The plant nursery

Arriving in El Pangui canton Zamora Chinchipe we have lost no time and started right away with a plant nursery (A nursery is a place where plants are propagated and grown to usable size). Our food forest plant-wish-list is growing (see the list below. Currently about 147 different names… Most of them are of course fruit plants but many vegetables and of many herbs. Also so called “árboles maderables” aka timber trees. We are focusing on local plants but are also taking advantage of the tropical climate to grow and plant bamboo and all the known tropical plants here. One of the more challenging task here has been to get the seeds! Its crazy most people dont grow anything. The best way is buying the fruit / vegetable and planting it later directly.

Photos from the plant nursery

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plant-nursery plant-nursery plant-nursery plant-nursery plant-nursery flooded plant-nursery plant-nursery plant-nursery  plant-nursery plant-nursery

Plants we already have in the nursery

Tomatoes
Avocados
Figs
Pimiento
Mango
Papaya
Lime
Madarin
Orange
Jinjibre – Ginger
Tumeric
Coco palms
Pumpkin
Carrots
Chili
Cacao
Tobacco plant
Hierba Luisa Grass
Geranium
Tutuma / Bototo
Garlic – Ajo
Cabagge – Cool
Elder
Balm
Red “Grayseed”
Chia
Cucumbre – Cucumber
Peas
Cedron
Pineapple
Basil
Onion
Jarasillo – timber tree
Sabila
Pulmera Euterpe

 

Food forest wish-list

// FRUITS – Frutas
Annona (Annonaceae)
Araza – Arazá (Eugenia stipitata)
Banana – Guineo (Musa × paradisiaca)
Red dacca banana – Guineo moreno (Musa acuminata (AAA Group) ‘Red Dacca’.)
Cacao – Cocoa (Theobroma cacao)
Lemon – Limon (Citrus × limon)
Lime? – Limoncillo (Melicoccus bijugatus)
Lulo – Naranjilla (Solanum quitoense)
Grapefruit – Pomelo (Citrus x paradisi)
Tree Tomato / Tamarillo – Tomate de árbol (Solanum betaceum, Syn. Cyphomandra betacea)
Borojo – borojó (Borojoa patinoi)
Papaya – Mamon (Carica papaya)
Mountain Papaya – Babaco (Vasconcellea x heilbornii; sin. Carica pentagona)
Passion fruit – Maracuyá (Passiflora edulis)
Jackfruit – árbol de jaca / yaca o panapén (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
Soursop – Guanábana (Annona muricata)
Chirimuya – Chirimoya (Annona cherimola)
Durian – durián (Durio zibethinus)
Sweet granadilla or grenadia – Granadilla (Passiflora ligularis)
Abiu – Caimito (Pouteria caimito)
Noni – gunábana cimarrona, fruta del diablo (Morinda citrifolia)
Peach – Melocoton (Prunus persica)
Pineapple – Piña (Ananas comosus)
Pitahaya – pitahaya (Cactus fruit)
Purple mangosteen – (Garcinia mangostana)
Rhubarb – Ruibarbo (Rheum rhabarbarum)
Grape – Uva (Vitis vinifera subsp. vinifera)
Star fruit – Carambola (Averrhoa carambola)
Mango / melocotón de los trópicos (Mangifera indica)
Orange – Naranja (Citrus x sinensis)
Salak – Snakefruit (Salacca zalacca)
Peruvian cherry – Uchuva (Physalis peruviana)
Pumpkin – Zapallo / Calabaza (Cucurbita pepo)
Sapote – Zapote (tzapotl)

// VEGETABLES – Verduras
Avocado – Aguacate, Palta (Persea americana)
Beans – Frijoles y Porotos (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Carrot – Zanahoria (Daucus carota)
Chia (Salvia hispanica)
Cabbage – Col, Repollo (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Corn – Mais / Choclo (Maize)
Onion – Cebolla (Allium cepa)
Garlic – Ajo (Allium)
Ginger – Jengibre (Zingiber officinale)
Potatoes – papa o patata (Solanum tuberosum)
Pepper – pimiento (Capsicum annum)
Pumpkin – Calabaza gigante (Cucurbita pepo)
West Indian pumpkin – Calabaza (Cucurbita moschata)
Tomatos – Tomate (Solanum lycopersicum)
Tiny tomato – Tomate de selva – (Lycopersicon esculentum)
Tumeric – Cúrcuma (Curcuma zedoaria)
Radishes – Rábanos (Raphanus sativus)
Quinoa – Quinua (Chenopodium quinoa)
Yuca – Manioc (Manihot esculenta)
Zucchini – calabacín (Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo convar. giromontiina)
Spinach – Espinacas (Spinacia oleracea)
Fennel – Hinojo (Foeniculum vulgare)
Chili pepper – Chile / Pimiento / ají (Capsicum)

