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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

5 Oasis Lake


 "Oasis Lake"
Project

Design of a lake to support a forest garden with fertilization and biodiversity and to create an educational example about how to create an aquatic microclimate and the impact that they have on the ecosystems regeneration.

"Lotus in Oasis Lake"

The best example of the use of the principle about the edge effect, and the creation of areas of ecotone is the development of aquatic systems.
Lakes are fountains of biodiversity that are extremly important to use in any permaculture system.

In the margin of lakes we can find this transition area were both the aquatic and surounding area meet, considering that inside of the water there are 10 species of plants, and that in the surounding we can find 10 species of plants more, in the margin of the lake we can find the 20 species of plants plus 2 or 3 more that develop only in that specific microclimate.This area is caled ecotone.



The oasis lake area would become a sanctuary for biodiversity and a live example of the importance of implementing ecotones in permaculture systems.

The idea for this project was to develop an area that could be a direct example of the creation, and impact of a aquatic microclimate in a mediterranean forest garden system.

This project was developed at the Vale da Lama permaculture institute to support the educational programs.



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

Intuitive Observation
-Almost no maintenance in the area
-Next to zone 1 gardens
-Very exposed to wind
-Soil tilled and exposed
-Next to greenhouse
-Close to main road
-No Trees
-No ground covers
-Soil compacted
-Water tank close
-Far from main house
-Some wild olive trees
-Some neglected orange trees
-Gentle sloap
-East west orientation
-Small area
-Bottom part of Forest Garden

"First tests about lake possibilities"


Deductive Observation
-Potential for extreme biodiverse system
-Possibility for multiple irrigation methods
-Possibility to produce a lot of food in small area
-For full production high maintenance required
-Importance of creation of wind breaks
-Large amount of mulch needed
-Many microclimates possible
-100 square meters area
-Easy access for plants in the farm

"How to find water?"

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

Dominant
Needs heavy machine to dig lake
Potential for amazing educational area

Abundant
Importance of wind protection
Good for planting many different plants
Possible introduction of animals in lake
Potential for large fertilizer production with water covering plants

Frequent
Important to have help from volunteers to start it.
Possible genetic bank of water plants from all the farm
Possibility hot summers

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

Rare
Difficulty on holding water
Weeding maintenance




Boundaries

Holistic objectives

Vision
The Vision for the “Oasis lake” is to create a educational area of permaculture methodologies in aquatic systems, for the students of the Permaculture Institute.

Mission

The mission for this lake is to be a genetic bank of aquatic and marginal plants , producing food at the same time as performing as an educational area.

Values

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

Quality of life
By developing this project i am looking to have a deeper understanding of Natures patterns in lakes and water systems and its seasonal flows, and to create a good deposit of productive marginal plants and trees.
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.

Visible Boundaries
100 square meter area
Exposed soil
650 mm rainfall
Dry summer
Water from well and canal
No shade
Very close neighbors
Limited working materials
Working volunteers

Invisible Boundaries
-Time
-Ideas for some areas
-Presence of client
-Limited knowledge
-Budget
-Time for maintenance and development


The scale of permanence

1-Climate
Very stable weather
Warm temperate climate
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
-Gentle sloap of around 2%
-Compacted and eroded landscape
-Rich ecossystem
-Estuary
-Forest is east west oriented

3-Water
-Water from irrigation canal and well
-Flooding irrigation system
-30 000 liters water tank
-Intensive mulching

4-Access
-Road paralel to forest
-Acces from canal at the top

5-Habitats
-Not much biodiversity
-Introduction of flowers may attract many insects
-Some stone structures for reptiles
-Lake margin plants
-Water loving trees

6-Micro climates
-Easy implementation of micro climates
-Stones to preserve heat
-Stable temperature
-Not much shade to create cooler areas
-2,5 Meters deep create different temperatures

7-Buildings
-30 000 liters water tank
-Water canal from 15 km damm

"Soil testing"

8-Zones
-Rural coastal context
-Easy social interconnections, local, national and international

9-Soils
-Compacted soil
-Very low in organic matter
-Deep clay soil
-Ph 7.8
-No mulch
-Tilled

