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Permaculture in the Desert

Some months ago, Geoff took us on a tour of a neighbour’s garden, below:

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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Geoff Lawton

Geoff Lawton is a world renowned Permaculture consultant, designer and teacher. He first took his Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course in 1983 with Bill Mollison the founder of Permaculture. Geoff has undertaken thousands of jobs teaching, consulting, designing, administering and implementing, in 6 continents and close to 50 countries around the world. Clients have included private individuals, groups, communities, governments, aid organizations, non-government organisations and multinational companies under the not-for-profit organisation. In 1996 Geoff was accredited with the Permaculture Community Services Award by the Permaculture movement for services in Australia and around the world. Geoff's official website is GeoffLawtonOnline.com. Geoff's Facebook profile can be found here.

One Comment

  1. We are from the Netherlands and have a plot of land in the Gambia, west Africa.
    There are some old trees and we grow fruits and banana. We would like to transform it into an edible forest garden.
    We need a lot of info because we are working to improve since 15 years with very small result.
    A lot of thanks in advance.
    Greetings from Holland EU.
    Wilma and Martin and team

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