Category Archives: permaculture

Plaga, Plaga, Plaga!!!

image_577991066400402

Sad Tomotes…

Plaga, Plaga, Plaga!!!

Anyone who has tried growing food organically in tropical or sub-tropical Mexico knows the meaning of the “plaga” – the ubiquitous Mexican word for any bug or fungus friends that love your fruit & veg as much you do!

Following is a collection of local, organic, folk pesticides, plus some store-bought remedies purchased at the Gaia store in Uruapan, and one other ingredient smuggled in from NOB (north of the border):

The Local Brews:

Jorge’s Spicey Chili/Garlic Mix (yum!): 

  1. Soak 250gr. of chopped habanero chilis + garlic in alcohol in a small jar for 3-4days
  2. Add liquid to 1 ltr alcohol rubbing alcohol or equivalent
  3. Add this mix to 10ltrs of water

Jorge says this mix is a good pesticide for general nuisance bugs such as Whitefly (“mosca blanca”), Aphids, and “Escabajos” (small hard-shell insects common with citrus), or larger “mayates” (beetles such as Palm Weevils)

Jorge’s Pretty Flower Mix:

  1. Soak 250 grams of red bougainvillea flowers in jar of alcohol 
  2. Follow steps 2-3 above

Jorge claims this mix is good for virosis/hongos (fungual infections and/or viruses), especially those effecting tomatoes.

Note also that the two recipes above can be mixed together.

IMG_3553

Me with my fancy new sprayer. Photo by Holly.

Commercial Mixes:

Store Bought Salvation (unless otherwise noted, ingredients for the following recipes were purchased at the Gaia store in Uruapan, Michoacan (www.gaiaorganicos.mx) and use their generic Emulbiol (jabón agricola / liguid agricultural use soap) as an emulsifying agent.

Caldo Sulfocálcico (azufre/sulfer + cal/calcium oxide in solution): (originally used to combat sarno (mange) in pets, this product is good for ácaro (mites), cochinilla, trip (thrip) and other insects common with avocados, mangos, and citrus.

1) Mix Caldo Sulfocálcico with Emulbiol and water in the following ratios:

a. When the plant is flowering: 1ml Emulbiol:1ltr water: 10ml Caldo Sulfocálcico

b. When the plant is not flowering: 2ml Emulbiol:1ltr water: 20ml Caldo Sulfocálcico

Note: the vendor says that it can also be mixed with diatomaceous but I question the efficaciousness of diatomaceous when wet

Alomon (garlic/onion extract used for general nuisance bugs such as Whitefly, Weevils Mealybugs, Aphids, Thrips, and Psyllids):

  1. Mix 1ml Emulbiol with 1 liter of water 
  2. Add 3 – 6 ml per liter of Alomon per each Liter of Emulbiol & water

Neem Oil (used for general nuisance bugs such as Whitefly, Weevils Mealybugs, Aphids, Thrips, and Psyllids): 1- 5ml per liter of aqua mixed with 1 – 2 ml Emulbiol

Note: Vendor says use Caldo 1st. If it doesn’t work, then go to Alomon, then Neem, substituting in Alomon or Neem for Caldo Sulocálcio (I think this may be prioritized for cost as Neem is the more expensive ingredient of the three).

Beauveria bassiana: Lastly comes the super, duper, pest-party pooper, (a fungal mycoinsecticide for Whitefly, Weevils Mealybugs, Aphids, Thrips, Psyllids, grasshoppers and beetles. We brought this fairly pricey product down from the U.S. but later found to be available for more reasonable cost in Mexico under the trade name Beauverimic. This wonder product can also be used for bedbugs and is being investigated for use in controlling mosquitos!

Use = 1 tablespoon  per gallon.

Diatomaceous Earth: Our go-to anti-parasite supplement for us and all of our animal brother and sisters. It is also good for control of any insect with a carapace, and we have even had some luck using it to deter the dreaded leaf cutter ants. Sprinkle in their nest, they will sometimes leave, or it can be used to block their nightly commute to the harvest. We bring this from The States in 25pd bags.

Mix liberally with animal feed, or take a teaspoon occasionally as a dietary supplement.

******

And one last note: while all of the above can be applied with hand pump sprayers, we recently made the $250 investment in a motorized power sprayer (pictured), and can’t say enough about the help this is for larger scale applications such as our 1-acre Permaculture food forest!

Good Luck Amigos. Happy hunting!

