Organic Gardens Projects

Who wants to live in the desert?

Description:

The aim of this project is to research crops and plants naturally found in dryland areas. This includes looking at native species in the area as well as researching what dryland farmers are cultivating around the world. The idea is that we cultivate a large variety of crops, the majority of which are better suited to a temperate climate (such as lettuce, spinach, cabbages etc). Such crops are usually drought sensitive, and require more monitoring and care than crops native or at least better suited to this climate. This project can involve testing and cultivating the crops researched if the volunteer plans to stay for a longer period.

Skills:

Some computer skills, basic knowledge of gardening and Dryland climates.

Duration: 1-6 months

Wheres the water going?

Description:

This project is all about water. Here in the desert, we get our water from an ancient irrigation channel… But so does the rest of the village! We have a village rota, indicating who has use of the water at what time during the week. We would like someone to research, design and implement various water catchment and harvesting strategies around the gardens to make sure there is always water. As they say in the Permaculture world, Each important Function is to be supported by many Elements. How much more important can you get?

Skills:

Basic knowledge of Permaculture design, some knowledge of water harvesting strategies.

Duration: 2-6 months

Sunseed gets a Greenhouse/Polytunnel!

Description:

We are looking for someone interested in creating a greenhouse for the gardens. Even here in the desert, the winters are cold. With a pollytunnel/greenhouse we can extend the growing season for tender crops and ensure a continued harvest year round. The structure can be quite large, and could include a water harvesting system.

Skills:

Some technical skills, interest in gardening and water harvesting, interest in eco construction.

Duration: Minimum 1 month

Put your hose away!

50%

Description:

Here in Sunseed, water is precious. We would like to investigate and begin trials using more effective watering techniques . We currently use flood irrigation (effective but not efficient) and drip irrigation (efficient but due to the mineral content in the water, not effective). Such techniques as clay pot and porous capsule, variations on deep pipe irrigation etc. are viable systems to test.

Skills:

Creativity and imagination, basic technical skills as well as basic knowledge of gardening.

Duration: 2 months minimum

The Birds and the Bees

Description:

Biodiversity is important for any garden. By creating habitat for birds, bugs, anything that creeps and crawls in general, we not only increase the health of the local ecosystem but also the health of the garden. By increasing the amount of flora around, not just vegetables, we can attract predators and other beneficial species that interact with our gardens. We can research possible species of plants and design a system of implementation to integrate wild areas, wildlife corridors and habitat into the landscape.

Skills:

Interest in ecology, biology, permaculture, gardening.

Duration: 2 months minimum

Perrenialize

Description:

Permaculture stresses Natural Succession, which is the natural tendency of nature to develop complex perennial floral systems. We would like someone to research, design and integrate perennial systems into our gardens. Plants can serve many functions, and often we forget the many yields a plant can give. Integrating crops not only for food, but for medicine, teas, crafts (such as fibers, glues, dyes etc.), fertility and insect attraction is also important.

Skills:

Interest in Permaculutre and Permaculture Design, basic knowledge of gardening, interest in biology and plants.

Duration: 2 months minimum

Close the loop

50%Description:

This project is about helping the Sunseed gardens, and Sunseed as a whole, become a closed loop system. A closed loop system is something that has all of its needs produced within the system itself. Gardens require many inputs, some obvious ones include fertility (compost etc.) and plants. However we could extend it to seeds, potting soil for the seeds, pots to put the seeds in, water… the list is fairly long. A volunteer could, for instance, take over and increase the compost output, research and test various compost teas and liquid feeds, take responsibility for seed saving etc or take on multiple aspects. The volunteer will get a better understanding of the requirements of a large garden and how to meet them sustainably.

Skills:

Basic knowledge of organic gardening, above all interest and motivation to learn and work towards sustainable gardening.

Duration: 1 month minimum

Mychorriza

Description:

Mycorrhiza is a fungus found in the soil (usually around perrenial flora) that creates a symbiotic relationship with plants by colonizing the root zone, or rhizosphere. The fungus shuttles nutrients and water around in the soil to where there are deficiencies by creating an intricate web in the ground between plants. It is an integral part of the soil web and soil chemistry, and offers us gardeners many benefits. This project would involve researching and testing methods of growing Mycorrhizae and then inoculating soils for specific crop plants.

Skills:

Basic biology and chemistry, knowledge of the soil food web, composting and basic garden practices.

Duration: 3 months

Rice… in the desert?

Description:

Rice is possibly the only natural monoculture, one that does not degrade the fertility of the soil but actually increase it, as well as being a staple crop full of nutrition. Using methods pioneered by Masanobu Fukuoka, we would like to do trials to test the viability of growing this wonderful crop here.

Skills:

Knowledge of organic growing techniques, especially in dryland climates, interest in the work of Masanobu Fukuoka and “the natural way of farming”.

Duration: 3 months minimum

Oysters… in the desert?

Description:

This project is all about mushrooms. The volunteer would cultivate mushrooms from beginning to end. They would need to research a suitable mushroom, and a suitable substrate to inoculate, build a structure to ensure desirable conditions and eventually to harvest!

Skills:

Basic practical skills, knowledge/desire to get knowledge about mushroom cultivation.

Duration: 3 months

Congratulations, it’s a Garden!

50%

Description:

For this project, volunteers will have the chance to adopt their very own garden. Here at Sunseed we have various gardens, of various shapes and sizes, spread out along the valley. You will have the chance to learn all about sustainable production by getting your hands dirty.

Skills:

Interest in organic gardening, aromatics and wild plants etc.

Duration: 3 months minimum

Forest Garden

50%Description:

This project offers the opportunity to complete your very own Permaculture design. We have a garden here that consists solely of fruit trees. The aim of this project is to research, design and possibly implement the transformation of this garden into a Forest Garden (or Food Forest). A Forest Garden is a garden that utilizes “guilds” or “communities”- groups of plants who provide a beneficial service (such as nitrogen fixation) for the others around it making the whole greater than the sum of its parts- to create a multi-story garden that mimics the epitome of Natural Succession; a Forest.

Skills:

Interest in Permaculture, natural succession, drylands farming, agro forestry.

Duration: 2 months minimum