We are back - well, back to posting to the blog. Gede has been very busy - as you will see from the photos and the story. It's been difficult to get both of us together at the same time and place and wanting to work on editing and writing.
When Gede's in town, he really wants to relax. And frequently the camera has gone up to the farm but come back without new photos because he does get caught up in the farming!! And I've also been busy creating my latest project www.indonesiaorganic.com - Gede is the licensed business owner and I work for him to do this.
I'll try to put this in some order of a trip when i accompanied four guests late last year. Two were a couple from Australia who have done a project in Yogyakarta with a village recycling and composting - you may know it, it's quite famous. They had been consulting with a project at Lake Bromo to improve the whole eco system - stopping chemicals in farming and in the lake, reducing plastics, education - and they brought a fireball young Indonesian woman to see what Gede had been doing. The other man has become a huge supporter of Gede and his farm and also contributed $100 USD to Gede's fund raising to buy a truck two years ago.
This is the new entrance to the farm that Gede and his staff made called angkul-angkul. He wanted to make it to say 'this is the beginning of my farm'. Inside the structure is bamboo with clay from the farm mixed with rice husks or scam. You can't see the whole structure in the photo. It has two uprights, right and left, with a connection over the entrance is alang-alang (local grass). This is the same entry made to enter a Bali compound (group of buildings belonging to one extended family). Bali compounds differ in different parts of the island; however, the entry is an important of Bali Hindu faith.
And here's Gede - two years later from the last photos of him greeting us.
That's cauliflower in the front right, papaya trees, and then greens and other vegetables. The old pondok (place to stay) that you can see at the left rear has since fallen down - I think it's cultural to build something and expect it to wear out quickly. And that's one of the things Gede's been working on - greenhouses that last. If you look back into previous posts, you'll see greenhouses that aren't in these photos because they lasted only one season.
And now you know how papaya grow. What's great living here is that papaya are usually picked the same day it ripens so it's so sweet - not like imported fruit that's picked and ripens in a container or a store!! Mmmmmmmmmm delicious!
The view above is from the other side of the farm looking back to the entrance, on the top level. On the left back is the seedling building which is now 1.5 years old and looking like it will last a few years more! You can see mint, green curly lettuce, and asparagus in this photo. The asparagus at this time was a test - and successful. Asparagus takes about 2 years to mature to the cutting stage so this is another crop that's an investment for the future.
Above is the new pondok built by Gede and the staff. As of today, this building is also about 1.5 years old. The roof is asbestos, very common here, and will be replaced when finances allow. At least it's out in the open and people aren't living in it. The small photo above is another example of the way Gede just decorates with plants (as many Balinese do). He really loves plants of all kinds and seeing how things will grow.
Above is another seedling rack and above it are passion fruit vines. The visitor is looking at mint. Yes, that's Gede in a sarong and hat. If you've read his interview in Bali Advertiser, he's definitely a hat guy. The "Crocs" are local knock-offs and cost Gede $2USD in the village.
This is the same view just a little further away. The herbs were grown in an experiment using different kinds of mulsa (mulch) in different beds - newspaper, cardboard boxes, plastic, rice straw and sawdust. Straw worked the best in this experiement.
This is the inside of the seedling rack - those are passion fruit and also delicious!!
Lots of mint.
Above is a companion planting bed with arugula, mint, and corn.
This is deep in peas - and they are quite difficult to grow. Gede's been quite successful overcoming some of the other challenging vegetables but peas are still a mystery.
This is one of the asparagus beds. Gede started the asparagus as seedlings and transplanted them. The bamboo stakes are in a new green bean bed.
Above is another view of the seedling building and one of the cow buildings - there are now three cow buildings and six cows on the property with manure used for fertilizer and mulching and the urine is also converted to natural fertilizer. The limitation from owning more cows is the amount of time and availability of the food - and they are well cared for and are finicky eaters!
A local variety of pumpkin - isn't it beautiful!!
Above, a seed bed for making seeds from daikon radish. Gede now has a seed bank for nearly every vegetable and herb he grows. The last count was 54 variety and he only needs to purchase seeds for two types of vegetables.
Gede gave his father some printed information about the possibility of a village farmer growing plants for seeds and having a business selling seeds. He didn't think it was possible. After four years watching Gede saving seeds and (that means) saving money, I wonder what he thinks now. Gede says he doesn't know and that's part of the culture. Balinese don't talk about things with each other the way we do! I'll try to check it out for a future report!
