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Presenting my Spanish finca and ecological project.  RSS feed

 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I can say I am blessed by a very good weather allowing me to eat my avocados and even some bananas!
Hard for mangoes, but I get a few in november.
I am blessed but I have chosen it...
But we are still in a 15 months drought... Drops but no rain.

Many people around live ecologically, cultivate, repair old houses the cheap way, have solar panels and/or wind mills.
But I will tell you about my place and what I have been doing for one year.

I am in a zone 10 place not far from the sea. It is steep and we cultivate in terraces like in the Andes, but smaller.
No tractor possibility (that is why there is no real commercial farming)
We should get 400-500mm of rain/year. (=14'?)

My aim is to increase the % of food coming from the land.
My real problem will be cacao and coconut!!!
That would be my 2 choices to keep from abroad...

I would be very happy to exchange ideas of crops and tips with people from California or Western Australia, or Western South Africa... Some parts of Chile should be quite alike too.







And no photo was taken from a plane!

Then I will present you my growies, and also the home, as I have started a topic about my rocket stove kitchen / mass heater...
There is a main home, and then I want to do some rooms around the place. I already have 1 ready (better while renovating the main one!), and I can do 2 more at least.



Have a good day!
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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More pics:
http://s1118.photobucket.com/albums/k607/Palma38/

use the sub-albums on the right.
Many endemics are identified.

Also some sceneries of La Palma Canary island...
 
Marianne West
Posts: 131
Location: Lemon Grove, CA
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Looks a lot like San Diego. We get 13" if we are lucky. How warm does it get? Do you have a well? You must be watering if you get Bananas.....
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Hi Marianne
How warm... well, this summer was very warm after a non raining winter... But not so warm either, as it was a little over 70°F. At little distance there was 100, may be 600' higher (200-300m), that is a question of altitude here. Go near the sea and it is better. I am at 1640'

the usual temperatures are 63° in the morning and 82° in the afternoon.

I have no well, and I have never seen any, and there are no river in the island!
Well some water do run in creeks sometime in winter...

We do water and the island is full of canals and pipes! I receive a little water everyday, and a lot of water from another pipe every 20 days. This water comes from a "big well"! It is pumped. The regular water comes from the high "mountain" (yes, we have snow in winter!). It comes thanks to the "horizontal rain" you also know in California, clouds coming into the trees and running down. Let's say it's fog, we call this "bruma". I had some 2 days ago! Some clouds come from the sea, and it looks like smoke coming. The sun is beautiful through the scarf...

So I also have a very big tank! Actually I can even swim in it...

I have a wet place were I found bananas when I arrive, and I also planted there:
- manihot esculenta (casava or yuca)
- colocasia esculenta (taro I think, ñame they call it here)
- cinamomum verum (the real cinnamon, it is small!)
- and some ginger.
- There is also a mango there, and I planted a patchouli underneath, that I made from seed, I was so happy to get 2 plants!
- lemon grass and vetiver and a zucchini...

This place is down a little cliff facing west! Sun, heat and I give water, and the soil is good here.
i must take pics, the casava is taller than me!
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I explain what is "calima", which is the reason of increasing temperatures above normal.
(and when it is warmer outside at 7am, something like nearly 80... you know you will not be outside in the afternoon!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saharan_Air_Layer

The Saharan Air Layer (SAL) is an intensely dry, warm and sometimes dust-laden layer of the atmosphere. In the Sahara Desert region of North Africa, where it originates, it is the prevalent atmosphere, extending from the surface upwards several kilometers.



This phenomenon can happen at any time of year but is usually associated with the hot air found over the islands during the summer months, ranging in time scale from a few hours up to a week. Calima as it is called, is caused by a duststorm that is stirred up by high winds in the Sahara and is then driven over the Canary Islands by south easterly winds.

I am lucky to live west and have less sand. Sometimes I can look at the sun though! And sun sets are beautiful.
 
