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PDC Permaculture Design Course - Douro River - Porto - Portugal

PDC Permaculture Design Course - Douro River - Porto - Portugal
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Permaculture is to live in harmony with nature providing for human needs and the needs of the ecosystems

3 Wonderland Garden

3
The
Wonderland”
Garden


Educational area developed with the idea of creating a very diverse and multifunctional garden that would be an example of what can be done on a small scale.

This garden would provide food for the Vale da lama permaculture institute, a shop and café, with all the herbs and teas in combination with the function of being a seed sanctuary of perennial and annual plants.



"Wonderland poem"

This project was born after I left the “Toca do Rebento” project and went to live to Lagos in the southwest of Portugal with the idea to implement a national permaculture institute that would represent Portugal. 

I presented this idea to Lesley Martin and Walter Ludwick looking for a possible support for implementation.


 After the aproval from the economic part and the educational part we have dived into the process of developing a permaculture school.



The first idea that came to my mind was that to be a permaculture school we needed to be as much sustainable as possible, and to convert many of the Vale da Lama farm structures in a transition from a agro turism project to a more low impact example.

"Golden Beetroot Mangel"

Our goals for the farm were that we would be sustainable in the aspects of food, energy and water, and that I would be developing the educational programs and the demonstrative gardens for intensive food production.

The farm was very big and with an amazing potential, 42 hectares in an estuary region facing the Atlantic ocean with a relaxed mediterranean to sub tropical climate

"Banana temple"

The potential for growing subtropical plants in Portugal was one of the targets by thoes times so this context was perfect to start my research about the possibilities.

The “Wonderland” was a demonstrative garden about the possibilities of design and implementation of a zone 1 area, with the goal to be as much productive as educational.

"Wen i arrived "

It would also act as an sanctuary for wild life and seed preservation, designed specialy to preform the function of improving plants genetics so that then they could be tried in a more demanding area of the farm.


O.B.R.E.D.I.M.C.E.


Observation

Intuitive Observation
-Abandoned growing area
-Next to support house
-Very exposed to wind
-Some wild vines
-Next to greenhouse
-Close to main path
-Some small fig trees
-No ground coves
-Soil compacted.
-Water tank close
-Far from main house
-Some trelices installed
-Some abandoned raised beds


Deductive Observation
-Potential for big production
-Possibility for multiple irrigation methods
-Possible area for chicken tractors
-Possibility to produce the vegetables for a big group of people
-For full production high maintenance required
-Big need for organic matter production
-Large amount of mulch needed
-Easy cardboard access in the city
-Some difficult weeds
-600 square meters area
-Raised beds need recovery
-Possibility for ponds and vertical growth

"Worm towers in early days"

D.A.F.O.R.
Priority of Ideas

Dominant
Needs strong improvement on soil
Potential for amazing educational area

Abundant
Possibility of vertical stacking
Good for planting many different plants
Possible introduction of animals

Frequent
Important to have more workers
Possible genetic bank of plants from all the farm

Occasional
Limitations on materials and tools
Potential for getting great practical experience

Rare
Possibility of heavy wind and hot summers
Irrigation and weeding maintenance


Boundaries

Holistic objectives

Vision
The Vision for the “Wonderland” garden is to create a educational area of permaculture methodologies used in Zone 1, for the students of the Permaculture Institute.

Mission

The mission for this garden is to be a genetic seed bank of useful annual and perennial plants , producing food with some of the strategies developed by the permaculture science.

Values

This project has as main values, education, integration, patience, sustainability, hope, creativity and healing.

Quality of life
By developing this project i hope to have a 
deeper understanding of Nature and its 
seasonal flows, and to create a good deposit of
plants in a very calm environment.
Future resource base
For the Future of this project the idea is that other permaculturists and volunteers can keep on learning and developing its structures and thecnics.
"Possibility of  space stacking"

Visible Boundaries
600 square meter garden
Big green house
650 mm rainfall
Dry summer
Water from well and canal
No shade
Relatively close neighbors
Limited working materials
Working volunteers

Invisible Boundaries
-Difficulty on cleaning irrigation system
-Ideas for some areas
-Presence of client
-Limited knowledge
-Budget
-Time for maintenance and development

"Biochar raised beds"

