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Organic farming

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Tips with pictures for organic gardening and little organic farms. For the purpose of this presentation, I define garden as a peace of land from a quarter hectare up to about 1 hectare and little farm from 1-3 hectares, rarely larger. The larger your farm the more complex your work and the less quality of life you can achieve as farmer family.

Tips with pictures for organic gardening and little organic farms. For the purpose of this presentation, I define garden as a peace of land from a quarter hectare up to about 1 hectare and little farm from 1-3 hectares, rarely larger. The larger your farm the more complex your work and the less quality of life you can achieve as farmer family.

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Organic farming

  1. 1. Organic Farm and Gardening Tips eBook This eBook is a very small excerpt from "Spiritual Treasures - Final Edition" To receive a full original of all "Spiritual Treasures - Final Edition" for FREE, please visit the "Spiritual Treasures page on Facebook" or go directly to the "Spiritual Treasures download" Tips with pictures for organic gardening and little organic farms. For the purpose of this presentation, I define garden as a peace of land from a quarter hectare up to about 1 hectare and little farm from 1-3 hectares, rarely larger. The larger your farm the more complex your work and the less quality of life you can achieve as farmer family. A small organic farm needs creative ideas to be fun and provide healthy organic food besides being a natural living environment and adventurous playground for happy children. Hence little farms need to look like organic gardens - just larger. Farming should be conducted like gardening, with love and health rather than with profits in mind. This growing tips section with pictures from various little organic farms in the Philippines and the Kingdom of Cambodia can in no way be all inclusive in teaching you organic gardening skills or organic farming skills. The purpose of these tips however is to open and broaden your mind, to show you a variety of different gardening methods or farming techniques used in both tropical countries as well as to add additional tips from my own experience as a farmer son in a totally different climate and environment in the Swiss mountains.
  2. 2. CONTENT Beautiful small farmhouse amidst nature Choosing a farm location Choosing a farmhouse location Organic farming is like gardening - just larger Animal farming or vegetarian farming Vegetarian farming allows full use of nature Integrate your garden into nature Be creative and innovative in your gardening skills Success in organic farming Organic gardening needs love for nature Add natural beauty to your farm Allow nature on your organic farm to create balance Using animals on farming adds work and expenses A smallest possible farm How to choose your house location on your property Learn to live with nature instead of fighting nature Learn to make the best out of your farmland Know what you love to farm and choose a land suitable for your needs Keep your small farmhouse clean amidst beautiful wilderness The direct proximity of your house is needed for your nursery Define your favorite farming type Learn to use existing farmland features for your benefit There is no poor soil but only poor understanding of the soil you have Never try to enforce a type of farming in a wrong place Create diversity in your farm just like jungle
  3. 3. Jungle and wilderness is strong because of diversity Learn about origin of fruits and plants you plant Avoid to copy other farmers and try to be different If you love and care for nature - nature loves you back Learn the value of nature before attempting to replace nature Revenue sources for farming The first goal of every farm is self sustainability Offer guest rooms on your farm Add nature beauty for your guests Philippines farm house Kitchen house on Philippine farm How to convert grass land into garden Dig deep and add bio waste for mulching Mulching as bio fertilizer in your garden Peanut plants grow in heavy poor soil Adventure vacation for children on a farm Children may add to family resources while having fun Profitability of farming - Learn calculation basics for your farm Profitability in farming is a need for progress A business or farm may be fully flourishing and yet produce a loss Calculate profitability of your farm - introduction of definitions Fixed overhead expenses in farming Flexible or variable overhead expenses in farming Total operational cost of production in farming Profitability of animal farming - work and time Learn to calculate your own cattle or animal profitability
  4. 4. Spiritual aspects of animal farming Retail price markup and profits Profit margin in farming, business retail or wholesale Without profit there is no progress Traditional farming methods vs modern high tech farms The purpose of honest profits in farming Balance between organic farming, high tech farm and stone age methods Purpose of farming is self sustainability for family needs How much self sustainability is reasonable Diversity of food produced depends on the choice or your land Grow what loves your soil most at every corner of your property Uniqueness of your farming as an inspiration for your community Self sustainability in farming as a powerful environment protection Complement your plantation with suitable plants or trees Insects and bugs are God's helpers The damage of pesticide, herbicide and fungicide on our entire nature How to find suitable plants or trees The water purity is vital for all life Reasonable self-sustainability vs full self sustainability in farming Full self-sustainability in life and farming is impossible Combine beauty with usefulness in your garden and farm Less roads and limited transportation for a self sustaining farm life Biodiversity as key to success in organic farms Diversification of farm revenues to increase profitability Add beauty and diversity to your farm Nature beauty is delicious
  5. 5. Lifestyle of the future - all are part time farmers The multitude of many small things add up to true quality of life
  6. 6. Beautiful small farmhouse amidst nature A little farm should be a size that you still can manage as a family farm while having another part time job and quality time for your own family and loved ones! The ideal farmer's work situation is a mixed job - part farming, part professional work. Ideally you work at home on the farm amidst nature and loving family. The goal is to teach and inspire you to work at home joint venture with your entire family. With your children learning from you while watching you and assisting you while you are working amidst your garden of flowers, fruits, vegetables and some God made wild nature nearby is the goal of this farming tips picture series. The ideal farm size may be in the range of 3 hectares for a small farm with mixed job farmers. Up to 3 hectares can easily be managed in organic farming by a single family in a part time job in addition to some part time work for the outside world.
  7. 7. Choosing a farm location Several criteria to chose a location for your little farm. All make sense and are obvious. Yet if tempted with cheap offers when looking to purchase your farmland, you may easily overlook some important criteria and have to pay a life long for mistakes made in your initial choice. Create a brief checklist for all important factors., Even better, invite an old farmer to join you when looking at prospective farms or farmland. The most important in a farm is water. A farm needs running water. That means water flowing by gravity rather than by pumps. Hence you chose a location that has a small creak originating on your property or flowing through your land. Clean water of drinking quality of course. A garden or vegetable field needs pure drinking water quality irrigation else you have polluted vegetables and fruits. You also need your own well with drinking water for your household. Hence you have to chose a location on the lower side of a hill with a natural flow of underground water wells to find and dig for your needs of fresh year round water supply. The best season to chose a farm location for its available water of course is by the end of a dry season. During rainy season we have water everywhere. The important however is to have water after a long dry season. A garden or farm land without pure water has no value. Zero! If you need to pump water my motorized water pumps, you'll have life long additional mechanical work and financial expenses for your water supply. There is ample water in nature. You just have to search and find the right location to have water for household and farmland. To rebuild missing or destroyed nature is impossible within a single generation. Hence chose a location with old strong nature surrounding your farm house and protect God made nature when constructing your own home. No money and no profits ever can substitute a clean natural environment. Wild nature keeps you and your family healthy, happy and strong!
  8. 8. Choosing a farmhouse location A house needs sunshine all day long, flowing drinking water from your own source and a beautiful wild nature around your farmhouse to provide you with strong life-force and natural beauty for increased quality of life. A house needs flowers, wild trees, wild herbs and plants and blooming trees or shrubs to make life pleasant. Hence if you construct your house - look at some of the pictures shown and see how a farm house can be integrated into nature without any nature destruction. A house always should be smaller than all surrounding trees, integrating and adapting into nature rather than imposed onto nature. between your own house and the neighbor property should be an area of beautiful nature - a piece of wild forest or jungle. That gives you and your neighbors privacy and keeps playing children away from possible streets or other outside dangers. Being invisible to nature assures that you stay within your limits and avoid to create visual pollution for your neighbors. Whatever you do on your farm and in your home should stay within your own boundaries. That assures that all your neighbors have the freedom to create their own life and living environment without any impact or disturbance from you. Keep your noises inside your property as well as all your pollution, smoke, animals and all else. Honor other people's freedom to be without any influence from you or others. Each family should have a small clean property of its own. A small "kingdom" free from outside influences of any kind.
  9. 9. Organic farming is like gardening - just larger The goal of this gardening and farming articles is to turn your little farm into a large garden with lots of mixed culture, lots of beautiful flowers amidst all vegetables and fruits. Learn to create wilderness - a chaotic looking peace of nature with built in self healing. A garden is a source of life force and beauty. Each farm should look like an extended garden - a beautiful mixture of colorful flowers and edible food amidst and surrounded / protected wild nature. A key source of inspiration for organic farming is wild nature, specially jungle. Jungle is a healthy, strong chaotic looking God made organized botanical/biological structure in full harmony. Neither needing fertilizer nor needing any chemicals such as herbicides, pesticide or fungicides! Learn from God made nature for the holistic well being of all mankind including your very own family and children. Every farm starts with a small nursery in your garden to produce seedlings.
  10. 10. Animal farming or vegetarian farming This question is an important question to answer by you. The decision you make may have an essential impact for your entire life, the quality of life for your entire family and the overall burden of workload waiting for you. Myself I grew up on a small farm with many animals. My parents loved to eat meat and to produce meat for our society. It was impossible to convince my parents to become vegetarian farmers. Later on much more on this decision you make when choosing the type of farming or gardening with or without animals. In brief a simple and yet absolute rule: If you keep animals as prisoners of your farm, you become prisoner of your animals as well. Any kind of animal farming always leads to a 24/7/365 duty of personal physical presence - all life long. No weekend off, no vacation, no night away from home.
