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Permaculture is Weaving Magic! (Maharashtra, India)

by Jyoti Deshpande, Chaitraban

It has been almost three years, and, as Toby Hemenway says, the magic is happening! The trees are yielding shiny tasty food, the variety of weeds on the land is slowly reducing, the soil is a darker colour now and there are tons and tons of predatory insects patrolling the site.

The new beds growing cow pea and carrots reseeded themselves

We had planted the breadfruit because the mango looked quite dead last year.
Voila! The mango loved the new friend and both are wonderfully well,
including the self seeded gourd climbing on them.

The bitter gourd between the moringa and hibiscus

Last weekend was the most amazing time at Chaitraban. I could feel the breeze on my face, fragrant with the aroma of fruits and vegetables. The sweet smell of jasmine and fresh mint in the air was mesmerising. There was a romantic feel about the way the monsoon clouds played with the string of birds flying high.

White ginger with taro, marigold under fodder tree, where the tap leaks in
summer and provides the needed moisture!

Passion fruit on the water tank

There is magic happening! Vegetables from last year have reseeded themselves and are yielding fresh food for the table. The fruit trees have decided to bless us with ample chemical-free nutrition and the bees and butterflies have decided to make their permanent home on the farm. The pathways are all lined with ground covers or mulch, there are smaller shrubs, bushes under new fruit trees and the upper storey is made of fodder trees for the cattle and goats. The no-dig beds are ready to grow some new veggies (as there is too much rain) and they will be sown to grow all food in three month’s time.

Lemon grass, with pigeon pea to line the path

First lemons between the flowers

The star fruits, the berries, the turmeric and pumpkin all growing and yielding

The orchard is all planted with mango, guava, coconuts, citrus, custard apple, water apple, figs and many more, and is waiting to grow other layers of the food forest. The pond is ready to welcome ducks, the outlet of which ends in a hose to water the veggies with the fertilised water (provided the kids agree to sacrifice their splash pool!). A new area of no-dig beds is ready with the beds and waiting to welcome chickens after the monsoon.

Fodder trees, malabar spinach and air potatoes growing on them, the beds
underneath will be planted with veggies now with marigolds

The extended zone one

The trees are choosing their own plants to form guilds and the farm is forming its own system of being self-sufficient in terms of beneficial insects, nutrition, pollination and everything else that will be needed for it to thrive! The weeds are (somehow!) helping the plants and trees to grow better. We began with weeding two years ago and it was a back pain and still the plants were not doing any better. Now, in the absence of extra help we do not weed and the trees and vegetables are growing wonderfully together!

Guavas this year! Sweet and full of vitamins. We did not crop and prune the
trees. I believe the tree is balancing itself with its well placed branches.

Finally, after more than two years, we can sit on the verandah and enjoy a cup of delicious mint, lemongrass and ginger tea, looking at the rain drizzling through the beautiful landscape and the river and waterfalls in the mountains beyond.

My favourite verandah to enjoy a cuppa

My own landscaping design on 3 acres

A road to heaven…

In a couple of years, we hope to have accommodation for volunteers and hold permaculture courses on site. I can’t wait to meet wonderful new friends from all over the world!


    1. I wish to visit Chaitraban Project by Jyoti Deshpande, a Permaculture site in Maharashtra, India. Kindly guide.

  1. Robin – click on the link from the word ‘Chaitraban’ at the top of the article. Then see the ‘Details’ section on the WPN profile for this project.

  2. thank u robin, natasha and marcin :-) looking forward to meet u sometime soon. robin, we are near pune, in maharashtra. welcome.

  3. Proud of you, Jyoti ! Happy for you:)
    Great work. Let me know when I can visit.
    Will do paintings and pottery for you, as decided:)

  4. lovely to see jyoti. i am sad i will not be passing through mumbai next month. soon you will be doing this for others, as well as doing more amazing and important work.

  5. Dear Jyoti,
    You and your team have indeed created a huge slice of heaven at Chaitraban and deserve kudos. I would dearly love to visit your farm to try and understand how you have achieved this harmony with nature and try and replicate it on my one acre.
    Please do let me know if you entertain inquisitive visitors.
    Best wishes,
    Jyot Singh

  6. Hi Jyoti, You are doing great work and its very inspirational. I wish to visit your farm and understand your work as I am planning to implement Permaculture design strategy in Amalner, Jalgaon.
    Best Regards,

  7. hi guys, sorry abt not replying fr long. havent been following on this post…we like to have day visitors at chaitraban. you can connect with me on permaculture global…thanks fr the encouragement!

  8. Hi, I’m so happy to know about you. I live in Pune and I’d love to visit your farm and learn about Permaculture. Kindly share more details about the location and please notify when you intend to start a course. keep up the good work!

  9. Loved what you have done here. Is there a chance I could come for a day visit. Please can you give me some directions.

      1. First i admire the results you achieved. I am shifting to permaculture since two years however i have miles to go for a real change.I have the will to do it, but i need to learn. Surely i would like to see your practices and take the essence of it back home.

  10. Great post. Beautiful garden. I wish you could suggest the plant and tree speciies for different layers of permaculture garden, suitable for maharastra and telangana

  11. I have 12 acres land near Inter Air port Shamshabad Hyderabad Telengana India now I want implement permdesign for my land to do cultivation.

    First I want to go for compound wall with water storage type and also rain water harvesting pits and also pond so that always I want to have few millon lts of water before me.

  12. Jyoti…I have been reading One Straw Revolution and was guided to your link by a friend.You have done so well.Would want to come to Chaitraban

  13. Congratulations Jyoti…..

    Thanks for being a torch bearer for us who are trying to follow your footsteps, Keep up the Great Work…..

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