Category: Earthworks & Earth Resources

Creating the Mainframe Design for our Farm

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This article is about how we figured out our mainframe design for roads, swales and ponds/dams. The pictures that show how those were installed you can see in an earlier article here. Because the terrain of our farm was totally overgrown and the topography is a bit complicated, it took us two years to finalize this mainframe design. This process has taught us a few good lessons which I will […]

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Evolutions on Mr. Phiri’s Water-Harvesting Plantation, 1995–2016

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Earlier this year I had the opportunity to return to Zimbabwe and to the farm of some of my prime water-harvesting mentors, Mr. Zephaniah Phiri Maseko and his family. While in the region, I also visited the farms of many other innovative farmers who are enhancing their soils’ hydrology and fertility by cooperating with natural systems. In this blog entry, and some to follow, I will share some of the […]

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Infrastructure: Dams, Roads and Swales

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In the past 2 years a lot of our focus was on getting the main infrastructural elements in place. We first had to clear the semi flat area of the land to be able to even see most of it. Once we had a better view, we started planning what had to become a complete interconnected system of ponds, dams, gullies, swales and dirt roads. In this post we show […]

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Urban Swales

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Last year, we did a series of videos looking at the swale systems on our property and demonstration site. Part one looks at how we’ve combined the featuress of a Hügelkultur system, a wicking bed, and swales to nourish a productive garden that requires very little additional irrigation: Urban Swales Part 1: Weeping Tile & Mulched Pathways This second video in the urban swales series looks at permaculture design with […]

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Morocco Project Update


The earthworks have progressed nicely and below is a series of photos of when we were installing the earthworks and after the first decent rains of the season. Keeping in mind the site receives 250mm of rain per year and like a lot of dry-lands come’s in about 3 events in mid-winter.

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Bunyip Water Level: Measure Contour Lines & Swales

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To have professional surveyors map our contour lines was going to cost thousands of dollars and many we spoke to outright refused because of the number of trees and acreage. The estimates we did receive were not frequent in elevational increments – one even came in at “every 60 feet!” So we ended up hiring a company only for marking our property boundaries. To map the inner swales and contour […]

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Mogendoura Earthworks 1 Year On

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Recently I had the opportunity to check out the earthworks performance where I installed a mainframe design in January 2015. I was contacted to sort out the dam wall and spillway as the client was concerned about its safety due to very little free board between the high water mark and the top of the dam wall. Also installing two levelsill spillways on each backflood swale 1, as a primary […]

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Save our Soils

Save our Soils

All terrestrial life depends on soil, directly or indirectly. Although our understanding of topsoil has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decades, we are still losing this invaluable resource at a frightening pace. Less than thirty per cent of the world’s topsoil remains in fair or acceptable condition. The fragility of this vital layer can be illustrated through a simple comparison: if one imagines the earth as an […]

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Onsite in Jordan at “The greening of the Desert, The Sequel”

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I am facilitating a Permaculture Design Certificate course over the next two weeks. We have eleven students that have come from or have lived in more than 20 countries which is amazing and of course having a big multicultural vibe. We have just finished day 2. Yesterday at the end of the day we put together an 18 day hot compost which we will be able to monitor as we […]

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To Swale or Not To Swale

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Do you want to protect your property from flooding and drought? What’s a swale? A swale is a excavated depression to slow, absorb and direct water. Swales can help you use and reuse water on your property. March is a great time to talk about this since the snow is melting in northern climates and rain will start any day. One of the problems I see on many properties has […]

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Geoff Lawton Goes to Malaysia

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Murujan Permaculture Design is a growing and dedicated group of Permaculturalists, based in Malaysia working to spread awareness and education of Permaculture Design around the world but particularly in Malaysia. We were extremely honored to be paid a visit by none other than Geoff Lawton in November 2015. His visit was the beginning of what hopes to be a very important project for Malaysia in terms of Permaculture Design and […]

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How to Turn a Piece of Land Into a Thriving Project?

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Three years ago this month a client asked me to help him transform his land into an eco-tourism project and self-sufficient home. The land is located in fascinating Turkey, overlooking the Marmara Sea. In this article, I share the highlights of the process and outcomes of two months of intensive work applying Permaculture design in a beautiful but challenging spot. I summarise the birth and first steps of Alişler Yurdu, […]

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