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Permaculture in Action - Greening The Desert

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So we went in and we had a look and we thought oh no! This is like is is the end of the Earth This is like as hard as you can get. This is hyper area and is 10 acres of almost dead flat, completely salted landscape. 400 meters below sea level, lowest place on Earth 2 km from the dead sea, to about 2 km from where Jesus was christened It hardly got any rainfall. We got temperatures in August that go over 50°c Everybody is farming under plastic strips Everybody sprays, spray, spray Everybody is putting synthetic fertilizers on Overgrazed with goats, just like maggots eating the flesh of the bone, down to the bone of the Country. Literally like maggots, giant maggots eating it to nothing. So we designed up a system that would harvest every single bit of rain water that fell on it. On 10 acres, that's one and a half km of swale water harvesting ditch on contour and when they are full 1 million liters of water soak into the landscape. And they will fill quite a few times over a winter. And then we heavily mulch those swales with organic matter which was trash from organic fields nearby. We put that almost half a meter deep. So we saved that and mulched our swales witch were about 2 m wide and half a meter deep on the trench. Then we put micro irrigation underneath the mulch. And then on the up-hill side of the water harvesting trench nitrogen fixing, very hardy pioneer desert trees which helped shade and reduce window evaporation and also put nitrogen into the soil and structured the soil for us. And then on the lower side of the trench we put fruit trees. Majoring in date palms as the long term over-storing end. And then we put in figs, pomegranates, guavas, mulberries, now some citrus. Within four months we had figs a meter high with figs on, which is impossible. We done a course, a male and female course, trained up some locals and we got a translator who was working for the project who has his degree in agriculture in the Jordan university. And he go onto his mates and said in the agricultural department, well you said we couldn't grow figs, we got figs now with figs on them. You better come out and test the soil because no matter what you say we are either growing in salty soil what we shouldn't be growing or we have desalted the soil and we didn't know what we have done. And they came in and the salt levels were dropping. So they became interested, the salt levels were dropping around the swales. They said you must have washed it through, normally they use a huge amount of water and wash the salt through to the lower levels which just makes the ground water more salty. your salt will be twenty meters deep if you keep doing that and then it will take a thousand years to recover. And we used only one fifth the amount of water so the water they thought it all through, no we used one fifth and that really got them. When they realized the amount of water we hadn't used With the same amount of water we would normally use we could have done fifty acres. Originally people laughed at us because we didn't put straight lines in. We went on contour with these swales. They thought you got a bulldozer you can flatten the dessert you can stretch it. But we wanted to go on contour because you have got a longer edge so we can harvest the water passively. Then we planted more non fruiting trees then fruit trees. So they laughed at us. You've done more non productive things then productive things, what's the point. In soil that won't even grow anything, so you know. And then we covered all the inside of the swale with a huge amount of mulch were as they scrape all their organic matter off and burn it, like most traditional agriculture. In the middle of winter we got a funny email saying we got a problem we got mushrooms growing in the swale. They called it fungus, but when we saw a photograph of it it was mushrooms, because they have never seen mushrooms because they have never had that much humidity in living history in the soil. And when you open up the mulch, there's all these little animals there. You know there are all these little insects and the soil has come alive. And the fungi net that's underneath the mulch is putting off a waxy substance that is repelling the salt away from the area. And the decomposition is locking the salt up and the salt is not gone, it's become inearth and insoluble. So we could re-green the middle east. We could re-green any dessert and we can desalt it at the same time. And if we can do it on an insignificant, flat little bit of ten acres of flat dessert if you give us something with a catchment or a wadi or a canyon or any of those erosion valleys we can turn it right around completely. You can fix all of the world's problems in a garden. You can solve them all in a garden. You can solve all your pollution problems and all your supply needs in a garden. And most people today don't actually know that and that makes most people very insecure.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 20 seconds
Country: Italy
Language: English
Views: 838
Posted by: paulg on Feb 20, 2010

http://www.permacultureplan... Permaculture in Action - Greening the Desert - Geoff Lawton's Ground Breaking implementation of Permaculture in The Dead Sea Valley. This video illustrates how Permaculture is possible everywhere.

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