By Lindsay Samuels
The goal of Blue Osa is to provide a true farm to table experience. We want to accomplish this not only by providing the freshest ingredients possible, but to actually grow them.
Tropical gardening presents many challenges to cultivating non-native plants. They often become food for a vast variety of critters. Humidity and proximity to the sea create health issues for non-indigenous species.
Here are some ways we are working to develop the Blue Osa Garden to create a true farm to table experience.
Ultimately, with a healthy soil, plants stand a better chance of survival. Each plant has a different relationship with the earth: some are heavy feeders of nutrients, while others actually give nutrients back to the soil. Some create an acidic environment, others alkaline. With this understanding, we rotate plants in each part of the garden for a healthier soil. For example, we plant beans (givers of nitrogen) in beds that had previously contained heavily-feeding nightshades (tomatoes/peppers/eggplant) to replenish nitrogen.
A raised bed contains healthy, nutrient-rich soil from layers of organic matter about 12 inches above the ground. They are contained in a frame usually made of wood or bamboo. The layers of organic matter are compost, decomposing leaves, and soil from the surrounding rainforest.
An alternative to the naturally hard, clay-like ground, raised beds allow for well- drained soil in the rainy season. This helps to prevent root rot.
With the enriched, well-drained soil of raised beds, there is a possibility of growing root vegetables in the Blue Osa Garden during the dry season!
At the moment, we are focusing on saving seed from mature plants as an investment in the future of the garden. It is believed that information critical to the survival of the next generation of a plant is stored in the DNA of its seeds. Also, growing food from seeds produced on the land brings the life cycle full-circle.
Our vision for the future of the garden of Blue Osa includes more raised beds and crops growing from the seed of plants that fully matured on the land. These are the next steps in self-sustainability and a solid foundation for the Blue Osa effort to participate in the farm-to-table movement.