rocket mass heater dvd*
Permies likes permaculture and the farmer likes Sepp Holzer uses no irrigation permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies | World Domination!
Register / Login


permies » forums » growies » permaculture
Bookmark "Sepp Holzer uses no irrigation" Watch "Sepp Holzer uses no irrigation" New topic
Forums: permaculture hugelkultur greening the desert Sepp Holzer
Author

Sepp Holzer uses no irrigation

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
There are many contributors to this one.

1) He has lots of ponds.  Some are deep.  Some are shallow.  In the shallow ponds, he puts lots of rocks.  The rocks heat the water and the water evaporates.  The air surrounding his farm becomes humid.  He gets more morning dew than average.

2)  Sepp plants no monocultures.  Everything is a mix of lots and lots of things.  And there is a strong focus on deep rooted plants.  Deep rooted plants reach deep water sources and can transpire the water out of their leaves adding to the general humidity.  Plus, there can be symbiosis between the deep rooted plant roots and fungi.  And between the fungi and shallow rooted plants.

3)  Terraces and hugelbeds do move and hold water when it rains - and then share it properly when it is dry.

4)  Rocks, rocks and more rocks ....  Rocks seem to be a major component in everything Sepp does.  Rocks have a powerful thermal intertia ...  If you stack a pile of rocks, air can move through the pile.  And the rocks in the middle will be quite cool.  If humid air moves through the pile, water will condense on the cooler rocks, thus creating a poor man's drip irrigation system.





sign up for my daily-ish email / rocket mass heater 4-DVD set / permaculture playing cards
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
most of my land is barely above the water table..we do get a drought in July and August most years..but generally it is wet..our problem is trying to find land dry enough for a lot of things..but we do have a slope going away from our house so most of the dry lovers grow up high..trees can be a problem though..even our woods has swamps..but we do have a small high area of woods in the front and back..and we use those areas for forest..which have long taproots and won't drown up that high.

i never allow a leaf to leave our property..well wind might steal a few..i mulch everything, and i bring in tons of mulch and horse manure whenever i can.


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
The more organic matter that is in the soil, the more water it is going to hold.  It's that issue by itself that created American's growing Dust Bowl (old and new).

Does Holzer say if his water table is close to the surface, or if he has bedrock holding the water in?

Sue
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Susan Monroe wrote:
The more organic matter that is in the soil, the more water it is going to hold.  It's that issue by itself that created American's growing Dust Bowl (old and new).

Does Holzer say if his water table is close to the surface, or if he has bedrock holding the water in?

Sue


While Sepp has talked at great length about a lot of different properties and about water tables and about bedrock - or impermeable layers deeper in the soil, I cannot recall him talking about how deep the water tables are, in general, on his land.  I suspect that it is widely varrying since his land is all on very steep slopes (the Alps).

Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 669
Location: Zone 5
paul wheaton wrote:

If you stack a pile of rocks, air can move through the pile. And the rocks in the middle will be quite cool. If humid air moves through the pile, water will condense on the cooler rocks, thus creating a poor man's drip irrigation system.



I love this.  Also I am thinking habitate for lizards and frogs, depending on how wet of an area I pile the rocks, yes?
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
did the rocks occur naturally on Sepps' property (I'm sure they did)..we ourselves have very little naturally occurring rock on our property, we do save any that we do find to use here..but there is not much..south of us there are gravel areas and rock areas..S and E about a mile..where the glaciers deposited them..but where we are they were prettty much scraped clean..

the rocky area and gravel pits run for about 20 miles south of us and fairly wide..

we would have to haul rock here from those areas to have rock on our property of any amount.

We do use the ponds and the edges and the fallen rotting wood and forest duff in a similar way to how Sepp does his..but not as many ponds..we only have 5 acres and only have a few ponds..the largest one on our property is about 150 x 75'..but we have some smaller ones in our woods ..and in spring we have a lot of areas where water stands for a long time.

i do have soaker hoses that i do use in a few areeas ..but only when we have drought..i do keep water that runs off of our roofs and our property..but honestly except in severe times of drought..we don't need to do any irrigation at all on our property
Bill Kearns


Joined: Feb 13, 2009
Posts: 154
Location: E Washington steppe
    
    2
This is so cool!  A friend of mine studies foraging out here in the prairie and came up with the concept of building a talus rock wall to do all the things you mention above!  So we made one, right in the front yard!  Seeded it with choke cherries and wild plums.  He's also sent some pinion pine and other dryland nut species to add this fall.  Here's a pic:



Permaculture is a gestalt ... a study of the whole. Not just how to produce more and better food, but how human life on the planet affects and is affected by the surrounding environment.
Bill Kearns http://columbiabasinpermaculture.com
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
I sure like to see more uses for rocks because I have plenty of those! 


