Carmeta’s Corner

This space was created to discuss and exchange ideas about promoting good nutrition, food security and related matters – Blogmaster

116 comments

  • TheO and Greene,

    Come home soon!

    I recently suggested a blog from Robert Lucas and Silly Woman. Agricultural advice, developments in agriculture, recipes, food storage, food preservation, food hygiene, simple money saving tips etc. In short all things agricultural and all things food. Both of these people are very good story tellers. And GP may very well cuss me but his input on diet and nutrition would be helpful. He also has a colourful personality which works when he wants it to.

    It does not matter the frequency of the comments. What matters is the number of readers. This would be a great time for such an endeavour.

    “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

    Carneta was a household name when she was alive. Big personality that is still not forgotten. All it takes is good presentation to capture interest.

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  • Correction – Carmeta

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  • present and accounted for. are we starting afresh or should we invite Robert Lucas to write all he wants to share about agriculture or should we ask questions and get his advice?

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  • Thanks David. Much appreciated.

    @Greene May 2, 2020 5:45 PM “should we invite Robert Lucas to write all he wants to share about agriculture or should we ask questions and get his advice?”

    Both would be helpful.

    I already have a question for robert. Should I or should I not water my avocado tree in the dry season? The tree starts to blossom in the northern spring, about mid-March which is right in the middle of our driest season. My father who was a small farmer, but not an agronomist used to suggest that I give it a 5 gallon bucket of water any day that it does not rain. But I’ve also heard that avocado needs a dry period to come into bloom.

    Which is correct?

    It is a mature tree, started to produce fruit in 2005. So to water or not to water in the dry season?

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  • The old people would drive a stake in the trunk (heart) of a fruit tree. They believe it helped to bring the fruit tree to blossom. Fact of fiction.

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  • @David

    mostly in coconut trees which i use to hear needed iron to bear lol. i dont know whether it was true but it seemed to work but come to thinl of it i used to see stakes in pear (avocado) trees too. good question that.

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  • Picked my first 28 okras on Monday. I expect to harvest about 500 or so from these 21 plants before the end of the season.

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  • How to keep okras fresh after picking? Do you freeze them?

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  • Out of waste, farmer grows pineappl business

    by SHERIA BRATHWAITE

    sheriabrathwaite@nationnews.com

    THESE FIELDS AND HILLS

    DEVON SLATER found value in the daily waste from Bridgetown vendors and used some to develop his agrobusiness.

    “I went in Town and picked up the tops (crowns) from a vendor who sells pineapples near the taxi stand on Lower Broad Street,” he told These Fields And Hills. “I went by him, another guy, and collected some from the market.

    “People looked at me a kind of way, like why

    Continued on next page.

    DEVON SLATER showing two of the three varieties of pineapple In his garden.

    THE FARMER said he wanted to expand his project. (Pictures by Lennox Devonish).

    was I going in the garbage. I told them, you could grow pineapples from the leaves, but everybody doubted me.”

    Determined to prove the sceptics wrong, Slater put soil into a few containers he had around the house, cut off the remaining fleshly part on the pineapple crowns, pruned the leaves and placed them into the soil. A few months later, Slater said, he noticed the plants were getting bigger and this proved his theory.

    For the past five years, he has been growing the fruit on a small plot of land adjacent to his Orange Hill, St James home.

    He said pineapples grew best in mixed soil and containers instead of planting them directly into the earth. It can take a year or several years before the plant flowers but Slater said his flowered, developed fruit and produced suckers in fewer than 12 months.

    He credited a soil mix from Portvale sugar factory, stating it was high in nutritional content. Slater, whose hobby is farming, said he sells some of the produce and keeps the rest for the household, but wanted to expand his project into a medium-scale venture and sell the fruit on a commercial level.

    Next step

    At first, he grew only one variety but through a work colleague, he got two others. “These sweeter than the one we usually get in

    the supermarket and I germinate them all the time to increase production. One variety is called honeydew and the other sugar sweet.

    My supervisor got them from Florida,” he said.

    The next step in the expansion process is getting more containers, but Slater said he has been experiencing challenges.

    He suggested that if more people grew pineapples, eventually the need to import the fruit would decrease.

    He appealed to kitchen gardeners and people with green thumbs to get involved.

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  • @David

    nice piece. need RL to explain some of the technical details of soil mix.

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  • @Robert Lucas,

    recently you advised that a sweet lime hedge would be good for a live defensive fence. my question is would bougainvillea which also have thorns but flowers beautifully be as impenetrable as sweet lime?

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  • @ Greene May 6, 2020 8:01 AM
    There is no problem with having a bougainvillea hedge. Serves the same purpose as the sweet lime and it establishes itself faster. In both cases you get the protection required.

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  • @ RL,

    now please address this problem of soil mix.

    i have been looking at some youtube videos and there is a chap on one from California who says that top soil and other soil amendments like compost sold for horticulture for the most part is nonsense.

    and that soil consists of sand, slit and clay. he said the best medium for growing is sandy soil which consist of 60 % sand, 30% clay and 10% slit or thereabouts. the sand and slit are permeable-allows air to penetrate to the roots and the clay is porous as it retains water for the roots.

    and that compost, mulch and other dead plant / wood material belong on the surface to breakdown and feed the plants. trees planted in soil mixed with mulch and or compost will eventually die as the dead material breaks down and eventually suffocate the roots. he said that only a few plants can tolerate this.

    my own experience is that he is correct. i have been planting trees for the 3 years in pots with soil mixes i brought from garden shops and have found that some of my plants have died. and that the soil mix turns to sludge and smells over time. since then i have reverted to bajan dirt and the plants have thrived.

    what is your take

    it have posted the video but it is an hour long

    robert lucas May 6, 2020 2:24 AM

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  • @RL

    my apologies. here is the youtube video

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  • @ Silly Woman May 2, 2020 10:39 PM

    i am sorry about the late reply. Did not know this particular Blog was up. Apply the water. Lack of water causes stunted growth .yellow leaves and small size fruit. The roots of the plant can also develop fungal rot if the soil is deficient in water. The plant do best in areas with about 40 inches of rain per annum

    “he tree starts to blossom in the northern spring, about mid-March which is right in the middle of our driest”

    The local cultivars( the term used to denote a variety which is cultivated) of flower between March and April. Produces hundreds of thousands of flowers most of which fall off. This process is called June drop although it occurs before June. Once the fruit has set( you will see the young fruit)it is advisable to reduce the amount of fertilizer ( if you are applying it) reduce fruit drop. You can increase fruit set by applying a plant growth hormone as a foliar treatment to the young fruit. The rooting hormone powder that is used to promote the development of roots in plant cuttings can be used ( it contains some form of indole acetic acid). Just follow the manufacturers instructions.

    ” But I’ve also heard that avocado needs a dry period to come into bloom.”
    The dry period allows for the build of the carbon -nitrogen ratio which is responsible for the initiation of fruits. If the ratio is not balance ,fruiting does not occur. A gallon of water to the plant won’t affect blooming. As a matter of fact fruit trees which are subjected to drought conditions for some period of time, when fruiting occurs after a rainfall produces fruit of very high flavor and quality.

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  • @ Greene

    I asked before, but it was removed. Have you considered using your hedgerow to manage out burglaries by using bramble? Having fruit trees is nice, but theft is a big problem in Barbados.
    Someone obviously does not think this is an issue that should be raised on this blog. It is.

