Today, we applied our biological fungicide. This is our third application of non-chemical fungicide this year. It is a brew of trichoderma in a feeding medium of molasses and compost. It has the most lovely smell of treacle, and when sprayed, sticks to its target like shiny glue before starting work on eating leaf fungus.
So thrilled was I with the first application, that I asked for the garden to be sprayed as well as the coffee. Instructions were left for my roses to get a double dose. By around 9.00am this morning my windows, doors, screens and car as well as washing on the line and a duvet drying on the deck were all covered in a light coating of molasses as my worker proudly wielded our powerful sprayer in all directions close to the house oblivious to the consequences. He even sprayed the window box.
About the same time, the bee lads arrived to help me with the hives. We fed the bees the dirty old honey comb we removed a couple of weeks ago. This is a fast way of re-cycling some dirty honey into clean comb. Hoping for another bumper harvest end of May. Honey is always a sticky business. Never fails to be. Now I am covered in honey and the dog as well.
So, off to the Beauty Salon with my sticky self in my sticky car. A little time, pause, to think and strategize: How to put things right in a town without window cleaners, washing machines large enough for duvets and not always even good quality Windex type solution to buy. I love the beauty salons in Boquete, they are like the small town parlors I remember as a child in the '70s in the UK with their own Latina twist. A place where real women go for help.
Farming is hard, organic farming is very hard.
This week we have made a witches brew of organic fungicide. Or "Onggggoooosid" as they say here. We got up early to get the most of the sunny morning and are already spraying it around the oranges and coffee. It goes like this:
Step 1: Make tea - not afternoon tea but a mixture of hummus and water. We already had a tea pot - a huge plastic tub we use for mixing things on industrial scale.
This is a muddy smelly brew. The tea bag is an improvised grain sack tied at the top with a knot and dangled into the water using a stick.
Step2: Wait 24 hours and hope the sun is still out, and no rain, at the end of it. We can not do the application in the rain as it will all wash off. So far we have had 4 false starts this week.
Step 3: Add Molasses. First you have to find it. That is find a vendor. There are several grades of molasses too. I settled for cow grade. It is decanted out of gigantic barrels sitting behind a feed store half way down the volcano. A man is washing out his cow truck next to it. There is manure everywhere and the hose is being used in between times to wash the hands decanting the molasses. It is a very messy job indeed.
Once you have found it, shame on you if you do not have any containers to put it in. I did not and ended up buying some buckets. Without leak proof lids.
I transported buckets of the treacle gu stuff in my car back to the farm, at great risk of spilling over. Already, I am exhausted by making organic fungicide.
Step 4: Add Trichoderma. This is where we messed up the first time. We had storms this week so could not make the potion right a way. The Trichoderma needs to be refrigerated. Who knew? Now I do. So off to get a new batch and thanks to the kindness of Aboquete they changed it for free. It spent 24 hours in my fridge next to the orange juice. Last night it was transferred to my main workers fridge so he can start mixing at 6.00am and spraying at first light to get the most out of the sunny mornings.
Step 5: Top up the big bucket with water. Stir a bit and load up the sprayers and pray the sun stays out long enough for it to work.