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Banana trees are not really trees.  They are more like grasses.  Each shoot grows rather quickly and gives one bunch of bananas.  After that it starts to slowly deteriorate and die.  As it dies new shoots come up, and each of these produces a bunch of bananas.  How many bananas you get will depend on how rich in nutrients your soil is, and how good the climate agrees with the banana plants.    The richer the soil, the more bananas on each bunch.

What I do is to cut down the shoot after I cut down the ripening bunch of bananas it has created.  I then cut the shoot into pieces, that I leave for the new shoots, as fertilizer.

In this episode of City Girl in the Jungle I have two of my friends show you how to cut down a bunch of banans.  The bunches are usually rather heavy, and often quite high up.  But my friends will show you how to easily get a bunch down.  For my friend from overseas it is actually the first time to cut down a bunch of bananas.  My other, younger friend, has done this before, as you might see.

I am very happy to be able to share this with you, especially because of a recent incident that almost prevented me from being able to create further episodes of City Girl in the Jungle…  I happened to leave my computer in a place where it rained in on it.  When tilting the computer, water was gushing out.  And so, I thought that this might have been the last of my computer.  Luckily, very, very luckily, I managed to dry the computer and it seems to be doing ok.  In the episode you will see my drying procedure in full detail.

 

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It is time to take a vacation.  I decided to start resting a little and discovered that it can be quite marvelous.  In the video I show you my first two bunches of bananas.  I picked them in the morning and decided to hang them in a cacau tree.  I liked it so much that I decided to hang out there myself.  And so, I find myself relaxing in a sitting hammock while munching on bananas and reading a book.

Meanwhile…there are others that are busy.   It appears that nocturnal leaf cutter ants very much enjoy young watermelon plants.  They seem to leave everything else alone and focus in on the baby plants.  Their enjoyment knows no limit, as they very quickly cut through the plants.  Out of the initial 90 plants, I now only have 12.

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Eating ripe pineapple, straight off the plant, still warm from the sun is an amazing experience!  It turns out that the pineapple I have growing on the farm is the best pineapple I have ever had.  When ripe it turns orange and is perfectly sweet.  There is not acidity and no feeling of burning in the mouth, even after having had an entire pineapple.

The mangoes I have also happen to be some of the best mangoes I have ever had.  Compared to the fruit one buys in the stores it is as though my fruit is much more intense.  The store versions seem as if “watered down”.  And when I think about it, perhaps there is a reason for it.

You see, when one adds extra salt to a living being the being tends to swell.  You can see that with people.  If you eat salt, you will become thirsty and your body will use the water to try to dilute the salt.  I get a feeling that something similar happens with plants.  In order to get large fruit one can add artificial fertilizer (N K P).  I get a feeling that this will make the plants grow more, the fruits become larger and more watered out.  It will also make the plants more prone to disease.  The same happens with people and animals.  If you, for instance, give people or animals more nitrogen, in the form of protein, they will grow larger, but become more susceptible to disease (further reading “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell).

In this episode of City Girl in the Jungle I show you my pineapple plantation, what pineapple looks like in different stages and how you plant new pineapple.

I also show you who visited me the other day, and how my neighbor warned me about them…

 

 

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My friend, Tyler Davis, who has been hanging out at the jungle farm and helping out for the last week has decided to do something very interesting.  He is near-sighted, has a -4 vision.  He has had poor vision since third grade and has been wearing glasses or contacts ever since.  Lately, however, things arranged so that he lost his contact lenses and broke his glasses.  We went into town to see if it would be possible to get new lenses, but they did not have any, and they were also quite expensive.  And so, Tyler decided to do vision training and train and relax his eyes back into perfect vision.

He is following Leo Angart’s vision training exercises.  You can learn more about all of the exercises from this vision training video.

Take a look and see how he does with one week of training.  Go Tyler!

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I have never planted watermelons, or even really seen them grow.  But I hear that they love sun, water, space and nutrients.  And so, based on this I came up with a plan for my watermelons.  I found an open space with lots of sun.  I opened it up with a machete and dug smiley face ditches with corresponding mounds.  In the ditches I plan to put organic matter and as it rains water will tend to drop down there.   The watermelons will be planted below the smiley face ditches, on the mounds.  This way they will not be drenched in water, but will in time have access to it and to nutrients as well.

We will see how this strategy works out.  If all goes well I will have about 90 watermelon plants, with four different types of watermelons.

