Parish Community Month – Soil Generation

Soil Generation talk and gardening demonstration activity.

There was a talk on soil generation and gardening demonstration activities held here at the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, KL on Sunday 22nd October 2023. This event which was part of the Parish Community Month initiative was promoted to all children in catechism classes, aged 10 and above. The speaker who was invited to this talk was Gideon Lim of Mr. Jagung Merah.

The farmer, a young man of about 33 years old was very enthusiastic to share his abundant knowledge about soil regeneration and its benefits. Gideon shared how he started the red corn farm, and how his interest grew from his home having not enough land to grow plants he extended into bigger land. He got his interest from his father, who also likes gardening. He applied for a ‘Tanah Kekal Pengeluaran Makanan (TKPM)’ from Universiti Putra Malaysia. It was a dumping site for waste. The soil was devoid of any living microorganisms. He treated the soil back to a healthy state and it took around a year before it could be ready for crop planting. When people asked him, where is your vermicompost, he would answer, you are looking right at it. Today, on one square foot of land, you could find at least 100 earthworms. He showed some before and after pictures of how the land looked like. Today, the farm has attracted more entomology than you could imagine, such as the elusive solitary fireflies. Lim showed us what good healthy soil looks like and it takes about 70 days before the red corn is ready for harvesting.

Red corn is native to the Americas and is a descendant of a wild indigenous grass known as teosinte. Much of the history of Red corn is unknown, but corn in general, is referred to as Maize. Among the nutritions of red corn is a source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract, vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, and calcium to build strong bones and teeth.

We had about 21 children joining the program. Each child had bought a gardening set consisting of a pot, spade, and sachet of seeds. The children were given an introduction to the tools, identifying the edible plants before planting. It was a good response as the children had many questions; all these questions sparked an interest in gardening.
A total of 41 kilograms of red corn from Mr. Jagung Merah’s farm were brought to the church hall to be distributed to those who had bought them. We also invited the crowd to visit Mr. Jagung Merah’s farm to better understand how soil regeneration works, as the Bahasa saying goes, ‘Tak kenal, maka tak cinta’.