The Pass-It-On Sustainable Home Garden and how to make one!


Here in St. Vincent
our ecosystem majors in trees and vines, particularly. By going the ecological route
we are not just benefiting ourselves in terms of producing more healthy food
but we’re also benefiting all the other creatures and all the other beings around us.
Because ecological farming takes into account all the other life that’s around us
and trying to integrate with that and produce with them instead of trying to destroy them,
so we can produce for ourselves. Hello, I’m Stephanie Williams My name is Lorrel Hemilton My name is Urel Louise Laborde I’m Kenneth Edwards better known as Bajan My name is Lindon Stevens I’m from Chateaubelair Back in the days like maybe in the 80’s or 90’s
garden used to be a part of our culture. But recently the younger generation, I think,
refrains from involving in the gardening and farming. Our farmers down here I noticed in recent times
they carry all their produce to the capital Kingstown so we in the rural areas we have to go there to get them. St. Vincent we are country that more based on import
than what we actually grow here, so that is one of the major problem. I buy the local but you still have
to be skeptical of what you are buying because of the chemicals in the products. I don’t think there is a lot of
organic farmers in St. Vincent. The diabetes killing out a lot of people
and the cancer. Because of people based so much on import and they
are so much into canned food and processed food there is a high rate of diabetes,
high blood pressure, high cholesterol. We have diabetes, we have hypertension,
so those are some of the chronic disease that we have. Like sugar, pressure, and all them stuff. Hypertension and diabetes.
These days I find a lot of people are coming down with stroke and heart problem.

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Especially the young people I think they like a lot of imported food. Back in the past, in the past people more inject time
and effort into gardening. The younger generation now prefer not to garden, because they like
things that is there and at hand you know, so people prefer imports. Because I go with friends and even sometimes
we go and pick the tomatoes, you see some sprays on them because they have to keep away flies and other insects. Once you know what you grow and you eat what you grow,
it would be better for you because you don’t use fertilizers
no chemicals in the garden. People like the easy way out,
people use pesticide, herbicide, you know, they don’t really use the
natural organic stuff on their garden. I travel and then when I go
like England or America, I get in the supermarket
where you have organic and I noticed that they are
more expensive, so I was finding out what is this organic and then after
the information get here, I was interested. Not knowing how to prepare organic garden
are one of the most difficult part because for instance I myself did not know how to prepare
organic garden before RVA come in existence. So they become healthier with the greens. For your health
it’s the best thing to do to a matter of fact, it’s me alone, so I’ll satisfy
I can’t eat all The garden starts with the planning. It can be done almost anywhere
you have a free piece of land If you have the opportunity to choose
where to make your garden, think about this: What you plan to grow there? If you plan to grow plants which
require lots of sun, choose a sunny area. If you plan to grow plants which
need more shade, pick more shady area. If you do not have a choice, work with what you have
but plan what you’re gonna grow there accordingly. Also, pruning trees for more light or
planting them for more shade is a good option. How much time can you
spend in the garden daily? If you’re not planning to spend
much time in the garden – don’t plan it big. Water source – your garden
will require watering every day so plan your garden next to
a water source or have in mind that you’ll have to install one
close by to make your life easier. Possible problems in the garden,
like pollution, flooding of the area chickens and others. If you think some
of them will be a significant problems and it cannot be avoided – plan your garden
elsewhere or get ready to be very creative. plan the beds to be the size you can
easily reach without resting on your beds. It is very important not to
put any weight on your beds so you do not compact the soil. Maximize bed to path ratio, but don’t
make it too big and uncomfortable to reach Use banana string and sticks to mark the beds If your land is flat, you
can make any shape you wish use your imagination to make
the most comfortable bed shapes. If your land is on a steep area,
use A frame to find your land contour. Make the beds by following
the contour of your land in this way, you need to dig
less soil to shape your beds. Loosening the soil is important
for the plant roots to spread wide under and absorb moisture with nutrients. Usually soil is compact and it
is not good for growing your veggies soil needs air to breath –
so it is important to loosen it. It is necessary to loosen the soil for
better water circulation under the ground. Do not flip the soil. Turning the soil
exposes and damages micro organisms. Benefits of building swales Allows better water absorption. Protects soil from erosion that means it does not allow to
wash out the minerals from topsoil Allows you to control the water overflow. Dig the first swale behind the top bed. Dig connecting drainage path
with the swales in lower points. The top swale needs to be the deepest.
