The Seed Camp has been a great opportunity for us, and for the many volunteers who have come through. We learn a great deal, especially through mistakes. There has been countless trial and errors, and this will continue for much time to come. Regardless of the setbacks and revisions, a great deal has been accomplished with a very low-budget in only a few years.
|Adobe kitchen and tool room
Without much sand available, some time was spent to find a method to produce bricks using the heavy clay subsoil on site. Today, the kitchen doubles as a library.
This is a pole platform attached to a cob storeroom supporting a second floor cantilevered pole dormitory. The poles are from a nearby eucalyptus plantation, and the cob is an experiment using dry sugar cane leaves as fibre. The front (non-supporting) wall of the storeroom was a different experiment using just shredded plastic garbage to replace the fibre. This successful technique is now being repeated with most of our cob work, reducing our waste by over 95%!
Using our successful technique, we built another cob bedroom.
Our toilet provides all the fertility for the orchard and trees in the garden. The bucket and sawdust system is surprisingly hygienic and odor free, uses no water, and has had astoundingly positive effects on the trees.
The greywater system from the kitchen sink filters much of the used water and irrigates a few garden plots.
|Adobe made nursery
We seem to have a great deal of difficulty getting seeds to germinate outdoors so we made a nursery which houses all our garden greens and tree seedlings until transplanting.
|Solar heated shower
Shower and Laundry tub with solar hot water heater.
|Two greenhouses Hot/humid and warm/dry
Two greenhouses providing hot humid and warm dry climates for increased plant diversity. The humid greenhouse is semi earth-sheltered and built with adobes to reduce costs. If the greenhouse were planted solely in tomatoes, 7 months of harvests would have payed for the entire construction (minus labour costs).
We currently have approximately 20 garden beds ranging from 1m squared to 1m by 3m producing annuals for our lunch harvests. Beds were made by adding our compost mix (made by composting our kitchen scraps, donkey manure, dry and wet mulch and some ash in heaps and allowing them to become thermophilic).
Constructed with earth bags, this dam supplies the farm for all its water needs.
An earthbag (cement lined) water tank with a sand filter intake providing gravity fed water for the shower and irrigation for gardens and orchard.
Stereo and speakers
The installation of a small 12v solar power system, which powers our music vices along with home-made speakers.
Contour ditches are dug throughout the garden acting as both a soil catchment and a rain catchment. When it rains here, it rains a lot so we try to catch the rain and have it slowly infiltrate into the gardens rather than rushing down the mountain taking all our top soil. During exceptionally wet times, the ditches can also serve to drain the gardens.
Contour bunds below the ditches act as windbreak and perennial gardens The roots of the perennial plants that feed us and protect the gardens from strong winds, take up water slowly from the ditches. The bunds also contain some native species that provide nutrients through leaf mulch, provide food, and firewood all within the garden, increasing our energy efficiency.
Here are some of the projects that have been initiated, some on the way to completion, some always ongoing:
Bi-weekly we plant different seeds in hope to contribute to our reforestation efforts.
|Garden building and care
We are currently fixing up old beds and continuously trying to get a more diverse garden to contribute to our food needs.
A couple of times a year we give some human compost, loosen the soil and depending on the season, trim the encroaching brush prune, and irrigate all our orchard and other perennials.
We now have five hives started, but it will be a while before they grow and expand enough for sustainable honey and wax production.
Cob wood oven
We currently have a successful rocket stove oven for our baking needs, and are now building a bigger and better model. We hope one day to use rocket stoves for all our cookiny ahd cleaning needs.
Development of a new project on a site located twenty minutes from Sacred Suenos. For those interested in building we have several projects including the construction of a house using various natural building techniques.
General maintenance on the site
This includes fixing leaky roofs and pipes, maintaining stairs, cleaning contour bunds, clearing trails, etc..
Worms do most of the work! We are always collecting horse manure and trimming greens from the site for the compost piles. We usually make a new one every six weeks.
We can have months without rain during the dry season, but when it does rain, it can be very intense. We hope to divert as much of the deluge during the rainy season, storing the water in the soil as well as ponds and cisterns.
Planting and fencing a silvopastoral system
Using a diversity of mainly native multipurpose forage trees rather than grass monoculture, we want to demonstrate that its possible to house a number of ruminants, such as our horses and goats, using a rotating pasture system.
The farm is always growing and we are open to collaborating with volunteers to create and implement new projects! The following projects are what we hope to accomplish. Projects will be added, changed, adapted or disregarded as we learn, and receive exciting new ideas from volunteers and interns.
- Medicinal herbs
- Complete garden building to sustain eight people.
- Natural structures for more bedrooms.
- Completing rainwater harvesting earthworks and converting some reservoirs into seasonal fish ponds.
- Producing medicinal and gourmet mushrooms
- Propagating mushrooms for soil mediation
- Converting composting toilet into biodigester for added benefit of methane production.