James Slaughter
Posts: 94
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Gorgeous place! So jealous. Some info that may be relevant to you -

http://www.scribd.com/doc/34608091/Fog-Water-Harvesting-South-America%E2%80%99s-Pacific-coast

Casuarina is a great tree, though be careful as some can be weedy from runners. It is a good tree for giving copious amounts of potential mulch materials, and is good for coppicing for useful timber. It is also nitrogen fixing.

I give thanks to your Islands for the wonderful plant of tagasaste! Such an amazing species, flowering in mid winter here, and giving the local species of nectar feeding birds and bees an amazing supply of food just when it is least available. Also for echium, another favourite plant of mine, low maintenance, soil improving by the soft mulch it creates around it, and such beautiful flowers. Cheers.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Thanks for all!

Yes, not very edible stuff but nice and medicinal we have.
I have a tagasaste with a malabar spinach growing,
+ another one has got a passion fruit on it,
+ another one for a tomato...
And the only big one stands in an impossible unwatered slope of stones and gravels! It is very old with good roots.
Their best use here is for goats.
But they are not native from my place! They come from higher.

I am a little to dry for tagasaste actually.
May be also too low for fog harvest, as the one I recently had is an exception. Fogs are common in the east and north, at higher altitudes, 700-800m mini. I am at 500m.

Very interesting:
"Fogharvesting from trees dates back to the aboriginal people of Tenerife (Canary)"
 
LaLena MaeRee
Posts: 148
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What a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing it with us.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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You're welcome... and I hope to show you more, and the progress....

You can see the yuca on the left, characteristic leaves, then all the taro looong leaves, they almost hide the bananas!
Many nasturtium, and the trunk on the right is a moringa.

The background is hardly seen, but it is pure rock (cliff), good for the heat.
yuca_name_platano_moringa_398_600.JPG
[Thumbnail for yuca_name_platano_moringa_398_600.JPG]
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I could not put 3 pics, so I post again.

Here you will see the base of a taro, the big ñame root. Look at the delicate leaf, a long roll beginning to unroll, it is beautiful and so perfect!
On the left there is a little "malpica" (achyranthes aspera) and then a ginger leaf.
On the right it is coffee.. I removed the big one, but still have small seedlings.
name_gengibre_malpica_cafe_400_600.JPG
[Thumbnail for name_gengibre_malpica_cafe_400_600.JPG]
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I have to take time for more pics and what is changing...

At the moment, I can share about this addition to the project (but it is not in the same place):
http://www.permies.com/t/26078/community/Neighboring-living-project-Canary
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1374
Location: northern California
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Seems to me from other threads I've seen you in that you've got an interest in staple crops.....what about oaks? Seems to me both Mediterranean and California oaks would stand a chance with you. Problem is they take their sweet time to start producing! I imagine you have olives....and maybe carob? That's another three that takes some patience. I wonder if impatience is behind some of the bias toward fruit....most fruits start producing sooner than nuts.....
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Good thoughts, and I have decided to be patient, so yes I have planted 4 carob, and I do not know how many females...
I have only 3 olive trees, because I was unsure of my variety choice, because I lack chilling hours.

Chestnut is for example not adapted to my 500m high place (great at higher places around!). Same for walnut, though I would love to have a subtropical adapted variety!

I am interested in oak, but I am ignorant of what exact variety can grow here. Any help is welcome for the choice and seed source!

 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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So, what is going on here... The access path to go down is on its way if I dare say... It is still necessary to be careful for not gliding on some pine needles or sand!
The roof of the house has been changed. I still have no door and no window! The rocket hole is in the ground and the plan is fixed, but no time. The next rain will come certainly in october, before any cold. So, the order is water harvest first. It will use the path and the roof.

I needed to gather water below the water tank, so I do a duck place! That will be for producing some good enriched water...
The compost toilet is in construction.
Some stone walls have been reinforced.
I have changed most of the paths in the finca, because it was not possible to go down there with a wheel-barrow.
Also, I have decided that earth is for growing and that large walls are better adapted to walking!

