Since my last post I have traveled thru Thailand doing some consultancy and mapping near Chang Mai and spent a couple weeks at The Panya Project.Things were quiet at Panya as it was wet season and everyone had dispersed to more suitable climates.The project manager was on-site and we conducted gerneral maintenance on the property to keep the jungle at bay.
The food forest here is doing really well and banana’s were tidied up and their prunings were mulched around nearby trees.Basic chop and drop here to minimize effort and energy.Very hot and sweaty work.A lesson learn’t here is to always look at the branch being cut before cutting.The reason being that green ants make their nest in the banana leaves by folding the edge of the leaf to the stem and creating a weather proof cocoon.If this is not noticed,the ants get mad and attack.To use this to an advantage,we cut these particular branches and then ran them to the cat fish pond where the cat fish gladly took care of them.One great way of using a surplus of one system to support another element in the system.
We also planted out the western boundary of the property with banana’s to act as a fire break.Used in this way the plants don’t burn as they are full of water.Mangoe’s are growing on the lee ward side whichare also fire retardant plants.The banana’s will act as a wind break during the mangoe’s flowering period so as to get maximum flower set.
The boundary is on a farely sloping track with noticable erosion coming down the track.I organized the others to put in mini swales slightly off contour to divert water onto the property rather down the track with very abrassive result.The banana’s were then planted above or below these mini swales to feed from the water being held in them and to also feed from any accumulation of organic matter in them.Again connecting cycles of energy for elements to have many functions in a system.
The Panya Project( http://www.panyaproject.org/)is one of three communities located around a small village in the north of Thailand practicing organic agriculture and Permaculture.The next door communities Pun Pun and You Sabai home are education facilities conducting earth building workshops and P.D.C's as well as cooking classes.There are some amazing structures at Pun Pun in the way of small homes.Mud brick and cobb rendered walls with bamboo roof structure covered with palm thatch.Very cool indoors and shaped with creativity.A very simple way to construct for this climate.