  11. 11. Vegetarian farming allows full use of nature God made a fertile nature for your benefit. Vegetarian farming or gardening allows you to harvest from wild forest, jungle or wild grass fields. You just need to learn to know all edible wild herbs, salads or vegetables to supplement your own gardening products. Learn to know nature and use wild nature as a God made extended garden. Herbs, flowers, salads and many other most precious food sources are growing in wild nature. Learn from indigenous population and old farmers about the value of wilderness as a food resource.
  12. 12. Integrate your garden into nature Many small garden pieces add up to large production. Garden plants surrounded by wild nature. Just look at the strength of vegetation of jungle. Jungle and wild grassland normally has a much stronger vegetation than most gardens or farm fields. God made chaotic looking divine and perfect harmony within nature makes it possible. Learn from jungle and integrate your plants into nature. Make use of empty space in nature for your gardening of seedlings or vegetables. Avoid large monoculture fields. A beautiful example is this tiny field may be 1.5x1.5 meters will produce about 50 pieces of salads or vegetable plants. Fully surrounded by nature. Nature leaves many small open areas waiting for you to add beauty or additional plants for your food needs.
  13. 13. Be creative and innovative in your gardening skills Use new gardening techniques for more pleasant working conditions. If soil too wet or otherwise unfit for a particular plant. Create a natural space to accommodate your vegetables or herbs. Here a suspended small herbal garden - a typical system used frequently in Cambodia. Also useful as a plant nursery. Elevated plants means less backache during your repeated daily care for youngest seedlings. Elevated nursery also may keep snails and other ground bound animals away from eating up your small seedlings.
  14. 14. Success in organic farming Mixed culture is the key to organic farm success. On the picture here in one field we have rice almost ready to harvest and beautiful high sweet potato. Mixed culture enforces each other, just as in jungle. The entire farm field is surrounded by wild grass, plants and strong trees to further strengthen the entire biosphere.
  15. 15. Organic gardening needs love for nature Wild flowers and butterflies as proof of healthy nature in your garden. Wild herbs and flowers amidst your garden are like healing herbs for your garden, keeping your entire garden beautiful and strong without any chemicals nor fertilizer.
  16. 16. Add natural beauty to your farm Farming means gardening in God's nature - just larger. God's nature is made to be beautiful and pleasant to enjoy as living space. Your farmland should be like a huge garden, a combination of beautiful flowers, blooming shrubs or trees, fruits and vegetables combined with beautiful waters. Instead of storing water in containers for additional irrigation during dry season, create ponds amidst your farm land and convert your ponds into beautiful nature gems.
  17. 17. Allow nature on your organic farm to create balance When you plant your crop in garden or farm land, you create imbalance in nature. Then after planting your crop it is necessary to allow nature to re-establish balance. Allow all plants to grow around your vegetables, trees and crop. If you choose all your plants properly, then all will learn to coexist and enforce each other like in jungle. Testing, experimenting and adapting to nature's needs will help you to have a beautiful and strong biosphere on your organic farm. A copy of wild nature and jungle adapted for farming in harmony with God's creation. Every herb or grass has a purpose and meaning in God's entire creation. Every herb or plant has healing power for humans, animals and all nature. The more diversified your vegetation in your garden or farmland, the stronger nature.
  18. 18. Using animals on farming adds work and expenses Animals need additional food and thus additional land and care in a busy farmer's world. Every convenience has a price. Hence think twice if you really need help by animals on your farm. Healthy animals need additional living space in freedom, healthy food and daily care. However to use machines instead is no bio-friendly solution. Technology adds much more to environment pollution and expenses to your life than any natural solution would do. If you find no alternative at all, then consider a coop where multiple farmers share tools and resources. To be happy with all your family, all possible animals you want to keep on your farm need to be happy as well. Only animals in God given freedom can be happy. No lace, no chain, no stable to restrict freedom!
  19. 19. A smallest possible farm This little farm belongs to an old man in Cambodia. One small house hidden under the green wine covering his roof amidst a little garden of approximately 0.1 hectare. Enough to supply all life's needs for a most simple life of a single person. The last 2 years I visited this old man every few months. Each visit the farm land looks different, new vegetable, new crop ready to harvest. All farming work done by hand without any machinery nor helper. Each time I see the old farmer he seems happy and is smiling.
  20. 20. How to choose your house location on your property A farm house needs to be your home during drought and flooded seasons alike. Choosing your house location has many aspects to consider for all eventualities and seasons. As said earlier you need a location that offers you free flowing water even late dry season. The opposite is to offer clean drinking water during flooded times later in rainy season. Test availability of water during both extremes of the year. Consider extreme years of exceptional drought or exceptional heavy rainy seasons during the past many centuries. In an area such as most of Cambodia where thousands of square kilometers are regularly flooded each year. many farmers have chosen a location with a self-made small elevated hill for the house. Maybe one meter above the direct surrounding land. That keeps the direct vicinity of your house dry for much of the rainy season and may make living easier. However all Khmer style houses are built on stilts - usually some 2-3 meters high rarely less - and most people have a small family row boat to fully adapt to the annual flooding of the land. Flooding thus no longer is a disaster but a normal state of nature and people are fully adapted to welcome the heavy rain blessing each year for their benefit rather than to regard it as a disaster. Lots of flooded areas means lots of potential fish breathing waters to produce highly valuable aquatic life as a food resource.
  21. 21. Learn to live with nature instead of fighting nature If your territory is underwater, then learn to live afloat rather than fighting water. If you learn to adapt to nature, then nature becomes your supporter, source of food and livelihood and your best friend. The question of being victim of nature or beneficiary of nature is but a matter of learning about nature and integrating yourself into nature. Some people love it dry, others wet or afloat. Some love to live along ocean coast while others may prefer hills, mountains, jungle or simply country side. There is enough space for all, for each and every taste. Every particular situation has its beautiful side, you just need to see it and learn to live with it rather than fighting nature or attempting to convert nature to fit into your selfish desires and goals.
  22. 22. Learn to make the best out of your farmland Instead of changing your farmland to match your needs, learn to use existing land conditions for the greatest benefits. While such wet of flooded areas may be unfit for most vegetables or fruits, these very conditions are ideal for lotus farming, aquaculture and growing aquatic weeds during each rainy season and for rice farming during lesser flooded season of the year. Know what you truly love to do and know to do. The choose your location according to your own expertise and preferences. Avoid raping your heart and soul to live in an area you dislike nor rape nature to fit into your plans. There is an ideal place that matches all your preferences. be ready to learn and open your mind for new alternate methods of modern organic farming in full harmony with nature for our all benefit.
  23. 23. Know what you love to farm and choose a land suitable for your needs Before choosing land for your garden or farm, you need to know what you want to grow. Know what quality of soil your favorite plants or trees need. What water or irrigation you need. What sunshine and cloud hours your farmland needs to offer ideal climate and weather conditions for your planned farming type. Know the quality of soil you have on prospective land you look at. Know the soil, how it looks, feels, smells. Know what variety of plants of trees can fit or adapt comfortably in available soil condition. Do you know a large variety of different plants, vegetables, flowers and fruits that grow strongly in exactly these given conditions you have? Organic farming requires knowledge of nature and natural energy. Organic farming requires skills to live with existing conditions without the need of artificial fertilizer or chemicals. To successfully live from organic farming you need to be able to plant and grow in harmony with existing natural conditions and use the existing nature strength to produce powerful healthy agriculture products, food and other agriculture resources offered and supported by existing nature.
  24. 24. Keep your small farmhouse clean amidst beautiful wilderness Preserve and protect all nature when building a house. Most of the shrubs and trees here need many years or decades to grow to existing beautiful size and strength. Your existing strong nature around your house is the most essential source of healthy life-force and healthcare for you and the entire family. Preserving all nature as is when integrating your small house into existing nature may eventually save you thousands of dollars in medical bills later on in life. Wild, healthy nature is priceless in value to quality of life and health of your entire family. While preserving existing nature, keep your house clean and neat - this is your living and working area as well as the playground for all your family. Make your home a place all love to stay and enjoy to stay. To enhance beauty, add more flowers, blossoming trees and shrubs amidst existing natural vegetation.
  25. 25. The direct proximity of your house is needed for your nursery Small plants and tree seedlings are like children - needing protection and daily loving care. Small seedlings may need multiple times a day irrigation, supervision, protection from animals you or your neighbors may have. Thus you may prefer to have your entire nursery close to your house. Even children may love to care for your nursery and first learn under your direct supervision, then accept responsibility for their own small nursery. Young plants are like our baby angels - they feel most comfortable amidst strong protecting surrounding. Hence you integrate your nursery into a neighborhood of strong old plants and trees. Yet small plants need their very own little space just as our own babies and children do! If you know how to care for many babies and children with loving care and without grand mother or baby sitter, then you also have the loving care for a successful nursery. In farming the owners always to all the work, without outside help, without farm helper or farm slaves. Farming only is suitable for people willing to work hard and willing to learn to do all on their own. Farming is one of the most ideal family business types offering near infinite number of choices and varieties of work for all family members to be creative and free in their work.