The place at the bottom of the valley used to be for going to the avocado trees, and it will be turned into the chick place!
I am very proud of this idea, because hens need a place off veggies, but with access when you need them. They fly (especially the local ones!) and the orchard cannot be covered by the wire net.
I have found the only place that allows me to do many things at the same time:
- not good for growing
- between 2 walls
- possibility to make a "wire roof" with cucurbitacea growing on it.
- opening the wire will let them go to the garden.
- they will have shade
An unproductive place will thus produce eggs and pumpkins! + serve as a place to put the excess of little stones and sandy gravel.

I have put some new pipes for watering new trees and plants.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I had to cut some orange trees, bad state and ill.
Anyway, 35 were too much. They drink a lot! I do not want to sell, I want to eat and live.
I want to over-graft some pomelo or tangerine.

The new plants of these last 2 years... All I could find I give it a try.

So, 4 carob (in poor steep places for holding earth as well and wind cut) and 3 olive trees...
2 wild pistachio atlantico.
2 macadamia
antilla hazelnut
2 inga edulis and another legume I forgot the name...
Plenty of cajanus cajan
3 chayamansa
a few moringa
3 neem

1 cinnamon
pitahaya
3 loquats
black zapote
2 canistel (yellow zapote)
chicle
3 fig trees and a black mulberry (these 4 are in steep places)
2 jujube
crataegus sp
pomegranate
some passion fruits growing in tagasaste or an old avocado.
new bananas
tomato tree
papaya
3 apple trees (anna and golden dorsett)
lili pili
Pitanga
strawberry guava
arbutus unedo
natal plum
2 feijoa
a few spiny kai apple
1 combava
lemon eucalyptus
tea tree


I have seedlings of schotia afra and calabash trees and more natal plums. 1 tamarind is trying to start, tall as a hand after a few month...
My 6 months bamboo is still 3 inches tall... Dendrocalamus strictus from seed.
The acacias do not really grow, lack of heat for them?
I will also see if the nere seeds will sprout... I started here with a hot weather and drought, so I focused on desert plants....

And I develop the vetiver system where I want to hold the earth.
Did not think there was so much, sure I find some more!
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 514
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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Xisca,

Do you get much bruma? I am familiar with the southern coast of Ecuador which has a similar climate, but probably a little warmer. They are overcast with a heavy mist for 4 to 6 months of the year that gives water to the cloud forests of the coastal mountains. In areas that have had the forests cut down, the streams and springs dry up. Replanting the forests restores the springs and streams. The bruma condenses on the leaves and branches of the trees and then drips down to the ground. No trees, no condensation, no water.

There was a discussion on mist harvesting here: http://www.permies.com/t/20890/desert/Mist-nets-cotton-fabric
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Tengo bruma de vez en cuando...

It is very rare here as I am not in the laurisilva. Here the bruma is not near the sea, it is at high altitudes, at least 700m and over, and more in the north east that receive the alizee wind. The clouds are hurting the roque de los muchachos (over 2000m) and they part, so I just see them passing by over the sea...

This is never a heavy mist, it really looks like fire smoke passing by! Everybody smells to verify when one sees it!

La Palma has not been deforested so the so called horizontal rain still occurs in the island. I am just not concerned directly.
I did post in another post about mist nets and even put some pics from some Canary island.
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 514
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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Sorry, I missed the post about fog harvesting -- and in reference to the post I just made in your tall canopy thread, I missed your post about chestnuts.

