Post #6 – Manifesting our Conceptual Design

July 15, 2011 – Today was all about manifesting a conceptual design for Baan Thai by conducting a “Zone Analysis”, and determining the appropriate placement for the various elements of the design and how they connect  to and support other elements.

The focus was “Zone 1”, which consist primarily of the Kitchen Gardens, Herb Spiral, Nursery and Shade House, other than the house. Other elements that support these elements include the compost heaps, green manure patches, mulching trees and grasses, and banana/papaya circles. Elements that allow us to work together with the wildlife in our natural environment at Baan Thai include the predator pond, bird bath, bird and butterfly attracting plants, and perches for the birds. Other supportive elements include water tanks, water faucets, trellises, and pathways to get from one place to the next.

Zone 1 is about providing the basic needs, including shelter, food and water. We are aware of the importance of providing “Food Security” for ourselves, which is why in zone 1 we have a sunken terraced garden which in the practical sense will allow us to capture any rain that will fall on the land during the dry season period, as well as experience and benefit from the rich terrace culture of Asia. We will also have raised container wicking garden beds, as well as a container “Patch Garden” for vegetables such as cucumber and pumpkin which like to spread around. This is also where we would have our perennial asparagus patch.

Beside growing different vegetables and fruit horizontally in the ground, we will also encourage and provide the opportunity for things to grow vertically, maximizing the use of space. Such examples include the “Herb Spiral” which has rows slowly going up and around, providing different micro-climates for different types of herbs. Herbs which prefer or that can handle drier conditions will be planted on the top of the spiral and facing the summer sun, such as oregano, rosemary, and thyme. While the herbs that prefer moist conditions, will be planted near the bottom of the spiral facing the softer morning sun, some of these include coriander, mint, and parsley. Other great means to grow vertically include the use of trellis to grow various climbing vegetables and fruit.

Some plants can be planted directly into the garden beds, but others are best grown as seedlings in the nursery before making their way to the garden. That is why we want to have a nursery and shade house close to the garden, so we can plant out our young seedlings, propagate new plants from cuttings taken from other plants or trees, or by division. Many plants propagate easily, so with a little time and energy we can grow all sorts of plants, all while saving ourselves time and money of going out shopping for plants.

As another important element, having a continuous supply of good quality water is of the most importance, both for humans, animals, and plants. So beside having access to grown water through a water well, we will also harvest rain off the roofs of buildings at Baan Thai, and have water tanks to store the water for further use, such as for drinking, household use, or irrigating the garden. We will also have large clay pots in various strategic areas throughout zone 1 to allow quick access to provide a much needed drink of refreshing water  to a much needing plant on a hot summer day.

These are some of the elements found in Zone 1, helping to provide a sustainable lifestyle for us all…and in the process being empowered by our ability to create a happy and healthy life for ourselves!

Quote: “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself”.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America

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