  26. 26. Define your favorite farming type Depending on your preferences you have particular farmland needs to fulfill when choosing your land and location. Hence you first have to know what type of farming you love to do. Love! Whatever type of farming you do, you really need to love that type of farm work else your life as a farmer turns into lifetime imprisonment or lifetime punishment rather than into a life of joy and happiness amidst a beautiful nature! The basic choices we had earlier: Animals or vegetarian. While my parents strictly were animal farmers with cows, horses, ponies, sheep, goats, rabbits, pork, poultry, fish and much more. We also had a large number of fruit trees, berries, corn, potato and a large variety of vegetable and salads. Most for our own farm use to feed our animals. Some for sale and the rest for human consumption. For the reasons mentioned earlier, I learned clearly that animal farming turns a farmer into a slave and even worst, you make no real profits when looking at all the additional expenses and work needed. My favorite farming style clearly is organic vegetarian farming combined with natural use of all already existing natural resources of forest, jungle and wild grass land. So most of the now following chapters on organic farming will focus on vegetarian farming. There are thousands and more types of vegetables, fruits, berries, etc that are available. Hence you need to know where your interests are, where your expertise is and even more importantly what you as an entire family love and enjoy to do. Based on these family preferences and love for a particular type of farming, you need to select your farmland, farm location, province or climate. Once you have your village or location selected, you need to find the precise piece of land that offers the soil you need for your type of farming! Or if you have a wide interest and wide field of what you love to do and enjoy to learn and do, you may see the full potential of an available or already given piece of land and know how to use this land for your plant selection and trees. A few example to show you what I mean in the following chapter.
  27. 27. Learn to use existing farmland features for your benefit There are plants and vegetables that love a particular condition or type of the following soil, sun and water conditions: - wet or flooded land - like for rice farming - plain sunshine vs partial shadow vs full shadow - heavy soil - mostly dry soil - rich soil - stony, sandy or gravel soil - salty air or the opposite - far from ocean nearby - salty water near ocean - or strictly no salty water as ground water - year round regular irrigation or rain vs dry season interchanging with rainy season - year round moderate tropical or subtropical climate vs hot summer / cold winter seasons. Remember most of my writing is about tropical, yet we still have zones with "cold" winter below 20 degrees Centigrade in night time vs zones with always 25 degrees Centigrade or more even in coldest nights during winter. - sunny side of a hill or mountain vs shadow side - flat land vs hills - natural forest or jungle on property - altitude above sea level - even near equator you may have freezing temperature at altitudes above approximately 2000 meters a.s.l. Any existing a.m. natural condition is suitable for farming as long as you know what type of vegetation loves that particular environment and soil quality or soil condition.
  28. 28. There is no poor soil but only poor understanding of the soil you have There are numbers of trees and plants that love what you call poor soil. Soil with limited of no water. Dusty, rocky, stony or sandy - even near beach with salty air or salty ground water ... God made something that loves exactly that type of conditions. Look at the image and the surrounding soil. Dry and "poor" soil but exactly the perfect condition for rich dragon fruit farming farming. Many other fruits love same or similar conditions. Such as papaya tree with a rich harvest as little as 9 months after planting a seed, or watermelon plants - a juicy fruit growing in very dry soil, even near ocean. Many most precious herbs such as thyme, marjoram, origano, sage and countless other most precious herbs for herbal tea, herbal medicine or seasoning of high class cuisine love dry sandy or rocky conditions with little soil and little water year round. You see, there is no such thing as poor soil, just poor knowledge about all possibilities your soil offers you. Never copy what millions do already, be different and learn to understand the very special treasure God gave you with the land you own. There may be herbs you only harvest a few kgs every now and then, but at a price 100 times higher than cabbage, tomato or potato because you may have something needed in milligrams or drops instead of kilograms. Despite the "poor soil" the dragon fruit bear fruits as soon as 8 months after planting a new seedling and then keep bearing fruits all year long. That sounds quite rich to me specially when looking at the local price of half dollar to one dollar a single fruit.
  29. 29. Never try to enforce a type of farming in a wrong place Imposing a fish pond into a dry region gives you lots of additional work. Th every same farmer having the beautiful dragon fruit farm far from nearest city, near jungle and slightly elevated above all flooded areas has an artificial fish pond. That requires daily feeding and all the problems that accompany artificial farming in an unnatural environment. There are many common sense criteria that should prevent such a fish pond in an otherwise rather dry region. First of all: That farm is some 50 kms away from nearest smaller city = your potential customers. Fish need to be transported either cooled or alive. Growing fish far from customers artificially inflates prices and make fish farming uncompetitive. In addition the daily feeding makes the fish artificially expensive until a fish reaches market size of 150-200 grams that very fish may eat up most of its selling price inn food. There are thousands of square kilometers of naturally flooded rice fields all across Cambodia. Hence to introduce fish farming into existing flooded rice fields might be a far more elegant choice. Farm fish such as Tilapia grow in a single rainy season to marketing size of approximately 150 grms. Tilapia feeds on any kind of food including plants, insects etc. Such a natural potential of fish farming within existing flooded areas may require zero feeding and zero additional work or cost at all. Be mentally flexible - search for solutions to be applied into natural conditions rather than creating artificial farming methods. The more natural your entire farming, the more cost efficient and the less care you need to become productive and successful as a farmer. Nature offers you a treasure - recognize that gift of love from God and convert this gift into a blessing for your customers, neighbors.and loved ones alike.
  30. 30. Create diversity in your farm just like jungle Instead of an entire farm mono culture - create a variety of different vegetation on your land. Different vegetables, flowers, trees mixed with wild grass and small jungle like areas. Learn what vegetables, herbs and flowers match together. Mix flowers and vegetables, blooming shrubs and blossoming trees amidst fruit trees. Create a piece wild and beautiful looking harmony. Nature is like mankind, different plants helping each other, healing each other reinforcing each other. Rather than growing in straight rows - copy wilderness and jungle and grow in harmony. A row or mono-culture is man made disharmony. Wilderness is God created harmony - thus stronger than man made rows.
  31. 31. Jungle and wilderness is strong because of diversity Learn how to create your own diversity on your land. How? Take a small piece of your land, may be 50x50 meters. Buy all kinds of seeds from flowers, herbs, vegetables, poultry food seeds, etc. 20-50 different types of seeds. From some plants you may want to choose different varieties to see what grows best or strongest. Then prepare your piece of test land for the new seed first. Get all surface fine crumbly and moist. May be you choose a few days with cloudy weather or light rain to help the seeds grow faster and easier. Now mix all seeds in a big pot. One pot of seeds with dozens of different kind of herbs, flowers, etc. now spread all seeds evenly on your entire prepared land. Cover the seeds gently depending on seed type. larger seeds a little deeper, small seed grains just barely covered by soil. Moist all area gently. Irrigate multiple times a day. 2-3 days later the first seeds start to grow. If you made a good choice of all your favorite herbs, vegetables and flowers - a few months later you have a wild looking rich growing variety of vegetables in your garden.Decorated with flowers and green grass/herbs. Avoid to mess up your newly created wilderness - just leave it up to nature and natural selection which plant to grow and survive and which to die.
  32. 32. Learn about origin of fruits and plants you plant Study the history of your planned vegetables, fruits or flowers. Many flowers, fruits and vegetables have been imported from far away countries, from other climate zones. The more such plants or trees are moved away from their original climate zone, the more likely they are getting weaker and prone to insects and other illnesses. A tree in a totally wrong climate gets weaker and weaker and thus less resistant to aggressive insects or other affects of wrong climate. Insects or beetle eating up trees such as the coconut beetle are nothing else but God sent cleaners to remove whatever disturbs natural balance. Examples for easier understanding: Grapes are planted on all continents. Even in colder zones such as Switzerland. We had a small vineyard. Grape leaves are prone to mildew if growing in a wrong climate with too little sunshine and too much fog or clouds. Hence additional chemical spraying is done to compensate for wrong climate. Grapes are less sweet and vine less fruitful and less tasty. Yet farmers often hang onto a particular fruit or plant just for profit or even worst out of tradition because we always did so. Similar to sage - a beautiful herb for seasoning, herbal tea and herbal medicine. The sage shrub grows even in cold climate of central Europe easily. But if grown in semi-shadow the sage leaves may be covered by mildew as well. For the same reason - too little direct sunshine hours. Another last example would be our globally appreciated tomato. Tomato grows almost all around the world. But only a very few country have truly delicious and tasty tomato! Such are the Canary islands, Italy and a few similar places. While we have tomato plants in central Europe, in India or Philippines. none of them are even nearly as tasty. The reason: It is either too little sunny (central Europe) or too tropical. Tomato is NO tropical fruit at all. To develop its full delicious taste tomato needs a precise climate/temperature zone. Hence most of the plants and vegetables we currently have may be imported from exotic remote countries. Use Internet and research the history and true origin of your favorite plants, trees and flowers. The study the original climate, temperature, rain situation, etc from that original country and see if your location is very close the the native home of your favorite plants. In organic farming or organic gardening we need to learn to focus on true needs of plants to free ourselves from the need of chemical "protection". All plants and trees always are strong when grown in their native climate. Look at jungle and wild grass on the many nature pictures seen here. The you see that mother nature grows huge quantities of biomass without fertilizer and without any pesticide, fungicide or herbicide. When some gardeners or farmers have problems with particular plants or trees, then may be they insist of having their plants in wrong locations. The price for wrong choice is a lifetime struggle for healthy harvest or mere survival of the plantation with all additional cost of work and chemicals involved.
