Circular orchards are a production alternative currently applied in southern Tolima, Colombia. This practice has become a strategy easily adopted by communities in this area. They can produce quickly, improve soil conditions, contribute to crop diversity, regulate the weather and, of course, encourage community work.
It is an initiative that has demonstrated its virtues and its benefits to all the communities and families that have implemented it. This method is a practice of the Pijao indigenous communities, being the cosmovision that they have developed in their geographical space and from there it is they who have focused on finding new ways of producing in harmony with nature. . These routes are really important in areas as dry and with high temperatures as the one found south of Tolima.
How are circular gardens constructed?
Flat, draining land is first selected and conditioned for cultivation needs, then the area is cleared of brush, stubble and grass to choose a center or starting point. From the center, measure 90 centimeters and draw a circle. Then 60 centimeters are measured and a second circumference is drawn, followed by a third at 130 centimeters. From there, the 60/130 pattern keeps repeating until you finally want to project those orchard rings.
A straight access channel is dug through the rings which are 60 centimeters wide, marking the circumferences so as not to lose the design, and the first trench between the 90 centimeter measurements begins to be dug. Earth is piled on top of circles forming embankments and ridges. Finally, the land is leveled, an organic tie is applied and it is irrigated to proceed with the planting, apply the forest control and locate the cover sheets.
aerate the ground
Basically, circular gardens have this shape because first of all what they do is aerate the soil through these ridges and give it more effective depth. Once the trenches are dug in the upper part where all the soil that has been removed is, organic matter is applied to them in order to improve the amount of nutrients available to the soil. The latter can be seen in the large amount of microorganisms and worms that not only join the system, but also grow around it.
Subsequently, a forest mulch is added, so that the amount of mycorrhizae that this soil has is also improved, thus strengthening the roots of the plants that are going to be planted in it, resisting the winds but also improving its ability to absorb water. ‘water.
The construction of the orchard allows the structure of the circular mounds to have a long service life, which only requires constant management and improvement. They also require simple engineering work that combines the arrangement of slopes, the circulation of water, soil and sediment, which can be easily controlled and adjusted with manual labor, in addition to improving physical conditions. , chemical and biological soil, in several meters around the ecosystem.
What is produced with this system is made according to the customs, cultural traditions and food traditions of each community. Food is produced for the resident families and the animals that are raised in these populations.
This means that it is an initiative fully articulated to the territory where it applies. It is not an exact recipe, as there will always be adaptations depending on the communities and the ingredients they are used to using in agricultural activities.
It is practically an exercise in cultural identity, which brings communities together and makes them feel what they are as a territory. Let’s say it is a territorial defense mechanism, where basically manifests the possibility of producing good food and having food made by the inhabitants themselves, noting that they belong to a fertile land , which can help turn the community into a 100% productive place. .
With circular gardens, a population can become worthy of the experience, coexistence and harmony of all its inhabitants, where it can learn to function as an association that creates its own benefits.
Character font: EcoInventions
Reference article: https://ecoinventos.com/circular-gardens/