Author Topic: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL  (Read 5158 times)

Socrates

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Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL
« on: September 06, 2016, 09:43:10 AM »
LESSON # 1: Make no mistake: do not seek to compromise

We all grew up 'worshipping' agriculture. It's even hard not to use the very word when talking about growing food! However, agriculture is about NON-sustainable models that are part of the political and economical paradigm the 'Western world' is famous for. If we keep on following those models, not only will the condition of the world's arable lands continue to diminish at a staggering rate, but we're handicapping generations-to-come with damaged soils and ignorance.

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]

Now, GROWING FOOD is about soil management and other matters that relate to sustainability and quality. [Agriculture is focused on QUANTITY instead.]

You are part of a generation and culture that has grown up with the idea of agriculture. As such, when talking, thinking or feeling about alternatives it is your natural inclination to seek some form of COMPROMISE between that which you have known all your life and that which is new. THIS IS A MISTAKE!!!


Okay, you're gonna find the following comparison exaggerated or over-the-top, but here it comes...
If you grew up in Hitler's Germany [i.e. National Socialism and all it led to] and were offered 'democracy' or whatever 'enlightened' political idealism, should you...
A. try to adjust the Nazi system, or
B. discard the Nazi system and embrace 'democracy'?
Can you imagine and understand that if you grew up with National Socialism that you would be looking for some way to find a compromise between Nazis and 'democrats'?
Having said that, do you think any such compromise is logical, achievable or feasible?
And yet, if you grew up in a National Socialist culture, you'd probably be unwilling to COMPLETELY let it go... And yet, you must.
It's the same with the agricultural model.


Agriculture is about:
- monocrops
- hybridized and specialized seeds
- chemical and pharmaceutical fertilizers

Whereas permaculture is about:
- polyculture
- heirloom seeds
- soil management

Now, if you AT ANY LEVEL feel the need to compromise between the two, how do you imagine to achieve as much when the two we're talking about ARE OPPOSITES?!
What is the compromise between BLACK and WHITE? It is grey.
Did either black or white make it through that compromise...?
No. All you're left with is grey.


If you are new to permaculture, it will be a natural tendency for you to seek compromise between what you learn and what you have been told your whole life. HOWEVER, that is inappropriate in this case. You must choose; you cannot build a system built on elements that both destroy and cultivate the same aspects. Agriculture, for instance, MINES soil, whereas permaculture CREATES it; what's the compromise? Stagnant soil...?

Lesson # 1 in relation to sustainable methods of growing food is to radically discard all methods that promote unsustainability; in other words: "agriculture".
« Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 02:34:55 AM by Socrates »
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Yowbarb

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Re: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2016, 04:47:52 PM »
Socrates, what an excellent Topic,  :)
thank you,
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Permaculture TUTORIAL lesson #2: The Goal is Soil Management
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2016, 11:31:47 PM »
Soil is life. It holds water, it provides nutrients and it holds the symbiotic lifeforms that supply nutrients to roots. Having said that, there is a caveat...
Flora have been known to thrive on volcanic rock void of soil. That's possible because in the end it's all about minerals and volcanic rock is full of them. So if you're in a humid climate where a sprout or seedling won't dry out, it can thrive on 'rock'. Rare but possible.
Similarly, one can grow plants hydroponically using a solution of seawater with great success; the roots grow through gravel and have access to all the minerals in the world that are all to be found in seawater.
Barring such rare or cultivated conditions, however, most of life on Earth depends on soil...


It's good to be clear on what your focus should be and when you're interested in growing food your focus should be on soil.
Some permaculturists therefore don't speak of "agriculture", "farming" or "growing food" but rather say "soil management". Hey, in the end, if you have good soil, even the weeds that come up there are probably better to eat than what mainstream farmers harvest.

Once your soil is good, you're good [and you need neither hydroponics nor tropical conditions on volcanic rock]. Whatever you plant will then not only grow well but it will provide you with superior produce. But let's take a look at HOW superior we're talking, for this is largely underestimated and misunderstood by people new to permaculture, nutrition or health.

The U.S. Gov. has on it's own website put out a graph how the mineral content of agricultural soils have diminished in the past 50 years by 95%. Now that's an impressively disturbing number in and of itself but what does that statistic REALLY convey? Well, it likely conveys that most minerals in mainstream soils will be exceedingly low but that TRACE MINERALS will probably be gone altogether. After all, they were TRACE minerals to begin with, i.e. not there in great amounts. They were the first to go.
But if you've learned anything about health you know that all life needs trace minerals to function properly. You may in the end NOT DIE without the necessary trace minerals but you will certainly not THRIVE.

