Rosie’s First Organic Garden
My friend Rosie Rubio started her first organic garden this past spring just outside of Los Veranos south of Vallarta. She first became interested in gardening while working on an organic farm in Canada several years ago where she has family. She learned about Monsanto and GMO seeds and decided when she returned to Mexico that she wanted to grow organically using organic seeds and no chemicals to honor and preserve the health of Mother Earth.
In April, she and some helpers cleared a piece of the land her family owns. The brush and small trees they removed were saved to use in building the beds. The cleared area is about 65 x 65 feet. The soil is of average quality with a lot of small pebbles. Rosie had done a lot of research on different types of gardening techniques and once she saw the condition of the land, decided to use the practice called “Hügelkultur.”
Originally from Germany, this practice is a permaculture technique used all over the world. It's literally a raised garden bed that is built from the bottom up with logs, sticks and branches, wood chips, grass clippings, manure, leaves, food scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds--everything you would put into a compost heap. On top of this goes the soil taken from digging the base of the bed. If the soil is poor, like Rosie’s, additional prepared organic soil can be used with the poor soil.
A well-built hügelkultur bed is a self-watered, self-composting raised garden with few irrigation needs. This garden bed is perfectly designed to capture rainwater runoff for sustainable water management because the organic material in the hügelkultur acts as a sponge to absorb the water and wick it up to the roots of the plants. Rosie felt this was the perfect answer to her land and climate since it only rains June through October and a local pond is about a quarter mile away from which she has to haul water when needed. Plus, she had the wood, sticks, branches, and organic material to build a few beds.
This first season Rosie planted organic seeds from Hummingbird Seeds here in Mexico…tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers, marigolds, and friends gave her corn seeds to try. Next season she will add lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, squash maybe green beans. Seeds are sown into seedlings then transplanted to give the tender plants an extra boost.
Of course, organic gardens have organic pests! To control these hungry bugs and to add extra nutrients, she used an organic liquid biofertilizer containing ash, rock minerals like lime and sulfur, proteins and natural plant hormones. Her little helper Monica sprayed this on all the plants every 10-15 days in the mornings. Rosie would eventually like to involve more children in the garden to teach them how to grow their own food organically to help preserve the earth before it’s too late.
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