Since growing my interest in herbal medicine and farming, I've wanted to know the best way to successfully grow plants year round. I have never been able to see how to in-person until now! I was able to visit a farm about an hour out from where I live in a place called Hone Creek. The name of the farm is Finca Inti and it's owned by Trisitan and Alejandra.
Honestly, it does not matter to me (or to anyone for that matter) how many books you read, how many Youtube videos you watch or how many lectures you hear about permaculture (or anything for that matter), the power is in SEEING it for yourself or DOING it for yourself. What I learned about permaculture today is that it is the most reverent, humble and productive form of farming. Tristian and his wife believe that NATURE knows how to do things most effectively. This is the most foundational principle in anything dealing with permaculture. Essenatially, you are replicating the growing patterns found in nature. This will produce and look much different from a farm where everything is grown in rows. It will look like a forest at first, with the exception of paths, and you will really question whether things were planted where they are or if they naturally grew that way.
Permaculture is simple and it's also a way of living. For every farm I've visited, the farmers eat, sleep, live, and breathe their farm- LITERALLY. The farm proivdes the food from which they eat, the wood on which the sleep, the livelihood from which they reap and the good, clean oxygen which they breathe! But what I mean to say is that you and the farm become reflections of each other. I want all the readers to takeaway that everything I am saying can apply to anything. And that's the entire point!
For example, at Finca Inti, they plant by the moon. And he also shared with us that sometimes, you lack energy and don't necessarily feel like doing anything and those are the days your body and your energy are recharching. Just like when the moon is hidden and new. And then some days, your moon is full and your bouncing all around, having a good time, but you're actually expending a lot of energy. It's so simple, and it makes so much sense that you would be able to apply that not only to your life, but to your farm or garden as well!
Disclaimer: I did not know that I was visiting a permaculture farm before I witnessed the farm for myself. I am not a permaculture expert. I barely know the principles by heart. They just seem to be almost common sense;however, which is why I resonate with them.
- Use everything! Do not let anything go to waste. This was evident because Tristian had cut down several trees on the farm, which were still lying on the ground. I thought that it looked like trash, but he said that they would decompose into the Earth and provide nutrients for the young surrounding trees.
- Observe and interact with the land! He cut the trees down because they provided too much shade in the area and prevented things from growing, which is an example of observing and interacting with the land.
Above pictured: bidee ba fruit tree, and peanut grass ground cover, which possess nitrogen fixing properties and maintains moisture in the ground but prevents the soil from absorbing too much water when it rains really hard
- Integrate rather than segregate! As I mentioned earlier, you couldn't really tell if the trees and plants were planted there on purpose or if nature grew them by her lonesome. Tristian planted two Durian trees, which take about 6-7 years to fruit, near each other because they will quickly link roots with each other and support one another. He also planned on planting a Bidee Ba tree in between the two in order to use the space, and have a fruiting tree that would yield fruit in 2 years. Biddee Ba has a life span of 5-6 years, so by the time the Durian was mature, the Bidee Ba would most likely be dead and provide more organic matter for the Durian trees to feed on when they were requiring more energy. Brilliant, honestly!
- Use and value diversity! The farm is super colorful. It's full of many plants. There are no rows of anything. There is not one place specifically for all the Moringa trees, or one for the Rose bushes. Everything is intertwined and paired near something different. Not to mention that they are almost always planting new things.
Above pictured (left to right): Ginger, Achiote, Bamboo, Soap Plant, Morning Glory, and Angel's Trumpet
Above pictured: Nutmeg! The seed under the red casing is used to make the common household spice, the red part is used to make Mace, and the fruit surrounding the entire seed is used to make jams and jellies!
- Obtain a yield! I also observed that the farm produces an amazing yield, which they harvest, eat and create into products daily. Trisitian sells his curry spices at the farmer's market, and is also looking to create new products from his farm to sell.
Above pictured: Tristian and volunteers making lunch with root vegetables, lemons, oranges and yampie (root vegetable) harvested, volunteer, Forest, cutting a ripe bidee ba to share with everyone.
As you can see, this farm is very diverse and really does produce a yield. The farm provides a majority of the food for the farmers and their volunteers, three times a day all throughout the week. Trisitian says that they do a little bit of everything daily (chopping, harvesting, etc), so that everything will get done. My favorite aspect of the farm is that it was started with little funds. It shows that hardwork, faith and perserverance can absolutely help you manifest anything you want in the life!
"Growing my own food gives me freedom." - Tristian
Thank you for tuning in to another post by Little Lotus Herbals™! Enjoy this supermoon November, 13th 2016 Gregorian time. Tune in next week for another weekly blog post. Soon we'll cover the medicinal properties of various medicinal plants that can be found throughout the tropics.