WWOOFing Report written by Daisuke Goshima
My first job here was cleaning up a drain to flow water well. It was very simple job but made me think deeply about effective utilization of the drain. Probably, if I worked same job in Japan, I would not consider it. I could think about it only because of working in Australia. Water is one very important resource, and everyone is treating and saving water carefully, thus I learned again that water is limited resource and considered if the drain can be used effectively through life in Australia. For example of the utilization is that drained water make to collect and use for farming. The utilization which I thought might be no meaning to manage farm or save water, or someone might already be using drained water effectively doing other methods. However, if I did not have a chance to clean up the drain, I definitely would not think about effective utilization of the drain and would make the drain only for drainage when I start to manage my farm. I am sure I could get a great opportunity.
Weeding was also main job but I feel it is still a very important and sticky job to manage organic farm. The weed hinder growth of vegetables and it is impossible to remove the weed using some chemicals. I learned the mulching is good way to control the weeds. Also, the mulching helps penetration of water or rain through soil, prevention of evaporation of water from soil, and keeping soil warm as well as prevention of the weed growth.
Also, I am interested in making the compost, and I could talk with hosts about it. Soil there looks very nutritious, and the nutrition in the soil came from dead leaf of trees same as other farms which I WWOOFed in. In addition, hosts are improving the nutrition in the soil doing other methods. One of them was improvement by manure of chicken and ash. I knew this method for the first time and thought it is environmentally friendly. However, it is needed to keep chicken manure putting for some days before mixing it with soil, because chicken manure have high acid. To use ash for soil is useful information for me, because I want to open bakery with organic farm and have pizza oven someday. Since ash can be collected from pizza oven, I can use optimally it as resource if I can make it utilize in organic farm. I had opportunity to talk with other farmers while WWOOFing there about the compost which is one of the most interesting themes for me. Dead leaves, manures, weeds, and waste of foods as well as newspaper can be used for making the compost according to farmer. It was good to know that food of waste can be used, because I am thinking I want to attribute to reduce waste of food by making the compost. However, it does not mean I can use all of foods. I cannot use citron, garlic or meet because worms do not like citron and garlic, and meet attract rats or other animals. As the worm move through soil, soil can be airily and soften. Furthermore, leaves of rhubarb shorten the period until completion the compost. I knew this utilization for the first time as well although the stem of rhubarb can be used for making jam or any foods. He told me even how to plant seed or seedling using the compost. First of all, I need to dig a hole and then put the compost into the hole. The root of the plant can get the nutrition while growing.
Also, I learned companion plants for the first time here too. There are various combinations and effects such as interaction and pest prevention. I would like to learn more about companion plants and make conscious farming. In this case, I got not only knowledge on agriculture but also the image of the garden I wanted to make. I got something useful for myself from various viewpoints, and I was able to do very meaningful WWOOF here.