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


Subtile boundaries
-Wild olives wind break already stablished as microclimate in north side
-Water acumulation point

Desire lines
-Desired lines need to be developed
-Need to implement permanent paths

D.A.F.O.R.
Bounderies
Dominant
Poor soil
Abundant
Irrigation system
Frequent
Working force
Ocasional
Combinning with other activities
Rare
Financial limitations


Resources

Visible Resources
-Virtually unlimited water
-Some gardening tools
-100 square meters area space
-Vertical growing space
-Trees already there
-Irregular volunteers presence
-Local plants nurseries

Invisible resources
-Limited knowledge
-Abundance of ideas
-Around 5 hours per week to maintain

Early stages


P.A.S.T.E.

Plants
Animals
Structures
Tools
Events

Annuals

Lettuce
Spinach
potatoes
Tomatoes
Sunflower
Pumpkins
Courgette
Corn
Melons
Cucumbers

Perennials

Cabbage
Swiss chard
Taro

Banana”
Sugar canne

LEGUME
Beans
Peas
Fava
Luzern
Clover

TEA/MEDICINAL
Mint
Pennyroyal
Basilicum
Calendula
Mint
Red mint

Shrubs

Fisalys
Abutilon

Trees

Plums
Oranges
Apples
Pears
Wild olives

Vines

Chuchu

Mammals

Rabbits
Cats
Dogs
Mowls

Birds

Black bird
Sparrow
House Martin
Pigeons

Insects

Bumbblebee
Carpenter bee
Honey bees
Dragonflies
Sirfids
Monarch
Mosquitoes

Reptiles
Rat snake
Water snake
Turtle

Amphibians

Frogs

Fish

Koy fish
Cherry shrimp





Buildings

30 000 liters water tank


Paths

Paths needed for trees access

Structures

Lake

Machines

Streamer
Shreder
Digger

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







Evaluation
Imput and output analysis

Inputs
Needs

D.A.F.O.R.

Dominant
-Volunteers
-Watering
-Wind breaks

Abundant
-Introduction of plants
-Propagation of trees

Frequent
-Measuring water quality
-Plant propagation
-Straw

Occasional
-Ferilization
-Visits
-Tree plantation

Rare
-Grafting




Outputs
Yields

Dominant
-Quality of life
-Knowledge
-Biodiversity
-Fertilizer

Abundant
-Soil improvement
-Propagation of self seeding plants

Frequent
-Learning Experience
-Gound cover plants yields like pumpkins and sweet potato leafs

Occasional
-Seasonal fruits

Rare
-Enouth production
-Deseases

North wall

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?
-Introduction of more plants

Energy leaks
Where are you bleeding?
Watering system
Poor soil quality
Not having a constant work force

S.W.O.C.
Strenghts
Weaknesses
Opportunities
Constraints
Central area
Easy resources
Biodiversity
Time
Permanent maintenance
Education
Networking
Experience
Other activities
Climate

"The fertilizer factory"

Systems dynamics

Key functions
Learning
Food production
Composting
Planting
Watering
Getting fertilizer

Systems to support the key functions
Plant and fruits harvesting
Different watering systems
Practicing
Recycling
Researching
I.T.

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

Relations + + between systems
Water from Forest garden + + Lake
Lake + + water cover fertilization plants
fertilization plants + + trees

Web of life

Insects drink water in lake
Insects polinate trees and control pests
Forest produces food for chickens and people
frogs eats mosquitoes larvae

"Profile design"

Design

Master plan
Moment 1
-Dig Lake

Moment 2
-Develop effective irrigation system

Moment 3
-Plant new plants

Moment 4
-Open for visits

Moment 5
-Courses and education

Zoning
Oasis Lake” was part of a zone 2 area
-Most of the Lake for fruit production
-Vegetables and medicinal toguether
-Mixed garden with perennials and annuals and fruit trees
-Wild life sanctuary

Sector analysis
Sun sector
Wildlife sector
Shade sector
Wind sector
Access sector

"Top view and sectors"

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 and trees
Maintenance
Not much time for observation
Combining with educational activities
Quality of soil
Watering system

Abundance of resources
Experience in semi arid landscape
Easy promotion
Frequent visits
Use of permaculture principles
Interesting for regeneration
Many plants and tree species possible


Filtering Tools
Permaculture Ethics

Care for earth

Reduce
Reduction on water uses

Reuse
Use of many local species from stacking

Recycle
Water from forest garden irrigation

Repair
Soil
Biodiversity


Care for people

Social landscapes

Landscape used for many visits, courses, and education for volunteers.


