On Swomp 4 we became an experimental garden where we show (and learn) about how to live a sustainable and climate neutral life. In the city there are a lot of empty spaces which could be used in a similar way as we practice here. We don’t want to wait for the governments and capitalists to give us permission to live our lives in a sustainable way, but we want to start now and learn what we need to learn to live without oil and big industry before it is too late. We trust that society will follow, but only when they will be forced into doing so by the rise in price of natural resources. In the mean time we are developing and learning allot. To show how attainable it is, is one of the main goals of Swomp 4.
All the electricity we use comes from our 3 solar panels. They provide us with enough electricity to have 12v light at night, and run a small radio/CD player. It is not possible to continue with our current energy consumption with wind and solar energy. We must reduce our energy consumption and luxury that we are used to, such as dishwasher machines, and big screen TVs. If not for the environment, than because oil (energy) is becoming and will continue to become allot more expensive.
We pump ground water for watering the gardens. This water is not clean enough to drink, but it is a good alternative to using tap water for the gardens. The purification and pumping of tap water costs a lot of energy, and in a country like Holland where the sea levels are rising, there will be less soft water to clean, therefore less drinking water.
We have built a large number of gardens on the terrain, also designing our house and toilet we consider the extraction from and input to our environment. Se we grow food energy efficient and organic to show that we don’t need to import food from all over the world , and to show that industrial farming is both impracticable and unnecessary. We can harvest food from our gardens the whole year round, and we put more nutrients into our soil every season, not from fertilizers, but from putting pemaculture into practice.
Here we have made a brick construction around a mass of earth. Reinforced with a pile of stones in the middle, and then placed earth in the gaps between the bricks where we planted fruit and vegetables. If you have a small back garden this could be the answer for you. Where you have space for sun and shade requiring fruit and veg. You can place your garden and kitchen waste on top to fertilize the earth.
You can drop off you kitchen/ garden scraps with us for our compost heap. We can then use the compost as a fertilizer in our gardens, and there are allot of insects reproducing in and around our compost heap which helps fertilize and pollinate our gardens. Not everything can be thrown into our compost, but their is a list of do and don’t throw in, beside our compost drop off point by the fence.
Beside the compost heap. We are building a willow branch wall, which is made up of two platted lines of planted willow branches. In between we have thrown a mixture of other branches, wood chippings, and earth. This is to provide habitat, and food for birds, hedgehogs and a host of different insects.
Between the compost heap and the willow wall we have built a small pond. this provides habitat for water plants such as water mint and water chestnuts, and animals such as salamanders and frogs who eat slugs. Also it adds to the biodiversity of the whole swomp.
Despite the layer of sand that was placed over the terrain after the demolition, after 2 years there are a number of different plants coming up trough the sand. One of these is the rare, exceptionally beautiful and protected yellow cordalis. We counted 46 of theses plants last year, and we expect even more to come up this year. We are committed to protecting this plant on the Swomp.