Hi. Geoff Lawton here, and I’m going to take you on a
tour of our neighbor’s property. Here at the Greening The
Desert site in Jordan, in the Dead Sea Valley,
400 meters below sea level. Abla, our student, took
the course a year ago. Just here is her property, and you can see the comparison next door. Let me show you what’s
happened in just under a year. Okay, let me just give you
a comparison of what the property was like. It’s just solid rock and loose rocks, and pretty poor soil, but when you come through
over into the garden, immediately you start
to see a lush change. We’ve got climbers going up, little trellised strings and wires, and they create a lot of shade later. This is actually the back garden, and Abla’s used a lot of compost. She’s got herbs and
vegetables dotted around, even around a large rock
that’s still in position here, of course. She’s worked around the features. She’s got lots of clumping basil, and some nice ground covers as well. It’s Ethiopian cabbage there, and young olive trees. And, she just created a
really comfortable space. There’s our worm farm, dripping worm juice everyday, and worm castings been able
to be used as fertilizer. And here we’ve got a lovely
little seating space on the western side, and it is shaded with a shade cloth. There’s the southern sun
in the background through the shade cloth, but this area is quite comfortable. There’s an unglazed earthen
pot sitting in the garden, which is evaporating off
through the unglazed surface. And then, from here you can
look down into the garden. The Greening The Desert
site in the background. With all this biological
material creating shade, creating cover, creating mulch, reducing evaporation, reducing the wind, increasing the amount
of water in the ground, that can be retained and soaked, there’s lots of support spaces. There’s nice Poincianos
and Albizia lebbecks, and Leucaena, and Sesbania. And here’s some eggplant, and some marsh-mallow plant, which is a common herb here. And there’s little cassias, and beautiful, fast growing Moringas. Abla’s making a earth-filled
plastic bottle wall here, so she’s recycling plastic bottles, and filling them with soil. In fact, she’s getting
the little kids to do it, and then she’s going to
render the wall like an earth shaped type structure, and an earth shaped recycled, earth-filled bottle wall, whatever that comes to. And then further down, the gray water goes into
a top swell terrace, and down there she’s
got a young banana in, I can see now. She’s got Moringa, and she’s got eggplant, and there’s eggplant producing, even at this time at the end of summer. So it’s a lush little garden, but let me take you just
’round the corner here, she’s obviously used a lot of rock, there’s no shortage of rock here, it’s a resource that’s abundant. And then just around here on
the back side of the house, she’s got this little appropriate nursery, and she’s shading it with climbing vines. And we have climbing vines
going right across the nursery. And some little recycled shelving. There from the back garden
to the eastern garden, we have a nicely shaded
little spot where we can propagate seedlings. And then, we come out and
look down on the garden, it’s a very beautiful space, and all of this has
grown in just 11 months. This was bare soil, in fact, our last
Permaculture Design course, we used this site for the design exercise. So, she got some good ideas
from all her fellow students. Beautiful rock wall here, dry stone rock wall
that she’s made herself, just by piling up rocks. Nice bougainvillea, and she’s going to extend the
rock wall up through those recycled wooden pallets, she tells me. She’s brought in one
or two date palms now, so they’ve been transplanted
to a larger size, just to speed up the production, and their beautiful features. So, this is one lady working all alone, she’s a retired school teacher. Here we have all kinds of
combinations of support spaces. Tecoma stans, this is a nice
bushy topped neem there, there’s a Australian Acacia, Leucaena, Casuarina, Albizia lebbeck, and she’s got her support
spaces rampantly planted. Over on this side, there’s a whole combination, and she’s gradually bringing
in the fruit trees as she’s learned in the Permaculture course, that in this hard ground, you’ve got to specialize
in improving the soil quality first, bring in the support spaces to support, and shelter your fruit trees, and as they become established, then you can start planting
the productive trees. I can see here she’s got a
little peach just in here, so there’s a peach very
nicely sheltered in amongst Leucaena and Poinciana,
and Albizia lebbeck, there’s a small guava here
next to the sugar cane, and I can see here there’s
a bit of a pumpkin vine taking off. So all of this, this
beautiful little garden, all been done by one lady. More or less semi-retired, and regular hand-tool work, you can see there she’s got
a wheel barrow full of tools. Working with hand tools all the time, and here’s a recycled water tank, and in there she’s got her sieved compost. Compost she’s regularly making. This garden will be completely shaded, very low water demanded in the end, and very, very productive. And a beautiful place to be, she’s got a recycled
chicken pen at the moment, just recycled material. And here they are, she’s got some beautiful local birds, they kind of have an Acona type coloring with a Hamburg tail, and I would say a English
Game type of small size. But, that’s what the local
people seem to be using, small sized birds, quite long and leggy. Obviously resist the heat
and seem to do very well. You get reasonably good eggs. Here’s our compost pile, and it’s quite a compost pile. It’s doing pretty well, and then over here the
shade house has got quite a few plants in too, and she’s got this quite
exotic looking shade house, quite icon of the area now. And there we go, got the
comparison on both sides. That was what it was like before. And there you go. Having this little urban
garden in a very dry, hostile hot desert situation, in just 12 months, one lady, one Permaculture Design
certificate course, more or less, game over.