2015 has been characterized by a drought which started early in the year and lasted well beyond the normal "dry Season".
As a result, most of the garden was abandoned and devastated in the first half of the year, due to both drought and lack of tap water for irrigation. Much of the second half of the year was primarily involved with recovery. Bananas have suffered badly as well as the beans.
This means it was more a year of managing to stand still -rather than forging great advances. Nevertheless, some advances have been made.
In order to relieve the fish pond as a reserve water supply -an extra reservoir was built.
Despite various disasters resulting from our attempts at pig breeding, we did manage to successfully raise one young boar, despite his development of an umbilical hernia -which was partially repaired surgically. In addition, four new piglets (three females and one castrated) were purchased from a neighbour -providing us with a choice of breeding or eating later. Unfortunately, one of the females also developed an umbilical hernia -which has stabilized but with less success than with our boar.
The duck and chicken production also seems to be stabilizing at a positive level -providing both eggs and meat. Experiments are being made as to the optimal fattening scheme -and to find ways of reducing infant mortality.
In the vegetable garden the emphasis has been on propagation more than production. Although we have been generating animal food from garden produce (windfall from fruit trees, leafy plant tops, etc..) as well as a some produce for human consumption (Saluyot, Chilli, Winged Beans and lately, some Singkamas).
There was also a small harvest of native lime (Calimansi) and several Guyabano. The Jack Fruit tree is also becoming very productive -although still prone to rotting on the tree. However, it does provide animal fodder as well as some useable vegetable. A number of Papaya trees started to fruit in the latter part of the year and are expected to increase production over time. The Cacao trees have also started producing mature fruit,
Coffee, Cashew and other fruit trees (Marang, Citrus, etc.) have also been planted -but will take several years to mature.
Apart from the reservoir, improved water retention has also been initiated - involving the digging of drainage ditches around productive garden patches and filling them with organic material. This work will continue in the new year.
A difficult year -but not a total disaster.
If all that does not kill us makes us stronger -then we have been made stronger this year.
Continue water conservation projects -but with emphasis on "low maintenance" gardening.
More emphasis on plant care -in an attempt to increase production for animals and humans -as well as propagation
-Only plant seeds directly after rainMake a Garden Plan?
-Plant early (October, November and December)?
-Provide more room for growth without overcrowding?
-Sort plants by size more effectively to prevent choking of small plants
-Plant beans with (one or two) tall stick(s) -one plant to a patch
-Temporary fences around individual vegetables when seeding?
-Make more use of "wild" areas for hardy plants such as beans, Saluyot, etc...
-Plant seeds amongst weeds to give protection from chickens?