A tomato can contain 56 minerals or it can SURVIVE on 12... Which would you rather eat? One is a SUPERFOOD and the other tastes like packaged water...
It also means that you can eat ONE apple from an old tree in good soil with roots that go deep down to access minerals in the ground, or you can have to eat 20 apples from a young apple tree in poor soil to get the same amount of nutrients. (Do you see yourself eating 20 watery apples a day...?)


There are a number of ways to create good soil (which is ironic when you consider that mainstream sources consider soil a finite resource). A compost pile converts 'greens', 'browns' and moisture into soil and a forest floor does the same on a large scale. So forget the compost pile and plant some trees.

People have copied the forest process by laying down hay or woodchips and there's a second natural process for creating soil: grass + ruminants.
Grass [and related species like bamboo and maize] are unique in nature in that they absorb all minerals present in the soil. They pass these on to the creatures that eat them. These pass dung and urine, crop the grass to make space for next generations and benefit the landscape in all kinds of subtle ways. Ley farming is about keeping your ruminants on a pasture for 4 to 6 years and then using that land for a few years to grow crops; then you put your ruminants on it again [farmers in England did this successfully for centuries].

Once you have soil your harvest is really just a natural by-product you enjoy; it can't help but appear! After all, what did you do? Nature does all the work. That is, once you allow for the proper circumstances and in the case of 'farming' that's mainly about (good) soil. Especially since the conditions that created soil are also conditions that save and conserve water, even during long dry months.


Permaculture lesson #2, therefore, is that 'farming' should be about creating conditions that benefit the creation and conservation of soil. This has many benefits:
- most of the work is in initial preparations that support soil but later it's much less work than traditional farming promises
- your produce is of both greater quantity and quality
- your produce promotes health and energy in a manner that's incomparable to conventional food
- your produce keeps longer and tastes better
« Last Edit: September 07, 2016, 12:21:40 AM by Socrates »
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LESSON #3: You Have Enough Water
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2016, 08:04:29 PM »
Permaculture tutorial, lesson #3: You have enough water.

As a child of our modern age, your main problem with water is probably in your own head...
Geoff Lawton went to some trouble to impressively establish two oases in Jordan to prove that one can grow soil anywhere [Jordan being extremely hot, dry and barren].
He did this, he HAD to do this, because of the indoctrination the world has undergone through popular/mainstream/conventional agricultural methods that all require copious amounts of the stuff. That has given everyone since childhood a false knowing that irrigation is necessarily part of growing food. It's not.


Agriculture destroys soil and wastes water and then is like: "Boo hoo, look how parched my crops are". Duh. It's like you cut off one of your horse's legs and then complain how slow he's become.
There are success stories coming from all over the world [Borneo, India, Burkina Faso, Thailand, China] of people turning wastelands into green by doing one simple thing: PLANTING TREES. And if you think about it, it's logical as hell. It's not rocket science either:
- the trees root down in search of water
- their roots make vertical routes for water to travel up
- their leaves offer mulch that protects against evaporation
- dead leaves and wood give minerals the tree acquired from deep in the ground

But it's not just forests. How did the great fertile plains of the U.S.A. ever come into being? Aren't these supposedly very hot regions in summer that have offered America soil they've been able to mine for over 100 years, yeah, but that [i.e. supposedly, now] need irrigation?
But back when herds of millions of bison roamed the land, the soil would hold on to what rain falls; there were no tilled lands and the herds were constantly giving as well as taking. Now, and especially in areas without herds, what you have in this climate is deserts or desert-like conditions. So it's clearly not about climate, i.e. it's not about rainfall [water!]; that region has always had long hot dry summers. It's about soil and conditions condusive to making and preserving soil.


Permaculture experts often involve irrigation as support when getting an environmental system STARTED but once a permaculture system that creates and conserves soil is in place, it will take care of it's own water needs.
Of course the system itself has needs. And THAT is your job (that and harvesting!) Your job is to make sure the right animals are part of the system, for instance, and that they're WHERE they do good, WHEN that's appropriate and that there are both enough and not too MANY of them.
Also, in order to support soil, water needs to move slowly through it and a lot of permaculture is about slowing water down, as it moves through the landscape or as it falls as torrential rains threatening to wash away earth and nutrients.


Permaculture lesson #3 is that you can't deal with water wastefully but that if you don't you'll have more than enough, no matter how long your dry seasons may be. Soil holds onto water but soil can only develop/grow where water moves slowly, too. So allow the ground to hold onto water as long as it can and it will take care of it's own water needs.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 04:57:37 AM by Socrates »
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ilinda

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Re: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2016, 05:15:32 PM »
Excellent points, Socrates, in all posts, #1, #2, and #3.