Assess the amount of water you expect. If you expect a lot of water,
make the top swale around 2 feet deep It will absorbs the most of the water. The lower
points of the swale don’t need to be that deep. Make sure that swales are leveled and the water
does not run to one side or pool somewhere. When guiding the water out of
your garden or to the water reservoir find the best way to direct the
drainage path in the space you designed For example, don’t make the drainage
go through the middle of your property while it can go close to the fence. Beds are for long term so they should
be designed for efficiency and ease of use Benefits of raised bed Prevent soil compacting Provide good drainage Serve as barrier for snails,
slugs and other pests Sides keep beds from
washing away during heavy rain Easier to work because you
don’t have to bend that much They look nicer Dig the pathways and swales all around your
beds and use the dug soil to raise your beds If you wish to raise the beds
even more, add soil, compost or organic matter from elsewhere till
you reach the desired height Make sides of the bed of any available
material like bamboo, lumber, bricks and other. When you raise the beds in sloped
area, you have to consider how much water is going to run down your beds from above. Make the pathways deeper to keep your
garden from overflowing and for full comfort If the area is steep, you can make the beds so high
that you do not even need to bend to work there The most important is the top swale –
it will take in the most of water. Make sure you make swales for the water to
run down and connect them with other pathways. Bamboo is free material available
with just a little effort It is perfect for shaping your beds
as you can get them very long and make them size you need.
It is organic material so after few months when it decomposes,
the nutrients from the bamboo will go into the soil If bamboo is not easily
accessible in your area you may use any other material
available to shape your beds. It is extremely important that when
you make your beds, you level the soil Leveled soil makes the water
on the beds sink in where it is If the soil is not leveled, the water will pool in
lower places and these parts will get too much water while other parts of the bed will get too little. The lasagna bed is a method of
organic farming that does not require the soil to be cultivated.
It consists of building the soil in layers with different materials that in turn
will be decomposed little by little and the plants will take the necessary
nutrients for their development. The different layers in a lasagna bed Manure – high in nitrogen which
is critical for micro-organisms to break down carbon based materials As the soil absorbs manure, nutrients
are released. This enriches the soil, which in turn, helps the plants. The most important benefit of using manure in
the garden is its ability to condition the soil For example, mixing manure with sandy
soils helps to retain moisture levels Adding manure to compacted soil
helps loosen the soil. Manure produces increased soil carbon,
which is an important source of energy that makes nutrients available to plants. Other benefits of manure include reduced
runoff and leaching of nitrates in the soil. Cardboard is high in carbon and it
must be combined with nitrogen materials for example, manure for
effective decomposition Prevent grass and weeds from
growing, a good way to eliminate unwanted vegetation or turn a lawn into a garden. Holds moisture In a short time, about 5 – 6 months,
the weeds and the cardboard decompose and feed the soil with organic matter. The mulch consists of covering the ground
with a layer of organic material to isolate it and protect it.
