Behind the school there was only a wooden frame for an intended outdoor classroom. Now, if you look out of the Principal’s office window, there is a different view. The wooden frame is still there, but so is a wire fence surrounding two raised beds. Donated tires enclose potatoes and irises. Outside are two compost bins made of palettes. Prayer flags decorated by students on Earth Day hang from the beams and blow in the breeze. Or the wind. Or the rain.
We planted Jemez corn, Hopi corn, tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, Jemez chile, banana chile, okra, marigolds, irises. Up to 80% water has been saved compared to flood irrigation through the utilization of ollos. These unglazed clay pots have been used in traditional farming practices in the Middle East and Central and South America.
Future dreams and plans include another raised bed area, a cold frame, greenhouse, rainwater harvest system, a seed bank.
Many thanks go to all those kind and enthusiastic people who donated the following to our garden project: Walatowa High Charter School students; Carlos Garcia, Gary Toya, Uriah Madalena .Raymond Jelus, Louise and Jeff Bradley, Jemez Sustainable Solutions, Markarand Karmarkar, Jaramillo’s Garage, Frances Strain, Doc and Susan Minter, Elston Yepa, Aspen Ridge Alpacas, Amma Center of NM.
In the harsh high altitude growing environment of compacted sand and clay, strong sun and wind, forceful downpours( or no rain) we are successfully growing edible flowers, grain, vegetables. During the following school year. Students will help and learn from direct experience in the garden. The goal is that we will all come to feel a sense of belonging and sharing in the challenges and joys of creating a bio-intensive garden.