[img]http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n52/havlik1/permie%20pics2/permiepotrait3pdd.jpg[/img]

"One cannot help an involuntary process. The point is not to disturb it. - Dr. Michel Odent
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Bill,

How long has it been there?  How old is this pic?


Bill Kearns


Joined: Feb 13, 2009
Posts: 154
Location: E Washington steppe
    
    2
The talus wall was stacked in late August, so about six weeks.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Brenda Groth wrote:very little naturally occurring rock on our property, we do save any that we do find to use here..but there is not much


There may be practical alternatives.

It wouldn't look as nice, but I bet bottles of wet subsoil, maybe plugged with mortar, would be OK as habitat and fog/dew collectiors.  And some of the creatures that would like a rock pile might settle for a brush pile.

All the soil is clay where I live, so the plants that want sand get fine potsherds from broken terracotta flower pots.  I could hit them with my little tree trunk fewer times if "gravel" were called for, rather than "sand."


"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men.  They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
Fred Morgan
steward

Joined: Sep 29, 2009
Posts: 972
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
    
  12
I can see this topic isn't going to help me any. We live in a rainforest climate, and even the dry season isn't completely dry. And we have no rocks unless we haul from the river. None in the soil.

But the idea is interesting for sure. Work with what you have instead of trying to change to what you don't.


Sustainable Plantations and Agroforestry in Costa Rica
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
9anda1f wrote:
The talus wall was stacked in late August, so about six weeks.


My crystal ball says that within 12 inches of the rocks you will see lots and lots of growies, while more than 12 inches away will be far less growies. 

Any sign yet that my crystal ball is accurate?

rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  How many stones do you need placed where or does it depend on the climate? In the youtube video of geoff lawton,  "behind greening the desert"  that is the same as the  "greening the desert" one except with a bit added in front and after the part you can see in, greening the desert, he has built up a stone wal and seems to pile sand and gravel or small stones up against the wall so the wall becomes the centre of a berm or dyke. Is it maybe neccessary to have the stones in the middle of lots of material in very dry areas fo the to work as drip systems. if they are in the middle of lots of material they wont recieve dew which condense from the air doesn't it?
  I put a lose stone wall a pile of stones circuling round a space round my olive tree, i wanted a protected space, nothing grows out of the wall, the air in Spain is super dry, potatoes lose their turgidity, get floppy quickly and bread never molds unless you keep it in plastic, just dries and stays the same for years. agri rose macaskie.
Bill Kearns


Joined: Feb 13, 2009
Posts: 154
Location: E Washington steppe
    
    2
@ Paul,

Lol, well not yet.  I've just had the first rains of autumn the past couple of days after a many month dry spell.  But the collection of detritus blown in by the wind is growing quickly, making the pile somewhat self-mulching! 

@ Rose,

I'm hoping that those stones in the middle of the pile stay cooler and act to condense any moisture from the air to assist with the drip system to build up moisture in the earth beneath the pile.  It's very dry here also (9-15 inches total precipitation / year, mostly in the winter) and the combination of sun and wind serve to dry any bare soil quickly.  We're hoping the talus wall will serve as rock mulch to keep both the sun and wind from drying the immediate area of the wall out so quickly.  The wall is oriented east-west to provide shade on the north side and also serve as a windbreak (it's windy here often).  I'm thinking that I may need to add more stones out and away from the main wall to help extend this mulch effect across a broader area.

