Monday, 3 February 2014

Applying Permaculture to the land

For the past couple of  months I have mainly been taking a break from the construction to start applying what I have learnt to the land. It's been really exciting to see everything take shape.

The bricks are all finished, the last ones, curved for the corners...

...with bottles inside

...found objects that will make great coat hooks!
My neighbour kindly gave me heirloom seeds for groundnuts. I decided to plant them in a small field, along with some cowpeas , sunflowers, various melons, pumpkins, gourds(help with ground cover) and some rosela. Intercropped with Moringa and sebania trees. These trees along with the groundnuts and cowpeas fix nitrogen into the soil. 

I took part in an oyster mushroom growing workshop in Bulawayo, and grew some at home, very exciting to see them grow. 

Making a simple solar drier to drier for mushrooms, fruit etc 

The stem wall has been coming up and I will start working on the building again now.

We dug a swale on contour, this catches rainwater and keeps it on the land rather than running off and then planted the seeds below.

making seed balls with clay and a variety of seeds to throw onto the land.

shelling groundnuts

Both sides of the field are covered with mulch, this keeps the moisture in the ground, this side is leaves...

...and this side straw

Planting fruit trees where grey water will be running out of the shower. To protect from grazing animals Yabani made fences from branches as is traditionally done here. 
burying an unglazed clay pot for dry times, the water seeps out slowly.

a wine bottle filled with water and buried seeps water out slowly and directly to the roots. 
Flame lillies are out everywhere

making a pit bed, kitchen scraps are put in a hole in the centre to become compost that directly feeds the banana and pawpaw trees planted around it. 

Our first tank for rainwater collection

Moringa trees planted amongst the groundnuts 

It's very satisfying to watch everything grow, there will be challenges ahead though,  in the next month or so is when the elephants will start entering the fields. For now I will get back to building, I need to finish the stem wall, make a termite barrier and then start laying bricks.