Going to Crete, Mediterranean, 10B, dry subtropical

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself Here' started by Caribean, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. Caribean

    Caribean New Member

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    I am from the Netherlands, the last 19 years living in Norway. In 2015 I took my PDC at Panya in Thailand. The last 8 years I have been looking around the world to find the place where I feel better, can use permaculture and become old.

    Last winter I tried once more to find a place in the south of Europe and went to Crete, Greece. I immediately felt at home there and started looking around for land. But that was not easy, a lot is sold 'illegally'. In April I went again and in May I asked my lawyer to start checking everything. This process is still going on, but in July I hope to go again and put my signature under the contract. So it did not became the Caribean.

    In the mean time I am reading and watching everything I find to prepare myself for moving from zone 8 to zone 10B, to a dry subtropical Mediterranean climate. In Norway I have experience from apricots, grapes to cherries and plums, some permaculture, etc. Now I am looking forward to take care of the 10 olive trees and dive into figs, carob, mesquite, passion fruit, jujubi, pomegranate, mulberry, dade palm, citrus, etc. Coming winter I want to take my 2 Ginko biloba trees of 3 yr old with me, as well as my 4 yr old pink grapefruit from the Philippines grown from seed; in my backpack, on the plane, cut down, without dirt. The first two years I will only be there for 6 months each year, observing everything, planning etc.

    Today I started a new blog, Permaculture on Crete. http://permaculturetertsa.blogspot.com/ Here I present the land for you, 2 km from the sea, on a slope, the upper part pretty steep (10%?) and the top even steeper. On my blog I wrote some of the questions I have. I am looking forward to get input about what to do with the 'cut down' in the land.
     
  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings Annette and welcome. Congratulations on finding a property ... beautiful! Hoping all turns out well with the purchase. Any idea of how previous owners filled the cistern? Have you seen any signs of surface water flow/erosion, maybe in one of the cuts? Possibly places for gabions to feed swales.
     
  3. Caribean

    Caribean New Member

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    It looked like a very old cistern, bare, in the ground, just below the steep top acre. And it looked like it had not seen water for many years. I have plans to build a 10.000 liter cistern here above the ground, to pump water to from the water pipes, to use in case of fire. And maybe the old one renewed with a V-shape top over it with at the bottom a collecting hole, to collect water from above. This one for irrigation.
    About the cut: when you look carefully at two pictures, near the bottom of the blog, you can see that the neighbor cut away his mountain from where our properties met. This makes my mountain suddenly ending 2-4 meter steep down, on the left side of the land. On this side down there is nothing growing. They also build roads like this in Greece, where they just cut down a mountain...and sometimes, not very often, the mountain above falls on the road after a rainy period. This of course I do not want to happen with my property. I can think of starting with planting trees near this edge. But can I do more?
     
  4. HermesTheAlkahest

    HermesTheAlkahest New Member

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    On my farm in arid Texas Hill Country, 1st thing I did was place hugelculture swales. I chopped a bunch of useless cedars, and shrubs, and layed the logs and slash along a 100:1' drop on contour using a hose level. I also put smaller 'dams' in the swales at 2 ft below the upper swale line to stop and back up water in the swales themselves. I planted figs/pomegranate/pear/apple/mulberry, etc. on the upper portion of downslope of swales. I placed most of my swales just above a steep drop like you have pictured, to slow erosion and increase saturation time. Companion plants for trees include comfrey, dewberries(low creeping native blackberry, elephant garlic, perrenial grasses, wildflowers). Mulberries and grapes have been the most aggressive and prolific on my property to date. I hope you have a well though, because unless all you are planting is trees on individual drip emitters, and not too many of them, you will tap out a 10000 liter cistern in a few months. 100 trees watered with 10 liters twice a week during establishment will tap that cistern in 5 weeks. I can't rely on rainwater for irrigation, and I have a 40000 liter tank. I recommend using all rainwater for house usage, and at best establish a greywater filter to divert to trees.
     
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  5. chamni

    chamni Member

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    HI caribian
    i am staying in bangkok thailand ,the hardiness zone 10 subtropical(i think you know about climate here)
    and i am interesting about growing statice for cutting flower.do you think is that possible to grow it here.
    if any information or knowlege i really need from you coz your residence is the maditeranean climate
    thank you
     
  6. Caribean

    Caribean New Member

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  7. chamni

    chamni Member

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    THANK YOU for your reply
    look like i have to do much homework to find various species and suitable province(hill side looks interesting) that provide good climate for them. of course this flower is very popular in any occasion and in my country they have to import and price is so high 250-350 baht of fresh and 450-550 baht of dried per bundle(retail)
    so first i could find out the species and try to germinate then the location will be next.
    right now i plant many kind of vegetable such as salad swiss chard dinosaur gourd ect which is winter plants and i have learn from this.
    thank you again another suggestion always welcome
     
  8. Caribean

    Caribean New Member

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    Those flowers are expensive in Europe too. I think your place must not be too wet for them.
    Have you heard about the Panya project near Chang Mai? Asian people get a special price to take their PDC there. In that area there are more permaculture projects where you can help and learn.
     
