New irrigation system now on campus

Due to the major drought sweeping through California, education specialist David Farrell and his students are exploring how to conserve water through hugelkultur, or gardening without irrigation or fertilization.

Farrell teaches this method to students in order to prepare them for a career in farming and give them required experience. Students looking into joining the farming career are provided hands-on experience and the chance to learn a lot about how produce is made.

“We are comparing regular farming and hugelkultur and seeing which one grows faster or better,” Farrell said.

Hugelkultur has many benefits such as growing crops with little work and can be done in all climates. It is used all over the world to help conserve water, and the technique lasts for a really long time. It involves a raised garden bed with sod on top of the wood, while the topsoil covers the entire bed. The moisture in the wood is what keeps the soil moist with occasional watering.

“First we put down wood, then the mud and then we put hay all over it,”  Victor Vo said.Its going to grow a lot of plants.”

Ferrell and the students set up two of these devices next to various fruit trees that are being farmed normally to compare growth rates and effectiveness. The entire class is watching and anticipating vegetables to sprout and grow in the spring.

“My favorite part was when we added all of the hay stacks on it, and I don’t really like farming, but I really liked doing it with my class,” Cameron Clemente said.