Posts tagged with permaculture
5 November 2014 - How to make no-dig gardens
A few weeks ago I built some no dig garden beds in our new home that we are renting and planted them out with small cuttings and seedlings. After living in Bolivia for the past 2 years, growing at altitude and indoors, in pots, I am excited to back at sea level in the sub tropics, converting grassed areas into abundant food production gardens. Here, my plants are growing so fast that I feel like I should be able to see them gaining height real time. This is how I built my no dig gardens: Each layer is around 10cm thick but it all settles to a height of approximately 20cm once finished. When doing no dig gardens and composting it’s good to know your Carbon:Nitrogen ratios to help you pick suitable materials. As always, it’s best to use what you have in your environment rather than buying in … Read the rest
5 May 2014 - Suburban food gardening in Perth, Western Australia
Over the past year I’ve been following a facebook group called Jetto’s Patch, a Perth edible garden on less than half an acre (1482 square meters). Admittedly, my involvement in the group has been minimal as we’ve been in Bolivia gardening in a completely different environment. I’ve quietly sat back and read posts, information and advice from people all over the world but I’ve been specifically interested in Dario and Michele, who nurture their abundant garden with passion and research.
Friends of ours in Perth have found Jetto’s an inspiring and deep resource for their own budding suburban food garden. Over the years they have struggled to find local information and experience that takes into account the bad, mineral depleted, sandy soils of Perth, harsh sun through the long summer and local pests like slaters. This facebook group has become a wonderful space of sharing as it records … Read the rest
4 March 2014 - How to vermicompost: composting with worms
We are packing. We are moving to Australia, starting all again. I find myself a little teary occasionally as I say goodbye to all our babies – our plants, bacterias and yeasts I’ve nurtured carefully over the years here in Bolivia. Kombucha SCOBYs, kefir grains, sourdough starter, worms and apple cider vinegar mothers all to be distributed to caring souls wanting to improve their health. I think about the future, starting them all again. I’ve had so much pleasure with my weekly routines – feeding the worms, watering the plants, kneading the sourdough, bottling the kombucha…
Anyway, I’m a sentimental little thing sometimes, even over non-human microscopic babies. Our worms too have been so happy. I can tell by their prolific numbers! I realised when giving them to their new owners that we haven’t written a blog post about how to start a worm farm. So, … Read the rest
18 July 2013 - Exploring the non-stereotypical Bolivia
A journey into the jungle, development projects, stunning art, permaculture and community…
Jean and his colleagues were flying to Santa Cruz to then continue in the Chiquitania region – visiting their projects, meeting volunteers, partners and government officials to discuss their work. I was kindly invited to accompany them and was grateful for the opportunity to see another part of Bolivia, experience rural areas and to be in the tropics again. Nothing feels more like ‘home’ to me than the warmth and humidity on my skin.
We flew to Santa Cruz where the city surprised me. I felt like I was in a different country. In contrast to La Paz it is flat. I mean, really flat. No mounts to be seen, no high rise buildings. Unlike La Paz it oozes modernity with its café culture and trendy Cruceños, yet it remains traditional with its markets selling local crafts, street … Read the rest
25 April 2013 - Seed saving: Nature’s abundance
Today became the day for seed saving. It wasn’t what I had planned but it’s what I ended up doing since I had a stomach bug, was lacking energy and, as it turns out, one of our mizuna plants was well and truly dried and ready to drop her seeds.
I’m not very experienced with seed saving and propagating but I try to learn whenever an opportunity arises. I’m keen to learn more and I figure nature teaches me if I’m willing to observe and spend time with her.
While I was pulling tiny black seeds from fragile dried pods I had a lot of time to think and get lost in this repetitive but calming process. It is like a meditation to do this sort of activity – it fills you with peace, grounds and connects you.
