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Wicking Pot: Manikaji Dry Season Planting innovation

By I Wayan Ngurah, EBPP Agriculture Team

Continuing with our Manikaji Regenerative Agriculture/dry land Permaculture Climate Action project, sponsored by Australian Volunteers, now in the middle of the dry season, on August 31st, our team, led by pak Krisna our dry-land permaculture expert, visited our Manikaji students and farmers’ pilot plantation projects as part of our routine progress and field training evaluations. Aware that the dry season conditions make the land unsuitable for farming due to no available water supply during the dry season, when the local community was grappling with water scarcity issues for their essential daily needs, particularly for land preparation.

In response to these challenges, we proactively engaged with Manikaji school students to brainstorm potential solutions to devise a strategy to cultivate vegetables despite the constraints posed by near-zero resources. As a solution, we came up with “pot bersumbu” (wicking pot), a planting medium using a dual-bucket system. The lower bucket is filled with gravel/stones and water, while the upper one holds a mix of soil and organic fertilizer. Making two holes in the top bucket (see sketch), we insert a rags “wick” to facilitate the upward movement of water from the lower bucket to moisten the soil, thus creating a conducive environment for plant growth. Each of these mini planting systems had the capacity to support the growth of 3 to 4 types of plants. This innovative approach enabled us to cultivate key nutritious vegetables - even under conditions of water scarcity.

The students enthusiastically embraced this idea, recognizing the possibility of continuing their planting activities during the prevailing dry session. Eager to put this innovative concept into practice, the students are enthusiastic about witnessing the progress of their vegetables as they thrive against the odds of the ongoing dry season.

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