Thursday, October 22, 2009

Greenhouse Completion!

With only a week left, we dedicated ourselves to the goal of seeing the first seeds being planted in the greenhouse while also installing an irrigation system and finalizing the classroom area. We started with the most important goal, and began to gather fertilizer for the very sandy soil.

With the help of one of the Young Drukpas, we arrived at a local village near the school where we were able to buy and bag some fresh cow manour for the job.

As you can imagine, it wasn't the most pleasant experience, but you could tell it definitely had some good nutrition for the plants.

The next day, the Young Drukpas joined us again to help mix the soil and the newly unloaded fertilizer, and to also plant the first seeds in the greenhouse.

We asked the expert advice of the Young Drukpas on what plants to grow in the greenhouse during the summer season. They listed and seeded the following plants: Radish, lettuce, spinach, and parsley among others. Half of the beds were planted with spinach sprouts so that the children could see the harvesting of them in only four weeks while the seeds would take two months till their time to be harvested.

The next task was realizing the irrigation system. The largest problem with the greenhouse was its location. Placed in an open area out and away from the school, there wasn't a water pipe or hose anywhere close to the structure. Instead of trying to lay pipe through the rock filled landscape, we decided to give the greenhouse its own independent system.

The plan was to install two 500 litre tanks at the end of the greenhouse with a nozzle and optional hose to flood the beds when needed. The tanks give the school the ability to have a constant supply of water for the plants in reserve with the option to refill them when the solar pumps and water are available.

The position of the two tanks was located above the two compost bins we had constructed earlier. This raised location will allow for a gravitationally enforced irrigation system, four feet above ground level. The structural frame underneath the tanks would have to be designed to hold 2,200 pounds when the tanks are full.

After incorporating the compost bins into the design for increased structural support and a few leaky connections, the water tanks were mounted and tested.

With the irrigation system being proven a success, the only step left was to finalize the classroom area. We had a chalkboard ordered to size by a local craftsman in Leh and delivered on the last day of our stay. With that, the greenhouse was officially finished!


  1. I love your blog. Just read every post with great fascination! I first learned about this school on the PBS series e2 and have been in love ever since. I would love to see firsthand all of the amazing things you guys are doing there. Is learning English a requirement for the students? Can you point me in the right direction for a volunteer/teaching organization that works with this particular school? Thanks in advance - Trish A.

    1. I read your blog and I really liked it. I have to say it is very well written. I have a blog on fun food and travel and would love to have you as a guest blogger for the blog. It would also attract new readers towards your blog. In exchange, I can write a guest blog for you. So, contact me if you want to guest blog.