Our work in the Chaikuni Institute Center has progressed well over the last months, mainly focusing on water management for erosion control, soil building and also beautifying our communal ceremonial/workshop space.
Around our newly constructed 25000 litre rainwater catching tank we observed that through interfering with the vegetation and land during construction that the surrounding landscape was eroding during heavy rains. Therefore, we re-designed the area to manage the flow of water from the tank, pathways and the land; so we could regenerate the landscape.
We created multiple contour bunds/berms on the land in key areas (these are small mounds on contour made of organic materials) used to spread and slow the water down, and thus prevent soil erosion. We planted them with vetiver, a grass with a very strong deep root system that also has medicinal properties, and perennial peanut which acts as a beautiful ground cover whilst fixing nitrogen into the soil.
At the same time we also constructed raised garden beds using recycled wood for the frames. We placed these beds near to our dining room so by design we can keep a keen eye on what will soon be very productive beautiful beds. To construct these beds we multi-layered with manure, green material, decayed mulch and forest soil. After filling the beds we sowed them with nitrogen fixing plants; three types of beans, alfalfa and pigeon pea, which will later be chopped down and mixed into the soil. In a few months, the soil will be ready for production.
Another project we have been working on is making the area around our community ceremonial/workshop space more beautiful and functional. We planted several different perennial and annual flowers, flowering ground covers and medicinal master plants. We have placed emphasis on ornamental and aromatic plants that require very little maintenance, so that it remains a quiet space for the healing practices that are practiced there.