UniED put Diversify High Efficiency practices to the test

3rd year UniED students practice growing crops on a small piece of land using environmentally friendly methods.

Posted May 20th, 2011 by Hamphira with No Comments

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On 11th November 2010, UniED’s 3rd year students commenced a research project on Diversifying High Efficiency (DHE) practices by planting and cultivating different crops on a small piece of land at Teacher June Libertad’s house in Battambang. The research project ran for two and a half months, while the students followed FUNDAEC’s Preparation for Social Action Curriculum in DHE.

Prior to planting, the students held a group discussion on what they would like to research 1st hand. The students visited the potential locations for their project and debated the pros and cons of growing crops in different soils and sunlight before deciding on Mr June’s backyard. Then it was time to really put their learned knowledge to the test and decide on the types of crops suited to the land they had chosen. Once the hard decision making was done it was time for the students to get the shovels out and their hands dirty.

The students outline their approach to their DHE experiment below. Enjoy!

  1. Before planting
    • Land preparation – we cleared the hill and the soil of all scrubs and grass to make the land flat and clean for planting. This was to ensure the land retained moisture when it rained and did not drain away downhill. The materials we used for this included spades, knives or machetes, hoes, sticks, axe, string, net and metric measurement.
    • Selecting seeds – for seeds we discussed whether we should use our own seeds or buy them from the market. We all agreed to buy the seeds from the store because in the store they have a safe keeping place for the seeds, which included corn and beans. We soaked the bean seeds first to allow them to germinate before planting.
  2. Planting the crops
    • Watering – first, we watered the soil to make it moist to ensure the seeds germinate well.
    • Fertilising the soil – second, we placed cow dung in each hole before planting our seeds and seedlings to provide them with extra nutrients.
    • Planting – third, we placed the seeds and seedlings in the small holes and covered them with a thin layer of the soil.
  3. After planting
    • Watering – we watered the plants 2-3 times per week using tank water. To ensure the watering was carried out we divided ourselves into two groups created a watering roster for each group to share the load.
    • Observing the seed – four or five days after planting, the seeds started to sprout and we measured the plants height week to week to monitor the speed of growth.
    • Spraying the insecticide/herbicide – to spray the insects we used sprays that we made ourselves using neem leaves, lemon grass, pommelo leaf and soap. We applied this 2-3 times per week after each watering to keep the insects from destroying our crops.
    • Weeding – we were extremely aware that weeds are the bane of any gardens existence and dealt with them the old fashioned way by pulling them out with our hands to avoid the use of any weed killing chemical sprays.
    • Monitoring insects – we recorded the insects we came across on our crops so we could research them and better understand our enemies. We used our hands to pick off the insects or worms before using our natural pesticide.
  4. Harvesting
    • The first crop we harvested were our beans which produced a yield of 8 kilograms
    • We harvested the corn second and out of the 380 seeds we planted we yielded 620 corns.

Thoughts from the students on the project:

Mr Ing Chanserey said,

” I got a lot of experience from DHE class. First of all, I worked with friend to plow the soil with a toe air rate it and make the earth smooth and free of big rocks and grass. I then brought net to build a fence around the plot of land to protect it from animals. I enjoyed taking it in turns to water the plants and kill the worms and insects. I most appreciate knowing how to grow crops without using chemicals that harm our environment.”

Mr Tha said,

“I have learnt a lot such as how to prepare the soil, observe the plants growth, apply organic fertilizer, identify disease that attach to plants, how to make a compost fertilizer and overall how to combine traditional agriculture with modern agriculture.”

Mr Rin Rithy said,

“Throughout this project, we all worked together with unity and corporation and we all hope to have another practice at planting crops using the principles of DHE in our communities. If we can teach communities how to grow crops successfully on small lots of land, it will enable many more families to start producing their crops for consumption, selling at the market or trading with each other.”

Posted in CORDE Blog UniED
Tags Growing crops
Written by Hamphira

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