thing! Toad piss don't cause warts. If it does, my hands would look like a toads back by now.


While this hole is waiting to be fixed, this spider is patiently guarding it. I didn't notice there was a grasshopper near the hole until I transferred the picture to my computer.
(Remember: you may click on the pictures to enlarge them)

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

This is a local ladybird. They can eat 5000 aphids throughout their lifespan.
Never mind the logo on its back, they are not radioactive.

Look what this guy did to those leaves. (he's hiding under the leaf at the left)
Guess what happened to him after this photo shoot. :D


Thursday, November 22, 2007


I pray that I don't have to publish a post entitled Mina!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Worms! Camera! Action!

Can you see his target?

Now you can see his target.

This guy is fast! These shots happened in less that two seconds.

Let There Be Light!

And there was light!

But only after we bought one and installed it in a light post... :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Under the Table

These are seedling trays on top of our nursery table/bed. Under the table is one of our vermi-bins. Our earthworms are target fed. We feed them according to what kind of vermicast we want to produce. To learn more about this technique, all you have to do is ask...

As of now, I think (I think) we're the only ones practicing this technique.


This is the reason why we plant legumes; for the symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria - rhizobia. See those pinkish nodules? Those are rhizobia colonies.


We've just started a new project. Before the end of this month, we will transform this hole into a beautiful (i hope) fish pond. It will be home to a few aquatic plants and a couple of Koi fishes. I'm planning to name them Yin & Yang. :)

Perfect for Steaks

This is a Dill and this photo was taken early in the morning. You can actually see dew from the tips of the leaves. If you look closely you can actually see my reflection on each droplet...

:) just kidding... I wish i had a macro lens that can do that...


To all those people who live most of their lives in the office, this is a WEB. The website is "under a tree in Candelaria, Quezon" :)

Free Labor

These Free Range Sunshine Chickens help our farm by literally chasing insects like grasshoppers and caterpillars. They also eat weeds and weed seeds. We just have to watch where they're going because they love salad greens. Sometimes I imagine them singing "the best things in life are free..."

An Early Farmer Catches the Flower

This flower only blooms early in the morning, maybe that's why it's called Morning Glory. This is just one reason why we need to wake up early in the morning. :)


Staggered planting with proper management ensures regular harvest. We limit our harvest at 15 kilos a week, for now...

War Zone!

Contrary to what most farmers believe, Marigolds don't repel insects! They attract insects, both pests and beneficial insects. What happens if you mix predator and prey?

Cut & Grow

Our new product! The Daily DOSE Farm Cut & Grow series. These trays are planted with different leaf lettuce varieties. You just cut the largest leaves and the plant grows new leaves, hence the title. Cut & Grow series also comes in smaller pots with parsley, coriander, celery, and other culinary herbs.


If our greenhouse is our nursery maybe we can call these our kinder or prep. Then our plots elementary. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Have it your way

Who said vegetable plots should be in straight lines? Look at what we've done here. Have you heared of the spiral garden? Well, this is the spiral plot. :)


A view from the south side, with Randy the super organic farmer. :)

From the north side
(click images to have a better view)

Harvest Time

Our first crop of lettuce. Since then, we were harvesting 15kgs. of different varieties of lettuce a week. To be sold at AANI FTI weekend market and AANI Herbal Garden at Quezon Memorial Circle. Aside from lettuce we also have cucumber, bitter gourd (ampalaya), bell pepper, eggplant, and other vegetables. We practice crop rotation so we have different vegetables every season.


I'm very very sorry for not posting often in our blog. From now on there will be changes. I will let the photos speak for themselves, with a little subtitle maybe. :) It you have questions about the pictures, just leave a comment and we will try to answer them as soon as possible.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Our Brewer Works

Two years ago my brother showed me a compost tea brewer. I asked him how it worked; he told me that it turns compost into foliar. My father got so excited, he bought one. I was not convinced with my brother’s explanation so I made my own research. Then several days after my father bought the brewer, there was chaos. Everyone within 5 meter distance from the brewer could smell rotten egg or even worse. There was something wrong with this brewer. I can’t believe the commercially sold brewer could win an award with so many faults. I decided to intensify my research and eventually make my own brewer. The first compost tea brewer I made was so big for our farm. It was so big; it can brew up to 100 gallons of compost tea. I made a smaller one, good for 5 to 30 gallons. The brewer was intended for our farm, when visitors ask where we get our organic foliar fertilizer, we just point them to the brewer. Since then, people started asking us to make one for them. I named it the R.E.A.C.T.O.R. which stands for Reliable, Effective, Aerated Compost Tea Of Raymond. We now custom build compost tea brewers, from the small 5 gallon brewers to the biggest 250 gallon models. I also teach the principles of compost tea brewing so everyone can make their own brewers. It is very important to understand how it works before building one, rather than building one and discovering it doesn’t work. Our brewer works, we have the farm to prove it!

