Saturday, March 24, 2012

St Vincent The Grenadines Mulch With A View To Soil Life

On arrival at Canouan the Permaculturist eye was at work observing nature, taking in my new surrounds, another very beautiful part of the world.


Totally different from the Maldives as evidence of volcanic action can be seen as far as the eye can see, razor mountain tops to the dark beach sands and red rich soils supporting all the colours of the rainbow. Pride of Barbados, Frangipani, bougainvillea, fountain grasses, flame trees and Canna to name a few.

Mountains meet the sea 

Mountains, mountains, mountains everywhere

The biggest shock is not being on flat land as the highest mountain I have climbed in the Maldives would have been 3 foot.

For the past few years all my focus has been on designing sustainable food production systems, now the challenge is to look at sustainable landscape solutions.

Healthy Soil ?

First observations revealed again bare soil exposed to all the elements everywhere, cracked, dry, eroded, and weedy if they could grow and  a Ph of 8.

Soil test Ph 8 

As all power is generated on site via diesel generators at a cost of 40cents a Kw and water supplied mainly via desalination, all utility bills are expensive.

Second observation was that close by there is a golf course. A trip around the course found there was Vetiver Grass or locally called Cush Cush, fairway and greens cuttings, which are in abundance and sent to local land fill as there is no composting or mulching.

Golf course to left.. Thank you for all you waste

On a walk along the beach I also happened to come across bags of Sea grass collected and also to my knowledge bound for landfill, add some cardboard and we have all the ingredients for sheet mulching this exposed lifeless soil.

All abundant sea grass, cush cush and leaves

Green cuttings, sea grass, nitrogen first

As we were not trying to grow fruit and vegetables focus was not on reducing the Ph but to add life to the soil, water harvest, prevent erosion and nutrient loss.

Dwayne sheet mulching

Within 2 weeks we have reduced watering to twice a week and now with observation of moisture levels below the mulch it can be done now once a week.

Two weeks of moisture

Often it is thought that Permaculture is all about food production and never considered in landscaping soft or hard. If we look down at the soil around every plant Permaculture principles can be applied everywhere. If you want a landscape that dose not provide food for you at least provide a sustainable food source for the millions of insects, bacteria and fungi that feed your beautiful plants.

Dwayne mulching with a view to soil life

Thanks Dwayne and all at Quinze Canouan for being so supportive in including Permaculture into your lives and me into yours.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Permaculture Maldives ON Tour

Only leave a Foot Print   

 At the end of December 2011 I resigned from my position as Regional Permaculturist for Six Sense Maldives. I resigned, as I wanted to explore other parts of the world to spread Permaculture and further my experiences with other people, climates and conditions.

Soneva Fushi  Food Growers

My time in the Maldives was an amazing experience being in contact with many great people of all nationalities and walks of life from labours of Bangladesh to movie stars and Presidents and the glue was “Permaculture”. The most pleasing was once people saw how Permaculture systems and principles worked they supported the process and wanted more.

In the 14 months I was fortunate to work in Vietnam, speak in Ireland and in front of world leaders and decision makers on ways forward for a sustainable future for their countries “Mangroves For The Future – MFF”

Most pleasing though was to demonstrate how by using Bills “Proven” and I do stress “Proven” Permaculture Principles and adapting them to the resources available on the various sites we were able to grow healthy soil on a sand islands to produce sustainable food the true meaning Of Permaculture “Permanent Sustainable Agriculture”

Since leaving I set up Green Mate Permaculture Design Consulting “ Keeping it Green” I spent several months in Australia where I was able to see how my Demonstration site was going without me and all was good more proof that Permaculture allows you to travel and teach once your own systems are in place.

Fruit was hanging from the swaled Subtropical food forest set up in Dec 2009 so in 2 years abundance has started. Friends who had set up gardens were reaping the rewards still on the Gold Coast and I was able to help another get started on the Sunshine Coast where they had designed a sustainable home by having renewable energy system in place (Solar 5 Kw) correct siteing of house (North and one room wide with thermal mass walls and water harvesting system used for showers and toilets. It was a pleasure to be in such a comfortable living environment.

Who says Permaculture is not in the main stream?

Santa Monica Farmers Market

On leaving Australia I have been to California, New York and now the Caribbean visiting friends made while working in the Maldives. All these friends have their own special needs for including Principles of Permaculture into their lives from wanting to have organic food for themselves and children as it is becoming prohibitive to buy in retail shops and then there is the question what is “Organic”. 
Supplying  S.L.O.W. food and drink to communities ‘Venice Beach Ale House” thanks Spoon and Carta.

Venice Beach Ale House Motto

The desire to starting up a new business to target sustainable clean water and waste management and simply to live a more responsible way of life “not polluting or exploiting the environment we all live in.

New York Style

Permaculture Principles are being used everywhere especially by “Nature” so lets work with Her Not Against Her.

Permaculture can take you anywhere  :)

I will post more details  of the USA and Caribbean Adventures