It must be at least 3-4 inches thick. Try to combine grasses
and legumes in your mulch. Reduce evaporation and retain
humidity accumulated during the rains. Temperature regulator, avoids
sudden changes between heat and cold. Prevents soil erosion. Porous structure allows rain
infiltration and prevents runoff. Prevents need for tilling Keeps the veggies clean. Host to micro-fauna. Reduces the risk of diseases. Grass cuttings Gliricidia Vetiver grass Lemongrass Leucaena Banana body and leafs French weed Elephant grass Allelopathic plants such as mango There are many ways to build a seed nursery,
you can use any materials that are available at low or no cost. Here’s just one example how to do it using:
A piece of scrapped galvanized Saw to cut the gliricidia, nails, metal
scissors, cutlers, pliers, some wire, hammer and some net for shade if you’re going to
install the seed nursery table in full sun Net also protects from rain
dropping and damaging your seedlings. 4 gliricidia poles – keep in mind that
if you dig them in the right way it will grow and provide
you mulch in the future Make 4 inch long cuts 4 inches from each side Flatten the galvanized steel and
bend the sides to form a container Use a nail and a hammer to make
holes on the connecting parts Fasten those sides with a wire Make holes in the container
to let the excess water out Dig the holes and
install gliricidia poles. Nail the table at the height
that is comfortable for you Use wood to connect gliricidia
poles and to hold the table. Add net on top if needed. Add compost or soil. If you only use soil, add some manure. Depending on the plant species,
some must be sown in the seed nursery and others can be
sown directly on the soil The size of the seed defines the size
of the hole where it will be planted The size of the seed defines how many
seeds should be planted in each hole Here is a list of all the species
you can sow in the seed nursery Here is a list of all the species
you can sow directly in the lasagna bed When the plants are around 4 inches tall,
transplant your baby greens in the lasagna bed. Most people like fresh fruits. They are a good snack and a perfect source
of vitamins and other valuable nutrients So plant them! They require very little
maintenance and if you plant enough varieties you’ll be able to get fresh fruits
from your garden all year long. Sad fact – 31% of women
in St. Vincent are obese and the number has been
steadily rising in the past 40 years In comparison, 16% of men are
obese in St. Vincent, but the number of obese men has been rising twice
as fast as women for the past 40 years Top 3 leading causes of death in St. Vincent:
ischemic heart disease, diabetes and stroke are caused or at least highly
influenced by the unhealthy diet So keep yourself and your
family healthy – grab a fruit! Having a compost in your
property can be a really good way to get rid of your organic food waste and
feed your soil with huge amounts of nutrients. Organic food waste in your
compost rots and becomes a perfect food for your soil which transforms
to healthy food for you and your family. Finding a right place in your property is
a crucial moment before starting to dig the hole for your
compost with banana circle around Shady place is more suitable
for better rotting process The place also must
not be swamped in water. The pit size should be around
one meter deep and one meter wide The soil which you digged out should
be used for a circle around the pit Bananas should be planted around the pit too their bodies are really good for
feeding the soil with moisture and nutrients Collecting free rain water
is a great way to save money Your plants will need watering
every day and water costs! Unless you save the rain water
and store it for a later use. Install the water collection system
as close to your garden as possible to make watering plants easier.
If your garden is in a sloped area, install the water collection in the
highest point – you will be able to use free gravity power to
water the plants with a hose. Keep chickens out of your garden. If you have any waste water
running through your garden make sure you guide it out so
it does not contaminate your beds. Make your garden comfortable –
you’re going to spend some time in it so build steps or other things to make
moving and working in your garden easier There is a lot of health benefits
when it comes to organic garden. St. Vincent have one of the highest rate
of the cancer in this part of the Caribbean And I believe it’s because of the overuse
of pesticides, herbicides and the chemicals that they use to grow
the food, to keep away diseases So I believe organic farming
and organic matter and components it is much better to use than the
actual pesticide and herbicides. Food is central to our lifes,
we don’t go a day without thinking multiple times about food, what we
gonna eat, how we gonna eat it, where we gonna eat it and so on.
So I think really food has to be at the heart of the solution because it is a critical
thing for all of us. So the more we realize that eating healthy food will makes us live
longer, we won’t probably get the diseases and so on that we would get it
if we have a chemical food diet and the life style that leads to that. There is an environmental push and there is a
health push. I think the health push is the biggest push right now, because it affects
people directly. The environmental degradation and pollution doesn’t seem to have such an impact,
because people are not feeling it right now immediately, but they will feel it more and more
as time goes by but it’s gonna take longer to really impact upon them.
