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Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Happy beautiful pics from the back yard.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

In this pic you can see how the larger tejocote tree nurses the white sapote.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

I also made some smoked meat.
John Suavecito
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Great info, Jeff.  I am amazed that I didn't see this before. You've got quite an operation going there.  Way to show people in hot dry climates how to do it.
John S
PDX OR
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Hello everyone it's been a while since I posted anything. Where to begin.
Although I read about Canna edulis a few years ago I didn't believe it was actually good. I dug one up and cut it with the shovel. I threw some to the pigs and they didn't go for it. It was hard and had hairs in it so I didn't bother trying it until a few weeks ago. It's good. It really is a lot like potato but more watery and a few hairs. So I went looking around the yard for all the clumps that have been neglected for years and I dug them all up for transplanting. I was amazed at how much I found. There was about 600lb including the leaves. It took me 3 days to plant all of it because the areas where grassy. I could have done a much better job if I would have planted it in spring among the corn crop. There is a study online that was done about the benefits of intercroping corn and Canna edulis. Insect pressure on the canna is relived by the shade of the corn.
I've stopped planting Napier grass due to the management issues that do not suit intercroping with trees. Basically if the grass gets too tall it has to be burned down and that would kill the trees. Napier should be intercroped with herbaceous perennial vines like chayote and with legumes like vetch , climbing beans and desmodium.
We had yet another fire that killed or damaged more than 100 trees. Unfortunately in our area we can't use mulch and we have to use the tractor to incorporate the residue because of the fires. The fires are caused by retards and ass holes or by retarded assholes. Apperently they  represent a large demographic here. Hopefully the Canna will help suppress fire along with a number of other fire suppression plants that we have been growing. We definitely need more fire suppression. Ideally we would do holistic grazing but that is also a huge risk because of the retarded assholes again. Theives are known to steel livestock and leave you tied up if worse.
I've been considering anti theft animals like free-range chickens, fish and rabbets in a large enough pen that has boroghs in it. Or edible reptiles like egwanas, tho it might be too cool here for that.
We are going to be intercropping the corn from now on with warm and cool season vetch and with oats. This year we didn't get a good stand of the cover crop for 2 reasons low seeding rate and some of the seed was covered too much. We planted when the corn was about 75 days old. We broadcast the seed one day before scuffling the corn. Inevitably scuffling will burry some of the seed too deeply but I think that is still the best method. We just need to up the seeding rate. We only used 5kg of oats 3kg of sorghum and 5kg of vetch per hectare. After seeing the result I would up the rate to 25 kg of each.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

This picture is of my son in an avacado tree. The tree is younger than the boy.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

The volcano's general activity has increased dramatically over the past 7 months. Ash levels are less concentrated due to more water vapor. I fear that an aquifer may be seeping deeper than before. If a lage volume of water becomes steam at the same time boom. I didn't get an accurate measurement but my house is 18 to 24 km from the center of the volcano.
Rebecca Norman
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Oh my god, Jeff, no danger to you and your farm, I hope?
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Huge eruption near my house.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOBom2mpioE
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

We planted about 300 cactus pads last month. I had this wheel-hoe made for $25 Canadian or 350 pesos.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

We used about 3000 Lt of water to plant 100 new trees.
https://www.youtube.com/endscreen?v=4bUMyk1gzjQ&video_referrer=watch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2ttmWVx6m8
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Here is an irrigation video https://youtu.be/2bhckCgYcE0
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

We have flood irrigation on the 1 acre at home.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

That's a homemade motorcycle by the way I bought a 196 horizontal motor and I geared it to go slow but with torque. I can pull 1000 lb up steep hills. The limiting factor is the one wheel drive lots of power but not enough traction to pull a plough. I plan on building a 3 wheeled 400 cc tractor with 2 wheel drive and maybe some gears for higher top speed. Estimated cost is $1000 Canadian including labor for mini tractor, if I buy one the cost is like $5000 and it's got no flatbed like my design has though I'm sure it has better enginering.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

We planted 120 trees this winter. We used all the water we had in the resevoir and we started holes for planting this spring. Normaly we don't plant trees in winter because we had less water before. I think they will survive because they were in pots, the roots stay more protected during transplanting with pots as opposed to bare roots. I obtained 2 new varieties of nopal cacti, a friend pruned his and I said hey what-cha doin with that pile of pads. He said nutin so we threw them on top of the load of manure and headed out to the farm.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Few more.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