Too many points to comment on for now, but I'll mention how easy it is to grow potatoes in old hay or in straw.  Old, dry hay is good because seeds are no longer viable, and it can be fluffed up quite nicely.  Since potatoes are mostly water, they (apparently?) get much of their moisture from rain, as we never water potatoes.  Never so far, but if some hideous drought happened where no rain fell from January through planting time and then through harvest time, I suppose watering could be a possibility.

Near harvest time one year, we showed visitors our potatoes by gently lifting the corner of a tall sheaf of hay and there were these neatly laid out spuds looking so edible and ready to harvest.  They acted as if we had staged the whole thing, as most think potatoes must be planted deeply in soil.  Not.

Socrates

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LESSON #4: Resistance and Obstruction by Conventional Folk
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2016, 02:45:18 AM »
Lesson # 4: Resistance and Obstruction by Conventional Folk

We do not live in a vacuum. The world is full of over 7 billion souls, vast expanses of desertified lands and generations worth of (self-)destructive behavior and ideas.
That’s not all bad; with 30% of the world’s arable land having already been turned into wasteland, there’s a lot of room for improvement, even for enterprising people to make use of lands others have given up on, abandoned and lost interest in.
On the other hand, when you go out into this self-destructive world of popular / mainstream / conventional farmers and the like, you are likely to run into a lot of elements that are not condusive to permaculture practice.


Forget for a moment angry neighbors who don’t like you allowing your ‘weeds’ to cover your land; perhaps you prefer these so-called weeds [beneficial flora like dandelion and mullein that break up compacted dirt, creating soil in the process] to leaving your land barren, lifeless and dried out but your neighbors are afraid the seeds of your weeds will blow over to their property [the fitting mantra is: ”Forgive them, Lord, they know not what they do”...] You can get away from that; get away from urban areas and find some peace and quiet. [In a SHTF situation you’re better off there anyway.]
However, in many places away from people and urban areas you’ll still be confronted with (roaming) locals, wildlife and other people’s wild-roaming ruminants.

Contrary to popular opinion, ignore the locals and keep them at arm's length. They will give you their ignorant opinions and distract you from what your own two eyes and knowhow are telling you. In the rare case they have something to offer, you'll recognize it as such and can go with it, but as a rule the locals will just be giving you the bs they themselves grew up with and you should be much better informed than they are. They will make you doubt yourself, particularly because they're so adamant and convinced of their own truths and because it's all of them against 'your crazy notions'. Better to keep contact to a minimum. Later, when you've proven to them and to yourself that you know what you're doing, you can relax a bit.

I rented a house in a valley and an expat [friendly, helpful type] that’d been living there for 20 years told me the stream running by my house would dry up in summer. It never did.
Now, yeah, the stream went down to a trickle in the dry months, but a trickle that’s running 24/7 is MORE THAN ENOUGH to irrigate a properly designed garden with. However, if you view things from a conventional farming point of view, a trickle is as bad as no stream whatsoever (since conventional farmers use SO much water that you might as well forget about farming with ‘so little water’). So in a way this fellow wasn’t even lying; on the other hand, if i had known that i was guaranteed this steady 24/7 flow of water running by my house, i would have planned my activities very differently! So even well-meaning advice from a local with much experience of the area just sent me off in quite the wrong direction.
In the end he did me a favor in that he taught me not to put my trust in other people’s observations; i have my own two eyes and my own knowledge, understanding and insight so it’s best to stick to all that as my main source of ideas and conclusions.


Worst of all are other people’s ruminants. Mainstream thinking rates most the world’s lands as wasteland, only good for keeping goats and sheep, hunting and honey [beekeeping]. Unfortunately, there are therefore goats and sheep everywhere. What you may not realize is that a lot of people just leave their ruminants to roam vast stretches of hills off on their own; then these animals make it back to their owners at some point.
I was in this valley and noticed some sheep up in the hills most days but thought it would be safe to do some planting since they never seemed to come close. However, one day this whole herd of Nubian goats comes by; about 20 large animals! A herd like that doesn’t have to come by often; they will munch months of work away in minutes even if they only make it to your site once!
Forget rats and rabbits; you can handle that kind of parasitical damage, but large herbivores are a completely different story. For that kind of threat you need to either have at least one person guarding your site at all times or you need at least one dog.
A dog worth it’s salt can be left behind to guard your property while you go off to tend to business or do shopping. You may have to raise some extra rabbits to feed it but don’t forget a dog will also be good company. Humans are social animals, too, and if you don’t have other people to rely on, at the very least you can get yourself man’s best friend to assist you and to get you through lonely times.
For long-term solutions there are lists of plants that help keep animals at bay to be found online. Besides prickly plants like cacti and agave, there are also certain plants that even sheep or goats won’t eat (much of) and these can be used as natural barriers to keep undesired ruminants at bay.
In the end don’t forget that humans are a kind of ape and we can climb things like walls, ladders or steps that even goats can’t handle; so there are also physical barriers to think of, either when considering where to locate or as a means of landscaping to keep your location ruminant-proof.


