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Posted (edited)

Now that we have finally moved up to Ubon I have been thinking about what we can do for our land even if we won’t be building for a while. At the moment one of the neighbors is grazing a couple of cows and freeranging his chickens on it, which is fine by me. The manure helps to improve the soil, even if his cows are not keeping the weeds away ! After slashing those weeds the other day the missus insists we have to burn everything. Why ? “Because that’s how it’s always done”. 

I can understand doing this for a commercial field which is going to be plowed and resown but for us ? I slashed the weeds before most of them set seed, low enough to get rid of the weeds but high enough to leave the grass mostly alone. My thinking is that the cut vegetation will provide a mulch to help prevent wind blown weed seeds but burnt clear ground would invite another wind blown weed seed invasion. If I have to slash again in a few weeks then OK, I have plenty of time on my hands.  The mulch will eventually break down into the soil, helped by the chickens scratching through it and adding their manure too.

 I might shovel some of the manure on to what will be the vegetable  garden, and dig it all in, leave it a while and then plant a green manure crop, although then I will have to fence that part off.

 I am wary about the chemicals some people overuse on their crops, especially at the village market where anybody can sell crops without any checks, so I want to grow our own where at least I will know what has been used even if we are not 100% organic. The first step is to improve our soil, but do I go native and burn everything or be like Frank Sinatra and  “Do it my way” ?

 

Edited by MikeN
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Posted (edited)

There are some Thai practices that are entrenched because they are cheapest. A match costs a lot less than a tractor and fuel.

Digging the mulch in improves the soil much more than just ashes.

When I am in this kind of situation with my GF, I explain to her very carefully ( with the help of Google Translate for more complex concepts ) why I am doing it this way.

Then I go ahead and do it. She usually sees the sense of it afterwards.

Edited by Lacessit
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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, cooked said:

Here in Isaan we have very heavy soil, not for nothing that pottery was established here early on, klovely clay. We do see farmers burning occasionally, but it is well known that the soil bakes very hard during this process, making it more of a job later on.

Mr Drtreelove gives good advice generally but there are many different soil types in Thailand, from experience I advise looking at why things are done in a certain way, it won't always be because it's cheaper. I was going to revolutionise farming when I got here, and although there are some things that I do that the neighbours said were impossible, I do understand why they do it there way. (sometimes). Never seen a compost heap outside of my garden.

Good luck!

100% in agreement.  The wife make and uses compost BUT not they way some expound on it. As you said the soil is clay and its crap. At the moment she has over 100 50lb bags of a a special blend made for a special project of her and it will be added directly to the subject. You have to know your soil. That project can be followed

https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/1097685-making-a-dream-aka-pondlake/#comments

Her compost being delivered to her site.

image.png.faa49261e24d538c145777cb6af3d949.png

image.png.c4f0441b416844b476490846903cb983.png

Edited by khwaibah
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Was round at the SiL's house earlier today, her son had just cleaned out their cowshed and was burning a HUGE pile of old straw complete with manure, plus extra dead leaves and grass, that would have been the basis for a great compost pile. I could almost have cried .......

I tried to get her to tell him that next time I would load it into a pickup and take it out to our land and compost it but she refused to get involved in "white man magic" ( I had to look up compost in my Thai/english  dictionary and see if there was actually a word for it), still insists that we should burn it but I'm just refusing to take her out there.

Even after telling her that recent story about the level of chemicals in fruit and vegies she still wants to burn, spray new growth with roundup, and then just use more chemicals to make things grow better .......

Tried to explain about green manures such as sunn hemp .....

can you eat it ? No.

why grow it then? to improve the soil.

Uhhh ??? Go off and beat head against the wall .....she's a rice farmer's daughter and using chemicals is all her family knows.

 

Maybe in the end I will have to compromise, and let her burn off the front part of the block where the house and immediate surrounds will be, and then say "som nam naa" when she complains her flowers won't grow.

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1 hour ago, MikeN said:

Was round at the SiL's house earlier today, her son had just cleaned out their cowshed and was burning a HUGE pile of old straw complete with manure, plus extra dead leaves and grass, that would have been the basis for a great compost pile. I could almost have cried .......

I tried to get her to tell him that next time I would load it into a pickup and take it out to our land and compost it but she refused to get involved in "white man magic" ( I had to look up compost in my Thai/english  dictionary and see if there was actually a word for it), still insists that we should burn it but I'm just refusing to take her out there.

Even after telling her that recent story about the level of chemicals in fruit and vegies she still wants to burn, spray new growth with roundup, and then just use more chemicals to make things grow better .......

Tried to explain about green manures such as sunn hemp .....

can you eat it ? No.

why grow it then? to improve the soil.

Uhhh ??? Go off and beat head against the wall .....she's a rice farmer's daughter and using chemicals is all her family knows.

 

Maybe in the end I will have to compromise, and let her burn off the front part of the block where the house and immediate surrounds will be, and then say "som nam naa" when she complains her flowers won't grow.

If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, don't compromise. The reason being, my missus didn't understand the basics either until I finally managed to explain to her the adv. of going green, using compost, etc. as opposed to the disadv. of using chemicals. Long story short, now she strongly opposes the use of any chemicals on our little plot of land. She makes her own organic fertilizer and protects fruit from flies using net bags. The only thing I still haven't been able to persuade her to do is to compost the food leftovers from her family's little restaurant... 

 

It takes time and patience, but most importantly, people must see what's "in it for them" before they even consider changing their old habits. It's human nature. 

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