The morning started out with an extended yoga session which was excellent. Going to yoga classes twice a day has been a great perk of this experience. It gives me an opportunity to revel in my own physicality and understand my own body both physically and mentally through meditation. It’s really neat learning how to bend and twist in different ways I didn’t even know were possible. I feel like I get a little taller every day.
After breakfast, I went to the huerta. Abilio noticed my boots were kind of old and ripped, so he was kind enough to let me borrow a pair of boots he had. I didn’t even ask, Abilio just told me to come to his office because he had to give me boots. It’s also been raining for the past four days, so Abilio lent me a poncho today that was extremely useful as I was being rained on all day. The genuine kindness of people here continued to amaze me every day.
I worked with Orius today clearing a few beds of old vegetables and smoothing them out to make one plane. Jess and another volunteer also came by to help us after a bit. We tied up some spinach plants because they were getting too big to support their own weight. Then Jess and I held a string 2 meters long as Orius guided us where to go and how to measure out where we will plant the passion fruit.
I learned that passion fruit grows on a vine and it takes upto a full year for it to start bearing fruit. Additionally, the plan gets huge. We were planting them all 2 meters apart that’s more than six feet. It needs that much space to grow adequately. Looking at the plot of land and the miniscule little things we planted, I was trying to imagine what it will look like in a year when the plants are grown and I was having a really tough time. It’s wild how things grow and how powerful of a change agent nature can be if you let it do it’s thing.
Then Jess and I also planted two rows of melons in between the passion fruit plants. The passion fruit plants will grow up wrapping around the structure the arbors or whatever structures will be put in when the plants start growing and the melons will serve as a ground cover. Melons only take three months to grow and bear fruit so the same land can be used to harvest melons while the passion fruit continues to grow. Additionally, the melon ground covering will protect the soil from erosion which will help the passion fruit plants grow more fully. This is what permaculture is all about. Designing this garden so that the plants can help one another grow and serve multiple functions. By doing this, you can let nature work for you.
After lunch, we returned to the huerta for afternoon weeding in the far gardens. On the way back, I couldn’t help but stop and admire the arugula I planted last week. The day after I planted it, I really thought it was all dead and I had seriously messed something up because all the leaves were wilted. Abilio told me it would be fine though, sure enough he was right. With all of the rain, the roots have taken hold and the leaves are growing rapidly. In two or three weeks this will be ready to harvest and eat in the kitchen, yum. I’m excited to eat something I planted.
I noticed that whenever I’ve worked in the huerta there’s some activity of putting things into the ground in the morning hours and then taking things out in the afternoon, whether it be ripe vegetables or weeds. It’s all a cycle. Abilio said he makes it a point to put something into the ground every day and take something out in order to keep the circle going and maintain equilibrium. This is another beautiful life lesson from nature. Balance between give and take essential to have a functioning ecosystem, as is in life and relationships.
I spent the afternoon hours weeding in the far gardens with Jess and Greg. Jess introduced us to a new word game similar to 20 questions, but more fun. We had a great time playing while we were weeding and before we knew it, 3pm had arrived and the work day was over.
I feel myself growing and learning every day. Life is good.