Tips For Growing Parsnips


Sow parsnips with marigold and dill and/or fennel.

Grow onions as a neighbour, or grow some in the row of parsnips.

Cover the soil beside the row, with live-covering.

After harvesting, sow mustard seeds.








After harvesting, sow mustard seeds.



Using Mustard To Keep Soil Safe, Sound, Secured and Supplied Throughout Winter


Greetings in the love and faith of Aiyasus Kristos, during this significant time for Solar-Lunar timings.

Although a time of harvest, in going from faith to faith, mustard is continued to be sown.

Especially in climates that will enter winter in the northern hemisphere and later for the southern, mustard is usefull and valuable in this time. When crops are complete, sow mustard in place.

In this example, potatoes and peas were grown this last season. Now the ground has been cleared and within a day and a half, mustard begins to live and thrive, as the climate enters the more dormant season’s.


The ground is cleared;





Now the mustard seeds are broadcast onto the soil;




Praise Abba, In 24 hours, many of the mustard seeds have allreaggy begun to sprout;

IMG_1251 IMG_1233 IMG_1232

Now the soil will remain sound, for next spring. If the weather stays mild and the mustard gets above hand height, it shall be re-sown.










IMG_1357 cropped

Words of His Imperial Majesty, Qedamawi Haile Selassie Ist: Inauguration of the Imperial Ethiopian College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts at Alem-Maya, Harar (Thursday, January 16, 1958)

H.I.M. Words

“It gives Us great pleasure to be present here to inaugurate the College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, an occasion which marks a great and far-reaching advance in Our programme for the promotion of agricultural education. This institution will serve as a source of inspiration in carrying out the agricultural programme which We have laid down for the future.

In establishing this College for the development of the natural wealth of Our country, agriculture and animal husbandry, on modern and scientific lines, Our main purpose has not been merely to develop and utilize these basic resources to supply the daily needs of Our people, but, in addition, to produce a surplus to be shared with other countries of the world. Ethiopia,
to some degree, has done this in the past. For example, when the world was sorely distressed by lack of food immediately after the Second World War, Our country, although she herself had for five long years been struggling to recover from the terrible damage inflicted upon her during the War, was yet able to perform a significant service in supplying foodstuffs to the countries of the Middle East. And We have been pleased to observe how, since then, Our people have increasingly devoted themselves to improving the agriculture of Our country.

A country and a people that become self-sufficient by the development of agriculture can look forward with confidence to the future.

Agriculture is not only the chief among those fundamental and ancient tasks which have been essential to the survival of mankind, but also ranks first among the prerequisites to industrial and other developments. History affords Us ample evidence that mankind abandoned its nomadic way of life and developed a settled, communal economy only when man became skilled and competent in agricultural techniques. From the beginnings of recorded history, right up to the Middle Ages, and even as late as the beginning of the Industrial Age in which we now live, agriculture has always constituted the fundamental source of wealth for the human race.

Only when a solid agricultural base has been laid for Our country’s commercial and industrial growth can We ensure the attainment of the ultimate goal of Our development programme, namely, a high standard of
living for Our people. Commerce and industry, being concerned in the main with development and distribution, can only develop and profit from existing resources, but cannot actually create things which did not exist before.

Most of the districts of Our Harar Province are populated mainly by nomadic peoples. Now that We are in a position to anticipate an adequate water supply from the rivers and wells in the region, the area will flourish and land will no longer lie fallow in the Province, if only the people of Ogaden, Esa and Adal could be educated in agricultural techniques. All this can be
attained only by means of the wisdom which flows from the fountain of education, and while this College will serve the whole of Our country, its being established in the Province of Harar is the result of careful planning and consideration on Our part.

Even in this nuclear age, in spite of the revolutionary changes in man’s way of life which science has brought about, the problem of further improving and perfecting agricultural methods continues to hold a position of high
priority for the human race. It is hard to believe that a substitute can ever be found for the occupation of agriculture — sacred task graciously conferred upon man by God to serve as the source of his well-being and the basis of his wealth.

Our country, Ethiopia, being blessed with an abundance of natural resources, need not be anxious about her own needs. However, it is Our constant endeavour and Our firm desire, that Our people will produce not only enough to meet their own requirements but that their production will enable them to share and exchange the fruits of their labour with other countries.