// HERBS – Hierbas
Basil – Basilikum – Albahaca (Ocimum basilicum)
Caña de azúcar – Saccharum officinarum
Lemongrass – Hierbaluisa (Cymbopogon)
Vanilla – Vainilla (Vanilla planifolia)
Aloe Vera – Sábila / Alóe (Aloe)
Camille – Manzanilla (Chamaemelum nobile)
Peppermint – Menta (Mentha × piperita, also known as M. balsamea Willd)
Oregano – orégano (Origanum vulgare)
Rosemary – Romero (Rosmarinus)
Lavender – Lavanda (Lavandula angustifolia)
Maggy herb – Levístico o hierba maggi (Levisticum officinale)
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)
Coffee – Cafe
Tea – Tee
Coca (Erythroxylum novogranatense var. novogranatense) the legal version.
Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis)
Cannabis / Marihuana (Cannabis sativa, Cannabis sativa forma indica, Cannabis ruderalis) the legal version.
Cha / Cháhuā – planta de té (Camellia sinensis)

// TREE
Canela – Árbol de la canela (Cinnamomum verum)
Tutuma – Bototo (Ecuador) – “Calabash Tree” (Crescentia cujete)
Baobab (Adansonia digitata) Africa
Moringa (Moringa oleifera) Africa
Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Cedar – Cedro (Cedrus libani )
Cockspur coral tree – Ceibo (Erythrina crista-galli)
Guayacay – guayaco (Guaiacum officinale)
Erythrina – El árbol del porotillo (Erythrina velutina)
Quickstick – mata ratón / madre cacao (Gliricidia sepium)
Ischnosiphon – Guarumo, casupo o tirite (Ischnosiphon arouma)
Saman – Samanea saman, samán, tamarindo (Albizia saman)
Rubber tree – árbol del caoutchouc (Hevea brasiliensis)
Balsa – Arbol de Balsa (Ochroma pyramidale)
Sauce – Salix (Salix caprea)
Podocarpus – Intimpa (Podocarpus glomeratus)
Sangre de drago
Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens)
Sangre de drago (racaena drace)
Forestiera – Forestiera ecuadorensis (Oleaceae)
Olive – árboles de olivo negro (Olea europaea)
Teak – Teca (Tectona grandis)
Vegetable ivory – Tagua palma (Phytelephas macrocarpa)
Guayacán, madera negra (Tabebuia bilbergii)
Amarillo (Centrolubium Ochroxilmi)
Brazilian fern tree – Pachaco / guapuruvú (Schizolubium parabybon)
white teak – Melina / gamhar (Gmelina arborea)
Balsa – Ochroma lagopus — Sierra humedo tropical, 5nos
Seique / Tornillo (Cedrelinga cateniformis)
Cutanga – Parkia multijuga— Bosque montanoso seco
Guarango – Parkia nitida — Bosque montanose seco
Jacaranda – Jacaranda capais — Bosque montanose seco
Mani de arbol – Cariodendrum orinosesis — Oriente, bosque muy humedo tropical
Pigue – Pollalista kaustenil — Oriente, bosque muy humedo tropical
Sangre de Drago – Crotom s.p — Oriente, bosque muy humedo tropical
Balsa – Ochroma lagopus — Sierra humedo tropical, 5nos
Laurel – Cordial alliodora — Sierra, bosque humedo tropical, 18anos
Caoba – Swintenia macrophylla — Costa, bosque seco, 25anos
Causarina – Causarina eguisetifolia — Costa, bosque seco, 25anos
Flanboyan – Delonix regia — Costa, bosque seco
Guapan – Minguaitin guianensis — Costa, bosque seco
Leucaena – Leucaena leucocephala — Costa, bosque seco
Acacia fistula – Clarisla recemosa
Algarrobo – Prosopis inemis
Nin – Azadirechte indica

// NUTS – Nueces/Nuts
Coconut – Coco
Brazil nut – nuez amazónica (Bertholletia excelsa)
Chontaduro (nut)
Inca-peanut – maní del Inca / maní jíbaro (Plukenetia volubilis)

 

and more …

Building our own house in the tropics

UPDATE 2018: In the meantime we have build a few bamboo structures in our farm here in Ecuador.

Check it our tiny bamboo house (3×6 meters in size).

tiny bamboo house at PermaTree in EcuadorTiny bamboo house with hexagonal windows

And here some impressions of the PermaTree Bamboo HQ

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permatree bamboo HQ ecuador amazonaspermatree bamboo HQ ecuador amazonas

 

Building our own house in the tropics (status 2016)

It’s time for us to start thinking about how we want to build our own house in the tropics. We did some extensive research during the last 2 years – but knowing where we are going to stay makes it a step easier.  Of course we are not going to build a house like in Europe or the US. This would make very little to no sense at all.

