First garden bed outside the deck is the Zone 1 Herb garden for use in the kitchen. Rosemary, perennial basils, long-leaf coriander (shadow benny), mint, oregano are commonly available for cooking.
Behind the house and nearby, we have ever evolving kitchen gardens, where we grow peppers, eggplants, greens, such as cabbages and kale, passion fruits and pumpkins -- and much more!.
With multiple natural springs, we've developed a series of connected ponds, where we keep self-sustaining tilapia fish populations. We maintain multiple perennial watercress beds in the gently flowing water.
We have a free-ranging flock of jungle chickens, who generally keep to an established range downhill from the guesthouse. In this area, the rich fertilization from the chickens is useful in growing a variety of plants, including bananas and other trees. We provide chickens organic scraps, which they turn into a rich compost. We gain eggs and meat from chickens, as well as much entertainment!
To create an ethical, local source of meat, we rely on rabbits, raised humanely.
Our sheep are top-class lawn mowers, and we graze them in established and new areas to help keep the jungle vines managed.
We have a lot of bananas! Besides the normal cavendish banana that you get in your supermarket, we also have 3 other varieties, as well as plantains! Banana trees make a fast source of biomass to use as mulch in the garden.
We have a variety of fruit trees: breadfruit, guava, pomerac, soursop, coconut, grapefruit, orange, calabash, avocado. We are inspired by syntropic farming and will be planting more according to these methods.
We have two different wild areas on the property. At the top of the property is a unmanaged section with a bamboo grove, and the woods below feature a largely untouched forest.
With 1300mm rain per year, water management is a big issue here. Using a series of terraces, big and little drains, we ensure proper channeling of water down the hill.
Permaculture is an ecological approach to food production, land management, water management and design. While conventional agriculture focuses primarily on maximizing short term production and profits with the help of machinery, fertilizers and pesticides, permaculture places an emphasis on building natural systems that minimize energy consumption and external inputs over time.
Though permaculture was originally developed for use in arid climates, its principles can be applied in the tropics by adapting the land and water management components to account for increased rainfall. For example, drainage needs to be designed to shed large quantities of water and prevent flooding rather than capturing every drop as one would in a desert. Creating elevated growing areas to prevent water logging is also more important in wet climates.