If only Ethiopia, with an assured wealth of natural resources, would look at what the barren Sahara Desert has been made to produce by the endeavour of trained scientists, she would realize that science is the source
of wealth. We would, therefore, have Our students and scholars accept as their primary duty the attainment of scientific knowledge through education.
We have placed Our trust in this College to be the chief instrument for the attainment of this high goal, and We are confident that the students who have today received their diplomas from Our hands, as well as those
who follow them in the future, will through the achievements furnish Us with tangible evidence of the fulfilment of this Our purpose and Our desire.
Agriculture and industry are indispensable one to the other. Only close cooperation between these two branches of knowledge can guarantee the fulfilment of Our programme of economic development for Our country.

This College, which holds a prominent place in the plans We have laid down for the prosperity and welfare of Our beloved people and country, can look forward to receiving the same constant support which We have shown in the past.
It is with pleasure that We express on this occasion Our gratitude to Our great friend, the United States of America, for the generous and significant assistance they have given to this institution as part of their great effort
for the development of the spirit of cooperation and understanding among the nations of the world. We would request His Excellency the Ambassador to convey Our thanks to his Government.

If the late Dr. Bennet, who laid the plans for this institution and whose great desire and tireless efforts to achieve the establishment of an Agricultural and Mechanical College in this country are well-known to Us, were with Us today to see the fulfilment of his plans, how happy he would have been! With deep sorrow in Our heart, remembering the words “Man proposes, God disposes”, We pay a tribute to his memory in this hour.

We would like to express Our sincere thanks to the Director of the Point Four Programme in this country, the President and staff of this College, and all of Our officials who have laboured to bring this institution into

It is not enough for the children of Ethiopia to be recipients of education. They should never forget that the responsibility for passing on this knowledge to others and of handing it over to the next generation rests on
them. ”

His Imperial Majesty, Qedamawi Haile Selassie The Ist, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings, Emperor of Ethiopia, Elect of God.

Original speech from –

HIM college farm agriculture plants

Tomato Tips



If growing in rows, give plants plenty of room. Plants within each row should be about 18 inches apart. Different varieties may be allowed closer plantings or need more than 18 inches. These hungry plants like lots of food, like; nettle, Kannah-Besem, comfrey etc feeds.

Rows are planted 2 meters apart, and if lots of tomatoes are desired, another mixed row can be added. Before they grow in their row [either by direct sowing or planting], pre-plant it with mustard or/and field/broad beans, and fertilize the soil with a liquid feed.

Air moves free and plants stay healthy and breathe well, as the atmosphere stays ‘sweet’ from the space. They can be utilised as protector and defence plants, plant things like kohlrabi, cauliflower + other cabbage family members, auto-flower Kannah-Besem etc which do not grow too big. These plants being protected can be harvested to make room for the tomatoes when they need it.

When planting out tomato plants, dip them in a liquid feed of erbs or other plants, and do not plant them out before hard frost has gone for the season. Straight away water them with a watered down feed [nettle/Kannah Besem, comfrey or other will do as well]. Plant them deep, and make sure the lowest flowers are not above a hand’s breadth above the soil.

Plants which are really tall can be planted at an angle so the flowers are still within a hands breadth of the soil.

They can be tied to support, like a strong stake, for taller, slimmer plants or grown ‘wildly’ for bushy, low plants.

Now the plants are growing, under-sow them with marigold, and / or mustard. Both act as partners and eventually cover.

Keep all leaves of the plants, as these are needed for energy (do not remove unnecessary leaves, however, if leaves cover fruit, then they may be removed).

If growing with support nip off various side shoots from the axils of the leaves. Bushy plants can be attained by nipping off the main tip.

If growing in greenhouses, or blocks, follow the principles as above, for feeding, planting, support, and also space plants appropriately. In greenhouses/glasshouses it is possible to support from above with string etc.




Tomato Plants at elsies

Tomato Plants at elsies 2


Organic Liquid Plant Feed and Soil Fertilizer

Plant Care, Uncategorized

A simple ‘tea’ can be made by using leaves, stems, and flowers of plants. Individual or mixes can be made.