And some more pics.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Some more pics
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Here is an update video and some recent pics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-ktKnV3Nfg
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Mature avocados are quite hardy and so are loquats they don't die but they lose shoots leaves and fruit. Some true tropicals that die here(Puebla) are Chirimoya, coffee, guava, zapotes (white zapote survive frost and dry), passion fruit need to be protected very well, pomegranate (I guess their not russian ones), citrus can handle a good frost but the frost we had 2 weeks ago killed branches over a foot long.  
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

pop bottles 20% full of water get warm. Nopal Cactus is a passive solar air warmer at night. I want to do some earth work on the big farm, deep wide pits with steep walls, narrow trenches. the soil is an air heater with steep soil walls around new tropicals. I might put plastic on the narrow trenches because I can make a nice row of trees with a narrow strip of plastic. I'm also concentrating my efforts with tropicals on areas near the water source. Got no pump yet all buckets. There are plenty of crops that will do great on the high dry half of the land (although pears and apples don't have much cash value locally).
Dale Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

How are the avocados handling this?  Your pond water could be used to prevent damage during cold events. It could be pumped through sprayers, to protect vulnerable crops.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

OMG! The Ice age has begun -5 in puebla all lemons look like they might die, some dead already. I think I need to find a new grass crop too, something less tropical. In fact I'm going to shift all my efforts toward the cold hardy crops. At least I still have hope for raspberries as my cash crop. Nopal cactus can handle -8 or so, hope it never gets that low.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

I just got back from just over a month in Puebla. unfortunately we had hard frost that killed almost all the passionfruit. But I was able to observe that the frost on the big farm is less severe than the frost at the house. The figs on the big farm still have leaves and I watered them all well. I planted a lemon in a hole 2 feet wide and 3 feet deep and it was not damaged by frost at all, the lemons in smaller holes were damaged slightly. The raspberries did not get damaged by frost at all but they were devastated by grasshoppers and japanese beetles. I noticed that loquats took no damage from the frost and the grasshoppers only eat the tender leaves and leave the mature leaves alone. Loquats also resist drought because of fine hairs or powder on the under side of the leaf. In general plants with furry leaves like that are more drought tolerant, there is short furry grass that grows in the dry season. so if your looking for drought tolerant plants fur or powdery substance is an indicator of a xerophyte. Out of all the trees I grow I have found that palms figs and zapotes are the only fruit trees left totally untouched by grasshoppers. The trees they like most seem to be apples but once a tree is tall enough the higher leaves pull through. Avocados planted from seed on the big farm get eaten to death.  
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

I also just thought I should Mention and thank My father in law Alaxandrino, he has done much of the work when I am not around not to mention the land we live on is his.

Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Here's a picture I took of "the sleeping woman" "Iztaccihuatl"
I found some videos from 2 years ago on my PC. Will post after it uploads to youtube.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

I guess its not really a glacier more like an ice sheet at the summit and snow melt. It looks like a thin ice sheet from down at the bottom for all I know it could be hundreds of feet thick. On the new highway to Atlixco its like 30 min its still high in Atlixco about 1400 m I think but its in a bowl so I think the heat reflects off the hills to make the suptropical micro climate. they are almost as close to the volcanoes as my place but on our side it levels out into a high plain and to the south of popocatepetl the altitude continues to go down as you pass Atlixco. Even though tropical climate is nice for the fruit you could grow but the bugs are bad and ants too. where I am we get enough cold to still grow roses kiwi pears apples tejocotes peach and enough heat to grow avacado loquat citrus pomagranite natal plum ect.
Roberto pokachinni
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Great stuff Jeff.  Keep up with the videos.  Great to see so much progress and interesting ideas happening.  Keep us posted!  

Dale, your comment here:

That's funny I don't usually think of Mexico as a place where you would get glacial fed water. I guess it's all about elevation.



