My Garden Beds Are Better Than Yours

These past two weeks have really flown by at Taino Farm. With a constant stream of workers coming into the farm, the “tranquillo” vibe that normally flows with my workdays has been changed to “mas rapido por favor!” Viktor, Neo, and Juan finally finished the majority of the raised beds in the garden and with the walls up it was time to amend the soil.

When I first arrived I made the mistake of simply looking under my microscope, seeing good protozoa and fungal numbers and throwing one layer of mulch on the top of the soil. This lead to the constant need for the addition of organic material to the first smaller garden we created. This time I asked for some advice. Viktor did an amazing job of aiding me in that process, as well as improving my wheelbarrowing skills.

garden bed in the tropics
Creating the perfect soil in our tropical beds was a multi-step process

So this is how we did it:

  1. We started off with one wheelbarrow full of sand per raised bed (2ft by 16ft).
  2. Tilled that in with a mattock to decrease the amount of compaction that occurs in clay soil and also help with water retention.
  3. Then added the next layer, three full wheelbarrows of horse manure and sawdust that had been composted down.
  4. On top of that, we added a five-gallon bucket of goat manure, and half that bucket of bat guano per bed.
  5. Once all of that was added we tilled with the mattock one more time.
  6. Then we threw in a wheelbarrow full of coconut husk and did one final tilling.

All in all, It was a lot of work! But thankfully we had a constant stream of amazing volunteers. Special thanks to Charlie Durrant, Ollie, Stef and her team of youngsters from Estrellas de Los Brazos, the team from Extreme Hotel, and many more!

Dominican kid helping to improve soil
Thanks to our team of enthusiastic volunteers! especially the kids at Estrellas de Los Brazos

Mondays and Tuesdays seem to be the days that most of the intensive work gets done, while the rest of the week is dedicated to working in the food forest. The food forest is amazing as well! ATN (say it out loud and you pronounce his name phonetically) is our new intern, here on the farm. He has been traveling around the property weaving nests out of branches to create raised garden beds in the food forest around the fruit trees.

food forest trellising
Food Forest Trellising with bird nest technique

Other than that, I wish I could say there isn’t much, but there is ALWAYS a lot of work to be done. So now I gotta get back out there! Please feel free to come down to Taino Farms in Los Brazos and volunteer any day you would like! We always need a helping hand and we’re only 30 min away from Cabarete on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. Interested in long term apprenticeship programs for accreditation in permaculture, aquaponics, and organic farming? Stay tuned for more information on upcoming educational programs at Taino.

Check out the video that charlie made for the raised bed construction day:

http://youtu.be/R3sT8AimBuU