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  • @ Greene May 6, 2020 7:54 AM

    It is the way pineapples trees are propagated. The crown is dipped in a rooting hormone in commercial operations and then planted out. There is nothing new about this. If you purchase a pineapple which has been imported you will notice that there is a part missing from the center of the crown; the missing part is what is known in plant physiology as the apical meristem. Normally, the crowns may also be treated with radiation to prevent growth. Unless you use plant tissue culture techniques, the crown won’t grow. In the above case, the leaves produces adventitious roots. The rooting can be accelerated with the addition of rooting hormones. Once the crown has not been radiated, it can grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Hal,

    that is the question i asked RL re bougainvillea and sweet lime hedge for a live security barrier.

    i visited a returnee about a year ago and he managed to get some mangoes becos he planted a bougainvillea around the tree. neither the monkeys or the thieves got any.

    i was going to metal fence my property but it would have been too expensive and too ugly so i thought as using bougainvillea but RL had suggested sweet lime.

    since i put the question to him he has advised that bougainvillea would work as well.

    i will let him advise about brambles.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Greene May 6, 2020 8:33 AM
    The fellow forgot to include humus in the composition of soils. You can carry out the following experiment: Get a transparent container and place some soil from your back yard into the container. Add water in excess and shake well. Allow to stand over night. Examine after about a day. You will observe that there is a layer of material floating on the surface. This material is humus, the remains of organic matter(decayed plant material).
    Eventually, all organic matter is degraded in the soil. Mulches serves two purposes. It functions to break the impact of down pours on the soil, reducing soil erosion and and improving the percolation of water into the soil. It also preserves the micro-climate surrounding the plants and increases the amount of soil water available for plant uptake. The addition of plant remains ( green manure) increases the mineral content of the soil. The incorporation of plant material into the soil increases the soil aeration and improves the tilth of the soil. It also increases what is known as the cation exchange capacity of the soil (in other words increases the fertility). Even under zero tillage where the land is not plowed, but seeds are planted directly into the soil using the seed drill: the idea is the preservation of the soil structure by allowing the surface vegetation to remain intact ,thereby reducing surface run off. There is therefore lots to be said for the use of green manures in agriculture.

    “my own experience is that he is correct. i have been planting trees for the 3 years in pots with soil mixes i brought from garden shops and have found that some of my plants have died. and that the soil mix turns to sludge and smells over time. since then i have reverted to bajan dirt and the plants have thrived.

    You have not given a very good example. First off what was the mixture made up of? there are lots of charlatans in the business. First are the plants still in pots or plastic bags? It appears that you may have been applying too much water. If you are using pots up end the pots and inspect to insure that the drainage holes are not plugged . if plugged, removed the contents of the pot, clean and sanitize the pot: place some small pebbles in the bottom of the pot( to prevent clogging). To the pot add a mixture of sieved dried pen manure and soil: you can use a mixture of three parts soil to one part of sieved dried manure. You won’t get any further problem. worked when I was at soil and the mixture is still used as far as I know for potting purposes.

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  • @RL,

    Thanks. i suspected i watered too much. i cant remember the name of the potting mix but i seemed light and was composed of ground up plant material.

    will try your suggestion

    please answer Hal’s query about using Bramble as a security fence

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  • @ Hal May 6, 2020 8:42 AM

    “bramble” I gather you are using the word in the generic sense to refer to any number of plants that produce thorns or “plimplers” ( maybe I have the spelling wrong, haven’t used the word since I was boy and for that matter bramble bush). Sweet lime and bougainvillea have lots of thorns (brambles). A bramble bush would work, but depends on the growth habit of the bramble bush: that is if it can form a hedge in depth with out spaces between the individual plants.

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  • @ Robert

    That is an intervention. The use of thorns (brambles) is a central part of anti-crime planning in criminological theory. The idea is that regular burglars will find it difficult getting through the bush, and certainly escaping through it. Obviously it is a sub-urban or rural thing.

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  • @Hal,

    when you say bramble, to what bush, shrub or tree, are you referring?

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  • HA I asked before, but it was removed.
    David: This is a lie. Is this the comment you refer as being deleted?

    nary a response. only more brambling.

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  • Anything with thorns such as roses, they must be thick so that intruders cannot work or cut their way through them. They are very effective, do not look out of place and if trimmed can be a decent part of the landscape.
    As I said earlier, my father in law has fruit trees in his back garden and young men just walk in and pick the breadfruit. He is too old to do anything about it. They tried the same thing with an old teacher and he pulled a gun on them.

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  • @ Hal May 6, 2020 2:10 PM

    Your choice of the word bramble has left the younger folks flummoxed. No one talks about bramble bushes or plimplers these day. We are really quite ancient it would seem. remember getting a plimpler in the finger your mother having to use candle grease and heat to extract it?

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  • @ Robert

    I remember it well. Those old remedies worked very well. I live with a keen amateur gardener and the weather this week has been like the Caribbean. I try to avoid the garden – either working on it, or relaxing in it.
    Blackberries and raspberries are good for borders, but they easily get out of control. I am not sure if they grow in Barbados. @Robert, you should go in to practice as a consultant and/or run tutorials. How about a weekly column in one of the papers, but make sure they pay you.

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  • @ Hal May 6, 2020 4:30 PM
    I am like a pariah. I was told by a deputy Chief Agricultural officer that there is need to rehabilitate me. A Minister of Agriculture told me the same thing also. I did not know that there was a warrant out for my arrest. I have been told by lots of people that persons who I have never met or worked with ,whenever my name comes up for positions, say that I am difficult, aloof and too independent of thought. I left the Ministry of Agriculture in January 1975. I was told by the white guy when I was at Soil Conservation, that he was going to ensure no work for me locally. Even my ex-wife who has powerful connections with one of the parties told me the same thing .I am aware of what the problem is: it is one of envy. This not a boast, I am better than any one in this island at this point in time in my related disciplines. I easily transit from agriculture into food science ,into microbiology and chemistry (the areas I really like a lot) and into genetic engineering. It does not bother me which part I have to deal with. I also think differently. It seems that lesser persons( eg: the ass Dullard) are offended by their perception of being not on the same level as myself. How else can one explain things. I have written lots of articles in the past to the press: as I have said I do so because of the Institute I belong to. You do not seem to understand, the standard here is the acceptance of mediocrity as the par for promotion. There is no understanding of excellence. I want nothing from this place. What I do is just observe the pomposity of the local elite. I get a laugh when the industrialized countries put the squeeze on the island. You hear talk about being held to ransom.
    The minister of tourism earlier was claiming that he expected tourism to rebound before the end of the year. He has now seen the light and has now stated that it will take some while for tourism to rebound. There is also concerns that the NIS will get into difficulties having to pay unemployment benefits to over thirty-thousand persons.

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  • @David May 5, 2020 4:30 AM “How to keep okras fresh after picking? Do you freeze them?”

    Okras will keep well in the fridge for a week or two. Other than that “yes” they freeze quite well. I have learned that if I intend to use the frozen ones for cou-cou to slice them up before freezing. Then once I am ready to cook, straight from the package into the pot. If cooking them stretched-out, put in the pot while still frozen. Do not defrost first or you may get an unpleasant mushy mess.

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  • @robert lucas May 6, 2020 8:39 AM @ Silly Woman, i am sorry about the late reply. Did not know this particular Blog was up. Apply the water. Lack of water causes stunted growth .yellow leaves and small size fruit.”

    Thank you. . I have been doing so during this very dry period. Fruit has begun to set. They are about as big right now as the tip of my little finger. By mid-October they are typically as big as my two fists put together.

    On Tuesday I sowed from seed, celery, sweet pepper and Chinese cabbage. I have grown sweet peppers and Chinese cabbage very successfully. I’ve never grown celery, so I will see how that turns out. I gather that it likes a somewhat cooler climate than Barbados’

    My chief has said to me that you should have been appointed as Chief Agricultural Officer.

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  • @Greene May 6, 2020 8:01 AM “recently you advised that a sweet lime hedge would be good for a live defensive fence. my question is would bougainvillea which also have thorns but flowers beautifully be as impenetrable as sweet lime?”

    Go with the bougainvillea for all of the reasons robert explained, but also because it flowers so beautifully in the driest part of the year [like now] when the landscape is scorched and there is nothing much beautiful to look at.

