Chinampas are part of an agro‐hydrological system that involves artificial islands to provide rich soil for growing higher yields for crops.
Floating GardensChinampas are small, rectangular areas that are fenced off, layered with mud, sediment, and decaying vegetation to grow crops on these shallow bodies. Trees are also often planted in the corners to help secure the area within a system of water channels for irrigation and ease of transport. These tiny mounds of land were very productive for growing crops such as beans, squash, avocados, tobacco, hemp, and peppers, and (most important of all) corn; to supply the city's needs. It is the policy of Sangsalgu to put aside 15 months' worth of nutritional crops every year.
Building PlatformsChinampas were initially located on the outskirts of the young Sangsalgu and sometimes extend into the surrounding body of water where the irrigation for them would be sourced from. Now; as the city has expanded, rather than move them out further, planners decided to fix the old chinampas in their place and build new housing and public facilities around them. They can be made permanently fastened to the shallow lake’s floor or made to float. The largest collection of the inner chinampa areas are located in the Cuepopan Campa, with further scattering about the other three central camps.
- Tie vines and saplings into a square frame.
- Fasten the cross pieces of the frame with twine.
- Layout rows of saplings vertically and tie down.
- Weave the vines horizontally across in a simple crisscross pattern -horizontal/vertical pattern- over under.
- Use the left over short pieces to fill in a few holes
- Tuck in extra pieces of vine and wrap vines around the edges of the frame.
- Cover the woven vines with palm fronds, banana leaves, straw or bird feathers and tied down with twine.
- Drive steaks or pylons into the muddy water below.
- Tie them firmly together using twines or more vines to form the base of the floating garden.
- Add a layer of planting medium and compost on the top of the base.
- Plant your seeds or seedlings into it.
Access & Availability
Private farmers farm chinampas on the shallow lakes on the new city outskirts. Each chinampa is filled with mud or wet soil formed into a square and surrounded by canals of the water formed in between them. Damns and complex systems of irrigation are built to sustain crops essential to the people. These patches of swamp farming blocks are around 8.5 feet wide and 100 feet long and separated by the traditional willow roots. These outskirt chinampas can be seen from the mainland in the Ahuehuetlan and Mazatzintamalco Districts and Coltonco Camp.
It consists in building up a number of narrow islands, each averaging some 20 to 35 feet wide and some 325 to 650 feet long, using layers of vegetation, dirt, and mud. The lake provides the chinampa with moisture laden with composts that irrigate and fertilize the island’s soil. However, special care and monitoring is done to ensure that the salty parts of the lake water to not find their way into the chinampa’s soil.
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