Fast Forward

First I would like to apologize for not posting updates about our farm. We’ve been so busy preparing for agri-link. Here’s what happened in the farm for the past several weeks. First, the mung beans grew to almost a meter high. We then incorporated them in the soil. While waiting for the mung beans to decompose, we started sowing lettuce seeds and other vegetable seeds in our greenhouse. With regular watering of compost tea (more about compost teas later) the leaves of the green manure decomposed faster than expected. We then planted our first set of vegetables on their respective plots. By-the-way, we also built trellises for our creepy crawling veggies. A little background about our trellises; it’s made of good lumber coated with wax. Why wax? Because we can’t use chemical wood preservatives since we practice organic farming. We even used beeswax on six of our eight sets of trellises. Here’s a short list of vegetables and fruits we’ve planted so far: twelve kinds lettuce, bitter gourd (ampalaya), cucumber, upland or Chinese kangkong, water gourd (upo), papaya, okra, coriander, Chinese parsley (kinchai), Chinese kale, arugula, spinach, eggplant, tomato, three kinds of pepper, beet, turnip, radish, carrots, two kinds of onion, soy beans, pole beans (sitao), snap beans, corn, French marigolds and stevia. WOW! I never realized we had this much variety in our farm until now. And we still have so many seeds waiting to be sowed.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Manure that’s not yucky – you can actually eat them

Most of us especially non-farmers would react violently to the word “manure”. But we’re not talking about dung, muck, crap and most of all we’re not talking shit. We’re talking about green manure. Green manures are plants grown to temporarily cover the soil and then later incorporated in the soil to improve soil fertility and structure (Ooops! Too much soil there). Legumes are the favorite plants to use as green manure because of their nitrogen fixing capabilities. These plants fix nitrogen from the air, water and soil and deposit them in their roots for future use. Usually, these plants are helped by nitrogen fixing bacteria called rhizobia (it almost sound like my surname). The fixed nitrogen is visible in their roots and can be seen by the naked eye as pinkish nodules. Too bad for these plants because they don’t get the chance to produce flowers and fruits. They are incorporated into the soil before they start to flower. That's why they are usually called sacrificial crops. It is before their flowering stage that their stored nitrogen is at its maximum. After most of the plants are decomposed, we then plant the crops we intend to grow. The next set of plants will be the ones using the stored nitrogen. Poor green manure.

The Plot

Everything’s set, the pump, the greenhouse, the tool shed, now it’s time to stretch some muscles (believe me, I have some, hidden under a thick layer of fat). The vegetable plots are probably the most labor intensive task we’ve done in the farm. Even though my father owned a small hand tractor, we decided not to use it. We chose not to disturb majority of the soil food web. We didn’t even put into practice double digging. Kilometers of worm tunnels made the soil naturally loose.

With the use of a cultivation fork, a spade and a rake we started to build 1 meter by 5 meter elevated plots. We opted for smaller plots so we can easily diversify and manage our crop rotation. At the end of each day we plant mung beans on each plot. The beans will serve as our green manure (more in this on the next post). After more then two weeks we ended up with almost 60 plots, most of them already have grown mung beans.

To give you a brighter idea on how loose our soil is; it would only take two men less than 30 minutes to bury (vertically, of course) a 20 foot pipe.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Diversity in Tools

The roof for the tool shed was finally installed and is now ready to house our tools. It is important to have the right tools and knowing the proper way to use it. A two person job can easily be done by a person with the right tool – assuming he or she knows how to use the tool of course.

Let us give you some tips on buying a good tool. First, buy the best brand you can afford but make sure you’re paying for quality and not the packaging or brand name. Buying a cheap tool would only cost you more. Second, ask a fellow gardener or farmer who actually use the tool. I’m sure you’ll get a good, if not the best, recommendation. Third, if you’re buying a tool make sure you try handling it before bringing it to the counter. Some handles are so rough or so small that we cannot handle it in actual situations. And also, make sure to leave some handle-space in case you’re planning to use gloves while working with the tool. Fourth, learn about materials. Example, stainless steel is better than iron or metal but definitely more expensive and hard to come by. Stainless are harder to sharpen but stays sharper longer than metal. When buying metal tools always look for the words tempered and forged.