African Natural Farming

keyhole bed in African expression converted to a swale watering system. Water is poured into the hole (swale) and wicked into surrounding soil

African mountain bed with pipe irrigation. Pipes are 50% submerged- the half inserted in soil have holes drilled throughout for water drainage. Popular pipe irrigation has pipes laid horizontally under the soil- this is a creative experiement by Amy and Derek.

The south west quarter of our farm is currently dedicated to the expression of African Natural Farming.  It is laid out as a basic dirt farm in any rural country might be, but specifically Africa.   This expression demonstrates the amount of food which can be grown in a small intensive method, utilizing both water conservation techniques and composting in place.  In rural countries, extravagant methods and fertilizers will not be readily available, so very basic methods of companion planting, perennial polyculture, intensive planting and water conservation must be taught in order to make the most out of the daily resources locally available.  A variety of vegetables were grown in this area last year.  Feb 2013 we are planting heirloom millet as a cover crop, the purpose being to feed the chickens and enrich the soil with organic matter for future plantings. We are also experiementing with 2 different watering methods for low moisture climates.  Three mounds have been prepared with swales- holes in the middle covered with a thick layer of mulch, and three are using pipe irrigation- scrap pvc pipe with holes drilled for water dispersment and placed 3 feed deep in a random pattern.

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