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  • Ways to boost food security

    SYNTROPIC FARMING, using the regeneration of the land and water cycles, can help the region improve its food security, says environmental specialist Ursula Artzmann.
    But before that can happen, Artzmann said more people must be educated on the subject.
    During a Live Living Room session organised by the Caribbean Permaculture Research Institute in Barbados (CPRI) and the Walkers Institute for Regenerative Research and Design (WIRRED), Artzmann said that the techniques would be especially useful to countries that were heavily dependent on tourism.
    “Many islands focused heavily on one income stream, but we see what can happen if food security is not in place. This shift towards tourism has left lots of land unattended, so increasing farming and teaching people how to regenerate their land and water cycle . . . that would not only increase water security but it would increase complete resilience of these islands,” she said.
    The discussion was held under the theme Syntropic Farming. Insights into Regenerative Agroforestry, and it was powered by the InterAmercian Development Bank.
    Syntropic Farming is the brainchild of Swiss farmer and scientist, Ernst Götsch.
    And Artzman, who worked closely with Gotsch is the founder of Soulfood Forestfarms, an organisation that creates regional teaching and support centres to transition farms from conventional to syntropic farming.
    Artzmann said the system can be replicated anywhere and results in improved soil quality and facilitates a reduction in water and nutrient inputs.
    There are five key principles; ground cover, maximising photosynthesis, natural succession, stratification and management.
    For ground cover, there is to be no bare dirt ever. If the ground is not covered by a plant it must be covered with mulch.

    Secondly, maximising the amount of photosynthesising foliage improves soil quality and produces abundant supplies of food.
    Much like a rainforest has a natural succession, where new life replaces old, so does a syntropic farming system.
    The stratification principle highlights that plants with differing light requirements creates a multi-layered system of diversity and creates resilience.
    Lastly, a management system involving harvesting, pruning and monitoring is needed to maintain ground cover.
    In addition to food security and having healthier food options, she said the method also allowed crops to stand up to storms.
    “In Martinique, for example, we have a large-scale fruit producer who switched from classical banana plantations to synthropic plantations and found out they are highly resilient to storms.
    “So, there is a way their systems kick in very quickly after a hurricane and are productive again compared to monoculture,” she added. (TG)

    Nation newspaper 7/05/2020

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  • @ Robert

    Ignore Kerrie Symmonds. He is not the brightest spark in the box. He is in over his head. You are right about everything you say about local envy. Not e my many references to Plato’s Allegory, or the one eyed man is king in the land of the blind.
    Don’t let them stymie your efforts to educate the public. Unfortunately, you live and operate in Barbados, but for some of us it is possible to enjoy a successful career in an occupation of our choice outside Barbados, visiting the island only occasionally for holidays.
    You are not aloof or difficult, you are simply proud of your knowledge, acquired after years of study. That can upset some people on BU – and the wider society. Don’t let the buggers grind you down.
    Keep up the good work.

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  • I picked 31 okras this morning. It has been my experience that the production of okras rises slowly over the weeks to a peak, and then just as slowly declines. I pick every other day, very early in the morning, since it is my observation that picking in the cool of the morning rather than in the heat of the afternoon assures a better quality product. I did not wash them as I have observed that washing okras before refrigerating degrades the quality. refrigerated right away. I have decided that the first three pickings are for my “immediate extended family”, 3 households, then subsequently the pickings are for my neighbors, 10 households. I follow the practice of my father who always gave some of his produce to his mother who did not live in our household, and then some to the neighbors, the people in our gap. I also listen to the heavenly father who advised”

    “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God”
    Leviticus 19:9

    We read this Scripture ot my father’s funeral. It has been my experience, and continues to be my experience that if people know that they can get something free, that they are less likely to steal it. This is not to say that nobody has ever stolen from me, but on the whole things have been good.

    But wunna know that i always have a “human interest” story. A few years ago I looked out and there was a strange man in my backyard pear tree. I grabbed my Collins, which i have professionally sharpened a couple of times per year–all farmers, regardless of how small own Collinses, which are used to chop bush– went into my backyard and invited him down from the tree. I knew that he could not fly like a bird, nor jump from many feet high like a monkey, that he had to come down and meet the irate old lady at the base of the tree. By this time the good neighbours had gathered to help. We did not hurt him. We did not touch even a hair on his head. I did not call the police. He had two supermarket bags filled to the very top with pears. I invited him to place them on the ground, and asked him never to return to my home. I invited the good neighbours to take as many of the pears as they wanted. He has not returned…yet.

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  • @ Silly Woman May 7, 2020 7:54 AM
    “I did not wash them as I have observed that washing okras before refrigerating degrades the quality. refrigerated right away.”
    This practice of your increases what is known as the refrigeration load of compressor which powers your fridge. You should really wash to reduce what is known as field heat(solar energy taken up by the okra),thereby reducing the load placed on the compressor since the okras are then at a much lower temperature: But as you said you pick early in the morning so you can get away with it since the temperature of your okras may not be very high. You should blanch vegetables before freezing (steam treated for about a minute and then rapidly cool) before freezing. You alluded to the fact that you have to cook the okras without thawing, else they become smash-like, The soft texture is due to the fact that freezer compartment of home fridges can only freeze at a slow rate. This results in the formation of large ice-crystals in the cells of the okra. On thawing, the ice-crystals disrupt the cell walls. Quick freezing results in small ice-crystals and the texture of the frozen product remains intact. To quick a sharp freezer( blast freezer) is needed. At home one can adapt the home freezer to approximate rapid freezing: using individual quick freezing by placing individual slices of okra separately on a metal plate into the empty freezer compartment. In this case in a couple of minutes the slices become frozen and the ice-crystals are small and texture is retained. Anyhow, keep doing what you are doing since it is working for you.

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  • @Robert Lucas,

    could you please address the merits of high density planting? how useful would it be for farmers in Bim?

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  • Thanks robert. I am wondering if a ceramic plate would work as well as a metal one. “Corelle” plates to be precise.

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  • @ Silly Woman May 7, 2020 11:32 AM

    No need to go to all of that trouble a zip-lock bag would do . Make sure the okra slice is not very thick and that only one layer deep. You can experiment with the thickness to see what works best. Although the okras are frozen, the enzymes in the cells are still functioning and over a period of time, the quality is affected. As I said, keep doing as you are since it seems to be working.

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  • @ Greene May 7, 2020 10:46 AM

    I have addressed this matter in a past post on BU. The closer the spacing ,the more plants there are in a given area, Therefore the total number of fruits or potatoes increases over the the numbers if wider spacing is used. The individual fruits will be bigger with wider spacing. Closer spacing results in smaller size but more fruit and thus greater yield in pounds/tons. Closer spacing reduces the need to weed often.

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  • @ RL,

    thanks again

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  • FAO: Boost intra regional trade
    COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses in Caribbean food security and is forcing planners to come up with strategies to ensure the region’s economic survival.
    In the fifth webinar of the FAO-COVID-19 and Food System series yesterday, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Joseph Cox; chair of CARICOM Agriculture Sector COVID-19 Response Task Force Saboto Caesar and Caribbean Private Sector Organisation representative Dr Patrick Antoine explored these issues with FAO and some regional experts.
    Cox said the region did not necessarily have a shortage of food at this point, instead, there was a “misalignment of demand and supply which must be corrected”.
    “We have to ensure we secure our supply chain, strengthening our ability to anticipate and meet
    demand and set out the phased recovery processes,” he stated.
    Noting that the pandemic is not going away Cox said the task for the region was to figure out how countries could reopen their economies even with COVID-19 still around. He suggested the approach “must be coordinated and comprehensive, underpinned by communication”.
    “So that when you are going forward with agriculture and the attendant sectors, we have to look at communicating to our manufacturing, our distribution base, how they need to reconfigure their processes to ensure that we still have the requisite protective mechanisms in place to minimise the possibility of an additional outbreak,” he said.
    Antoine, in his presentation, called for a re-examination of CARICOM’s trade performance.
    “Our task in the presence of this COVID environment is to try to unlock the
    agricultural system,” he said, suggesting the region should consider cutting imports and driving intra-regional trade from a perspective of private sector investment.
    FAO regional representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, Julio Berdegue, advised the region to pay attention to its macro-economic development and to implement policies that will ensure food security and survival through the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Berdegue said the FAO was worried about the region’s dependency on tourism, its level of external debt and how this would affect capacity of countries to import food they need. ( GC)

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  • Price ease soon, says BARVEN soon,

    Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir ( right),manager of markets Sherlock King (yellow)and BARVEN president Alister Alexander(second left) chatting during the tour of the new market yesterday as other officials listen in.