Advertisements

Mexico Sustainability With A Twist!

Thirteen years ago Dan Gair & Holly Hunter bought land in a small village on the coast of Jalisco. Three years later they sold their U.S. businesses and moved to the property full time. The experience since became a rogue experiment that overran the lab – fun, challenging, and even scary at times.

In September 2018 “The Mexico Diaries, A Sustainable Adventure”, a memoir about their journey, was released on Amazon & Kindle. To date the book has received an astounding 4.7 average rating on Amazon/Kindle and 4.44 on Goodreads (30+ reviews on each). SurvivingMexico. com / Book Reviews calls The Mexico Diaries “A whirlwind Mexican journey to sustainability and beyond…”.

In the book you will find scores of eccentric people, outrageous animal stories, narco encounters, corrupt cops, and even a splash of Voodoo or two! The book is also a narrative about switching up our lives and pursuing a more sustainable lifestyle on foreign soil.

For those of you considering Mexico as a place to retire to, ‘The Mexico Diaries’ can serve as both encouragement, and a cautionary tale.

That’s it then. Hop on Amazon using the following link (https://goo.gl/FHJ94q), purchase a copy, and enjoy the ride! Please also consider giving it a review (the Amazon sales game is all about reviews which drive rankings) knowing that 50% of any profit will be donated to The Environmental Defense Fund!

#Mexico #sustainbility #adventure #Permaculture #photography #sustainable #travel

 

 

PDC’s – Free Online vs. Paid For Location Courses?

DSC02609-2

PDC’s – Free Online vs. Paid For Location Courses?

Ever wondered why on-location Permaculture Certification Courses (PDC’s) charge the big bucks, while their kissing’ cousins, online PDC courses, are free, or practically nothing to “attend”?

The following is an excellent general primer on PDC’s, and explains clearly and fully why live PDC’s are well worth spending your hard earned pesos on: (click link)

seven-benefits-permaculture-design-certificate-course

January PDC (Permaculture Certification Course) in Mexico!

January PDC (Permaculture Certification Course) in Mexico!

view of beach and lower hamlet

Join us for this transformative experience in a welcoming, traditional village

 – just steps from one of Mexico’s most pristine, swimmable beaches! Jan. 10-24, 2016

Come Grow Your World!

Learn regenerative food growing, energy production, natural building,

and water systems, adaptable to any climate.

This is the Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) course laid out by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, and refined since it’s inception in the late 1980’s. Participants receive 72-hours of theory and hands-on practical training not possible with online courses.

Camping, all meals, and ground transport provided. Lodging upgrades, early bird discounts, & limited scholarships available.

Instructors:

Andrew Jones: Founding Member of BajaBioSana, and PDC Instructor on 5 continents.

Shenaqua Jones: Permaculture Instructor, Yoga, Health & Raw Foods Educator.

Axel Gutierrez: Master’s Degree in sustainability. Trained with Bill Mollison & David Holmgren.

Daniel Gair: Natural Building & Solar Instructor

Holly Hunter: Artisan Cheese Maker and Animal Care Instructor.

For Further Info/Registration: www.PDC2016.com

Urban Permaculture in the Mexican Highlands

I’d like to share an inspired project friends of ours Seth & Cris Phillips and their daughter Katia, have going in Guanajuato, a jewel of a city in Mexico’s central highlands. 
Several years ago Seth & Cris purchased their large, rundown city lot in the heart of bustling Guanajuato and set to work. The first couple of years were spent tearing down numerous, decrepit, old adobe structures, and creating a comfortable house and guest cottage in their stead. Where most “normal” people would have done away with the old adobe, Seth, a committed recycler, painstakingly stacked and saved the adobe blocks which have since been repurposed into a beautiful expansion of the living space. Over the years the family has also created wonderful Permaculture gardens and other systems (although I don’t think I’ve ever heard Seth or Cris call it that exactly).
Seth, Cris, Katya, & Pecos
Seth, Cris, Katya & Pecos at home in their urban garden…
Every time Holly & I visit there are fun new additions to take in, and we always find the project inspiring in its modestly. In particular, and unlike me, Seth is a minimalist who always searches out low tech solutions to energy & water usage challenges. While swapping ideas, we often share a friendly partier about his ultra basic approach vs. the more costly and complicated solutions I am usually prone to. “Why go to the time and expense of building an elaborate solar cooker”, Seth will chide me, “when a simple foil reflector blanket and black, cast iron pot can cook almost anything”? Hmmm, perhaps he has a point!
 
