Our Terrace Garden

 

Dear friends of Baby Sarah’s Home,

In 2014 our children, with support from the volunteers and staff, have been working hard to transform our terrace into a beautiful garden with vegetable plants, decoration trees, flowers and herbs, a real small scale ecosystem on our roof. The children, especially the mentally challenged ones got involved in every step of the process, from planting seeds to taking care of plants and composting. These activities provide them the opportunity to develop new valuable life skills, bring them closer to nature and hopefully will make them more independent in the future. We started with a small group of children and volunteers who planted seeds into small pots with their names written on them. Through this activity they all became involved more personally. After planting, the children had visited the terrace every day to see if the seeds germinated. Of course they were deeply proud and happy when it eventually happened and little plants started growing in their pots. On the first sight it seems remarkable that they also had been happy when the seeds of other children germinated but after all Baby Sarah’ Home is a big family.

 

 

The next step in our journey was to transplant the seedlings to larger containers. This was a beautiful moment because eventually the children shifted their attention from their own plant to all the plants, providing care to each one of them. Since the original idea proved to be a success, we continued by involving most of our children. Each one of them received pots with their names and chose what kind of seeds to plant. Today we are growing different types of beans, white cucumbers, spinach and amaranth, lady finger, basil and many other vegetables and herbs. Even though we don’t expect a big harvest this season due to poor soil, this was a great opportunity for us to learn and to develop the tools to make us more productive in the next season.

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This brings us to our next important activity in the garden: composting. Through the recently implemented waste management system, we separate our organic waste from the kitchen from other types of waste. The organic waste goes into our compost heap where it is mixed with dried leaves, wood clips and other carbon rich materials. Then micro and macro organism process the waste and transform it into a rich, black soil with smell of forest. And this happened in just one month. The materials are still being processed but in one or two months we should have great compost for our next season. The children had been a part of this by making sure the waste goes into the correct bin, by collecting dried leaves and by finding earth-worms for our vermicomposting bin. And they understood that we do this to provide nutritious food to our plants. Now we are proud to have two large traditional compost heaps and one vermicompost box.

For our next projects we want to build our own self-watering containers from recycled materials and to plant more vegetables, herbs and flowers. The self-watering containers are a fantastic solution to the high watering needs of vegetables grown in containers. Moreover, it would solve the problem of nutrients loss due to heavy rains. But for this to happen we need to collect used buckets or other plastic containers. Regarding new plants, until now we relied on the traditional organic seeds from the Botanical Garden in Auroville but if you could recommend us other sources where we could obtain new seeds we would appreciate it very much. Recently, with the help of our sponsors we managed to cover the entire garden with a special material to protect it from heavy rains or too strong sun.

During this whole journey we tried to follow the principles of permaculture and to grow everything organically, as a sustainable alternative to the way industrial farming is being done today with huge damage on ecosystems, quality of soil and our health. We’ve been trying to use as few resources as possible but there are tools which we need and would be very grateful if you could support us. We would really need some gardening tools, used buckets or other containers, water hoses (, growing bags, soil thermometer and pH tester, organic compost to supplement our home made compost, coco peat, organic seeds and of course ,if you have time to share it, your knowledge. We would also be very happy to share our experience and to welcome you all to our garden. We have beautiful relaxation and meditation corners awaiting you.

 

project status: in progress contact person: Sergiu Burlacu sergiu.constantin.burlacu@gmail.com

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