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Permaculture and learning , Rajgurunagar, Maharashtra, IN
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Permaculture is weaving magic!

Project: Chaitraban

Posted by Jyoti Deshpande over 10 years ago

It is almost three years and as Toby Hemenway says, the magic is happening! The trees are yielding shining tasty food, the variety of weeds on the land is slowly reducing, the soil is darker colour now and there are tons and tons of teeny tiny insects cra

Last weekend was the most amazing time at Chaitraban, till today! I could feel the breeze on my face which was fragrant with the aroma of the fruits and vegetables, the sweet smell of the night jasmine and fresh mint in the air was mesmerising.There was a romantic feel about the way the monsoon clouds played with the string of birds flying high.

There is magic happening! Vegetables of last year have reseeded themselves and yielding fresh food for the table, the fruit trees have decided to bless us with ample chemical-free nutrition and the bees and butterflies have decided to make their permanent home on the farm. The pathways are all lined with ground covers or mulch, there are smaller shrubs, bushes under new fruit trees and the upper storey is made of fodder trees for the cattle and goats. The no-dig beds are ready to grow some new veggies (as there is too much rain) and they will be sown to grow all food in three months time.

The orchard is all planted with mango, guava, coconuts, citrus, custard apple, water apple, figs and many more, and is waiting to grow other storeys of the food forest. The pond is ready to welcome ducks, the outlet of which ends in a hose to water the veggies with the fertilised water (provided the kids agree to sacrifice their splash pool!). A new area of no-dig beds is ready with the beds and waiting to welcome chickens after the monsoon.

The trees are choosing their own plants to form guilds and the farm is forming its own system of being self-sufficient in terms of beneficial insects, nutrition, pollination and everything else that will be needed for it to thrive! The weeds are (somehow!) helping the plants and trees to grow better. We began with weeding two years ago and it was a back pain and still the plants were not doing any better. Now, in the absence of extra help we do not weed and the trees and vegetables are growing wonderfully together!

Finally, after more than two years, we can sit on the verandah and enjoy a cup of delicious mint-lemon grass-ginger tea, looking at the rain drizzling through the beautiful landscape, the river and the waterfalls in the mountains beyond.

In a couple of years, we hope to have accomodation for volunteers and hold permaculture courses on site :-) Can't wait to meet wonderful new friends from all over the world!


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Comments (4)

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Dennis Argall
Dennis Argall : It's astonishing to look at these photos Jyoti. In our correspondence elsewhere I have had in mind still the photos you presented in your original record here. Such huge progress. And so beautiful.

Has the change been huge since the monsoon began, or have your swale systems enabled it to be green before that?

At the present rate of growth it looks as though before the next dry season you will have a protective forest.

You were looking at the question of animals to manage the grass. Any decisions? Geese mow well but they are a law unto themselves.
Posted over 10 years ago

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Jyoti Deshpande
Jyoti Deshpande : thank u dennis :-) ur words from your vast experience means a lot to me. the earth was very hard and full of big boulders when we bought the property (we loved the view). and i had to terrace the land to remove the big boulders and work the land. i hadnt studied any permaculture then and have made some big basic mistakes. the soil is loose everywhere now and the rain water seeps in without flowing on the surface. had observed the land to plan swales but the water comin from the road outside the property is a flood! and i still have to divert the same away. a rain event of fifteen minutes can drown our three acres if i let the road runoff in the property. for the time being have not planned any swales but kept on mulching and mulching and making beds on contours. i plan to buy chickens for the veggie beds and only a pair of ducks. cant keep too many animals as i am only a weekend farmer and i am alone on the farm when the caretaker goes on a long leave which is twice a year. if he does leave someday, i am doomed to stay there when my family is in the city! so heavy mulching is my only option to help keep away some weeds. will keep updating on the photos. waiting to c ur update too :-)
Posted over 10 years ago

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Sarvesvara Dasa
Sarvesvara Dasa : Huge efforts = Huge returns. Wonderful snaps. All the best.
Posted over 10 years ago

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Dennis Argall
Dennis Argall : It seems to me Jyoti, that you have indeed made swales. There are no rules, just principles, and your paths following contours, binding soil and catching runoff look like they do the intended job.

You speak of water disappearing underground. This is potentially a very valuable thing. Even if it goes too far down for your immediate use, the world is full of aquifers that need recharging.

There seem to me two sharp limitations of this site: - the lack of a facility to notify people of new entries and - the absence of a structure to encourage people to set out their plans.

I would be very interested to know your plans for the property. Whether it remains in mind as an occasional retreat from city life, or whether you plan to base life their in future. I have done a bit of both, though now at a point where I am back in a town and focused on making my small town garden complex and food productive. Spring here now, just did a spring report: http://suburbanfoodforest.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/spring-report.html

I will try to update at this site too, as per your request, esteemed friend.

Posted over 10 years ago

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