Monday, November 22, 2010

Dirty Hands

After two weeks of training I have now got down and dirty.. yahoo!
My first permaculture garden in the Maldives !! The brief was to design a garden for the hosts accommodation area to beautify and to have a place to relax and chill as previously it looked like a waste land.

Earlier in the week pH tests were done in various parts of the island which showed alkaline soil ranging from 8-10 so here was the perfect opportunity to design using tropical strategies for sandy soils.

The design of the garden was to be low maintenance, use of hardy local plants and to be productive as well as welcoming. The design included two banana circles, red and green varieties. Lemon grass, pandan and native Spider Lilly as a guild for edge planting . This guild will provide chop and drop mulching material as well as a natural mosquito repellent and a food source for teas and cooking . Aloe and passion fruit were also included for medicinal use and pick and eat . For mass planting, plants from the jungle were collected as well. 
Soil was removed to a depth of about 1 m then cardboard was layed to seal the bottom to prevent loss of organic matter through leaching. Drainage was added either by a 45 mill pvc pipe with shade cloth over each end to prevent root penetration and leaving one end free to drain if became water logged .  Leaves were also spread over the cardboard to help seal then vegetable scraps were scattered on top to add organic matter . To lower pH organic matter is seen as necessary if flowers of sulfate are not available . More compost was then added to the soil and placed back with finally a thick mulch covering of 10cm of jungle cutting put through a mulcher.
The banana circles had water run off from the roof and laundry water  diverted to them with cuts in the pipe also covered in shade cloth to prevent root invasion as drip irrigation to the beds. Banana circles were dug to a depth of 1 m and also lined with cardboard then filled with Jungle cuttings with water and a lot of jumping up and down .  Bananas were planted in each circle with the smaller variety to the front.
Finally Coconut fibre was used on the pathway which in time will be used as mulch on the garden beds once decayed enough.

Now watch it grow !!!!

1 comment:

  1. you are off to a great start, congrats for putting your talents to work so expeditiously! thanks for sharing the info and progress
    bob tatnell