Permaculture, for those of you who don’t know, is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; through thoughtful observation of the natural environment.
Mustique has had a history of permaculture since 2011 when Ty Kovach, Operations Manager at the time, introduced the concept to the island. Over 75 members of our Grounds team, villa gardeners, Mustique Company employees and homeowners took the offered introductory course. They learnt practical knowledge of how to garden sustainably in the tropics, using locally available resources to reduce water consumption and manage waste to build healthy soil without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
An organic garden was set up at the top of Rutland, where fruit trees had already been planted by homeowners. The plan was that these would be open to everyone as a community space. A few years later, a pizza oven was built using natural and recycled material found around Mustique, to further that community spirit. Today, this oven is still often used for pizza nights under the stars.
These past few weeks, while the island has been quieter than usual, the Grounds team have been working hard to revamp the permaculture garden. Together with our environmental manager, they have looked at how to improve the design of the garden to encourage more productivity. They spent a few weeks using mulch from landscaping projects around the island to cover the entire garden. This mulch helps to replenish lost nutrients in the soil. Then they fixed old beds, where possible, and created new ones to facilitate new vegetables and herbs that the team will grow over the coming months. They have also created new compost piles and built a larger nursery to set our seeds in time for planting at the start of rainy season. All of this has been done in keeping with the permaculture ethos of using natural resources and reusing existing materials already on island.
One of the most interesting principles of permaculture is companion planting; looking at a garden bed in 3D as opposed to 2D. When planting, most people will set out a row of corn or a row of tomatoes. But if you employ companion planting, you can plant more in that same bed and produce a bigger yield. An example of this would be to plant corn, pumpkin and beans in one bed; beans would grow up along the corn stalk and the pumpkin’s leaves would protect the soil by keeping it cool and moist. So watch out for our new beds filled with vegetables and herbs in a couple of months!
The long term plan is to be able to host events in this beautiful space so that everyone on the island can appreciate what’s been growing here on Mustique.
If you haven’t seen the permaculture garden and would like a tour, please get in touch with Nakita at firstname.lastname@example.org