Zai pits is a traditional land rehabilitation technology that has been invented by farmers in Burkina Faso. Small pits 20-30 cm in diameter and 10-20 cm deep are dug into degraded soils, often hardpans. Pits are dug in the dry season. At the bottom of the pits farmers place about two handfuls of organic material (animal dung or crop residues). Seeds are planted in these pits as soon as the rainfall starts.
"...Gardening Without Irrigation (ebook edition) can help anyone whose garden depends on a limited or undependable well, anyone who gardens on natural rainfall, for any place faced with the possibility of drought...."
"...Conservation tillage is defined as a system that leaves enough crop residue on the soil surface after planting to provide 30% soil cover, the amount needed to reduce erosion below tolerance levels (SSSA). Today, however, most conservation tillage practitioners aim for greater soil cover because of additional benefits of crop residue. Cover crops are critical to producing this residue and have the potential to maximize tillage benefits..."
The Zay technique is used in Mali, and in Burkina Faso in the Yatenga and Niger provinces where locally it is called Tassa. It can be used in all Sahelian countries, especially in Sudan. The Zay is made on land which is not very permeable so that runoff can be collected. Zai are holes dug approximately 80 cm apart to a depth of 5 to 15 cm, with a diameter of between 15 and 50 cm (Figure 1). Zai improve infiltration of the captured runoff. The holes are deepened each winter. Improvements in the traditional pits by the addition of fertilizer and organic matter (compost) have resulted in dramatic improvements in yield.
Growing salads, fruits and herbs vertically not only allows urban dwellers to grow food in small spaces, but follows the permaculture principles of stacking, using renewable resources and making the most of the edge.
Why Season Extenders are part of This Permaculture Design For those of us who garden in a temperate climate (freezes in winter), we know only too well the disappointment when, for example, our indeterminate tomato plants are full of tomatoes in the...
"...Wicking beds are a unique and increasingly popular way to grow vegetables. They are self-contained raised beds with built-in reservoirs that supply water from the bottom up – changing how, and how much, you water your beds. In this article, we’ll talk about how wicking beds work and why we love them.
We’ll also show you some great examples and leave you with ideas and instructions for creating your own...."