Our permaculture project is very much under construction. We are slowly adding permaculture elements to the farm as we go.
What have we done so far?
Our friend Lesley Martin stayed with on the farm for 9 month. She is a permaculture teacher in Portugal. Together with us she made a Permaculture design for the farm. This will be our leading design to work with on our farm. Bit by bit we will develop the permaculture elements that are described. We still have to fill in many details. Since we are only two people we will proceed slowly but surely.
Water catchment at the top of the land
At the very top of the land we had some swales made. On the swales trees are planted.
Location of goats and chicken
Our goat house in nicely situated in zone one. We have to milk the goats twice a day, it is good it’s close to the house.The chickens are situated in zone 1 as well.
The goats house is cleared out twice a year since we use a deep litter system. With the litter we make a big compost heap. After about 6 month the compost is ready and used in the garden and orchard. Kuttings from the fruit trees are given to the goats. The goats eat the leaves on the cuttings. After that the wood goes through the shredder. The shredding material goes into the garden and Orchard. The kitchen scraps go to the chickens. The littered straw from the chicken house is used in the Orchard. This way the nutrients are moved from one system to a next system.
Our main vegetable garden in the town of Monchique. Going and coming from the town we can pass by. It is on the road from the own to the land.
In our vegetable garden we make and use compost. We try to use non tilling methods as much as possible to build up soil. Such as chop and drop. Seeds are as much as possible local.
We did two Permaculture Design Courses on the land.
We had a straw bale building course on the land which also gave us a straw bale house.
We developed a small campsite for accommodating courses and guests.
The attachment of a greenhouse to the main house
This heats up the house partly in winter.
Our animals are taken care of well. Providing them with space and enough nutrients.
We try to keep the work within limits…
Enjoying our vegetables and good cheese and milk is important to us.
We try to connect to local initiatives.
We try to sell our surplus on the local market.
Elements that are in the planning at the moment.
Collecting more water for the fruit trees.
We have a terraced orchard. Terraces are good for collecting rain water into the soil, but we want to improve the water catchment by making mulch circles around the trees. This way more rain water can be collected around the trees during the rainy winter month. This water will store in the terrace and will provide the tree with water during part of the dry summer. The more we can store in the terrace the lesser we need to irrigate.
Still so far we had to irrigate the trees part of the summer. By making mulch circles around the trees we can reduce the amount of water we have to irrigate, because the mulch prevents evaporation.
For the mulch we use straw that has been used in the chicken house. It is a mixture of straw and chicken manure. When available we also use mulch from shredded wood.
Building a goat place extension that takes the elements in account.
The goat house is to open to the prevailing wind directions at the moment. When the weather gets bad it rains into the house.
Continuation of the Water catchment from the road and the top part of the land
We noticed that a road that is made at the top of the land catches quite some water. We are considering to make a second road that will function as a water catchment terrace.
Tree lines in the goat place.
We want to plant trees inside the goat land. It is not yet clear how we are going to this and what tape of trees we are going to use. We are studying on this topic.
The waste water system
We want to reuse our waste water.
An energy neutral house.
Do you want to support our project?
When you like our project you can support us without spending more money then that you had planned to.
Let me first tell you shortly what we need money for in the near future. Our goat place needs an extension and some improvements. We have more goats, so we need some more space. These goats will be our future milking goats, they are still quite young now.
To be able to make cheese legally we will need to build a small industrial kitchen. Except for making cheese I would love to use it for giving cheese making lessons. I hope many people in Monchique will start keeping goats and making cheese. It would help to keep the land clear and to give people an income.
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