  Bill
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
    Wind dries a lot, You will need some very dry place plants to make a wind break to stop the wind, well that all depends really on what you want. Bill Mollison put some very dry climate plants in to make a hedge round some african peoples compound, in his dryland strategy videos, so you can make fences of some types of trees even in hot dry areas. His dryland strategy youtube videos come in a series of three videos if i remember right.
      May be i am imagining your land is dryer than it is. For some one used to reading about how many centimetres of rain there are, fifteen inches sounds very low, it is about twice as much as the rainfall in a desert is not it?
      I have plenty of rain in winter it is the air thats dry here i thnk ther is plenty of rainfall except in summer. Now I have plenty of trees, i have had the garden fifteen years. Now the earth is better, the trees take better. I just let the grass and wild plants grow and die in the dry season and grow again in the rains so they and their roots would mulch and fertilise my land.
      Now i will try to grow more food to support permaculture ideas which consit in lettign people see how much can be grown on health soil as i see it.
        In his dry land strategies videos you can see how Bill Mollison has organised some mini upside down baskets built to protect young plants and there is another african video, not his, with with  circular  walls open on one side A high side the opposite one from the opening and a low one  built to shade young plants, maybe protect them from the wind, they are nice structures. I have been looking for that video without finding it but i found another good dry garden youtube video "path to freedom - waterwise gardening" about planting permeable unglazed pottery pots to water the land with, filling the pots with water. It is something i tried myself and will go on trying next summer now i have been encouraged by this video . agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
i said that bill mollison had upside down basket to protect the plants in my last posting , i don't think i said from the sun or drying winds i should have said it. I  have pots with their bottoms knocked out or when they are plastic cut out, over my plants to protect them from heat in summer and cold in winter. agri roes macaskie.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Bill,

How much rainfall do you have?
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
paul wheaton, don't know how much rainfall i have but will try to find out . Things do grow there especially now the soils are better. I do use drip irrigation on new things and myn flower bed and soft fruit patch, i am going to try to establish soft fruit were there is no irrigation this year.  the drip irrigation is something used prehaps more, in some cases, than i would use it, i would like to prove i could grow lots of things with nothing to water them, It is controlled by my husband. It  really helps trees take and grow like crazy, i would say they liked the hot climate.   
  It is just that stuff does not grow out of the lose stone wall i enclosed a space with, not yet at any rate. The stones cover, cut out ,the sun, maybe thats why.
    After the fourteen years i have owned the garden the grass in the bottom patch, with just a drip on five  trees stays a partly green all summer, like winter grass does green underneath and dry on top and i saw another and unused low lying spot were the same was true this year. I will have to send a foto that shows the two flats of my garden. As the soil recovers the grass starts to even manage the long hot suñmmers. Ray grass was planted there by the former owner. agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
From what i am reading or more watching on youtube videos  the permaculture  pond question is really complicated. Not difficult but full of ins and outs, intricate and I have prepared an account that you will find below.
  I have spent days on it I am going to put it into the forum in bits it is easier for me to handle like that.
  Here is my long summary of what I have read or seen on video.  It is an introduction and if I make mistakes excuse me I have only tried to reduce what I have learnt so that it is easier for others to understand the papers and videos they might see.
  I have decided to write about berms, banks  in anther paper  so as to make this a bit shorter but swales, channels and ditches, are often accompanied in permaculture by banks, berms or dykes, that are placed as a stop to water, to hold it in the swales and to break the fall of water that is eroding hills.
  If you tap  “ berms and swales”,  into google and read the first two very short articles you read of two pretty different uses of swales and berms . These two articles are much shorter than this much though they not about so many things, so easy to read.
For one
  Some permaculturists try to have a reserve of water on their highest piece of land so that gravity helps with irrigation, so they have a pond on a high point to capture water you can use to irrigate with.  Ponds as a sort of cistern as a way of storing water.
  For another,
      It seems that water penetrates the earth really badly but if you can hold it standing in puddles, channels, pits and ponds, it has the possibility of permeating into the land, so permaculture is full of ways of making hollows that hold rain water for a while so that it can seep down slowly deep into the ground wetting way below the surface and even into the subsoil you can for one get wetter lands with the first rains that normally don’t penetrate the soil much and for another get water to the subsoil instead of running of the landscape eroding it and escaping to the sea I rivers.
  Also, if the rains leave a very wet surface to the land as the water is on the surface it easily gets evaporated off the land by the sun. If you can get the water to penetrate deep into the soil it wont  be as liable to suffer from evaporation, you will hold on to more of it.

