What is 5 eyes farm?
“5 eyes” (translated mata lima) is an ancient planting pattern used for palm and big farm plantings so that standing almost anywhere you see 5 avenues between the trees heading off in every direction. As it happens, bees have 5 eyes too and as bee keepers and happy experimental gardeners we like the name. So, we have found this obscure place in West Java about 16 KM from Bogor and we are looking to develop a farm there. So here’s the thing: we could buy a farm in Australia for about the same price but the cost of labour, of living in general, the standard of soil and the availability of year round water are all challenges. Further, the harsh weather changes, particularly in Victoria, make for challenging times. And while we give it our best shot to roll up the sleeves and get into the nitty gritty, it is comforting to know that the project is not relying on the seat from our brows so much as from the vision and direction we can give it. We love gardening and do our fair share but to have the place managed and to have workers there when needed is a relief for us. This is also important because we are not there all the time, in fact we are in Melbourne most of the time and perhaps down the track we will spend more time there. But for now the plan is to live and work in Melbourne and to visit there regularly and eventually build a house and stay more often and for longer.
Our first project – fixing the road!
A blank canvas
The 5 Eyes Farm is a blank canvas. Half a hectare of beautiful soil with a river running across the top of the property and irrigating the whole thing as needed. About half of it used tobe rice paddy’s and more recently they have grown sweet potatoes there. We are hoping to use some of our Melbourne experiments and implement them in similar ways on 5 Eyes Farm. We need to adjust to different fish species, different bees, many different plants but we can operate the same systems like aquaponics and breed quails and chickens up for eggs as well as growing some exotic and wonderful foods like coffee, chocolate and pepper.
We invite you to come with us on a journey as we try to learn to make a farm through trial and error and from the wisdom of many others who have been there before us. We anticipate mayhem, successes, adventures and disappointments but we have a good idea how we want the whole thing to start taking shape and which direction to head in.
Recent activity on the farm Late Feb 2017
Water ways cleared, composting and beds set up, pathways made – real basic stuff, a lot of hard work and a long way to go!