Lesson # 4 of this permacultural tutorial, therefore, is that you need to keep in mind that other creatures, including other people, are more likely to be a threat to your endeavors than that they are to be considered resources or beneficial. In fact, with a ‘world gone crazy’ practicing modern self-destructive methods of agriculture and the like, you’re best off accepting that you’re not only on your own, but you’re likely to encounter negative feedback and resistance to whatever you do. Forewarned is forearmed, however, and as long as you know what you’re up against, you should be able to deal with such challenges just fine.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 03:45:22 AM by Socrates »
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LESSON #5: Pegs, Stories and Language
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2016, 02:48:05 AM »
Lesson # 5: Pegs, Stories and Language

Permaculture is about new pegs, a new language and a new ‘story’ about growing food.

-   The story; in the inspirational Findhorn documentary there are people talking about a new story mankind needs to have/find in relation to (developing) a new paradigm.
-   Pegs; psychologically speaking, the mind needs pegs to hang ideas on and when no pegs exist the mind has two choices: hang new ideas on existing pegs or create new ones.
-    Language; as i’ve already pointed out, this generation even has a problem talking about growing food and avoiding the word “agriculture”. But what does “agriculture” mean? Are we all actually talking about the same thing?!

In a documentary on the Fordhall Project/Fordhall Farm, this amazing initiative that transforms farming into something efficient, easy, more productive and profitable is ignored by surrounding farmers who continue to slave on using conventional methods and principles. Why? Because they lack the pegs/story/language with which to comprehend what’s going on at Fordhall.

When a conventional farmer hears someone talking about “minerals”, they’re like: ”Yeah, yeah, minerals: NPK”, i.e. fertilizers all conventional farmers buy and apply to their land containing nitrogen [N], phosphorus [P] and potassium [K]. What they’re NOT thinking about, or hearing, is “trace minerals” or any of the other minerals [which are about 90!!!]. However, objectively, if you’re just talking “minerals”, you’re talking hydrogen, helium, lithium, barium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, flourine, neon, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, etc. etc. etc. ... So you’re speaking two separate languages.
You can talk to a conventional farmer all you want about minerals but when a farmer hears “minerals”, he’s thinking nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. All considerations about health and quality don’t fit into his paradigm; they don’t compute.

As a culture, as well,  we’re not offered the pegs upon to which to hang this kind of information. Farming is supposedly about tilling, weeding, sowing, fertilizing, spraying (insecticides) and getting heavy machinery to harvest.
If you were living 100 years ago and heard that, you’d probably respond: "WTF?! When did this happen?!” But 100 years ago there were MILLIONS of small farmers who hadn’t yet commited professional suicide by buying into the fertilizing and spraying hype that ended up putting them all out of business (after which big business came along and bought up the pieces, creating farms that consist of hundreds or thousands of hectares). Herbicides, fungicides, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, that’s today’s world; that’s today’s story and language. Those are the pegs modern folks have to hang their ideas on. Try fitting permaculture ideas onto that paradigm and you’ll find yourself cutting corners and noticing how things just don’t add up. That’s because you’re talking about opposites. You’re talking about 2 worlds with 2 different languages.


One example of how such things work in the mind: when the Euro [€] was introduced in the countries of the European Union, it meant that the national currencies were replaced. In my own case, living in the Netherlands, the Dutch Guilder was replaced by the Euro [at a rate of 2.2 to 1]. In my mind i was translating Euro prices to Guilder prices until about 10 years later!!!
Why? Why did my mind do that?
I had grown up thinking in Guilders; i had PEGS in my mind as to the value of things IN GUILDERS, not in Euros. How much is a loaf of bread worth? How much is a car worth? I knew the answers to such questions IN GUILDERS but not (yet!) in Euros.
I was able to let the Guilder go after many years of experience with Euros, but not because i was principally against the introduction of the Euro or something; my mind just couldn’t cope with pricing in Euros for a while. (And to this day, i.e. more than 15 years later, i sometimes still find myself talking about or thinking in Guilders...)


