Planting Terraces in Minca - Permaculture Project II

Perched on a steep ridge, CENIT is constructing its 'Art-Nature' school (info below).  Below on the steep, dry slopes, we are planting the garden.  Terraces, pits, and swales are the strategy on land with such potential for erosion, especially under the barren and compacted construction site.   Here we planted avacado, mango, lemon and moringa trees and propagated other tropical fruits and veggies like pineapple, banana, papaya, tomato and yucca.

Sean and Bernardo with avacados for planting.
Planting was the easy part.  For 7 days prior I dug the swales and built the terraces, as follows.
  • Mark a level line along the hill.  (I used an A-level.)  Being level means the terrace will hold rainwater and prevent erosion.
  • Dig holes for posts along that line.  I used matarat├│n (gliricidia sepium) cuttings, which should resprout, adding stability to the terrace wall and mulch for the beds.  

  • Dig the trench (also marked on contour with A-level) and pile the mound against the terrace wall.  Aerate lower layers of soil for maximum infiltration, both under the mound and bottom of the swale.
  • Mulch, both in the swale (woody debris) and on the mound (finer leaves).

  • Plant!  Aside from the produce listed in the intro we also sowed a range of flower seeds for more biomass, more bio-diversity and more beauty.  

Samuel planting an avacado tree.

Planting banana circle.

The region also has many legume trees useful for live fences, fodder, firewood, medicine, erosion control and soil-building.  We identified most and used many, see ├írboles leguminosos for full info. 

Sean and Felipe with the Legumes of Minca

Experimenting with different mixtures. 
Volunteers Simon and Daniel sift sand for baharique construction.

Sunset from CENIT over el Caribe.

CENIT (El Centro de Investigaciones​ Teatrales) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping vulnerable populations and war victims, using theater and other arts as tools for rehabilitation and therapy.  It was founded 25 years ago in Bogota by Bernardo Rey and Nube Sandoval, then worked in Italy for 15 years.  Now they've returned to Colombia to build the next CENIT branch, Art-Nature, in Minca.  Visit CENIT website.

About me
I'm Sean, a student and teacher of sustainable farming and ecology, traveling and working in four continents over the past 3 years.  Now I'm working at CENIT, where I've been designing the garden.  This is my website, where I share what I`ve been learning.  Follow on Facebook.

See my previous permaculture event: banana circles in Palomino.
(See Trees of the Andes)  


  1. Nice Blog. The plant growth chamber is also a way to research or study on plants. It is very helpful.

  2. A great many woodland plants which prosper in their natural environments fail to grow at all in the house due to the lack of moisture in the air. Terrarium Planting