The Food Forest in October (In English below)
El fin de semana del 11 de octubre hicimos nuestro intervención regular en al bosque comestible. Esta vez, con muy pocas personas, alojamiento en Caseres y mascaras y distancia! Lo pudimos disfrutar igual.. como es una actividad en puro aire libre.
El sábado hicimos un tour con Marc Boldó de BioCaseres por los campos de olivas, un molino ibérico y el pueblo ibérico la Gessera. Fue una gran introducción a la zona para todos y hicimos una cata de aceite de oliva con Marc, debajo de unos árboles suyos en el campo. Estupendo!
El domingo empezamos con un taller de Nick y Anna Louise sobre las funciones de las especies para plantar, y la historia del proyecto del bosque comestible.. y luego a plantar! Hemos añadido arbustos que fija nitrógeno, arbustos resilientes y comestibles, y aromáticos. No vamos a sembrar favas ni alfalfa, ni plantel de hortalizas por que el experimento es observar lo que sale de las semillas de la temporada pasada. Ajo – si! Jessica ha añadido ajo después del fin de semana y hemos aprovechado paja muy desecho que nos ha dado una vecina, y caca de caballo que recogemos de una granja a media hora, para añadir materia orgánica, mulch y nutrientes. Como no ha llovida casi nada (nada en julio y agosto y solo 10mm en septiembre/octubre) se ve en las fotos que está todo muy seco, y aun nada esta creciendo. Si no llueve pronto… tendremos problemas.
Además del bosque comestible hemos añadido hortalizas en las zonas de tierra fértil en las terrazas, y alrededor de los árboles frutales allí. (Tenemos 2 manzanos, 2 almendros, 4 moreras en las terrazas mas altas)
También… hicimos un taller y experimento fantástico con Nick para empezar la regeneración de una terraza de almendros abandonados. Publicaremos mas información de esto pronto y forma parte del nuevo proyecto Rovira Regenerativa, que ahora tiene instagram – @roviraregenerativa
On the weekend of October 11th we made our regular intervention in the food forest. This time, with very few people, accommodation in Caseres, plus masks and distancing! We could enjoy it just the same … as it is an activity in pure open air.
On Saturday we took a tour with Marc Boldó from BioCaseres through the olive fields, an Iberian mill and the Iberian town of La Gessera. It was a great introduction to the area for everyone and we did an olive oil tasting with Marc, under some of his trees in the countryside. Great!
On Sunday we started with a workshop by Nick and Anna Louise on the functions of species for planting, and the history of the edible forest project .. and then planting! We have added Nitrogen Fixing Shrubs, Edible and Resilient Shrubs, and Aromatic Shrubs. We are not going to sow favas or alfalfa, or a planting of vegetables because the experiment is to see what comes out of the seeds from last season. Garlic – yes! Jessica added garlic after the weekend and we have used very old straw that a neighbor has given us, and horse poop that we collect from a farm half an hour away, to add organic matter, mulch and nutrients. As it has hardly rained at all (nothing in July and August and only 10mm in September / October) you can see in the photos that everything is very dry, and still nothing is growing. If it doesn’t rain soon … we’ll have problems.
In addition to the edible forest we have added vegetables in the areas of fertile soil on the terraces, and around the fruit trees there. (We have 2 apple trees, 2 almond trees, 4 mulberry trees on the highest terraces)
Also … we did a fantastic workshop and experiment with Nick to start the regeneration of an abandoned almond terrace. We will post more information on this soon.
Here is a history of the Food forest project from Jessica, and some stories about her work there this year
Our foodforest is designed and -after years of preperation- planted by Kate in April 2019. With the help of an army of young enthousiasts she worked the soil, planted trees, seedlings and scattered seeds. 2019 was a very dry year, and very hot too. A typical long summer. Since we fully rely in rainwater in Boodaville Kate calculated the trees needed only 5 liters of water, every three days, each. Considering the temperatures exceeded 50 degrees only 2 months after the trees were planted, it’s a miracle (or good design?) the majority survived!
