As we all sit to enjoy breakfast at the beginning of a new week at Sunseed gentle conversation fills the air, everyone eager to share stories of what happened during their weekend. For the majority, it was a weekend spent on the beach enjoying San Juan festivities in nearby San Jose.
A group of around 15 sunseeders spent Saturday night partying, laughing and taking in the atmosphere. We spent the night on the beach and then spent Sunday morning watching the sun rise over the Mediterranean sea, before heading to another beach along Cabo de Gata to relax under the sun and recover from the night before.
In the past few weeks we have seen plenty of progress in all departments at Sunseed. In eco-construction and maintenance the team have been focusing their efforts on providing Sunseed with not one, but two new compost toilets in anticipation of an influx of volunteers over the summer months. The two new structures, one at the top of the village in the solar garden and the other in an idyllic spot amongst the caña down by the river, have been constructed using mainly caña and pita, two materials that we are lucky enough to have an abundance of in the valley.
As always there is no lack of action in our organic gardens. Staff and volunteers are starting to reap the fruits of their labour as the emergence of new garden produce coincides with the wave of heat and sun that we are experiencing at the moment.
One particularly exciting new addition to the garden is the impressive caña structure, which Kirsty, Jef and many volunteers have been working on in the past few weeks. The structure, which stands at around two and a half meters in height, is designed to allow beans and cucumbers, which will attach themselves to strings which hang off the frame, to climb up the structure creating much needed shade for the tomatoes growing below; a great example of how we apply permaculture principles to our work at Sunseed.
In the drylands department Jose and Sarka, a student from the Czech Republic who is on a six month internship at Sunseed, have been working tirelessly to complete one of our flagship projects at Sunseed. Using some of the research carried out by a previous volunteer at Sunseed Ari Zwich, Sarka and Jose have created four vertical flow reed beds through which our waste water will run in the future. The reeds, which sit in tanks filled with gravel, transfer the oxygen from their leaves into the gravel beds via their root system. This encourages micro organisms that digest pollutants to colonise the beds. The work is ongoing and anyone who would like to take the opportunity to assist the drylands team with the project is very much welcome to come and get stuck in.
In appropriate technology Csaba and Marlene, another intern on a three month placement at Sunseed, Have been working on building and programming a new solar tracker for some of our photovoltaic solar panels.