Monday, April 27, 2015

Practical farming for increased yield and sustainable productivity

Dr Abe V Rotor
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (School-on-Air)
with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Lesson for November 9, 2011

Community Gardening, San Juan, Metro Manila

I learned these practical farming techniques from old folks at home, and from successful farmers, here and abroad, which inspired me to look into their scientific explanation in college.

1. East-to-west orientation Arrange the rows of plants on an east-to-west orientation. This allows better and longer sunlight exposure which enhances photosynthesis. There is less overshadowing among plants compared to north-to-south, or any direction, especially when inter-cropping is practiced. You can increase crop yield to as high as 10 percent by this technique lone.

Have a compass at hand, and remember that an-east-to-west orientation of rows does not only increase yield of your regular crop, but allows you to practice layered or storey cropping as well - thus, enabling you to increase the effective area of your farm. Incidence to pest and diseases is greatly reduced by this practice. Crop quality is likewise improved such as sweetness and size.

There's one drawback though. When it comes to sloping terrain, it is advisable to observe the rules of contour farming that minimizes soil erosion and conserves soil moisture. Consult your nearest agriculturist. Learn from local farm models.

2. Inter-cropping and alternate cropping. In peanut-and-corn alternate planting, peanut is a nitrogen fixer and provides nitrate fertilizer to its companion crop - corn. Corn on the other hand, is a heavy nitrogen feeder. When planted alone and repeatedly, the tendency is that the soil becomes depleted of nitrogen. Peanut benefits from irrigation given to the corn, and gains protection from excessive wind and dryness from its taller companion. And to the farmer, having two crops is like doubling the effective area of his farm, not to mention the maximum use of space in double cropping, which also benefit the animals with corn fodder and peanut "hay."

Here are some common combination of crops.
  • tomato and pechay
  • sugarcane with mungbeans
  • coconut and coffee or cacao
  • coconut and lansones
  • stringbeans (pole sitao) and rice
  • papaya and pineapple
  • peanut, corn and sweet potato
  • pigeon pea (kadios) and rice
  • grape on hedge and cabbage or cauliflower
3. Non-cash technology principle. Don't spend, save on farm input and labor cost through practical means. Here are proven practices.
  • Follow recommended use of the land, the crops to plant, cropping system to follow. Consult local agriculturists, successful farmers.
  • Go with the seasons and be part of community farming - when to prepare the seedbed, plant, irrigate, harvest. Off-season planting is expensive and risky, and is done only for special reasons.
  • Fallowing. Give your farm a break. Nature takes a rest usually in summer. You can hear the land breath, the cracks harbor aestivating frogs, fish, crustaceans, snails and other organisms. Break the life cycle of pest and disease organisms. Give yourself too, a break.
  • Plow after the first heavy rain to turn over the weeds, converting them into organic fertilizer, and keeping their population down.
  • Plant native varieties, they are sturdier and simpler to take care. Less fertilizer, less pesticide, if needed. There is a growing market for native crops and animals. People are avoiding pesticide and antibiotic residues, more so, genetically modified crops such as Bt Corn.
  • Avoid hybrids as much as possible. They are heavy soil nutrient feeders. They are genetically unstable, you cannot make your own binhi (planting material) out of your harvest.
4. Practical Postharvest technology. Avoid crop loss in all stages - from planting to harvesting to manufacturing. At all cost avoid wastage. It defeats your goal and objective. And remember there are millions of people around the world whio have little to eat.
  • Harvest on time and promptly
  • Know the shelf life of your harvest. For perishables, sell or process immediately.
  • Use proper tools and equipment
  • Have your harvest properly dried, packaged and stored, specially if you plan to keep it for some time. Keep it away from the elements and pests.
  • Consider quality, not only quantity.
5. Processing increases value added. Why don't you do the processing yourself, rather than sell your harvest directly. Milled rice rather than palay. You can go for second processing - or manufacturing - rice flour. puto (rice bread), suman, bibingka (rice cake), rice wine (tapoy). , Promote local industry, generate employment for the family and locality.