Here is a nettle one for example;

Nettle Feed;

Put water and nettles in a container. Younger nettles are slightly better. With around half water – half nettle.

After around 10 – 20 days, the liquid is proper; More heat and stirring will speed up the process. Liquid feeds usually have an extremely strong smell when breaking down and when disturbed.

Follow this process for all other feeds. Combinations of different plants are fine to make as well.

Another method, instead of mixing the plant material in the water, is; the plant material can be suspended within a sack (hessian, hemp sacks etc), in the water, and then the liquid feed will be reaggy in around the same time.

To make a spray, strain this liquid and pour into a spray bottle.

Types of Feeds

There are lots of different types of feeds to be made. A nettle feed would be ideal for Kannah-Besem while in leaf growth stage. To encourage flower/bud growth a feed of valerian. During flowering, a feed of woodland fern is ideal, marigold could be added too. Like with the garden itself, use knowledge and logic to create different plant feeds. Using a wormwood liquid feed near anything that likes earthworms would cause the earthworms to vacate the area. However wormwood liquid is very good to be sprayed onto currant bushes to cure ‘rust’. (Just having wormwood growing near the currants will help, but remember worms themselves will stay well away).

Blackcurrant Leaves Suffering Rust – A Wormwood Spray Will Cure

A liquid feed of green onion leaves/stalks (or plants of the onion family like leeks, allium etc) is very good for strawberries, and the moulds / fungi that attack them.

Most seedlings and plants can be dipped into liquid feeds before they are planted again, this gives a little boost.

Bigger, mature plants, trees and shrubs can have a good soaking of nettle feed or suitable feed before being planted.

When planting out, pour some in the planting hole. Now plants will be best furnished for a sound and healthy life.

Liquid feeds made of cabbage and similar plants will be nutritious for the garden.

Rhubarb and/or Horse radish liquid feed will prevent club root in cabbages and other plants.

Liquid feeds (preferably nettle mixed with erbs), can be used to heal wounded tree trunks by painting it on. Use water glass to help it stick if needed.

Frost damaged trees can also be treated with the liquid feeds.

Mildew is prevented by using a horsetail spray.

Strawberries enjoy nettle feed.

A mixture of nettle, comfrey and cabbage feed is healthy for strawberries.

General Types of Liquid Feeds;






Woodland fern,


Medicinal erbs and combinations of them,

Combinations of different plants

Use These Liquid Feeds Carefully;





Use the end of the liquids in compost pile. It will start a new compost pile quickly. Also trees and heavy feeders can have the last of the liquid.

The bits and residues that remain can be put in the compost or again, used to quickly start a new one. It can also be spread on the cover of growing plants.

There are many uses for liquid feeds, use them as an advantage, and experiment.

Live Cycling (A.K.A. Mulching, Soil Covering, Sheet Composting)

Plant Care, Uncategorized

The soil between vegetable rows is kept covered once seedlings are up and around hand height, first with the early sowing of spinach or light cover, which can protect neighbouring seedlings from pests and sun. The roots of the spinach (see post on spinach) and mustard which are left in the ground, adds a further dimension to the benefits. At the beginning of the growing season, a cover crop can be sown half way between each row, or the space can be covered straight away with live covering, once the seedlings are near hand height. Spinach grown half way between the crop rows, works best for this. Chop it down once the crop seedlings are established. Over the year build the cover with nearly all things green (accept a few mentioned later).

Keeping it topped up with as much variation as possible, ensures that this season’s and especially next season’s crop will be as well furnished as possible. Using erbs (including ones from the border) as part of the cover will greatly benefit the soil and the life within while preventing pests and disease.

Some advantages of cover;

Keeps soil protected from direct sunlight,

Provides shade,

Keeps soil protected from rain,

Keeps soil protected from wind,

Collects dew,

Acts as a filter for plants,

Preserves moisture,

Reduces the need for watering massively,

Creates a good home for roots, earthworms, and lots of other creatures,

Prevents weeds,

Nutrients are stored, preserved and released properly to plants – roots have an abundant supply and apportion nutrients and water to the receiving plant with ease,

Roots are in a happy environment, nearly always moist but never waterlogged.

