creating healthy soil by layering organic material
The highlands of Guatemala have many industrial greenhouse to enable companies and individuals to grow items like tomatoes during the rainy season. Tomatoes do not enjoy their leaves being watered and can become disease ridden if grown outdoors during the rainy season.
Unfortunately these tomato plants are regularily sprayed with toxic pesticides that are neither good for humans or the lake the village borders.
We wanted to build a better greenhouse system that did not rely on non organic chemical pesticides or fertilizers. We also challenged ourselves to install a water system that was effective yet inexpensive and therefore a possible watering solution for poor farmers.
We started by making sure there was airflow in our greenhouse to limit the spread of disease. Air circulation also created healthy, strong plants as the young seadling develop hearty stems with a light breeze.
We wanted to have nutritious soil with worms. We did this by layering manure, carboard, weed from the lake, leaves, wood ash, wood chips, coffee pulp, food scraps and our organic bokashi. We ensured we had 4 times more carbon to nitrogen layers and created a nutritious loamy soil that our plants thrive in. We also added microorganisms and compost tea. We will never have to add a non organic fertilizer.
To ensure that we will not need to spray with non organic pesticides we work hard to have healthy plants that can fight diseases easier. We also preemptively remove lower leaves and spray with several organic fertilizers that we make from horsetail, garlic, hot peppers and other items we grow in our garden.
Ollas are the ancient technology that we are using to effectively water our greenhouse plant using non glazed terracotta jugs. These semi buried containers slowly disperse water to the roots of the plants. We did numerous experiments to see which size and number of pots created the perfect soil moisture level. One purchased these pots will last for generations and are very cost effective.
Not only do we want to produce a plethora of yummy organic tomatoes, peppers and melons for the families in Chuk Muk, we also want to give tours and courses to the local farmers to show them how to build a better greenhouse.
putting in the terracotta ollas for watering
making screened wiindows for airflow
watching our tomatoes, melon and peppers flourish