By schedule, our group activity for this week is actually Sunday morning.
We re-scheduled to Saturday morning for this week as Nature Company (which is sponsoring knowledge, equipment, compost, etc to us over a 6-month period) can only come down to our garden on 3rd Saturday of the month, from 9am.
On our request, they brought along their GTM wood chipper to help us break down our pile of cut branches and leaves from the edible garden, as well as garden waste from neighbours. It was truly amazing to see entire tree branches going into the machine, and tiny wood chips (that were not sharp to touch) coming out at the other end! Steven, one of the company directors, said that these tiny wood chips can be used as mulch. He knew we were harvesting the previous week, and said we could have put a layer of these mulch material below the top soil to improve the soil condition before growing new plants.
Steven of Nature Co. also shared with us how to apply organic compost and fertiliser correctly. They brought quite a few for us to experiment and learn. The tips can be a separate blog post :) Some of the tips we already knew, but it’s always good to hear them again from an expert who is also familiar with organic gardening practices in the local context.
We also sought his view on planting fruit trees for we had set aside a small area for fruit trees. He advised us to allocate small areas to different neighbours, and get as many neighbours to come with a hoe / rake each to help in the digging. We need a lot of help to dig, as ~0.5 to 1m soil below ground need to loosened and amended before planting in the fruit trees, or they will be stunted or cannot survive. He advised the team to supply neighbours with the hoes / rakes, as up till now, we have been bringing our own garden tools.
After the Nature Co. team left, Dennis & Lydia got the children to dig at the Ginger Garden area, to add in turmeric and Malaysian ginger plants.
Neighbour May and her family harvested organically grown vegetables. It took them a long time to get to a successful harvest, despite growing vegetables during the Kampung (village) days. Problems they faced include snails that ate their vegetable seeds, poor quality soil despite buying “premium” soil, and inadequate watering from the irrigation system.
Always love to interact with this family. They come as a big group, and had a lot of questions for Steven’s sharing today.
Satisfied with their harvests, they actually left a pile behind saying that they had enough at home.
We also created a second food compost barrel with food waste donations from neighbours. Both barrels can still take in more food waste, looking forward to witnessing the change in the compost contents over the next few weeks.
Finally, meet one of our youngest gardeners, Aza! He is 10, but knows quite a bit about growing and transplanting edible plants. He and his younger brother were allocated a small plot this morning, so that they can grow the plants they want to grow :)