Senda Verde Permaculture Eco Center

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Flood irrigation in the main kitchen garden

From Project. The kitchen garden pond and flood irrigation

Im hoping that I can use the natural irrigation channel that runs along top and behind the sloping raised bed kitchen garden. At the moment im using a tube to deliver water to the paths between the beds but its helping me to see the way I need to sculp the rest of the raised beds so that the water simply cascades from one swale to the next, back flooding I think its called.

From Project. The kitchen garden pond and flood irrigation
My mind is turning to irrigation systems as the weather hots up and I see that my loamy soil dries out very quickly. Ive got a timer and drip irrigation planned for the main poly tunnel, potting shed and new tomatoe areas, but I think for the kitchen garden it would be great to have a slow seep irrigation.

The ancient irrigation water course that runs right along the back of this veg garden is fed from the waterfall and I doubt better treated water to irrigate food crops could be found.
I was leaning on my shovel the other day taking a breather and I imagined the water tumbling down this massive 30 plus meter fall, the rocks, the pools, the pure nature of the surroundings and the water being totally in a natural ellement.
Victor Schauberger and Masaru Emoto theories were very much in mind when I thought of flood or slow seep irrigation, what a shame to stick this beautiful water into a black plastic irrigation tube when I can simply clear and repair the ancient stone canal and allow the water to caress only natural materials as it slowly seeps down from the high point through the land and into my permaculture kitchen garden.

Ive been enjoying the first salad greens of the year and they are exceptional confirming my belief that if we pay as much attention to the treatment of the water as we do to the treatment and creation of fertile soils we will see massive improvments in taste, hardiness and yield.

From Project. The kitchen garden pond and flood irrigation
Ive not done much to advance the kitchen garden pond but its doing its job, the garden is full of frogs and lizards, my 24 hour 7 day a week pest control.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Building a yurt deck by Awakened Life project

The Awakened Life Project takes YouTube by storm!

A couple of weeks ago we made a new yurt deck. I wrote about this in a post called Building a Yurt Deck in Cosmic Flow. Well now hot off the presses, the whole process is captured on this short 10 minute video.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Eco Construction building with roundwood

Wolfe in Transition

About our project in Northern Portugal to renovate some ruins and abandoned land. But more than this - to apply building and energy systems that are local, renewable and less polluting, more efficient, healthier and cheaper. And to actually learn about how they work practically, so one day we can teach others here and in other parts of the world where crises and poverty are permanent overlords. This is our story, our search, our transition.

This issue of using wood close to the ground in building is a classic design fault common all over the world. In 1997 I worked with Movimondo in Guatemala where a part of their community development project involved showing locals how the use of around 70cm of stone footing for their homes would extend the life of the wooden walls, saving them the financial burden of rebuilding their homes every five to ten years.

Here in Portugal, and also in Scotland, I know that people generally believe it's sensible to sink a post deep into the ground, often bedded into cement for "extra strength". We are also advised to paint the end of the post in tar, or burn it first to prevent rottage.

But Paulo has introduced the idea of using rocks as the principle footing to ensure the posts stay dry and last many times longer.

Small metal bars, around 8mm diameter are inserted into the but of the post, and a similar hole drilled into the rock.

This merely holds it in place - it is really wobbly and insecure at this stage.


Once a few posts are erected, a beam joins them together along the top, with simple lap joints with more metal bar to keep it together. This helps to secure the wobble a bit, but it really starts to get more secure when you link up the posts in both directions and add cross bracing. Rafters helped with stability too.

Read the rest of the article here

Monday, 10 May 2010

KMO launches his new podcast ETC Voices

KMO is the host and creator of the C-Realm Podcast.

He currently resides at the Ecovillage Training Center on the Farm.

KMO talks with the other folks who live, learn, and work at the Ecovillage Training Center in Summertown, Tennessee. This week, KMO talks with Merry Moore, the ETC innkeeper about the kitchen co-op she conceived and continues to refine, then comes a walk and talk with Cliff Davis, ETC Head Gardener, about collecting and using local micro-organisms to make compost tea, and finally Garrison, an ETC permaculture apprentice, shares some surfer lingo.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

The Permaculture Kitchen Garden Pond and Relax Area

This is a project update page for the kitchen garden pond and relax area.

A series of these project description pages will give multimedia coverage of the process of designing and researching a particular project right through to doing it. Making mistakes and getting it wrong are perfectly fine ways to go about learning.
I hope that these pages might inspire others that are interested in self sufficient off grid living.

You can find all the other ongoing project update pages on the sidebar link list.

Kitchen garden pond with water fall and flow form.

A terraced area with Gazebo and seating.
Research aquatic plants, flood or marsh plants for food or medicinal use.

So far all the fish ive added have died or gone over the edge or perhaps been prayed upon. I have found 1 dead so the whereabouts of the other 29 is a mystery.
Ive raised the rock dam wall a little and I will try another 15 fish next time I go fishing.
These will mainly be Minnows, some Barbel maybe Perca Sol.

I plan to continue clearing the old water canal and if it runs unbroken to beyond the ridge line of the veggie garden then I will be able to irrigate through the slow seepage of the water through the irrigation canal. Alternativly, I can direct a flow from the irrigation canal onto the paths between the raised beds and flood irrigate, perhaps leaving a good quantity of manure on each path that will slowly seep into the beds with each flood irrigation.
Im hoping this natural watering system will be relativly maintenance free and use no plastic pipe or external energy.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

First photos from Senda Verde Permaculture Ecocentro

With my new camera a new leash of life is promised for the blog.
Im not sure what direction I will take with this but im going to start posting regularly and feel my way into the style and presentation.
Welcome to the next chapter.

The first visit and a new camera

Duncan the first WWOOF er at Senda Verde

I moved onto the farm just over two months ago but Senda Verde recieved its first visitor and willing worker on organic farms (WWOOFer) when my brother Duncan came out for a 5 day visit.

Thanks Dunc for your visit and helping out, some jobs need more than two hands and we got loads done and discussed much.

Everything is growing so quickly you can practically see it..

A small array of 4 x 100 watt panels is more than enough for 12 volt lighting, computers, music and a 12volt deep freeze.

The solar panels are now properly mounted on the roof and with the extra power that the better positioned panels give I hooked up the Steca 12 volt 166 lt chest freezer direct to the batteries. Ive now got all the kit working and power to spare.

The 12 volt lighting that I made up at the green gathering is running direct off the batteries and to light the house Im using 4 spots at 2.5 watts each and 2 arrays of 5 coloured luxeon stars, more for the atmospherics but at 0.5 watts I can afford a little interior lighting style.
Thanks to Dave at LED Fantastic for the knowledge.

Steca PF 166 Solar refrigerator/freezer

With the Steca plugged in and working I can turn off my caravan 3 way fridge freezer thats been running on gas. I will use cool boxes with ice packs from the steca for my refrigeration and the house is cool and dark. One step closer to off grid living.

Rob Fi and Duncan chilling on the beach

We spent a great day on Sunday chilling on the river beach and catching a few tiddlers from the river, followed by BBQ spare ribs and baked potatoes all done in the wood stove. A tricky piece of equipment to master but im slowly getting to know its fobiles and adjusting my life and cooking to suit the equipment.

Building raised beds as I go and experimenting with sheet mulch and river mulch

Big love and thanks to Finn and Woody for the camera as my birthday gift and a hong kong fooey birthday wish to you Woody for Saturday.

The Truth WareHouse