Bruno Brusini

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since Nov 27, 2015
Macaronesia (Canary Is.)
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Recent posts by Bruno Brusini

Angela Aragon wrote:Congrats on your property acquisition. One solution you might consider is planting double hedgerows on contour, with a distance of about 1/2 to 1 meter between the pairs. Fast-growing legumes, such as Lucaena or Glyricidia are ideal for this purpose. If you have rocks/stones around, you can put them in between the rows to increase the gabion effect. Plant the trees very close together, around 10 cm apart, and then keep them trimmed to about waist level. Drop the trimmings on the land above the hedgerow. Put other trimmings up there to if you have them.

Swales do not work well on slopes greater than 20%. However, this technique, called SALT (sloping agricultural land technology), does. Over time, you eventually will wind up with a natural set of terraces, without having to dig at all, and with fertile soil.

Thank you Angela for your suggestions!

We haven't acquired the property, we're waiting on some paperwork, which also gives us more time for planning and observing.
3 years ago
Hi Rene,

Thank you very much for your answer!

Regarding terraces, I think I expressed myself incorrectly. We're limited by the town council planning, who have marked the land as Protected Landscape Space (Espacio de protecci√≥n paisaj√≠stica or EPP). From what I've seen town councils across the island tend to put this kind of protection to hilly areas in their municipality to prevent [some] high visual impact human activities on the slopes. One of the limitations included in EPPs are creating terraces, as well as and many other earthworks. Luckily, building water holding infrastructure is allowed. There are other important limitations, as well. However, laws are made for general cases, and these include traditional agriculture. Since we're aiming to establish a proper PC regenerative farm, our project is at the same time (according to town council ordinances) an ideal and limited candidate for activities in an EPP. Given the health of the land and bare soil, one would hardly think that's a protected landscape, especially with a medium-voltage tower sitting on top of the main hill   :  

We'll be able to work full time on the farm, and we have considered prioritizing a 1ha area to establish the core of our homestead during the initial years, in the flattest land spaces that conveniently sit halfway uphill. We'll be initially taking an easy approach on zones 4-5, which are 'forced' by slope and current accesses, and will have much of sitting, observing and letting be, except for the needed early actions to help it start rehealing.

Yes, you're right! The soil is definitely compacted where the dry thristles are, trampled for years. Thank you for your suggestions!
3 years ago
Hello, Permies!

After throughoutly looking for land, our group has finally come across a good candidate for our permaculture project. Our intention is to create, step by step, a permaculture homestead for self-sustainability, and whatever the future may bring. We'd love to evolve our farm, over a decade, into a permaculture experimental farm encompassing different fields, ranging from a common natural agriculture production to educative and cultural activities and native species reforesting.

Zone is 10a, subtropical climate at higher elevation (1250m/4100ft AMSL), facing NNE to ESE. Total surface is 7ha.
The only present vegetation are isolated chestnut and nut trees, and after the rain season weeds like thistles and dandelions sprout, just to be mowed down by the pasture animals afterwards. In the tiny 'valleys' between opposite slopes there are some unidentified trees. The owner says it's alamos, although I doubt it since they have laurel like leaves. It used to be an agriculture farm +15 years ago, nowadays used as pasture grounds for sheep and goats. Since it's pretty much bare soil, erosion has made a significant impact and is noticeable at plain sight. There are isn't any natural or man-made infrastructure to prevent or slow down erosion, except for two partially knocked down retaining walls.

This piece of land is pretty challenging because of its slope. While there's flat/gentle slope ground, most of the surface of the plot is within steeper slopes, ranging from 25% to 50% slope. I don't know whether there's a word in English for this kind of hilly terrain, in Spanish I'd say it's a 'loma' or 'cerro'. We aren't able to make traditional terraces, since it's has the lowest level of landscape protection (a completely arbitrary calification, by the way). Right now, our main concern is how to manage those slopes in order to rebuild soil and make them productive over time, hopefully reducing the slope to a manageable, safe for working steepness. I have done some research on possible strategies, such as alley farming and on contour deep rooted vegetation which would act as a barrier for erosion, building a terrace over time. Most of the searches I've done end up leading to man-made terraces, which are out of the question at the moment. I would love to hear which general courses of action or strategies you guys and gals deem convenient, or what you've done in similar situations.

3 years ago
Hi Bauluo,

I agree, it's a gamble! If I'm not mistaken, non-permanent would be legitimate and lawful as long as its within your land. If you don't own the land, I'm not sure about how it'd work. Don't take my word for granted, since I'm no expert on the topic

I guess the situation in Portugal is quite similar to that in Spain. If that's the case, there should be a lot of abandoned small villages, farms and barns. A lot of them are sold at a pretty low price, since the big expenditure comes with refurbishing. Maybe that's an option?

I'm currently living in a suburban apartment, however the permaculture project I hope to carry out includes non-permanent bioconstruction structures. I think it'll be fine as long as there are no troublesome neighbours, heh

4 years ago
Hey Bauluo,

I don't know about Portugal, but in Spain the way to work around is not to have permanent living structures, 'permanent' being immobile, and unable to be disassembled. A house made out of shipping containers is legal, and so would be a house. Foundations are out of the question, since they'd make the structure permanent (spanish: inmueble). However, I'd say that depending on the area and the neighbours, you may be able to live peacefully without being worried by the law.
5 years ago