March 20, 2011

My Chili Farm - Brian's last day

It has been 2 weeks, a busy and productive 2 weeks thanks to Brian; my HelpX volunteer from the U.S.A.

I just sent him off just now, he is on his way to Sipitang and tomorrow, he will be making his way to some secluded village in Sipitang named Ulu Bul. Seriously, I didn't even know that there was such a village. I know of Long Pasia but Ulu Bul? Clueless.

Apparently there is a school there with only 25 pupils but has 11 staff and recently received a solar panel worth RM3mil! This was told to me by Brian who in turned was informed by another person.

So what have we been up to? Let's see, Brian helped me lay down 23 rows of silvershine, no easy task but he did it like a pro.

... and we started our composting project. Brian has been doing quite an extensive research on this and he has been very helpful with technical know-how.

... and we did some grass cutting. Brian struggled to master the art of handling a Brush Cutter :P.

This is Brian at the farmhouse

Silvershine sheets that Brian helped to lay
We collect cardboard boxes from town and lay them between rows of silvershine for weed control.  Brian's idea that I adopted. Eventually they will disintegrate and add carbon to the soil. 

That's Brian clearing the ground of twigs before he lay the silvershines

These seedlings are ready for transplanting. I moved them from the nursery and placed them out in the open for 3 days before transplanting them. I was told that it is better to let them acclimatize to direct sunlight before transplanting them. 
Brian and I piled up 2 compost heaps. This is one of them.
Brian collected cut grass and leaves to add to one of the compost heaps 

Brian mixing the fresh materials with the old ones. The compost heap has to be regularly turned so that air is introduced which the microbes need
The microbes are doing their job breaking down the grass, leaves and what not
In my last post, I asked for readers to help me identify this chilli plant. Brian told me this could be Jalapeno. One of the fruits is turning red, can't wait to sample how hot it is.

Some of the Rambutan trees that my grandfather planted about 30 years ago. 

More Rambutan trees

Pineapples planted for own consumption. I'm thinking of planting more between the Rambutan trees

Brian and I were wondering what insect hive this is. It attaches on a cactus plant in the farm. It has beautiful colour and texture.
Weird looking spider I encountered at the farm. I think it's a spider but it has shell like a crab.

The river behind the farm

Another plot which I intend to plant more chillis perhaps of different variety
That's all for today. Hope you enjoyed having a glimpse of the miserable live of a farmer.


Thanks for your comment Sri, here's a close up picture of the chili as requested.


sri said...

hi justin,
i don't believe that the unknown chili you have is a jalapeno. the jalapeno's have a different shape. more like a fat bullet. haha. can u get a close up photo of the chili you have i try to identify for you and also the rip picture of the chilli would help. hope to hear from you soon.

Justin said...

Hi Sri,

I just uploaded the pic as requested. You seem to be knowledgeable about chilis. Are you a grower yourself?

sri said...

thanks justin. :)
i am just a very small grower.. not like you. i see u are going big scale. what are the varieties you are planting ? only cili padi's?
have you solve the wrinkle shoots problem? those are broad mite's problems. too small to see. and they can cause havoc to your plant. where did you get the seeds for the unknown pepper plant ? do tell me how hot it is? hehehe

sri said...

your unknown Chili is Red habanero. do you plant it near other cili plants? if u can isolate this plant, you can use the ripe ones for seeds. if u don't isolate it the seeds produce might be crosses. if you use that seeds u will get a different looking pepper.. hahaha mutant.

Justin said...

Habanero eh? My aunt got it from her workplace. A hospital of all places. Someone planted it in the hospital compound, she and her colleagues got curious and tried it and they swore it was hotter than Cili Padi. I thought it was Bhut Jolokia so I asked for some seeds from her. I tried it. Not that hot actually but in my opinion, 1 Habanero = 3 to 4 Cili Padi. and yup, I isolated them. I only planted 4 of them anyway.

I destroyed the plants that had wrinkle shoots. I'm fighting the urge to use chemical pesticides because my farm suppose to be 98% organic LOL. Wouldn't Lady Bugs prey on them? Speaking of which, I haven't seen my little friends for a while now. I wonder whether my silvershine scared them away.

Currently I'm planting Cili Padi only and of course some Habanero.

Would love to see your plants! Do you have blog or facebook?

sri said...

hmm not that hot eh? did u ate the whole pod? you need to taste the pepper's placenta junction to get the heat. any way habanero's got many types from sweet type to super hot. i got 2 type's habanero plant as well. a bit different from yours. this has wrinkled skin. have your heard of cili goronong ? i think there is someone in Lawas area have planted a bhut jolokia. i just put some bhut jolokia seeds to germinate still waiting.

Justin said...

Yes the whole pot. But then again, i have a very high threshold when it comes to chili. Tongue like rhino skin. You got Bhut Jolokia?!

sri said...

how do i show u some of my pictures ?
my bhuts are still in seed form haha. waiting for them to germinate.

i know sabah is a very good place to plant chillis... the soil is GOOD.. plus abandon of natural beneficial insects.

as for broad mites infestation - Damage: Infested plants become unthrifty. Leaves curl downward and turn coppery or purplish. Internodes shorten and lateral buds break more than normal. This new growth may also be stunted or killed, which forces out additional shoots. Flowers are distorted and fail to open normally.Broad mites are so small that they are virtually invisible on the host plant even with a good hand lens.

Cultural control: Broad mites are very sensitive to heat. Lowering infested plants into water held at 43 to 49�C for 15 minutes will destroy broad mites without damaging the plants. my email address

Eric said...

Hi Justin,

I read about the volunteer opportunities that you generously offer in several places. My name is Eric and I would love to have the chance to do some volunteering as well.
I will be in Malaysia from mid-June to mid-July. Would there be place available for me to volunteer for approximately 2 weeks during this time?
Maybe we can communicate by email.


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