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  9. chamni

    chamni Member

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    actually i just know this panya project from you then i search in browser.i really surprise about.This is locate in maetang chiengmai and there are convergence just last march 2017, so i will follow this website to see the next.i usually spend vacation in chiengmai on the end of year, will try to visit them to take some PDC.
    thank you
     
  10. Caribean

    Caribean New Member

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    They usually have a 3 weeks course every nov/dec. So much longer then the other PDCcourses.
     
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  11. BajaJohn

    BajaJohn New Member

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    Congratulations Caribean. I wish you every success.
    Your new climate seems quite close to mine with possibly greater extremes. Heraklion was the only place I found for a weather history and that seems a bit cooler than the 35 - 42 degree summer temps. Those temperatures are difficult for me to survive and I couldn't do it without air conditioning. Probably why you plan to stay for half a year to begin with.
    I get a lot of help from tropicalfruitforum.com for my climate. There is a thread on fruit in Greece - http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=4950.0. A favorite fruit in the forum is mangos which you should be able to grow in Crete. Lychee would be another of my favorites. Citrus should be great for you too and the trees should provide shade for other crops. I also have tamarind which I use to make refreshing drinks for the summer.
    The site for housing will be important in your climate. Cooling winds in the summer really help and my house is surrounded by tall trees which protect it from the sun and also provide a shady grove to lessen the heat.The roof is palm (locally known as a papaya roof) which is quite porous to air but keeps the house absolutely dry in rainstorms (even hurricanes). The house stays about 5 degrees cooler than the outside temperature - unfortunately in winter too. You can also locate buildings to funnel a breeze and make it stronger - although you may not want that with stronger winds.
    Do you have power to the area or will you be off-grid?
    Hope you keep in touch. I'm new to sub-tropical too and have learned enough to understand how much I need to learn here. My previous gardening was in England.
     
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  12. HermesTheAlkahest

    HermesTheAlkahest New Member

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    For cut flowers, the most important question to ask is: Where will I sell them? I've found that there are much smaller markets compared with veges, but if you have a suitable outlet, then they can be far more profitable. Small boutique florists, or local farmers markets would be your best bet. I have the most success at markets with no other flower sellers. Statice is a pretty easy to grow flower so you shouldn't have too much trouble there. Make sure you get a regionally adapted variety, as many times northern latitude plants have a difficult time in tropical day lengths, as it messes with their life cycle, but possibly worth experimenting with as you may get massive vegetative growth before finally flowering with European varieties. The most important thing for good cut flowers: don't skimp on fertilizers or bed prep, or you will end up with short, and difficult to market stems. Better off with a small, well prepared bed, than a large average bed, and don't forget phosphorus! If you add a little shade via shade cloth tarps suspended over beds, or in hoop houses with light diffusion, or 20-50% shade cloth, you can also get flower stems to stretch and elongate, but may need support so plants don't fall over. My most profitable flower for hot weather is Zinnia....they produce over several months, LOVE to be cut to stimulate more flower production, doesn't take many stems to form a bunch (less labor), and do great in hot weather all year. Somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew in spring/fall, but its never been a big factor when on drip irrigation.
     
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  13. Caribean

    Caribean New Member

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    About your steep drop and your swales compared to mine. I understand that you have your swales parrallel to the drop. Don't you get erosion from your swales then? And when the drop ridge becomes wet, does not want the edge to fall down the slope?
    When you look at the 2 photos with my drop on it once more, you see that the highest part is more or less flat, the lowest part has the shortest drop and goes a few percentages down. That is the reason that I thought to build my swales in a 90 percent degree to the drop; probably at the top of the lowest part. Then the land becomes wet from left to right along the swale...and I think then the ridge along the steep drop will not fall down. But of course I have never had a garden with a huge drop in it before.
    Greece here is very very dry. Only 234 mm of rain a year. So I have to use agricultural water pipes to the swales, especially in the beginning. As soon as I have a house build, after 1-2 years, then I really start to collect rain water. In the beginning only from the outdoor toilet and the roof over the caravan. The well of one of my Greek friends there was dry the last year, but I do not want a well either. Thanks for the info about the size of your tank. The little grey water I will have the first year will be directed to a tropical banana circle nearby.
     
