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Some months ago, Geoff took us on a tour of a neighbour’s garden ( https://youtu.be/ITph5GJoKbA), and now the Green the Desert crew has returned to check the project. Even better, they are being guided by the property’s owner and permaculture designer.

Meet Abla, the former school teacher who bought a small piece of property in the desert. After nine months on the property, she met her neighbours Geoff and Nadia, and she took the permaculture course at the Greening the Desert site. She began transitioning her own property, which had been mostly rocks and barren soil, into a green desert site as well. Having left the city unhealthy, she has felt renewed with a permaculture lifestyle, caring for plants and keeping herself busy.

She is producing her own food and no longer has to go to the city for supplies. She’s collecting eggs from chickens. She’s making compost. She’s got a worm farm and uses the juice, as well as gets rid of diseased plants and collects castings. She’s got sugarcane, dates and vegetables. She’s planting nitrogen-fixers in compost to build up the soil. She’s got olives, mangoes, spinach, tomato, and potato. She’s got several moringa trees, figs, and flowers. Herbs, mint, and cabbage are growing at ground level. Jasmine and other vines are growing up to provide shade in the future. She has bees and the promise of honey.

She’s been working for one year and four months and has transformed the property. To protect her soil from washing away, Alba has piled the rocks from her site into a “gabion” along a side that takes water during rains. Creeping plants covering slopes to prevent erosion within the gardens. She’s catching water from her rooftop, harvesting five tanks’ worth over the winter. This all started from a small, shady spot at the side of her house, a place she used as a nursery. Now, she looks out at the desert from her lush property and sees the potential to correct the mistakes we’ve made.

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About Permaculture:

Permaculture (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture) integrates land, resources, people and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies – imitating the no waste, closed loop systems seen in diverse natural systems. Permaculture applies holistic solutions that are applicable in rural and urban contexts and at any scale. It is a multidisciplinary toolbox including agriculture, water harvesting and hydrology, energy, natural building, forestry, waste management, animal systems, aquaculture, appropriate technology, economics, and community development.

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Permaculture in the Desert

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