Thursday, 4 June 2009

Greece Report

A bit less than two months in my homeland and I have not stopped missing you since day one, especially since I am following closely your endeavours and successes in Kalisada, Villa Manuk and elsewhere on the island.

But I don't stay idle either! I am joining a Permaculture Design Course in Melbourne in September, where Bill Mollison will teach (hurray!). Anybody wants to join me? There is still time! I have also joined the WWOOF network (thanks to Linda who talked to me about it) and am searching to visit and give a hand to organic farms in Greece in an effort to gain insight into how things are working here. Do you guys know anything about Fukuoka and natural farming? I came across this technique while looking for WWOOF farmers in Greece and it seems quite interesting. Next week I am finally visiting the island of Kythnos, where I could end up if I were to stay in Greece for long and where Fukuoka farming could be applied successfully.

In the meantime I set up my first compost heap, in an old barrel I found in my sister's house in the countryside where I am residing at the moment ("Just do it, said the guru and this is exactly what I did :). And I am mulching and mulching and enjoying every minute of it! I planted my first tomatoes, bell peppers and herbs, I'm fertilising the plants with nettle and seaweed fertilisers I'm making myself and I am surveying the greek society in order to see if I can let it adopt me once more.. Not so bad for an engineer, don't you agree Norm? Any suggestion or comment about arid lands, dry climates and poor soils is more than welcome!

My favourite pastime though is spending time with my nephew, who is taking me with him to the wonderland of childhood while I am introducing him to the wonders of nature. Fantastic journey!


  1. Have a look at the Tamera Project in Portugal. They are applying Permaculture in a similar climate as in Greece under the guidance of Sepp Holzer, the European Permaculture Guru. Apart from that it is a very inspiring project.
    Good luck on your journey!

  2. Hi Elana

    Your nephew is cute... have you seen Baby Mama by any chance? ;) I wonder if you'd pass on the toes...?

    Just a quick note from me (apologies to all for my poor comms on this blog, it's a combination of very limited internet access and sheer mountain bliss/idleness on my part)

    The PC literature has heaps of tips for dry climates and poor soils (because it started in Oz) Soils we can always build, water is another question, although high org carbon levels in soil will allow it to retain moisture far longer so this is always a priority.

    Talk to the old gardeners and farmers about traditional varieties and techniques...

    If you're getting serious about gardening, maybe have a soil sample analysed for mineral defficiencies. You'll find the right kind of labs if you search: soil re-mineralization...

    Are there any PC projects/groups in Greece? Is this a silly question...?

    Maybe check out literature from North Africa. Many plants from there could probably grow in your climate..

    How's your water source on the island?

    Have a look at predictions for Greece under Global Warming before you really commit. Try to get a sense of how the climate is going to behave there and consider the consequences of any changes in climate patterns... EG If it's going to get even drier you might want to reconsider settling there, or you could adopt the Aboriginal lifestyle...

    It's a good climate for chickens, maybe turkeys too. I wonder if olive trees would benefit from having chickens free ranging under them? Are there any leguminous groundcovers available to you? To help with establishing fruit trees, Pigeon Peas should do well there once established.

    Are there any food gardens in or around Athens? You could check these out. Are there any health food shops in Athens...? Another silly question?

    Herbs are good. Lots of herbs. You can grow all those yummy Meditteranean herbs. Lots of fresh herbs means lots of friends... You can dry them so you can't grow too many and it's a good way to establish your gardening credentials.

    I'd be looking for hidden, secret food gardens or farms run by dedicated organic growers. They probably exist.

    Find out if there any certified organic farms in your area. The certifying bodies should publish lists.

    Great you're doing a PDC with Bill M. in OZ. Jealous am I... I've never met him unfortunately. Lots of PC action in Australia but lots of wankers using the name too... Choose your WOOFING locations with care.

    As for us livin' on the mountain, it's still raining almost every day. I have never seen such a consistantly wet year over the 20years I've had a home here. One hopes it's simply anomalous weather rather than a foretaste of the Greenhouse age...

    I have to get offline...

    My best to everybody.
    Can't wait to see Beate's natural, non-chemical pool.
    Can't wait to start eating in Silvia's restaurant, especially food from her huge gardens.

    Did you all hear that Michelle Obama is planting fruit trees and an organic garden in the White House lawn? I love the Obama's..:)

    Take care all,
    Love Norm

  3. Hi Elena!
    Happy to see that you are fine!... Do you come by here before going back elsewhere? You are not so far now. And we miss you also.
    Give us more news!