Statia :: November Report

second month of PinR @ botan programme

courtesy of Susanne BollingerKing’s Visit @ museum garden

The botanical garden provided seeds, plants and labour for the (belated) construction of a provisioning garden at the museum’s reconstruction of the slave village to be opened by King Willem Alexander during his visit on 15 November. As we only got involved four weeks before the arrival of the King, the garden was obviously quite immature. Most successful were the peanuts and jute, but even they were still very small since planting only two weeks before the King’s visit. Mr. Hazel was kind enough to provide cuttings of sweet potato, cassava and corn seeds. LVV provided bags of animal manure which contributed to vigorous growth – but less then three weeks is just too short a time to bring any kind of vegetable garden to maturity. Continue reading

Statia :: PinR October Report

P1050800First month of PinR @ botan programme

Started work on monday 7 October after being welcomed by garden intern Susanne Bollinger. Settled in at the new intern house near Smoke Alley and stayed there for about a week.
Taken stock of Aardwerk resources in storage here and there and moved most of it to Botan. Set up “camp” at botan and moved there permanently by the second weekend of October.
Adopted three cats to assist in pest control at the Botan. STENAPA approved support and a small budget for the cats.
First survey of Botan systems (water, power, housing, food). Identified priorities: water & power, renovating Visitor Centre. Continue reading

First Earth Day Workshop Success

The first Earth Day permaculture workshop at the STENAPA Botanical Gardens on Statia was a great success. We think so anyway 😉

About 14 people in total showed up for their first introduction to permaculture. Amongst them the head of the Statia Health Department Ms Carol Jack, the Senior Policy Advisor of the State Representative’s office Ms Rita van der Zee and a cameo appearance of the new acting Governor Mr Kenneth Lopez.

Permaculture is working with Nature instead of against it. So to see ‘how Nature does it’ we first went on a brief hike to the unmanaged part of the Miriam Schmidt Botanical Gardens. There we saw that Nature always keeps her soil covered, with living plants, stones, dry leaves, dead wood and whatever else is locally available. Plants and other organisms live in communities that support each other. Each producing something that is of use to its neighbours and using what the others produce. The trees ‘recycle’ themselves in place. They don’t pull up their roots to go shopping for food. They turn their leaves to the sun to make biofuel to grow and reproduce, while recycling dead leaves with the help of soil creatures into useable organic building materials they can absorb via their roots. The soil is moist, springy and smells delicious. Lizards rustle through the leaves, birds sing and there is a wonderful energy in the air.

Then we did a walk in the private veggie patch of the garden. Here we looked at some of the design principles of permaculture, like ‘chop & drop mulching’, ‘companion planting’ and ‘working on contour’.

Then we did some soil testing, comparing acidity (pH) of forest soil, bare garden soil and potting soil. All were a bit acidic, with the bare soil the most acidic. Then we planted some kholrabi and pak soi seedlings out in a bed covered in sheet mulch (cardboard with a mulch of leaves on top).

We finished off with delightful refreshments prepared by Park Ranger Claire Blair. All participants received a certificate of attendance, a resource list and a packet of free seeds to start their own veggie patch at home.

One of the participants was interested in following up with a school project and all left with a positive feeling about growing some of their own food.

Earth Day Permaculture Workshop

STENAPA and Aardwerk offers free ½ day Permaculture workshop at Miriam C Schmidt Botanical Gardens St Eustatius.

STENAPA has announced that they will be holding a free workshop with guest speaker Leo Bakx, permaculture course leader, as a taster for the 3 week course that Aardwerk will be offering in July.

The workshop will be held at the Miriam C Schmidt Botanical gardens on the 22nd April as part of World Earth day, celebrated on this date every year.

There will be demonstrations in permaculture principles and practical tips and tricks on how to grow your own food in a low-maintenance and eco-friendly way. Participants will receive a small pack of seeds in order to start their own vegetable gardens at home.

Leo says, “Permaculture is a toolkit for the best possible prosperity for people and planet. Permaculture recognizes that everything is connected in our world.” John Button, one of the course leaders for July says that permaculte “is a marriage between people and place”

It teaches participants how to work with nature instead of working against it and Leo says that it will change the way you view your world forever. The 3 week long course in July will be held on St Eustatius between the Botanical Garden and at the Congo Preserve managed by Joshua Spanner. Participants are expected to attend this course from all over the world and will be able to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the island as well as reconnect with the world around them through the course material and exercises.

Places are very limited for the free workshop on the 22nd and interested parties should contact the STENAPA office on +599 318 2884. Those interested in taking part in the 3 week course should contact Leo Bakx at Aardwerk at the website http://aardwerk.org.