Summary actions from work plan discussions - February '13

Submitted by patcoyle on Wed, 02/13/2013 - 15:08

Summary actions from work plan discussions for Belize Open
Source property, on February 5th and 7th 2013, with David Dyck,
Natalia Soliz, and Pat Coyle


  • Build a handling facility, a chute and loading ramp so can vaccinate the cattle and load cattle in or out of a truck
  • Vaccinate the cattle
  • Sell the two young bulls
  • Rake and burn the windrows again
  • Use a loader and truck to move dark dirt from the burned windrow to do an amended soil patch for tree nursery and forage bank, using maralfalfa. Mix manure with the dark dirt. While both David and Natalio prefer to spread the black dirt over the entire area, if we are short; I want to consider spreading it in rows where we will plant the maralfalfa or even in holes at each planting location. Consider using the ditch witch to make shallow ditches where the planting rows will be
  • Fence the amended soil patch for tree nursery and forage bank. Locate it against the existing fence across the road from the corrals for easy access to manure. Extend it to the back of the washrooms.
  • Natalio to plant it with maralfalfa. Continue to have Franco place manure on the planted areas. Irrigate it from the back pond. Start by using a portable unit, like a Honda generator and pump. Later may want to add a submersible pump and pressure system. We also need to be able to grind the maralfalfa to feed it as supplement.
  • Once have the forage plot up and working, consider adding pigs, with their effluent used as fertilizer, pumped along with the irrigation water
  • Start composting pile in the tree nursery and forage bank area. If we need a roof over it, use inexpensive local approach. Have Franco add the cut grass, manure, and other organic materials to the composting pile. Show him how to do it
  • Start tree nursery. Pat really wants to focus on getting a little nursery and tree-planting program up and running. It will provide an opportunity to have people stop in and have something they can participate in. For example: They could start or transplant seedlings, they could plant out a tree. This is part of an idea for a program that invites people to come here and spend a few hours volunteering with us. If they stop in and do that, then some portion of their trip expenses can be a tax-deduction. So, while it may not make sense agriculturally, it is an element of running a program that could be beneficial. For example, harvest and plant new cashew seeds, get them ready to plant out. Start other seedlings in black plastic bags.
  • Plant the trees (from 2010) that are under the mango tree, either in the nursery, or in designated areas we can protect with fencing
  • Spread out remaining dark dirt at the windrows. Get it ready for the rainy season and then plant the areas with Humidicola grass. Consider spreading some sorghum in as well when we plant it
  • Cross fence the back, the long way of the property, so have a waterhole in each fenced area
  • Bush hog in the back areas, so grass comes out new
  • Put in 10 or 12-inch culvert under the roadway in front of the restrooms in order to drain that section. Locate it roughly at the corner of the washroom building and proceeding in a line toward the power pole at the road
  • Put in drainage between the planted cashew rows in the orchard with the ditch witch tool
  • Keep the area in the front bush hogged so that the dry native grass is kept low and green grass will come in, which the cattle like to graze
  • Get a lawnmower with large wheels for Franco to keep grass mowed
  • Get electric fencing unit and install it to protect the existing orchard from the cattle. Show Franco how to use it
  • Natalio to start making small "animal tractors", movable pens with a small number of sheep, goats, pigs or local chickens that could be used to improve soil. The sheep fencing we bought could be used for these along with portable fence posts
  • Pilot raised bed “square foot” gardening ideas. For example, Franco's wife is gardening: squash, beans, tomatoes, others; but having trouble with the poor soil. Mix cattle manure with the black soil from the burned windrow to improve soil for a small raised bed garden
  • Start supplements and salt for the cattle. Natalio to get the salt and supplements and show Franco how to add them along with the molasses and other feed “snack”
  • David will continue to bring the rice-bran supplement for now. If we are successful with the forage bank, using maralfalfa, we can switch to that.
  • Add gutter and a second tank at the caretaker’s residence so they will have more clean rain water to cook with and drink
  • Later, consider adding gutters on the shed roof and routing the rainwater to the front pond