PANYA PROJECT ::: III. GARDENING

by kaiconfusion

IMG_3311Table of contents

Geoff Lawton – “All the World’s Problems Can Be Solved in a Garden”

The word permaculture is derived from the words permanent agriculture and permanent culture. “ It is a way of arranging your life to be happy and abundant.” You can meet your own needs without making anyone else’s life less pleasant. Human habitats can be made highly productive with much less work than is taken to make them destructive under present systems. By making decisions in designing our lives we can manage our resources well […].” Graham Bell

Permaculture gardening is about using sustainable and efficient methods that are in balance with nature by observing nature and working with it, rather than against it. In permaculture gardening, mulching, composting, seed saving choosing perennial plants over annual plants, giving thought into the design process on where to plant what when and together with what(companion planting),
are essentials ingredients for a healthy and successful functioning system.
It is about working with nature rather than against it. Acknowledging it’s friendship discarding the idea of its enmity.

At Panya however, there are three main garden systems. The contour garden, the biodynamic garden and the forest garden. There are of course several small gardens around the property each house has its own small garden and there are fruit trees and shrubs and other plants wildly planted everywhere at Panya. Most spaces are somehow used for food production not all of them are managed equally time intensive. It has become a beautiful densely vegetated living space!

Kitchen garden IMG_3305
The kitchen garden is build on contour right in front of Sala and kitchen keeping the distance conveniently small for maintenance watering and daily harvesting.
Here Panya grows most of  its annual and seasonal vegetables. Some of the veggies and herbs you can find here are tomato, egg plant,  chillies, potato, corn, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, lettuce, beans and herbs like basils and hibiscus to name a few.
Most of the garden beds are build from split bamboo as walls which are then filled with layers of compost. Plants are planted out in crop rotation and watered with a water efficient drip irrigation system.

Biodynamic garden IMG_3380
Biodynamic agriculture (originated by Rudolf Steiner,) is a method of organic farming that emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system.” Wikipedia (06/15/2012)
The main difference to other spaces at Panya is that in the biodynamic garden Panya uses an astronomical sowing and planting calendar. Since bio dynamic looks at things in a very holistic way it takes more factors in to account that have an influence on the ecosystem than conventional agriculture does. The sowing calendar looks at moon phases and its effects on soil and plants and the relationship of macro and microcosm.

Forest garden/ food forest
“Forest gardening can be viewed as a way to recreate the Garden of Eden”. Wikipedia
The food forest is a hole different system to complex to explain fully in a few words. It is what excites me the most in permaculture. A food forest is a man made system that tries to mimic and improve the natural succession undergoing in every forest on earth by speeding up that succession and improving the system with faster growth and higher yields providing us with food, medicine,building materials and fibers. Growing a forest system that over time basically becomes our hardware store our supermarket our pharmacy meeting most of our needs. In opposite to an annual garden which needs almost daily maintenance or harvest and regular replanting in a food forest you would plant out all of the plants that you want permanently at once and only support the system in its young stages. After just a few month the system will be pretty much self maintaining until infinity basically. The more  input (such as mulch and compost etc.) you give the better it is going to work. If the system is designed and planted well, we might be able to withdraw completely from it and the forest garden would still develop on its own.
wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_gardeningComposting
Compost
is indeed one of the very most important things for sustainable gardening and food production. Always having plenty of compost available is the most essential factor for a healthy permanent agriculture. Instead of degrading the soil we gradually improving it whilst permanently growing food! To make a compost pile all organic materials like kitchen scraps, weeds twigs and even paper and cardboard can be used. At Panya we are using a 18 days compost system. When making a new pile, layers of brown carbon containing materials like straw and brown leaves and layers of green material that contain nitrogen are built in about 10cm thick layers on top of each other again and again. Each time manure and kitchen scraps can be added to higher the nitrogen content. While doing so, we have to constantly pour water on the pile as with water the decomposition process is speeding up and the pile gets hot usually to about 50°C to 60°C. After 4 days we are flipping the compost the first time and do it then continually every two days. That is speeding up the decomposition process. The compost is finished when all materials we added have turned into nice looking and smelling soil and the temperature of the pile is lower then 40°C. There is no time in Panya where there aren’t any compost piles decomposing. Go compost!

Nursery
IMG_3382 Panya also has a nursery. The nursery is there to grow plants and trees from seed in the best possible conditions, to have a higher success rate or higher germination rate of the seeds. Once the plants have germinated and reached a certain size they then can be transplanted in garden beds or food forest etc. For any bigger property it is very useful to have a nursery. Since it is there, where endless trees and shrubs and veggies can be nurtured without any cost, with the seeds we have saved, collected or shared to be planted out. We can give trees and other plants away as gifts and plant forests everywhere!
Saving seeds IMG_2797
Collecting seeds by letting plants grow to full maturity or simply keeping them when eating fruits and veggies, is a super important thing for many many reasons. I believe saving seeds is one of the most important tasks we as humanity have, to secure our survival, health and well being. Keeping the best seeds by continual planting, means food security. Money doesn’t provide us with security as we see in the crisis we are living in, saving seeds does!
No matter what happens being able to grow food will keep us alive, rich and happy and it is easy, too. Simply collecting, cleaning and then drying seeds to then put them in an air tied container with a label attached to it, is about all that it takes to save a seeds for future replanting.
You might have heard about generically modified foods. Before I learnt about this topic properly, I though it is a topic specific for people interested in super healthy nutrition and discarded it as of lower importance for me.
When I started giving in a bit more attention I realized that really this topic is huge and effects every human being on this planet! It is not only that no one is capable to foresee the long-term affects in all living organisms that GMO foods can have, they are affecting the lives of many people and the ecosystem already today. GMO foods are much less nutritious because of the way they are grown and designed. They don’t rely on nutrients in the soil anymore cause they grow based on chemical fertilizers leading to nutrient deficient food which doesn’t do us any good. GMO seeds are always grown and produced with the heavy use of pesticides, insecticides and herbicides. They interfere with wild organism and basically destroy wild and over generations developed varieties of food so that we will eventually end up with only a handful of different kinds of food all with the exact same amount of nutrients. GMO business takes small farmers out of business or makes them slaves of their savage system. Thousands of cotton farmers in India have committed suicide in the past few years because of the total disruption of their lives and income source since the introduction of GMO.
The company Monsanto is actively trying to get patents on seeds for all foods that we eat to own and control it in a monopolistic way. A patent on seeds, on living things is so perverted that is hard to believe it can actually become true, but it sadly is reality in many countries already. Monsanto is already a hugely powerful corporation and it is only us that can stop them. Their goal seems to be to control all food on this planet and with that all of us.
”Who controls the food supply controls the people[…]” Henry Kisinger,1973

Let’s work together! Grow food! Plant trees! Save seeds! …and not depend on governments and corporation’s! Fight back!

Plant diversity at Panya:
Coconut Palms, Banana, Avocado, Mulberry, Wild fig, Mango, Jamaican cherry, Passion fruit, Cacao, Papaya, Longan, Oil Palms, Cassava, Lemon, Custard apple, Jackfruit, Rambutan, Coffee, Star fruit, Indian spinach, Malabar spinach, Brasil spinach, chilly, Sweet potato and much much more!

Web resources and links:

wikipedia.org/wiki/Seed_saving
www.seedsave.org/
www.seedsavers.org/

wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_gardening
panyaproject.org/
punpunthailand.org/?p=804

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