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Feb 17, 2011

Four Year Old Lempoyang ( zingiber zerumbet )

These are four to five year old lempoyang from our farm.  You can call Suria if you wish to purchase them:

lempoyang, zingiber zerumbet, cervical cancer,

lempoyang, zingiber zerumbet, cervical cancer,

lempoyang, zingiber zerumbet, cervical cancer,

Farm manager, Haji Razaly with a bunch of 4 year old lempoyang rhizomes

lempoyang, zingiber zerumbet, cervical cancer,

Younger rhizomes (above picture) similar to those sold in the markets are used by us for replanting. Older rhizomes are used by us for health supplementation purposes.

Here's a research paper on the anti-inflammatory effect of lempoyang :

 http://www.ukm.my/rsenr3/rsenr1/P516-520.pdf

 

The aqueous extract is as effective as reference NSAIDs.

 

We use the lempoyang as part of our anti-inflammation diet at a dosage of 5 to 10 grams twice a week.

 

Here's a Bernama report on the effects of lempoyang on cervical cancer:

 

http://web3.bernama.com/education/newsr.php?id=557690

 

Readers of this blog please note that the report refers to laboratory results on laboratory animals.  Results on humans may differ significantly.  Extracts from many plants of the ginger family have been found to have cytotoxic effects on cancer cells in the laboratory but these does not necessarily translate to a cure.

Jan 31, 2011

Starting Free Range Chickens in Malaysia

Fixed houses (reban) where the chickens come out to range and go back in at night is not a good solution to free-ranging slow growing breeds in our wet, humid climate.  As the chickens can take up to 100 days to reach marketable size, the area around the house would be foul in no time.

The solution is a movable tent, and fenced fields to keep moving the chickens onto fresh grounds.

These are how the fields look like in our farm:

hoop houses,pastured poultry system,free-range chicken,organic chicken,ayam kampung

hoop houses,pastured poultry system,free-range chicken,organic chicken,ayam kampung

These are the steps:

1. Fence up the area:

hoop houses, pastured poultry system, free-range chicken, organic chicken,

To save costs, make your own concrete posts.  If you don't know how, learn.  It's a skill worth learning.  Wooden posts in Malaysia means cutting of jungle trees, termite problems, wood rot, etc.  Concrete the bottom of the fence to keep out pigs.  You can lose up to 30 chickens per night from a small family of pigs.

hoop houses, pastured poultry system, free-range chicken, organic chicken,

hoop houses, pastured poultry system, free-range chicken, organic chicken,

hoop houses, pastured poultry system, free-range chicken, organic chicken,

2. Make your own field feeders and drinkers:

hoop houses, pastured poultry system, free-range chicken, organic chicken,

hoop houses, pastured poultry system, free-range chicken, organic chicken,

You can't be a farmer without basic bar-bending and welding skills.

3. Have a stationary seine-net like area for catching the chickens:

hoop houses, pastured poultry system, free-range chicken, organic chicken,

We generally can have an area up and running for 1000 chickens within 10 days - two hoop houses, 30 field feeders, water tank and self-made line drinkers, and fencing and posts for an area that's equal to half an acre ( the grass will last about 20 days, then you have to shift the chickens to the next field.  If you don't, the chickens will start having health problems).

Jan 27, 2011

Kunyit Hitam - We hit a mother lode

We hit upon a clump of withered curcuma plants with dried yellow leaves,  in the forest next to the farm.  This is what we pulled out from underneath the plants; easily a kilogram :

black turmeric, kunyit hitam,temu hitam, kali haldi,curcuma aeruginosa, curcuma caesia

black turmeric,kunyit hitam,temu hitam,kali haldi,curcuma aeruginosa,curcuma caesia

Close up with one of the rhizomes sliced opened.

black turmeric, kunyit hitam,temu hitam, kali haldi,curcuma aeruginosa, curcuma caesia

click for close up

This is how you propagate the black kunyit fast.  Remove the rhizomes that extend down into the soil to use, and split those above to plant.

