Author Topic: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL  (Read 4705 times)

ilinda

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Re: Permaculture Reality Check
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2016, 05:04:44 PM »
Permaculture makes life easy. Farming should be FUN!
stepping back and pondering all that goes in to the initial preparations, even for beds that have been used for years, it isn't quite as easy as it looks, UNLESS there are many or several people involved. 

where did all those piles of straw (hay in our case) come from?  Who cut, raked, wind-rowed, and baled the hay?  If straw, there is another step of removing (threshing?) the grain seeds from the stems.  Who delivered them to the farm? 

there is a lot of processing involved prior to the moment it is plunked down at the feet of the gardener who is lucky enough to have it delivered to her

conventional farmers keep working their butts off generation after generation and the work never lets up. With permaculture you may have to invest a number of years setting up a food forest and waiting for all the flora to grow to maturity, but in the end you're talking a situation you have created that makes your life easy and fun. It's like the difference between building and owning your own home or paying rent for the rest of your life.

Ilinda, you're right. You are. Reality check for me.
Though permaculture may be better, more efficient and sustainable than, say, 'agriculture' it STILL will take a good amount of work. ESPECIALLY if you're not making use of something like a tractor or wood chipper.

I do get caught up in new and better things. And then i get all excited by the lessons i've learned and improvements i've discovered; but, yeah, EVEN with all the good knowhow, wisdom and cutting edge techniques in the world, in the end you're gonna have to be putting in some YEARS of work before you'll be able to 'live off the land' and such.

Intuitively, therefore, i've also been looking into things like raising rabbits; you may have to go out foraging for them to keep them fed, but they'll eat a lot more than you yourself can. And you can feed them to your dogs, even if you don't have to eat them yourself.
And then your dogs will provide you with company, guards against critters and (perhaps most importantly...) protection against unwelcome HUMAN company.
It's funny.  Every year I say, "THIS year will be different!"  I have all these grandiose plans where weeds will be either transplanted if edible, or dug out for the goats, or whatever, and that the garden will look so spotless, and blah, blah, blah.  It CAN be done, but only if every single thing you plan does not get interfered with by bad weather, storms at rthe wrong time, illness, family matters, other matters to distract, and on and on and on.

 In 2015 it was my weeks long pneumonia that laid me up for several months, making the garden a perfect weedplot.  Then in 2016 we had four sick, anemic goats and I spent many weeks trying to keep them alive, with bottle feeding, mixing herbal preps, etc., etc.  It seems every year something comes up to interfere with my "perfect garden plan".

But I think that's the way life works and just keep plodding along feeling positive about "next year".

Socrates

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Setbacks
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2016, 05:43:03 PM »
You can't make an omelot without breaking eggs...
And in Dutch we have this saying about how one finds the best pilots standing around on shore...

rant continued...
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 06:38:35 PM by Socrates »
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Socrates

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SIGN UP NOW: Geoff Lawton's 100% Online PDC [permaculture design course]
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2016, 10:39:01 PM »
The first thing I want to touch on is what makes this online course different from anything I've offered before. There is a lot to say here, so I'll try and condense it all in bullet-point form.

- A lifetime of permaculture instruction packed into the course: Hard-won insights from teaching 15,000+ students over 30 years, delivered to you just a mouse-click away.
- You will learn how to "think like a permaculturist." Far more important than "facts" is a way of thinking, and we'll get you there quickly, thoroughly, and effectively.
- User-friendly technology optimized for learning: Numerous best practices for student-centered learning: Self-paced, multimodal (video, audio) learning, and project-based; students with diverse learning styles will thrive.
- diverse team: A dozen or so superstars with brawn, brains, and heart; hands-down the most capable team I've ever been a part of.
- The video throughout the course is off the charts: Old-school chalkboard "classroom-style," on-the-farm, and drone footage? We got 'em -- and might add a bit of VR towards the end of the course.
- Direct-to-Camera presentation style: This is the first time I've recorded an entire course in a studio with you, the at-home student, as my sole and only focus. The difference is palpable.
- Did I already say that the media team is amazing? Two former university-level film lecturers, and some years spent at Australian National Television; no cheap camera tricks - your learning is front and center.
- Mobile-optimized: Clean access on almost any device, anywhere there is an internet connection.
- "Flipped classroom" is the future of education: Watch videos on your own time, then we do the Q&A together; by doing this, you'll have a deeper understanding of permaculture than even those that take a face-to-face course.

Sign me up!


I received the above through an email. There's more to the email; i will forward if you wish.
To really know how to grow food and soil is not some quaint knowledge; it is about freedom and about what most people throughout history have been faced with [which we have become quite out-of-touch with in our supermarket-society, but nonetheless]. In a natural/human/healthy/sustainable world, you know how to grow your own food.
Also, as books like Jared Diamond's Collapse illustrate in detail, ignorance of what it really means to grow food and soil has led to the destruction of just about all known cultures throughout history [including our own!].

