Friday, March 7, 2008

Ringo teaching at Rainbow Valley Farm

Teaching some local Steiner School students how to plant vegetable seedlings.We discussed how some plants need a bit of shade when they are young so we chose a shady position for the seedlings for the hottest part of the day.We also talked about the importance of using mulch to keep moisture in the soil and to keep the soil cool.In warm climates you could use grasses or leaves.In cooler climates gravels could be used to warm the soil.

Here we planted the seedlings in a slightly shaded position,under a palm,to protect them from the harsh summer sun.We then 'companioned' the plants.This means putting different families of plants together to help with pest control,adding nitrogen,and supporting needs.Here we used tomato,basil and lettuce.The basil assists the tomato in fending off pests,adds lovely color and the lettuce acts as a lower storey ground cover,keeping the soil shaded.This will be a three tier system.The first tier is the lettuce,then the basil as the second tier (a bit of trimming required when in pots) and then the tomato,staked and tied to grow as high as you can reach comfortably.
The kids really had fun and loved getting their hands dirty.Every one got to plant their own seedling and they mixed up the colors of the plants to make it look nice.We mulched and watered in the plants and went off to make recycled toys with Joe.This is one of the toys Joe taught the kids to make.It is constructed from banana leaves.Pieces are cut from banana leaves that were trimmed off the tree and are normally used for mulch.One fatter piece and one thinner piece are joined together with pieces of willow twig to form an outrigger,the type of boat used by island nations.Another piece of willow is pushed up into a leaf and stood upright into the fatter piece of the outrigger.This becomes the sail.There you go a free toy.When the children are finished playing with it,it becomes compost,thus continuing the recycling process.The finished, working toy in the creek running thru Rainbow Valley Farm.
Building a potting table for the nursery.I used a local timber that was sourced from the farm by Joe and milled locally.The timber does not rot quickly.

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