Vitsøhus permaculture – ornamented farm – paradise garden for the future – review 2018

by Petra and Morten Dall

We made it through the drought!!!

2018 had been a challenging year at Vitsøhus due to the drought that kept us busy with watering at least selected plants to survive as well as moving tons of water from our well on Holmegård into our fishpond to hold a level for the fish to survive.

Our natural Segway track had been changed into a pasture for our alpacas not having enough green grass elsewhere to feed them. Hay we harvested for the wintertime had to be fed from July onward, so extra hay had to be bought. We are grateful that all our beloved animals survived the drought – so did our fruit trees, that are planted in a productive edible forest garden scheme. They benefited from the shadow of each other, mulching and ground cover plants amongst them and from some water applied manually every second day.

We happily managed to finish the reconstruction of an old site caravan with four beds, installed a cosy kitchen redecorated the shower and a toilet which can house 4 trainees during their stay at Vitsøhus. Also our earth storage cellar has been luckily finished and is fully stored with different sorts of apples, cabbage, pumpkins, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, celery (from our garden!), marmalades and home made apple juice. The harvest of berries and apples was magnificent this year; Morten pressed nearly 400 litres delicious apple juice, 75 litre will end as sparkling cider ;-).

About 10 trainees, Wwoofers, Workawayers and internship joined us throughout the year 2018. It has been a pleasure to share some weeks, thoughts, ideas, experiences, work and daily life with each of them during their stay here at Vitsøhus.

We are cooperating with different Steiner Schools in Germany,  AgroCampus “Isaralyon” in France,  Pure-food in Germany, “Efter-skole Ærø” in Denmark and others.

On our mindmap „Vitsøhus Portfolio“ you can see our offers for guests / learners.

During the year 2018 we had around 250 visitors.

We decided not to offer „Detox“ and „Yoga“ any longer and 2018 was the last year the Café had been open on a regularly basis because we two people are not able to put time in only 3 visitors a day, nor in 20 at a time. For 2019 the café is open only for groups of minimum 6 persons.

In 2018 we started 2 new tours for our visitors:

  • “The unforgettable animal tour”: visiting our cute animals, getting into contact, feeding, feeling, touching, talking, information about them, their use in our project / products…
  • “The rosie-tea tour“ about the history of roses, use, breeds, production of roses from the wild / ancient to the modern rose including the subject of usage in medicinal respects (the rose garden consists of around 200 different sorts of roses)

Still on programme

– Herb safari, chasing herbs and getting selected information about particular plants, their history, legends usage…rounded out by a self-made green paleo smoothie

– Guided nature tours on SEGWAY

For 2019 we will also stick to our offers for groups, continuing our animal / rose tours and herb safaris as well as inviting guests to our world unique audio-guided permaculture tours or personally guided tours through our little paradise. We also offer seminars, open space for brainstormers and adventurers as well as retreats for business and private groups.

Concerning our production / shop we are perspectively focussing on herb salt and tea (from our garden), woolen products from our animals and are discussing a new production line in the realm of “recycling” alpaca manure, wool etc. according to the permaculture principles “Catch and store energy”, “Use & value renewable resources & services”, “Produce no waste” and “Use small & slow solutions”.

Contacts and councelling requests in Germany / Austria draw us close to two permaculturists we are planning three workshops / courses together with in 2019: 1. building an outdoor furnace, 2. a portable compost toilet and 3. a “How-to- use-a-scythe-properly-course” in May / June 2019.

During the last season we have been supplying the new and highly recommended restaurant Arnfeldt in Ærøskøbing with speciality herbs, fruit, etc, meat in a small scale like slaughtered ducks and sheep.

Maybe we will try to raise some money by funds to establish our production and for two of the workshops / projects, but we both are ambivalent about getting financed by the government instead of being on the right side of economy on our own terms. Incentives always create a loss of freedom and a dependency to the system.

Woofers, volunteers, internship, guests, visitors, supporters, learners, students, friends and just those who are curious from all over the world are welcome to join us through the season, usually from February until November minimum stay three weeks.