Another cow building.
A great photo of the seedling process. After the seeds are sprouted, they are wrapped in deliciously rich composted earth and formed into these little balls. After they mature and stabilize, the balls are planted in the growing soil.
This is okra which was difficult to grow the first season and Gede is growing it again. He made seeds from the first batch so the subsequent plants should be stronger. When he buys a new variety of seed, he goes through 'making seeds' a few seasons to strengthen the seeds and increase the quantity of seeds. Then he can start growing at quantities for sale to restaurants, hotels, and individuals.
A bed of oregano with rice husks (scam) for mulching.
Another raised bed test and companion planting with capsicum (sweet peppers) and italian parsley in a bamboo greenhouse. The raised beds help reduce wetness that is natural in the soil here and creates problems for plants that prefer dryer conditions.
Red curly lettuce above. Since this was taken, Gede has moved to planting much closer and also a lot of mulsa (mulching) and he says "the plants are much happier and healthier". The mulching improvement lesson is courtesy of a Permaculture guy that came to the farm to stay for two days and gave Gede a crash course.
This is seledri - or local celery. It never gets larger than this but it's the closest thing we have to real celery for flavor. It grows easily and it's not expensive. Big traditional celery in the supermarket here is very expensive and sold by the rib or a part of a head. I remember a price of about $40 a kilo!
Another view of the seedling building with turmeric or kunyit - a very important root used in lots of Indonesian Jamu (herbal remedy)and also ayervedic remedies and foods. It's received a lot of publicity lately for it's anti-cancer properties, liver cleansing, and aid for inflammation and arthritis. Every farm home grows it and I'm never without it.
Acorn squash - it's of the vegetables I miss. I gave Gede some seeds and he grew these crop to make more seeds.
After about two years of trial and problems, he's also been successful with organic potatoes and now orange sweet potatoes which have become very popular because they are not stringy like local sweet potatoes.
Gede receives seeds from many expats here and also from travelers. Last week an Italian couple found him using information on this blog and were extremely impressed with his farm, more so than the others that they visited. They've committed to helping him in the future, too!
Gede has also been successful developing a growing program for a restaurant development. He managed their seeds and grew specifically for them.
Gede found someone giving away a lot of PVC pipe - and he turned it into a new greenhouse. New staff at that time helped with the building plan and they are still using it until now.
This is another example of companion planting with tomatoes - some of the seeds donated by Gary TomatoFest in Northern California. Tomatoes are one of the challenges here and greenhouses and raised beds are important to success. Trial and error. Any tomato Gede has that's not the gritty local variety are quickly sold both to one of his best restaurant customers and all the foreigners who really miss great tomatoes!
Inside the same greenhouse, there are about 6 varieties growing.
Another companion planting bed in an adjacent raised bed - the tomatoes had just been removed (the plastic string) and you can see baby romaine and kale.
Capiscums or sweet peppers were also one of the most challenging to grow. However, Gede kept trying, learned by trial and error and now is known for his success!
This is one of my deliveries - it was so beautiful and worth a photo. A chiropractor friend said "Gede grows the most delicious broccoli I've ever eaten!!"
This is a stir fry dinner I made with tofu and Gede Green Bali Rungu vegetables!
Well, that's probably news, too! Gede is now using the name 'Gede Green'. And he's just been included in the top six organic growers in Bali in The Yak magazine March 2010. As of today, the article hasn't been updated to their website as it's very new. Check this link! The article is "Big 6 Planet Organic.
The first supermarket in Ubud (and one of the only two) came to the Ubud Organic Farmers Market, talked to Gede, and he is now their #1 organic seller and one of the biggest vegetable sellers. If you've read the business plan and earlier posts, this is quite an accomplishment and shows Gede's personal growth - as well as his success as a vegetable grower. Four years ago, he didn't have the courage, skill, or words to do this. Above is also the label he developed. The plastic wrapping is a requirement and thankfully Delta Dewata doesn't use eco-UNfriendly sytrofoam trays like the other Ubud supermarket!
Ok, for Gede I'm signing off now - more to post in the next few days.
Thanks for being patient until both Gede and I got together to do this update for you.
You can email Gede at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 62.813.387.21705. If the phone doesn't answer, please check your time zone or be patient as sometimes the signal for handphones isn't steady up in the mountains.