NOTE 22/7/2012 : TWO READERS OF THIS BLOG, ONE FROM HAWAII, AND ANOTHER FROM LANGKAWI, PAK DIN,   http://herbwalk-langkawi.com.my/thewalk.html HAVE IDENTIFIED THIS PLANT AS Kaempferia parviflora, A PLANT FOUND IN NORTHERN THAILAND AND USED EXTENSIVELY FOR TRADITIONAL MEDICINE.  THANKS TO BOTH FOR HELPING OUT.

THE PLANT WAS FOUND IN A FOREST NEXT TO OUR FARM.  WE TAKE NOTE THAT THE FOREST IN QUESTION IS BOUNDED ON THREE SIDES BY FARMS AND ON ONE SIDE BY A FOREST RESERVE. WE CAN ONLY SPECULATE HOW IT WAS INTRODUCED INTO THE FOREST, THOUGH WE MUST ADMIT IT SEEMS EXTREMELY WELL ADAPTED TO THE CONDITIONS LOCALLY AND WE HAVE NEVER SEEN ANY DISEASE AFFECTING THE SAID PLANT.

Jan 17, 2011

Sweet Potatoes for the beginner organic farmer

Sweet potatoes are ideal for the beginning organic farmer and the beginning permaculturist.  It is an undemanding crop and do not require high nitrogen inputs ( which equal to less costs and less disease problems).

If you are trying to earn some extra cash, then grow  the purple colored varieties as they fetch a higher price and is always in demand (because of its higher antioxidant content).  Organic shops will buy them off you anytime.

sp1 web.JPG

To grow them, start a nursery with tubers ( of the quality and variety you want ) as follows:

sp nurse2 web.JPG

This one uses a conventional black nursery poly bag.

sp nurse1 web.JPG

Here we use discarded tyres from tyre shops at no costs.

Instead of a nursery, you can also use cuttings from fully grown vines from existing sweet potatoe patches (so long as you know the quality).

When the shoots or slips, as they are called, are about 8 inches long, snip them off and plant to soil.

sp slip1 web.JPG

The slip is snip off to plant.  The tuber will continue to provide slips for months.

sp slip2 web.JPG

Snip off the lower leaves before planting.

sp bunch of slips Web.JPG

Bunch of slips

sp planting1 web.JPG

Insert the slip into the soil at an angle using a bamboo or a piece of wood.

sp planting2 web.JPG

A planted bed. 

Raised beds are preferred. Use sandy soil.  Do not fertilise with high nitrogen fertilisers such as chicken dung. Use vermicast, compost or humus.  Sweet potato is ready for harvest in 4 months (depending on variety).

The home gardener or small-scale farmer can start a nursery in one tyre and then plant individual slips in seperate tyres as follows:

sp slips tyres Web.JPG

Planting in tyres as raised beds to make use of land with bad clayey soil at the farm (click on pic for close up)

Each tyre will then produce one crop of sweet potatoes and you harvest as and when you need them.

At our farm, we also plant sweet potatoe as a living mulch:

sp patch Web.JPG

Jan 10, 2011

Edible Ferns

Edible ferns have been enjoyed for thousands of years by rural folks.  It is now making its way into gourmet restaurants and urban kitchens.  If your farm have earth drains, then edible ferns can be an extra source of income with almost zero costs.  Just make sure that your water source is pristine as ferns are good absorbers of heavy metals. 

paku2 Web.JPG

Paku1 Web.JPG

this one 2 Web.JPG

This one, diplazium esculentum

not this one Web.JPG

 Not this one.  Note the difference in the branching.

fronds and leaves Web.JPG

Edible fronds and young leaves.

frond2 Web.JPG

Edible fronds

Edible ferns are delicious stir-fried with sambal belacan, or just dried anchovies, or plain garlic.

Jan 03, 2011

Non-Paying lover of our chickens came visiting....

The way to handle them is to bundle them in a sack and release them far, far away....

 python1 web.JPG

python5 web.JPG

16 footer, 90 pounder (40kg) being manhandled by bouncers from Nepal.

 

Dec 29, 2010

Malaysia's Best Durians?

We have received our Malaysia's Best certification from FAMA. This means that the country's national marketing authority for agricultural produce have satisfied themselves that we have met all national and international good agricultural practices.

We remain the ONLY certified organic durian farm in the country.  There's this guy selling 'organic' durians from Pahang at Bangsar in front of TMC.  It is not from our farm, be warned!

