Hello from a dreamer

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself Here' started by Aziz Kaouass, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. Aziz Kaouass

    Aziz Kaouass New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    Almost 50 years ago already I was born in a small 'village' in the Northern part of Morocco, the Rif Mountains. It was in the days that a lot of young people, like my father, started to migrate to Europe, in search for a living. A few years later my mother, my sister and I had to follow. From this village in which time has stood still to a remote town in Holland. After a couple of years I saw a map in school with Morocco and Holland on it, it was a shock because for me those were two different worlds, dimensions. How could those two worlds be on the same map.

    'You can remove the boy from the village, but you can't remove the village from the boy!'

    With time I started wondering why we all had to leave this land of our ancestors. It was sheer poverty I realised, because the land couldn't feed us all anymore. Not because the earth was not generous, no because we had ruined the land in a couple of generations. The woods had been cut for charcoal and land for grains. Europe was in need of working force, the robots were not ready yet.

    The dream to go back has never faded. And in recent years I came to action and I am doing my best to plant as many trees as possible on the ancestral land. Step by step it's getting greener, even though there is this hardship of lack of (rain)water. Since I learned recently of permaculture I am more than convinced that it can be done. I am convinced that this is the path to go.

    I am a newbie, I don't hardly know anything about permaculture in practice. But I am going to do my uttermost best to gain more knowledge and experience in the coming future. I am glad that I found this forum and I hope it will lead me to many strong and positive connections.

    To be concrete, the coming month I will visit my village to plant trees, it's a yearly ritual. But this year I want to see if I can start with digging swales. My first question on this forum is if someone has some advice regarding swales. Where to start? Which trees to plant? etc. I have seen several videos about it, read quite some things. Now I am ready for experimenting.

    All the best to you and till an other time.


    Aziz

    Some pictures of the village I am talking about
     

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  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings Aziz and welcome!
    You have some deep insights into "how things work" in this extractive/exploitive world in which we find ourselves. I think your path is righteous and will serve your homeland well. We are working with a small non-profit to begin the process of reforesting Afghanistan using Permaculture perspectives and techniques, trying to follow-along in Geoff Lawton's footsteps (especially his Jordan work). There are a number of Permaculture projects in Morocco, check out the PRI Global database if you get a chance, and add your work/project too.
    For swales, you want to begin "high in the landscape" to slow and infiltrate water. In your case (judging from your photos) you might also consider some gabion type dams in the erosion valleys (wadis) in the hills (some more resources here). This will slow the flow of water during rain events and spread it out high in the landscape too. I might begin with fast growing support species trees and shrubs to establish roots, provide shade and leaf litter, and fix nitrogen in the soil (for instance some species of acacia). Be sure to include ground cover plants too and avoid bare soil whenever possible.
    We would be very interested in following along with your work (I am focused on dry climate Permaculture) and feel free to ask lots of questions.
     
  3. Aziz Kaouass

    Aziz Kaouass New Member

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    Hello Bill,

    Thank you very much for you warm and encouraging message and advice. All the best with all the good work you're doing.

    I will study the advice you gave regarding swales and gabions. There are indeed a couple of projects in Morocco. I already contacted someone in the Rif mountains as well, who knows. This year I was unfortunately too late for a PDC course given in the Southern Part of Morocco https://marrakeshorganics.com/past-courses-2/ Hopefully there will be an other one the upcoming year. In meantime I have started with studying Bill Molison's (may he rest in peace) Manual and try to find groups here in Holland as well.

    One question regarding ground cover plants, do you have any advice. I see that Comfrey is suggested often, do you or someone else of course :), think it will work in this climate?

    thank you
     
  4. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Aziz,
    Yes, comfrey is a Permaculture staple and not only shades a large area of the ground but also acts as a dynamic accumulator, with deep roots bringing up nutrients to the leaves which are then available using chop-and-drop mulching. Our comfrey needs a good watering every week or two to stay active, otherwise it will go dormant in the heat/sun of mid summer. We can start new comfrey plants from leaf cuttings placed directly in the soil and watered a bit every day, so even one "mother" plant can be used to increase your comfrey numbers.
    One thing we've found here that works the best for ground cover, plus nitrogen fixing is alfalfa (often called lucerne outside the US). We've an ever increasing "pasture" of alfalfa that started from seeds in baled alfalfa hay, which needs no water and grows on shallow soil (although a bit of water when it's getting started would help a lot).
    Keep reading the Permaculture Design Manual, all the basics of Permaculture are contained within!
     
  5. Aziz Kaouass

    Aziz Kaouass New Member

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    Bill thank you very much. I will give it a try with alfalfa as well, well know in Morocco. Looking forward to it and I will keep you updated, as well in the project space on the global site.

    Take good care and till an other time.
     
  6. Betty Boop

    Betty Boop New Member

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  7. Betty Boop

    Betty Boop New Member

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    Dear Aziz,
    Welcome, I just joined myself today. Brilliant website & forums.
    I have 5 acres of sand & just a slight slope & I will be watching what you do with interest. We are lucky, because we have a bore, so this helps with the water. Our bore is 78 metres deep.
    We made our first swale today, Haven't planted anything in it yet. We used a tractor, but I have read about compacting the soil with it, so later on we will not use it.
    You have a big challenge ahead of you, I want to wish you the best of luck.
    Regards, Betty
     
  8. Aziz Kaouass

    Aziz Kaouass New Member

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    Dear Betty,

    Thank you for your message and welcome. You too all the best of luck. Please upload some pictures if possible, I am wondering how it looks like in NW NSW Australia, :) as read in your post it can be very cold as well there? About permaculture, at the moment I am following the online course by Geoff Lawton, also from NSW. I guess you know the Permaculture Research Institute? Don't know how big New South Wales is, but I assume you're practically neighbours :)

    About water, you mentioned using a bore. That is indeed something that I need to do as well in time I think. In an other area in Morocco I have some experience in an other project, the depth is there around 90 meters I think. But the last year there was a problem, some of the bores in that area hadn't sufficient water because of lack of rainwater during a long period. Fortunately this year there was more rain so far. Hopefully swales and a good design will have a positive impact.

    This week I will go to Morocco and see what I can do with the swales and planting some trees (mostly olive, carob, fig and almond mostly) and try to start with building up some ground cover as adviced. I hope I can upload some pictures later on. I also want to experiment with Moringa Oleifera (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moringa_oleifera), perhaps that you know this tree?

    Good luck with everything and till an other occasion.
     
  9. Betty Boop

    Betty Boop New Member

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    Hi Aziz, It is very dry in inland NSW at the moment.
    I am not doing any courses at the moment, but I have A LOT of learning to do.
    I will send you a map later to show you where the Institute is. It is s long way from us.
    Our bore started with a sow weak flow, but lately it has improved a little.
    " Hopefully swales and a good design will have a positive impact" yes I hope so for you.
    No I don't know, Moringa Oleifera, but I looked it up from your link. It does not like frost it said. What does it taste like ??
    I look forward to pics from you & updates as you start your project. ((My technology is a bit old fashioned.....download pics from camera to my computer, cut & paste them into the appropriate labelled folders & then email them or upload them. I will put some pics up later on.))
    You have a lot of work a head of you.I wish you luck.
     
  10. Teza Elise

    Teza Elise New Member

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    What traditional plants/trees grew in the area and may still grow in some patches?
    It may be wise to stick with native seeds and vegetation that has built-in drought resistance. If you can locate some such patches of natural vegetation it may be also wise to transplant some mycorrhiza from there as well. Some of the cactus types like prickly pear may be a good shading plant for trees, as they act as a water reservoir.
     

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