Subdividing The Farm Lot for More Production and Income
Citing the assumed one hectare lowland but rain fed farm that is planted solely to rice which the farmer, Jose, would like to develop into an integrated farm, his initial step would be to subdivide the area into various features like home lot, poultry area, hog area, duck- tilapia- water harvester, intensive organic vegetable garden, coconut-orchard-corn/sorghum area and rice area.
Home Lot. The home lot shall be about 100 square meters with a fence planted to balunggay (moringa), a highly nutritious multi-purpose small tree which has many uses in the home and farm. the undergrowth of the fence line can be planted to local or indigenous while spices can be planted in recycled pet bottles hanged on the fences . The pathway to the house can be planted to a hedge of tagabang (corchorus spp) while on the top portion, pet bottles of spices specifically garlic and onions can be planted. The pet bottles can also be planted with pechay or lettuce. Instead of ornamental plants, the family can opt to plant vegetables and spices.
If the house is roofed with galvanized iron sheet, the family can plant shady fruit tees like a langka or even a mango. He can also choose 3-4 dwarf coconuts that will bear in 3-4 years’ time. Shade loving plants like ginger can be planted either on the ground or in pots made from recycled containers.
A portion of the home lot can be developed into an herbal corner where medicinal plants like lagundi, balbas pusa, oregano, artemisia, lapunaya, tawa-tawa and others can be established. This way simple afflictions like fever, body pains and cough can be treated right at home.
Chicken house. The chicken house should be located at least 5 meters away separated by a border of fairly tall plants like tanglad and citronela and also a few low growing fruit trees like guava and other native species like bugnay. Aside from providing nutritious fruits, these native trees can be a source of income for the family. Bugnay can be processed into wine, jams and jellies. The same is true with guava which contains high amounts of Vitamin C. Bugnay has a high level of resveratrol, said to protect the heart against cholesterol build up. The undergrowth of the fruit trees can be plants that can be foraged by the chickens when they are released for pasture. Some of these species include sorghum, munggo, cadios, creeping peanut and even peanuts intended solely as feed for the chickens and pigs.
The Pig Pen. The pig pen is located further away but adjacent to the chicken house so that undigested hog feed can be foraged by the chickens. The farmer can build a pen that will use rice hulls and sand popularly called “babuyang walang amoy” (google my article “NO WASH PIG TECHNOLOGY”.
Four to five heads of improved breeds (crossed native x foreign breed) can be raised per cycle fed mostly with farm by products like rice bran, cooked or raw kangkong, cooked gabi stalks and other leaves high in protein and carbohydrates. These pigs shall serve as “piggy banks”, to be sold when they weigh about 50-60 kilos ad timed just before enrollment when prices are still high. The perimeter of the raised compound (about 500 sq.meters) can be planted to useful plants like madre de cacao and tricantera or “madre de agua”. Stands of chewing cane like La Carlota can be planted so that they serve both as fodder to the pigs and to be sold to school children. Sugar cane is a natural source of sucrose and is considered healthy sugar. (To be continued )