el jardín caracol

From 8 am to 12 pm I worked up at the jardín planning out a perennial herb and food garden.  The garden was a circular shape broken into four sections with a circular mound in the middle.  We decided to spiral an access pathway for harvesting through the garden and make some smaller radial pathways that connected to the spiral.  We decided to call the garden el caracol, which means snail.  Luc had prepared the compacted soil by simply covering in it mulch (mostly straw and dried stalks) and watering it every 3 weeks for 4 months.  This process moistened and loosened it to a consistency ideal for planting without needing to till.  We first began by removing all of the mulch and then used pitch forks to aerated and loosen the soil without turning it over, which degrades the soil by exposing its biology and nutrients to the environment.  After the soil was prepared we drew our pathways and began digging them out.  There were some dry patches in the garden that we replaced with wet soil from the dug out pathways. Luc and I managed to finish half the garden.  Because this climate is so dry this time of year we had to make sure to recover the prepared beds with the mulch.  We also mulched the pathways to avoid further compaction and promote beneficial microbial growth.

removing the mulch

Luc digging the path

Luc reapplying the mulch to prevent moisture loss

mulching the path to prevent compaction

At noon we left the jardín to go meet with a young nutritionist woman who is, with our help, teaching a group of students about urban gardening.  Luc asked for my help in designing the curriculum for the class.  These students have no prior knowledge of the material we are going to cover so we decided to begin the class by familiarizing them with the concepts cycles, systems and interconnection found in nature and society to give them a better understanding of the work we will be doing.  We will then focus on the basics needs of plants; water, sun, and healthy soil.  The second class will be a praxis where each student will plant two companion species in a recycled fruit grate with a ceramic pot for continuous watering.  They will learn to mix soil and we will also cover the nutritive properties of the plants.  The third class will cover making soil blocks and mini greenhouses for germination and plant characteristics and stages.  The final class will focus on Native Foods that grow in the area, most of which will become abundant with the spring rains.



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