During the early renovations Seth created grey water storage and a network of direct irrigation channels and tubing to help sustain the various plantings during Guanajuato’s dry stretches which can last for months on end. Gradually, shade from the 30+ fruit trees is replacing the harsh noontime glare, and the walled, interior garden space is now a profusion of vegetable gardens, pathways, and chicken coops. Every day Seth feeds the chickens buckets of fruits and vegetables discarded from the neighborhood fruteria.  Once a week the resulting organic material is shoveled out of the chicken run and into a compost that is used to improve the soil.
20130921_123004
The Gardens…
Along the way Seth has also puttered around with various low tech energy saving add-ons including a home-made solar food dehydrator, solar water heater, solar distiller, a rocket oven, a “humanure” style composting toilet, and a hay box cooker.
 
The most recent addition is a 20,000 litre water collection cistern capable of spanning the ever longer water outages the city suffers. 
 
As the oasis grows greener, Seth and Cris remain committed to simplicity and a pragmatic yet seemingly joyful exploration a the good life, right there, in the heart of the city!  

Searching Sustainably!

ecoasia logo

This is a very cool search engine we’ve started using and want to pass along! Super easy to install as your primary browser, Clear, concise search results with fewer ads, and in exchange for forgoing Google’s goofy grafix, you’ll get to watch the number of trees your search clics help plant! Now that’s what we call a worthwhile trade off!

ecoasia

Here’s the link to get started: http://www.ecosia.org then select “more” in the lower left corner.

And here’s a link to their blog showing how our clicks get turned into planted trees! http://blog.ecosia.org/post/91850071905/the-trees-for-the-forest-more-than-700-000

A few factoids from the ECOSIA website

* 80% of the ECOSIA ad revenue goes to the rainforest tree planting program

* The funds from ECOSIA have resulted in over 670 thousand trees planted to date.

* Proof of ECOSIA donations audit is reported to The Nature Conservancy

So what’s not to love???? Give it a try…

Sustainable Travel, Volunteering, & Living in Mexico

Thoughts on the pursuit of living sustainably SOB (south of the border), plus a vetted listing of cultural, environmental, and educational programs where you can actively give back to the environment and local communities that you visit while in Mexico! 

_DSC0505

Do you want to make your trip to Mexico truly memorable and one of meaning? Do you want to contribute to real sustainability while having fun and seeing the country? If so, then this post is for you!

The following is a listing of places where your touring dollar or volunteering efforts can really make a difference. These listings are not typical eco-tourist destinations operating loosely under the guise of being “green” or culturally beneficial. Rather, these sites all have proactive environmental sustainability, education, or relief services as core aspects of their operating mission. These organizations have been individually selected and vetted as places where you can enhance your experience of mexico by actively participating in legitimate projects that really do provide a benefit to the planet.

Please note that many of these locations are working organic farms, ranches, research field stations, schools, etc. and, as such, take volunteers or other visitors on an advanced approval basis only. Unless noted, please be sure to contact the site ahead to make any necessary arrangements for your visit.

I hope that you’ll comment on your experiences, and suggest your own secret spots for helping to have (our) touring dollars & volunteering efforts make a positive difference! This list will be updated frequently and your suggestions will be added. Please provide links, or any other contact info in the comments section (click on comments bubble above).

Bien Viaje! Enjoy the tour!

Pacific Coast

Nearest City: Tepic / Sayulita

Type of Visit: school + center for preservation of indigenous peoples (Huichol) / volunteer work exchange (2 month min. + spanish). Advance arrangements suggested

Name: The Huichol Center for Cultural Survival

website/ http://www.thehuicholcenter.org/about-us/

contact info: Susana Valadez  huicholcenter@juno.com

****************

State: Jalisco (El Tuito)

Nearest City: Puerto Vallarta

Type of Visit: eco tourism + education / extensive tropical gardens & organic restaurant. No advance booking required.

