Friday, 31 August 2018

Who Fights For Plants

We live in a world where there are people who fight for animal rights or citizen rights but who fights for the rights of plants to grow where they will, to not be cut or harvested before they go through their own natural cycle-i.e to make flowers, then seed, to die and come again if they are in the right spot.

Humans take plants for granted. We do not notice them particularly, pull ones out of the ground which we call weeds, control them through cutting their limbs as in the case of fruit trees so they can make us more fruit or so that the shape and size fits our specifications.

However without plants our species would die along with many other organisms because we eat either plants or other organisms that eat plants.

Plants provide us with food, fiber, shelter, medicine, and fuel. The basic food for all organisms is produced by green plants. In the process of food production, oxygen is released. This oxygen, which we obtain from the air we breathe, is essential to life.

Earth is called a green planet because of the presence of plants. Plants are essential to the balance of nature and in people's lives because plants are the only thing that are able to convert the suns energy into food and in the process convert the carbon dioxide that animals make eating each other and plants back into oxygen.They are also most essential part of the life of all the organisms living on the earth. Plants maintain the atmosphere. They produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis.When people breathe, it is the oxygen that we take out of the air in order to keep our cells and bodies alive.

How many plant species are there in the world? Scientists now have an answer. There are about 391,000 species of vascular plants currently known to science, of which about 369,000 species (or 94 percent) are flowering plants, according to a report by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the United Kingdom produced in May 2016.

There are over 20,000 species of edible plants in the world yet fewer than 20 species now provide 90% of our food. However, there are hundreds of less well known edible plants from all around the world which are both delicious and nutritious.

Not only are there benefits from outdoor plants but the plants kept indoor also provide benefits for humans, in particular indoor plants reduce carbon dioxide levels, increase humidity, reduce levels of certain pollutants, such as benzene and nitrogen dioxide, reduce airborne dust levels and keep air temperatures down. Therefore all office environments can benefit from having indoor plants.

For all the reasons stated above I believe it is worth fighting for plants and at Caretaker Farm in NZ, using natural agriculture growing methods and permaculture design, plants have been allowed to have the right to be plants-I have allowed them their rights.

To understand some of the philosophy of Caretaker Farm watch the following video

                         and remember we all need to fight for plants.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

June at Caretaker Farm

In June 2017 work on the farm involving our wwoofers was all about gardening-planting food, taking out and planting flower cuttings, pruning trees, mulching and tidying up around trees and garden areas now winter is upon us.

At the last new moon we created seed raising boxes from old bookshelves recuperated from the Old Bakehouse Market shop. As you can see below we covered the seed with straw and within 2 weeks the seeds were sprouting up.
The work on the new raised winter garden on the top ridge continues as we plant and plant-unfortunately in 2017 the turkeys, possums and various insect predators were making this hard-a few herbs-borage, calendula, rosemary-were hanging in there despite nibbling and a pumpkin decided to grow despite the winter cool.
 Then there is the wood gathering and chopping-lots of branches, cut logs still laying on the ground where they were cut by Adrian in 2916 to be collected, split and stacked-gum, pine and kanuka.
 The raised-bed extension garden has proven a successful surprise in that despite the beds only having sticks, slip clay, ash, eggshells and composting leaves, branches with no real soil, the rescued plants from the matakana community garden that we replanted did very well-shoefly, calendula, borage, heartease, fennel, and small replanted vegetable seedlings all flourishing in this newly created garden space.

A big change at the farm in 2017 saw the removal of the 20 year plus fig tree on the left behind the clothes line pictured below-visitors arriving at the farm couldn't see the main house which was Dorothy's home. Because we needed a space close to the main house and dairy to build two showers and another compost toilet plus increased parking the fig tree had to be cut down-luckily cuttings taken from this fig tree have been planted on many other places on the farm.

 Fabrice was the brave one to slowly cut down the tree-it took him several days and the fig wood is drying near the caravan- larger logs, small sticks and then bits for the compost.

The removal of the fig tree has changed the energy in the front yard completely.  For years there has been no ability to see the front gate from the house as the tree had blocked the view. People also had to fight there way under the branches, especially when the tree was laden with figs. For Audrey the cutting of the tree while necessary was also traumatic. Trees are her passion and she has always been terrible at pruning and trimming let alone removing them all together.

The front yard after the removal of the fig tree

At this time Caretaker Farm has 4 woofers helping at present-Sarah from Seattle, Travis from the UK, Marie from Japan and Julien from France.

Now in 2018 the following pictures show the garden up the top and the new front entrance down the bottom. Still no extra showers and toilet, due to a lack of funds, and no wwoofers anymore either for the same reason but the farm muddles on now offering backpacker accommodation and accommodation for long-stayer local workers. Audrey produces 4 different herbal healing balms using the wonderful plants growing on Caretaker Farm.
The new top garden summer 2017/18
The herb spiral in the top garden

The top garden in winter 2018
The new front fence courtesy of Guil.

 Now the winter Solstice has passed and Matariki is almost over we can expect the light to return and everything on Caretaker Farm to keep growing and growing......