Since we’ve moved here I’ve become very interested in sustainable, low-input / low-labor gardening. Permaculture is just that — low effort, low-input, perennial/sustainable gardening. Here is a brief description of a permaculture project in Malawi.
Danny the gardener and I decided to cordon off a small area of this five acre property. We chose the most natural vegetation corner on the property and demarcated it with rocks.
Here’s what the natural landscape looks like in our part of Lusaka (this is in our demarcated area too).
The things to consider in a permaculture garden are the weather, the soil, and the natural vegetation already in the chosen spot. We have three season: wet and warm (Dec – April), cold and dry (May – August), hot and dry (Sept – November) (roughly). I’ve been studying the natural terrain to see what grows naturally. Things like sweet potatoes (the African variety, which are yellow fleshed, not orange), an okra-type plant, and some sort of green leaf plant that they use in stir-fry or stews are appearing naturally on the property.
Here’s the sweet potato plant growing without water or nurturing.
In our garden in our backyard I had let my lettuce go to seed and before I knew it lettuce was springing up all over the garden, and we let it grow wherever it landed. You can see here one sprouted within the onion bed.
Here’s a random pumpkin-squash-like plant (Danny the Gardener calls it a pumpkin) growing by our compost pile.
We’ve also had several tomato plant volunteers. I don’t have any current photos of them but I went out in the front field and harvested a bunch of dried tomatoes with seeds in them, like in this photo below. I planted the whole seed pod in my garden and voila! Tomatoes grew. I plan to do the same in this experimental permaculture area.
So, that’s our natural, perennial, permaculture experimental project. We’ll let you know how it goes.