  33. 33. Avoid to copy other farmers and try to be different To be different requires inspiration and the courage to be a pioneer - the first to do something your way. People are lazy and prefer to have others do the inventions, the research, the testing and as soon as they see what is successful, they copy. In Internet as web publisher I see more people copying me than people doing something on their own! The very same in family business or farming. The point however is: If in one region, one province, one country or even a continent more and more people do the very same type of farming, then we turn such a growing area more and more into a mono-culture and thus we start to create an ever growing imbalance in nature. If however we try to be different from all others, we create a new, unique market with little or no competition and a unique customer market. Whatever we plant needs to be naturally accepted and welcomed by our consumers. One of the primary goal of all farming concepts is to create self sufficiency within each village, each region, each country as much as naturally possible. Hence after dozens of potato farms or corn farms, we need a huge variety of vegetables, herbs for seasoning, berries, fruits, flowers, etc. In a country of rice eaters - may be its time to review our addition to rice. May be it is easier for farmers to produce less rice but in addition some corn, some potato, some sweet potato and lots of vegetables. Example Philippines. Our Filipino love fish, pork, chicken and chicks, love and almost no fruits and even less salads or vegetables. That however is a matter of tradition and of lack of education! It is commonly accepted that fruits, vegetables and salads are healthy and excellent for a well balanced nutrition and strong immune system. Hence a little education starting in elementary school would change the entire agriculture habits of planting rice only. We have lots of high altitude mountains suitable for corn, all kinds of vegetables, delicious non-tropical fruits such as oranges, grapes, passion fruit, mandarins, apples, pears, plum, cherry and many more. All you need is to teach people to eat healthier and teach farmers to produce what people eat. In the different island zones of the Philippines, we have opportunities to planet sunflowers, corn, potato and many other substitute for coconut oil or rice. Learn to plant many different varieties of edible food. Study the global agriculture when ever you travel. Travel with open senses, open eyes. Look at all different styles of agriculture, of irrigation, of plantations. The bring home new ideas and implement them on your own farm or in your own garden. Centuries ago bringing home new plants or seeds was easy. Now in many countries such as Philippines the import of seeds, fruits or plants is prohibited and has to go through complicated quarantine procedures. Thus a free and fruitful exchange of new plants and new ideas is nearly impossible thanks to narrow minded government authorities - specially in places where needed most such as Philippine islands but also many other countries in need for better agriculture.
  34. 34. India for example lacks a year round mango harvest - Philippines have all year mango season. Some months more, some less. A free exchange between farmers directly would benefit entire nations. Hundreds of millions of people! Learn to be different from your country's traditional agriculture methods. Be creative and innovative. Create solutions to implement new natural food products into your local region. Be the first to do something new in a village or neighborhood.
  35. 35. If you love and care for nature - nature loves you back Everything in nature makes sense - learn to understand nature to know nature's value. If you realize that nature is God's gift to you and study all nature, then you realize the treasure of nature for your farm, for your entire family and mankind. If you care for nature, keep nature as is and live and farm with nature rather than competing with nature, then nature loves you back and increases your overall quality of life and harvest. Today I visited the "farm" of a rich one here. He got 3 hectares of land - formerly jungle just a few decades back. Now the left over of emptiness. No value because all jungle destroyed. Poor harvest this year because no love for nature - means no love from nature. A huge area of destroyed nature with poor farmland. Whatever you do to nature is bouncing back to you. The law of karma also applies to farming and all other aspects of exploitation of nature. There is so much half used real farmland, that we have no need for more farmland in Cambodia, just real need for alternate farming methods, new organic farming ideas implemented and protected by government as well. Instead of quick exploitation of land, learn to be a gardener - a guardian of land. Enhance, care, irrigate during drought when needed, protect from human influence and abuse, keep clean and green. In return nature will show you the wealth of possible harvest in food or medical herbs or other resources originating in wild nature or jungle.
  36. 36. Learn the value of nature before attempting to replace nature Convert into farmland or maintain a treasure. This are the 2 basic likely reactions or mind sets when a new farmer gets a piece of land like this small area less than a quarter hectare in size. Get a tractor and turn it over to plant some corn, potato or a mango tree ... Or Let's sit down and study what kind of treasure God created here and what type of herbal medicine and natural resources are growing here for the benefit of our farm, nature and our planet. Look at the extreme bio-diversity and density of growth. how about just keeping all as is until you fully understand every single plant, shrub or tree growing on this tiny piece of wild nature. This however make take hundreds of years ... we have eternity time! Look at the extreme mixture and combination of different plants next to each other without reducing each others life force or growth. The secret within this area is the right combination of different vegetation enhancing and protecting each other. The very same strong biodiversity can be integrated into regular farming. All you need to learn is to combine: - fruits - fruit trees - flowers - vegetables - herbs - grass - "weeds" all into one piece of land. "Weeds" is what we call if we lack any knowledge or understanding about a particular plant. In reality every single plant is herbal medicine either for animals or humans or for nature itself! Or a plant is a food resource for any above. If you understand nature, there shall be no more "weeds" - only valuable herbs or food in your garden or beauty for your yes, heart and soul. If you take away such beautiful treasures of nature and convert it into "productive" farmland or garden, then may be you get nature feeding on your farmland and garden.
  37. 37. Revenue sources for farming To make a living you need to grow beyond crop and potato. If you do what millions of farmers do, then you may be poor like million others or work cheaper than any helper in cities and factories. A farmer is about lowest paid expert in the world. That has to change and I am going to help you as far as possible by inspiring you with new different ideas. Then it's up to you to convert ideas into reality. Of course part of the farming may include crop, corn, potato to feed this planet. But you need to produce other values besides basic food. Look at the treasure God gave you to guard and protect for this world. Offer these values to the city world - they need your farm and farm products infinitely much more than mobile phones and computers or cars and gadgets! In future chapters I cover: - establish direct communication with end consumers - offer healthcare - invite city people as guests - supply directly to consumers - offer farm life as recreation - offer nature experience - teach basic gardening and other means to create additional substantial revenue sources for your farm family.
  38. 38. The first goal of every farm is self sustainability The easiest way to earn is to save. Living for a farmer should be free, because a farmer should be free of mortgages and debts. Simple and small, but owned by you and never a bank. The next step is to evaluate what your entire families and relatives love and what among those food products you can produce yourself on your farm. Hence you have a number of different fruit trees to satisfy your family needs, crop and other basic food for all year. All vegetables, salads and herbs. By the end of all self sustainability you may find a few products missing from your own farm production. Hence you need to produce surplus in exchange of money or missing goods. On our own mountain farm, we had about a dozen cows and that resulted in some 50 liters of milk for sale. The entire cattle story was the biggest work load and largest loss in money. My parents failed to understand and calculate real numbers. In addition we had a number of apple, pear, plum and cherry trees and within the first few years planted 450+ more plum trees and some 150 more sour cherry trees. In addition to several other sources for additional revenue. The mixed fruit production gave more net $ than the entire cattle but at a tiny fraction of machinery, expenses and work load! For complete self sustainability of an entire family and relatives, a farm size of less than one hectare is plentiful. In good climate zones half a hectare is sufficient for a huge variety of healthy organic food for your entire family and guests of your family.
  39. 39. Offer guest rooms on your farm Every farm is a treasure for our health. That is specially valid for small farms far away from cities and "civilization". People in cities are getting more and more sick and need your farm to recover, to heal, the re- discover nature beauty and happy life in a natural environment amidst a loving family. Therefore every farmer outside villages, in remote areas, even in most simple living conditions has a truly valuable nature experience to offer. Two situations for vacation and recovery on a farm. The first in a third world country, such as Cambodia or Philippines. The other in traditional farms in central Europe or similar destinations. Here I start with tropical situations. Look at a little house I sometimes call home on a very remote tropical island. Such a small nipa hut of 3.5x3.5 meters plus a small shower/toilet costs less than 500 US$. An amount a hard working farmer needs to afford. There are no furniture needed except a bed, chair and table. The true value you have to offer is God made nature and a simple life that helps your city-guests to find the true values of life again and reorient their own life. People from cities need no gold course, no tennis and no SCUBA diving at all. What they really need is quiet and peace and real nature. A few days, weeks or months without any distraction. Just quiet, simple wild nature. That is what every organic farm has to offer plentiful. The less "development" your home area has, the more natural environment and healing nature you have to offer. The value of a vacation on your farm is priceless. Hence if you add a little simple wooden or nipa hut on your farm land in a quiet corner, then you have a guest house for visitors from your own country's cities or from any other place in the world. For the small little house I pay 11 US$ a day. I declined the discount for weekly or monthly rates the owner offered me because I belief that a home in such a beautiful environment is priceless and needs no discount. Additional revenue source then becomes possible meals you offer to your guests if there are no other restaurants nearby. Hence most of the time I eat at home and the house owner wife cooks homemade food for me - including my special wish for vegetarian food. Later I may write more about having guests. For now think about your possibilities. Keep in mind as the key asset and major value God made nature. That is more than any high class hotel chain ever can offer to this world! Only small farms in a wild, remote natural environment have the benefit of true healing nature as part of farming revenue.