Learning permaculture, especially from the world's foremost expert, is the ultimate in 'prepping'. Hell, if you're honest, 'the end of the world' has already happened for some while now; we just have acknowledged this yet... So-called modern culture has already opted for mass suicide (what with 30% of the world's arable soils already desertified and the other 70% hopelessly minerally deficient). You will likely not survive the backside in ignorance of what it means to grow food and soil. So how timely is it that Geoff Lawton is now really getting to offering the entire world (through the internet) the information we will be needing to thrive and set things right after TSHTF.

If you have the finances and time, this PDC should be at the top of your todo list.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 11:02:00 PM by Socrates »
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R.R. Book

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Re: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2017, 02:43:34 PM »
Socrates, Thank you so much for the Ruth Stout video link. The film was both charming and informative, and made my day!

I've been practicing using the footpath and layered bed method, as well as composting separate heaps of poultry litter (used hay) with veggie scraps and eggshells tossed onto it.  I keep the heaps on the ground around a dwarf apple bed within reach of the hens and ducks for scratching it down to accelerate the composting.  Have been reluctant to use large amounts of hay in my veggie beds though, due to nitrogen leaching of both hay and straw (though the used poultry litter is soiled with watery manure). 

However, Ruth mentions directly adding cottonseed meal for nitrogen into the planting beds, which would counteract the nitrogen leaching.  I did some quick research and found that coffee grounds can substitute for cottonseed meal, which is more sustainable for us as we drink lots of coffee here.  Another gardener who practices a modified Ruth Stout method tosses old greens onto the soil before covering it with hay, so she is arriving at the nitrogen another way.  I suppose sowing a nitrogen fixer, such as clover, among the plants might also work?

ilinda

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Re: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2017, 05:28:12 PM »
Socrates, Thank you so much for the Ruth Stout video link. The film was both charming and informative, and made my day!

I've been practicing using the footpath and layered bed method, as well as composting separate heaps of poultry litter (used hay) with veggie scraps and eggshells tossed onto it.  I keep the heaps on the ground around a dwarf apple bed within reach of the hens and ducks for scratching it down to accelerate the composting.  Have been reluctant to use large amounts of hay in my veggie beds though, due to nitrogen leaching of both hay and straw (though the used poultry litter is soiled with watery manure). 

However, Ruth mentions directly adding cottonseed meal for nitrogen into the planting beds, which would counteract the nitrogen leaching.  I did some quick research and found that coffee grounds can substitute for cottonseed meal, which is more sustainable for us as we drink lots of coffee here.  Another gardener who practices a modified Ruth Stout method tosses old greens onto the soil before covering it with hay, so she is arriving at the nitrogen another way.  I suppose sowing a nitrogen fixer, such as clover, among the plants might also work?
With careful and thoughtful use, urine from someone not using pharmaceuticals, and not sick, is a good source of nitrogen for the garden.  One might need to dilute it with water for some crops, but it can be applied directly, full strength, to asparagus beds.  Also can be poured around mature tomato plants, especially if well mulched.  I think I read that urine is higher in nitrogen than manure.

Socrates

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talk to your plants and piss on them...
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2017, 02:17:20 AM »
I read that urine is higher in nitrogen than manure.
"talk to your plants and piss on them"; aw, c'mon, that's funny  ;D

What's in the air? Besides [used to be] 21% oxygen, it's all about nitrogen and CO2; hey, that's exactly what it takes to build a compost heap: 1 layer of browns [i.e. carbon] followed by 1 layer of greens [i.e. nitrogen].
And when you talk to your plants, your breath containing CO2 is feeding them [much like oxygen feeds us] and when you pee on them, you're providing them with nitrogen that's been biologically bound. So you're really giving them C + N.

90 minerals in nature, yes, but much of what plants need is about C + N. (Perhaps it's akin to how we need H2O + O2.)
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 02:30:14 AM by Socrates »
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R.R. Book

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Re: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2017, 09:32:17 AM »
When my boys were small, they used to pee off the upstairs deck [we're in a private spot here:)], and the grass below eventually died.  I had to work some carbon into that soil before re-sown grass would grow there again.  But maybe Ilinda's advice to dilute the urine might make all the difference? :)

Socrates

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Re: diluting nitrates
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2017, 09:56:52 AM »
Actually i think it'd be a shame to dilute such a fine source of nitrates...
but i also think people underestimate how much good carbon can do for your soil.

Ya wanna take it easy on the salts and only grass will handle the 1:5 ratio of salt to sweet water (as a fertilizer), but, just as a few examples of things to add to soil, if you're adding magnetite you can have as much as 10% make up your soil. And if you're adding carbon, like in a terra preta style model, it can make up as much as 50%.