Aim to keep soil that does not have seedlings/plants growing in it, covered at all times. Soil which is rooted with roots and shaded by leaves produces proper plants in time. Then these plants will eventually become food for the soil and the live-cycle continues.

The covering provides food for earthworms and all other soil life, while also protecting soil from damage, nutrient leaching, water leaching, capping from the sun etc. Covering is not only the best way to achieve a good soil, but also the best method for preserving good soil. (NOTE: Covering is not usually used until the vegetable seedlings are about hand height, so the covering doesn’t cover the seedlings. [Wind, birds etc move the covering about]).

No straw or peat. Use plenty of medicinal erbs, leaves of harvested vegetables / erbs, wild flowers, flowers which have finished (seeds in flower heads/fruit pods are not a problem), lawn and grass cuttings and hedge clippings are all good. Keep tidy and ordered. A path will quickly be formed, and when the covering is proper and thick, it can even be used as a path in wet, rainy weather.

Chopping the material up helps to keep tidiness and order. Also, woody material can be chopped up if the equipment is available. When chopped into small fine pieces it is ideal for cover and properties within the cells of wood prevent weeds from germinating and growing. Using woody material, that is not shredded, takes a long time to break down and so is un-practical for cover.

Chopping Up Live Cover










Planning A Harmonious Vegetable Garden

Planning & Beginning a Garden

Initial Planning

Choose a suitable garden area, based on access, soil, wanted size, light conditions, heat conditions, wind protection and water availability.

After choosing a site, List and plan on paper the initial ideas;

-rough size,

-plants that will be grown,

-amount of rows (500 mm apart), rows will be explained further on,

-water source positions etc.

Inspect the soil of the chosen garden spot. Make note of what plants are living in the soil. Check soil structure. If hard/clay/stony, then turn it over, with what is required and appropriate (fork, rotovator, plough etc). For clay add sand etc. For sandy soil add organic matter (leaves, grass cuttings, compost etc). If soil is soft, fine and crumbly then check for stones and remove roots of existing, invasive perennial plants. Soil nutrient content can often be figured out by the plants that are living in the soil. Roots of any annuals (marigold etc) can remain in the soil for soil nutrition.

For the first few years, the soil may need turning over fully, each winter or whenever is suitable, to keep on top of it – each site will be different. After a few years of cultivation, the soil will be able to be managed, a row at a time. For instance; When a row is harvested and it is not going to be sowed again with crops until the next season, then the soil is slightly prodded, and loosely worked. Then it is sown with an appropriate cover-plant like mustard, or it is covered over with live-cycle cover (leaves, grass, shredded twigs, wildflowers etc).

It is normal to take some time for planning, allow for inspiration to happen. Trust that Yahh will finish the process and that He will allow good fruits to be bourne. InI find it best to roll up a good 1, get a pencil, some paper, seeds, then go to the garden and begin planning. It will probably take a lot of erasing and a few times to get the final plan. Include paths, gates, water points and anything else which may be necessary in the plan.


For a few years muddy, messy paths had to be put up with


Eventually we acquired slabs for a few pathways 

Use the sections’ on plant neighbours and incompatibilities, to help make the plan.

Sow lots of erb seeds and/or acquire erb plants for the border of the garden. Starting the erbal seedlins early will allow some to be able to be planted around the border of the garden to create a protecting, erbal border. The border can also contain other annuals and perennials too.

Fence the site off, mark out paths, mark out vegetable rows and gates.

Plant erbs round the border – it does not matter if the whole border is not filled or even empty – over time it can be added to with more erbs until filled.

Planting Chives in Erbal Border

Here is a erbal border around a small vegetable garden

Avoid sowing and / or planting if the ground is wet. This will preserve the soil from compaction.

The erbal border has a tremendous impact on the health of the garden, inside its boundaries, and out.

Lavender is said to be priority. Followed by sage, chives, rosemary, hyssop, and many others listed in the erbal section.

The border can be planted in any way with any mixture of erbs (be carefull with erbs like wormwood as mentioned in the erbal section). Bees and butterflies, as well as many other beneficial garden friends will thrive from the border.