  40. 40. Add nature beauty for your guests Every farm location has a unique environment to offer for guests. Make sure you know what particular values your own neighborhood and nature has for guests from other countries or cities. I remember that my favorite uncle came to visit us mainly for the excellent fishing opportunities we had within walking distance. Other locations may include jungle, forest, beach, river, flowers, wild life, mountains and many other scenery and natural environment specialties. Millions of people out there love to enjoy exactly what you may overlook as true value of your farm. Your nature is unique, specially if you are living in remote areas without chemical farming, without industrial pollution. Even having no electricity, no TV, no radio or no entertainment nearby may be an asset rather than a disadvantage. Nature pure is the greatest healing value you can offer. Beware of all the beautiful sunsets, animal encounters, insects and butterflies, jungle vegetation and fresh air you have. That is enough. There is no need for luxury because you have the most valuable luxury most city people have lost centuries ago - nature! Hence instead of offering recreation or adding excuses for having no recreation. Emphasize on the nature beauty you have, on true untouched nature, jungle, forests, wild life, nature paths and all the beautiful water, creek, river or beach scenery to enjoy. When ever I go out of cities, I see but beauty and happy children in a most beautiful natural environment. A simple life as the secret to happy life in health and a loving neighborhood. A farmer is like a gardener or landscaper, protecting and caring for God's nature. Later I may teach you how to promote or advertise your vacation home on a farm. meanwhile you may start cleaning up your empty rooms or add a small tiny hut. The one I love is just 3.5x3.5 meters with a large bed. That is plenty of room for weeks or months or longer amidst beautiful nature. With a loving neighborhood you may build such a small guest house all by yourself at near zero cost except for bedding and a few items. A brief warning: These opportunities are strictly for real and experienced farmers living and working on a farm. These are NO revenue opportunities for city people looking for another easy lifestyle to create another guesthouse or country hotel. The main value you offer is a small but real farm as a home for guests. An organic farm managed since years, decades or generations in full harmony with God's nature. Your knowledge and expertise about your home in nature is the real value you offer and get paid for. You may have hundreds or thousands of questions to answer - about how you live, grow up, work with nature, etc.
  41. 41. Philippines farm house Traditional farm houses in the Philippines mostly are nipa huts made of bamboo. Roofing material either nipa or a high strong dried grass depending on availability. This beautiful farm house shows another need for organic farming: To produce your own construction material for initial construction and annual maintenance of your own home. Bamboo is the world's fastest growing grass and usually grows in a single season to its full size of up to 15-20 meters. This house is a little different from most other Philippine nipa houses. The upper level is entirely for privacy - bedroom, living area and balcony. The lower level is living area or many, including guests. Normally the kitchen is inside or directly attached to the house. Here the small house on the left is the kitchen house. The kitchen outside as separate building has purely practical reason. If you work in a farmland, mainly rice fields, you always are dirty. Coming home for a quick snack or drink is easier when all kitchen is easily accessible without carrying dirt inside the house. Another reason: If you prepare food and need some fresh herbs or extra vegetables, you are next to the garden to grab what you need without carrying dirt into your home. The small kitchen house has a table and benches to accommodate at least 8 persons, the mother and all 7 children. This small farmhouse was part of several components of Cyberspace Ashram's last year's Christmas gift for a widow having grown up with 7 children all alone for the past 20 years. The family father, a farmer, died 20 years ago. To pay his hospital bill, the family had to sell all previous property of 7 hectares. This tragedy of sick medical system sustained by greedy inhumane medical doctors shows what happens when people are scared to die and pay whatever charged in an attempt to "survive" in hell. The farmer died anyway, leaving his entire family, all 7 children and widow without home, without land, without food. Just recently a new property of 3 hectares beautiful farmland was obtained with all the tools and a farmhouse missing. A nipa house made of bamboo lasts for about 8-10 years with minimal annual maintenance except for roofing. Bamboo should be grown on own property thus making maintenance free for all future.
  42. 42. Kitchen house on Philippine farm To have your kitchen separate from your living house has but benefits in a farm house. A farm is different from city. In a farm it is about daily long working hours in the fields, garden and forest. In tropical environment of South East Asia with long months of rainy season and lots of field work being done in flooded rice fields. It is apparent that you always work barefoot in deep mud. Going for a snack home or a hot soup or tea is easier if you just walk from the field into a separate kitchen house with a large table to seat all family. That keeps your living area inside the actual farm house clean all day long and thus reduces cleaning work. There are other benefits of having a completely separate kitchen house: - all ash is out of your home - all kitchen waste is out of your home - you can walk between garden and kitchen without having to worry about dirt being carried into your home - all steam, smoke and fire from your cooking is out of your home. - a separate kitchen house is easier to ventilate and thus makes cooking healthier than if done indoors with all smoke caught indoors. - in case of fire, the kitchen house is separate from living area and would make a possible fire easier to control. - if having visitors from neighborhood you never have to worry about any street of field dirt being carried indoors. Just welcome your guests and enjoy their company with some homemade food. - during sunny season you can have tables and benches outdoor open air and enjoy eating under the sky - my preferred version! If you have many children - you know as a mother to value the fact of never having to worry about all the stuff and dirt kids bring into kitchen when hungry. Kids, specially farmer children are hungry all day and mother may be preparing or keeping food ready all day long to keep all baby angels smiling and happy. No more worry about having to clean up living room all day long.
  43. 43. How to convert grass land into garden To convert grass land into fertile garden or a nursery needs loving care. Just cutting the grass never is enough. Rice fields have different soil requirements from herbs, vegetables or a nursery. You have the typical tools, a pushcart and then the work starts. A few simple steps follow - see next picture.
  44. 44. Dig deep and add bio waste for mulching Adding new soil is a wrong procedure - converting existing soil is more efficient. First we dig row by row deep, may be half meter deep and pile up that soil next empty slot. Now we take quantities of natural bio waste we find on our farm and nearby forest or jungle. Old banana plants cut into junks and pieces, old rotting grass, vegetable waste, kitchen waste, old leaves collected from forest ground. Rotting old wood from jungle. A mixture of different bio material is added layer by layer into the deep space you created. One layer of bio waste, one layer of soil, until all soil is placed back on its original place.
  45. 45. Mulching as bio fertilizer in your garden One garden row is finished and now looks much higher than before. I added and mixed approximately an equal amount of bio waste with existing soil. Now the finished garden row temporarily is higher. In tropical climate bio degradable natural mulching material takes but weeks or a few months maximum to be fully degraded. By that time we turn the soil one more times over and may even add more bio waste as needed until the soil meets our requirements for each particular part of your garden and nursery. Different parts of the garden may have different requirements depending on the type of plants, herbs, vegetables, flowers or trees we plant to grow in our garden or nursery. This part here is planned to become nursery all over. Without well maintained nursery no future plants and thus no future harvest.
  46. 46. Peanut plants grow in heavy poor soil Peanut plants grow in a variety of soil, even heavy soil or poor soil. Even in different temperature zones. The girls on the farm loved it the easy way and planted peanut in soil without additional preparation and the peanuts just love that type of soil. That shows once more the importance of knowing what type of soil each and every plant you wish to cultivate needs for best results. Other areas of your nursery may need sandy soil with a half half mixture of sand and soil. The best is to make a full inventory of your entire property and see what different soil conditions and water/irrigation situations you naturally have in all parts of your land. There is no need to have all garden or the entire nursery at one place. Just keep those plants and seedlings that need intense daily multiple care next to your home. All else may be at other more remote places on your farmland. For far away nurseries, you may wish to make natural fences for nursery protection. Natural fences means growing shrubs like bougainvillea or similar surrounding the garden. That keeps animals out and thus the small plants safe until ready for full exposure to nature.
  47. 47. Adventure vacation for children on a farm Offer adventure for children on your farm as a source of additional revenue. No matter how small or how simple your farm may be. On an island, remote province, mountain or jungle - for children living in cities anything natural always is adventure. The simple fact that on every farm you have a huge variety of different wildlife within your neighborhood, may be animals on your farm or a neighbors farm, all the plants and flowers and forests or jungle ... that is all new to city children. They love your farm and all its exciting new pieces of nature life to discover and to enjoy. If you have guest rooms on your farm, you may offer such rooms for adults, for entire families with children or just for kids. One of the first new services we added to our mountain farm was vacation on a farm for city kids. And the children came again and again year after year mostly the same. Until they were grown up and had their own family and some beyond. Children are hungry - food is zero problem on a farm, you have virtually tons of healthy natural food, fruits and all kinds of organic food from your own fields. Hence on your farm "feeding" city children is no cost factor at all. For city parents however food for their kids is a cost factor! Hence city parents appreciate your healthy food and are willing to pay a honest prices for adventure vacation on your farm. Besides all the adventure a farm has to offer, the side effect for vacation on a farm is improved health and a more responsible lifestyle adapted by children. In nature kids have to learn to pay attention to all, to integrate into nature and to cooperate with other kids to peacefully survive and enjoy all daily adventures without being eaten up by tigers, snakes, crocodiles, fish or other wildlife you have on or around your farm. Another very essential benefit of establishing a relationship with city families is the new possibility of directly supplying organic food, fruits and vegetables or other farm products directly to the parent families of your vacation kids. To purchase food directly from a known organic farm is much cheaper than to purchase comparable quality from city stores, in addition, the families know you and trust you because their very own children experienced and observed your way of producing clean organic food. The result may be repeated visit by the city families purchasing cases of fruits and other farm products, again and again for years or a lifetime. Result for you - a steady demand of good farm products from your own little farm, may be even from a few of your neighbors' farms to complement your own products and an increased revenue on your farm in exchange of your hard work.
