Friday, April 30, 2010
Having access to water for gardening is really a luxury. During the dry season, many communities in our region barely have enough water for basic household consumption. So vegetable gardening often takes a pause until the rains return in May.
Fortunately, various trees and shrubs, both indigenous and naturalized, offer seasonal or year round access to edible leaves. For instance, moringa trees produce considerable amounts of nutritious shoots during the rainy season.
By the middle of the dry season, the semi-deciduous red shoot fig (Ficus virens) may drop a lot of its mature leaves. But around February, the trees produce a flush of tender, edible leaf shoots. At a time when there are few fresh, homegrown vegetables to enjoy, this indigenous strangler fig offers an abundance of greens (which are actually red). Many people in tropical and sub-tropical Asia stir fry the leaves or add them to curries. The leaves are also blanched and eaten along with chili pepper sauce.
By the way, ECHO promotes the cultivation and use of many types of perennial vegetables around the world. Obviously, certain perennial vegetables can fill a niche for home gardeners with limited access to water.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
Ton Kankaewmoon, who manages the children's home, was inspired to construct this PVC fish cage after seeing a similar one at a local tilapia fingerling supplier. Ton reports that he used 2 inch and 2.5 inch PVC pipe to construct the 3 m x 3 m frame but he reckons that 3 inch pipe would work just fine.
The entire cost was 2000 baht (about $63 US); 1,100 baht for the pipe and glue plus another 900 baht for the mesh.
Ton reports that a cage this size can hold 1,000 to 1,500 tilapia, catfish or other local freshwater fish.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
The ECHO Asia Seed Bank is currently evaluating dozens of crops of regional importance with plans to make several of these proven varieties available by the end of 2010. So as soon as our on-line seed catalog is finished and the first dozen varieties are ready for distribution, we will notify our regional partners about their availability.
Of course, we invite interested persons to continue to use the services of the main ECHO Seed Bank based in Fort Myers, Florida (http://www.echonet.org/content/SeedBank) which offers seeds of hundreds of crop varieties from around the world.