Shape the garden – Shape the Future

Shape the garden – Shape the Future

Mandala Garden Project at Chato Primary School by the Climate Team

“Performance team”: that is how they call us. No matter what we take, eventually we will get the best out of it. After going through so much together, having so many discussions and inside jokes, we are unstoppable. Let me introduce you to our latest project in Saint Vincent.

There is a school, up in the mountains called “Chateu primary school”. They decided that it would be nice to have a vegetable/fruit garden nearby. Thus, we are there to help to realize their idea. I would like to emphasize one more time that we are there as contributors rather than leaders. It feels good to be part of this project since children can benefit from it: the headmaster mentioned that gardening can be included into the curriculum. Also, we are glad that after we leave Richmond Vale Academy a living garden stays behind.

The first step was to make a plan for the garden. Jorge and I came up with a design for it. And after measuring the land, Vanessa made a precise scheme of it.

The second step: decide plants, trees and herbs we wanted to have there. As some humans, some plants go along better, flourish nearby others. For this reason, we met with Luke, the master of organic gardening and permaculture, who gave us insight into mandala type gardens and companion plants.

The third and the hardest step was to shape the land. It sounds quite easy, right? However, the place for the garden was going downhill. Moreover, it was full of different types of trash… We were joking that somebody probably tried to build a house or at least a bathroom there. Therefore before shaping the land we had a hard time clearing the area and dig out huge pieces of old fence. On one of the days, Pat, a farmer, joined us and after seeing the land advised to make terraces there: it is a way to prevent the place from soil erosion. It took us three days to make it happen. We have moved a lot of soil in order to flatten the surface and have brought 25 wheelbarrows of soil to form barriers.

And last but not least; we have prepared the soil for planting action, which is going to happen in two weeks. According to Luke’s suggestion we put three layers: manure, cardboard and organic matter (we cut huge amounts of elephant grass that was growing nearby an abandoned household).

There are several factors that make our work harder. First of all the school is 45 minutes away on foot. Also, the sun is extremely hot during the hours we have been working there (From 9:00 to 16.00, sometimes from 14:00 to 17:00).

On top of this, there were a lot of pupils around us, who wante our attention “Hola” “Hola” “Holaaaa!” countless times! To sum up, we were glad that we are in charge of this project as well as seeing that the children are interested in what we are doing, it gives us hope that the garden will be in good hands.

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