  48. 48. Children may add to family resources while having fun A few hours of having fun may produce all the food kids eat and more. The children on the previous picture having fun and harvesting valuable food for their families. Catching fish, finding edible fruits in jungle and all the other ways of exploring nature may be fun, adventurous - but in addition to all the fun, children actually contribute substantially to the family resources and may bring home more food than they can eat. Just a very few hours of fishing the a simple net in the rice fields or rice field irrigation channels may produce several kilograms of freshest fish. Happy children having fun and bringing home hungry stomachs and plenty of food. For city children such activities are even more adventurous. Most city children nowadays know adventure only on computers and in computer games. Real adventure in God made wilderness and nature, on a little farm far from cities is beyond any computer game. In addition to all the fun, children learn to interact with each other, to team up and work as a team to succeed. Each and every child at some point needs help from a friend. Thus city children learn responsible peaceful social behavior and the value of real work and useful activities as a direct source of daily needs for life. Suddenly the awareness of city children changes and the known source of food moves from supermarket to the actual source - you the farmer. As a result of repeated vacation on a farm, city children later on in their adult life may appreciate the true value of your farmer's work and be ready to pay honest prices for all services and goods they consume later on in life. Even the smallest farm can accommodate a few vacation children to add a valuable service offered to the outside world as a new and substantial source of additional revenue to pay for all the outside products you have to get from the world beyond your farm community. For services and products needed from the world, you need to offer services or products to the outside world. Your possibilities are huge and far beyond potato and rice! I will add more tips on additional revenue sources in later chapters to come. By the end of my parents marriage - soon after I left home to conquer and explore/enjoy and learn from and about this world, my parents had up to 36 city children at once on vacation ... The only thing missing was true love between husband and wife in their marriage! To offer vacation or guest rooms on your farm you need above all to be a happy family, happy husband and wife. Because broken families is what city children have in abundance and no need for more during vacation on your farm! Offer simple life but happy life in a loving and caring farmer's family amidst beautiful nature and you'll have success with mixed farming - agriculture and nature and farming education/adventure for guests from cities or remote countries.
  49. 49. Profitability of farming - Learn calculation basics for your farm Every life, every activity incurs costs - after all costs paid, we need to have enough to afford a happy life. Farming is a business like any others - costs need to be included in your calculation for a happy life. With lots of work ending each year with a minus, there is no happiness for your family. Hence farmers need to learn all basic calculation aspects to know how to calculate their farming expenses vs farming revenues. In the following several chapters, I shall give you step by step all basic knowledge in details and if needed with practical examples for your own family business to be and remain successful.
  50. 50. Profitability in farming is a need for progress The size of your harvest never guarantees your profit - your calculation need to that job. Take the time to actually do all the coming examples given for your very own farm. Most of these profitability calculations for farms also apply for any other freelance or selfemployment. You need to know where the money is spent and from what activities or products you earn money to pay your bills and living. Without such precise knowledge of your very own numbers, you may have lots of work, even be overloaded with work and yet end each day or year you may end with a minus. Simple due to lack of your own own calculation knowledge about your farm profitability. To join me in the following lessons, you may need a college block or paper and pencil to write and calculate your very own situation. No superficial theories - just practical applications for all kinds of farming! Later in real life you may do all such calculations in your mind. The most important of all the following examples is that you truly understand the principles of how to calculate expenses vs revenues. Once you truly understand all calculation principles, you will be able to adapt or modify all learned lessons to your very precise personal farming situation or family business situation.
  51. 51. A business or farm may be fully flourishing and yet produce a loss Without proper calculation there can be no success in business Profits are needed to pay for all bills, all costs of your entire life and business as well as to invest into a better future by steadily improving quality of products and services provided. Hence honest profits are needed to invest into your future as well as to finance social services, humanitarian help, help for needy ones, help for emergencies and disasters. Years ago I met a friend with a very well going business. A restaurant. He was well frequented, had more guests than most other comparable competitors in the same city. His quality was excellent and far better than almost all other competitors. Yet my friend complained about financial loss every day, every months. It took me all in all about a full year to change his mind. The reason of his loss was his lack of price calculation. He wanted to be cheap, often cheaper than competitors while maintaining better quality. Almost anything he sold was simply too cheap. Food, drinks, coffea, all too low in prices. I gave him some precise numbers or percentage ideas and finally he raised almost all prices by that small margin and suddenly there was no more loss but still the same number of guests. This was one clear example where a potentially successful business may fail or even go bankruptcy just for too low prices. To be too cheap is no service to others. If you drop out of business, then all others who loved your services no longer may enjoy or benefit from your services or products. If you have a sufficient number of guests or customers matching the size of your family farm or family business, then you are a source of help, of usefulness and may be even a source of happiness or joy for others. Hence you need to learn to maintain your healthy business while enjoying your own life as well!
  52. 52. Calculate profitability of your farm - introduction of definitions Only precise knowledge of your numbers allows you to make precise decisions for your farming activities and investments. In the following examples and chapters I use terms commonly used in business calculation and management You as a farmer are manager of your own business and thus need to know the following terms. To help you I add a few definitions used for your clear understanding. Be sure I do all as simple and clear as necessary! The following chapters thus start with definitions and examples for - fixed overhead expenses - variable overhead expenses - total operational cost of your farm - profit margin in business retail or wholesale - retail price mark up To learn how to calculate profitability of your farm, you need to be familiar with above and assign your proper numbers/amounts to each on your papers during later calculation examples.
  53. 53. Fixed overhead expenses in farming Any fix expenses that you have whether you work or sleep, make vacation or work overtime belong into the category fixed overhead expenses. Here a few examples in farming: Some countries may impose a tax or fee per property - per house - per hectare of land owned, per person in your family = fixed overhead expenses You may have bank loans or mortgage on your farm and your bank wants a fixed amount of payback plus interest per year from you = fixed overhead expenses You may have fixed expenses for connection to public electricity, public water supply, public sewage and garbage disposal = fixed overhead expenses You may have fixed expenses for your TV, Internet, radio, mobile or land-line phone connection in addition to actual consumption rates = fixed overhead expenses You may have fixed expenses for social security, medical insurance, farm insurance, accident insurance = fixed overhead expenses You may have lease or rent of buildings, roads, machines independent of any amount of usage = fixed overhead expenses You may have children going to school and have annual recurring expenses for school fee, school books, school uniforms, transportation to school, etc = fixed overhead expenses Even your regular living expenses may or should be added to this category. That means you are for example father and mother plus 3 children - needing a fixed minimum amount for food, clothing, health care, recreation that make your basic cost of living for all persons living in your home = fixed overhead expenses You may have loans on agriculture machinery, car or motor cycle financed by bank loans or by manufacturer with monthly or annual payments = fixed overhead expenses Think about any other regular occurring expenses with fixed monthly or yearly amounts. Those are all fixed overhead expenses that are charged to you even if you have an accident and are unable to work or when you are hanging around or on vacation. Please take now a piece of paper or your college block and start to list all your fixed expenses for your entire farm and family for the past year. Easiest may be you first accumulate your total fixed expenses per year and then divide by 12 to get your monthly overhead expenses for your
  54. 54. farm. You really need to know that amount! If later on you remember forgotten expenses, then please correct your numbers to always have as accurate as possible numbers. There are more expenses that depend on grade of activities or amount of work you do. See next chapter.