Also, if the rain seeps into the land instead of running off it, the water gets filtered by the earth and by  plants and bacteria and fungi that can do bio micro-organism , phito, plant and mico, fungi, remediation on it, which is to say the earth and all the living organisms in it do a clean up job on the water saving lakes and rivers from pollution, removing pathogens and petrol and chemically changing  other things  like heavy metals that they can lock up in complicated molecules, an example is the  like the bacteria Shewanella Oneidensis, you can find it in google, that coverts uranium into uranite which last is not soluble, which action could help to get it out of water makes it less likely to be leached out of the soil into the water systems. the same bacteria also cover the uranite in a sticky slime that sticks it to the earth so that it cannot easily be washed into rivers. Another example of remediation is the brasil mushroom that eats e-coli bacteria for example. The  oyster mushrooms that covert petrol dripped from your car into fungal sugars, you can find information about mico-remediation, mushrooms cleaning up on pollutants in Paul Stamets book mycelium running.  So that, if the runoff from pathways back yards and roofs percolates through the earth that cleanse and filters it before it gets to rivers, rather than running  into drainage pipes, it gets cleaned to some extent and does not pollute rivers and lakes too much. These are techniques used in Chicago to reduce pollution in the great lakes. They are mentioned in some articles on the Chicago repairs of its alleys.
      Dry soil takes a long time to wet. If you use a dry dish cloth it is hard to pick up spilt drinks- If your cloth is dry, you wet the cloth first and wring it out and use it damp, Damp you can pick up spilt drinks better than dry. Dry soil does not take rain water any better than a dry dishcloth or spontex takes up spilt drinks. Plant roots can help water enter dry soil and tree and bush roots carry water up and down, if down is drier down and if wet is drier up. They take the water to natural sinks. They measure the flow in roots putting instruments on them, the flow is measured by the heat pulse method you find it by putting the words “heat-pulse method” into google.-
      For another, maybe, even when the earth is damp the water does not often seep far down into the subsoil or into the water table but if you hold it still in a puddle above the ground it has a chance to seep right into the soil, running deep down into the ground instead of over land to the river below.  The good adherence of water molecules to each other means water holds together where there is most water on the wet surface, for instance forming a mass of water that runs in the direction of least resistance always to where there is more water to hold on to down hill, going into the ground would be slower than being pulled down the diagonal with the great body of water you are held to by molecular attraction at least, till the effect of gravity is bigger than that of molecular attraction.
        sepp holzer explains about his ponds that they allow the water in them to seep deep and thoroughly into the soil and to water his plants so he does not need to. He also explains that this sort of watering does not leach nutrients out of the soil as mechanical irrigation does.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134

a second bit about ponds swales and berms fro helping to water land.
   
      The smallest example of hollows made to hold water is of dents made in the land given in a youtube video by Bill Molllison about Bob Dickson, a agricultural scientist in the Arizona desert who has a machine which, rather than ploughing the land, leaves pyramidal hollows impressed in the earth and sands.  A desert denter, that he calls “a printer”.
          Bill Mollison seems to admire several Americans who fight for a less desertification.
        The hollows made by this machine are places where seeds or bits of fertilizers get caught retain the seeds with the bits of organic matter and manure that falls into them and also serve to hold a puddle full of rain, when it does rain, which water permeates the soil better than rain that falls on level desert which, or gets evaporated by the sun or runs off the surface. The well watered desert under the seeding in the hollow and the manure favor the growth of the seeds collected in the hollow.
        I saw a documentary about greening the desert in the north of Africa and the strategy rather than being one of irrigating was of planting organic rubbish with the trees. Deserts can get very short on nutrients for plants.
      The effectiveness of the printer may sound difficult to believe but the bit of Arizona desert desert bob Dickson had used the printer on a field in the Arizona desert that has become a field full of prairie grass. As the is designer of the machine is an agricultural scientist and I suppose Bill Mollison to some extent stakes his reputation on what he publishes, be it only on youtube, there are reasons to believe them.
        When I went to look for leaves, as mulch, at the bottom of my garden where there are more trees,  I found the leaves had collected in hollows, so may be one of the bad things we do is to constantly level land, ironing out all protective hollows that would help against desertification. Listening to horses should not have filled in the puddle on her lawn.
Bill Kearns


Joined: Feb 13, 2009
Posts: 154
Location: E Washington steppe
    
    2
How much rainfall do you have?


Yes!

Which is just about as good an answer as I get trying to look it up.  I've seen Ritzville's annual rainfall listed as anywhere from 9" to 15" annually (~230 - ~380 mm).  I've seen it stated that the rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, but personal observation shows that the majority of precipitation occurs in the winter months.  And when I say rainfall, I mean total precipitation including snow.  So, it's hard to tell without having my own personal weather station and decades to record measurements 

I'm in the process of outfitting all the many buildings here with gutters and cisterns for rain catchment, and may be able to derive yearly precip from that (someday).