    Consumers can expect prices of fruit and vegetables to drop with the opening of the new outdoor market, says president of the Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs (BARVEN), Alister Alexander.

    During the official opening of the new chattel house-styled market on the Mighty Grynner Highway yesterday, Alexander acknowledged that the environment led to the surge in prices.

    He also said those increases could be attributed to the closure of the temporary market at Cheapside in The City.

    “The price of vegetables is up and that is for more than one reason, one of which is that we have a drought situation in the country and even more so with the absence of a market like the BARVEN market, that caused an absence of the necessary price regulating tool, and that is a farmers’ market.

    “You not only get fresh produce; you also get the best of prices. Everybody has to be competing with a market such as BARVEN, so you will find their absence means high prices, but we expect the prices to come back down to a reasonable situation when the market is in full operation,”home the could of the Alexander said. The space opposite Rascals, formerly Weisers on the Bay, is the new home for 72 vendors who worked from BARVEN’s temporary market. They were forced to stop working because the crowding in that area increased fears that it could lead to further spread of coronavirus.

    The stalls took about three days to complete through collaboration between five small contracting firms, the Urban Development Commission and the National Cultural Foundation.

    Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Indar Weir and manager markets Sherlock King also attended the opening and gave their approval, since it also had space for parking bathroom facilities.

    They, however, urged people to follow road safety rules when entering the facility, stressing that motorists travelling on the highway from Bridgetown were not to cross the solid line and turn right to reach the market.

    “I am pleased to note we have been able to provide a facility to help them get back to business and to make sure we remove from [Cheapside] the derelict-looking structures that were in place there.

    “I think this represents tremendous improvement and I strongly support the operation. I like the appearance of the chattel houses,” Weir said.

    Earlier this week, not all vendors supported the plan to relocate to the Mighty Grynner Highway.However, Hetty Waithe, who was one of the firstto set up, said she was

    just pleased to be working again.

    “I stopped working when the country shut down, so I’m just glad to be out of the house to make a little something,” she said. (TG)

    Shoppers patronising Hetty Waithe’s stall yesterday.

    A vendor bagging cucumbers for customers.

    (Pictures by Shanice King.)

    Lorna Gilkes was assisting her friend Erskine Forte in selling his produce.

    The chattel house-styled stalls at the new outdoor market on the Mighty Grynner Highway.

    (Pictures by Shanice King.)

    days collaboration firms, Commission Weisersworked temporary Food manager of attended approval, parking and

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  • PORK PLEA

    Pig farmers want the Ministry of Agriculture to collaborate with other government departments to halt unnecessary pork imports.

    They say that for the past few weeks, there has been a surplus of pork and retail prices have dropped considerably.

    Yesterday, farmers reported that the glut was because HIPAC Ltd, a meat processing company had stopped taking carcasses, for more than a month and large amounts of pork were being imported.

    President of the Barbados Association of Pig Farmers Henderson Williams, said several farmers had a backlog of fresh meat and incurred serious losses.

    He explained that HIPAC requested porkers at 176 pounds or 80 kilograms and because farmers no longer had access to that processing company, they were forced to keep the animals longer.

    “Farmers meet weight requirements for their markets, and, not being able to sell to particular markets mean that they would be experiencing losses. Carrying a pig for an additional six weeks to two months, after getting it market-ready in three to four months’ time, is an additional cost because you have to feed them everyday.”

    He added that the demand for pork was critically low at this time since the restaurant, hotel and food vendor markets had collapsed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Overall, he said the industry was facing about 30 to 50 per cent losses.

    The second largest pork producer, Dennis Eversley, said his business was down by 25 per cent.

    “The imported pork is hurting us. We cannot compete with those cheap prices and less people buy from us,” he said.

    “Feed prices have not come down and workers still have to get pay”.

    Eversley said HIPAC was one of his major clients and the cancellation of carcasses affected his business.

    “What has me is that HIPAC is still selling food and we don’t know where they are getting the meat from. The agreement they had with us is that 75 per cent of their products would be made from local meat and 25 per cent from imports,” he said.

    Steve Ifill, owner of Pork City, said his business had hit a disastrous turn and he was barely making ends meet selling a few pounds of pork through online marketing.

    “We are backed-up to the max,” he said. “On a weekly basis, we could supply about 30 pigs. So if HIPAC has been shut down for close to two months, all the pigs are backed up in the system. I am down by 80 per cent.

    “And right now, we should not be bringing in anypork because we are self-sufficient and the Ministry of Agriculture promised that they weredoing an investigation to see where all these

    imports came from. The situation has gone from bad to worse.”

    Ifill said that Government was contradicting itself. He said on one hand it was encouraging Barbadians to support local, yet on the other, it was signing agreements for processing companies to import pork. He said the Ministry of Agriculture should be working with the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Finance to protect farmers.

    Minister of Commerce Dwight Sutherland said the imports could not be stopped.

    “Pre-COVID-19, this Government had been pushing local production but as a result of the World Trade Organisation and various free trade agreements, we can’t ban imports. But what we can do is to create that fiscal space for our local producers to get their products on our markets. If that requires us going back to COTED (CARICOM’s Council for Trade and Economic Development) and ask for duties to be imposed [on imports], we will [do so as] we have a duty to our producers.”

    Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir said the COVID-19 pandemic presented an opportunity for pork producers.

    “I believe that they should now be in a position to sell all their pork for domestic consumption since they are not going to be competing with the imports that the tourism sector would have been influencing.” (SB)

    Like

  • If there is a glut does it not make economic sense for the farmers to sell at cost or below to at least generate cash flow?

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  • I normally do not eat pork because of the price. I recently stated that would never pay $7.00/lb for pork and had ceased eating it, until the pork specials were on again. Yesterday I purchased a Boston Butt (5.962 lbs for $27. ) which I converted early this morning into ham which will be ready in a day or two, but which I will keep in the cure solution for maybe a week or so. I don’t want to get into the habit of eating too much processed foods. Like the poultry situation, all the rations are imported. If there is a prolonged pandemic situation and a shortage of food happens (as seems likely) both industries will suffer devastating blows. For more than forty years, I have pointed out the artificial nature of the poultry industry in particular. I have also outlined means of rectifying the situation using immobilized enzymatic techniques to convert waste materials like coconut shells into proteins for poultry rations. I have also outlined the fact that the efficiency of making rum could be improved by fractional distillation of the must, followed by high speed separation of the yeast cells (utilized as single-cell protein for rations). The menstruum left over from this process is high in molasses and can be blended with fresh molasses or used as is, for further fermentation( after a certain alcohol content, the yeast dies). In the latter case, no one paid any attention to the idea. The British did however and their effort was publicized. At that time a letter by me was published in the “Advocate”, in which I drew attention to the published work by the British and in which I also reminded the public that for years I had been talking about Barbados doing the same thing. The silence that greeted that letter was deafening. It was as though I had never mentioned the topic or written anything on the matter. This country has heard about science and technology but does not understand what it means. It seems to think that jokers who are glib and who talk a lot(and are heavily connected politically) are what the country needs. I find this type of thinking fascinating. Invariably, one is heavily criticized by ass-licking sycophants who keep a lot of noise hollering that one does not have recognition locally.
    Let explain how I buy food apart from when it is on special. I buy based on the unit cost of let say protein content, If the protein content is x dollars per unit for one product and a similar product is x+1 per unit I buy the first product. This of course all depends on the cumulative amount of protein per product.

