Monday and Tuesday I helped Luc teach an urban gardening workshop to a group of college students and graduates who want to be able to teach other people how to grow their own food. It was a very comprehensive workshop that covered a large amount of material in two days. We learned about composting with worms, making soil blocks for germination, making different soil mixes, seed saving, making mini greenhouses for germinating seeds as well as many other gardening techniques and methods. The workshop was taught all in Spanish, which was challenging but fun for me, luckily many of the spanish words sound very simular to english, for example: microorganismos, plantas, composto, ect. I can feel myself getting more and more comfortable with the language each day. Here are some photos of the two day workshop.
We cut up the compost into smaller pieces so that the worms would work through it faster, all of it will become rich humus in a few weeks.
The clay pot is pourus, allowing water to travel through it into the soil at a steady rate. Using these pots maintains the moisture level and does not allow leaching of microorganisms and nutrients that can occure from conventional watering. These are very valuable for growing food in arid climates. Some plants can go two weeks between water refills.
We planted a mandarine tree in this pot. First we painted a layer of non-toxic, non-petroleum based acrylic paint on the inside of the pot to prevent moisture from escaping through the porous ceramic.
Borage will act as a flavor enhancer for the mandarine tree.
Today I worked up at the farm. First I transplanted chamomile (manzanilla) into outdoor beds. Then Luc and I mixed a pile of thermophilically composted material, wood and leaf mulch to create microorganism rich compost for soil mixes. Luc was explaining to me the technique that they are using to make compost without having to add a nitrogen source, other than the food scraps. All compost needs a good c:n ratio, which is roughly 30:1. Manure is a good source of nitrogen, but it also costs money and can carry diseases. Instead we made a compost pile that is rich in microorganisms that make nitrogen more available in the soil. The composted food scraps already have a good c:n ratio and molding leaf mulch and rotting wood which are rich in mycelium. We layered and mixed the three materials into a square shape, but boards around it to contain the moisture and structure and stuck 4 clay pots in to maintain the humidity level. Then we shaded it from the sun. After that we transplanted soil blocks of rhubarb and valerian into larger pots. Tomorrow we are going to begin the design of a circular perennial garden using permaculture principles. Here are some photos of the greenhouse and gardens up at the farm site.
I was able to take the afternoon off because I worked on Saturday at the farmers market. Tonight I am going to go out with a friend from homes mother, who I happened to run into while working at the Farmers Market. Saturday I am going out to see the earthbag house I helped build, but have not been back to for over 7 years.