Name: Vallarta Botanical Gardens

website: http://www.vbgardens.org

contact info: info@vbgardens.org 

From within Mexico: 322-223-6182  From outside of Mexico: 011-52-322-223-6182

****************

State: Jalisco (Mayto)

Nearest City: Puerto Vallarta / El Tuito

Type of Visit: working organic ranch + campground / guided horse, botanical and educational tours / volunteer work exchange programs (10 day min. – by application) + longer internships & homesteading options

Name: Rancho Sol y Mar

website/ www.ranchosolymar.com

contact info: ranchosolymar@gmail.com

****************

State:  Jalisco (Mayto)

Nearest City: Puerto Vallarta / El Tuito

Type of Visit: Turtle Research Camp / nightly turtle releases in season (no advance booking required). Volunteer work exchange programs (contact for further info)

Name: Campamento de Tortugas

website: http://www.facebook.com/campamentomayto

contact info: israel_llamas@hotmail.com

****************

State/Region: Jalisco / Lake Chapala

Nearest City: Chapala

Type of Visit: eco farm + education + community development / volunteer work exchange

Name: Acá Centro Ecológico

Website: www.greatgreens.org
Contact Info: Mari Prudent marimexico@gmail.com

 

Baja Peninsula (California Sur)

State: Baja (Cal Sur)

Nearest City: Cabo San Lucas

Type of Visit: eco tourism / working organic farm / eco visit or volunteer work exchange

Name: Rancho La Venta

Website: http://www.rancholaventa.com/RanchoLaVenta/Home.html

Contact info: rancholaventa1@me.com

****************

State: Baja

Nearest City: San Jose Del Cabo

Type of Visit: wellness / creative arts center + organic farm + CSA / volunteer work exchange

Name: La Semilla / Raices y Brasos

Website: http://raicesybrazos.com/la-semilla/

Contact: local #: (624) 142-3794  US #: (802) 734-9808

****************

State/Region: Baja

Nearest City: Tiajuana

Type of Visit: Cattle Ranch being converted to organic farm / volunteer work exchange

Name: El Papalote

Contact Info: 52+661-100-0000 (land) 52-1-664-194-7514 (cell)

****************

State/Region: Baja California Sur

Nearest City: La Ribera

Type of Visit: botanical gardens / teaching center / volunteer work exchange

Name: Buena Fortuna Jardin Botanico

Website (blog) http://buenafortunapermaculture.wordpress.com

Contact Info: seeds.forever@gmail.com

Central + South Central Highlands

State: Guanajuato

Nearest City: San Miquel de Allende

Type of Visit: center for sustainability & appropriate technology workshops (contact for workshop schedules)

Name: iCATIS Mexico / Instituto Tierra y Cal

Website: http://www.icatis.org/catis-mexico

Contact info: Dylan Terrell  dylan@icatis.org

****************

State: Oaxaca

Nearest City: Oaxaca

Type of Visit: off grid living / volunteer in exchange for learning about solar, chickens bee keeping, and grey water

Name: Sn Fco Lachigoló

Contact info: Daniel Ellsworth 52-1-951-142-1849

****************

State/Region: Oaxaca

Nearest City: Oaxaca

Type of Visit: urban / relief work with children, primarily education. No advance necessary.

Name: Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots

Website/Contact Info: http://www.oaxacastreetchildrengrassroots.org yjimenez@oaxacastreetchildrengrassroots.org

****************

State/Region: Oaxaca

Nearest City(Guevea de Humboldt)

Type of Visit: organic coffee plantation / volunteer work exchange

Name: Linda Vista / ConDoy Coffee Farm

Website (blog): http://condoycafe.wordpress.com

****************

State/Region: Michoacan (Lake Pátzcuaro)

Nearest City: Pátzcuaro

Type of Visit: organic permaculture farm / retreat center / volunteer work exchange (2 wk. min.

Name: Bosque Village

Website/Contact info: bosquevillage@gmail.com

****************

State: Mexico

Nearest City:  Malinalco / Tenancingo / Mexico City (D.F.)

Type of Visit: organic farm, school & retreat center / volunteer work exchange

Name: Rancho Cazahuate

website: www.centronierika.net

Contact Info: Anya Loizaga Velder www.ecomundi.info or

****************

State: Chiapas (Teopisca)

Nearest City: San Cristóbal de Las Casas

Type of Visit: non-profit farm & community development / volunteer work exchange (1 month min.)

Name: El Porvenir

Website/Contact info: 52+9671107386 (w) / 52+1+ 9671149914(cell)

****************

State/Region: Morelos

Nearest City: Amatlan

Type of Visit: Yoga/Healing Center

Name: Garden of Eden Healing Community

Website/Contact Info: http://www.moving-overseas-guide.com/2012-awakening.html

Yucatan Peninsula + Chiapas

State: Quintana Roo (Tulum)

Nearest City: Cancun / Playa Del Carmen

Type of Visit: Eco tourism, biological reserve park & lodging. Nature Tours. Reservations suggested.