Different environment very different climate conditions as well as social habits.

We really liked the entire philosophy of the Earth Ships (passive solar house that is made of both natural and recycled materials – here a good read about pro and cons) and Earthbag/Superadobe constructions. But now living in the tropics this make little sense observing the climate and existing houses here. So we will keep the creative inspiration but build something fully adapted to the climate and topography of the land. We also really liked the idea of “less is more” aka the Book from Dee Williams called The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir.

 

In a nutshell:

Focus rather on a functional structure instead of  beautiful structure, because it turns out that a functional object with time becomes beautiful too. It needs to be elevated. The part where we live and the part where we sleep needs to be ventilated enough. Combination of the structure with smart sustainable energy solutions.

 

House Focus:

  • Big multiuse Porch / roof overhang  – a covered shelter projecting in front/around the house. To stop both too much sun and too much water hitting the front face
  • Rooftop terrace (on the top of the roof)
  • Abundance of natural light inside of the house – big windows
  • Natural ventilation in very room of the house – with mosquito nets
  • House min. 2 meters elevated above the ground to allow for a better floor ventilation and less wall and floor humidity
  • Rain water harvesting via roof saved in ground water tank or near Fish pond with Bamboo and floating vegetables.
  • Composting Toilet outside of the house but connected with roof (don’t want to get wet)
  • Multifunction Rocket Mass Heater Stove combined with Oven, BBQ, Boiler and Clothing / Food Dehydrator – hybrid system: wood / gas / electric (solar powered)
  • Shower near the Rocket Mass Heater Stove for hot water. Graywater going to the banana circle system.
  • 2 well isolated water tanks on roof one for hot water (black) one for cold water (white)
  • Solar Thermal Pipe Coil Water Heater – on roof to heat with daily sunlight and save it in the black water tank.
  • Open practical Kitchen and living room / hammocks in one space with big windows for lots of natural light
  • Dry natural ventilated store room – “root cellar” near kitchen – place to preserve fruits and vegetables
  • Near the house the Gray water treatment with banana circle system
  • Roof Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Panels to harvest solar energy in batteries for daily use.
  • Use natural river water flow for hydro energy or “watermill”-rotation energy for washing machine and electric energy. Micro Hydro (small turbine) / rover “water vortex” for power generation
  • Floor: Terracota “baked earth” floor tiles and wood floor in the 2 bedrooms

 

Local natural construction materials

One major consideration in sustainable development is using local materials. Biggest issue here is that all the natural constructions material almost don’t get dried at all… normaly. Most likely we will have to also consider a few non sustainable materials such as plastic which is used for plant nurseries.

  • Recycling: Glas Bottles, Wood, Aluminum Bottles, etc.
  • Palma de pejibaye, “Chonta dura” o Bactris gasipaes (extrem hard material)
  • Bamboo / “Guadua”
  • Timber wood
  • Adobe earth walls / floor
  • Palm leafs / roof / walls
  • etc.

 

Smart sustainable

We are thinking of a house designed with space and energy-efficiency in mind. Focusing on practical use more than luxury. Using intelligent adapted multi-use natural shapes instead of the usual square house with roof. Geometric volumes neatly fitted together on varying levels. Creating areas of shade and sun that will naturally warm and cool the house throughout the day. Focus on minimizing the environmental impact of the house before, during and after construction. We are just visitors passing by so our footprint should not destroy anything… best case its a better place after we leave.

Bamboo

Bamboo was first found and used in China more than 5000 years ago. This is why the woody plant conjures up images of pandas eating shoots and leaves in the Orient. Even though its many uses are only just becoming widely known, the bamboo plant as an alternative material began long before “going green” became a trend.

Existing visual inspiration

We believe its always important to see what has been done and do goo research also to get visual inspiration. Some examples are more elaborate some more minimal some more luxurious some more simple.

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sustainable bamboo architecture

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Regenerative Farm / Finca Aveterra - Byrd Family, Mindo, Ecuadorsustainable-architecture-inspiration Natural Building Lots Of Light

Sustainable-architecture-tropics1 Sustainable-architecture-tropics2 Sustainable-architecture-tropics3

sustainable-architecture-inspiration sustainable-architecture-inspiration sustainable-architecture-inspirationsustainable-architecture-inspiration  sustainable-architecture-inspiration  sustainable-architecture-inspirationsustainable-architecture-inspiration sustainable-architecture-inspiration sustainable-architecture-inspiration

Compost Toilet Jungle Colombia

Compost Toilet Jungle Colombia

sustainable-architecture-inspiration

bamboo cabana in EjeCafetera colombia Simple bamboo cabanas in OlmedoManabi Ecuador Typical architecture in the countryside ecuador bamboo