Friday, October 17, 2008

We have to have Aphids

At Daily DOSE Farm, we can't afford to loose aphids. That's why we plant legumes all the time because its their favorite. You might think we're crazy for wanting aphids in our farm. The real reason is because of this alligator looking insect below.
I don't know if you can see her. Click the image for a better view. (I don't crop images, sorry. And I hate editing too...) That's a ladybird larvae munching on a black aphid. She can eat around 5000 aphids throughout her lifetime.
That's the best shot I can take from my stock lens. Is there anyone out there who can lend me a macro lens... :D

Extreme Stevia Pruning

When your stevia starts to bear flowers, it's time to prune them.

The one in front is a newly pruned stevia. Almost all of the leaves were taken for processing.

The one behind it has started to bear new leaves. This is one hardy herb.

What looks dead after pruning starts to regain life after several days...

P. Rangers

Here are some shots of our free ranging pigs.
Piglet giving me his most intimidating face. Still looks cute though...

I wonder what he's telling his big brother... hmmmm...

Parting shot... :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008


During the Agri-Link expo at the World Trade Center Philippines, I brought with me one large sized stevia. Large enough to be a mother-plant. Everyone was surprised to see a woody stevia plant. Here are pictures of some herbs we planted directly into the soil.
3 month old Stevia

8 month old Rosemary

2 month old tarragon

Spoon and Fork

More than a year ago I gave you tips on how to choose the best tools for your garden or farm.

Remember the photo from that post? The spade fork you're seeing on the left is the one on the photo last Aug. 4, 2007. It still looks brand new despite being used and abused every single day. Now I bought him a partner. Let's see how long this stainless steel spade would last?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lettuce for Agri-Link

We've prepared ready to plant lettuce seedlings in trays for you.
These will be available for sale along with other herbs during the Agri-Link expo at the World Trade Center Philippines, Gil Puyat (Buendia) corner Macapagal Road, Pasay City. The exhibit will start tomorrow, Oct. 9 to Oct. 11, 2008.

We will also be selling different planting materials. Our booth is located at the Outside Exhibit area. Booth no. 3

Stinging Nettle (True and False)

For those who do their research on the web and read foreign books on organic gardening, I'm sure most of you have seen or read about this plant or weed. It's one of the best ingredients for composting.
The stinging nettle have a fearsome reputation for, guess what, stinging. They have stinging hairs that come off when it gets in contact with something, even other plants. The hairs becomes a needle that injects several chemicals that gives the victim a burning sensation.
Here are two nettles. Similar but not the same. One is a true stinging nettle and the other one is another kind of nettle. The one at the left is what we need to avoid.

The difference is the flower. I wouldn't dare to touch the one at the left.

A closer look.

In Tagalog, Stinging Nettle is called "Lipang-Aso"

Natural Enemies

This young mung bean is being attacked by hundreds of black aphids. But help in on the way.

On the left corner, with a combined weight of about 50 mg. (one aphid weighs around 0.5 mg)

"The Black Aphids Gang!!!"

On the right corner, weighing only 5 mg. The Champion and favorite of gardeners worldwide...

"The Ladybird"

(this one is an Asian Orange Ladybird)


Green Manure Review

It's been more than a year ago when we posted procedures on how to prepare your elevated beds for green-manuring. Here are some shots of mung beans grown as green manure.

Three days after planting.

One week.

Three weeks.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy 50th day!

Pablo (the typhoon) visited during their 50th day so they have to stay indoors. Great time to check their average weight.

Most of them weigh around 1.7 kg. Some 1.5 and the lightest is 1.2 kg. This one comfortably sits while being weighed.

Old habits are hard to break. This one still love to read his own weight.

Chicks will be Chicks

Even though they're 50 days old and weigh 1.7 kg, they still have their chick feathers (I don't know what those feathers are called, i just call them chick feathers).

And they love playing with my pocket zipper. Some want to have a chicky-back-ride...

Not just chickens...

We also have some free-ranged pigs... :)

YUM!!! 3X

No need for words...

Makes my mouth water just by looking at it... :)

Herbs in Bloom

The tarragon is now 4 feet tall and started to flower.

The flowers are edible.

If you or a relative has high blood pressure, then we suggest you plant this herb. It's called "cat's whiskers" locally called (guess what) "balbas pusa" because its flowers look like cat's whiskers. This herb grows abundantly in rural areas but they call it taheebo - it is not. Taheebo is a tree and the part used for tea is its bark. Unlike cat's whiskers where we use the leaves for making tea or even salad.

A closer look at the flowers, no doubt, they really look like cat's whiskers.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I hate it when…

Whenever I’m in an exhibit or at our store, I encounter different people interested in organic farming. People from all walks of life, from kids who ask the most difficult questions, to government officials who spend other people’s money for their farm, and mostly, retired executives who want to spend the remaining years of their lives planting fruit trees (which they should have done years ago). Anyway, whenever I meet someone who I think is really interested in organic farming I usually give them pointers and tips on how to start their organic farm. I often teach them more than what they need to know (for free). What really upsets me is when people show a lot of interest then just disregards the information you just shared with them. Here are some actual scenarios:

Encounter no. 1:

There was this couple who overheard me talking to someone about the health benefits of organic food. The guy suddenly joins us in our conversation and shared some stuff regarding health. He was good, he really knows what he’s talking about. Then several minutes later while we were at the peak of our discussion his wife butts in holding a folder. She started showing different graphs from health statistics to killer diseases. Then at the end of her presentation comes the bottled “fountain of youth”. Now they are talking about how I can get rich by selling this product. I have to give them credit for their persistence.