These seeds were initially thanks to Jean who had brought them back … Read the rest
22 April 2013 - Getting high: Lounge room gardening at altitude
Recently we posted this photograph of our lounge room garden on facebook where you can see some of the plants we are growing indoors. In addition to these, we are also growing more tatsoi, mizuna, spinach, rosemary, laurel tree, oregano, thyme, parsley, mint and some cucumber seedlings have started to take off!As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t produce enough to make any huge contribution to our food supply but we enjoy doing what we can experimenting growing and seed saving indoors, at an altitude of 3,200 m (La Paz, Bolivia)! Our lounge room is perfectly situated to make the most of the sun’s movements throughout the day, meaning we have a wonderful little microclimate where we can grow food that has no chance outdoors. Actually, I miss growing outdoors – growing in containers is quite a challenge – trying to create biodiversity and encourage beneficial insects is nearly impossible… Read the rest
29 August 2012 - Back on line… we have now settled in Bolivia!
It’s been a long time, hey?
Well, Carly and I have had many (nice!) changes in our life lately… We are actually writing this post from La Paz, in Bolivia, where we’ve moved in to our new home. So after more than two years of living from a couple of backpacks, we’ve now settled down for few years… These last two years have been beautiful though, and certainly worth every penny! Spending time with family and friends, building cob houses and natural building in Southern France, volunteering in a farm in Palestine, learning permaculture in Jordan, working in Yemen, Haiti and Central America, hang gliding in Grenoble, celebrating a friend’s wedding in Honfleur, hiking and camping around Switzerland… We feel so grateful for this amazing year and all the incredible people we have met along the way :).
“Great, you may say, but why settling down in Bolivia?”.
Bolivia is … Read the rest
19 November 2011 - Aquaponics – eFISHient food production in Palestine
Aquaponics in the West Bank
During our stay at Bustan Qaraaqa in Palestine, we have been lucky enough to volunteer one day a week with Phil and Lorena from Byspokes on aquaponic systems (their website is where the following information comes from). Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture, which is growing fish in water, with hydroponics, which is growing plants in a liquid. Since they arrived in the West Bank in July 2010 they have been researching, developing and trialing the FIRST EVER aquaponic system constructed behind the Wall!
They have been developing integrated aquaculture/irrigation systems and aquaponic systems to enhance food security in rural areas of Palestine, where as much as 44% of the population are chronically food insecure. In general, water and space for agriculture here are in short supply, and this is nowhere more apparent than in high density urban areas such as refugee camps. … Read the rest
14 November 2011 - Talking rubbish – Turning trash into treasure
Here at Bustan Qaraaqa they don’t simply sort their recycling, compost their vegetable scraps and put out the rubbish to be collected weekly – they take REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE to a whole new level. With no municipal waste management in Palestine, they have adopted a policy of ‘what comes on site, stays on site’, often collecting other peoples waste too! Using permaculture, creativity, knowledge and passion they educate and demonstrate by living sustainably themselves and maintaining a philosophy that there is no such thing as waste – just a failure of imagination. They hope to inspire Palestinians to stop throwing their rubbish down hillsides or burning it on the side of the road and for foreign guests to understand their role in the waste cycle too. What would you do if your council didn’t collect your waste? How would you consume differently? What would you do with … Read the rest
2 October 2011 - Growing forests in deserts…
It has been a long time without posting… we do apologise for such a long silence but the truth is we’ve been extremely busy! We spent most of August hiking in the Swiss Alps and we do hope to be able to share with you our experience with the makers of the über-famous Gruyere cheese… Anyway, after this great holiday, we then went to Jordan to study permaculture. We ended up doing a Permaculture Design Course for two weeks in Amman (it’s now Carly’s second PDC!), followed by a week of conferences/discussions/experience sharing in the Wadi Rum desert, exchanging about agriculture and water harvesting in arid climates; cross-fertilisation of the aid and permaculture sectors; using permaculture in regions where there are land rights conflicts such as Israel and Palestine; using carbon footprint offset taxes to finance permaculture projects, etc… After that, we went to the Occupied Palestinian Territories to … Read the rest