    Like

  • @ David May 9, 2020 9:17 AM

    About a two weeks before the lock down, “Chicken galore” had a special. Grade B was being sold at $6.00/kg. The other grades were higher but also reduced. During the lock down and just prior to it, the price jumped $9.90/kg. The price has now dropped to $8.80/kg for grade B. Goddard’s pork is being sold at $4,53/lb. Before the lock-down it was $4.49/lb. you will have noticed that I only buy the Grade B. Same protein.

    @ Silly Woman

    You are always talking about eating pork chops. You can get them at Goddard’s for $4.53/lb.

    Like

  • DR LUCAS
    WHY DO YOU WASTE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME CASTING YOUR PEARLS BEFORE THE SWINE? I KNOW IT IS HARD TO TRY NOT TO TEACH AND SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE. BUT IT CAN BE DONE………AT LEAST MOST OF THE TIME.
    MOST OF OUR PEOPLE DONT DESERVE IT. THEY ARE NOT WORTH IT!

    Like

  • @Dr. Lucas

    You may not approve but the blogmaster has been purchasing backyard chicken for many a year at a price way below the wider market.

    Like

  • Of course it is worth it because when he puts his head on the pillow at night he is contented in the knowledge that his public service duties were discharged selflessly. A blessing is waiting somewhere for the good Doctor Lucas.

    Like

  • @ David May 9, 2020 6:46 PM

    If you are referring to the yard fowls running around the place. good for you, they also taste better.

    @ GP May 9, 2020 6:43 PM

    I do so mainly because I remember where I have come from: about two generations ago, we were all destitute (piss-poor). The majority of Barbadians are scientific illiterates (all you need to do is tune in to the call-in programs or view the” mouthing” of some on BU, to reach this conclusion. I also do it because my Institute has a program called “Public Information Program”, where its members are expected to educate the public about food and other scientific matters. For all the noise that Barbadians keep, most do not seem to be able to engage in critical analysis of things, maybe it is genetic.

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  • @ Robert

    We need to go back to the administration that banned people from keeping domestic animals. That is where the rot started. We like buying our eggs and meat from supermarkets, not knowing their origin. Buying chicken from Brazil and Holland is high risk.
    By the way, have you heard of Judy Mikovits?

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  • @Dr. Lucas

    No, this is small farmers raising animals.

    Like

  • @ Hal May 10, 2020 4:22 AM

    Judy Mikovits is in the same boat as the British medical doctor who disseminated incorrect data about the vaccines given to infants. He was struck off the medical register and his article withdrawn from publication. It is irresponsible people like these two, that have caused a resurgence of infections like measles which can kill. People today are pampered: exposure to what life was like before the advent of widespread vaccines would benefit them.

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  • @ Robert

    I am not a medical scientist, nor scientist at all (Mr Earlam wasted his time on me. I could not handle his Leeds accent) but I heard her on video and she sounds convincing. What she had to say about the Bayh-Dole Act is very strong, especially allowing scientists employed by the state to carry out research and then patent the discoveries in their own names. We talked about a similar thing not so long ago.
    Have you read her book. As soon as the lockdown is lifted I shall go out and get a copy. I don’t do Amazon.

    Like

  • @ Hal May 10, 2020 8:04 AM

    Scientist who work for government normally use to get part of the patent, the rest was government. After all they are using government equipment and space, Even in private industry, the scientist gets a cut of the patent. If it has changed with government, maybe due to the fact of trying to retain them. Remember, those fellows in industry get a hell of a lot of money. government salaries are low.

    Like

  • @ Hal May 10, 2020 8:04 AM

    I was not referring to you when I talked about non-scientist on the Bu. The ones i am referring to know that I mean them.

    Like

  • @ David May 10, 2020 5:19 AM

    You seemed to have lost the common touch. There is not one thing wrong with eating the yard fowl. All fowls are descended from the red jungle fowl of Asia(Thailand).All fowls if left alone will scavenge for food (insects and so on like the yard fowl). The broiler if let loose will also scavenge for food. Any how the yard fowl is more flavorsome. The meat is redder due to the fact that the fowls move around more than those kept on the deep litter or battery cage systems. The meat pigment is called myoglobin. The older the animal the higher is the myoglobin content and the redder the meat. Male animals have a higher myoglobin content than female animals. The myoglobin content can be used to differentiate between porcine, ovine and bovine animals. note all appendages in animals that are used a lot have a higher myoglobin content. Broilers wing meat is not very red due to the fact the birds do not get a chance to exercise and fly about the place. If the broilers flew around a lot the wing meat would be very red.

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  • @Dr. Lucas

    You misunderstood the blogmaster’s reply.

    You responded early that there was no problem with eating chickens running around the backyard, blogmaster responded he bought his chicken from a backyard/small farmer. It was to clarify.

    Like

  • @Hal A

    We need to go back to the administration that banned people from keeping domestic animals.
    +++++++++++++++++
    Please enlighten us as to which administration banned people from keeping domestic animals

    Like

  • Good stuff here! I saved the most useful blog for last. Thanks for the pearls, Dr. Lucas. This swine appreciates them and will use them. Got okras in my freezer going soft right now. Got some more to freeze too. Unfortunately I did not grow them. I am trying to muster the courage to try cooking cou cou and okra slush again. Last time was a disaster. Unfortunately I refused to learn to cook it in my youth when my father said no Bajan man would marry me unless I could. I disproved that a few years later. Now my old relatives have died and I would not let my impatient mother teach me ANYTHING, I have no-one to cook it for me and I have not had any for a while. 😢😢😢😢.

    Two back yard chickens cooked in my fridge. Five more in my friend’s freezer. Can’t raise animals for killing because they are likely to become like pets in my mind but I can eat the eggs so I will think of keeping layers.

    Oink, oink!

    Like

  • @GP May 9, 2020 6:43 PM “DR LUCAS. WHY DO YOU WASTE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME CASTING YOUR PEARLS BEFORE THE SWINE? I KNOW IT IS HARD TO TRY NOT TO TEACH AND SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE. BUT IT CAN BE DONE………AT LEAST MOST OF THE TIME. MOST OF OUR PEOPLE DONT DESERVE IT. THEY ARE NOT WORTH IT!”

    Even though I was raised in a barnyard with the pigs, cows, sheep, fowls, turkeys, cats and dogs, I am not, repeat NOT A SWINE, so I thank Dr. Lucas very much for the good advice he so kindly offers.

    I picked 31 okras today, that is 111 since i started picking on May 5. Plenty of flowers on the trees each morning, but alas I have discovered that monkeys will eat okras if they are hungry enough and if there are no nice juicy mangoes around. But they have only taken 3 so far, so for the time being I can live with that.

    Dear Dr. Lucas: Donna asked on another thread when she should thin her carrots. I will defer that question to you, because even though I am supposed to thin my carrots i have not done so in the past. I typically plant 2 x 100 foot beds, 4 rows per bed, so 800 feet in all. They serve my family and my immediate extended family [4 households] very, very well

    Like

  • @ Donna,

    I cook cou cou in a Microwave oven. Takes 4 minutes for 1 serving. Been doing it for years.

    Never tried it on stove with a cou cou stick.

    Like

  • Plenty of cou-cou recipes on the internet too. I haven’t tried any, but Donna might try one or two to see which works best for her.

    last year we had a biggish “immediate extended family”gathering from home and abroad. I’d never cooked cou-cou for 25 people before but someone suggested that instead of a cou-cou stick I use a hand held mixer. It worked like a charm. Then I immediately decanted the cooked cou-cou into a crock pot, drove to a relative’s house about 4 miles away, plugged in the crockpot and everybody had hot cou-cou for the rest of the afternoon.