Encounter no. 2:

For those who know me and those who read our profile, you know the reason why we went into organic farming. It’s more of being friends with the environment and caring for Mother Nature. It makes me happy whenever I meet other people who share the same passion. It makes me happier when they are of our age or younger. Anyway, what irritates me is when someone you just talked about organic farming and its health benefits thanks you for the talk turns around to leave and lights up a cigarette. I really feel cheated when this happens.

Encounter no. 3 (this happened just a few hours ago):

I was at the AANI store at Quezon Memorial circle when this familiar guy, in his early 60’s, approached me asking about papaya. I’m really sure I’ve met him before. Then he reminded me that he was the one who asked how to plant papaya several weeks ago. The first time we've met, he was the kind of guy who was really interested to learn. He invited me to sit down and discuss with him the whole process of planting papaya. I taught him almost all he needs to learn. He even asked me to write the procedure for him. From digging the hole, applying compost, up to post harvest procedures. I wrote it all in detail. He thanked me after that and even told me that he was going to buy everything he needs from our store. I told him what’s important is that he practice organic farming. Now he’s back and guess what, he wants me to write the whole procedure for him again because he lost the first one. He asked as if I owe him something. Instead of giving him what he wants, I taught him some principles in organic farming. We talked mainly of crop rotation and its importance. At the end of our discussion he told me “matrabaho pala mag-organic” and “I don’t have time for organic farming…” Well, he should have realized that when he lost the guide I wrote for him.

Other people that annoys me:

People who use chemical fertilizers and call their vegetables organic.

People who buy their vegetables from “bagsakan” markets and sells them in flea markets labeled organic. Go to hell you guys!!!

People who knows very little and acts as if they know it all. These are usually people who use the word “organic” as if it was an expression. “Organic yan sir/ma’am!”

People who think that if you use chicken manure, your plants are automatically organic. I got two words for you… …anti biotic! :)

Thanks for reading this unusually long post of mine. Let me tell you what I usually tell my students, “organic” is not just a word, not just a practice, but a way of life…

Friday, September 19, 2008

Raymond & Mariel @ work

DDF Update

I've been so busy for the past few days and wasn't able to get photos from the farm.
The farm in general is doing well. The vegetables are getting enough sunlight and rain. The sunshine chickens are growing steadily fast. At 5 weeks, most of them weigh 1 kg. Some of them even weight 1.2 kg. Some of the herbs are starting to bloom. The tarragons are now more than 4 feet tall and started to form flower buds. Did you know that tarragon flowers are great for salads?

I will be posting pictures next week. 'Till next time.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Encounter of Another Kind

This is their first encounter with 100% healthy organic fruit, in this case a dragon fruit. I bet some of you haven't even seen or tasted one of these.
This is just one of the many kinds of fruits, vegetables and herbs they'll be eating at Daily DOSE Farm. Not to mention an array of live, high protein insects and worms... Yum Yum!!!

They Just Turned 21

They really love to look at the scale while being weighed.
Ashamed or proud, I'm not sure...
Me, I'm proud. Our Sunshines are now weighing around 500 grams each at 3 weeks.

Tarragon Update!

More than 3 feet tall and still growing...
The tarragon herbs dwarfed the lavenders beside it.

Bigger Chicks, Bigger Home

Despite of having a very bad morning on the first day of September - I hit my head hard on a drawer, I can't wait to visit the farm to see how the chicks are doing.
The boys of Daily DOSE did a great job in securing the area for the chicks.
They look like a bunch of road runners zooming back and forth, enjoying their new home.
Watching them made me forget the pain from the mornings encounter with the drawer. :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Drying Stevia Leaves

Air drying is the cheapest and easiest way to dry stevia leaves but it takes time. Not to mention that its hard to do this during rainy season.
At Daily DOSE Farm, we use a small oven to dry our leaves. Just make sure to dry them at around 60 degrees Celsius for at least 20 mins or when they're crunchy enough. Simply use a coffee grinder to pulverize them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Seven days later...

This time she made sure that I wasn't cheating and looked immediately at the weighing scale.

170 grams in 7 days.
She's the biggest among 102 chicks. Average weight would be 140 grams.

A bigger home

The Sunshine chicks are growing fast, we have to keep up and make bigger homes for them.
It took me several days to look for a perfect spot to keep the birds safe and warm.
I was eating some rambutan when my imagination finally gave me an idea. Then i found myself hauling a truckload of rice hull from my neighbors rice mill.
My friends are now installing nets and roofing as I type.
My dad's going to kill me... :D

Five days later...

Sometimes i talk to my chicks and try to convince them to eat more... I think they did... :)
This was a conversation between me and one of my chicks...

Me: WOW! You weigh 100 grams already...

Chick: WHAT!!! I'm not that heavy!

Me: Well... Take a look...

Chick: I really am heavy...

Me: Don't go on a diet now...


STEVIA!!! Stevia kayo dyan... :)

My favorite herb... 15 times sweeter than sugar, 300 times sweeter when processed. WOW...
I won't put more details about stevia here since there are thousands available on the net. What I want to show here is that this herb can easily be propagated and commercially produced here in our country. I started with two (2), yes two, small pots of this herb a year ago. Now I've propagated about four thousand.

I plant them in small seedling bags.

Stevias produce flowers but don't produce viable seeds. We propagate them through cuttings. Use the non-flowering soft tips for propagation.

This is a good example of a non-flowering tip.

Always remember to prune your stevia. But if you have lots of it, it's OK to let it bloom. They invite lots of beneficial insects.

We've decided to allot a small portion of our small farm for this herb.

Please remind me to post instructions on how to propagate this lovely herb.