Thursday, 28 January 2016

New garden adventures at Curaçao

Roland's wish since many years was: to visit Dinah Veeris, the famous herb-woman of Curaçao. So he did, as this video shows:


A concern Dinah shared with Roland was the drougth of the soil. Even in the rainy season. Many medicinal species disappear because of burning sun, blowing wind and the totally eroded soil. Growing vegetables is a problem too.
The island's industry pumps away much of the groundwater. But that's not all. The people have the habit of sweeping their garden clean. They remove all undergrowth. So the soil is freely available for blowing with the wind and flowing in muddy streams when there's a rainstorm. No nutrition is left in the soil.

Videos of solutions

Roland showed his efforts to start composting. Compost is indispensable for the soil. The next video shows his new experiment: 'Hügelkultur'. Organic materials are hidden in the ground, on which vegetables will grow. The organic material fixes the moisture in the soil.
How he builded a 'greenhouse' is shown here:
As you see the purpose of this tropical 'greenhouse' is to give shadow. So it's made of green 'shading cloth'. An easy way to irrigate with plastic bottles is shown here:

Green grass growing

After two months of rainy season the barren terrain turned to green. Grass was growing all over! Roland first reason to let it grow was to hide his okra plants and small moringa trees for the iguanas. 

Almost daily handy men came at his door, offering to help get rid of the grass (for a few guilders). But the garden flourishes with the grass. The sun does not burn on the soil anymore. The falling leaves stay in the grass and start composting.

Greening deserts

The next step will be: mowing the grass, but leave it there as mülch. Together with branches and leaves of trees, the grass is a source of energy given by nature. There's no need to buy manure.
In this way even deserts became green again. In Brasil agriculturers apply the principles of the rainforest, by covering the soil with organic materials. The soil turns more and more fertile. It holds humidity, the temperature drops a little and it even gets more rainy.

A greener Curaçao

Roland is very glad he can help Curaçao, and the climate in the long run, with his experiments. More people see the benefits. They ask him for help to turn their terrain into a green oasis.
He is also happy with this terrain at Bandabou:

All vegetation there will stay. The paths will remain. This terrain will be a centre for teaching permaculture. Roland will start some Hügelkultur there, swales along vegetable beds and other experiments to show interested Curaçaoan people how permaculture works.