  14. HermesTheAlkahest

    HermesTheAlkahest New Member

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    No, the swales prevent erosion. The main cause of erosion is heavy rain, or sheet flow from rain travelling across land surfaces once soil is fully saturated(which can happen with persistent light rain, too). I forgot to mention, after laying out slash trees/shrubs, I brought in a bulldozer and covered them with soil. They are wide enough to not dissolve in rain, and initially quickly reseeded with native grasses/weeds to hold soil in place. If all the water upslope of your drop is channeled away from the drop, like my swales are with a 100:1 drop(they drop 1 foot vertical for every 100 foot horizontal), then there is very little chance of sheet flow further eroding the drop, except in torrential rain situations. I'm not sure of the contour of your land in relation to the pictured drop, so having swales parallel may not be appropriate. If your swales are perpendicular, no problem. I would still consider putting some kind of ridge above drop edge to ensure as little water as possible flows over the drop. The idea is to channel water away from any erosion areas, into appropriate spillways and drainage areas/ponds. The swale 'dams' in the swale basins I built every 50 feet or so are for further backing up water to saturate soil, rather than just channeling it away, and since they are lower than the high point on swales, there is no spillover on the swale berm, but water will flow over the soil 'dam' once it has back filled (to a depth of 1-2 foot) and continue along the swale basin channel into some 30ft wide grassy spillway areas(basically part of an ephemeral wetlands) before entering into a small seasonal creek. If you can build swales parallel to drop, then a sucessful strategy I've seen to prevent erosion(using bananas too) is to have perennial heavy biomass producers or chop and drop plants like comfrey that you cut and push over the edge of drop to cover it with leaf matter, preventing erosion and lessening impact from rain. You can also plant yuccas, agave, or prickly pear cactus right into the drop and they should do fine in very arid areas, and help prevent erosion.
     
  15. Caribean

    Caribean New Member

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    Into the drop... remember it goes steep down, 3 meter steep down for the lower part, 4-5 meter steep down from the higher part, because the neighbor has taken away the mountain on his side, so now he has flat land. I was thinking of using the native growing Mimosa over the edge and just sticking sticks of it in, but for sure I will check out the things you are mentioning.
    Back to parallel swales with water in/from it and very dry land further away from the drop. I still can see for me that when further away of a steep drop everything is dry and near the drop it is wet, that the wet part will slide down from the dry part. Or would you water the 'whole' mountain nearby the drop? There is here so little water that watering the 'whole' mountain seems to me like a waist of using water. Of course when I after a while (max 2 yrs) have planted everywhere then using water there is no problem any more.
     
  16. chamni

    chamni Member

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    really thank so much about suggestion.the market very wide here.much follow your suggestion,do it small then objectivity bigger.and thank for how to prepare bed,hoop house,light diffusion and watering system to prevent powdery mildew.
     
  17. HermesTheAlkahest

    HermesTheAlkahest New Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean exactly by watering the whole mountain nearby the drop...If your goal is to prevent erosion, then there are basically 2 things to do.....1)channel water away from running over the edge of drop and taking soil with it, and 2)plant whatever can get a toehold above for leaf litter, slash to cover exposed soil from rain impact erosion and plant anything that will stick on that steep a face. The swales are meant to capture rainfall, not act as irrigation channels. I use mine as tree planting sites, but the trees rely on drip irrigation when young. Now they are 5-7 years old, they haven't needed any irrigation at all, although I keep the system in place in case of a 3+ month drought which will still stress them badly. The rainfall capture is just an added bonus for the trees, and the swales act as water 'batteries' that sponge up rainfall for subsoil moisture and a bit of drought protection. My description may be confusing, as Texas is mostly dry, but rainfall commonly comes in storm events, and can drop 3-6 inches in 24 hours - far more than the soil can absorb at one time, so the swales act as capture zones for it. Greece may not ever get that kind of large rain event, so perhaps swales aren't the best strategy. Maybe stone mulching of trees instead, to capture condensation? Another simple idea is to shovel out many small divets in areas that need more plants for erosion control in a polka dot type pattern, and fill with compost. In low rainfall areas, the compost won't wash away, and will capture small amounts of rain in the divets, helping to support native field plants. I like the idea of Mimosa sticks....if you use that strategy in conjunction with mulching slash/leafs/grass/etc, the sticks will help keep all that material from sliding off. In arid areas, the key thing is to not let any water run off your property. The more you can slow down and let percolate, the more the native plants, or your own landscaping, will improve, and the less erosion you will have.
     
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  18. Caribean

    Caribean New Member

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    Until now I have only seen the land and the drop in dry weather. It does not look like water is 'falling' down over the edge of the drop. In winter dec. jan. febr. I for sure will see some rain.
    My slope is quite green, many native bushes and lots of thyme, and good to know never irrigated. Only 2 smaller, maybe 2x200 m2, is with native grasses, dried out when I saw them, one of those patches is along the drop.
    Probably in july I will see the land again for about 10 days. Dry periods can be here 6 months (but in Norway , where I live, it also looks like Africa: no rain for 4-5 months).
     
  19. Caribean

    Caribean New Member

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    Stone mulching, I will think about that, but of course the stones (nice ones on a beach 4 km away) become cooking hot. Good idea.
     

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