NEWS & UPDATES
News & Updates
We started two years ago with a small rectangle of a vegetable garden, and it has grown steadily. When we started we knew we wanted our farm to be organic, and we wanted to create a permaculture garden in particular. It has not been easy! Now the vegetable garden has been extended yet again. The farming of vegetables for all the people (staff, guests and volunteers) has been a steep learning curve. We are in the process of introducing permaculture to our vegetable garden, this is so contrary to the traditional way of growing vegetables that implementation has to be done in small steps to bring our staff along in the learning process.
We have discovered that permaculture is not that easy to implement; but we are getting there; slowly. The permaculture way of farming is so much better for the quality and taste of the vegetables. We have also seen that a well-designed planting plan is needed to supply produce in the correct quantities and over an extended period. Last year we had to deal with 50kgs of tomatoes in one week, not ideal! This year we have added a small greenhouse for seedling propagation. We have also learned that the size of the garden needs to increase to handle the diversity and the staged growing plan, hence the extension.
The most important learning has been that it is beneficial to partner with other organic producers in the area to fill gaps in our own production. We are fortunate to have an organic producer close to use that delivers to our farm.
We are currently in the process of obtaining our organic producer credentials and then we will be part of the cooperative producing vegetables for local consumption.
Construction and Expansion
When we arrived on this farm in 2016 there were many barns and one main manor house. Our extensive renovation of these barns and the house has thus far produced 8 accommodation units, a divine yoga studio, a function hall, lounge, spa and Oak Café. We have refurbished the pool, built a huge new water tank, overhauled the electricity and plumbing… and lots more! Now we are starting on the second next phase of the renovation, where we add a further spa with jacuzzi, large common lounge, big art studio, and another accommodation unit. Phase 3 is the new stables. This is sooo exciting! We should be finished with phase 2 by the end of 2020 (fingers and toes crossed!).
Here at Quinta Carvalhas we have a volunteer programme where volunteers stay with us for a period (4-8 weeks or more) and we provide board and lodging in exchange for five hours of work per day, five days a week. We have had volunteers from all over the world and most have enjoyed farm life. Most of the work is directed at assisting with the horses and the gardening.
We have enjoyed hosting people from all over the world and we like this experience to be a period of growth and learning for them. We appreciate the skills they teach us, as well as the opportunity to impart some knowledge and skills to them, and we enjoy watching them grow to love Misty, the resident bunkhouse dog.
Volunteers usually make contact with us through the Workaway website but we can also be approached directly for more information.