Abraham Palma

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since Jun 15, 2020
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home care personal care forest garden urban food preservation cooking
New to urban permaculture.
Málaga, Spain
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Recent posts by Abraham Palma

Your comments and advice is making me think that I have a long road ahead and that knowledge is key.

And I didn't start talking about patterns.

I wonder, is there a part of this forum where people can post pictures and information about their land to spark a conversation and brainstorm ideas about it?

Use the growies section if it is about growing plants, or regional/Africa if it is about specifics of your climate. Homesteading is about pretty much everything about chores at home. Building is barns, houses, ... Purity is about alternatives to toxic products.  Projects for a broader scope to whatever you are doing in your property (in a project you usually mix a lot of strategies and interconect them together).
SKIP is about the certification program that runs Wheaton in his site, if you want to show a diploma for your earned skills. It certificates that you can run a property in an ecological and economical way, so maybe a landowner is more willing to employ you or even let you inherit his property. It's really basic old knowledge like how to make a rope, how to maintain wooden kitchenware, butcher meat, lit a fire or repair your wheelbarrow.
Any post with pictures draws more attention.

Subscribe to the daily mails and you will get some free stuff every week (mostly guides and worksheets, sometimes a book, sometimes a podcast). Daily mails also bring your attention to recent post that the community consider worthy readings.

PS: I really like Wheaton moto "Try a hundred things. Two of them will be great."
1 week ago
Assuming you know how to bake a bread...

I think flour is key.
There are many different wheat flours and some other cereals that can be used for bread. Try a few of them, in different proportions and see if you like the taste.
I like 25% rye, 25% strength flour, 50% all purpose wheat flour. So far, it's the best flavour for the buck. Spelt is also very good, but it is expensive.
Add 16 grams of salt per kilogram of mass, and a spoon of olive oil or butter.

Sourdough/yeast is another question. Sourdough makes your bread more acid, depending on how much you add, but yeast is not always available. Also, sourdough bread is easier to digest. Yeast, on the other hand, is faster and easier.

You can increase the crust by leaving the bread more time in the oven when the baking is over. The crust protects the bread from dehydration, so it lasts longer, but it makes it harder to slice it, more rustic to say so.
Careful. The more you bake the bread, the sour it gets.

Once you like the taste of your bread, you can use edible seeds for decoration (I'm using quinoa and poppy seeds), sprinkle flour cover, or fill with nuts and raisins, or dried fruits, or sausages, or whatever you see fit in the next mass.

So, try different things and see what your friends like more. (You have to try a chorizo baked inside the bread).
1 week ago
Soil health management urban/rural.

Typically smaller plots, Hard to do any earthwork. Little space for ponds whatsoever.
Access to tap water. Runoff water from the streets.
Easy access to gardening shops.
Probably easy to find grass clippings, wood chips and even compost.
Higher temperatures and less wind.
Risk of pollution.
Management can be very intensive, but the resulting ecosystem may be too small for big predators.

Earthworks and ponds can be made.
Access to a well. Gray water system is easier to implement. Less oposition to humanure.
Easier to find manure and big machinery.
Easier to work with farm animals.
More and more diverse wildlife.
Fire hazard.
Extensive management shows slower progress, but the evolution is more resilient.
1 week ago

Would love to hear more about your place in Malaga.

I live in a condo in the city. My place for playing gardening is a public lot that was used as an urban market garden managed as ecological agriculture. However, water for irrigation was retired. This is a very arid place with hard ground. Olive trees, almonds and carobs fare well, but little other things survive without care.
I started woking at the garden just after the lockdowns. I tried some sunken market garden beds (more info here https://permies.com/t/152917/permaculture-projects/sunken-bed-time-tips). They reduce the need for watering, but crops still die without watering. There's an anarchist community sharing the garden, so I spend most of my time trying to convince the others to switch to permaculture and restoration agriculture instead. People love to come to the garden as a recreational place, but they don't like working on it too much. Money is almost non existant here (We brought some planks for capturing water from the cabinet roof, but we don't have the resources to install them).