  55. 55. Flexible or variable overhead expenses in farming Expenses that depend on the amount of activity or work done are variable or flexible expenses. Examples: You have electric engines such as water pumps, lifts, cranes, refrigerators, air condition, radio, TV, computer, fan, laundry machines, driers, electric welding machines, etc. Obviously the more often you use these machines the more electric power you consume and the higher your cost of electric energy. These are variable overhead expenses on your farm or in your family business. Another variable overhead expense are motor vehicles, tractors and agriculture machinery. The more hours you use them or the more kilometers you drive, the more fuel you consume and the greater the maintenance cost and repair bill will be. = Variable overhead expense. If you have a farm with guest rooms for visitors. There you have flexible expenses - the more guests the more electricity they may need, the more you drive around to do all shopping, pickup or drop off at boat stations or airports, etc. The more cattle or animals you have on a farm, the more likely you have an increasing amount of veterinarian costs as well as many other additional expenses that somehow depend on the number of animals you keep. The more animals you keep on a farm, the more food you have to provide or produce each day - hence a variable expense that entirely depends on the type of farming and number of animals in your farm. The more troubles you create or maintain with your neighborhood, the more lawyers or defense costs you may have for reconciliation and legal activities = Variable overhead expense. Best always is to stay within your limits even in your pollution and be in a loving relationship with all. Cost for accidents. If you are careless, then it is a matter of time until you may be victim of your own carelessness. Carelessness is expensive and may cost more than the entire value of your farm plus your many hectares farmland! Strictly avoid such expenses by learning to be careful, listen to your heart or inner voice (spiritual guidance available to all). Such variable expenses are impossible to predict. Look at the past ten or more years and see what accidents you and your family had. Is the occurrence of accidents increasing or decreasing? I had myself a few very severe accidents until age 19. After leaving home and enjoying my own life in freedom, all accidents with any severe injury or expenses stopped completely. Now you understand the principles of variable expenses. Many of them
  56. 56. are directly related to the amount of work you do. Hence you may understand the importance to actually KNOW all such expenses and calculate your prices for services and products rather than have prices imposed by bargaining customers. Some of the expenses on your farm may have BOTH - a fixed expense part PLUS a variable expense part. Examples: Public electricity. You may have to pay 10 dollars or more per months just to get connected PLUS a fee per kilowatt power usage. Similar for landline phone. You may have a fixed flat rate just for being connected PLUS a minute fee for all calls. Another example of expense combination are motor vehicles. A car for example ( or any similar vehicle) has a normal lifetime of about 8-12 years with average usage. An agriculture machine may live longer - may be 12-20 years of properly services, cared and maintained with moderate usage. Hence a car may experience a total loss of value after its lifetime of 8-12 years. Lets say 10 yrs to make calculation simple. A new car for 20'000 US$ thus may lose each year 2000 US$ in value = fixed overhead. PLUS the same care may incur flexible expenses per mileage used. Lets say you drive 20'000 km per year and the cost per km may be 0.25 US$ = 5000 US$ mileage cost per year PLUS 2000 US$ depreciation per year. The loss of value of a machine due to aging until machine useless is called depreciation. Mileage cost often are available from automobile clubs in various countries and depend on individual countries and the amount of kilometers driven per year. Such statistical mileage cost usually include all maintenance, repair, insurance, etc and are often very accurate as a basic for your exact cost calculation in a farm. Agriculture machines often are more expensive but also more rugged and thus may have a longer life expectation if used carefully and maintained by the farmer properly. The calculation for annual total cost however are the same. The more hours you use your tractor or harvesting machines the higher your variable cost for that machine in addition to fixed overhead expenses for depreciation. Agriculture machines are expensive and often completely obsolete if you take all factors into account. I know one family on an island in the Philippines, many adult children - sons and daughters - all a little lazy. Hence they hire a small tractor to prepare the 2 hectares rice field from a brother in law who owns such a small machine. He charges HALF - 50% - of the entire rice harvest in exchange for a few days machine use each year. To be lazy is expensive. We have many weeks time to prepare a field for next harvest. to save half the harvest certainly is worth an extra few days of hard work.
  57. 57. Now you guess already right: Please dig through all your bills of the past 12 months to find and write down all your variable expenses of your average activity you had last 12 months of work on your farm. If paper invoices missing, recall the amounts - add all up to one amount of flexible expenses on your worksheet. Now you have the total operational cost for your farm. 1. your fixed overhead expenses - independent of your workload 2. your variable overhead expenses - depending on work activity That total is your operational cost - your total annual cost of running a farm. That total cost running your farm needs to include your full cost of living expenses for your entire family living on and living from your farm. You have an annual amount. Now divide this annual farm operational cost by 12 to get a monthly amount and also divide the same annual amount by 365 to get a daily operational cost for your farm. later on you may need and use any of above - daily or monthly operational costs for your entire farm with all family members working on your farm.
  58. 58. Total operational cost of production in farming Every single part of your farm production has its own individual operating costs. You should know which part of each farming activity costs how much and earns you how much. Thus you need to know which part is profitable in your farming and which part of your farm work may cost you more expenses than it brings revenue. Let me explain and give you a few examples for better understanding. A few months ago a young farmer woman told me about her successful copra harvest. Copra production in the Philippines is widespread in the Visayas among hundred thousands of farmers. Farmers do it because they are encouraged by the government to do copra and because they always have done copra since long time. Hence like so many times sons do something just because father and grand father and all before have done so. I asked that woman a few questions and she answered: How much did you get. 6000 PHP - (that's about 130 USD) How many harvest do you have per year: 3 I knew the situation and location of that farm quite well: 1 hectare forest with mostly coconut palms is used for that copra production. The farm is about 1 km from the river - a small walking path, no road. 3.5 hrs by boat on a river to the next small village to the copra collecting station. I asked her about: How much did you pay for the porters to carry the copra bags to the river? How much did you pay for the boat transportation to the village? How much did you pay for the unloading of the copra to the pier? How much did you pay for the transportation from pier to the copra buying station? I added up all her amounts - and ended up with 50% total costs just for the complete transportation. Leaving some 3000 PHP per harvest actual gross profit. Time 3 for all 3 annual harvests. Makes some 200 US$ per year for one hectare of copra land. Gross profit, because there are more expenses every now and then! Then I added more questions - like: How many times does someone in your village fall down from a coconut palm during maintenance or clean up or harvest ... etc. Coconut palms typically are clean once or twice a year plus the harvest is done by physically climbing up the palms.
  59. 59. May be you now see what I mean by "Every single part of your farm production has its own individual operational cost". Every particular farm activity may have additional unique expenses and risks. Her father died some 20+ years ago after illness in a hospital. The hospital bill was so high that the mother of 7 children had do sell her 7 hectares farmland and farmhouse to pay the medical bill. Leaving the entire family without home and without farmland to provide food and livelihood for the entire family. These or similar expenses may be part of total farm production costs for a particular farm productivity or farm service and thus in real calculated farming ALL such costs, including accidents need to be paid by advance savings made from NET profits. NET profits is the amount of money left after all cost of livelihood and all bills paid for the entire farmer family. Every now and then someone falls down a 10 meter palm. Breaking bones, staying hospital for a few weeks, being injured or even crippled for life in some cases, even dieing in other cases. Palm trees are high and a crash from 10 meters may be unpredictable and painful! Before starting a particular farm production, learn about all aspects, all risks, all prices and expenses and the global or local market situation. Then research alternatives to that traditional farming production. And only after consideration of all facts, all data, all numbers - make a decision based on facts and data rather than on what always has been done by our ancestors. In next chapter I give you one more example about cattle farming or animal farming based on our own mountain farm in Switzerland.
  60. 60. Profitability of animal farming - work and time Animals kept in house or farm will take your freedom and consume your happiness and money. In future chapters I shall elaborate much more on that. Here first some facts and experiences from our own cattle farm. In another chapter I gave already the guideline about cattle and animal farming vs vegetarian farming. Here some more information and facts based on our own small mountain farm in Switzerland. This following is valid for all types of animal farming. Goats, sheep, horses, chicken, piggery, the basic principles and problems apply to all animals. First some brief facts and numbers from our own traditional farm to give you a rough idea: 9,6 hectares land ( half hectare forest, remaining was grass land amidst forests and mountains. 3,5 hectares fenced area for our cattle all remaining grass land was used and needed to supply food over the years we usually had about 8-9 milk cows and about 3 young ones less than a year we had more animals - I write later about. Lets just look at the cattle / milk production part first in this chapter. The 3,5 hectares fenced grass land never was enough to feed all cows even during fertile summer time. From spring to fall, each morning around 4 or 4:30 my father was getting up to cut one load of fresh grass to feed the cattle coming down from the fenced hill for milking. For the frozen winter season, of course we had to cut and dry grass to have sufficient hay for all animals all winter long. This small part of the farm work - to feed a small cattle, requires usually a tractor, machines to cut and transport tons of grass and hay or other food. The result of this small cattle farm part was: Thousands of dollars additional yearly expenses for machinery, financing (my parents had only once in a life to take a bank loan to finance the small mountain tractor). All else always was paid cash from savings. Obviously large energy bills for fuel -including environment pollution by fuel and noisy days or weeks by machines and by all manure produced. Repair and maintenance of all machinery involved in cattle farming. Cost money, time and requires additional skills. All this work usually is self made.
