Rancho Mastatal -- The Birth of a Food System

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In the winter of 2010, nature works founder & partner, Frances Subbiondo, worked in residence at a Center for Sustainable Living & Natural Building, called Rancho Mastatal in the wet/dry highland jungle of Costa Rica’s San José province. After almost a decade developing a beautiful physical infrastructure, the Ranch was ready to seriously invest in its own food system. Frances stepped up & in to that challenge -- & what follows is a pictorial narrative of that work.

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  • Rancho Mastatal -- The Birth of a Food System

    1. 1. RANCHO MASTATAL The Birth of a Food System Village of Mastatal, Costa RicaThursday, April 12, 12
    2. 2. In the winter of 2010, nature works founder & partner, Frances Subbiondo, worked in residence at a Center for Sustainable Living & Natural Building, called Rancho Mastatal in the wet/dry highland jungle of Costa Rica’s San Jose province. After almost a decade developing a beautiful physical infrastructure, the Ranch was ready to seriously invest in its own food system. Frances stepped up & in to that challenge -- & what follows is a pictorial narrative of that work.Thursday, April 12, 12
    3. 3. Table of Contents: 1 Hankey House -- Entrance Garden 3 El Vivero -- (‘the Nursery’) -- ‘Frances Garden’ 4 Side Garden 2 Front Garden -- Main Garden -- Raised Beds 5 ‘Afters’ & Reprise.Thursday, April 12, 12
    4. 4. Hankey House -- Entrance Garden Goals: To provide privacy, water & nutrient catchment, & an edible polyculture of vining, slope-stabilizing plants TextThursday, April 12, 12
    5. 5. (two webs in this picture)Thursday, April 12, 12
    6. 6. Hankey House -- Entrance Garden (Plant) Polyculture: Passionfruit, Chayote, Peanut Grass, Vetiver, LemongrassThursday, April 12, 12
    7. 7. Hankey House -- ‘Frances Garden’ The before. Goals: to provide more intentional spaces to grow food, fruit & medicine on Ranch land -- & another garden space to be enjoyed by Hankey residentsThursday, April 12, 12
    8. 8. Hankey House -- ‘Frances Garden’ Installation.Thursday, April 12, 12
    9. 9. Thursday, April 12, 12
    10. 10. Hankey House -- ‘Frances Garden’ Catching the rain.Thursday, April 12, 12
    11. 11. Hankey House -- ‘Frances Garden’ Polyculture: Breadnut Tree, Squash, Beans, Okra, Peanut Grass, Vetiver, Lemongrass, & assorted other medicines.Thursday, April 12, 12
    12. 12. Main House & Front Garden The before. Goals: To plant & install a food system capable of feeding the Ranch’s fairly steady population of between 25 & 40 people, 9 months each year. To provide also for ease of maintenance & harvesting, while minimizing need to hand-water during dry season.Thursday, April 12, 12
    13. 13. Front Garden Existing garden grew these well already: Basil, Culantro, & Quail GrassThursday, April 12, 12
    14. 14. Thursday, April 12, 12
    15. 15. Thursday, April 12, 12
    16. 16. Front Garden Beginning to swale.Thursday, April 12, 12
    17. 17. Thursday, April 12, 12
    18. 18. Thursday, April 12, 12
    19. 19. Thursday, April 12, 12
    20. 20. Rachel Jordan TempesttThursday, April 12, 12
    21. 21. Thursday, April 12, 12
    22. 22. Front Garden All swales connect, overflowing from one to the next as each fills -- flowing eventually out the Front Garden, through the far fence, into the Side GardenThursday, April 12, 12
    23. 23. Heeling Bed -- Front Garden Existing garden plants -- transplanted during installation -- to be re-planted, when safe.Thursday, April 12, 12
    24. 24. Front Garden Morning after first rain. Swales filled & charged the ground -- & pink dragonflies visited the fledgling ecosystem en masse!Thursday, April 12, 12
    25. 25. Front Garden The 1st Swale (on left) became an all-season pond, as we discovered that the water wherein did not drain.Thursday, April 12, 12
    26. 26. Thursday, April 12, 12
    27. 27. Thursday, April 12, 12
    28. 28. (playing with swale linings, as they function doubly as paths from which to work)Thursday, April 12, 12
    29. 29. (entry path, bridged & culverted over swales)Thursday, April 12, 12
    30. 30. Thursday, April 12, 12
    31. 31. Front Garden Planting begins. Mulching too. Pond fills with aquatic life.Thursday, April 12, 12
    32. 32. LilyThursday, April 12, 12
    33. 33. Front Garden (Other Side) Experimenting also with raised beds for growing -- filling them with a homemade ‘tierra fermentada’ -- or composted earth.Thursday, April 12, 12
    34. 34. Thursday, April 12, 12
    35. 35. Thursday, April 12, 12
    36. 36. Front Garden (Other Side) second raised bed -- with first, & (covered) ‘tierra fermentada’ behind.Thursday, April 12, 12
    37. 37. Thursday, April 12, 12
    38. 38. El Vivero -- The NurseryThursday, April 12, 12
    39. 39. PapayasThursday, April 12, 12
    40. 40. Avocado & Citrus & more..Thursday, April 12, 12
    41. 41. Solé Black Pepper Vanilla OrchidsThursday, April 12, 12
    42. 42. Passion -fruit!Thursday, April 12, 12
    43. 43. sprouting CoconutsThursday, April 12, 12
    44. 44. Chaya!Thursday, April 12, 12
    45. 45. Cuban OreganoThursday, April 12, 12
    46. 46. Song of IndiaThursday, April 12, 12
    47. 47. ‘Amarantha’Thursday, April 12, 12
    48. 48. MoringaThursday, April 12, 12
    49. 49. Side Garden Installation. Goals: To receive & discharge water from the Front Garden. To grow fruit & other food -- under good sun -- where before there was grass.Thursday, April 12, 12
    50. 50. Timo AlexThursday, April 12, 12
    51. 51. Thursday, April 12, 12
    52. 52. PicoThursday, April 12, 12
    53. 53. Thursday, April 12, 12
    54. 54. Thursday, April 12, 12
    55. 55. Papayas, Pineapples, Pigeon Peas, Peanut Grass, Vetiver, LemongrassThursday, April 12, 12
    56. 56. Thursday, April 12, 12
    57. 57. Spillway -- Front Garden into SideThursday, April 12, 12
    58. 58. Thursday, April 12, 12
    59. 59. Erosion ControlThursday, April 12, 12
    60. 60. about a month & a half later..Thursday, April 12, 12
    61. 61. The garden ecosystem grows..Thursday, April 12, 12
    62. 62. Three months on: the Ranch hosts it’s first Permaculture Design CourseThursday, April 12, 12
    63. 63. Our garden pondThursday, April 12, 12
    64. 64. Vikki Bean trellis to shield leaf crops from tropical sunThursday, April 12, 12
    65. 65. Thursday, April 12, 12
    66. 66. (One more time) The BeforeThursday, April 12, 12
    67. 67. AfterThursday, April 12, 12
    68. 68. (Reprising..)Thursday, April 12, 12
    69. 69. Thursday, April 12, 12
    70. 70. Thursday, April 12, 12
    71. 71. Thursday, April 12, 12
    72. 72. Thursday, April 12, 12
    73. 73. Thursday, April 12, 12
    74. 74. Thursday, April 12, 12
    75. 75. Thursday, April 12, 12
    76. 76. Thursday, April 12, 12
    77. 77. Alex Eternal Gratitude to a fierce Ranch crew -- y a la Madre TierraThursday, April 12, 12

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