Given these conditions, our project is to let the land restore itself with a little, very little, help of ours. We are introducing plants and propagating trees. I keep working on making more sunken beds. And we have stopped killing bugs.
Right now we are in a draugh. This automn we have had very little rainfall in Malaga. I bought some wild prairy seeds for restoration, but the soil wasn't wet enough for seedling.

1 week ago
I highly reccomend watching the permaculture videos of the Oregon State University, by Andrew Millison.
It shows very clearly where and how to catch water, where to place roads, where to place the house. Here he explains earthworks too. It does not go into the specifics, so this is just a preview of the possibilities.

Another very good source about rainwater cathcment is 'Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and beyond', by Brad Lancaster. If you plan to do some farming, then take a look at the FAO's guide on water catchment for farming.
Short, if you only have rainfall then you have to store every drop of it. The best place is the soil itself, and you have to protect it from evotranspiration, using trees, shrubs and cover crops. It takes some years to achive this, though. Earthworks can help slowing down runoff water so it soaks in. The second best place is in a big pond, placed in the highest humid place, so you can irrigate by gravity. Then, it is useful to catch clean water from your rooftop in big tanks, for personal use and watering the pots (for your seedlings, basically).
You can use a well if there's underground water, but be careful. Underground water is salty when the water level is low. Earthworks can be used to increase water infiltration up in the hills so your well might recharge.
You can use gray water. This is the water you have used at home which is not contaminated or has poo. There are a number of soaps and cleaners that do not contaminate (potash soap for doing the dishes, for example), and there are plants that naturally filter grease from the gray water, such as vetiver, so you can safely use it for watering. Even your washing machine can water your plants!

Once you are done with your earthworks and have a solid plan for water catchment, you can start learning about food forests. 'Gaia's Garden', by Toby Hemenway is the most comprehensible and detailed I've read so far.

Once you know what a food forest is about, you can start looking for plants. Plants must be adapted to your climate and your microclimates. Ours is a coastal mediterranean climate. Rain is strong in spring and automn, and summers are very harsh with high temperatures and draugh. Altitude is important, the higher you go, the cooler the temperature. This means looking for native mediterranean plants that are draugh tolerant, or anuals that yield before midsummer. I don't think you will experience frosts, but in this case you have to look for frost tolerant plants.
You can go to pfaf.org for a database on plants, sorted by their needs. Here it also shows their ecological functions. In order to build a good food forest you have to include plants for all the ecological functions it needs. Dont' plant them yet.

Plants that we are currently using in our garden: Plums, figs, olives, almonds, carobs, that's the major crops. Also jujube, blackberry, grenates, bay, loquats, quince, grapes,  pinons, oranges, lemons, custard apple, ... We also have some wild brooms, thyme, rosemary, lavanda, a variety of thistles, asparagus, wild garlics, ... that were there before us.

If you want to eat from what you grow, you will need also a market garden where you can grow potatoes, carrots, parsnip, beans, and other crops that fill the stomach, in addition to fresh vegetables.
Learn how to make a good compost (aerobic and fungal dominated). You can start composting now. The compost is a microbial community you are adding to the soil so plants can use for eating. There are many variations (worms, bokashi, hot compost, Johnson-su), but as long as your compost is aerobic it cannot be bad; it must smell nicely.

Then you can learn about management. How can you manage your farm as if it were a natural ecosystem? The most inspiring film for me was 'The Biggest Little Farm'. But I found 'Sepp Holzer's Permaculture' as much inspiring.
You can watch any Elaine Ingham presentation on soil health to learn about how plants really get their food.
If you have time, you can dig how Jeff Lawton, Paul Wheaton, Ernst Göstch, and others manage their farms. But beware their climate is different than ours. Even in Greening the Desert project in Jordania I think they have access to tap water, and they have many visits and workers, so your mileage may vary.

Too many things to learn? Well, now it comes the most critical one: Observation. After you have learned about things above, now be ready to throw everything to the bin. Watch your property before doing anything permanent. You may plant here and there, you may dig or plow in a little corner, whatever you do watch the changes. The usual advice is to observe your land for at least a complete year. Of course, you can study it if you already have the data, but you won't have your microclimates covered. How can any database know that a corner around your house is specially humid? Or that birds love to hang near that other tree?
Be realistic about your resources: how much you can do alone, how much you can pay to others, how you can increase your income to pay for more work. Then get a clue on how much work it will take any of the projects, or the time that managament will need.