After several years certain erbs will want replacing /swapping around, while others can be lifted, split up and replanted. Splitting  often provides some new plants.

Examples of erbs for border;

Lavender, Sage, Rosemary, Hyssop, Lovage, Angelica, Cummin, Coriander, Rue, Thyme, Salad Burnet, Mugwort, Lungwort, Catmint (be careful of attracting cats),  Lemon Balm, Chives, Costmary, Sorrel, Tarragon, Valerian, Wormwood.

What Plants Are Suitable For the Different Rows

1 / A = Long season plants,

2 / B = Medium season plants,

3 / C = Short season plants.

Order rows with 123 or ABC or 3 labels if you want. The number 1 rows are set 2 meters apart. Basically you can keep repeating the rows 1-3-2-3-1-3-2 ……. until wanted or until space is ended. These are only examples, most plants can be fit into 2 categories, like beetroot can grow in  a middle term 2 / B row or a quick term, 3 / C row.

 ‘1 / A‘ rows want a ‘pre-seeding’ crop before the time the main crop goes in, as they usually go in about May;


Tomato ,

Corn ,

Peas ,

Runner beans ,

Cucumbers ,

Late cabbage ,

Broad Beans,


Courgettes., etc.

In between two ‘1 / A‘ rows, are the B rows. These rows can be for plants which grow either in the first half or in the second half of the growing year. Examples are;

Semi-Autofloweriing Kannah-Besem,



black salsify,




spring greens,



spinach etc.

Each of these rows will yield at least 2 full crops.

 Between the 1 / A rows and the 2 / B rows, at a distance of 50cm are 3 / C rows; plants for 3 / C rows are:

Auto-flowering Kannah–Besem ,

Carrots ,

onion sets/bulbs raised from seed ,

lettuce ,

endives ,

kohlrabi ,

fennel, .

These ‘3 / C’ rows are set with short-lived plants with small, low growth. They grow for a short time only and then make way for other, similar plants. They like the light shade of neighbouring plants. We often consume these the most and there is a concession (repeating) of crops, often 3 per year.

These rows provide the household with a variety of regular, nutritious food. After early varieties of 1 species, there can follow a late version of another species (For example spring carrots may be followed by a type of late lettuce or other salad crop). These 3 / C rows will produce 2 and often 3 crops, 1 after the other. If an 1 / A row is planted with something big/wide spreading like large sativa Kannah-Besem or cucumbers, the 3 / C rows to either side will likely be overtaken.

This carrot row is about to be harvested, before the Kannah-Besem overtakes it.

Some crops can go in different rows, like carrot fits into 2 / B rows and 3 / C rows, cauliflower can go in 1 / A rows or 2 / B rows.

There are many-sided, beneficial and well-balanced effects in companion and mixed planting which is visible to the naked eye, but not in that part alone; further advantages arise from the encouragement given to the micro-organisms in the soil and problems to do with the rotation of crops are also irrelevant.

The success or otherwise of a companion-planted garden depends on the row system. The labels must not be re-arranged during the year and there must always be double/succession (one after the other) sowings or plantings in the same rows. In a garden of this type, order is the 1st pre-requisite for success.

Choosing What To Grow And What Not To Grow

Choosing what will be grown should be based on what will be eaten (do not be distracted in trying to grow lots of different things for the sake of it), do not take too much on – if someone is offering free plants only take them if you need them, have the space and are willing and able to care for them. If the space allows, have an area set aside for experimenting with new techniques/combinations and for plants that the I is not familiar with. Incorporate plants into your proper vegetable garden when comfortable and confident in growing them. Initially begin by thinking of what is required /consumed the most.

It is important that these incompatible combinations are avoided whenever possible;

Beans and Onions,

Cabbages and Onions,

Red cabbages and Tomatoes,

Parsley and Cabbage lettuce,

Beetroots and Tomatoes,

 Potatoes and Onions.

It is not good to put spinach as a preliminary crop before beetroot, mangolds (shard/chard) or orach (fat hen)

Try your own combinations out, as long as they are not the above it will probably work well. Plants grow with other plants in ‘communities’. The soil type, local climate, light and water availability are what chooses the plants that can grow in an area. Vegetables grow very well when planted in ‘communities’ and being interplanted with other plants. Also they are protecting each other, vibrating and helping each other through residues and smells (above and below ground) which we cannot always perceive with our senses.