When we have a healthy soil, soil that has a deep soil organic matter layer One of the main things, and this is especially
important in terms of climate change and we’ve been experiencing weather that has been
quite extreme in terms of the floods, the hurricanes and this extreme weather.
And it’s said to be linked to climate change. So we’ll have periods of drought and
we’ll have periods when it rains very heavily. So the beautiful thing about these systems
is the soil organic matter helps to balance either to these conditions. Whether it’s too dry
or it’s too wet the soil organic matter helps. Because it acts like a sponge. So it holds water
when it is dry and when it is really wet it helps to absorb lots of water. So what
happens is if you don’t have a soil organic matter and the water falls on the soil, it quickly
compacts it and then it starts to run off. And when it starts to run especially on our
steep slopes this is when you get build up of run off and this will
collect together and form huge amounts of water which can create tremendous damage. It also helps to exercise,
because you go there, you weed, now I have to water in the morning
and in the evening, so I have to carry the bucket up from there to down there,
so it is exercise for me, I get the heart a little (exercise). They taste better, right. And one of the
reason they taste better is because when we feed the plant with chemical fertilizer
it is soluble so when the water comes it breaks down and it becomes soluble in soil and the plants
take it up directly. Now normally when plants develop in ecological system, the way they develop
is to build relationships. So from their roots they send out chemical
signals to the bacteria and the fungi to say “I am here, come” and “I can give you food
to eat and you can benefit me”. So they establish relationships throughout the soil,
establish relationships with the mycorrhiza which is the fungi, the threads of fungi,
and that can extend their ability to draw nutrients from places which their roots couldn’t normally reach.
So all these synergistic relationships within a natural system which help to produce not
just healthier food but also from my experience much better tasting food. And it’s because of these
relationships that I believe we get the better taste and quality than if we just feed
soluble fertilizers to plants. Yeah, obviously you know, when you grow your own
stuff obviously it’s gonna take time to develop a system, but fruits and vegetables
these days are very expensive so a lot of people don’t put the money out for them, because, you know,
it’s expensive. So we tend go into the supermarket and if we can buy imported rice, you know,
they might be full of chemicals or imported lentils, or imported meat, they might be cheaper,
because the countries in which they are produced are subsidizing the production of them and then
they’re shipping them here, so our local market can’t compete with it. So we have the situation
in which, you know, this imported stuff is actually …the price of it isn’t real because it’s been subsidized
by, say, American tax payers, or European tax payers. So when you have a limited amount of disposable income,
and you have to feed a family, if you go to the greens market in Kingstown, you’re not
gonna get organic, but you still get greens, but a lot of people find it too expensive,
cause the greens are very expensive. So obviously, if you’re able to grow them
in your backyard, you can eat an abundance of them whilst at the same time not having to spend the money,
you know. Which is a huge factor, totally. And I think it can also help condition the mind.
As the plants bloom, the individual grow and bloom with the plant, because when you see something is growing
it brings some sort of vibes and happiness to you. I mean for myself when I’m in my garden,
it is a form of meditation. You know, it brings peace to me. When I am there, I’m
in the garden I don’t see it as hard work, it is connection, I am getting a vibration of
the nature, which is enriching me. It is a good idea to do garden in your backyard.
It is not a hard thing to do it, it’s easy. In the future, we have to go there.
Because if we noticed chemical destroying everybody, destroying our planet and everything, so it’s good
for our people to know more, as I would’ve said before we are lacking information. So I trust and pray that
people would do research, to find out and see the benefits that they would get from organic farming. I’d totally encourage people to get their hands into the earth
reconnect with nature, you know, because I think, that the future of humanity relies on us being able to
reconnect with nature. You know, and this can be in small ways at first, but understanding where our food
comes from and how it’s produced, would be a major step in terms of moving to a closer relationship with nature.
I’d encourage them to venture forth and start, and start small, start really small, because if you try to start too big
it may overwhelm you and you may be put off but if you start small
then you just build on your successes.

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