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Kibbutz Nir-Oz

The Model Garden at Kibbutz Nir-Oz: Ecologically sound, water sparing and economical to run


The garden of Nir Oz is unique in Israeli as well as in international terms: it is green, fresh and functional. It is flanked by 120 dunams ( 12 hectares ) of testing and acclimatization plots in which over 800 species of herbs, shrubs and trees are grown without irrigation. In ordinary years (total precipitation 250 mm ), the irrigation supplied to the garden amounts to a mere 50% of that recommended for the rainy north of the country. The cost of maintenance is around $310/ha/month. This makes it one of the cheapest gardens in Israel from the standpoint of maintenance, water, materials, labor, equipment, contractors, rehabilitation and improvement of parts of the garden. Run on ecological principles, it is environmentally friendly. Agro-technical techniques for reducing water and maintenance costs are also tested in the garden.

This is the only garden in Israel for which accurate and detailed records have been kept for over 30 years. These records cover: water amounts, inputs, work days, expenditure, types of plants, date and precise place of planting, and more.

The garden is exploited for purposes of learning and demonstration by researchers, gardeners, teachers, amateurs of horticulture, and schoolchildren. However, this use is severely limited by lack of funds.


  • To transform the garden and acclimatization plots into a field lab and center for instruction in techniques of water-wise, low-maintenance and ecologically sound gardening for private gardens and public parks. Instruction will target professionals and the general public alike.

  • To improve the quality of life countrywide and more especially in the dry areas.

  • To create new workplaces in the Negev in instruction, tourism, horticulture, etc. The Negev is the only region with the capacity to house millions of new inhabitants, and its capital, Beer Sheva, is expected to become the largest city in Israel . It is incumbent on us to prepare for the future.

Ran Pauker