In the second half of May the medium level, second year gardening students went on a study visit to Tuscany; a beautiful region, especially in the spring time. This was one of the reasons we decided to travel to this area, as well as to enjoy the cultural and artistic joys of Florence. We also enjoyed the landscape and gardens of Bomazo and Prato, the business-world aspects of Pistoia and in questions of tradition and customs, the city of Perugia. On the trip we also learned a great deal about the beginnings of Italian gardening during the Renaissance period and its later development. We certainly feel proud to make up what constitutes the continuation of Mediterranean gardening.
On Thursday 9th May the first-year CFGM Pig breeding production students made visits to the following farms; La Coromina Ramadera, in Sant Quirze de Besora and Saborit-Casas, in La Gleva. The head of both farms, Mr Ramon Saborit, explained to us about the different irrigation systems used on each site, as well as the various agricultural and livestock-related activities practised there. Students also had the chance to see the different examples of farm machinery that are used.
On Wednesday 8th May the first year Gardening CFGM group visited the SOTS plant in Centelles. There we learned all about compost using the ELGAN method, a mixture of micro-organisms that produce incredible results. We were able to see the whole process and were surprised that the gardening type was inoderous. As on other visits we were able to meet up with ex-students.
On Tuesday 7th May, the first year CFGM Gardening students made a fascinating visit to the livestock farm ´Can Barrina`, located in Santa Cecília de Voltregà. Can Barrina holds milk-producing cows as well as pigs, whose waste, as well as other organic matter, is turned into compost. The person in charge of the compost producing procedure, Mr Jaume Heras, explained to the students about the compost's special properties produced by the systems they use; aerobic systems, static piles and forced ventilation. Our students could also see how temperature and oxygen are regulated regarding the compost layers and the results of the different mixtures, some of which combine compost with special soil, pine cork...etc, in order to obtain a variety of products for gardening, nurseries and horticulture.
On Tuesday 7th May the second year CFGS Pig breeding organisation and management course students went to visit the IRTA centre in La Tallada d'Empordà. The students were able to see experimental fields of extensive crops, where the IRTA technician, Mr Joan Serra, showed them how to detect and diagnose visually diseases and plagues found in cereal crops, observing the symptoms and levels of infestation. They also learned about ways to fight these problems and the differences in infection of sensitive and resistent varieties of crop, as well as the disparities of disease in examples treated with and without fungiside.
On 3rd May, the above gardening group had a day of tree-culture and climbing in the grounds of the school. Students were able to learn different climbing techniques and see the latest equipment in this sector. The session was led by; Frederic Llambès, Francesc Boix and Juan Crespo, key experts in this area and regular collaborators with the school. During the day we learned about different techniques related to this very specialised field. We also saw the latest types of material used. Students and teachers enjoyed a dry day after a very wet period.
On Thursday 18th of April the second year Medium-level Gardening course students visited the gardening business, Cultius Roig, in Premià de Mar, dedicated to the production of ornamental plants. Fifty percent of their products are different varieties of geraniums. They also produce ecological plants for foreign markets, in particular Germany. The Production Technician Mr David Serra explained to us about the different phases of production, from in vitro cultivation to the orders department, and including reproduction, transplantation and root planting.
On Wednesday, 17th April, we held a Tree Climbing day at the ´Pelut` garden in Orís. Students from the higher-level second-year Natural Resources and Landscaping course had the chance to practise making knots (Prusik etc...) that they had learnt the day before at the school.
Three professional tree specialists and climbers put together five different areas where the students could practise different climbing techniques and use the necessary equipment.
All these techniques, as well as a knowledge of botany and physics, are essential for those gardeners who want to work professionally with pruning and felling.