Pun Pun: In the garden

Lesson: Effective Micro-Organisms (EM)

EM can be used in place of harsh chemicals to aid garden growth and deter pests. Josh Kearns, a previous intern, wrote about it here. His site is also just fun to check out in general.

Want to make EM for your garden?

Ratio 1 : 3 : 10

1 kilo sugar 3 kilos organic material 10 kilos water (fermented shellfish works best)

Ferment at least 15 days in cool shaded area, large buckets ferment 1 month

Dilute solution 1 : 50 to spray on plants

(Most weeds have dry seeds and will rot in fermentation leaving only productive materials)

This is Pop wandering through the just-tilled intern’s garden beds. I wish we had taken a “before” picture because clearing these fields was impressive work. It helps to have 20 people on-hand. We then planted kale, brussel sprouts, basil, beans, tomatoes, corn, parsley, bok choy, and other seeds from packets donated to the farm.

My battle wounds from working in the garden that day, I was so proud. They healed quickly and toughened me up for work to come.

This is Graham “pausing to smell the flowers,” or discovering that absolutely everything grown at Pun Pun has a use, if not an edible one, then a medicinal one, or both.

Pi Jo’s lessons in the garden felt like “Zen and the Art of Living Meditation.” His discussions on plant life and seed-saving inevitably turned into philosophical musings on life, minfulness, and learning through doing. We were always encouraged to get our hands dirty, literally and figuratively. One of the first things Pi Jo said to us as a group was something to the effect of, “There is no such thing as a mistake, we play here.”

Gathering greens for lunch

Mmmmmm organic. There were gardens for harvesting, kitchen gardens, personal gardens, and gardens for seed-saving which meant that the plants were maintained past their harvesting time and matured to the point of “going to seed.” There are some interesting and scary things happening in the world of seed saving…


Wok, Pop, Bi, Tix, and Sung led us through cooking lunch one day. We set off into the gardens, harvested what we needed, and dove into the kitchen. Normally Pi Dang and Pi Mao headed the kitchen efforts and provided the community with some seriously delicious meals.

The garden when we said goodbye in March.


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