6. Use by-products efficiently. Farm wastes are converted into many useful products.
  • Rice hull and sugarcane bagasse for fuel.
  • Corn stover, rice hay for livestock feeds.
  • Rice and corn bran for poultry and piggery feeds.
  • Crop residues, and weeds for composting.
  • Banana leaves, rice hay for mushroom growing
  • Tobacco stalk for pest control (spray or dust)
  • Coconut shell for charcoal (activated carbon)
  • Rice hay for mulching (bed cover of garlic, onions, other crops)
  • Manure as organic fertilizer and composting
7. Multi-commodity or diversified farming. Grow two, three or more crops, with animals and fish, and other commodities.
  • Palay-isdaan (rice and tilapia, hito, dalag, gurami)
  • Sorjan farming - alternate upland and lowland culture. Field is divided into strip, alternately elevated and depressed.
  • Piggery and biogas digester for biofuel. Biofuel to run your own generator.
  • Poultry on range, feedlot for cattle, fishpond, field and vegetable crops.
  • Agrotourism. Combine farming with ecology. Make farming attractive to tourists, specially children. Let them experience planting, harvesting, catching fish or butterflies. Have you farm suitable for camping.
Farming is as old as civilization, and for thousands of years has been the mainstay of economy and well-being of man and his society. Farming is the root of festivities and rituals. It keeps the family working, playing and living as a unit. It in turn, sustains communities Farming is food security, it gives the sense of independence and self-sufficiency.

Practical farming is the answer to many problems we encounter today such as
  • High cost of production
  • Pollution from farm chemicals
  • Loss of farm productivity
  • Decreasing profitability
  • Harmful residues in crops and animals
  • Loss of soil fertility, soil loss due to erosion
  • Idle farms, abandonment of farms
  • Desertification - farm land to wasteland
  • Unemployment and underemployment
  • High dependence on mechanization and expensive input
  • Technology transfer gap
These and other practices flourish in many farms all over the world. Let's preserve them, they are the fallback to today's modern agriculture.

This simple article is dedicated to the memory of my professors, Dr Eduardo Quisumbing, Dr Deogracias Villadolid, Dr Rufino Gapuz, Dr Juan Aquino, Prof Francisco Claridad, Prof Leopoldo Karganilla, Dr Nemesio Mendiola, Dr Juan Torres, Dr Fernando de Peralta, et al, advocates of natural farming. ~

Earthquake! What should I do before, during, and after an earthquake? Nepal earthquake photos.

Over 900,000 earthquakes occur worldwide each year. Fortunately, the vast majority of them are magnitude 2.5 or less, and great earthquakes (magnitude 8.0 or more) only happen about once every 5 to 10 years. (Aftermath of 7.8 earthquake in Nepal)
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri
Researched by Dr Abe V Rotor from

and the Internet (April 27, 2015)

What to Do Before an Earthquake

  • Make sure you have a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight, and extra batteries at home.
  • Learn first aid.
  • Learn how to turn off the gas, water, and electricity.
  • Make up a plan of where to meet your family after an earthquake.
  • Don't leave heavy objects on shelves (they'll fall during a quake).
  • Anchor heavy furniture, cupboards, and appliances to the walls or floor.
  • Learn the earthquake plan at your school or workplace.

What to Do During an Earthquake

  • Stay calm! If you're indoors, stay inside. If you're outside, stay outside.
  • If you're indoors, stand against a wall near the center of the building, stand in a doorway, or crawl under heavy furniture (a desk or table). Stay away from windows and outside doors.
  • If you're outdoors, stay in the open away from power lines or anything that might fall. Stay away from buildings (stuff might fall off the building or the building could fall on you).
  • Don't use matches, candles, or any flame. Broken gas lines and fire don't mix.
  • If you're in a car, stop the car and stay inside the car until the earthquake stops.
  • Don't use elevators (they'll probably get stuck anyway).

What to Do After an Earthquake

  • Check yourself and others for injuries. Provide first aid for anyone who needs it.
  • Check water, gas, and electric lines for damage. If any are damaged, shut off the valves. Check for the smell of gas. If you smell it, open all the windows and doors, leave immediately, and report it to the authorities (use someone else's phone).
  • Turn on the radio. Don't use the phone unless it's an emergency.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Be careful around broken glass and debris. Wear boots or sturdy shoes to keep from cutting your feet.
  • Be careful of chimneys (they may fall on you).
  • Stay away from beaches. Tsunamis and seiches sometimes hit after the ground has stopped shaking.
  • Stay away from damaged areas.
  • If you're at school or work, follow the emergency plan or the instructions of the person in charge.
  • Expect aftershocks.
What to Do to Help
  • Extend assistance without delay. Join rescue and medical teams.
  • Assist in the emergency operations.
  • Donate, send fastest means, preferably through reliable organizations. 
  • Help defuse fear and anxiety, boost morale and restore hope among families of victims and children.  
  • Use social media to connect and reach out. Be part of a continuing rehabilitation.
Nepal Earthquake photos from the Internet

Acknowledgement: Internet photos.  

At least 3,617 people are now known to have died in a massive earthquake which hit Nepal on Saturday, police say. More than 6,500 people have been injured, according to the National Emergency Operation Centre. Dozens of people are also reported to have been killed in neighbouring China and India. More than 200 climbers have been rescued around Mount Everest, which was struck by deadly avalanches in the 7.8-magnitude quake. 

