Growing food in forests with Bio-intensive Raised Bed Gardens
Compas has begun to promote bio-intensive raised bed gardens. The raised beds are created by digging a ditch that is 18 inches wide and 10 inches deep and using the dirt to form a 45 inches bed. The dirt from the ditch adds another layer of fertile soil to your bed. Climate change has affected the rain cycles in Nicaragua, reducing the amount of rain and making the land more hot and dry. Since only about 30 percent of all rainfall gets absorbed into the ground, the benefit of this system is that all of the rainfall is trapped in the ditch. Climate change can also produce stronger rains and storms, so sometimes there is excess rain causing flooding and erosion. The ditches help to stop erosion and flooding and excess rain in the raised beds falls into the ditches keeping plants from drowning. This gardening system also includes thick mulch which helps retain moisture, protect the soil from rain, sun and wind, keeps weeds under control, and keeps the soil loose.
These raised bed gardens can also be created in forest areas. Using mulch, ditches, and terraces, this garden method helps imitate nature and creates health ecosystems. A wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees can be grown in a small area given the nutrient rich soil.
Compas is promoting this method with La Paz farmers as part of our Peaceful Nature small business, Peaceful Nature is an important venture between Women in Action and La Paz farmers in order to provide sustainable income to families by processing and marketing natural produce from La Paz for sale by WIA members at community fairs and farmer's markets. This new growing method will allow farmers to improve their soils and grow more produce for Peaceful Nature.