It have been a crazy and cool moment of Grassroot Organic Farm as we finally run our 2 day Permaculture Workshop. This workshop was organized by Pesticide Action Network Asia and Pacific (PANAP), Grassroot Organic Farm, Embun Pagi, Save Ourself (SOS) and Penang Watch. Our lovely landlord was so kind and open minded to let us do the hands-on on the land.
1st day Permaculture held in Democracy Space (D-Space) in Weld Quay, Georgetown. 1st day was a talk and share session run by our 2 lovely and funny facilitators, Doug and Gautier. They gives introduction of what is Permaculture, soil and improvement, patern understanding and transition town. About 20 peoples turnout that day.
2nd day was a hands-on workshop held in Grassroot Organic Farm. The turnout of 2nd day workshop was more than the day before, propriately 40 peoples include staff from organizers, public that get to know this workshop thru newspaper and email, residents from Pantai Acheh which also where we stay now, our farmer friends from Balik Pulau and Padang Serai, and also few friends that come from KL. I guess this is the 1st time Grassroot Farm been so happening and so many car parking over car park. We do hands-on on banana circles and wormbin.
In between of the hands-on, we serve the guest with durian. It’s the most happiest time for some peoples after hard works digging banana circle. And in the end of the programme, we bring them to walk around our farm. This is a very precious experience for the participants as they learn new ways of farming and there was exchange of knowledge and experience among them. It was also a very precious moment that more peoples learn how to integrate everything around them to do a sustainable farming besides using chemicals to farm. The waste in their perception now turn into useful thing.
Banana circle is an energy and water saving and efficiency planning of planting banana. We dig a pit in a circle that was 1m deep and 1.5m wide, and the soil we dig from the pit we mound it along the circle. On the mound, we plant 6-9 bananas, lemongrass, sweet potatoes, ginger etc in between each others. Futher inside of the circle we plant wetland plants such as yam, canna lily, arrowhead etc while outside of the mound we plant cassava that no much water need for the plants. We continuously fills the pit with cardboard, paper, food scraps, coconut fibers, branches etc until it full. All the materials will break down and it become foods of banana and others companion plants. We don’t need to take much care of banana because they will feed themselves with humus in the circles and water catch in the pit provide moisture for them. As we know that banana walks always, so we have to make sure that they are walk in circle by make sure new stem growing in the direction we want, left or right. If they grow on wrong side, we cut them down. To make vigor, optimal fruits production and healthy banana, we make sure that just 3 banana can grow at same time in same area which is grandmother (fruiting), mother(medium side) and daughter(small). We can use this circle methods to plant sugar cane, papaya, coconut etc.
Worm as we know is a best ever farmers in the world, they work every second in 365 day. The help tilling soils, fertilize the soils with their manure, recycle the waste and feed others animals when there is too much. Use polystyrene, bathtub, wood box etc with cover as the container to raise worm. Punch holes at the bottom and side of the container to drain out the water and also worm manure. Place a plate underneath the container to collect worm manure. Make sure to palce the container away from sun because worm likes shady and wet. Fill the container with kitchen waste, coconut fibers, paper, animals manure and a handful of rich soils. Observe the speed of worm eating and adjust the food you need to provide for them. Paper, cardboard, dry leave, coconut fiber is high in carbon while kitchen waste, animals manure is high in nitrogen. So if your amount of worm is not much, don’t put too much nitrogen materials as it will heat up the container and worm didn’t like it.
PS: By the way, for your information, our wormbin failed already as our worm been attacked by ants. I try to remove them to another safety place and put water underneath the bucket. It succesed to get off the ants but after 2 day i found a lot of maggots in the bucket. I try to remove the worm again but i just found 5 worm that still alive but with pale situasion. So sad……..
Everyone busy digging banana circle.
After a hard works of digging banana circles, its time to enjoy Durian, haha….