Wyrdwood Acres

Follow one families adventure as they build a new life of self-reliance and sustainable living, embrace permaculture and undertake a mammoth task of self-building a straw-bale forever home in the sun.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

The Land

So this is the land we will likely spend the rest of our lives on, living the good life and getting close to nature.

The land we have our hearts set on is 5 acres in southern Spain that is currently host to nothing but Almond trees. The plot is relatively narrow and long, so we would own as far as the eye can see in this first picture.




Spain's obsession with monoculture and constant weeding/ploughing between the trees leaves the earth bare, scorched and barren. It is our hope that by using Permaculture practices, introducing as much biological matter as we can to the soil and establishing ground cover will regenerate this land in to a green oasis.

The climate in the area is referred to as a local steppe climate. During the year there is little rainfall. This climate is considered to be BSk according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. The average annual temperature in el Pinós/Pinoso is 15.2 °C. The rainfall here averages 404 mm. The least amount of rainfall occurs in July. The average in this month is 9 mm. Most of the precipitation here falls in October, averaging 59 mm.

Since the area doesn't receive a very high annual rainfall, our first job will be to put the earthworks in place to help slow the movement of water and sink it in to the land. My plan for this is to dig trenches/swales around the perimeter of the property. since we are on a very slight hill this will allow us to collect the water that runs off our neighbours property and put it to use aswell as catching any water before runs off our own property at the other end. We'll also be utilising as much greywater as possible to help up the moisture available to our plants. With added biological matter in our soil it should hold more water better and for longer to minimise runoff and soil erosion. In the food forest we will also allow the native pioneer plants to pave the way as ground cover and slowly substitute them out for more beneficial or edible plants where appropriate.

We'll be introducing a wide variety of biodiversity as part of our design/plan for Wyrdwood Acres to help heal the land and build up the soil health. Dynamic accumulators like comfrey will be invaluable to us for their ability for to drill nutrients from deep in the soil and when composted re-distribute them through the upper layers of the soil where other plants can benefit from them. Animals will have their role to play in our system too, eventually we plan to keep quail, chickens, goats and possibly rabbits and pigs too, all of which will provide valuable manure to enrich the soil and get that vital microbiology going to create good healthy soil.





It will certainly be a challenge trying to implement our plans and designs but one that we are so excited to undertake. Check back often to see how we get on with achieving our homestead goals!






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10 comments

  1. This is going to be quite interesting to watch....a total transformation!

    It's the same thing here in the states with the monoculture and constant tilling (and let's not forget SPRAYING--UGH!). I imagine there isn't a living thing in that soil, but nature comes back mightily, when given the chance ( and a helping hand!)

    I'm excited for you guys and wish you all the best.

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    1. Hopefully with some organic matter, biochar and natural ammendments we can get the life back into the land

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  2. This is SO exciting for you. I wish I were younger. I would come and give you some time.
    Gillx

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    1. Thanks Gill, you're always welcome to help out with ideas and thoughts :)

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  3. This si exciting stuff - have you got a plan of where everything is going to go? Really interesting to see how you develop this, I hate to see all that bare earth!

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    1. Just posted the site map up, I'll be planning out the garden next :)

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  4. trees look good for so little rain, no supplemental irrigation I assume?

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    1. As far as I'm aware, there's no irrigation lines in or sprinklers and I can't imagine anyone trying to do it by hand

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  5. It's kind of sad, but this kind of agriculture is actually suited to the crop. The killing of all surface vegetation limits the loss of water to transpiration. The dry top few inches acts as a kind of insulator. The Spanish are very strict adherents to basic cropping science, and so it goes. Greenhouses have proliferated in Spain, because the chance of meeting the needs of the "water economy" are increased by having the plants enclosed in an evaporation-proof shield of plastic. Of course, there are many terrible consequences to greenhouse gardening, including pesticide and herbicide poisoning of the environment and the simple destruction of aesthetic qualities of the land. Sicily, Southern Italy and Greece are the same. Agriculture is a hardship for the environment, and it is very difficult to do with any sensitivity to the same.

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    1. the constant ploughing only serves to destroy all life and organic matter in the soil. I'm hoping to prove that it is damaging and unnecessary by showing the locals another way

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