I’d like to give a little summary of Rancho San Martin. The property is just in it’s beginning stages. We plan on making Rancho San Martin a demonstration site that will serve the surrounding community as a model of sustainable agriculture. The site consists of 20 hectares with 2 hectares of cleared land for food production. The remaining 18 hectares is wild desert that has the potential for wild pitaya harvesting. Our soil is very sandy with small amounts of organic matter.
We have put in a swale at the top of our field to capture the water that runs on to the field from a 35 hectare catchment area upslope. We plan on implementing an alley cropping system consisting of 9 meter thick rows of leguminous/fodder trees( leucaena, moringa and tagasaste) followed by 20 meter thick alleys of papaya production. Under the papaya canopy we plan on planting heat sensitive to increase diversity and yields per hectare.
During the initial stages of the project we are thinking about making a silvopasture system in order to build soil nutrients and organic matter. Livestock could graze on the leguminous trees while amending the soil. Once nutrient and organic matter levels are up we will then plant papaya. Where we are purchasing compost is very expensive and compostable materials are hard to come by. We can make enough compost for one 20 meter alley of papaya but were hoping the livestock grazing on the fodder trees would be enough to amend the soil.
I am attaching some from google earth but soon i will post pics from on site.
posted 3 years ago
We have recently started to convert our garden beds to on contour sunken beds. They look great! You can tell just by looking at the low profile bed that this is the right way to dig garden beds in drylands.
I have some pictures of the swale that we built about a month ago. It is positioned at the top of our field in order to capture the water that is running onto our property from a 35 hectare catchment area upslope of the site. It looks large but our calculations were based off of the 100 year rain event which, due to climate change are happening much more frequently. Our spill way is 3 meters long which should passively allow water to leave the swale at a rate of up to 3 cubic meters of water per second. We have seeded the swale with a mixture of low water use annuals including tapari bean, amaranth, papalo, local sunflower, mammoth sunflower, buffalo grass, basil and huauzontle. We timed the seeding with the beginning of the seasonal rains to help with germination.
Just a quick update, The seasonal rains have come through in the past month which did wonders for the seeds we planted on our swale. Our berm looks nice and stabilized. Also, I forgot to post pics of our greywater system. The bananas are loving it and the papayas are growing nicely too.