When you’re talking “permaculture” you’re talking an ‘agricultural’ paradigm shift and it’s a big deal. Of course, just because it comes with complications doesn’t mean such a shift should be avoided, ignored or postponed. Having said that, you should realize that the ‘permaculture paradigm’ is not something one can absorb and adjust to overnight, let alone that people you talk to who are new to such ideas can easily accept or embrace them.
That’s the reason for this tutorial; i understand something of the process of changing one’s thinking and feelings related to growing food (and related matters). There’s a lot to consider. It’s a real reeducation of sorts; and considering how many years you invested in absorbing conventional ideas [in innocence and ignorance], it could take some time before you’re able to put all things permacultural into an appropriate perspective.
There’s no doubt, however, that it’s worth the trouble!


Lesson # 5 of this permacultural tutorial, therefore, is that it takes some time, effort and experience to be able to put the various aspects of permaculture into perspective. You do well to allow for this, in yourself as well as in others.
We’re all not living in a vacuum and neither our lives nor Earth are some idyllic tabula rasa onto which we can project new ideas without first running into the old. Part of applying permaculture principles and techniques has to do with dealing with people who are stuck in conventional ways and ideas. Like it or not, it’s all part of the ‘permaculture process’.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 05:12:58 AM by Socrates »
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Permaculture tutorial... THE END
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2016, 03:34:42 AM »
Permaculture is SOOO all-encompassing and it can quickly become daunting to even consider it. Ironically, though, the basics are so simple and it's good to keep that in mind.

If you go to the permies forum you'll find people talking about thousands of different species and applications; especially to a permaculture beginner, that'll make your head spin. WHERE TO START?!
But the people at Permies, for the most part, have already covered the principles of permaculture and have moved on to details that may matter to their personal situation. Most topics are irrelevant to most people.

I'm reminded of my (very few) days learning Aikido; once in a very long while there would be some Japanese master who would come over and teach Aikido teachers in Europe during a workshop lasting a few days. And you'd think with the thousands of Aikido techniques there are that these masters might be getting into some particularly interesting or complicated ones. However, the opposite was the case; they would focus on reinforcing the basics. At first that might seem like a waste of time but when you really think about it, the better you apply the basics, the better everything you do later works. Spending time on details while ignoring the basics is really a waste of time, for focus on the basics works it's way through everything else. It's the most efficient focus of attention.

It's easy to get lost in permaculture in ways to catch water, in interesting species and breeds, in all kinds of techniques or tactics; but all those things will work themselves out fine if you have your basics clear. On the other hand, if you start out looking to things like heirloom seeds without covering your permaculture bases first, your perfect seeds may either die, end up weak or force you to irrigate daily all year. For a hybrid seed that grows up in good soil is still better than the perfect seed trying to survive in 'dirt'.


Permaculture makes life easy. Farming should be FUN! Imagine a fruit forest all you have to do is walk into to harvest whatever you like; that's not about being lazy or something, it's about being informed and smart!
Einstein said the definition of "stupid" is doing the same thing over and over again but hoping for or expecting different results; in this sense conventional agriculture is, literally, just stupid. I've done it, spending an hour a day watering my garden; and BOY, is it tedious and boring! Thank god, i've learned a lot since then.

Now and after a SHTF event, we have a lot more to do than to spend our days growing food. Life's too short! Permaculture, therefore, is just plain necessary for preppers. And it's the best kind of preparation to make, for the knowledge and understanding you acquire about how to properly grow food can never be washed away or stolen from you.

If you're thirsty for more, invest some time viewing things like these below that cover efficient applications and basic permaculture principles:
1. - TED Talks, George Monbiot: Rewild the World
2. - John Liu: Hope in a Changing Climate
3. - TED Talks, Allan Savory: How to Green the World's Deserts
4. - The Fordhall Project: foggage farming
5. - Cotswold Grass Seeds: foggage farming
6. - Ley Farming by George Stapledon & William Davies
7. - Paul Wheaton: the largest online permaculture forum
8. - Composting 101 - Making Compost in Bins & Piles
9  - Geoff Lawton: Greening the Desert
9. - Geoff Lawton: Desert to Oasis
10 - Paul Gautschi: woodchips for soil and fertilization
11 - Ruth Stout Method (no plough gardening)
12 - The Vedic Way: (cow dung as) The Perfect Soil
13 - irrigation: Wet Pots/ollas
14 - Groasis Waterboxx
14 - Groasis Growboxx
15 - Vetiver grass: Green Tech for the 21st century
16 - Maynard Murray: seawater fertilization
17 - Hydraulic ram pump
18 - TEDx, Joel Salatin
19 - Farming with Nature
20 - sustainable farming
21 - no till farming
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 03:57:31 AM by Socrates »
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THE END... I'm joking of course!
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2016, 10:39:45 AM »
Summarizing, in a 5-part tutorial of permaculture, 3 were on what is FIGHTING permaculture, 1 is on SOIL, and 1 is on NOT water...
WTF?

