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Island Soil Salinity and Combating Sea Winds  RSS feed

 
William Hydrick
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Hi all- first of all let me Introduce myself- I'm a complete newbie to permaculture and gardening/farming in general, but I'm a quick study and if you have a video that I haven't watched at some point, I haven't been trying hard enough.

So my family has a house and several acres on an island off of the coast of Italy. I'd like to go out there to maintain the property and live fully self-sufficiently (even making my own clothes) so that I can abandon money. I believe there is no better way to learn than trial and error (after the theory is researched, of course) and I plan to head out there with 3 months worth of food, some chickens and some goats- this should be plenty of time for me to grow lettuce and potatoes to replace the rice I bring with me when that runs out.

The problem is- the island was farmed from the 16th to 20th centuries by the inhabitants who did not observe good farming practices, such as over-grazing and over-use of monoculture, I'm also pretty sure that some animals were just left behind when their owners moved off of the island and continued grazing unchecked which caused local plant ecology damage. Combined with the fact it's an island and already had/has a naturally high salinity, I'm worried that the soil is too saline for most plants that I would consider a staple to grow, such as potatoes. The island is almost entirely Limestone beneath the soil.

On to the main point of this topic- I would like to know everything you know about repairing, but most importantly maintaining the soil from the wind. I've observed that in most places, there are species of plants that live along cliffs and beach fronts that create a natural barrier for the sea wind and prevents the wind from pouring too much salt from the sea into the soil. Firstly, I would be most appreciative if y'all could provide me a list of plants that would be native to the region that would work well for passive (non-interaction) maintenance of the soil. (I'm not really versed in Botany.)

I have considered the use of fruit trees and bushes along the edges of the growing areas and I've even considered building raised beds (1 meter high) on the edges and putting plants/grasses I find on the beaches along the top of the beds whilst having a sort of "courtyard" the middle of the square where the growing beds will be, so the beds are protected from the wind and so this courtyard would be where the main idea of creating high quality soil will be emphasised and then when the soil is good, it'll be transplanted out to new grow beds and the bad soil brought in for mixing/fixing with the main beds.

I'd like to hear your ideas, fantasies and experiences and what you think would work.
I'd like to be able to grow potatoes, tomatoes, some runners and romains, but the main concern is fixing the soil and having a system that filters out the salinity and brings it within the tolerances of most plants.

This is a pretty unique situation and so it's been somewhat difficult to find people in a similar situation who practice Permaculture so I can emulate how they've done things.


I look forward to your replies and learning in this community;
Thanks for reading!
 
Rus Williams
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Location: Zutphen, The Netherlands
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There are a lot of useful plants that handle salinity well such as sea buckthorn. I'd also suggest looking into what geoff lawton is doing with his work in the desert as soils there tend to have high salinity. Your idea of a buffer zone is probably the right one.

http://www.permies.com/t/18898/plants/Salt-Tolerant-Plant-list-Halophytes

This is a useful thread that should get you started.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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This video contains a description of how Geoff Lawton and others solved salt problems in Jordan, plus it's a general overview of what permaculture can do (you have to join the website but it's free): http://geofflawton.com/videos/surviving-collapse-designing-way-abundance/
 
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