    I think that it is ok to experiment with traditions.

    If I am cooking cou-cou for one or two people I often use a wooden spoon, works just as well as a cou-cou stick.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @robert lucas May 9, 2020 6:35 PM @ Silly Woman. You are always talking about eating pork chops. You can get them at Goddard’s for $4.53/lb.

    I am anticipating those pork chops. Lol! But I don’t have a car, and I don’t want to get on public transportation these days, but i have beseeched a car owning relative or two, so I expect some chops to come my way sooner or later.

    Like

  • Jesus said in Matthew 7:6
    Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
    IF JESUS SAYS SO IS SO
    I OFTEN FAIL……BUT I TRY TO SPEAK LIKE HE SPOKE AND APPLY THE THINGS HE TAUGHT
    AND I DO SO WITHOUT APOLOGY AND I DO IT WELL

    I HAVE FOUND THAT WHAT JESUS TAUGHT IS TRUE

    Like

  • But the thing is Dt. GP: We are neither swine nor dogs, so Jesus in Matthew 7:6 can not possibly be in reference to us.

    We are eager to learn from Dr. Lucas and to apply what we have learned

    Like

  • @ Silly Woman May 11, 2020 1:52 PM

    I told Donna to do so about the three -four leaf stage.

    Like

  • i have not told you not to be eager to learn from Dr. Lucas and to apply what YOU CAN learn I HAVE STATED MY FEELINGS FROM WHICH I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE OR RECANT

    I HAVE FOUND THAT WHAT JESUS TAUGHT IS VERY TRUE
    WHEN YOU Cast your pearls before swine, they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

    I CAN NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE IF YOU DONT UNDERSTAND Matthew 7:6
    I KNOW THAT I DO

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  • Your feelings are your feelings. i never asked you to apologise for nor to recant your FEELINGS.

    I am not much for people’s apologies anyhow, since they are so often false.

    I do perfectly understand Matthew 7:6

    And even though I was raised in a literally barn yard, with the cows, sheep, pigs, fowls, dogs and cats, i am not a swine nor a dog.

    i am a child of God.

    And again I thank Dr. Lucas.

    Like

  • @robert lucas May 11, 2020 4:17 PM

    Thanks. Dr. L.

    Like

  • @Robert Lucas,

    notwithstanding all the challenges we have with agriculture in Bim, one of the major problems is monkeys?

    what can we do about it?

    Like

  • @ Greene May 12, 2020 8:41 AM

    You can try the normal things like shooting and so on. Apart from the conventional methods, one may do like the Australians have done. They have employed viral agents hostile to rabbits to control them. I came the fact that Australia had been using viral agents in a “New Scientist” magazine some years ago. The virus employed was calicivirus, which causes rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), for biological control of wild rabbits. if one decides to use this route ,precautions have to be in place to prevent the virus from escaping( it escaped in Australia). The virus was very effective in the hot regions of Australia. In the colder regions it became attenuated and was less effective. There is a need to find out what viruses the green monkey is susceptible to and use them( one has to ensure that the virus used does not affect humans. This can be done by stripping the virus of genes that can do so.
    An alternative method is the use of birth control measures, Use of the appropriate hormones would definitely solve the problem. The problem is how to get the monkey to consume the hormonal bait. If one can get that solve one is in business. One way of doing so, is the genetic modification of plants that are preferred by monkeys to produce high hormonal levels. One would need to insert a sterility gene to inhibit the transfer of viable pollen and seeds into the environment. This method would definitely work. The plant would appear normal looking. Of course there would be a lot of persons hollering and getting on about these methods

    Like

  • @ robert lucas May 12, 2020 3:58 PM

    Your ‘final solution’ to the monkey problem in Bim might end up killing off two primates with one kind of hormonal bait.

    Monkeys’ favourite fruits happen to be the same humans’ delights. Mangoes, bananas and other fruits high in sugars are the main targets for the monkeys’ daily raids.

    Who says that the hormonal bait will not end up behaving like the contraceptive pill in the water?

    How about an alternative method of culling them? What about using them as a source of protein since that was the reason they were brought from West Africa along with the slaves.
    Then you would see how fast the critters would be put on the endangered species list; just like the Bajan bullfrog or pelican.

    Or would you consider that a modern-day form of cannibalism since they share over 90% of genes with humans?

    BTW, the tourists do find the monkeys exotically appealing. Ask any taxi driver what reaction they get from the visitors when they see the green monkeys.

    Like

  • @ Miller May 12, 2020 5:10 PM
    You are making this thing sound difficult. You can plant a guard row (a row where one expect thieves and so on to harvest the crop illegally) surrounding the field with the modified plants or in places where the animals frequent.) . Also place signs warning about the dangers of consuming the crops (people will still steal them. but doing so at their own peril).

    As an alternate protein source can be converted into dog and cat rations. You would need a dedicated band of hunters to do so. People should avoid consuming monkey meat. Can be a jump of microbes to humans.

    Like

  • @ robert lucas May 12, 2020 6:41 PM

    Agree with you about the risks posed to humans by the eating of their primate cousins.

    Why not consider their export potential to West Africa or even to the Far East where their ‘brains’ are considered a delicacy.

    It would be interesting to find out if the monkeys are themselves vulnerable to the current corona virus.

    But you should note monkeys seem to have a sixth sense, so to speak, when it comes to bait that is injurious to their health.

    Try it and you see how far the monkeys will stay away from your lovely genetically modified fruit trees.

    You ought to remember that monkeys do have friends and lovers in high environmental places.

    You don’t want Barbados to be blacklisted as a tourist destination known for cruelty to its endangered primates, do you?

    EU grant funding might just dry up just as the monkeys disappear.

    Liked by 1 person

  • A reminder Barbadians do not live in a fish bowl.

    Like

  • @Robert Lucas,

    as we seek to increase our agricultural outputs in a seeming response to possible food shortages emanating from COVID, and in general, what do you think are some of the major issues affecting agriculture in Bim and what can we do to combat if not mitigate them?

    Like

  • @ Greene May 15, 2020 7:47 AM

    Crop theft. Government and farmers will have to solve this one.

    Water: Need to do some type of water harvesting. Easiest way is the utilization of water from the sewage system for irrigation. To placate citizens’ concern over safety of the water, ozone treatment should be used. Also need to select cultivars that are adapted to more arid conditions.

    Improve post-harvest techniques. About fifty percent of all food crops harvested end up being dumped due to bad post-harvesting handling. Need to introduce good agricultural practices (GAP). GAP include removal of field heat, storage compatibility of produce. refrigeration load of the storage equipment. Control of rodents . Also include methods of transport.

    Increase the technical training of farmers.

    Increase processing capabilities. Need to standardized processed products so that quality remains constant.

    Need funds for research and development.

    Put people who know what is required in decision making positions. Get rid of political sycophants.

    Like

  • @RL,

    Thanks for the response.

    v good points.

    water and crop theft seem to be the most crucial ones. it seems to that treating and re purposing sewage for irrigation would be expensive if not cost prohibitive. would a better plan not be desalination and using that water? or would the residual salt content be an issue.

    i totally agree with securing better cultivars especially drought tolerant one. we can look to Israel as they have done some stellar work in that area.

    as a small island why would refrigeration and transport be such a pressing issue?

    the rest of your points are well taken.

    what about a farmers co-operate if there isnt one already?

    and seriously teaching agriculture in school or a course at the polytechnic, if there isnt one already?

    Like

  • Started harvesting my okras on May 5th. I’ve been harvesting every other day from my 21 bearing plantings. 2 plantings are not thriving. So far I’ve harvested 203 fruit (okra is a fruit, right?)

    28, 31, 18, 31, 26, 24, 24, and 21.