Rained here today though! 

Bill
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 669
Location: Zone 5
On the plantation we have several rain guages.  After each rain they are dumped and the amount written down.  There are sereral guages there,  at like the mule barn, entry gate at each place, etc.  We have several years worth with frost dates amd rain by day/month. 

I need to do that here.  Make sure rain guages are plum to get accurate measurement. 

And to Rose about my puddles, I am filling in the deep low spots that make great ponds, if ther were not where I need ti turn my horse trailer around.  That is what they are from, mud ruts from the previous owners driving around in the mud.  I agree that it would be nice to make them my ponds.  I can not, I have to have the room to turn around.  I see no way around it.

Now I am filling them with horse poo and sawdust with hay and dirt.  Cleanings out of my barn.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  Jennifer, I did not mean you should do anything,  it was a reflection that could be refered to something that existed on the forums that should make it more interesting. I don't know what people should do in their gardens, If you have a bumpy lawn how do you play crochet,or cricket or baseball ,sport is good for the family. However if you are discussing the ins and outs of how to irrigate your land more completely, well puddles are good but not for your tractor may be. If you live were it is very wet you want to drain your land rather than wetting it.  it seems that all changes Brenda groth makes to the land are to drain it  for example.
      Lawns are smart, i never liked them my mother had a small house in the country which was caos, full of unmown grass half the time and i just liked it and found lawns sort very undecorative in comparison but they are great for games.
      Grass seeds are so pretty. Then i  love the protection of anything, things that don't leave everything bare and open, so you can sit any old how, no one will see you. i don't want to be a lazy gardener I am a normal adult trying desperately not to be done down because i have not done my bit and i love making things but i liked as a child to read my book in peace, I think i make gardens so that children will like them. I must buy a basket ball net one day. If lawns are smart were you live, then do you risk social isolation if you don't have them?
      In Spain you just want shade trees all over the place i remember my suprise in my first year or two in Spain when i saw the garden of a house and it was full of trees,like the garden of that multimillionaire who let ghadafi put his tent in it, nowafter finding it hard to be outside in the garden because the sun shines to hot i understand the trees.  I put in fruit trees because they are pretty I love the blossom and i like looking at the fruit, i have not sent in a foto of the fruit trees i have, i find it hard to find a home for all the fruit.  Also fruit trees are dead cheap here. 15 euros, about 8 dollars a tree i suppose which is not bad . I am always going to garden centres to cheque out on the prices of everything and buy pansies i love pansies and  the neighbors pinch them off me. agri rose macaskie.
   
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 669
Location: Zone 5
Rose,
my last email was cut short.  I took no offense from you.  I am wanting to keep my water and am planning new puddles.  Some would call them ponds but I plan to let them go dry as needed, hope for good frog habitat.  I have no shortage of the stuff soil is made of. 

Someday maybe we will add a decroative waterfall, pump and fill with hose as needed, but not while I am in charge.  All my lawn is pasture and all my pasture is lawn.  It does not have to be mowable by mower, but accessable to grazing.

I have been walking about the place and see where it would require the least moving of earth.  I see where the water sits in the old tire ruts as well as good spots for a catchment and not have them in the way.  I am also trying to look at things a new way and see if I can move the drives.  I am needing to find homes for the trees I have on order.  I will spend the winter dumping stall cleanings in those spots.


rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
the worst bit of buying trees is trying to think were to put them, i hate it . I thought i can put them in close to each other as small trees don't take up much room and cut them down later. Of course cutting them down if they are fruit trees will mean the bother of growing a replacement tree in some spot . i like them near the house it seem i am addicted to trees more for decorativ reasons than real permaculture ones. I did not have any idea about permaculture till a few mounth ago though i did know a bit about organic farming and gardening.  A book i had on gardening that talked of things gaie i don't know how thats spelt about keeping your bit of land in a way  that contributed to  a healthy world suggested putting a wood for your own fire wood as a part of your plot. i do think its totally personal the decision to take up any of their techniques, lord i suffer enoug h from people trying to impose on me to make me wary of doing it to others but if their is a oportunity to coment on their techiques while i agfree with them, well i take it .
      I did not know your lawns were pastures. They do certainly look like healthy bits of grass.
  To get in the themes i want to get known again in reference to trees and horses and other live stock.

