Volunteering at Baliwood Organic Farm

Baliwood EntranceI was going to Bali for a friend’s wedding so I thought it would be a good chance to volunteer for a few days at an organic farm in Bali. Baliwood Organic Farm is run by a Singaporean family that decided to pursue a rural lifestyle away from the rat race in the city. The farm uses many permaculture concepts and it’s thriving with papayas, coconuts, bananas, eggplants, spinach, tomatoes, passionfruits, and your usual tropical suspects. I do think that there is a lot more space to grow even more food but the primary objective of the farm is to provide for the family. They do sell their excess produce at farmer markets but that is secondary.

For the short five days I was there, I spent a big deal of time mulching exposed soil with rice stalks that were left over after the rice harvest. That, I felt, was the most immediate and effective undertaking given the dry season. It hurts seeing bare soil baking in the sun! I also sowed some seeds and transplanted some seedlings and I wonder how they are faring now.

I also felt like the farm could benefit from some small animals like ducks, chickens, and rabbits. Even if it’s not for the meat, the poop and pest control will be valuable. Not to mention literally adding some life to the farm! Watering seems to be taking a lot of time and effort during this dry season. Other than mulching thickly, planting densely or a ground cover can help to retain moisture in the soil. The workers on the farm spend a lot of time weeding, sometimes at the peripherals where nothing is planted. Leaving the grass growing at unused areas, while unsightly to some, can actually help to protect the soil. A visually pleasing ground cover like pinto peanut with its yellow flower can be used to smother the grass, not to mention the nitrogen-fixing!

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