How to handle running a permaculture project in a country without a single permaculture specialist?
While we were planning our permaculture project, we aimed to involve an Italian permaculture specialist Simone Ferraretto. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions and border closures, Simone could not come to Kyrgyzstan. As a result, we solved the issue by involving an experienced organic agriculture specialist Azamat Kaseev and organizing online consultations with Simone and two other Swedish specialists Peter and Linnea.
The international specialists were able to support us throughout the project.
In this blog, we would like to share some of the tips they contributed before starting your permaculture garden:
What to consider while designing permaculture gardens in semi-desert areas?
Water may be captured in a number of possible ways: make ridges in the beds where you grow plants, make a small dam, or put a water tank or any water collecting vessel in your garden. Analyze when the rainy season and when the driest season come and prepare for those dry days. Choose plants that do not consume too much water e.g., it is not preferable to plant cucumbers. Keep documentation of temperature, precipitation and similar data.
Techniques to retain water
When making ridges or adding water tanks, try to put rocks or any fencing around the plant’s beds, so water does not go anywhere.
Mulching – using any organic layer available
Usage of cardboards
What to grow and how to design the garden?
Start with climate analogues websites and https://www.ccafs-analogues.org/ to see what can be grown in a similar weather and climatic condition.
You can study the historic past of the Kyrgyz diet and see whether there are local vegetables that have the same vitamins (instead of cucumbers for instance)
Growing cover crops, making little jungle in the area
Planting trees that have large leaves offer a long-term perspective. The leaves can be later used for mulching or as a basis for growing vertical plants (pumpkins, etc)
Trying to introduce nitrogen retaining plants (e.g., beans)
Diversify plants as much as possible
Look at climate analogues https://www.ccafs-analogues.org/ if you want to introduce seeds from other countries
Any seed from another part of the world with similar conditions can be introduced
Seed saving strategy for the next year
More focus on perennial plants
If the weeds are not strongly rooted, pull out strategy
Easier way to handle – to cover the weeds with cardboard and put a layer on top of it and plant your plants
Worms and microorganisms
Analysis of the area for any kind of microorganisms, worms, soil analysis if possible
Analysis of the area for minerals
Introduction of Californian worms are not too dangerous, as any worm is better than no worm’s principle. Try to create favourable conditions for worms.