Thursday, October 11, 2012

Failures and persistence

Greetings to all of you! While improving the soil in our garden, and I think it will take five more months from now to see a better result, we are also doing what's best to produce even small amount of food for the volunteers. We have seen small successes but the challenges we have to face are seem very strong, appearing every now and then. One example is the problem we encounter every time our tomato starts to bear fruit. It also starts to turn dry, the leaves become yellow, the fruit splits and slowly, it dies. There are probably many reasons for that - not enough water or too much water, the soil is very poor, it has too much nitrogen, or very acidic. So that's why I started to search on the internet about this problem and found out that it is a common problem in planting tomato. So now I would like to share these helpful sites that some of you may want to check to learn about this problem.

Information On Common Tomato Plant Problems

 Common Tomato Problems (Videos)

So I hope it will help you find out how to deal with this kind of problem. Honestly, I find it hard but I need to learn how to solve it or else we cannot enjoy the pleasure of eating organic tomato in the future. Anyway, here are more pictures of the problems in our vegetables:

premature ripening of under-develop melons...

 bitter gourd (ampalaya) infested with worms and sometimes ripen and die at early stage...

eggplant leaves decimated by insects...

So these are some of the problems that we need to solve for the moment. And for the soil, these are the things that we are doing right now...

 collecting organic matters from the shops nearby

 mixing cow dung, banana peel, and dried leaves

Meanwhile, here are some improvements and changes:

 front portion of the garden
And finally, here are the wonderful volunteers...

Thank you very much too all of you!!! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Recent Activities and Harvests

For the past several weeks we had some wonderful times doing different tasks for the projects. First, I recall transplanting many things such as local ginger, ampalaya (bitter melon), cucumber, red and green mung beans, bell pepper, sunflower, onion chives, tomatoes, and even some eggplant from Greece and contender bush bean from Monroe, USA which unfortunately, some died after bearing a couple of beautiful fruits. Honestly speaking, most of the seeds from outside the country had difficulty surviving or were unsuccessful probably because of the sudden changes in the climate of the area or also due to the poor quality of the soil. But I don't agree that this suggest hopelessness since we had harvested from these "gift of life". 

I remember the meaningful times I had with the children every once in a while. I enjoyed talking and listening to them while we are tilling, weeding, planting and having snacks or dinner together at the house after the garden activity. Here are some minor changes within seven months since we officially started the project.




I also enjoyed harvesting on a weekly basis and even though most of the time I harvest few, I clearly see the potential abundance of the place in the future especially when we had enough time and money for soil amendment and successful composting. Once, I was surprised by some volunteers who offered to help me harvest and peel the mung beans. When they left I gave them most of the beans they harvested including some pumpkins, okra, corn, and bell pepper that was harvested a day before. The next weekend they came again and helped us with weeding, I told them we were glad and since then, they visit us every weekend when they have no class.

Below are green mung beans and red mung beans

We also received some wonderful books from Vandana Shiva's organization Navdanya. Since we are collecting educational materials for the Garden library, we think this kind of resources are also very important. 

Meanwhile, here are some photos of our soil improvement method for the moment. 

 That's me (above) and my friend getting cow manure from the field nearby. 

We tried two method, putting it directly to the soil and composting it with banana peel. Since nobody from the people I know tried composting banana peel before, and this stuff is kind of hard, I don't how many months does it take to break down this mixture into a fine rich natural fertilizer.    

And here is the worm bin I built with the help of my friend. Thanks to the Blissful Village, a community who donated the worms for our garden.  

 In a few days, we would like to post more updates and share more information or stories related to community, organic gardening, and alternative energy. Hopefully it will help and inspire you so please keep checking our blog. For now, we would like to leave you with more photos of our few harvest, thank you very much!



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Supporting Seed Freedom

As part of our vision, we are starting this project to teach ourselves the importance of saving seeds and to learn its value on our culture, future survival, and struggle for self-determination and sufficiency. We firmly believe that without recognizing the importance of seed saving and its science, we cannot fully understand how our existence evolve in so many ways in relation to the food that sustain and nourish us. Our subsistence fully depended on our food and its ability to cope up with the rapidly changing environment; we are trying to give toxins and carcinogens to our environment that's why we also get the same in return. Through genetic engineering, pesticide application, and other unnatural process we inflict to our soil, water, and air, we are literally committing suicide. But there are people/organizations who are working hard to establish a solid foundation on defending every person's right to plant and save his/her own seeds without restriction. For a very long time, they are risking their lives to protect and uplift this very important notion for the good of all! One of these is the Navdanya's Seed Freedom Project (Please click here to listen to Vandana Shiva calling for support). Therefore, we are expressing our support for this campaign and hopefully, together we can be effective to help ourselves realized a world without oppressive corporations and government committing and promoting bio-piracy, ecological brutality, and suicide economy. 

