Rak Tamachat Permaculture Education Center Thailand
We have a unique situation here at Rak Tamachat, where the man whose vision this is can unfortunately only be around here every 1-2 months for a few days at a time. He’s off in the ‘real world’ to fund our project until its sustainable enough for his permanent return to this land. Imagine being in that situation, working a job while wishing you were at your home to physically (and not just monetarily) help shape your family’s reality with a bunch of cool people there to do what you wanna be doing! And so, one thing he enjoys to do in this situation is to plant trees when he actually is home. Why? I think simply put that it’s because trees grow. They are a visual reminder of the beauty that is life, and the conscious effort you took to help that life take root.
Tonight, after a nice day which included planting about 100 trees in the morning, we watched “Taking Root” to remember and reflect on the life of Wanghari Mattai. Her legacy of strength and love for the Earth and its people is true motivation for me, as much as the direction and potential for this project. Wanghari Mattai faced some of the harshest of challenges, yet she always stayed driven and focused on her passion.
That dedication, if even only directed in planting trees, will change the world. If you’re skeptical, check this incredible short film out:
So yesterday and today we planted most of the trees we had left in the wind-torn makeshift nursery.
It doesn’t take much to help a tree to take root and grow.
In Thailand, the first tool you need is a hoe.
Where should they go? Well to be honest I probably shouldn’t put this on a Permaculture site post, but the truth is we had only the knowledge of size, flowers or not, and fruit or not. Lin helped us out with that info.
We didn’t plan, we just knew from Beau (the dude I was referring to in the first paragraph) that if the trees don’t get planted with a month or so of steady rain and the climate that comes with it, they won’t survive without watering. So we planted where we wanted trees, because the trees needed to be planted. Keeping in mind their size and functions for the future regarding shade, shelter, micro-climates, and produce. I’m sure most will be fine forever, maybe some we move if needed. Mai pen lai, long doo. No problem, just try.
Also planted some legumes in the orchard that we are transitioning into a fruit forest.
After digging the hole, some manure, compost, or somewhat broken down organic materials should be enough to start the roots off right.
Some natural mulch of any sort will keep the moisture in the soil and also allow for microbial, fungal and insect life to flourish. This in turn builds good soil, helping the tree and all else living from the soil, including us.
There is one more essential element, which arose from a perceivably long yet realistically insignificant period of time. Humans. Although I must add on a personal note that I believe nature will be fine without us ‘helping’. I realize this when I look under every mama tree in the rainy season and see hundreds of her newborns thriving with life. But times are harsh, and we’ve done enough to learn our lesson, so it’s time to put awareness into action.
It’s well researched that plants love our love. It’s also proven that nature has positive effects on people’s emotions and overall health, not to mention its gifts of food, shelter and water.
So quite simply combining the love of humans with the long-term reciprocal love and being of trees and plants, it only makes sense to plant trees when we can. It takes the basics of awareness to realize that it truly does change the world!
Oh, and we also planted some water plants to help filter our pond of the nasty chemicals from our neighbors.