Member Rating 4 out of 5 by JesusW on May 26, 2006

The technique of growing food and plants on the Chinampas was the idea of the first ruler of Xochimilco: Acatonalli, who invented the procedure to take advantage of the abundance of fresh water (there are springs in the area) and to make compost out of mud and bird droppings.

The "chinampa" the floating garden, was built by laying some canes or sticks with mud from the bottom of the lake and plants residues, adding layer after layer the barge made with the canes slowly sank to the shallow bottom and created artificial islands with very porous and fertile soil, which creates the perfect environment to get two or three crops a year.

The Ahuejote tree is normally planted on one end of the barge to create an anchor point which attaches the barge to a permanent spot by means of the deep roots of the tree and at the same time provides shade.

Some of the main crops were the maize, beans, chile, cabagge, and other produce, which gave the local farmers a surplus to sell to Tenochtitlan and other towns around the lake. That´s where the trajineras came into the equation, the first boats were small ones to travel around the chinampas, but later as commerce increased the size of the boats and their designs changed radically to accommodate larger loads and different needs. In the 1960s and 1970s it was normal that the decoration of the trajineras was changed every two weeks with fresh flowers, nowadays they are made of paper or cardboard and are permanent.

More about this on the municipal government website:
Avenida México Xochimilco
México, Mexico, 16500


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