The scale of permanence

1-Climate
Very stable weather
Most of rain in the winter time
Not extreme summer
Maximum rain in one day around 40mm
Temperatures between -5 and 38ºC
Possible frost for 2 weeks in February
Orographic effect due to close presence of mountains
Very big Wind exposure

2-Landscape
-Totally flat garden
-Compacted and eroded landscape
-Rich ecossystem
-Estuary


3-Water
-Water from irrigation canal and well
-Dripping irrigation
-Some sprinklers
-Intensive mulching
-Possibilities for ponds

4-Access
-From all sides of garden
-Car access close

5-Habitats
-Not much biodiversity
-Introduction of flowers attract many insects
-Some stone walls for reptiles
-Some blind mowls detected
-Possibility of small domestic animals

6-Micro climates
-Easy implementation of micro climates
-Walls preserve heat
-Stable temperature
-No shade to create cooler areas
-Walls facing west
-Wine trelices

7-Buildings
-House in the east side
-Green house in the direction north south
    -30 000 liters water tank

8-Zones
-Urban environmental context
-Easy social interconnections, local, national and international
-Temporary rented house


9-Soils
-Compacted soil
-Very low in organic matter
-Deeo clay soil
-Ph 7.8
-No mulch
-Abandoned raised beds

10-Aesthetics
-Very coasi
-Perfect for as an example of a zone 1
-Characteristics of intensive system
-Potential for art


Subtile boundaries
-High vine trelice
-Water acumulation points
-Flooding greenhouse

Desire lines
-Desired lines already implemented
-Need to built garden beds access


D.A.F.O.R.
Bounderies

Dominant
Bad soil
Abundant
Dripping irrigation
Frequent
Working force
Ocasional
Presence on site
Rare
Financial limitations


Resources

Visible Resources
-Virtually unlimited water
-Unlimited cardboard
-Abundant kitchen scraps
-Some gardening tools
-300 square meters gardening space
-Vertical growing space
-Irregular volunteers
-Local plants nurseries


Invisible resources
-Limited knowledge
-Abundance of ideas
-1 person 40 hours per week to maintain garden and greenhouse

"Green house developments"

P.A.S.T.E.

Plants
Animals
Structures
Tools
Events

Annuals

Lettuce
Spinach
garlic
onions
potatoes
Tomatoes
Sunflower
Pumpkins
Courgette
Kholraby
Melons
Cucumbers

Perennials

Cabbage
Swiss chard
Petunia
Primula
Fleur du lis
Strawberry
Wild strawberry
Taro

Banana”
Sugar canne

LEGUME
Beans
Peas
Fava
Luzern
Clover

TEA/MEDICINAL
Mint
Pennyroyal
Basilicum
Aloe
Citronela
Thyme
Calendula
Viola
Mint
Red mint

Shrubs

Sweet lime
Fisalys
Fushia
Abutilon

Trees

Fig trees

Vines

Passion fruit
Wine
Chuchu

Mammals

Rabbits
Cats
Dogs
Mowls
Worms

Birds

Black bird
Sparrow
House Martin
Chickens
Pigeons

Insects

Bumbblebee
Carpenter bee
Honey bees
Dragonflies
Sirfids


Reptiles
Rat snake
Water snake

Amphibians

Frogs

Fish

Koy fish
Cherry shrimp





Houses

Storing house

Buildings

Green house

Sheds

Germination area

Paths

Paths around all raised beds

Machines

Streamer
Shreder

Tools

Gardening tools

Natural

Heavy rains in April

Hot summer

Strong winds

Courses

Introduction to permaculture courses

Several permaculture design courses

Permaculture internships


Visits

Schools visits for environmental education







"Desired Lines"

Evaluation
Imput and output analysis

Inputs
Needs

D.A.F.O.R.
Dominant
-Volunteers
-Watering
-Wind breaks
Abundant
-Introduction of plants
-Germination area
Frequent
-Compost
-Worm composting area
Occasional
-Chickens
-Ferilization
-Visits
Rare
-Grafting


"27 Kg pumpkin""  


Outputs
Yields
Dominant
-Quality of life
-Knowledge
-Worms
-Rare plants
Abundant
-Vegetables
-Biodiversity
Frequent
-Learning Experience
-Adding manure
Occasional
-Seasonal fruits
-Eggs
Rare
-Enouth production
-Deseases

Vertical stacking in greenhouse

Limiting factors

What is limiting your yield?
-The factor that limits mostly the yield is the not constant flow of volunteers.