If you're keeping chickens it's great to have them defecating on wood chips or something like that, because the carbon of the wood chips binds with the nitrates in the chicken droppings, making a wonderful 'carbon-nitrogen 1-2 punch'!
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Jimfarmer

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Re: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2017, 10:03:41 AM »
Quote
I read that urine is higher in nitrogen than manure.

Technically, manure is not necessarily feces.  Here is the definition:
1.  excrement, especially of animals, or other refuse used as fertilizer.
2.  any natural or artificial substance for fertilizing the soil.

So, urine would therefore be manure also.

I once read that urine and wood ash combination is the best natural fertilizer.

ilinda

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Re: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2017, 03:42:15 PM »
Urine and wood ash do sound like a good combo.  I know some with composting toilets who use not only sawdust, but a mix of aged sawdust and wood ash as a "cover".

And regarding grass dying from being urinated on, it makes sense, especially if the same area is "rained upon" repeatedly! 

And it's probably not too wise an idea to use urine on lettuce or anything that is eaten raw.  About five years ago a master gardener told me that "humanure" would probably be OK to use in the garden after about four or so years, assuming the target temperatures were used, etc.

In The Humanure Handbook it show the steps to this process.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 11:46:50 PM by Socrates »

Socrates

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Re: humanure
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2017, 07:24:45 PM »
obviously also dependent on the diet of said humans...
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Socrates

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Re: agrobusiness = "agriculture"
« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2017, 11:21:55 PM »
LESSON # 1: Make no mistake: do not seek to compromise

AGRICULTURE is about TAXATION and REGULATION; it is NOT about growing food; it's about growing food in such a way that is convenient to TPTB [the powers that be]

Lesson # 1 in relation to sustainable methods of growing food is to radically discard all methods that promote unsustainability; in other words: "agriculture".
In this article on the evils of foodlots i came across one powerful sentence that succinctly sums up what "agriculture" truly is:
Feedlots and other CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) are not the inevitable product of agricultural progress, nor are they the result of market forces. They are instead the result of public policies that massively favor large-scale feedlots to the detriment of family farms.

This reality should really hit home for everyone on Earth! We've all gotten away from being at all responsible for (our) food and complacently go to, and rely on, supermarkets for our basic needs. Our generation has indeed produced and enjoyed wonderful improvements, but they are sadly coupled with the destruction of the necessary and common sense fact that it is downright idiotic to leave your daily nutritional needs in the hands of professionals and politicians...
Agriculture is right up there with overpopulation and destruction of privacy; it's about the evil of our day; it is not about our generation's accomplishments.

Furthermore, the destruction of family farms in favor of massive agrobusiness is a societal issue of the gravest import. Not in the least because of the implicit conditioning of the cultural mind that it is normal, inevitable and even good to have a tiny percentage of the population deal with growing food while 95+% ignore their basic human responsibilities in this arena. And the sad result of these developments is also that poor quality leading to basic malnutrition has conditioned the masses to accept that an 80% cancer/heart disease risk is normal...

The idea that one cut down one's forests and replace them with monocrop fields of hybridized crops as well as cruel inefficient and quality-poor animal husbandry practices isn't 'progress' or 'better', let alone inevitable. This is one of mankind's pubescent phases it has to go through (apparently) before something more mature is (finally) accomplished. No more, no less. And if anyone thinks modern agricultural practices are anything but evil, they are themselves ignorant, stupid or evil.
Permaculture is just the yang coming forth after a whole lot of yin...2773
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 05:41:04 AM by Socrates »
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Yowbarb

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Re: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2017, 01:26:35 PM »
Socrates and others, thanks for your posts here... I totally agree about the evils of modern "agribusiness," which of course incorporates abominations in treatment of animals and the creation of frankenfoods...

ilinda

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Re: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2017, 05:08:48 PM »
Although I'm not officially a "permaculturist", I do a lot of it within both food and herb gardens.  One example was an "accidental permaculture" experiment.

Last November when I planted garlic in its own raised bed, previously used for growing Purple Peruvian Potatoes, I did as usual, planted the garlic about 6-8" apart, and about 1-2" deep, then mulched heavily with old, dry hay.

All was going well during the winter and early spring.  Then in spring dozens of Purple Peruvian Potato plants were germinating, apparently from the potatoes I had missed when harvesting last year!  The bed is so full of potato plants, between and among the garlics, that there is little room for weeds.

The real test will be soon, to see if the potatoes took away from the garlic. The garlic tops are beautiful and healthy looking, so it's difficult to believe that the lush tops could be sitting on tiny bulbs.  We'll see, and pictures will follow.

If this is a success, I now have a new way to grow garlic:  intersperse some fingerling potatoes that are very dark in color, which will help retain heat during the winter when they are not ordinarily planted.  Update to follow.

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Re: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL
« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2017, 06:22:09 PM »
Ilinda, Did your potatoes have snow on top of them during the winter?