In 2018 we have built our natural 15m x 6m swimming pool that include no chlorine nor chemical nasties! The pool is filled with water from our natural spring, and is purified through a first pond that include water lilies, rushes and paper reed plants.
The water is then filtered with a pump that includes South African zeolite rather than sand. The mineral zeolite provides a great water treatment as it is naturally absorbent or pollutant and is non-toxic. In the water we also use effective microorganisms (as described here) to kill pathogens and algae.
Our guests can enjoy doing lapses in this 15m x 6m wide pool, as long as they do not use perfume, sunscreen or cream that may severely perturb the fragile ecosystem we have put in place.
We use different ways of composting our green and food scraps. Composting is not only it is a great way to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions* but it also creates a soil conditioner rich in nutrients – the compost. This is one of the keys for our luxuriant gardens!
Vermi-compost: our worm farm degrades our organic material, excluding meat, dairy, citrus and onions into vermicast (or worm manure) and worm juice. We dilute the juice 1/10 as a fertiliser for our plants.
Bokashi: (a Japanese word that means ‘fading away’) is an alternative way of composting as it ferments rather than decomposes organic matter. To make bokashi, we add specific bacteria in an airtight container with food scraps (any food scraps except bones). The bacteria ferment the scraps and produces a ‘bokashi tea‘ made of highly concentrated pyruvate, which we use for cleaning drains and feed plants with proteins they cannot take up. Contrary to a worm farm or a compost, bokashi is odourless and fast to consume food waste. The lactic acid that is produced is a natural bactericide and anti-pathogen which makes bokashi highly hygienic and does not attract pest insects. The fermented bokashi can be then added to normal compost for extra boost, to vermi-compost or simply buried to feed the soil. We dilute the tea 1/100.
Micro-organisms (or EM for ‘Effective microorganisms’) is related to bokashi**, but includes extra bacteria such as photosynthetic bacteria and yeast. We activate our EM with molasses for a few days at 34 C. EM tea is highly efficient and very versatile. We then use EM tea for various purposes: as plant fertiliser, to kill pathogens and algae in our natural swimming pool, for sanitation in the chicken pen, to remove odours while retaining nutrients in the house. We dilute the EM tea 1/100.
*Food and green waste that go to the landfill is buried underground and its anaerobic decomposition creates methane. Methane – which is a valuable resource if used appropriately, has a 25 times greater greenhouse gas emission than carbon dioxide if we do not use composting techniques!
**bokashi can be defined as a process to recover value from organic waste by converting it into a soil amendment.