[permaculture] mediterranean orchards, terracing and fire protection

paul wheaton paul at richsoil.com
Tue Dec 11 11:47:51 EST 2007


What if you mulched in some spots and not in others.  In the spots you
did not mulch, you could focus on fire safety.  Then the mulch could
be focused on some areas.

I wonder how alfalfa might do there.  A legume with a deep tap root.
I would think that if it were planted around a tree, it would do a
pretty good job of out competing other weeds and rather than compete
with the tree, it would bring moisture up from really deep.  The only
trick is that alfalfa is very sun loving.

On Dec 11, 2007 6:36 AM, be peace <seed4peace at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Dear friends,
> my name is nora and i live on a farm and a learning centre called axladitsa avatakia in northern greeece on the peninsula of Pelion (www.axladitsa.org). This is typical mediterranean climate with olive orchards all over the place and some degraded left over mediterranean type of forest and lot of maquis around. We have a land of 24 acres and a big part of it is a bit neglected olive orchard and some overgrown areas that according to local knowledge have been orchard and gardens before. we have just moved into the place last year and are slowly starting renewing the place. there is few dilemmas that we face:
>
> 1. how to keep clear the ground in between the olives - so far we were turning around the soil with a tractor - shallow ploughing, but i want to find a different method which would be gentler to the soil. the local knowledge holds the olive for a very "jealous tree" that wont like other things growing around it, hence the ploughing practice. i know about mulching but the area is too large and mulch presents a fire hazard  which is very critical in this area. i have considered green mulches but then we would need something strong enough to supress the omnipresent brambles and somthing which gets harvested before the main fire season starts (june). Any ideas? It would be also great if we could get  a plant which is somehow compatible and will benefit the olive and mitigates protection of topsoil for which olive is a total disaster having no surface root system.
>
>
> 2. great part of the land is on a steep slope, the local practice is to terrace it, i understand that the terraces have similar function as swales in water retention - is that right? what would be benefit of swales over the terraces? (or vice versa?) what is the maximum slope u can do swales on without causing more erosion?
>
> 3. mulching - im very fond of mulching but here the locals are very distrustful of the practice as they consider it a great fire hazard. in long term - with retaining more water in the soil and cultivating the humus layer - does the fire risk become less? can the fire risk be minimalised somehow in the mean time? lets say with the drip irrigation under the mulch? any experiences to share?
>
> 4. any fire protection/management advice or resources are welcome!!! so far the two main approaches that i encountered are - clearing the land periodically nevermind the soil. or burn the land - as previously "natural fires" did. im conflicted about both approaches and i feel i need more perspectives, more points of view to gain my own understanding
>
> 5. any greek pc contacts, please? or mediterranean? any resources relevant to olive farming and mediterranean?
>
> i hope to get some advice and im willing to continue sharing experience as we learn adn experiment here. I would love to get in touch with other people who have experience with olive farming and mediterranean ecosystems in general. Thanx for considering my message!
> peace&pace
> norak
>
>
>
>       'Modesty is dangerous: If we believe we are here to do something, if in fact we have the daunting task of turning around a system which appears destined not only to degrade, demoralize and dehumanize us, but to destroy the ecosystem in the process - we don't have time for outdated social customs. You need to tell me what you can do, what you are good at, how you can contribute to helping to make these changes. And i in turn need to tell you the same. Anything less endangers us. Anything less leaves one of us wondering why the other is not being clear, 'Are you unaware of your gifts? Are you unsure of them ? Am i wrong in estimating your ability?'     Paxus Calta
>
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