How to make a "Little School Garden with Terra Preta"
By Ulla Ondratschek , Primary school "Grundschule im Beerwinkel" / Berlin
A composter made from wood (prefabricated or home built , (about 1 m X1 m)
For building up:
- Green waste, shredded twigs, leaves etc, lawn clippings, food left overs (cooked or uncooked), organic waste, coffee and/or tea grounds, soil, garden earth
- Terra Preta Mixture: stonedust and charcoal 2: 5 (you can buy it at Tria Terra
- EM Bacterias - also gained from Yogurt or soured milk
- Watering can and water
- Gardentools: shovels, secateurs, shredder (if necassary)
- Earthworms will come on their own. If you have no earth worms you could ask at a farm to find some in the compost.
How to make it:
- Build up the composter or make a high bed on open ground (not sealed earth!)
- 1st layer: rough cuttings of twigs
then in layers:
- soil and compost, organic waste, food left overs,
- Terra Preta mixture with EM Bacterias in water ( about 20ml to 10l water) ,
- water the bed in between each layer with the EMwater,
- last layer : garden soil
What to plant:
high nutrient demanding plants like tomatoes, pumpkins, courgettes, aubergine…
in autumn you can sow /plant lettuces and herbs
Ideas to use the garden for teaching:
- Look at life cycles: plants, earthworms and creepy crawlies, weather, climate, food, garden, ..
- Look at snails and slugs - life, uses and dangers
- Discover the content of soil: colour, consistence,smell - differences to ground or earth, pH value, taking samples of different soils….
- Grow your own plants
- Harvesting and cooking
- How to keep it fresh?
- Building up an expert team on Terra Preta, sharing the knowledge with the other students
For making your own pyrolisis oven for charcoal : Ayumi Matsuzaka http://www.oberwelt.de/projects/2012/AyumiInitial.htm
For more information about Terra Preta: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_preta