Permaculture – Turkish Style

One of the things that has interested me for a while is how far is it possible to move to a more permaculture orientated approach which minimizes the impact on the environment while making use of perennial plants which deliver a higher yield than annual plants since they don’t have to start from scratch every year.

Most of the theory about permaculture as it is generally practised today originates from Australia and is aimed at semi arid conditions. Consequently its application in the UK might need a bit of adjusting. However a more usable template might be found a bit closer to home.

Turkey, for instance still retains enough examples of its existing traditional agriculture (in parallel;with some massive industrialised areas) that we can get a feel of what I might look like in at least a Mediterranean context.
Here are some photos taken on a recent trip which illustrates some of the points. Basically they have groves of olive and citrus tress which either support grass for a hay crop or for grazing stock or for shading vegetables. For a good chunk of the year the sun is too hot / daylight too intense for effective growth of leafy vegetables. Planting these vegetables in the shade of the fruit crops allows this difficulty to be overcome – in parallel with channel and earth dam mediated irrigation.

Veg Shaded by Fruit Trees

Veg Shaded by Fruit Trees

Trees and Hay at Kucukbuk

Trees and Hay at Kucukbuk

Cow under Olive trees

Cow under Olive trees

The issue of proving some shade has led to the development of an unusual technique of planting a shelter belt of very thin, tall and lightly leaved poplars at a couple of foot spacing all the way round the outside of plots on the high plateaus such as between Antalya and Fethiye. These are also used for timber by thinning out alternate trees as required.
I would be very interested if anyone has any other examples that might be interesting.

Shelterbelt planting on the high plateau

Shelterbelt planting on the high plateau

Turkish Small Holding

Turkish Small Holding

11 thoughts on “Permaculture – Turkish Style

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Intelligent Garden ā€” Permaculture ā€“ Turkish Style -- Topsy.com

  2. Urbangardener

    I very much like the idea of introducing permaculture to UK climate and questioning our assumptions of what might be ecologically desirable–even on a small scale, in allotments or back gardens. I live in an urban environment, but I have a small garden with trees which create shade and separate my tiny domain from traffic and noise. I am able to grow perennials, vegetables and ballerina fruit trees. It’s easy to grow vegetables in pots; in a hot summer, some shade is required, and I move them out under the trees. My attempts to grow vegetables in the ground, however, have been less successful because the trees suck the water and nutrients from the growing plants and screen them from the sun. Pots have been the answer here. Containers are useful for dwarf fruit trees as well, and I get anywhere between a half-dozen and a dozen pears, 2 dozen apples and the occasional kiwi crop, but plums and medlars are best planted in the ground and pruned. The rest–tomatoes, courgettes, pattipans, peppers, strawberries, spinach, pak choy and lettuce–are a moveable feast depending on sunlight and rain.
    Another adaptation that’s worked for me is growing herbs, and I’m able to do this for most of the year except for the coldest months. The herbs are in containers, and some are seasonal. It is possible, however, to keep a steady supply of chives, marjoram, rosemary and sage under plastic bells until the heavy frosts. I was also surprised to see my rainbow chard coming through under the snow this past winter in a sheltered spot covered with the offcuts from my Xmas tree.
    Over the past several years, my aims have been to eat unprocessed foods and to grow at least a third of what I consume in the summer months. Using the environment in which I live to achieve these goals has led to a natural evolution of my gardening techniques, choices and outcomes. They have also made me more aware of who grows the food I buy and where it comes from. It’s great to have a site that’s accessible for queries and provides rich food for thought. Well done!

  3. The Intelligent Gardener Post author

    Dear UrbanGardener

    Thanks so much for your comments – that sounds a really interesting approach. In fact that’s one of the things I noticed in Turkey – that even the gardeners around the villas are in fact growing veg under fruit trees.

    When we lived in Guildford before we moved to the Nursery, I used to grow chard and sorrel in the flower beds and herbs, tomatoes and salad in pots. Its partly due to that, that we’ve started offering the self watering planters as if you rely on the pots going off for a week or two can be problematic.

    Anyway thanks for your comments and glad you like the site.

  4. Urbangardener

    Thanks for your quick reply. One last thing, and not to put you off about your self-watering planters. They’re beautiful, use space efficiently, can accommodate frames, but they are costly for me. I use narrow tubing available in garden centres and rely on the slow drip from an elevated pot linked to a trickling hose. Not as beautiful, but it does the job, call it woman’s ingenuity or something like that. I’m curious about what your planters are made of, where you manufacture them, and if you have them in your own garden, not nursery. The reason I ask is that I’m making a real effort to leave a diminishing footprint in the years left to me and I’m very interested in other people’s practical solutions across a wide spectrum of life-style choices. I did correspond with you briefly on f/b regarding these planters about several months ago, so please rest assured this is a genuine query which I trust will not be a waste of your time. Btw, I love sorrel!

  5. The Intelligent Gardener Post author

    I don’t blame you – I’m all for doing things as elegantly and cheaply as possible.

    The Food Gardens are made in Italy – they’re made out of plastic so I guess the carbon footprint is not necessarily that wonderful. However I would have found them useful in Guildford which is why they’re in the range. The Earthboxes are cheaper – to be honest I’m not altogether clear where they’re made now though they originated in the states (china I imagine) However there’s a certain amount of cunning thats gone into their design that I think makes them quite a good bet.

    As you will have gathered by now, most to the things I sell fit into a vision of applying enough cunning to what you do to let nature take the real strain šŸ™‚

    Hence the Wolf Tools which I’ve been using for 15-20 years

    Great to chat – feel free to upload some photos of what you’re doing here or on the facebook site

    Alan

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  7. Emily

    Thanks for your quick reply. One last thing, and not to put you off about your self-watering planters. They’re beautiful, use space efficiently, can accommodate frames, but they are costly for me. I use narrow tubing available in garden centres and rely on the slow drip from an elevated pot linked to a trickling hose. Not as beautiful, but it does the job, call it woman’s ingenuity or something like that. I’m curious about what your planters are made of, where you manufacture them, and if you have them in your own garden, not nursery. The reason I ask is that I’m making a real effort to leave a diminishing footprint in the years left to me and I’m very interested in other people’s practical solutions across a wide spectrum of life-style choices. I did correspond with you briefly on f/b regarding these planters about several months ago, so please rest assured this is a genuine query which I trust will not be a waste of your time. Btw, I love sorrel!

  8. Kai Collins

    small gardens are cute but i still prefer to have those medium sized gardens where i can grow some veggies :;~

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