Circular orchards are a production alternative that is currently being applied in southern Tolima, Colombia. This practice has become a strategy easily adopted by the communities in this area. They can produce quickly, improve soil conditions, help with crop diversity, regulate the climate, and of course, encourage community work.
It is an initiative that has been able to demonstrate its benefits and benefits to all the communities and families that have implemented it.
This method is a practice of the indigenous Pijaos communities, being the worldview that they have developed in their geographical space and how from this they are the ones who have put their accent on seeking new ways of producing in harmony with nature. These roads are really important in areas as dry and with high temperatures as the one found in the south of Tolima.
How do you build a circular garden?
First you select a flat plot with drainage and that is conditioned to the needs of the crop, then the area of bushes, stubble and grass is cleared to choose a center or starting point. From the center, measure 90 centimeters and draw a circumference. Then 60 centimeters are measured and a second circumference is drawn, followed by a third at 130 centimeters. From there, the 60/130 pattern continues to be repeated until these rings of the garden are finally wanted to be projected.
A straight access channel is made through the rings measuring 60 centimeters wide, marking the circumferences so as not to lose the design, and the first ditch between the 90-centimeter measurements begins to be pitted. The earth piles up on the circles forming banks and ridges. Finally the land is leveled, organic bonus is applied and it is watered to proceed to sow, apply the forest control and locate the cover leaves.
Basically the circular garden has this shape because in the first place, what it does is aerate the soil through these ridges and give it a more effective depth. Once the trenches have been made to the top where all the soil that has been removed is found, organic matter is applied to it in order to improve the amount of nutrients in the soil. The latter can be seen in the large entity of micro-organisms and worms that not only join the system, but also develop around it.
Subsequently, forest mulch is added, so that the amount of mycorrhizae in this soil is also improved, thus strengthening the roots of the plants that are going to be planted there, supporting the winds but also improving its absorption capacity of Water.
The construction of the orchard allows the structure of the circular ridges to have a long useful life, requiring only management and constant improvement. They also require simple engineering work that combines the arrangement of slopes, circulation of water, soil and sediments, which can be easily controlled and adjusted with manual work, in addition to improving the physical, chemical and biological conditions of the soil, by several meters. around the ecosystem.
Benefits of Circular Gardens.
What is produced with this system is done according to the customs, cultural traditions and food traditions of each community. Food is produced for the inhabiting families and the animals that are being raised in these populations.
This means that it is an initiative completely articulated to the territory where it is applied. It is not an exact recipe, because there will always be adaptations depending on the community and the ingredients that 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 the possibility of producing good food and having food made by the inhabitants themselves is fundamentally manifested, noting that they belong to a fertile land, which can help turn the community into a 100% productive place .
With the Circular Gardens, a population can become worthy for the experience, coexistence and harmony of all its inhabitants, where they can learn to function as an association that creates its own benefits.