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Chinampa Farming

The first thing you’re going to ask is “What is a chinampa?” A chinampa is a method of farming used by ancient mesoamericans. It’s essentially a man made island in a shallow lake. They were made by staking an area in a shallow lake, commonly 30×2.5 meters. The walls were made by wattle, a method of weaving thin branches in and out of stakes. This gave the builders a nice box to fill with lake sediment, dirt, and fertilizer. The form would be filled until it reached higher than the lake bed. Trees, normally willow, would be planted in the corners, helping to sure up the construction.

There are a few advantages to chinampas. One major one is the ability to create farmland where there was none before. A large shallow lake or pond can be filled with many of these, leaving room between each for a canoe to pass though. This gives massive amounts of farmland that is relatively easy to access. The sediment that you’re going to be filling it with is extremely fertile, and great for growing most crops this prevents you from having to import good dirt, or having to work with poor soil. The final major advantage is that it waters itself. You don’t have to dig irrigation ditches, use hoses, or walk around with a watering can. This is especially good in the hot areas where these were originally used.

What can you grow on one? Traditionally, corn, beans, squash, chili peppers, and tomatoes were grown on them. Those were the majority of the local crops at the time. With the advantages of modern society, you can get crops and seeds from all over the world. Any of these that would normally grow in your climate will grow great in a chinampa.


Comments (1)

  1. 3:59 am, August 25, 2011Avari  / Reply

    This article achieevd exactly what I wanted it to achieve.

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