Su Ba

master pollinator
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since Apr 18, 2013
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Retired from veterinary medicine. My second career is creating a homestead, aiming to be self reliant.
Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Recent posts by Su Ba

The sweet peppers are being grown in a poly greenhouse. That's because I have a couple varieties of fruit fly in my area which will lay their eggs in the developing pepper, ruining it. The greenhouse has screened ends allowing air to pass through, but not the fruit fly. I've tried several times growing peppers in my outdoor gardens, and although I get a few stunted peppers, most are too damaged to harvest.

I've observed that the pepper plants are taller and slimmer when growing in my greenhouse, as compared to outdoors. Not so bushy looking. Right now the plants are 2 1/2 feet tall and could benefit from some stakes to help support them. They are setting and successfully producing far more fruits per plant than I ever got when growing outdoors along with the fruit flies. So it appears that in my situation, growing sweet peppers in a screen house or airy greenhouse is the way to go.
9 hours ago
One danger those salt lamps poses is sodium toxicity to pets. There have been numerous cases of pets licking the lamps, unbeknownst to their owners, and becoming seriously ill. Seriously enough to die. For some reason, the salt appeals to cats especially. They don't need to lick it much to get salt poisoning.
9 hours ago
Here's some photos of what I'm harvesting lately.

I'm growing 5 varieties of sweet peppers. I don't like hot peppers, so you won't normally find them growing on my farm

The potato is a red skin, pink fleshed one. It's among my favorites. Easy to grow and usually very productive. But this time the tubers were small and not high in yield because I've been getting too much rain recently. The problem has made me think about making some sort of rain umbrella for over the potato grow boxes.
22 hours ago
I can't say for sure what's going on, but my own pigs sometimes need to learn to eat new foods. In fact, if they hadn't been introduced to some foods as piglets, they don't eat them as adults. And while some of my pigs have been curious, testing new things to see if they are edible, while most of the pigs have not.

I do feed dead animals to my pigs, BUT they are cooked first. as a result I've been able to run my pigs around chickens, duck, lambs, kids, cats, puppies without the pigs killing them. But present them with a cooked dead chicken in their feed trough, and they will eagerly gobble it down feathers and all. Then go on to peacefully eat pasture grass among the chicken flock.
1 day ago
Just thought of another one as I picked some for dinner tonight--- Mexican oregano. I grow mine in the shade, where it tolerates drought quite nicely. When grown in full sun, it needs more water.
1 day ago
I can only speak for myself.......but like Dale, I wanted as much good land (not desert or swamp) as I could afford to buy and pay the annual taxes on. I ended up with 21 acres. I would have preferred 40 to 100 for the elbow room and privacy, but we didn't have the cash to do that unless it was trash land, which I didn't see the sense in buying. And I didn't want to go into debt. That was important to us---no mortgage. If things went poorly, I don't want to lose our land to foreclosure.

I actively farm 6 of those acres in food crops mixed with high quality pasture for the sheep and goats. One acre is for residential use (house & driveway, solar array, dog yards, cat sanctuary). The rest of the acreage is in lower quality, treed pasture & mixed food forest.

Our 21 acres gives us just about everything we need for a fairly self reliant homestead...... enough pasture for assorted livestock, gardens for annuals & perennials, space for compost production, trees for firewood/limber/posts, space for farm buildings, room for a plant nursery, the ability to grow tons of assorted biomass for mulch and compost. Plus room for numerous ponds for fish and water storage. Plus plenty of room that if I make mistakes it's not a disaster.

Without the livestock, I would be ok with having less acres. But my mental health significantly benefits from the space around me separating me from my neighbors. 20 acres seems to give me the space I need. So even without the livestock, I want the added acres.
1 day ago
Re pond plants........water hyacinth grows like crazy with added nitrogen. Plus the pigs will eat the excess least my pigs eat it.
3 days ago
...Okinawan spinach is colorful and edible, though I'm not so fond of the flavor myself. It grows best for me in the shade.
...Society garlic has beautiful flowers, and the whole plant is edible. Once established, it survives droughts quite well.
...Stick oregano isn't all that flashy, but it blooms small white flowers and can be trimmed into a lovely bush.
...I think that rosemary is pretty.
...Chaya is always green and can be used as a hedge. I've never seen a flower on mine.
...Papaya tolerates drought though it doesn't thrive. Same for lilikoi (passionflower).
...Prickly Pear cactus, and it's cousins, can be oranmental and edible.

I have all the above on my homestead.
3 days ago
Quite the job!

We had a similar headache.....a pain the the neck driveway. We widened some spots up at the house for parking vehicles off the driveway itself. Had to remove a few trees to do that and add rock fill -- all done by hand with a wheelbarrow & chainsaw. That improved traffic flow.

Then later we had an excavator come in to remove trees and level out the ground (by moving boulders and rock) to create a circular driveway. That became luxury!! And finally while the excavator was there and we still had a little cash, we had rocks scooped from beside the driveway to increase the height of the road that went through the extinct riverbed. Adding 3' of fill greatly improved the driveway, allowing us to bring the two wheel drive cars up to the house.

We don't have to deal with mud, thankfully. It's been 15 years since we last worked on the driveway. It's now ready for a layer of gravel, which I hope to get to this fall. This should be the last time we need to upgrade the driveway in our lifetime.....unless a major earthquake damages the fill section in the extinct riverbed. Let's hope not.

Congrats on getting the job done. That was work!!!
3 days ago
I was a bit blown away when I visited that website. Wow. There are people out there who are actually willing to pay to mail their trash to a company who will recycle it for them. Wow. I guess I shouldn't be surprised because there are plenty of people out there paying good money for other services that they could do for themselves for free, cheap, or really don't need in the first place.

I don't want to criticize this system, but I find it puzzling.
3 days ago