By lambert strether of Corrente.
Readers may be interested to know that there is a permaculture installation on Cyprus at Agia Skepi Theraputic Community in Nicosia (map). Here’s a video about it:
Ground-hugging shrubs, aromatic plants and new trees fill the garden, some already bearing mature, scented peaches, a fruit common in the area. Along a recently laid path, there are several deep ponds, home to a chorus of frogs hidden among the water lilies. Designed on land adjacent to Agia Skepi, a drug rehabilitation centre for young men, the garden crackles with life yet has an air of extraordinary peace. The special guest on his way is Father Athanassios, Bishop of Limassol, who initiated and sourced financing for the rehabilitation centre, a personal dream now realised and immediately visible from the garden.
“Gardening is therapy,” she insists. “[‘The boys’ at the center] are beginning to really appreciate the garden. I don’t think it was the case at first – they were moaning. But now after coming out and seeing the results… the garden smiles back at them.”
The results are astounding. A ragged, wild piece of land has grown into a thing of aesthetic beauty and environmental practicality.
This is Markides’ second visit in two years and the garden has come a long way. “What we didn’t expect was to find worms this year, the soil is rich and ready.”
In the video, watch for the description of sheet mulch layering starting at 9:35, in subtitles: Manure on the bottom, then newspaper, topped with straw — although when straw became too expensive, they used seaweed! The newspaper prevents light from reaching the soil, so weeds do not grow, the newspaper and the straw together capture and hold water, and the entire system rots and enriches the soil. Last summer I didn’t weed, and I didn’t water at all, except seedlings, very early in the season. And I don’t even need to turn the soil; I just add another layer, year after year. I don’t like work. Sheet mulch is the best!
If Cyprus was covered with permaculture installations, Cypriots could pluck fruit from the trees, year round, even if they couldn’t get money from their ATMs. Stress relief, no?
NOTE I wonder if we have any Cypriots reading Naked Capitalism. If so, this video is from 2007. Has the installation survived?