M Best Sijil 2 Web.jpg

If we do sell our durians locally, it will be with a SOM sticker and a copy of the FAMA certificate or the organic certificate (SOM certificate) below:

som cert 2010 Web.jpg

Dec 24, 2010

Energy Free Cooling (Sun Shading For Rebans)

West side sun shading leading to energy free cooling via passion fruit vines at our farm:

energy free cooing Web 2.JPG

energy free cooling Web1.JPG

energy free cooling horizontal ties Web.JPG

Plastic coated wires to act as support for the vines.

External ambient temperature, 38 celcius at 2 to 3pm.  Under the passion fruit shade, 31 to 32 celcius.

Nov 28, 2010

Pandans and Keladi - Permaculture way

Most farms in Malaysia would have earth drains.  Earth drains are cheap and quick to construct and allow rain water to seep into the earth as it makes its way to the rivers. Meander the drains to give the water even more time to infiltrate.  It is one way to reduce flash floods during heavy downpours. Properly positioned earth drains will reduce erosion especially during our heavy monsoon down pours.

pandan alongside earthdrain Web.JPG

Pandan alongside an earth drain

One way to fully utilise the nature of earth drains is to plant water loving food plants along its course.  To prevent the plants from blocking the flow during heavy downpours, we just add little inlets along the sides and in this instance, plant pandans (pandanus amaryllifolius) and keladi (colocasia esculenta ) in the inlets.  The only maintenance is to quickly replant new shoots to prevent a clump from being formed (which will block the drains).

pandan inlet web.JPG

A plantlet quickly inserted into a new inlet to prevent clumps from being formed

Pandan leaves are used in aromatic Asian cooking and are always in demand by buyers.

Yams in inlets web.JPG

Keladi being planted in inlets along the earth drain

Keladi tubers (taro) fetch a good price.  At our farm, we grow the keladis with zero input - no pesticide, no fertilisers, etc are needed.  When keladis are grown in wet earth, the tubers are twice the size of those grown on soil and watered.

yams in inlets web 2.JPG

Keladi producing edible tubers with zero maintenance. The picture shows permaculture features like mulching, companion planting, avoidance of monoculture, and fitting food cultivation to the character of the land, here, land with high water table.

yams in inlets web 3.JPG

More keladis and some edible ferns, which also love water.

Nov 23, 2010

Useful Plants At The Farm - Patawali

 

patawaliWeb1.JPG

Patawali is a climbing vine and can be planted wherever there's free vertical spaces

This is one of the most useful plants at the farm - patawali or tinospora crispa.

In Vietnam it is called the "vine with a genie's intelligence".  In the Philippines, it is called, "to give life".

patawali leaf 2 Web.JPG

The leaves can be used as an insect repellant

At our farm, the plant has certainly given life to many an animal with indeterminate debility health problems and fevers.  We have been successful with a dosage of about 0.07 grams of the stem per kg body weight for chickens and 10 grams for a goat of about 40 kg.

patawali stem Web.JPG

The stem is used for treating animals

We use this plant also as an insect repellant specifically for mites, aphids and hoppers.

To use, chop finely the leaves and spread around newly planted chillies and other vegetables to prevent insects from spreading viruses such as those that cause chilly leaf curl, at an early stage.  Repeat every 5 days.

To make a spray, extract the active ingredients by fermenting the leaves and chopped stem in a solution of your own lactobacillus brew or if you don't have any, then EM is fine.  After 14 days, sieve and dilute 1:500 times (can be stronger but watch out for the acidity) and spray on plants to get rid of the target insects.

A DQ discovery; as a mosquito repellent, just pound or blend some stem, filter the juice, and apply on bare skin. It has a pleasant herby aroma.  Let dry and you will be mosquito free the whole night (with the possibility of reducing skin mites, and also, skin repair due to its antioxidant content).  No necessity for toxic pesticides, or genetically modified mosquitoes. The juice can be kept in the fridge for weeks, making it convenient to use.

We also use this plant as an immune booster for ourselves when we feel under the weather.

(Malaysians interested in planting patawali for use as a natural mosquito repellant can write to me for cuttings for free.  You pay for the postage though, or pick it up.  Email us at hs_wong33@yahoo.com).