Aralar Permaculture is located near Aralar’s mountains. It has 1.6 hectares of land. Well targeted, fertile, at 500m high. With spring and a stone’s house with more of 300 years. The land was purchased in May 2008 after a long search, and consists of about 3,000 m2 of trees (chestnut, hazel, oak, ash, elder, etc). The remaining land is pasture, almost all covered with brambles and nettles. One half is fairly flat and the other one has a slope of 20-30 degrees. In the middle, a hedge with the spring. In the picture below you see the site when we bought it:
In autumn 2008 we did an access road to the house with an infiltration trench to capture water. We have planted fruit trees: apple, pear, fig, cherry, plum, peach, loquat, blueberries, kiwis, etc). Also cleaned up some of the nettle and brambles and put alfalfa, clover and grass. We prepared a small pond to store some water. In the next picture you can see some of these changes:
In the next picture is the distribution by zones of the site. Note that slope is important in some places and we must take account of this to stablish zones:
At the moment we are repaired the house, expanded the pond (passes form 1m3 to 7m3), we have 2 water tanks of 1000 liters in the highest point for irrigation by gravity, and we’ve mounted the irrigation system. Now we are repairing the fence, because wild animals come from the forest and damage the fruit trees. When the fence and irrigation system is finished we will start with a mandala garden and other things we’ll reveal .
As future projects we want to repair a hydraulic ram to pump water to tanks without pumps. Build a home-made turbine to generate a small amount of electricity, thermosolar panels to heat water. And we have more ideas but we are developping gradually.
The project is familiar, most of the time one person is working alone in their spare time. One of the things we want to show is permaculture can be done with little labour. We have hand tools and basic agricultural equipment (cultivator, brush cutter)
In the future we want to build more tools and equipment, mainly hand tools (wood chipper for example). I think this could be one of our specialities.
TO FOLLOW OUR PROJECT:
The main source of information is this website, a copy of which is passed to Facebook, both are in Spanish (the most important information in english). Usually 3-6 items per month.
In the Permaculture Research Institute website (see links section) we include the most important news of our project translated to English.
At the moment it is not possible to visit the site, perhaps in the future with the realization of week-end workshops. Don’t worry, you can follow us here and take a lot of information.