Were can i open more niches?
-Many places to develop microclimates

What improvements can be done?
-A good organization of time and tasks

How to extend limits and comfort zones?
-Trying to plant new species of plants and at different times of the year


Energy leaks
Where are you bleeding?

Watering system
Poor soil quality
Not having a constant work force

"Making hugulbeds" 

S.W.O.C.

Strenghts
Weaknesses
Opportunities
Constraints
Central area
Easy resources

Time
Permanent maintenance
Education
Networking
Experience
Other activities
Climate


Systems dynamics

Key functions
Learning
Food production
Composting
Planting
Watering
Making fertilizer
Worm composting

Systems to support the key functions
Plant harvesting
Different watering systems
Worm compost bathtubes
Practicing
Recycling
Researching
I.T.


"To big to be true" 

Elements to support the systems
Myself
Volunteers
Students
Compost bins
Water barrels
Greenhouse
Nursery
Whyte House

Relations + + between systems
kitchen + + compost
compost + + garden beds
garden + + kitchen


Web of life
Snails as food for chickens
Chickens weed and fertilize garden
Garden produces food for chickens and people
Pond attracts insects
Insects control pests
frogs eats mosquitoes larvae
Flowers attract insects
Insects pollinate flowers
Flowers produce fruits
Fruits get eaten or composted
Compost fertilizes soil
Soil produces flowers


Design

Master plan

Moment 1
-Improve growing beds

Moment 2
-Increase quality of the soil

Moment 3
-Design new beds

Moment 4
-Open to visits

Moment 5
-Courses and education

Zoning

Wonderland” was a zone 1 garden
-Most of the garden for vegetable production
-Vegetables and medicinal herbs around garden
-Mixed garden with perennials and annuals
-Worm and hummus production
-Composting area
-Chickens
-Pond
-Wild life corridors

Sector analysis

P.M.I.
Plus
Minus
Interesting
Micro climates
Vertical stacking
Resources in close city
Fast development
National exposure
Create the opportunity for permaculturists to learn
Experience on design and implementation
Long growing season
Potential for subtropical plants
Maintenance
Not much time for observation
Combining with educational activities
Quality of soil
Watering system

Abundance of resources
Experience in semi arid landscape
Being in permaculture school
Easy promotion
Frequent visits
Use of permaculture principles
Interesting for regeneration


Filtering Tools

Permaculture Ethics


Care for earth

Reduce
Reduction on water uses

Reuse
Old bath tubes converted in worm farm

Recycle
Cardboard from city for compost and mulch

Repair
Old dripping irrigation system


Care for people

Social landscapes

Landscape used for many visits, courses, and education for 


volunteers.


Fair share


Seeds exchange

Open visits to the garden

Fruits and herbs for visitors

Information Knowledge

Permaculture Principles

The most frequent principles applied were:

The problem is the solution

Integrate rather than segregate

Start small

Use local resources


Each element must perform several functions



Financial analysis 

Important to have a good investment in plants and compost


Quality of life

-The quality of life we have tried to achieve, despite the 

limiting boundaries, was to have a constant vegetable 


production and courses to share the research with students.

"New draft about central area"

Implementation

D.A.F.O.R.

Dominant
Improve garden beds
Get compost
Improve watering system

Abundant
Observation
Start germination
Vegetable harvesting

Frequent
Built trelices
Plant flowers for insects
Apply mulch

Occasional
Fruits harvesting
Introduce chickens

Rare
Weeding

"Vertical grow pumpkin"

Stacking
Time

Life story
2011
Improving soil
Creation of composting area
Fertilization program
Germination area
National TV reportage

2012
More stable flow of volunteers
Worm composting at full power
initial stages of aquaponics system

"Volunteers"

Seasonal

Spring
Intensive germination
Introduce leguminous plants
Propagate worms in garden
Intensive mulching

Summer
Planting of pumpkins and melons
Special attention to watering
Make preserved foods

Autum
Heavy mulching
Seed harvesting and organizing

Winter
Heavy composting
Improving growing beds
Improve drainage


-The project was design to use as much as possible the vertical space without compromising the sun sector.