Vast tent cities have sprung up in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, for those displaced or afraid to return to their homes as strong aftershocks continued. Thousands spent Sunday night - their second night - outside.Officials have warned that the number of casualties could rise as rescue teams reach remote mountainous areas of western Nepal. Initial reports suggest that many communities, especially those close to mountainsides, suffered significant quake damage. BBC. ~

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Rare Native Dishes

Dr Abe V Rotor
 Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri

Caliente or ox hide, softened and sliced,
served with onion and fresh pepper.

Ngarusangis (small seashells)

Appetite drives the will wild and free
To satiate hunger, more so curiosity,
Where the edge is just a step away,
Beyond adventure lies eternity;
Puffer or grub or some crustacean,
It's dare or delight to the epicurean.

Pesang Dalag (snakehead)
Native chicken tinola
Arusip or lato (Caulerpa), served fresh, with tomato and onion

Simplify Food Preparation - for health, enjoyment and economy

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri

 Simplify Food Preparation

1. FRESHNESS: There's no substitute to freshness - fruits picked from the tree, newly harvested vegetables, newly dressed chicken and slaughtered meat. 
2. CLEANLINESS: free from contamination, healthy source of crops and animals, strict sanitation and quarantine.
3. SIMPLE PREPARATION: broiled, steamed, boiled, blanched, and the like.
4. AVOID PROCESSED PRODUCTS: canned, hammed, pureed, and the like.
5. HOMEMADE: direct choice and preference of recipes, others
6. ECONOMICAL: less handling, less processing, less advertising.
Edible fern salad (Plus red egg, tomato, onion rings and vinegar)
7. EDUCATIONAL: to children, members of the household and immediate community.
8. PEACE O)F MIND: food security from vetsin (MSG), aspartame, olestra or fatless fat, decaf, enhancers.
9. HEALTH: investment and legacy to children and future generations.
10 PRODUCTIVITY: enjoyment in life and good health = high productivity. 
11. BONDING: with family, friends and neighbors
12: VALUES: free from guilt and fear, fulfillment, and confidence,        

 2. Twin fried eggs over brown rice (onion leaves topping)

 3. Halaan shell soup with sili (pepper) tops (thickened with corn starch)

4. Green corn on the cob (Serve with buko or young coconut juice or just water)
5. Nangka served whole  
6. Empanada and ukoy (Eating while cooking)
7. Broiled tilapia cum scales (Burnt scale removes fishy taste and smell)
8. Tamales (fish steamed in banana leaves, add tomato, ginger,onion and a dash of salt)

9. Paksiw sapatero fish (Just don't overcook)

10. Diningding or bulanglang - the most complete one-dish meal. Right photo: native vegetables: patani, talong, alokong (himbaba-o), ampalaya), ingredients of the original Ilocano pinakbet 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

We are witnessing the effects of Global Warming

Dr Abe V Rotor

Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri
Written Assignment for Communication and Socio-cultural (economic and environmental ) Change, UST. (Regular bond, handwritten) Study each photo and relate it to Global Warming.

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6
Photo 7
Photo 8
Phot0 9
Photo 10
What is the relevance of the last photo?

Okra increases sexual vitality

Dr Abe V Rotor

Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri
Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)
Family: Malvaceae
Scientific Name: Abelmoschus esculentus (Linn) Moensch.
Synonym: Hibiscus esculentus L.
Other Common Name: Lady’s finger, Gumbo

Traditional Use: As the young tender fruits and seeds are mucilaginous, they are often used in cookery to thicken soups, sauces, and stews. The seeds are used as substitute for coffee. The mucilage is considered to have an aphrodisiac effect.


Other Properties/Actions: Stimulant, tonic, diuretic, carminative, anti-spasmodic.

Plant Description: A coarse, erect, branched, annual herb with orbicular leaves coarsely toothed and petioles equal to or longer than the leaves. Flower are axillary, solitary; calyx hairy and corolla large, yellow, deep purple at the base inside. Capsule is 10-20 cm long, narrowly oblong.

Other aphrodisiac vegetables:
  1. Ampalaya (Momordica charantia Linn)
  2. Carrot (Daucus carota Linn
  3. Batau or Batao (Dolichos lablab Linn)
  4. Labong or Bamboo Shoot (Bambusa spinosa Roxb)
*Philippine Herbs to Increase Sexual Vitality, Rotor AV, Ontengco D deC, and RM Del Rosario, 2000; acknowledgment, Okra photo, encyclopedia Internet