Take Fordhall; all of their neighbors and then, ALL OF FRIGGIN' ENGLAND should have been copying their accomplishments. But, nooo...

NO ONE CARES!

Or so it seems. Well, c'mon; permaculture is so easy, logical and effective; why hasn't the world caught on?
So this is our main issue. It is reflected in 3 of the 5 topics of this tutorial:
1: how the world resists permaculture
2: how individuals resist it
3: how you'll find even yourself resisting it
The other 2 topics make it simple: it's about soil and it's NOT about water

Soil, soil, soil... WHAT DOES IT EVEN MEAN?!
- symbiotic life
- structure
- pH
- moisture [i.e. WATER]
- minerals
and more

Of course it IS also about water [otherwise, why mention "moisture" in regard to soil?], but conventional agriculture treats the matter of 'water' [i.e. irrigation] as if it is a separate issue. But if you've dealt with the matter of soil, YOU'VE OBVIOUSLY ALREADY DEALT WITH THE MATTER OF WATER!

When you're talking the BEST soil, you're also talking about things like:
- magnetism
- carbon
- nematodes
- fungi
- etc. etc. etc.
You can assist in some of these aspects and processes but there's really only one test: is soil growing or dying?
Or to put it differently: Are you mining it or creating it?


There's a test they give to children: if you don't eat this piece of candy now, you'll get another piece later on. And most kids eat their piece of candy anyway but the kids that are able to postpone gratification in that situation turn out to be the most successful people later in life. Well, soil's like that too, for if you cut down a forest and use up the soil, that's like eating your one piece of candy right away, but if you can go to the trouble of dealing with the forest intelligently, that's like being able to postpone gratification and deal with growing food intelligently. In other words: stupid people just mine soil; smart people figure out how to create it.

Yeah, there are strategies, techniques and tactics to conserving water and slowing it down, like:
- dams
- hydraulic ram pumps
- ditches [swales]
- terraces
- ponds
- gabions
- ollas / wet pots
and if you're interested in creating soil rather than mining it, you'll be using such things. The main thing, though, is that you know, understand and [most importantly!] accept that soil is up to YOU; it is YOU who decides what to do with the soil or land at your disposal. But since it's not rocket science, as long as you accept your power and responsibility, you'll figure it out at some point. You have to get to that point, that's the main thing.

Listen to the experts and you become independent, free and self-sufficient. That's about today, during and after any SHTF event. There are a few tricks to learn but, hey, considering the importance of what we're talking about [i.e. growing food!], it's a small price to pay. The dividend, on the other hand, it really too great to pass up.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 05:22:19 AM by Socrates »
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ilinda

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Re: Permaculture tutorial... THE END
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2016, 04:10:18 PM »
Permaculture is SOOO all-encompassing and it can quickly become daunting to even consider it. Ironically, though, the basics are so simple and it's good to keep that in mind

Permaculture makes life easy. Farming should be FUN!

Now and after a SHTF event, we have a lot more to do than to spend our days growing food. Life's too short! Permaculture, therefore, is just plain necessary for preppers. And it's the best kind of preparation to make, for the knowledge and understanding you acquire about how to properly grow food can never be washed away or stolen from you.

If you're thirsty for more, invest some time viewing things like these below that cover efficient applications and basic permaculture principles:
11 - Ruth Stout Method (no plough gardening)

Having read Ruth Stout's book about no plow/ploughing/mulching/etc., and also having seen a nice video of her demonstrating how she plants potatoes in straw, I must say it looks so easy!  But in 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. 

For example, where did all those piles of straw (hay in our case) come from?  Was a fossil-fuel-powered tractor involved in their harvest?  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? 

We/I use old, dry hay for mulching and it works wonders, and it derives from excess hay for our goats--hay that got too old to be nutritious.  Still 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!

Now, I'm not casting aspersions of the late Ruth Stout, as she was probably about 90 y.o. in the video I watched, and could hardly be expected to be out mowing, raking, baling, etc., all the hay or straw, and then after all that, drive the hay to her garden, unload it, etc.!  Whew.  It takes teamwork for it to be a bit easier on the gardener(s).