    Like

  • You have a good memory, Dr. Lucas. I did remember your telling me when I should thin my carrots. I just could not remember what you told me. They have been thinned and are still thriving. So are the chives, sweet peppers and lettuce. I have recently transplanted some celery and hot pepper seedlings.

    I shall add tomatoes, pumpkin and thyme in the next few weeks.

    Composting going well. Still using rain water for irrigation. Had a really good rainy day last week. Caught plenty in buckets.

    Hants and Cuhdear Bajan,

    My last cou cou adventure has put me off but I will try again this week. I’ll try the microwave method.

    Like

  • Don’t give up Donna.

    How long did it take your chives, sweet peppers and celery to germinate?

    I sowed those three on May 5th and none have germinated yet, so I am beginning to wonder.

    Like

  • @ Donna May 24, 2020 9:46 PM

    A few hints on composting :
    The main elements that mediate the composting process are the nitrogen and carbon ratio. If you are using very woody material, the carbon content is very high and the nitrogenous level very low. In such a case, the rate of microbial decomposition is very slow and the raw material remains in the woody or original state for a very long time. In such a case, there is need to increase the nitrogenous content of the woody material: this can be done by applying either solutions sulfate of ammonia or urea to the material. Now, if you are using material high nitrogen and low in carbon, there is also very little microbial decomposition taking place. In this case the energy derived from the woody material is in short supply and therefore microbial decomposition is slow. You can use two teaspoon of urea per gallon of water for this purpose. urea has about 40-42 % nitrogen.

    Making of compost:

    You can start with a layer of soil, followed by a layer of the compost material. A layer of soil is added to the compost layer again followed by soil. You should build the compost to a height that you can manage. Apply water to the compost (the sulfate of ammonia or urea can be added) to the water which is used to increase the moisture level of the compost heap. Water from time to time to prevent drying out (bacteria are the initial microbes which colonized the compost heap) and require water for growth and proliferation. After about three weeks or so using a shovel or any appropriate tool, give the compost heap a good mixing ( like when one is mixing cement). Water and repeat the mixing at regular intervals. When the compost is ready, it is very fluffy in texture.

    You will need to check for butterfly eggs, Do so early in the morning and late evening. Normally, the eggs which are yellow and very small are found on the under surface of the leaves. Sometimes the eggs are found on the surface of the leaves. Destroy the eggs by squeezing them between the thumb and forefinger.

    @ Cuhdear Bajan May 24, 2020 9:51 PM

    I have dealt with this for Donna . The seeds you are using are very small and should be planted on the surface of the soil. Cover with some dry grass and water. Chives seeds take longer than the other teo you are dealing with.donna will tell you what to do.

    Like

  • Thanks robert: My mistake. It was really peppers, celery and bok choi. Today I’ve noticed that the bok choi has germinated. I particularly wanted something green and leafy, and years ago I grew that very successfully. So much so that I had more than my immediate family could use.

    I am still hopeful that the peppers and celery will germinate soon.

    The okras planted in March are still doing well. I’ve harvested 242 pods so far.

    Still praying for rain.

    Like

  • @ Donna May 24, 2020 9:46 PM

    One method of cou cou making.

    The method below is not the classical method but it works quite well. My mother used the classical method which is for the purist. My next door neighbor when I said I had problems with cou cou suggested this method. It is easy and comes out perfect. I was never overly fond of cou cou but being in the food section I decided I should learn about making it.

    Measure out the corn meal ( I use corn flour: the particle size is much smaller than corn meal and from price consideration, 1 1/2 lbs cost between $2.15-2.25). It is therefore cheaper and one gets more product for one’s money.

    Method:
    Measure out the amount of meal you are going to use: say two cups and add to an empty container. Add some water and mix well using the cou cou stick. You want to ensure that there are no lumps. Add enough water in slight excess to ensure the mixture is lump free. The mixture should when poured flow freely. Mean while you have your okras in water boiling. Do not add excess water ( I do not bother with all the foolishness about dicing the okras like my mum used to do; I just cut them cross way and add to the water). When the okras are cooked ( start to foam and rise up the pot, test some pieces to make sure they are soft and cooked). Stir the corn flour mixture (it will have settled down with the flour to the bottom) to ensure that it thoroughly mixed. Slowly pour the corn flour mixture into the okra-water mixture and stir with the cou cou stick rapidly clockwise one way and the anti-clock wise. Alternate the direction of stirring. Lower the flame. You may find that there is some corn flour adhering to the container. No problem. Add some water and give it a good swirl and add it to cou cou..When it starts to congeal and bubble you will know that it is practically ready. Even if it is not fully cooked you can remove it from the flame and it will continue cooking. I find that it is best to dip a stainless steel ladle into water and scoop out the hot cou cou. The cou cou does not adhere to the wet ladle.
    After a couple of times trying you will find the process very simple.

    Like

  • @DR. Lucas:

    We old folks usually get a small bowl, which we dip in extra okra water, scoop out some cou-cou and ball it then slide it onto the plate. We also punch a hole in the top to hold extra gravy. The cou-cou has to be floating in a lake of gravy.

    Now to gardening. I have most of my plants in, but I noticed that my bok choy which is four inches tall has begun to flower. We had two hot days last week and I am concerned that I did not water enough. I soaked some peanuts to plant and want to know how to keep the squirrels and chipmounts from digging them up. Do I have to support my blackeyed peas?
    What do I do to deter squash beetles? last year I lost several fruit as they bored into the vine and killed off the plants.
    I could not find leeks at the garden centers this year. How long do they take to grow from seed? I bought brussel sprouts, but a friend cant find any and he was asking me if they can grow from seed. We keep them in until first frost, then we harvest.

    Thanks.

    Like

  • @Dr. Lucas

    Up here they sell something called compost accellerator. I compost kitchen waste, leaves and shredded paper. I have lots of red wrigglers in my compostors, So I don’t need additives. I was told it was best to let green leaves and grass clippings wither in the sun before adding to the compost. Up here they no longer sell pesticides to non commercial enterprises and the apple fly maggot has been ruining all my fruit. Last year I hung lures (red) coated with tanglefoot and caught some, but this attract humming birds too. This year I have a humming bird feeder hanging in the apple tree, hopefully this will work.

    Like

  • @Silly Woman

    You making my mouth water talking about your okras.
    I planted two kinds this year. Indian lady fingers from Bangladesh which grow upwards of 8 inches and clemson spineless. All the lady fingers are up and some of the clemson. Celery should do well in Barbados if you have cool nights. At Househill the students in agriculture used to grow lots of celery and it did fantastic. But up around Blackmans is usually cool. I grew last year in the allotment and they flourished. Fed about four houses and two kids who come with their mother. I cut the outside stalks and let it continue to grow. I have 6 plants this year and they are doing well so far. I planted increased peas, black eyed peas, cranberry beans, romano beans, sweet peas, three kinds of Peruvian potatoes, four kinds of sweet potatoes, including those little orange fleshed ones from Barbados. (My sister smuggled in 2 small ones last Fall.) I have four kinds of pumpkins, kale, red peppers, fennel, cabbage, broccoli, sprouts, shallots, 100 garlics, onions, parsley, thyme and chives.

    Like

  • Cuhdear Bajan,

    Sorry for not responding before. I keep missing the posts to this blog. I’ll have to check in daily.

    Now, let’s see – my chives were grown from cuttings so I can’t help you there. The celery was grown from seedlings so I can’t help you there either. The peppers took a few weeks before they peeked out. I was beginning to give up on them. Give them time.

    Dr. Lucas,

    Thanks for the composting tips. I’ll be sure to use them.

    All,

    I took Hants’ tip and used the microwave and a recipe I found on the internet. It was so easy I nearly kjcked myself for all the wasted time.

    If I miss the next few days it is because my head is spinning from the events of the past seven days. Too many shocks to my system. COVID craziness, murder so savage and nonchalant and now the USA afire probably followed by more COVID. All this on top of the shock of a madman in the most powerful office in the world. From November 2016 to present has been surreal.

