UC Davis undergraduate, 4th year
Major: Landscape Architecture
A Molcajete is a Mexican traditional stone tool that is similar to a mortar, designed to grind various foods. In my Mexican household, we use a molcajete to make salsas or guacamole! Enrique, a local worker who has been offering us gardening advice, taught us a planting method called a "Cajete". Similar to the shape of a Molcajete, it involves digging around the plant to make a bowl-like figure. Which is what we did! We carefully began to shape a cajete around the plants. We also made sure that the roots were not exposed to the air since it can cause tiny invisible rootlets to dry up and die. To promote healthy plants and soil, we also added conditioning soil. Conditioning soil can help with soil structure, drainage, and replenish nutrients to make it easier for plants to grow.
Next, we layered a landscape fabric underneath the plants to help prevent weeds from spreading. The shape of the cajate allows a considerable amount of water to be captured and drained to the center of the roots when we water the plants.
Similarly, my mother from Mexico said she knew about the Cajete technique. Corn and sunflowers, among other primary crops in Mexican agriculture! Acknowledging different cultural traditions can promote personal growth and lead to valuable insights. As we finished watering the plants, I watched the water slowly drain into the soil. The process reminded me of a metaphorical sponge absorbing information, and I was the sponge, learning about my culture and planting methods.
Green Care Blog
Here you can find blog posts from each Green Care Lab intern. We'll be talking about our research process, the benefits of Green Care therapy, and sharing pictures of our work. Follow along with us!