Fair share

Seeds exchange
Open visits to the lake
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 seeds, plants and compost
Expenses in machine and man power
Driver and machine 2 hours 60 euros
Working force from volunteers and myself

Quality of life

-The quality of life we have tried to achieve, despite the limiting boundaries, was to have a constant fruit production and courses to share the research with students.


Implementation

D.A.F.O.R.

Dominant
Get heavy machine
Improve watering system
Implement wind break
Develop water cover protection

Abundant
Observation
Start germination
Mulching

Frequent
Tree planting
Plant flowers for insects

Occasional
Fruits harvesting

Rare
Weeding
"Worms were added to the beds"

Stacking
Time

Life story

May
-Dig lake
-Built wind break walls

June
-Introduce wind break plants
-introduce water cover plants

July
-Walls soil protected
-Margins working by capilarity

August
-Water surface protected
-Producing fertilizer

Seasonal

Spring

Intensive germination
Introduce leguminous plants
Propagate worms in walls beds
Intensive mulching

Summer

Planting of pumpkins and melons
Special attention to watering

Autum

Heavy mulching
Seed harvesting and organizing

Winter

Improving growing areas


Space

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

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
Reproduction by cuttings
Grafting
Seed saving
Protection from animals
Harvesting

Improve shelters
Protect fruits from birds
Attract insects
Worm incoculation

Harvest fertilizer plants in lake

Maintain structure of wind break wall
Organize garden tools
Measure ph
Measure humidity and temperature


Harvesting fruits
Composting
Mulching
Prepare for winter rains
Make fertilizer from water cover plants
Organize courses
Plant pumpking

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 HERE

Celebration

D.A.F.O.R.
Dominant
Courses
Visits
Abundant
Observation
Frequent
Building stone piles as reptiles habitat
Occasional
Art
Music playing
Meditation
Rare
Painting

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
Sharing
Relaxing
Exchange

Combining with other developments
Space for big groups


EVENTS

Characteristics
The events organized in the “Oasis Lake” were mostly related to education, having the students maintaining and developing some of the elements, and also researching and designing.

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 farm
Trees develop in amazing way
Incredible impact on the number of biodiversity
Many more insects and lake animals
Monarch butterfly established
Turtles arrived
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 right time
Events must be very well planned
before
Use energy flows as much as possible

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 more niches?
- Better alocation of plants acording to their needs.

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?
-Introduction of fungal structures.

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


Systems dynamics
Web of life

A nice story about the influence of this project to the biodiversity of the area is that the "Oasis Lake" attracted one of the two native portuguese turtles, the Emys orbicularis considered to be in danger in Portugal.


Emys orbicularis 
Cágado de Carapaça Estriada click HERE



Final observations

The "Oasis Lake" is problably the most diverse system i have implemented in Vale da Lama Institute.

The creation of the wind breacks, the companion planting, the fast growing plants, the use of lake plants as fertilizer for the food forest and the biodiversity that it have atracted, specialy the most indangered turtle in Portugal that decided to go and live there.

Ive tryied to apply all the permaculture principles in this small project so that it would represent the impact of the permaculture regeneration in such a degraded landscape like the semi arid mediterranean region.

This project became a big example of how fast we can have a serious impact on the support of local ecossystems and on the creation of microclimates full of life.

I would like to dedicate this project to Lesley Martin, my diploma tutor, since in these last 2 years she was the person who supported me in the development me develop the "Oasis Lake" and get to this point of experience.

Thanks Lesley




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Your comments are very apreciated

Your comments are very apreciated
Permaculture is to create paradise on earth starting at the kitchen garden

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