    I need some time to settle and refocus. I need to take my eyes off the news and watch some comedy but I’m afraid I might miss something important.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Dame Bajans May 31, 2020 7:22 PM
    ” but I noticed that my bok choy which is four inches tall has begun to flower. We had two hot days last ”

    The Bok Choy has under gone bolting. You would have noticed a long stalk from which flowers are initiated. The key factor is shock, which can be caused by transplanting, temperature and water. It’s a sign your plant is ‘panicking’ and feels the need to propagate (make seed) as quickly as possible. Maybe you transplanted at a fairly late stage and the plant under went physiological shock. If you are transplanting, always do so late in the evening and apply plenty of water. Water on the following morning. Some of the roots would have been damaged and need time to re-grow. Remember, water and minerals are taken into the plant by root hairs. See if you can purchase varieties that are slow to bolt. Also Bok Choy on require 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. You should plant where there is some shade available. Ensure that the soil has enough water to prevent it from drying out. Too much or too little water will result in bolting.
    With the black eye peas, use a stake to support them. The leaves get more sunlight and photosynthesis is more efficient (since there is less shading of lower leaves by the ones above).
    “how to keep the squirrels and chipmounts from digging”
    We have a problem with monkeys similar to what you are experiencing. You can try trapping them.
    squash beetles : I really do not believe in using pesticides if the amount of trees are few . The cost is too high and isn’t worth it. You can use a net to cover the fruits after pollination and fertilization to keep the beetles at bay.

    As for leeks between eighty- one-fifty days depending on the variety used . need a lot of patience with leeks. grew them once a long time ago . Had a lot of trouble with them ,but that was before i started doing agriculture. never attempted growing them again. I wanted to cook a leek soup . i had read a lot about leek soup in books.

    Brussel sprouts can be grown from seeds, Like Bok choy can bolt.

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  • @ Dame Bajans May 31, 2020 7:22 PM

    The compost accelerator may contain microbes which break down plant material. The mix you are using would contain the microbes at very high numbers and result in jump starting the decomposition of the plant material. May also contain some type of nitrogen containing compound.

    Mu Grand mother and my mum did cou cou like how you described with the hole in the center. To get it round some salt butter was placed in a bowl. The cou cuo added and the bowl twirled around. Served with red herring and lots of onions.

    Like

  • @ @ Dame Bajans May 31, 2020 7:22 PM
    When dealing with squash which is a cucurbit like pumpkins, one must be careful in applying irrigation. Too much water results in a condition known as blossom end rot. The end of the fruit(squash is a fruit botanically) becomes necrotic (sunken ,dehydrated and wrinkle looking having a dark brown hue). Eventually, the entire squash shrivel up and dies.

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  • @Miller May 13, 2020 8:00 AM “Agree with you about the risks posed to humans by the eating of their primate cousins.
    Why not consider their export potential to West Africa or even to the Far East where their ‘brains’ are considered a delicacy.”

    So if monkey brains are eaten in West Africa or the Far East and a microbe jumps from monkeys to humans guess how long it would take to reach the whole world. Maybe like HIV a year or two? Maybe like COVID19 one hundred days?

    Do we want to do that?

    Really?

    Like

  • The small [cherry] tomatoes have started to regrow from seed dropped from the previous crop. Flowers appeared about a week ago.

    The okras planted at home are still doing well. I’ve harvested 403 pods so far. We have been getting a little rain now, mostly at night, but sometimes during the day as well. Maybe the rainy season has really begun? At the other plot we plant to plant about 800 feet of okras, hopefully before the end of this month.

    We cleared the family plot last week. Pulled out the drip hoses etc. The ploughman has promised to come as soon as he can. We pulled out the last of last year’s cassava, and have saved the cassava sticks to plant as soon as the field is ploughed. I have grown tired of cassava pone, and I still have frozen grated cassava left, so I’ve made cassava flour with this last batch of cassava. I expect to get about 1 1/2 gallons of dried cassava flour. I like cassava dumplings and cassava bakes. I call cassava flour my survival food, because once dried it lasts almost indefinitely without refrigeration. Makes good cou-cou too if corn meal is in short supply. Cassava is truly a wonderful crop. In the early stage it is tasty boiled and served with any meat or fish, at a more mature stage it makes a yummy cassava pone, or cassava “hats”/cassava flat bread. and even when almost mature [almost woody] still makes a great cassava flour.A very drought tolerant crop too. There are not many short crops that could have survived our current drought without irrigation, but about 2/3 of our January to mid-March plantings have survived.

    Some of my bok choi has germinated, plus a friend gave me about a dozen seedlings last week which I’ve have planted out.

    The spinach vine usually drops seeds, although I’ve have that the large pigeons or doves [the large dark grey birds people call Guyanese pigeons] loves to feast on the spinach seeds, but a few seeds survived and germinated and have reached the six leaf stage, so i am hopeful.

    No luck yet with the celery or pepper seeds planted May 5th, although I’ve grown both hot and sweet peppers very successfully before. I think that I will just buy some seedlings from a nearby garden shop.

    Like

  • @ Cuhdear Bajan June 14, 2020 1:34 PM

    “No luck yet with the celery or pepper seeds planted May 5th,”
    I am going to give you the same advice I gave Donna.
    #1: the seeds may not be viable. Could be due to the fact that they are old or are in a dormancy period. you can easily verify the particular case by carrying out a gemination test. You can use the lid of a peanut butter container for this purpose. Line the lid(inverted position) with some tissue paper. Disperse about ten to twenty seeds onto the surface of the tissue paper. Add some water (enough to ensure the paper is saturated). Cover the lid with clinging plastic film and stow in a suitable place. Check for germination after a couple of days. If all seeds germinate you have no problems with viability. if only one seed geminated from ten seeds planted out( 10% viable) .you have a problem with viability and ought to change the source from which you obtain seeds. In the case of dormancy you can try placing seeds into freezer section for a couple of hours and then carry out the above germination percentage test. This particular method depends on the use of cold temperatures to shock the seed out of its period of dormancy.

    #2: You would have observed that the seeds are small(especially the celery). In a case like this it is best to plant the seeds on to the surface of the garden bed. The seeds are covered with dry grass. Water the covering of dry grass. This prevents the seeds from being washed further down into the soil. In the latter case( let us say, the seeds have been washed six inches deep into the seed bed; at this depth, germination takes place but due to the depth, all of the food reserves in the seeds are used up before the seedlings can reach the surface and they therefore die.
    33. You could also have a problem with ants or damping off caused by fungii. you can try mixing a pesticide with a fungicide and use the mix as a seed dressing. You will need to find out if the fungicide and pesticides are compatible. You can check the stores. I can tell you one thing if you are in Barbados, most of customer service people won’t have a clue about compatibility.

    Finally, always store you seeds when not using them on the refrigerator. wrap the seed container in tissue which is then over wrapped with foil. . to extend the viable life.

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  • Cuhdear Bajan,

    My chives are ready. Lettuce looking about ready. I made a mistake with watering after the carrots grew as big as a baby’s finger. Might only salvage a couple. All but one celery seedling is looking healthy. Sweet peppers looking promising. Hot peppers growing but looking more yellow than green.

    Will plant thyme this week, tomatoes and bunching onions.

    Like

  • @robert lucas June 14, 2020 2:26 PM

    Thanks for the advice. I did not know at all about testing seeds for viability, nor about shocking seeds out of dormancy. Glad to learn about refrigerating stored seeds as well.

    Like

  • I think that I planted the small celery seeds far too deeply. This was my first time with celery. I will know better next time.

    Like

  • I used robert’s advice on how to test seeds for viability. Tested some carrot seeds. They are viable. I planted them today. Will plant some sweet potatoes tomorrow [at what white hill calls the plantation] tomorrow, weather permitting.

    Thanks again Robert.

    Like

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