A Diego Footer's advice on gardening: "Do what you enjoy doing". Meaning, if you dislike composting, don't do it, just buy compost from another guy who loves composting and makes great compost. This way you can expend more time doing what you like, which probably will give you a better yield too. This follows the same advice from Göstch: "Ecosystems major force is Love, all the elements in an ecosystem do what they do for the pleasure of doing it." He believes our place in Nature is as seed spreaders.
1 week ago
If sustainable means 'no use of non renewable disposable materials', then...

- Magnifying glass. It's fragile and not easy, but it does not decay with use. Only works with full sun, though.
- Bow drill. Bulky and slow, but it's completely made or renewable materials.
- Embers. They can be preserved in ashes to be used the next day, saving the effort of lighting the flame again.

If you consider iron and flint a renewable resource because we are going to use it in tiny amounts and we can't possibly deplete it in geological ages, then
- Flint and steel. The spark is made of the iron, so the flint stone is not consumed.

If you are willing to use non renewable minerals as long as they are abundant, then
- Matches
- Metal lighters

So, the 'most' sustainable of them all I think it's the bow drill. It only requires natural fibers, you don't need an industrial society to produce it and, while it's not fast, it's not too hard to start a flame.
1 week ago
Hi, Jacine,
I'm from Málaga, Spain. Permaculture is a method for designing things. Here in permies, the focus is on homesteading, farming/gardening and appropriate technology, but permaculture can be used pretty much in every aspect of life.

What do you want that piece of land to be? A natural forest? A farm? Your living house surrounded by food forest gardens?

If you want to start with something, start with water:
- Find your water sources (rainfall, rivers, wells, pipelines) and learn about them (price, availability, quality)
- See where you can capture and store more water. Do you have the resources for making some earthworks?
- Make sure you have at least three sources of water.
1 week ago

Nicole Alderman wrote:I think what Abraham is talking about is that the desktop homepage is https://permies.com/forums. This is a lot like the Recent Topics (https://permies.com/forums/recentTopics/list). The forums homepage (https://permies.com/forums) does not require any PIE.

BUT, on mobile view, there's no https://permies.com/forums view. There's just a list of the different forum categories. So, if you want to see the most recent topics/threads unless you have pie.

I'm thinking that we're working on getting a free forum view for the mobile version. But, that will likely take a lot of time and development to get made.

Thanks, Nicole. It's exactly as you say.

It's a pity, since the mobile version is useless for me in this case. That means that I have to wait for being at home for checking new posts.

I did not know it was an expensive fix.
I'm browsing the forums right now using my smartphone and, other than the interface being quite different, there's a big issue for me.
Whenever I try to pick 'recent topics' filter, it accidentally goes to the 'pie' option. Not being able to watch recent topics is a big pain, effectively preventing me from using the smartphone in permies.

Any chance for a fix?

Well, it actually says that 'recent topics' is a only pie feature, which is not the case in the desktop version.
A little word about proffesionals coming when you call for them:

I don't know if it is different in your mother country, but here proffesionals have an annoying habitude. Since the work comes in waves, some months they get 20 clients, next month they get none, professionals have the custom of accepting every solicitude and then coming when they see fit; they might see fit to come five months later. If the work you have for them involves working several weeks, expect that they will start working, and then when the place is a mess and you have no chance of choosing another professional, they will attend to other clients. Even a friend will do this to you; they can't afford to be unemployed when demand is low.

Brief, if the thing you want them to do in your house can be done in one day, they will go as soon as they find time for these 'one day works', in order of petition, which can happen in two months with some luck. If it is a long work, they will come sooner but they will leave several times to attend to other 'urgent' clients, once you are hooked. This is normal, and amazingly the works end up being done, but they take longer than you would expect.
I suspect you can shorten the waiting time if you pay more, but I have never been able to check this possibility.

What you really ought to know is what proffesionals in your area work well, meaning they will finish the job with good quality. Listen to hearsays or asks advice from acknowledges and they will tell.
2 weeks ago