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Kileva Farm Update

Oct 16th,  2015
Mwakoma, Kenya

Dear Cliff,

Herewith an up-date on the permaculture farm at Kileva School. I have delayed rather because it took considerably longer than anticipated for the grass roof to go on the outdoor classroom, but here it is, done at last!


Seed bed sheltered from afternoon sun by Outdoor Classroom

We first double dug the land to make the beds, so that we would break the hard pan that had been created over the years. We then added lots of cardboard and other organic matter, including cow and goat manure to the holes as we filled them back up to provide nutrients for the soil food web living in the ground.


Double-Digging Planting Beds

We have planted about 30 trees, which include Mango, Avocado, Melia (timber tree), Neem, Moringa, papaya and bananas, so at the South and some at the East of the garden to provide a wind break in the future.

A small seed nursery has been set up and I am pleased to see that everything we planted, has already sprouted. This includes Sukuma Wiki (Kale), Spinach, Tomatoes, Managu, Cabbage and chillies.


Joannah, Valentina & Charity before the Storm!

On the lower side (South), we have put in zai pits, each with 5 maize pips in (all shooting nicely!), with beans growing on the mounds of soil between the pits. Above this is a section where we have inter-cropped Sorghum and the locally popular legume Pojo.


Tomato seedlings in re-cycled milk containers

We are catching the rain of the kitchen roof, which will then go onto a bed of small rocks to prevent erosion and drain into the Papaya Circle, which is a large hole in the ground, filled with organic materials, surrounded by 8 papaya trees which will be able to take advantage of the rotting compost in the hole as they grow. This hole flooded with a recent heavy rain, so we directed the flood water into another hole, which now is planted up with Bananas – a Banana Circle.


Charity and Valentina

There are a number of citrus – a beautiful looking Tangerine, lemons and orange trees scattered among the beds.


Elephants in Tsavo East National Park

I have added a photo of an elephant because the shamba (farm) was crop-raided last month and they completely demolished three Papaya trees which were fruiting, and damaged some other trees and the drain for the water harvesting system. We are clearly as vulnerable as any of the farms (although this was during the desperately dry period of the year).

I hope everything is well with you.

Let me know if you need any other details.

Warm regards.



Joannah Stutchbury
Camp Manager
Elephants and Bees Research Center
Human-Elephant Co-Existence Program, Tsavo
Save the Elephants

Facebook Page:

Beehive Fence Sponsorship

I know that many of you have been following the great progress being made by Lucy King and her Save The Elephants team as they expand the beehive project near the Kileva Eastfield School in Mwakoma and Kileva Community Centre in Kirumbi.  You can see posts that describe the progress by clicking on the Elephants and Bees entry under the Blog Categories section on the right.

Some of you have also asked how you can help to support the work , so I’ve added a section to the Kileva Gifts web page which explains how you can help build a fence or buy a beehive, and even how you can have your  name (or the name of a friend / colleague / organisation) painted on the side of a beehive!  Either go to the Kileva Gifts pageand scroll down to the Beehive Fence Scheme section, or you can click on the picture below to go straight to the Beehive Fence Scheme page.




Thanks for your support!



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