In addition, we would like to add these statements from 


Seed is the source of life and the first link in the food chain. Control over seed means a control over our lives, our food and our freedom. Corporations like Monsanto have created a seed emergency – an emergency through patents on seeds, seed monopolies, biopiracy, genetic engineering and creation of non -renewable sterile seeds. Seed monopolies have pushed 250,000 farmers to commit suicide in India. After contaminating farmer’s seeds and crops, Monsanto sues farmers “for stealing their gene”, putting the polluter
pays principle on its head, and making it the polluter gets paid principle. The multidimensional emergency created by patents on seeds and GMOs needs a global collective response. Collectively, we must stop the patenting of seeds. Join the Global movement on Seed Freedom to stop the corporate hijack of seed and with it, the hijack of our freedom and our future.

Declaration on Seed Freedom
1. Seed is the source of life, it is the self urge of life to express itself, to renew itself,to multiply, to evolve in perpetuity in freedom.
2. Seed is the embodiment of bio cultural diversity. It contains millions of years of biological and cultural evolution of the past, and the potential of millennia of a future unfolding.

3. Seed Freedom is the birth right of every form of life and is the basis for the protection of biodiversity.
4. Seed Freedom is the birth right of every farmer and food producer. Farmers rights to save, exchange, evolve, breed, sell seed is at the heart of Seed Freedom. When this freedom is taken away farmers gettrapped in debt and in extreme cases commit suicide.
5. Seed Freedom is the basis of Food Freedom, since seed is the first link in the food chain.
6. Seed Freedom is threatened by patents on seed, which create seed monopolies and make it illegal for farmers to save and exchange seed. Patents on seed are ethically and ecologically unjustified because patents are exclusive rights granted for an invention. Seed is not an invention. Life is not an invention.
7. Seed Freedom of diverse cultures is threatened by Biopiracy and the patenting of indigenous knowledge and biodiversity. Biopiracy is not innovation – it is theft.
8. Seed Freedom is threatened by genetically engineered seeds, which are contaminating our farms, thus closing the option for GMO-free food for all. Seed Freedom of farmers is threatened when after contaminating our crops, corporations sue farmer for “stealing their property”.
9. Seed Freedom is threatened by the deliberate transformation of the seed from a renewable self generative resource to a non renewable patented commodity. The most extreme case of non renewable seed is the “Terminator Technology” developed with aim to create sterile seed.
10.We commit ourselves to defending seed freedom as the freedom of diverse species to evolve; as the freedom of human communities to reclaim open source seed as a commons.
To this end, we will save seed.
We will create community seed banks and seed libraries.
We will not recognize any law that illegitimately makes seed the private property of corporations.
We will stop the patents on seed. 

Please support and write to them at: or

Little improvements and little harvests...

After having delays and disappointments on our desired process and outcome, we decided to accept our limitations and consistently put our focus on soil fertilization and public education campaign for the moment. Perhaps after another six more months of continuous collection of different organic matters for compost, we will see some great changes in the soil. And while waiting for some of these little plants to be ready for transplanting, we are also currently enjoying our time creating music, reading books, visiting to friends, or writing our thoughts for both artistic and personal reasons. It's time to get more serious on gardening, but also to consider fixing things little by little rather than pushing ourselves against the big rocks. For now, we would like to share these photos and show how things are going right now in the project. 

Meanwhile, at the moment here are the few things in the garden that provide little food every once in a while for the people helping...

Green Bell Pepper

Contender Bush Beans

Mung Beans and Corn

While taking care of these wonderful but few vegetables, we also keep ourselves busy in preparing schedules and materials for programs we want to actualize for the Sharing Garden and other concerns. We finished some of the posters and signage for the garden library, burned files on DVD (gardening movies and ebook) for giveaways, printed more brochures and leaflets and of course, found few individuals for education programs regarding our project and campaign.        

Ampalaya or Bitter Melon

Luckily, these eggplants from Greece survived. Hopefully it will successfully bear more so we can save seeds for the next planting. In addition, here are some of the food we harvested during those previous weeks/days. No matter how few, most of the neighbors who got involved before had the taste of these blessings.  

So far, these are the only pictures we can share. Please wait for more photos in some few days. For now, we would also like to give thanks to people who donated money for this project. Without your help, this project and our desire for helping other people through this idea will never be possible.

Lastly, we would also like to give thanks to groups who donated seeds for the garden. For more positive response, we shared them to other people who are interested to plant food in their home or community. Again, thanks and we wish you all the best!