"PDC students @ Wonderland Garden"

Maintenance

S.W.O.C.
Strenghts
Weaknesses
Opportunities
Constraints
Education
Soil improvement
Diversity of plants
Irrigation
Permanent maintenance
New crops
Experiments
Experience
Weather
Time

P.A.S.T.E.
Plants
Animals
Structures
Tools
Events
Water 2 times a week in summer
Doesnt need water for all winter time
Constant germinations and sprouts
Reproduction by cuttings
Seed saving
Protection from animals
Harvesting

Feeding
Collecting manure
Collect eggs
Improve shelter
Reproduction
Release in garden
Protect fruits from birds
Attract insects
Worm composting maintenance

Organize storage room
Chicken coop
Build chicken tractor
Organize seed bank area

Organize garden tools
Measure ph
Measure humidity and temperature
Maintain aquaponics system

Harvesting fruits
Composting
Mulching
Prepare for winter rains
Make fertilizer from willow and nettles
Organize courses

6.600 Kg beetroot

Collecting data

Most of the data collecting was done by videos and pictures since the beginning of the project.

The video reports can be seen at 
My You tube Channel 
CLICK HERE

"Visits"

Celebration

D.A.F.O.R.

Dominant
Courses
Visits

Abundant
Painting
Relaxation

Frequent
Observation
Building Trellises

Occasional
Art
Music playing
Meditation

Rare
Buillding ponds

S.W.O.C.
Strenghts
Weaknesses
Opportunities
Constraints
Central area of farm
Frequent students
Creates a lot of inspiration

Time
Maintenance of demonstration areas
Logistics
Education
Experience
Sensitive plants
Experiments
Combining with teaching courses
Space for big groups
Knowledge about local growing season

"Yelds"

Evaluation

P.A.S.T.E.
Plants
Animals
Structures
Tools
Events
Crucial importance in choosing the best place
Shaded area for shade plants
Many plants collected around the city
Trees develop in amazing way
Chickens eat more than expected
Chickens are very easy to breed
Incredible impact in wildlife
Mowls sometimes attack the garden
Constant possibility for improvements
Limitations acording to resources available
Many improvisations
Required


Tools dont last very long
Important to reduce the need of tools as much as possible
Better to invest in quality
Extreme importance on doing things at the wright time
Events must be very well planned
before
Use energy flows as much as possible

Its not a turkey...its a beetroot

Limiting factors

What is limiting your yield?
-The factor that limits mostly the yield is the need for constant working force for implementation and maintenance

Were can i open new niches?
- Applying new gardening permaculture technics

What improvements can be done?
-Make the system in a way that it can be maintained by a small number of people

How to extend limits and comfort zones?
-Moving to international projects and try new things

S.W.O.C.
Strenghts
Weaknesses
Opportunities
Constraints
Knowledge
Experience
Attitude
Networking
Finding proper niche
Timming
Angsiety
Patience

Personal and professional growth
Quality of life
Learning
Language
Time
Confidence
Luck

Web of Life
A nice story about the influence of this project to the biodiversity of the area is related to the introduction of Asclepia, a plant brought from the Forest garden project, that attracts the Monarch butterfly to the "Wonderland Garden.

Some other interesting animals that made their home in this garden are the Lacerta lepida and the Hyla arborea.


Sardão
Lacerta lepida

Rã arboricola
Hyla arborea


Future Developments


In my opinion the next steps will be mainly 

focused on filling up the empty spaces on the 

raised beds with more plants and also keep a 

good cover with straw to prevent evaporation 

and also to reduce the irrigation needed



What would i do different?


riThe main thing that i would do different 

would be to spent more time in the garden and 

also at the same time to bring more people to

see the developments.

Teaching about bananas

Final observations


By developing this project my conclusions are 

that its very important to give small steps and 

look for the best option.


Its very important to have a permanent person 

responsible for this area with the help of one or

 two volunteers to keep a good flow of 

implementation.


This area has been developed by a big number 

of volunteers and aprentices that have been 

working with me side by side trying to learn 

and develop their own style on sustainable

 gardening.


This project is dedicated to all the people that

 have invested their personal energy on the 

implementation of this “Wonderland”

"Making terra preta"
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Permaculture is to create paradise on earth starting at the kitchen garden

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