With the rains blowing closer every day, it seems there is almost no time for good old-fashioned ‘paper work’ – or the odd blog update! The days at NGP have barely been getting longer (we have about 1 hour extra in the summer time!) but we are trying to make every minute count.

Currently we start the working day at 6am to beat the heat, and the general focus is on getting ready for the rains. With a 4 month rainy season (December to March) and barely a drop for the rest of the year, we aim to make best use of this prolific growing time.

Our TREE NURSERY contains over three thousand young pioneer trees, ready for planting out at the beginning of the rains. They include agroforestry species, fruit trees, fedge (food + hedge = fedge) trees and some rare indigenous species like Wild Teak. Come and have a look next time you’re passing!

The new cob and stone KITCHEN is almost complete. After a participants in the Natural Earth Building course helped raise most of the structure, Mada led a Thatching One course to train more Malawians in the re-emerging art of thatching.

We are proud to demonstrating totally chemical-free termite prevention on the supporting structure – using charring and termite proof sand (16mesh), and soaking the bamboo for a few days in water to get rid of borers.

A big thanks to Wilhelm Morkel and Tieni Construction for their hard work on the kitchen, the innovative supporting structure and thatch.

Next step – laying the cob floor, then a big opening party with home made breads, pizzas and probably a few interesting Indian dishes!

It’s been a battle trying to get everything finished before the rains, but it looks like all the hard work has paid off and it will soon be completed.

Meanwhile just a stone’s throw away, Afshan Omar,  recent NGP Permaculture Design Course graduate  and currently interning with us, has been busy setting up our BEYOND-ORGANIC MARKET GARDEN. Over the last two weeks we have begun harvesting basil, coriander, baby beets and carrots! Over 50 beds have been planted up with another 60 on the way. Lilongwe is soon to have an abundant source of diverse, permaculture-grown vegetables and herbs! Our fruit forests will need a bit more time to be developed and mature, but watch this space…

After a very popular BIRD WATCHING FOR BEGINNERS day with Ken Longden last weekend, we will be hosting a repeat this coming weekend for the folk that did not get a space on the first one. It has been a great way to celebrate the natural diversity on Nature’s Gift Farm, and raise awareness for the need to protect the drastically declining habitat for the many species that rely on it.