A number of guests, residents and volunteers participated in a one-day workshop with Rob van Deursen of Stichting Saiwala. The workshop consisted of a short lecture on soil and a number of soil related activities. Rob talked about what makes for healthy soil and how it supports the vegetable garden and a healthy ecosystem, contrasted with farming practices in which plant nutrition mainly comes from fertilizers. The group took three spoil samples from three different locations in the garden and observed the differences in the ratios of organic matter to sand and clay.
The goal was to provide some basic scientific understanding of processes that take place in healthy soil and how one can generate healthy soil in the garden using materials at hand. The lecture was followed by soil building activities. The MdD worm-box was analyzed and improved upon by adding more loose dry materials like leaves and straw. A new hot compost pile was built using goat manure from the neighbor for heat and compost from an existing pile was worked into a bed and watered.