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How a KITA planted a Tiny Forest

Updated: Feb 26

The managing director of the FRÖBEL Group, Mr Wiecek, approached us at the beginning of the year to realise a Tiny Forest for the Am Wurzelberg and Kinderland kindergartens, among other things. We visited the sites and took soil samples, which we analysed in the laboratory to determine the exact soil quality. Meanwhile, FRÖBEL was able to obtain the necessary funding for realisation from the Postcode Lotterie. This was the beginning of weeks and months of planning for us at MIYA: we worked out the exact plant composition, calculated and ordered the substrates to be worked into the soil, obtained permits, held workshops and coordinated logistics and excavation work. Many thanks to all those involved at Fröbel who were so committed and energetic in their support!

After never-ending tasks on the PC and telephone, the big day finally arrived: the joint planting event. Together with some students from Eberswalde University, we arrived on the morning of the event and prepared for the day. The excitement and anticipation were great. When it was time to start at noon, we were initially overwhelmed by the number of children and parents who all wanted to get down to work with spades and watering cans. We hadn't expected such a huge rush and needed some time to coordinate, instruct and organise everyone. To our great delight, a wonderful momentum quickly developed: we collectively explained the planting process to each other, took responsibility and solved problems together. It was teamwork in the truest sense of the word, with over a hundred people organising themselves and together planting almost 600 trees (!!!) of over 20 different species. With the mulch layer of woodchippings we applied, we were able to complete the Tiny Forest by nightfall - just in time. Everyone agreed: a complete success!

Many of you were surprised by the enormous planting density of 3 plants per square metre, which the Miyawaki method provides for. This high competitive pressure, together with the good nutrient supply in the root zone, allows the forest to grow quickly and create a very special and stable ecosystem in a very short time: very dense, multi-storey and highly diverse - unlike what we know from a forest. Not all trees will survive this initial stress well, and it is likely that one or two will die. That sounds sad at first, but it also shows how nature works: The Tiny Forest as a whole will develop naturally, dead plants will be decomposed by microorganisms and made available again to others as nutrients.

And this is how it will continue:

The trees will now go into hibernation and hopefully grow and sprout well next spring. For us, this is the start of the best part of the whole project, apart from the joint planting event: we are very excited to see and learn all the colours, plants and animals that the children will be able to observe with you as the forest develops with the children and grows under their care! In the next two to three years, our "babies" will still need active support: the charcoal mixed in holds water well, while the layer of wood chips prevents the soil from drying out quickly. However, if it is very dry in summer, regular watering is still necessary for the time being. Even if accompanying growth (the unflattering term "weeds" is commonly used) wants to crowd out and overtop the young trees, it must be pulled out, but should remain in place to return nutrients through decomposition. In addition, the mulch cover should remain closed in the first few years - it will also need to be amended if necessary.

Lukas, Lars and our whole team wish you lots of fun growing together! We are and will continue to be there for you with any questions, suggestions or requests!

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