In June, one of the trees accidentally got loads of water after a tap got left on overnight. This tree and it’s companion plants thrived through the hot summer and even now it looks considerably better compared to its pals. (Imagine what a good timed big rainevent can do!)
After a long dry summer we did an intervention in October 2019 with Kate. We replaced some dead plants, planted more seedlings and scattered loads of seeds. A few weeks later the volunteers left and Boodaville was left alone for the winter, as usual.
In December, just before Christmas, I returned to Boodaville because there appeared to be a leak with the main rainwatertank. I tackeled that problem and since other waterdeposits were already full I decided to do an experiment and emptied a 200 liter deposit onto one tree. Would it have the same effect on a dormant tree as it had on the lucky appletree? As I put bucket after bucket around the tree, I realised the soil absorbed all the water. In this area where big rainfall events either cause flooding (followed by evaporation) or excessive runoff, so this is a good sign. It gave me confidence knowing the design of the foodforest can handle rainevents as big as 200mm/1 hour.
After my Christmastrip I went to my family in the Netherlands to support through very challenging times. And by the time the last funeral had passed and I made plans to return to my beloved Boodaville for spring, all borders were closed and I had to wait.
So it was June, 6 months after my last visit, before I finally saw Boodaville again. Lucky coincidence is that this region had its wettest spring ever. In fact, one of my friends recorded more rainfall in the first weeks in January alone compared to total sum of 2019! There was a trend of about 80mm rainfall every 3 weeks and the day I arrived in Boodaville the rain was pouring down too.
The foodforest was one massive jungle, waistdeep. All paths had disappeared. About half of the trees had completely disappered under the covercrop. It was time to chop and drop. It took me 2 weeks to clear all paths and trees (as recent as yesterday I missing plants!) And the 2 weeks it took me go all around the foodforest was also all it took for vigorous regrowth in the part I started chopping and dropping. The battle to stay on top of the covercrop and give the trees and plants their necessary sunlight kept going for weeks. It kept raining (one day only a 15% chance of rainfall was predicted and Boodaville got hit by a massive thunderstorm, bucketing down water yet another time and since I wasn’t home when it happened my bed was soaking wet for days!)
The amount of insects in the foodforest, compared to the surrounding fields, was abnormally high. I even had an unfortunate encounter with one of these little critters when it flew into my mouth, stinging in the back of my throat and make everything swell up like crazy. This is the closest I ever came to be helicoptered out of Boodaville since there was no way I was able to walk to the car. Read below why….
Since I am alone, keeping the project running was an immense challenge with an exploding foodforest and our only accessroad was blocked all this time because of the unusual rainfall. so I had to walk the last kilometer from the nearest roadend with all supplies. Food, drinking water, horsepoo for compost tea, gasbottles… After I managed to get the gasbottles through the mud, up the hill, over the flat, down the hill and up again there was nothing I couldn’t do and I also carried other big, heavy things in that were accumulating on the other side of the mud like a new table (in great condition, found on the streets of Barcelona) and a new bedbase (thank you dump!). Ah, and there was (and still is) a considerable family of rats occupying the houses in Boodaville and both houses are leaking despite all the work we did last year. So all together it was a bit much but in the end it stopped raining so the vigorous foodforest growth slowed down and after 6 weeks of walking the road was finally accessible by car and my life became a lot easier. Around the same time the first people arrived in Boodaville to help me which is great.
So now I’m chopping and dropping at the edges of the foodforest, in places where I couldn’t be bothered to put my precious time before and that’s how I keep finding plants. It’s like a present every time. I also make compost tea every week. I change ingredients, whatever I feel like or what I have available. It’s so nice to see the trees respond to the tea. It’s amazing what something that looks so small can do. I love watching it all flow and grow, feel it’s energy. It’s my favourite place to be.