Permaculture Apprenticeship

There are still a couple beginner apprenticeships left for Verde Gardens Farm. For the past 6 months of my farmer apprenticeship I have gained so much experience. Since the program began, I have never made so much progress with my own life. Of course, I have been able to practice what I have been studying for the last four years, but more importantly I have created relations that will never end. I have also been inspired to start a re-skilling school here in South Florida.

What I am saying is, if you are down with permaculture and live in South Florida you should sign up NOW. The deadline has been extended, sign up quick!
Community Foodworks Apprenticeship

Crop Mob at Nebular Homestead!

We are hosting a Crop Mob on our homestead next Sunday, where we will be building Zone 2 bio-intensive garden beds. We are stoked to have the community over to give us a hand, as it sure is a lot of work to do by ourselves! During this Crop Mob, folks will learn how to maintain and grow fertile soil, create symbiotic relationships with plants, work effectively and efficiently with others (or alone), benefit from observing nature, and why it is important to grow food for our community ….Keep reading!

Crop Mobbing South Florida Style

Invest in your future, plant a fruit tree!

Invest in your future, plant a fruit tree!

South Florida’s first crop mob was at Verde Gardens and the task was to plant hundreds of fruit trees for the 3-acre food forest. We had over 50 RSVP’s, but due to the rain we had 30 committed people show up. We started by educating the beginners on how to properly plant fruit trees, taught about and built rain water barrels, and then we proceeded to plant about 300 hundred fruit trees. The crop mob was wrapped up with an amazing pulled BBQ jackfruit from Bambi and Sonia; or so I heard (not tasted), as I am a raw foodie. Keep reading!

Nebula

Meet the reason why I have not made any updates these last couple of weeks:

Nebula

 

My partner Paula and I recently just got this beautiful pup that we call Nebula. She is turning 10 weeks old tomorrow, and keeps growing bigger and bigger every day! She has been keeping us both very busy, which is the main reason why you have not seen any posts from me these last two weeks.

The upcoming posts this week will be including the Food Summit, South Florida Crop Mob, South Florida Slow Money and planting the three acre food forest at Verde Gardens. Stay tuned! ­čÖé

Community Food Summit

If you are a Florida resident, or are currently visiting the South Florida area, you must attend the 2nd Annual Greater Everglades Community Food Summit. The week long event (September 29th – October 5th)┬á starts with The Path to the Summit, continues onto The Gathering, and translates into your everyday life. It was designed by Earth Learning in 2010 in order to educate the community, encourage networking, unite community members, and to provide individuals with the strength and control of their local food shed. Keep Reading!

Moringa – Water Purification

The moringa tree is an amazing tree with many beneficial uses, hence its nickname, the “miracle tree”.┬á In a previous post, I wrote about the uses of the moringa tree and the moringa project on The Farm at Verde Gardens. I decided that the water purification properties of the moringa deserved its own post. Keep Reading!

Moringa man

Moringa Man came to town, and with him he brought 1,800 moringa tree seeds! It was a great surprise to me because I had missed┬á the meeting when we were notified that he would be coming. He also showed up┬á during the morning ritual of weeding the burma reed – couldn’t get better timing than that!

Moringa Man Jack speaking about the benefits of moringa.

Turns out, the Moringa Man has a name, Jack, and he works for BioPlanet USA.

BioPlanet USA is a non profit organization that generates reforestation projects of moringa in areas where there has been natural disasters or in areas that are in need. Bioplanet also involves the communities around these sites providing them with employment, nutritional benefits, education and hope. Currently, BioPlanet USA has reforestation projects in Mexico, Haiti, USA, and Honduras.

Community Foodworks and BioPlanet USA have decided to team up in a project geared towards reforestation. BioPlanet USA has donated Community Foodworks 1800 moringa tree seeds which half of them will be planted solely for seed crops to be used in case of another natural disaster like the earthquakes in Haiti. The other 900 seeds will be used for the many uses that I list below:

  • Food: The leaves are rich in minerals and protein, and have a nice spicy flavor.
  • Water Purification: The seeds can be crushed and inserted into water to remove bacterial contaminants.
  • Animal Forage: Cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and rabbits all enjoy the leaves. You can also feed the leaves to carp and other fish.
  • Cleaning Agent: Crushed leaves can be used for cleaning cooking utensils or walls.
  • Dye: The wood produces a blue dye.
  • Alley Cropping: Moringa’s have a long taproot, few lateral roots, grow really fast, produce minimal shade, and have a large production of high-protein biomass, which makes it a perfect candidate for alley cropping.
  • Fetilizer: The seed cake can be used as a protein-rich plant fertilizer. You can also extract the juice of moringa leaves and spray that onto plants (resulted in 20%-35% increased crop production).
  • Honey Clarifier: Powder seeds clarify honey and sugarcane juice without needing to boil
  • Honey: Flowers are a good source of nectar for honey bees.
  • Live Fencing: Moringa is perfect to use as a living fence.
  • Gum: The gum produced for a cut tree trunk has been used in making medicines and calico printing.
  • Ornamental: Plant moringa trees along avenues and gardens for ornamental purposes.
  • Pulp: The pulp is suitable for making newsprint and writing paper. However, the wood is soft and spongy which makes it poor for firewood.
  • Plant disease prevention: Incorporating moringa leaves into the soil prior to planting can prevent damping off disease (Pythium debaryanum) among seedlings.
  • Infant Supplement: The dried leaves are a a high mineral and protein source that can be added to honey and fed to infants
  • Rope-making: Beat the bark into a fiber to use as productions for ropes and mats.

Sowing Moringa in an area of the pasture to use as a seed crop.

A group of apprentices, farmers, directors, and the moringa man sowed the seed crop moringa in a field. The plan was to walk forward and every meter put a seed 1 inch into the soil. It’s a good thing our intentions were to not make straight lines because that would’ve never worked with the way we were walking!

Re-using planting pots by washing them in water with a small amount of vinegar, and then rinsing in plain water.

We wanted to start some of the seeds in used pots, but first we had to clean the pots to remove any possible diseases. You can easily sanitize them by filling a tub with water and just enough vinegar so that you can smell it, and then scrubbing the pots. Afterwards, make sure to give them a quick dunk in some water just to rinse off the vinegar wash.

Miles sowing moringa seeds in pots to be transplanted.

Have fun while working, and make sure to work smarter, not harder. That is exactly what Miles is doing here; it was raining so he found a nice dry place to plant the seeds, put them in a wheel barrow to raise the pots, and sat down on a chair to do the lazy man permaculture approach!

Moringa seeds sowed into pots.

We planted four seeds per each pot that will be transplanted into a living fence, animal fodder, food, and other uses. Our plans are to transplant after a few weeks so the tree’s roots will not become tangled.

If you find yourself living where moringa grows (the tropics and sub-tropics), you should really plant some moringa. As you can see, there are many great uses for this tree which makes it a great choice for the permaculture property.

Composting with Worms

With a little bit of added effort you can turn your daily food scraps into nutrients for your garden. One great way to do this is by composting with worms, also known as vermi-composting. Most people assume worms are dirty and smell gross, which is far from the truth. Maintaining a healthy worm bin is not challenging, does not smell bad, and will not invite large bugs such as cockroaches. Continue reading

How to build a bath tub worm bin

Be sure to read my post about Composting with Worms. With a little extra time and effort, you can build this bin basically for free if you have all the proper resources.

12 EASY Steps to Building a Bathtub Worm Farm!

Preparation: 24 hours for sealants to dry properly
Building: 2 hours
Cost: $44.99
Skill Level: Moderately Easy

Tools you will need:
…Keep Reading!