While the bruma may not affect you directly, deforestation and reforestation at higher altitudes and in the area that does receive bruma on a consistent basis, as in the laurisilva, will affect the aquifers and the few streams that do run through the island. That is the water that comes through your pipes and canals.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Exactly!
That is why I said I was not concerned directly, for my trees, but indirectly yes we all get benefit.
Now they are very careful not to deforest any more like in the past centuries.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I have found the usb key so that I can post new pics!
Some of my seedlings...
(well, the chaya is from cutting!)
chaya203.JPG
[Thumbnail for chaya203.JPG]
Chayamansa
schotia-afra164.JPG
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schotia afra
eucalyp-citriodora169.JPG
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eucalyptus citriodora
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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The future place for hens and others...
I am proud of my permie thinking there!

1) I use an unused place
2) there are already walls
3) Easy to fence for flying local hens: only shut over the walls.
4) The garden up there allows for some cucurbit planting -> shade.
There is already a vine and a passion fruit.

2 crops instead of nothing.

the humps of dirt are the future little cabbage/chard etc gardens for hens. They will be covered and uncovered alternatively when green enough.
the rock was too close, hence the little walls to terrace this, and added soil (it comes from the side, where I gather the stones that will drain the path).

I have also planned that the hens will be able to go up there in the garden when needed. A sort of chicken tractor with "back home" easily.
The excess from the garden can be thrown down easily all along the wall.

barranco213_600.JPG
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David Vidal
Posts: 19
Location: Catalonia (Europe), Zone 9
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Hi Xisca, that seems like an extraordinary place, for sure, a dream for any hard-working permaculturalist. It will be a pleasure to follow your updates, specially since I'm interested in the Canarias and it's nice to learn some tips about the ecosystem and plants that you can grow, which are obviously somewhat different from the ones we use to have in the Península and the Mediterranean region.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I absolutely need to make photos updates, as things have been going on!

For example, this place in the barranco now has some structure, and some fence on it. I need to cover it with wood before spring.

And the path to go down there is now better, with some stairs to maintain the stones.
I prepared some soil for the future passion fruit vine, so as it likes to eat, I burried organic matter, a looooot!!
Parral620.JPG
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enterrar-compost622.JPG
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Xisca Nicolas
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I would also like to go to the hugel forum and present what I did. I do not do what is advised, with a narrow top, because I burry.
This is a 1 day work to do each of them....

This is wood, orange and avocado mainly + tunera (opuntia)

The problem was some lack of soil to cover, as the new surface is larger..
compost036.JPG
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compost-tunera864.JPG
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Xisca Nicolas
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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This was easier to do, just burry some opuntia pads, and some goat manure.
The others also have goat manure.

the 2nd picture is the same place, with the watering and before planting.
I got some melons, corn....
But not great results with the variety trials....
Anyway this place needed to get a better soil than what it had. It is so nice compared to the bad jungle with half dead trees I found at arriving!
I was about to cut the 3 mangoes, and for the 1st time this autumn I ate some super good fruits!

You can also see the 2 compost piles between the 3 mangoes.
They are full of opuntia, and the plastic is to prevent sprouting during dry season.
P1150767.JPG
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huerta3mangos255.JPG
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Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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1 hugel got watermelons, but they did not do fine.
The other got butternuts calabazas, and I got around 30 fruits with 8 plants.
planton-sandia217.JPG
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planton-calabaza231.JPG
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Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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As I am moving from time to time, and as I would like to add some chicks, I am still looking for some people to share the place.
 
Eric Toensmeier
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Hey did you build that stonework, or was it already there when you arrived? Very nice-looking stuff.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Thanks!
Most of it was here, it was built after the war, 60 years ago.
I repare and put my money there for getting something to live on....

You can also see there the amount of organic matter I have already burried!

I do add some more walls, because I think you cannot grow trees without the appropriate depth underground.
Or else I would have only pines...

So I break the underground rocks for roots.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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And by the way Eric, where is your page to suggest the guilds we tried?
I have found a nice one:
Some pigeon peas and tagasaste, with basella and air potatoes!
And green is welcone under this of course.
 
Ruth Stout was famous for gardening naked. Just like this tiny ad:
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
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