As part of the Self-Sustainable Living Labs Experience of Valldaura, students of the MAEBB Program take on the task of handling, maintaining and managing the 0.5 hectares of garden every year. The process involves preparing the soil (weeding, manuring and mulching), transplanting saplings & seeds and harvesting when necessary.
For the Autumn Winter Rotation this year, 5 of 28 garden beds were assigned for growing Legumes; the nitrogen fixers.
Group ‘Legumes’ handled beds R16-20 and planted the following:
R16: Faba Beans
R17: Faba Beans
R18: Faba Beans and Lentils
R19: Faba Beans and Lentils
R20: Faba Beans and Lentils
These plants have been cared for and nurtured through the semester and have shown significant growth. Apart from Faba and Lentils, Garbanzo and Red Kidney Bean seeds were soaked and sprouted before planting them in the beds. However, they were destroyed during one of the boar attacks at night. Many interventions (improved fencing and relocating & building the compost) have been done since then to protect the garden from further attacks.
R16- R17: Faba Beans
The faba bean saplings were transplanted on the beds. The plants were positioned in staggered lines with ample spacing around them according to their projected growth size. The fabas have had a significantly fast growth timeline and have started flowering.
R18- R20: Faba Beans + Red Lentils
The faba bean saplings were transplanted on the beds. The plants were positioned in a straight line with clearance on either side for transplanting Red Lentil saplings growing in the Greenhouse.
Greenhouse: Red Lentils
Red Lentil Seeds were soaked for 2 days, drained, covered and kept to sprout for 3 more days. These sprouts are now planted in Seed Trays in the Greenhouse where they will be exposed to ample sunlight and the appropriate amount of water through Automatic Systems. UV lights in the Greenhouse also aid their growth at night, which is especially useful during the shorter winter days. Once the Lentils grow into appropriate-sized Saplings, they will be transplanted into the Garden Beds along with the Faba Beans.
Agroecology, the concept of growing our own food has given us a more holistic understanding of lifestyle and the connection of humans with nature. The overall experience of preparing the beds, planting the seeds and saplings and watching each plant growing in its own unique way has been relaxing as well as educational.