For my internship with CIRAD, I have the pleasure and honour to work with a group of organic farmers “Organicos el Cerro Negro”. During one of my visits, one of the associated organic farmers, Mainor Barrantes explained how to make organic substrate. He grows his own seedlings to sustainable produce organic vegetables on a mountain ridge nearby Nicoya, Costa Rica.
Nicoya is in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica, characterized by severe droughts. To be able to produce all year round, these farmers harvest water in the rainy season. To learn more about the water management in Guanacaste, visit the Futuragua project site.
How to make Organic Substrate? [10 min]
The video is in Spanish, but you can click on [CC] for English subtitles if they are not showing automatically. Below follows the full transcript of the video. You can also watch it here directly on YouTube.
Transcript of the video: How to make Organic Substrate?
We take it from the mountain to do a nursery and compost.
We take this huge sack from back there
that he's carrying to there to do the compost.
To do compost with mountain's microorganisms
First we make a layer, like a hamburger
made of mountain's microorganisms.
And then we add nitrogen to the compost
Nitrogen comes from green grass, or Guasimo leaves
The carbon can be made from rice husks
also chicken manure and cow manure.
So we take it and shake it
to separate the fine soil.
This is precious, the idea is to use it every year
the soil with a new layer.
I enjoy doing this because I learned it
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and it was a dream come truth.
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In October, God revealed it to me
Then I went to learn it in some place near Zarcero
it's a farm called
I spent a week of training with my sister and cousin
and thank God I learned it and put it into practice.
It has been an excellent change for me
because we're taking care of the new environment and nature
and we're taking care of the oxygen
everything that's part of the environmental protection.
...they used this.
Now I'm finishing it so I get the finest soil
then the thicker soil which has microorganisms is used on the compost.
I'm in love of organic farming.
The finest soil is falling down, as we finish it.
Here I have a good portion for the nursery.
This is for the new nursery
I take out the thicker soil.
you can use up to 33 ounces, this is a root starter
it's called peat turf, it's a root starter.
It's like a stimulant for plant growing, and plant blooming.
It's like a sort of mud.
You can smell it.
I mix it up here in order to get more microorganisms.
It's also soil healing
It's also soil enriching.
This is for helping them
If the plant has a million soldiers...
a million soldiers...
it won't have any plague bothering them.
This is like mixing flour for baking bread.
I'm doing all this with love.
Because I know that...
what I produce here is healthy, and I'll bring those products to the consumer
which are healthy, nutritious and high quality.
...healthy and organically, because we have to enrich soil.
because older generations farmed naturally.
They didn't use chemical products, and they didn't have to do it like I'm doing it now
we're doing it this way now because, first of all, God allowed me to have this dream
and make the change, because we used to work conventionally.
And thank God I had that dream and I was able to make the change
and fell in love of this beautiful organic farming.
And the wonderful thing about this is... What was what I was about to tell you?
What I was going to tell?
You're recording right?
Organic farming to me is...
It's the only one.
I know no other, this is the food safety.
Then we're going to move... we're going to fill up this little tray
with this wonderful mountain compost I prepared.
My good friend is...
learning a little bit about us.
He's recording this video
to show it to his friends.
This is wonderful.
We're doing this in order to fill the tray better.
Arugula is a leaf which is largely consumed abroad.
Thank God we've met...
in my opinion, a really stable market.
We earn our profits from there to feed our families.
We sell fruit products like oranges
Persian lime, mandarin orange, beans
Ayote, Ayora Sazon, pipian, zucchini
cucumber that we also produce here, lots of crops.
...five lettuce varieties, arugula, patchouli, dill, celery, parsley
and another crops that we're going to try this year, like carrot, beet, potato
strawberries, we could experiment on that.
I thank God for giving us the strength
and for having the endeavor and courage each day
and keep learning about organic farming because you're always learning
about this wonderful farming.
I always put around five little seeds to make the nursery
then I do this to before moving into the tray
and then it blooms and you can take it to the field.
Let's see the result
A small favor
Did you like this video? Please share it on your social networks and help promote healthy food production methods. Share this kind of knowledge that has been forgotten due to the far going industrialization of agriculture. In the last two generations many productive land has been exhausted due to intensive use of chemical fertilizers. Organic matter is whats needed to provide soil structure and long term nutrient availability.
Apart from the Health- and Environmental aspects, there is one more argument I would like to put emphasis on regarding the promotion of organic food. It just tastes better because of the natural ripening of the fruits and vegetables. Once you know the difference, you will not want inflated food anymore.