Improving & Sustaining

At the core of the peace and calm of the Quinta is improving and co-creating the nature of our sustainable life with Mother Earth. It is recognised that she can provide all that we need to thrive; we only need to listen to how this should be. So at the Quinta we are working with the water and soil provided to us in order to create an ambience and source of food without pesticides and herbicides etc..

We have not followed any one approach, rather learning from David Holmgren and the Permaculture concept; Maria Thun’s approach to biodynamic cultivation, blended with the personal experiences written about by Machaelle Small Wright in Perelandra and the wisdom shared by Anastasia in the Ringing Cedar series. All of these have a common approach of listening to what the Earth is saying, so we have adapted them to the specific circumstances at the Quinta, its climate and terrain.

These include its acid nature, a Ph of about six in early 2013, and the fact the land was not tended for many years. The overgrowth of vegetation provided some protection from the sun, though the fire in 2010 meant this was removed. The soil was also short of organic matter and so rainfall tended to bounce off the surface during the ‘normal’ downpours and did not retain much moisture.

In order to help improve balance in 2013 a programme was started to introduce manure obtained from the local shepherd. To this has been added EM – the abbreviation for Effective Micro-Organisms. These work with Nature to restore her health primarily through microscopic organisms that actually consume toxins and produce beneficial by-products such as vitamins, enzymes, organic acids, bioactive minerals, and antioxidants.

The intention is that the mixture will increase the natural resistance of soil, plants and water (and yes we humans!), and so improve the quality and fertility of our soil as well as the growth and quality of flowers, trees and crops at the Quinta.

EM is a microbial technology that originates from Japan and has been introduced at the Quinta with the idea that it will help in:

  • the recycling of kitchen waste and turning it into valuable organic material;
  • the garden to improve soil structure, increase productivity and to suppress both disease and weeds;
  • solving any environmental problems such as water, air, and soil pollution;
  • fruit and flower cultivation; and
  • personal bodily hygiene and for the prevention and treatment of health problems.
Looking south over lupins

In addition in 2013 a programme of sowing red clover commenced to add to the wild yellow (some blue ones have also been added!) lupins fixing nitrogen into the soil at the Quinta. So far everyone has been amazed at the profusion of growth and abundance of crops – as one visitor described it, an oasis in the middle of a desert!

Water at the Quinta

All the water used at the Quinta comes from either its two wells or a tank which collects the rain water from the roof. That said, for billions of years, water has been hexagonal – a six-sided crystalline matrix of water molecules often referred to as “structured microwater”. However, when water is exposed to pollution the molecules hold onto this new ‘traumatic’ memory and cluster into what is commonly described as “non-structured macrowater” – conglomerations of water molecules that have no symmetric shape or form. Even after water has been filtered and purified, it retains this memory imprint and continues to macrocluster. Accordingly EM® Ceramics have been introduced to improve the water at the Quinta.

The Emerald Earth web site identifies EM® Ceramics as having the unique ability to recharge and stabilise the water molecules through what is referred to as “far infrared signals”. This is simply an energy that is calming and regenerative in nature. By removing the pollution memory from the purified water, the molecules naturally return back to the hexagonal crystal structure.

April sun over the reed bed

The regular consumption of such liquid crystals has been recognised as one of the most important keys to improved health. According to the same web site it has been associated with rapid hydration, heightened immune function, the efficient removal of toxins, better nutrient absorption, longevity, weight loss, and overall greater health.

All waste water at the Quinta goes into the septic tank. The excess water from which is directed to a pond filled with reeds to process the waste, so allowing the water to return to the land whence it came.

The old water tank

There is also a small water tank on the horta terrace which is fed by water from a small underground source. The water is primarily used for irrigation, though there is the idea it can be used as a cooling plunge pool in the warmer months, once the leaks have been addressed!

Energy at the Quinta

Solar panels were installed in April 2011 to provide electricity initially for the construction work and now for all energy needs at the Quinta. During the longer days the system generates more than twice the current daily consumption of over 6kw.

The panels in operation

Water based under floor heating has been fitted to provide heating during the winter. All water is heated by solar panels, the wood burning stove or the wood pellet boiler. The only hydro carbon used at the Quinta is liquid gas for the cooker.