  61. 61. Thousands of hours additional work just cattle related. Thousands? Thousands or hours work per year! Let me detail the working hours in a simple example: Every day 4:30 AM - 8 AM summertime - cutting grass, feeding cows, milking cows, bringing milk to dairy station in village (required another small old car for transportation). Cleaning / brushing cows daily. Cleaning stable daily multiple times. Supervision of cows 24/7/365 - farmer always has to be physically present on farm whatever animals you have. You are away half day, you may find one or several animals injured or killing each other. That happened several times in 10 years on our farm - just for being a few hours away or even minutes too late even while present on farm! Several weeks late winter and late fall to transport all manure into grass land and then distribute it across all land - manually or you buy another machine to do that. We did it manually. That's about 2x3 weeks all day loading and unloading stinking manure - dozens of tons of it! At least once a year pumping all cow sewage by special pump onto several hectares of nearby grassland. That's about 1-2 weeks additional full day work each year - plus engine driven pump and all equipment and energy bills. Of course you need a much larger building to home the cattle for milking and daily care. You need an even larger storage space for all the hay. May be two third or more of our main building was for cattle alone. You need garage and large storage space to park and repair/maintain your machinery. That usually is done in a separate building - a huge garage just for machinery. We had large food silos 4 meter high to store additional fresh fermented food needed for our winter season. That all above is but a small part of overhead work and costs for our small traditional cattle farm. Needless to talk about regular veterinarian visits and bills, sleepless nights when animals get babies, etc. The "positive" side of the work was the revenue from our milk. Cows are pregnant once a year, hence milk production is limited to several months per year. I know quite exactly that from our all cows we delivered/sold to the dairy collection station twice a day 25-27 liters of fresh milk. In today's currency that would have been some 30 US dollars per DAY from all cows, From all work. On a cattle farm you may work some 5000 hrs per year. 3000 USD divided by some 3000 hrs just for the cattle related annual work gives you an hourly wage of ... 1 $ in a high tech expensive country like Switzerland! Even if you improve and optimize here and there - you will earn MUCH less per hours of hard work than any city population ever would get out of the bed to be useful for the world and feed the world! Now prices have changed, gone up, for milk as well as for all machinery and energy. The relationship or work to revenue remains the same. Plus a few hundred dollars a few times per year for small calves or a year old sold to butchery each year to feed the city people with veal and
  62. 62. beef. The gross revenue directly originating from cattle on our mountain farm was in the range of 3000 US$ per year. Minus all work and all expenses for machinery and energy. Our cows were quite happy cows with our large fenced land. The price for letting cows be happy and run around day and night is a much smaller milk production. 8-9 liters twice a day per cow was about the maximum. If you keep your cows prisoners all life - they spend less energy for happy life and thus produce more liters of less tasty milk as "reward". Other countries may have different type of cattle. Look at the picture with the water buffaloes. That is no feeding place they enjoy now, that is just a few hectares of water place they need to be water buffaloes. Water buffaloes love to spend most of their days in the water - lots of water - clean water. But after all the water buffaloes - the water never will be clean again - water buffaloes drop all their manure into water, in rivers, in lakes, in ponds, etc where ever your kids swim ... Much more to come on profitability of animals vs vegetarian farming. The you make up your own mind and do what ever makes you most happy together with all your family.
  63. 63. Learn to calculate your own cattle or animal profitability Homework for farmers - calculate your own accurate numbers with guidelines given in this chapter. Learn to manage your farm. To manage your farm you need to know numbers of revenue and numbers of expenses of each part of your farming. Never trust banks nor government guidance - learn to trust your own calculations and numbers. Learn to to your farming right and based on facts and data that are true and correct in your own family or farm interest rather than in the interest of banks and factories supplying you with chemicals and machinery! Every traditional farm typically has multiple sectors that sum up the annual total revenue for a farm. Such as forest, crop, cattle, poultry, fish ponds, dog breeding, piggery, guestrooms, part time jobs during off- season or winter time. We too needed such additional jobs for revenue. Like working in federal or state owned forest for logging paper-wood, construction wood and firewood in small teams of a few farmers teaming up during many winter months. And other full time jobs during certain times of the year. In previous chapters you learned to calculate your fixed overhead expenses and variable overhead expenses in farming to calculate your total operational cost of production for each particular farm production or farming section of your farm. Now it may be time for you to calculate on paper your very own total cost for your animal farming. More precisely when ever possible, split it up by type of animals, such as - horses - cattle (cows, calves) for dairy products / milk production - poultry farming any other particular type of animal farming you do Make sure on the expenses side you add the cost for: Insurance if your country offers animal farm insurance to protect against diseases such as FMD etc. Costs for your veterinarian visits - may be you take the vet bills of the past many years and divide the amount by the number of years to get a better annual cost average. There might be years with little vet expenses and other years with huge vet expenses. Include all costs for animal vaccinations, stable disinfection, etc. Any machinery you use entirely to transport animals, transport food, harvest animal food, manure handling, sewage handling, Any membership, insurance, education, seminars directly related to animal farming. Add expenses for buildings, stable and all related maintenance, taxes and insurance related to all building parts you need just for animals - including all garage or storage buildings for harvest, hay and machinery. Add any cost, interest rates, payments, etc for any financing or mortgage you have just for the animal farming part of your farm.
  64. 64. Add cost for temporary helpers and harvest helpers related to animal farming, including rented machines or payable services you may be using for harvest or for the herbicide/pesticide/fungicide spraying. Add all electricity, fuel and other repair and maintenance related to all animal farming and its related machinery. Think about any other expenses you may have that are directly related to your specific animal keeping and farming activity. Add them to the cost of operation for animal farming. One tip to add the correct amount for your machinery: Often you inherit your machines or you purchased them many years ago. Then look back at the old bills, add the purchase price, add the maintenance and repair bills for all the years you have that machine. The divide that total by the number of years the machine is in use to give you the annual cost for that machine. That tractor from your father may be 12 years old and have cost your father 50'000 US$ or even more, including some exchangeable tools and accessories. The bill for all repair, tractor tires, etc may have been some 10'000 USD. You may have forgotten the purchase price your father might had to pay and often finance through bank loans. But may be next year that machine breaks completely down and need to be replaced and you will wake up and see that your savings to replace in cash that old machine may be too little because you never calculated the total cost to adjust your pricing for products and services sold! To add last years fuel bill may be enough for tractor energy consumption cost, but the full depreciation and repair/maintenance need to be calculated either on precise farm industry values available from true statistics or from your own past many years real expenses since purchasing date. In my above example for your old tractor - the purchase price plus repair/maintenance would be 50'000 + 10'000 = 60'000 USD divided by 12 years equals 5000 USD tractor cost in addition to your fuel/oil bills for the same tractor. Similar applies for all other machines you or your parents purchased many years ago. Any time in the future, may be tomorrow or in 3 years - you suddenly may need to replace the same machine by a new one and you need to have the full amount in cash in your savings account to stay our of debts and out of dependencies from banks. All the BILLIONS of dollars bank earn and bank managers earn and banks waste for multi- million dollar sponsorships of sailing events, tennis events, etc are all paid by farmers and consumers borrowing money. The cheapest money is your very own savings! Now create the total sum of your entire expenses related to animal farming on your current farm. If you do above for each particular type of animal farming - such as cattle for milk production, then you should now add up all your entire revenues from that particular part of your farming work! After all your revenues added up to one annual amount, take your total revenues per year and deduct your total operational cost to get your total NET revenue per year from each and every part of your farming activities.
  65. 65. Now write down the number of hours you have to work just for that particular type of animal farm work. Like I gave you a brief example from our own old mountain farm in Switzerland. Then take your NET annual profit and divide by the annual number of hours you have just for that particular farming sector. If you have several sectors in your farm, you may add up ALL your total expenses and deduct them from your entire gross cost of farm operation per year to get your entire total NET revenue from all your farming activities and work. When calculating your total expenses on a farm, to be safe with all your expenses, add 10% of all your collected expense invoices to compensate for the hundreds of smaller amounts you never collect invoices. Such as tips given, gifts made, dinners offered, etc to all your neighbors or community and other services you use during the course of annual seasons. 1. How much is your total GROSS farm revenue? 2. How much is your total farm expense? Deduct amount 2) from amount 1) above to get your: How much is your total NET farm revenue? Divide your NET farm revenue by the total hours of work and on duty presence you have per 365 days on your farm. Even easier: A year has 365 days x 24 hrs = a year thus has a total of 8760 hrs! To easier calculate your total working hours, add up all the regular FREE hours you have guaranteed on your farm. How many hours a day can you sleep without ever having to wake up and care for a problem on your farm? How many times a week or year you have a full day = 24 hrs completely free? How many times a year ever do you have a full weekend free from Friday late afternoon till Monday morning ? How many times a year did you ever make a real full vacation - like 2 weeks Caribbean Sea or SCUBA diving in the Maldives or jungle trekking in Cambodia or whatever others working in cities do? How often a year to you have all day off - from morning until evening or from late afternoon until early morning. Just for partying, having fun or going out with friends or dates? ADD all above number of total OFF-duty hours each year. Now deduct that OFF-duty time from the total annual hours of 8760 hrs and you have your approximate total duty or work hours on your farm.
  66. 66. For our own farm, I can confirm that my parents never had a single 24 hrs day OFF in all their farmer's life. There even never was a single 12 hrs period off during the entire mountain farm time. Never a single weekend or a single week vacation all life long until divorce. Even after divorce my father never had a single week vacation until he died age 87 a few months ago. Now he enjoys God's pension at home in heaven. He deserved it through hard work and a life without any love at all. The only time off have been a few times a year some 6 hrs periods used to go to agriculture fairs or agriculture markets and a very few times to visit some relatives. How are your numbers ? I know from all our neighbors and from almost all other farmers I met or visited around the world in the 40 or so countries I worked or visited during the past 40 years that our own family numbers are actually the default for most farmers. Most or all farmers I met have no time off - at least all those having any kind of animal farming. We had much more than just animals - and fortunately my parents adapted and changed during the course of the years until divorce. However my father always was attached to animal farming in addition to new farming activities. The animal farming cost his freedom - the new activities brought the profits to cover expenses from animal farming. More to come in future - see next chapter about organic farming and learn about alternate sources to create organic farm revenues from a real farm. BTW: Did you notice that I use to "wrap" all your calculating home work into pictures with beautiful tropical flowers. That is just some added love to encourage you to really sit down and really calculate on paper accurate numbers. To be successful in your farming and in any other business or smallest one person "family" business (single mothers, single fathers, etc) YOU need to calculate your business numbers to know where the money comes from and where its getting lost or wasted to make timely adjustments in your farming or business!

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