This is the family edible garden located in zone 1, next to the family home. The location was chosen for its functionality, as it is a space where much energy is invested, not because of the fertility of the land. In fact, it is a land with a lot of mineral matter but little organic matter, so we are challenged to create the fertility that plants need.
It is a garden with a permanent structure. Most terraces are elevated and the land is not tilled or moved. To cultivate are used both the upper part of the bench and the sides. The latter we use to grow plants that help us to remove pests such as the onion, garlic or leek, from the family of alium. Each bed has a ºhigh diversity of plants, combining plants of root, leaf, fruits and flowers, taking advantage of favorable associations. We perform annual rotations of the crops so that the nutrients are not exhausted and to avoid the permanence of pests. Whenever possible, we follow the lunar calendar when doing the garden tasks. And we are in permanent search for permanent edible plants, to be more and more an integral permanent garden.
We call it short-term because here we place plants with short life cycles, plants that bear fruit in the short term like lettuces or radishes, or whose fruits are harvested each day as they mature, such as green beans, tomatoes or zucchini. In the long-term orchards, located in zone 2, we grow long-cycle plants whose fruit harvests once at the end of the period such as pumpkins, melons, chickpeas, dried beans or sweet potatos.
The irrigation is by dripping, using 16 mm pipe in a ring that turns the bed and wire to earth. Beds are permanently mulched with straw to maintain moisture and protect plants from excessive heat and cold.
The process of creating fertility is requiring a lot of observation, learning, confidence and patience. Our goal is to produce food in the most respectful way with the cycles of nature itself, with minimal human intervention.
On the one hand, we follow the teachings of Emilia Hazelip, a Spanish based in France who adapted the teachings of Fukuoka to the climate of Mediterranean Europe, creating his own method which she called synergistic garden. Mainly we add organic matter from the garden itself. All the remains of the plants that grow in it are left in the bed itself to be broken down. That is to say, instead of removing them, take them to the composter to make compost and take it back to the place, we save time and energy doing everything in the same place. This process can be slow, especially in summer because organic matter takes time to decompose given the lack of moisture. We also perform rotations and association of plants.
On the other hand, we decided to accelerate the process by making liquid compost, following the experience of Jairo Restrepo in his book The ABC of Organic Agriculture. We have also started a vermicompost with Californian worms from which we get liquid and solid humus that we are adding to the beds.
Finally, the aesthetics is very important, more than an orchard we consider that we are cultivating a garden. For this reason the beds have harmonic forms. In the free spaces flowers or aromatic predominate that are associated with the plants of the orchard to create a fertile and harmonious space.
So far, the conclusion we can reach is that we need to create accurate fertility with human intervention at the beginning to help restore the natural balance of soil in a few years. At a later stage, the land being alive will not require inputs as organic matter from outside all seasons, as is frequently done in agriculture, including organic farming. If the earth is in equilibrium it is capable of renewing the life that inhabits it in an autonomous way.