PERMACULTURE ASSOCIATION CYPRUS
July Permablitz Report
By Paul Raymond
It was brutally hot in the paddock at Filo Terra, but the relentless sun was a perfect demonstration of the challenges facing the Ogdens down on the coastal plain. The July Permablitz at the site near Xylophagou was a great opportunity to learn techniques for economizing water usage in such drought-prone spots. We started by digging a “sunken raised bed” where runoff from a nearby shower could feed into the compost and water plants directly through the roots – slashing the rate of surface evaporation. The same principle was key to our next project, a wicking bed. We dug a hole for a reservoir, lined it with plastic, filled it with gravel then placed an old tractor tyre on top to be filled with compost and covered with straw. A watering tube plunged deep into the reservoir meant little water would be lost, and a larger tube allowed kitchen waste to be dropped to a happy family of worms in the compost. The verdant pepper plants in the adjacent bed were ample evidence of how effective the bed would become. After our lunch in the orchard, we took a look at Phil’s amazing aerial photo of the site discussed his plans. Any growing project down here depends on efficient use of water. Judging by the permablitz, Filo Terra is heading in the right direction.
Next Permablitz: 25th of September in Paramytha near Limassol
We are happy to welcome back everyone from the summer break and to kick start our Blitzes once more by returning to the location of our very first Blitz (back in Nov 2014) in Paramytha village, Limassol on Kat’s land Koukoulaki. Kat has been living on the land and working on the various structures built by her there for the last 5 years, you can see pictures of this process as well as download files and documents that helped and inspired her on the Facebook group Experimental Living
For more details about the blitz please see the facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1345606248790829/
Cyprus Permies – Meet our Local Permaculture Enthusiasts
This month we find out what makes one of the founder members of the Permaculture Association Cyprus, Luke Louka, so passionate about permaculture.
What is your dream for your land/project?
I want to create an example that inspires local farmers (in the “red villages” – the area in the South-East of the island characterized by the red clay soil) to adopt Permaculture. I’d like to see the potato (and other) farmers in the area growing Organic, super-nutritious food whilst regenerating the natural landscape and bringing the soil, and the area, back to life!
How has permaculture affected your life?
It has given me real hope for the environment and for the survival of the human race. Permaculture is the first tangible approach I have seen which offers practical solutions to the world’s most pressing problem – Climate Change.
What makes you excited about permaculture in Cyprus?
The people that are involved in the movement. I have had the great pleasure of meeting many great people who are genuinely passionate about the planet and about making a difference in the world. I have been inspired by many of these wonderful people to try to make a small change myself. The other thing that excites me about Permaculture in Cyprus is the fact that we are living on an island and I think we have a unique opportunity to create something here that could become an inspiration to the rest of the world. I realise that this vision is very ambitious, but perhaps one day, the entire island will be in balance with nature. We have a long way to go, but anything is possible.
Brief: My project is based on a piece of land that comprises a mature Cirtrus Orchard and several other areas containing various mature trees. The total area is approximately 7 500 square meters. I have becun, over the past 6 months, to experiment with several different types of planting beds, including several raised and sunken sheet-mulched designs. I hope to create planting beds in between all the rows of trees in the Citrus Orchard. I also have plans for a water harvesting system (capturing water from the roof of the house that is on the land) and I plan to experiment with the idea of using compost piles to produce hot water for the house.
Soil: the soil in the area is a red clay.
Climate: The climate is arid, with average annual rainfall being somewhere around 300mm.
What are you growing / planning to grow? We currently have the following trees: Orange, Lemon, Pomelo, Pecan, Olive, Pear, Guava, Avocado, Pistachio, Fig, Mespila (Lophat), Apple, Tangerines etc. We are currently growing some veggies such as Aubergines, Sweet Potato, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Peppers and Runner Beans.
What techniques are you using? Sunken beds, Raised beds (which I have found to be inferior to sunken beds in our climate because they dry out a lot quicker), Composting, Wood chip pathways and Wicking Beds. We built a wicking bed during the Permablitz in February (many thanks to all who attended) and have successfully grown celery and tomatoes in it.
Events and Workshops
If you know of any events or workshops that pertain to permaculture or sustainable living please let us know so that we can share them here.
Bringing traditional architecture to life with contemporary techniques.
This workshop has been advertised by Earth Building Cyprus and will be running for 6 weekends starting on the 1st and 2nd of October.
The workshop will take place in the mountainous village of Ayia Marina Xyliatou 40 minutes away from Nicosia.
For more info see the Facebook event:
Treis Elies Art and Nature Club brings children and adults closer to nature through creative workshops that take place in the small eco village of Treis Elies, Troodos. Check out their facebook for upcoming workshops.
A New Beekeeping Training Series for beginners is being offered by the Cyprus Agro Industry Center in Nicosia starting Wednesday 27 September 2016, 5:00 pm. The training includes 25 hours of theoretical and practical sessions.
For information and bookings call 99-562634.
Participation costs € 120.00 with special prices for students and unemployed.
Do you want your children to be more in touch with nature and their environment? Join the discussion on our Facebook group Permie Kids Cyprus.
If you are excited about permaculture there are a number of ways in which you can support our efforts or join us. You can find the newly established Permaculture Association Cyprus (PAC) which is run on the principles of Sociocracy.
Media Circle: The media circle is about being part of the team that handles our media outlets, ie newsletter and forum
Education Circle: Set standards, accredit teachers and certify students
Outreach Circle: Contact government officials, businesses, institutions, schools
Permaculture Network Circle: Members and affiliates are connected to the association through the network
Job Creation Circle: Job creation is about linking up experts and possible apprentices
Permaculture Kids: Organise kids activities for permaculture events. Develop educational programmes to teach permaculture ethics and principles to children
Permablitz Organising Committee Circle: is exactly what the name suggests!
Participating in circles is a great opportunity to forge new friendships, make valuable contacts and have fun with us as together we learn, practice and teach permaculture and sustainable living in Cyprus.
Please feel free to contact any of the Founders Circle Members if you would like more information on how to participate in any of the circles.
Founders Circle Members: