These past 10 days in the valley of Kalu Yala has been the most productive and fun yet. Everyone has been really making progress with their group projects. We’ve actually been getting things done a lot quicker than I expected.
This is our first raised bed and first project that we, the agriculture team completed. The beds are raised because it rains so heavily so often here and we would have trouble keeping the seeds and small plants from washing away. We have planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, beans, squash, and watermelon. As of now, only the beans, squash, and cucumbers have come out of the ground. It requires that we spend some time weeding it about once a week.
Squash from our first garden.
Beans from our first garden.
This is our new magic circle we accomplished this past stent. A magic circle is essentially a pit hole that you dig in the ground that you would throw all of your biodegradable waste into. Around the inner ring, closest to the hole, of the magic circle you plant larger producing plants such as fruit trees and around the second ring you would plant smaller producing plants such as beans or peppers. What this does is when it rains the nutrients from the biodegradable materials soak into the surrounding dirt and keep the producing plants extremely healthy with little work while at the same time, giving you a place to dump and good amount of waste from meals or anything else.
This is the second garden that we finished up. We harvested bamboo for the lengths and larger rocks for the widths to keep the mound together. This being our second garden, we were able to plan it out a lot better. First, we put this garden within 20 feet of the kitchen where our first garden is probably 300 feet from the kitchen. This way everything that is needed will be easily accessible and easily tended to being so close. Next, we spent more time planning out what we would do with all the space within the bed. We were able to fit over 200 plants healthily in the 10×18 space.
These are Cow Peas from the second garden and they came up only 3 days after we planted them.
This is part of the agro-fence that we put up. An agro-fence is essentially an alive fence. We went around all the other fence lines on the property and used machete’s to cut off larger, generally straight, branches. We stripped the branches of most all shoots. Then, we went around and planned out where our new fence line would be and dug about 6 to 10 inch holes for the branches. We stuck the branches in and used a layered small rock and dirt combination along with hard packing to make sure our posts were securely in the ground. Next, we went with a spool of barbed wire and nailed 3 lines of barbed wire to each post. The coolest part about this is that each of these posts will sprout roots, branches, and leaves to become a whole new tree that would be a complete clone of the tree we initially cut it from!!
This is our gate which is directly next to our second garden. We had to build a fence around the agriculture area to protect it from horse that graze and other large animals that might end up trampling our crops. I am mighty proud of this fence and gate!! It’s a beaut.
This is Ramon’s house. Ramon is a local that has been living in the jungle outside of San Miguel for over 40 years and has been practicing perfect permaculture completely unknowingly. It’s just the way he’s always done it. All these smaller plants and trees directly around his house are all producing plants. I want to follow his lead and start planting trees all around our base camp area so in the future we will be closely surrounded by all the food we need. We do have a orchard on the property but it’s a good 10 minute hike from base camp where that hike would be totally removed otherwise. In order to start doing this though, I have to meet with the directors and figure out what the future of the structures on the property is going to be like. It would be pointless to have planted trees everywhere only to have to cut them down for a structure that is going in.
Tomorrow we head back out to the Valley and we can get back to working on some more projects and I couldn’t be more excited!