Examples Of Plants That Make Good Combinations and Neighbours


Kannah Besem/Parsnip

Kannah-Besem/All Beans and Peas

Kannah Besem/Most types of Grasses


















Celery/All types of Greens, Especially when mixed in rows



Take advantage of such an easy method of pest control. These easy methods are not only cost free, but are non-polluting. What goes on at root level, undetected by us, is important in the reciprocal effect of each plant on it’s neighbours. Combined with things like liquid feeds / sprays, companion planting makes growing plants much easier.

Spreading and Big Plants

Plants like Kannah-Besem, potatoes, cucumbers for example, often affect the row on either side of them if they spread / grow big. The row on each side may become un-sow-able, however, even in the shade of big Kannah-Besem plants some plants still grow very well.

Although rows can have 2 or 3 sowings a year (carrots, lettuce, salads like rocket , cress, mustard etc), when something like cucumber is reaching them, then the row will be harvested, but not re-sown like usual to allow the plant to spread – bear this in mind when planning. It may be possible to have 1 or 2 crops from 1 of these C rows but then the row will be overtaken by the bigger plants, growing in the row between, as shown above.

No Need for Crop Rotation if Row Planting, Instead Swap the Rows with Paths Fach New Growing Season

There is so much variety of different plants that all minerals and elements will be present – all crops grow good; due to generous row space, variety of plants, soil cover, organic feeds and re-sowing of rows.

Where the live-covering paths were the previous year, becomes the crop rows the following year:

Planning garden year 1 and 2jpg

Year 3 – Move rows along

In the third year, the layout will progress so that the rows and paths are set-out the same way as the 1st year, with the addition of the row content being moved along 1 row. It can be in any direction. In this example, each row is moved along to the right, and the 1st row becomes a 3 / C.

Year 1 and 3jpg

Light Work

After harvesting a row, re-sow immediately, with another vegetable crop if suitable, or a cover plant like mustard – the soil should not be turned over (unless a new site like discussed previously). This will bury the active soil under a layer of inactive soil and disturb the relationship and balance between the soil life. Instead, prod with a fork. A good tilth is produced even with such easy work, because the soil is in such a good, healthy condition, being maintained by plant’s roots, cover and lots of soil life.

Beginning the Plan

Mark out on paper the area, and mark down the row order. There is no exact way, so begin with any row; 1/A, 2/B or 3/C.

Example plans;

Label the rows with labels too. Include the crops that are to follow as well on the label;

Now that the rows are marked, the first seeds can be sown!!! Depending what time of year it is, begin with the appropriate seeds. Cover crops like mustard and early crops like carrots will likely be sown first.

Sow Bountifully

2nd Corinthinas 9:6) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

Give thanks and praises. The garden has begun, with continuous, steady work and progress, may JAH provide good fruits.

Keep checking for future posts helping to maintain the health and happiness of a garden.

See this post;

Beginning a Harmonious Garden,

for ideas to begin starting the garden after it is planned.

Words of His Imperial Majesty, Qedamawi Haile Selassie Ist: Speech On Irrigation (November 2nd, 1958)

H.I.M. Words

During the past year, the abrupt cessation of rainfall during the growing season caused considerable damage to Ethiopia’s crops. This experience has demonstrated that it is essential that the rivers of Our country be devoted to irrigation, so that the food needs of Our ever-growing population will no longer be left at the mercy of the whims and caprices of the elements.

We trust that the Agricultural College at Alem Maya, which We inaugurated last January, and the Agricultural Technical School at Jimma, will greatly assist in the introduction of modern agricultural methods into Our country. The shortage of arable land for the production of foodstuffs for Our people in Eritrea has caused Us to initiate a study for the damming of the Zula River for irrigation purposes. This Study has now been completed and bids have been requested for the construction of the project. This under taking should prove of immense value to Our people in Eritrea, for in addition to providing employment for many of them, it will also, We hope, instruct them in the manifold benefits of co-operation and unity in holding property in common and working together for its development and utilisation.