Also, the beautiful mango trees are starting to give delicious fruit.

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Jack-fruit season has started.  I have both hard and soft jack-fruit.  The trees are very high and it is not so easy to climb them and get down the jack-fruit.  Luckily, the trees serve the fruit when it is ready.  When the hard jack-fruit falls it is usually intact.  The soft jack-fruit, on the other hand, becomes a mush.  A way to get to the soft jack-fruit is to climb the tree and then lower the fruit down on a rope.

My favorite is the hard jack-fruit.  Though it is a bit more difficult to get into.  Since jack-fruit is very sticky I usually dig into it with plastic gloves and a special knife that I only use for jack-fruit.  One can also use oil and rub the hands in oil before opening the fruit.

I am not the only one enjoying the jack-fruit.  As you will see, there is someone else who eats, and eats, until there is nothing left…  Have a look.

Also,  surprise help arrives from two friends, Olamide and Tyler.

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In order to be able to plan my jungle farm I have to know what I have and what it all looks like.  To do that I need to clean things up a bit.

In some places it is a matter of reorganizing the what is on the ground.  In other places I need to cut all sorts of shrubs down in order to be able to get in and see what is in there.

Also, I have asked someone to help me clear a field where I plan to put my hut.  I am really looking forward to building it and having it so that I will have a nice place to relax and sleep in.  So far I am living in a tent.  It is very nice, clean and insect free.

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Horses and donkeys are really nice.  But there is a reason why they should not be kept in a garden.

Since I do not have a good fence or gate at my property I have horses and donkeys walking around, helping themselves to new banana trees, cacau trees etc…  I also have people happily riding by.  And so, I have decided to start by building a fence and a gate.

I got some wood for the gate and I plan to build a fence that will hopefully also become a source of food.  I would like to grow some climbers on it, like passion fruit and perhaps some sponges (to use as dish-washing sponges later on).  In the mean time, I plan to plant some quick growing legumes and some tomatoes and cucumbers.  I just hope the horses will let me do this.  We will see.

I got some old paper from a grocery store.  When I buy my fruit I ask to get it in paper boxes.  I will wet it and put it over the existing grass under the fence.  This is so that I will not have to dig up the grass.  Instead I will suppress it and use it as nutrients for my up-coming crops.  Then, I will mix some earth with some of the horse and donkey spillings and some dry material (bamboo leaves, banana leaves, etc…).  On top of it I will put some mulch and inside I will put the seeds (legumes, tomatoes, cucumbers, passion fruit, sponge-fruit).  It is the best I can some up with at this time.  I have never done this before, and so I do not know what the result will be.  We will see what will happen.

I also plan on putting in some extra bamboo as a fence.  Bamboo will quickly deteriorate, and become food for my other fence crops.  But in the mean time it will look like a fence.  The bamboo comes from bamboo that is old and could not be used for construction, but is still good enough to work as a pole for a few months.  This is good, because it will clean up my bamboo groves, so that they will get more light to grow.

 

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Finally!  I arrive at my jungle farm.  And there is so much to do.  But I already have some fruit that is growing and should be ripening within the coming weeks and months.  You can see jack-fruit, bananas, pineapples, cacau-fruit, and I also have plenty of coco-nuts!

But I also have some challenges… as you will see in the up-coming episodes…

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I will need to build something to live in.  I have never build anything.  At age 12 I tried building a tree house, and was not really successful.  So I need to learn a little before heading out into my jungle farm.

Therefore I decided to participate in a Bamboo Construction Course, given by an Eco-community just 2 hours away from my jungle farm.  The community is called Piracanga and they have invited an expert in bamboo construction to teach them and others to build houses, playgrounds, furniture, and household items with bamboo.

The teacher, Rodrigo Primavera, is from Florianopolis (southern Brazil) and a teacher of “Integral Bambu“.   “Integral Bambu” is a form of exercise, based on a bamboo pyramid.  During the course we actually built a bamboo pyramid, and then got a chance to play in it.

I like how Rodrigo looks at bamboo.  He sais that bamboo is “the most creative wood there is.  It is creative because it is hollow inside.  Whatever is full, cannot be filled.”  I have always felt that there is something very special about bamboo.  And I look forward to working with it.

However, I will have to wait.  Bamboo should be cut when the moon is moving towards a new moon.  And it should be cut in the afternoon, when the sap is moving towards the roots.  This way it becomes less attractive to insects.