Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Meeting at Warung Bambu on 23 Aug 10

The meeting took place at Warung Bambu, Pemaron, 3pm-5pm.
Participants: Beate and Nana, Tanya, Susanne, Ibu Widi, Wayan Ardika and myself. We welcomed John Palmer as a new participant.
The main subject was to organize a marketplace in Lovina for local organic products like fresh vegetables, herbs, homemade preserves, traditionally manufactured arts and crafts, recycled products, natural cosmetics etc. and for sharing information about healthy and sustainable living.
The following issues came up:
Where, when, how often
Conchita is asking the permission of the members of the Rotary Club for the use of their meeting hall. The market will take place every Saturday from 9am to 12am. The starting date and the details still have to be decided with the members of the Rotary Club.
As it might be difficult to get organic certification all products for sale must state their origin with producer name, adress and phone number and it should be possible to visit the production or growing site.
Who, what
We made a list with products to start with:
  • Pegasusfarm: herbs, vegetables and seedlings
  • Susanne: aloe vera, seasonal fruits
  • Gaia Oasis: aloe vera, eggplants, salads, basil, rucola, lemon grass, honey
  • Beate: Bali rice, Bali Asli products, Neem Oil
  • Wayan: cocoa powder, oranges in May/June, compost, eggs, honey
  • Justin: natural cosmetics and mosquito repellents
As soon as place and start date are fixed the organic market will be announced to the public by local newspapers, flyers, round letters, information boards, websites etc. If you want to take part in the market as a seller please contact one of the participants.

organic Bali rice on the left side

  • Nana provided a rice tasting of his organically grown Bali rice and the conventional rice where we could see the difference with our eyes and smell it with our taste buds. The Bali rice takes 140 days to ripen while the conventional rice is already ripe in 90 days.
  • Susanne informed that the Indonesian government currently imports rice and garlic from China which is cheaper than the local rice and garlic and gives the local farmers a hard time. So watch out what you are buying!
  • Wayan informed that the quality of the cocoa beans of our region is very good according to some german chocolatiers who tasted them.
  • Beate wants to know how F1 Hybrids are made and how they work.
  • Nana mentioned that the flavour of fruits from plants which get seabreeze is often more tasty.
  • Please have a look at the website of Embun Pagi. It is a newly opened Permaculture Education site 40km from Kuala Lumpur where you can join the 72h Permaculture Design Certificate Course from 23 Nov to 5 Dec taught by Greg Knibbs and Chakra Widia from Bali.
  • By googling for "organic indonesia" I just found the website for all things organic in Indonesia which I added to the link list.
Our next event will be an excursion to Green Leaf Farm in Bedugul at the end of September. Details will be emailed.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Meeting at Pegasus Farm on August 6, 2010

Mark explaining the life of soils under the Bamboo Pergola at Pegasus Farm

After more than a year we met again at Pegasus Farm where for some of us the journey into the Permaculture adventure started. Tanya and Gede were our hosts and invited us to sit under a lovely shaded bamboo pergola. As usual Beate guided us through the gathering not losing the red thread. We were quite a croud, 5 people from Gaia Oasis, Beate with her gardener, Burgel, Burkhard, Anne with her son Jens and Wayan with his wife, Susanne and Marylin, Klaus, Gina from Sananda Center, Annette and Nyoman, Conchita from Lovina Pages and myself with my gardener Kadek and last but not least Mark Garrett from Australia who offered to join us and share his knowledge about Permaculture Design with us. Everybody was very interested to learn more about soils, the different qualities, its life and how it can be built, taken care of and improved.

Some facts about soil to keep in mind:
  • In the tropics 80% of the plant nutrients are held in the foliage. Therefore crops can only be sustainable if these nutrients are used from tree leaf-drop and root mass.
  • We are not feeding the plant, but the beneficial biota and microorganisms in the soil which later release the nutrients in plant usable form. Grow your soil! Encourage soil life!
  • Bare soil is damaged soil. Always cover soil with mulch. Grow the mulch you need around the gardenbeds and chop and drop. Good mulching plants are lemon grass, vetiver grass, comfrey, canna lillies and legumes such as pinto beans (ask Beate for seeds).
  • Grass and fruit trees compete with each other for nitrogen. Prevent the grass within the area of the trees drip line by mulching or planting a ground cover such as marigolds or pinto beans.
  • Why is it important to know the pH of your soil? The pH is a measurement for the acidity - alkalinity of the soil. It ranges from 1, very acid, to 14, very alkaline, with 7 as its neutral point. The pH-Level influences the availability of nutrients to the plants. At pH 7 all nutrients are available. At a lower pH, which means more acidic soil, some nutrients such as phosphorus, calcium and magnesium become less available and can manifest in plant deficiencies. The same happens with a more alkaline soil. Usually in the tropics you find acidic soils.
  • How to test the pH of your soil? There are easy test kits available in Australia. If anybody knows a provider here in Bali, please let us know.
  • How to bring your soil towards pH 7? As a general rule mix in compost and mulch heavily. For specific situations analyze your soil well and observe the plants if they show any diseases or deficiencies. As a fast cure use foliar spray of seaweed extract or liquid manure.
For more details on soils there is a specific chapter in the Permaculture Designer's Manual of Bill Mollison.

Some questions were raised regarding treatment for pests and diseases. Try not only to treat the symptoms but also to find the cause, very often an imbalance in the system. Nobody knows all the answers. Go and try, come back and tell!

Beate's red tiger compost worms from Temesi have been very busy and turned all the cow manure and food scraps into worm castings. What to do next with them? Just put everything on a plastic sheet into the sun. The worms will retreat to the coolest spot. Take away the worm castings and put the worms back to their container with new cow manure. Worm castings are excellent for seedlings.

Conchita will write an article about our group and the meeting in the october issue of the Lovina Pages.

Marylin offered 2 DVD's about Permaculture to the group. She will also take orders for things that are only available in Australia.
There will be another meeting in August at Warung Bambu to discuss and organize an organic market in Lovina.
The meeting in September will be an excursion to design the new site of Beate in the village of Manuksesa.
Detailed information and dates of the events will be sent by email.

THANK YOU Mark and all the participants for contributing time, interest and sharing knowledge!