Made me think of my time in Arizona and Utah where I was traveling for a while.  In both of these states I spent time climbing up mountains and remember being initially quite shocked about getting up into the upper levels of the mountain and coming across forest species that were much like home in B.C..  On Boulder Mountain (which has an area the size of Rhode Island), with an elevation of over 11,000 feet, I was walking in firs, birches, and aspens, and eating stinging nettles, and bolete mushrooms.  Meanwhile, in the very same day I could walk downhill through Ponderosa forests, and then on to scrub Juniper and pinion pine, and then on down in the 5,000 foot area to sagebrush and cacti.  The climatic change, from moist temperate, was as dramatic as the vegetation.    
Dale Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

That's funny I don't usually think of Mexico as a place where you would get glacial fed water. I guess it's all about elevation. I have a friend who lives half a degree off of the Equator, in Kenya. It gets cold every night because it's in the Kenyan Highlands. The tallest mountain you would have seen when flying over the southern Rockies from Toronto to Vancouver, is Mount Robson. They have mountains 5000 feet taller than this. Their main root crop is Irish potatoes and the main leafy vegetable is Swiss chard. Not what you expect at the equator. 200 miles away, they have crocodiles and hippopotamus, living in the tropical swelter. Those people grow bananas, mangoes, guava and pineapples.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Yes the land with the open field is not lived on and the land that looks like jungle is irrigated from a large glacial melt fed pond 1 km from the property and has the house on it.
Dale Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Hey there Jeff. Your videos have been improved greatly from the ones you sent me last year. Are most of these videos taken at the second Farm that is not the one you're living at?
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Backyard foodforest summer 2017


The video below is on my 5.5 acres new dates and stuff

Below is the almost finished ferrocement dome building
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Here is an update on the tanks and farm in general there is a ferrocement  hut wich is now finished
Dale Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

It should be noted that Jeff is farming on a very deep layer of volcanic ash. Rain water goes straight down, unless it's trapped by plants or by humans.

I like the idea of a biogas plant that could receive any succulents that are not salable or useful as animal feed. After producing gas, you get all of the moisture back, along with nutrients.

Are you noticing much leakage from your water storage? Have you come up with a way to keep the kids away from it?
.......
I'm 18 years older than Jeff. When they were little, my sister Heidi and Jeff, both thought that I was their uncle ,  until one day when my mother set them straight.☺
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Cactus water thats one thing you can do with cactus and biogas. but its leaves and fruit are valuable and they produce fast. A tortilla factory in Mexico claims to get GM 800 metric tons per anum per hectar. Any thing close to that number is amazing its higher than any plant I've ever herd of The highest Napier hybrids can produce up to 400T GM. and I don't think sugar cane is much different.
So with the "cactus water" you can just cut cactus right near your tree or whatever and put them through a wood chipper.  I will need to cover the cactus goo to stop evaporation. its like liquid but if you drink it its a lot like goo. I think fermented goo is the key to liquefication you just need to stop evaporation while it ferments like buckets with lids or put dirt on top.
They say cattle will eat nopal but I think he has to be deprived of greens cause none of my animals have ever consumed considerable amounts. one time I fed the sheep here and a pig there but try him the next week on it and he wont eat it. I like the taste but pigs don't but then again mine are boiled to remove acidity. Maybe pigs would do good on boiled cactus and Napier .
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

here are some Nopal (opuntia) cactus. These are not mine but I have about the same amount as this field only mine are spread out more and mixed in.
You can see here. The guy cuts the nopal too low at the second node every time so his plants can never develop a large root system. 3 or 4 pads is better for tender pad production. the fruit grows on multi branched plants not much pruning on fruit cactus just the grubs have to be cut out or down.
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Here are some more pics Iztaccihuatl and popocatepetl volcanos
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

Here it is. sorry about the filming and spanish

Me and the boys working on the 5 acres.


Me planting a pear tree


This video is a walk out back to get some epazote.


This pic is taken from my bedroom window.
the sheep pen at bottom is empty. sheep don't smell much any way. I like to be able to here if the sheep have a problem.
One time I woke up and the lambs were born and the ram was bunting them, having them close saved those lambs
Jeff Hodgins
Post     Subject: The farm in Puebla

here's a link to my video  

its the firts one sealed anyway i made more holes but they dont hold water
So the hole is sealed with soil cement and lime mortar. I plan to seal all the way up the walls and to make another large tank just up hill and some smaller tanks throughout the farms.

and my back yard  
 What i like about this video is all the things you cant see, under and between the napier grass are hundreds of trees and chayote vines and stuff.