TREE PLANTING AND REWILDING THE DESERT
Since buying the land twenty years ago, Penelope has overseen the planting of thousands of trees, creating an oasis in the desert. There is a diverse selection of specimen trees from all over the world as well as plenty of indigenous and desert trees that need little water.
Five years ago, Penelope acquired some more land around the retreat and has since overseen the planting of at least a further 800 fruit trees creating an abundant orchard, all of which are now bearing fruit. As well as the fruit trees, there are other indigenous trees including olive, eucalyptus, pomegranate, fig, almond, palm and cypress- these trees have been planted on the land in a system of mixed planting that enables the different species to regenerate and support the soil and each other, and through this, various flowers and shrubs have returned to the land as well as diverse species of insects, birds and animals.
Penelope has also planted a sacred geometry garden of Moringa trees amongst the rewilding that is doing very well and is still in process. None of this land is touched or cut apart from that immediately around the individual fruit trees which are then mulched.
In the last five years the newly-acquired land has been re-wilded successfully which is a big part of what we are about at La Finca Paradiso. Our philosophy of returning to and regenerating nature means that the land is always a work-in-progress.
We currently have 48 solar panels on the roof of the finca and 12 separate solar panels on the Pool House which operate the solar pump for the main pool. We also have 18 heat absorption pads on the Pool Bar roof which are solely used for heating the swimming pool. We nave 5 outback inverters which were originally designed by the US military which charge our 44 batteries which supply us with our electricity. The water for the finca is also heated by solar power and the tank and system are on the roof.
We also have a 5.5 kilowatt wind turbine which also sends power through our inverters and can produce approximately 8,000 kilowatts per year in an average of 12 mph winds.
We have an 35KVA imola back-up generator which we have to use occasionally.
Water is an issue for us as we are in the desert and have no personal spring water.
We have dug out 2 wells but the water is of quite a high saline content which limits what we can do with it in the garden due to the needs of the trees and vegetation
However, we do use recycled water to irrigate the gardens, and have quite a complex system that collects all of our rainwater in a 55,000 litre tank underneath the Healing Garden.
We also have a quota of agricultural water which we get weekly and store in one of our underground tanks.
For the orchards and kitchen gardens at the side and bottom of the land we have a remarkable wastewater treatment plant that takes our grey and black water and cleans it using a combination of oxygen and bacteria before sending it out onto our fruit trees and other plants. Our orchards are thriving and this is an exciting and innovative system that will be more commonly used around the world in the future.
Our water for the guests is fresh mountain spring water coming from Alamilla and we have 40,000 litres delivered weekly. This is then cleaned and filtered for drinking.
We have drinking taps by every sink and have three drinking fountains around the retreat where guests can fill up their water bottles
We respectfully ask guests to bring their own water bottles so they can refill them on site. We also sell refillable water bottles in our shop. This is to cut down the use of plastic.
We have recycling bins placed in the kitchen of the finca and by the pool which are emptied regularly. We recycle plastic, paper, cardboard, metal and glass. We also compost uncooked food waste.