Another exciting Eco-kids camp day began with a cool and overcast morning settling upon Chaa Creek’s Macal River Camp were 14 sleepy-eyed children were digging into fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, stewed beans and home made flour tortillas. After a song infused breakfast the children released the Blue Morpho butterflies that they had hatched in their own hatchery over the last few days. The butterfly release was accompanied by original camp poems and then the real excitement began!
Mr. Mick showed up with his Kawasaki Mule to begin the transportation back to the Maya Organic Farm. Shakira said “I love riding in the Mule even more than on the horses” and by the accompanying squeals of laughter, it seems that all the children would agree! Upon arriving at the farm the children were given a talk by Mr. Mick Fleming about many aspects of farming starting with the fertilizer shed that is made completely out of bamboo posts and beams with cahune palm thatch. Bambo is a very strong building material that was used for centuries in Asia but is not used very much in Belize, however Chaa Creek grows their own bamboo to use for building all sorts of products.
The fertilizer shed houses the organic fertilizer made from composting vegetable matter and manure from Chaa Creek’s horses and chickens. After about three months, the new enriched soil is ready to add to the raised vegetable beds. A very special and very, very rich soil called humus is produced by the worms that Mr. Mick houses at his organic farm. The process is called Vermiculture. The worms live in manure and every day they eat their body weight worth of manure and produce a fine soil that is used to grow the baby plants that are then transplanted into the garden beds. Mr. Mick also stores bean trash in the shed that he uses to keep his plants moist during the dry season months. Another fertilizer that he makes is by soaking his manure in crocus bags in tanks of water and then using that water to spray on his plants.
The children went on to plant sweet potatoes and Cho-Cho, as well as a nitrogen fixer called Lucina in the gardens. Every one is going home with baby plants of Basil and Parsley that they have used the best humus for and which they can plant in their own gardens. I think everyone will admit that Mr. Mick is a good farmer, who cares very much about the land, soil, and the food that he feeds his guests at Chaa Creek!