Name: Sian Ka’an Bio Reserva

Website/Contact info: (http://www.visitsiankaan.com)

****************

State: Quintanaroo

Nearest City: Playa Del Carmen

Type of Visit: Working organic farm / volunteer work exchange, 2 wk min.

Name: Tumbem Ha

Website: http://www.tumbenha.com(http://www.facebook.com/TumbenHa)

Contact info: alexis@tumbenha.com

****************

State/Region: Yucatan

Nearest City: Vallodolid / Merida / Cancun

Type of Visit: Sustainability courses / volunteer work exchange (3 wk. min.)

Name: Lodgecol

Website: lodgecol.com

****************

State: Qintana Roo

Nearest City: Cancun

Type of Visit: Environmental & cultural educational tours offered (fee).

Name: Project Mayan Encounter

website: (http://accessecotours.com/tours_7.html)

****************

State/Region: Chiapas

Nearest City: San Cristóbal de Las Casas

Type of Visit: After school student center in indigenous Mayan Community.

Name: La Chozita / Chiapas Children’s Project

Website: http://www.lachozita.org/ourwork.html

****************

Contact Info: info@lachozita.org

State/Region: Chiapas

Nearest City: Teopisca

Type of Visit: Education, community development, environmental protection

Name: El Porvenir

Contact Info: 52+9671107386

****************

Nearest City: Playa Del Carmen

Type of Visit: rustic organic farm / volunteer work exchange

Name: Tumben Kuxtal

contact info: 52-1-998-133-4486

Gulf Coast

State: Veracruz

Nearest City: Xalapa

Type of Visit:  aquaponics classes / urban organic farm / volunteer work exchange

Name: Semilla Verde

website/contact info: http://www.facebook.com/semilla.huertoshidroponicos

Northern States

State: Chihuahua

Nearest City: Juarez

Type of Visit: orphanage / volunteer work exchange

Name: Rancho Los Amigos

contact info: Patti Kidd  ph: 407-232-3009

****************

State/Region: Nuevo Leon

Nearest City: Monterey

Type of Visit: Relief Work (distribution of food & clothing)

Name: Ammac

Website: http://www.ammac.com.mx/#!inicio/mainPage

Contact Info: Info@ammac.com.mx

****************

State/Region: Sonora

Nearest City: Puerto Penasco

Type of Visit: medical clinic staffing

Name: Manos de Ayuda

Website/Contact Info: webmaster@manosdeayuda.org U.S. (520) 760-8645

Pay-For Volunteer Programs

State: Various

Nearest City: N/A

Type of Visit:  Pay-for volunteer programs (teaching, medical, schools, etc. – $270 U.S. per week to participate)

Name: International Volunteer HQ

website/contact info: International Volunteer Head Quarters (volunteerhq.org)

****************

S State: Various

Nearest City: N/A

Type of Visit:  Pay-for volunteer programs (promote peace & justice, work with children – $2,295 U.S. per week to participate)

Name: Global Volunteers

website/contact info: (www.globalvolunteers.org)

****************

State: Nayarit & Jalisco

Nearest City: Puerto vallarta

Type of Visit: Pay-for conservation, cultural, and ecology-oriented “expeditions”.

Name: EcoTeach

website/contact info: http:

//www.ecoteach.com/announcing-new-opportunities-to-see-turtles-in-mexico/

****************

State: Various

Nearest City: N/A

Type of Visit: 72 listings for (mostly) pay-for volunteer service organizations operating in Mexico!

Name: GoAbroad

website/contact info: http://www.goabroad.com

****************

State/Region: Various

Nearest City: N/A

Type of Visit: Eco tours + some coordination with local NGO’s for more extensive volunteer / service options.

Name: Glocal Travel

Website/Contact Info: info@glocaltravel.net http://www.glocaltravel.net

Passive Eco Tourism Destinations

In researching this post I came across numerous quasi eco tourist establishments that adorn themselves with green labeling but have little if anything to offer in the way of active environmental or cultural payback. Following is a link to tourist resort properties that appear to be offering truly low impact, mostly sustainable amenities, even if they don’t offer opportunities for active service.

http://www.eco-tropicalresorts.com/centralamerica/mexico.htm