This year, for the first time in perhaps several decades, I was able to grow corn and begin to see ears forming.  I had/have tried about everything except electric fencing, but no matter what method, the raccoons always demolished my corn.  This year was no different -- early on.  They waited till the plants were about 5' tall and went in there and ransacked the corn patch like a bunch of drunken teenagers on Saturday night.  So I gathered up some "tomato cages" I hadn't had a chance to put around tomatoes, and carefully caged the remaining corn plants.  It worked, as that was weeks ago and nothing can get to the corn now(that I know of).  BUT there is a lot of time involved in making these cages which are 6' high welded wire, cylindrical cages, topped with carefully and tightly attached chickenwire tops.  The tassels will eventually find their way through the chicken wire, maybe not neatly, but enough to allow each plant to drop its pollen on the corns below.

Next year I hope to make larger "cages" also topped with chickenwire, but for those who live with lots of wildlife, it seems the extra work involved is daunting.  I remember growing up in Indiana and we never had a problem with rabbits, crows, raccoons, or anything eating our garden, HOWEVER that area was pretty much devoid of wildlife.  So in spite of the protective work involved, I'd rather see the wildlife and protect against it than know it's gone from the area.

I suppose one main takeaway point is that if you are situated in a forest or near-forest situation, and diversity still exists, then any gardener will be faced with a bit of extra work.  Maybe a lot of extra work.

Those "stick fences" used by Native Americans and other native peoples are great and do keep out many forms of wildlife, but rabbits seem to be able to squiggle in/through the tiniest spaces, and the fences at the bottom need constant repair.




Socrates

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Wildlife threats
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2016, 03:33:17 AM »
If I Were Parachuted into the Third World, the First Thing I Would do
Quote from: hendrik zaad
In a perfect world... i.e. in a vacuum many of the original suggestions are very good, well thought-out and should do the trick. I believe, however, that some harsh realities will soon present themselves that you need to be equiped to deal with. Therefore, i have the following suggestions:

First off, local goats and sheep will eat whatever comes up even if no people come around thieving. GET A DOG. Dogs are everywhere so ask around for puppies or start feeding a stray.
The above is from a post of mine at the Permies forum.
Goats, raccoons, swine, large herbivores...  Yeah, they can be big problems.
But i'm thinking, if you have to START growing food somewhere, find a place either without these problems or where these problems can be managed. You know: Location location location...
- are there natural formations that can help you fence off an area?
- is it possible to cut access to your area off by flooding it? [moat, canal, dam, etc.]
- can you erect walls or fences that you yourself can climb over but most animals no?

I've said it before, we humans have the advantage of being able to climb like apes, arguably the best climbers in the world. Having said all that, if you have a RACCOON problem... barring serious fencing, i don't see any other way out than dogs.
Omnivores that climb; that's bad. Can you at least EAT them...? Can dogs?


Composting mulch like hay and woodchips adds to soil over time. One need not start off with 10 inches of it, even if that might be best. Hell, the most important thing is to do the opposite of conventional farming / agriculture since that suggests collecting dead organic matter and burning it... Both no-till farmers and any unmaintained field will naturally be covered in organic matter rotting away; though you can and should add to that, it should already be there. So in a situation without wood chippers and straw bale halers, you collect what organic matter you have, find or collect and keep throwing that onto your garden plot.

Now, if you're in a rush [and you might be], ideally YOU WOULD OWN A WOOD CHIPPER. I plan to; give me a few thousand bucks today and about 1000 of those would go to purchasing a gas-fed wood chipper if i already have a plot in a area far from roads, otherwise i'll see about renting a good one after i've collected the wood to run through it.
But in a pinch you'll find tuffs of old grass in most places that you just pull out of the ground and start laying down strategically.

Having said all that, of course it is more work to GET STARTED. But 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.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 03:46:14 AM by Socrates »
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ilinda

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Re: Wildlife threats
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2016, 05:27:17 PM »
If I Were Parachuted into the Third World, the First Thing I Would do
Quote from: hendrik zaad
In a perfect world... i.e. in a vacuum many of the original suggestions are very good, well thought-out and should do the trick. I believe, however, that some harsh realities will soon present themselves that you need to be equiped to deal with. Therefore, i have the following suggestions:

First off, local goats and sheep will eat whatever comes up even if no people come around thieving. GET A DOG. Dogs are everywhere so ask around for puppies or start feeding a stray.
The above is from a post of mine at the Permies forum.
Goats, raccoons, swine, large herbivores...  Yeah, they can be big problems.
But i'm thinking, if you have to START growing food somewhere, find a place either without these problems or where these problems can be managed. You know: Location location location...
- are there natural formations that can help you fence off an area?
- is it possible to cut access to your area off by flooding it? [moat, canal, dam, etc.]
- can you erect walls or fences that you yourself can climb over but most animals no?

I've said it before, we humans have the advantage of being able to climb like apes, arguably the best climbers in the world. Having said all that, if you have a RACCOON problem... barring serious fencing, i don't see any other way out than dogs.
Omnivores that climb; that's bad. Can you at least EAT them...? Can dogs?


Composting mulch like hay and woodchips adds to soil over time. One need not start off with 10 inches of it, even if that might be best. Hell, the most important thing is to do the opposite of conventional farming / agriculture since that suggests collecting dead organic matter and burning it... Both no-till farmers and any unmaintained field will naturally be covered in organic matter rotting away; though you can and should add to that, it should already be there. So in a situation without wood chippers and straw bale halers, you collect what organic matter you have, find or collect and keep throwing that onto your garden plot.

Now, if you're in a rush [and you might be], ideally YOU WOULD OWN A WOOD CHIPPER. I plan to; give me a few thousand bucks today and about 1000 of those would go to purchasing a gas-fed wood chipper if i already have a plot in a area far from roads, otherwise i'll see about renting a good one after i've collected the wood to run through it.
But in a pinch you'll find tuffs of old grass in most places that you just pull out of the ground and start laying down strategically.

Having said all that, of course it is more work to GET STARTED. But 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.
When it comes to raccoons, I agree either proper fencing or dogs are needed.  Dogs though need to be fed and being carnivores, they are supporting the spread of CAFO's that are overtaking many areas, plus thousands of acres, or more, of rainforest have been cleared to grow soy, etc., for inclusion in food for carnivores, whether for people or pets. 

IMHO, fencing is the most sustainable, because in a collapse situation, where will people find enough food for their millions or billions of carnivore pets?  I ask this question of dog owners all the time and it is not answered.

ilinda

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Re: Permaculture / soil management TUTORIAL
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 05:30:57 PM »
An addendum to the issue of fences vs. dogs, re crop protection, Carol Deppe in her book The Resiliant Gardener, tells of her partner who has slept out in the corn bed with a shotgun to protect the crop!

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The problem is the solution
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2016, 06:26:37 PM »
I think i've heard Larry Santoyo tell this amazing permaculture story about an important permaculture principle: the problem is the solution
a farmer complains that his fields are being eaten up by grasshoppers. He asks advice how to deal with the problem sustainably. Now turkeys will gobble up grasshoppers like crazy, i.e. he doesn't HAVE a grasshopper problem, he has a TURKEY problem! HE DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH OF THEM
Viewing things like that changes his options, for if he can just somehow get a turkey farmer to get his turkeys over to his field full of grasshoppers, not only will he get rid of his grasshoppers, but he'll have extra cash in the form of turkey meat.


In the case of raccoons or deer or whatever, yeah, shoot the cridders or go out hunting with your dog or let the dogs at 'm.

You're also right that stray/wild dogs could one day be a big problem (as much as wandering humans ['zombies'...]). So, yeah, IN TODAY's world too many people keeping 'pets' is a problem, but we're not preparing for today's world, are we? And all the world's unsustainable madness like soy crops will be washed away or disappear some other way when/after TSHTF.
Ideally, i would like to have a troup of Rhodesian Ridgebacks; they are superior dogs in many many ways and will (quite cleverly) deal with both fauna and people that don't belong.
If you have so much wildlife... Problem solved! For you can feed them with what you and they kill. Good practice at any rate. One might even say it is a blessing in disguise...

We are spoiled anyway; in 1987 i was in Turkey and went out one night with a local sheep herder to watch his sheep. He was out ALL NIGHT EVERY NIGHT with his herd to protect them from stray dogs or coyotes or whatever they have roaming around at night there. He sat there around a campfire most of the night with a rifle on his lap. Early in the morning he goes to bed to sleep for a few hours and this was his life...

Dogs, good dogs, we don't talk enough about them. In OUR MODERN WORLD we've become spoiled and jaded toward them. But 100 years ago just about every farmer in the world would have at least one dog.
Now, i think we're lucky that the internet has given us the opportunity to learn about the BEST dog breeds. I have loved dogs all my life and looked into the matter more than most; based on that and the luck that a number of people hereabouts own Ridgebacks, i one day learned about them and started reading about them. And the more i read the more i admired them. I suggest everyone do the same.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 06:48:52 PM by Socrates »
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Permaculture Reality Check
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2016, 10:47:31 AM »
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.
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