    In Las Pedroches a village in the province of Cordoba one of the provinces of Andalucia in the south of Spain, name that transalated means, were the light walks, famouse for its hams, a province where Islamists who conquered the capital also called cordoba  in 711 and lost it in 1236 inbetweeen making it into the biggest town in europe by the tenth century with the most famouse libary in all Europe, in those days  the best doctors and mathematicians were Islamic.  There is a beautifull  mosque there, inside it you seem to be in a sort of forest of columns. In Las Pedroches they grow oaks to help pastures, they prune them when they notice the shade is too deep, the trees give enough shade to help pastures and are stopped from giving too much by being having brances lopped of them if they seem to hurt pastures. In other parts of Spain the number of oaks a hectar is less and care for the pastures is not the principal reason for deciding when to pruning and pollarding the oaks. The province of extremadura also is famouse for its hams of acorn fed pigs. In some parts there are forest of cork or evergreen oaks without much pig production so that if you go to them you will see evergreenoak forests but maybe not pigs. the illness called here pig pest reduced the number of pigs kept outside in many provinces.
      The leaves prunned off the trees are used to feed the live stock horses and cattle and even sheep that normally don't lift their heads to eat of bushes only eat ground plants and of course goats, the  the acorns fatten the live stock they go to the pigs if it is a pig keeping region and the other live stock if not and maybe suit other animals better because it is said you can't use many races of pigs for this type of pig farming but there are several types cows and horses sheep and goats live on farms of this type. Of course in England it is too dark to want everything to be wooded.
  The english food forest man Hart says he has clearings as real forest do to, for the plants that need sun so he gives an excuse for a lack of trees within permacultura. agri rose macaskie.
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 669
Location: Zone 5
I concertrate on from house to barn mostly, then from there to the road.  I have plenty to do in barn but have to start planning my landscape as it is so important. 

Each day when I clean stalls I say to myself that I will find a place to put it to start makin a home for my spring trees, and each day I just fill in a low spot and spread it around the yard.  Sheet mulch, but not deep enough to kill the grass.

One of the first things I did was order fruit trees of a variety that is top of my list that would grow in one zone colder than mine.  I stopped myself from buying too many at a time.  I hope to find more trees and plants of the kinds I desire close to home but I wanted rainier cherries and they are fairly rare yet.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
     I too have ben wandergng around the garden thinking were to put ponds as a result of reading about permaculture.
       If you use to much horse maure will it spoil the land, doeswnot land get horse tired?  It must be sort of tiring dragging the manure around.

    You can use the horse manure  to make walls with-
     I was looking up making cob walls and a young woman used a recipe that include flour in the mud. In a site on making masonary stoves they mentioned that a old brick stove they had taken to peices had parts that they had used horse manure in, horse manure had been used between th ewall an dthe chimney and seemed to have iaislated the wall from the chimney well they said the mud and horse manure had to be chipped off as does concrete. the walls of the houe conataine dhorse manure too.
      Later I was re-reading a book i have called Magic Muck by Lady Muck, Jane Down, who made money selling her fathers muck from his dairy farm and turned herself into an expert on composting and manure. She said that horse muck is hot because horses have short intestines so it comes out less digested than cow muck say and because we feed them grains. Gosh i thought flour is apart of cob, mudwalls and horse manure a another substance traditionally used for cob walls has flours in it, interesting.
    If you get good at composting it you can sell it.
    I looked up manure a while ago and you can get into trouble if you don't dispose of horse manure properly, it seems.  I would not have thought of that. Did not Paul wheaton have problems with the local authorities because of pig manure? agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134

More on ponds puddles berms and swales ersumed at some length.
2      Banks that hold up the rain on level ground and I may have invented this one I am interpreting the photos and drawings of this.
   When Bill Mollison is talking about the banks that Franklin Roosevelt had built up to help against the erosion in the times of the dust bowl, 1930s in the video of his called  “dryland permaculture strategies”.  Mollison  talks of banks built by Franklin Roosevelt’s crews interrupting the flow of the water which collects along the length of ground that is at the foot of  the  banks on the upside of them,  where the banks shut off the waters downward path. The puddling that occurs as a result of the flow of the water being held up by the bank,wets the ground by seeping into the landscape and also helps the lands fertility by depositing the nutrients and silt were the water has stood in front of the wall or earth bank instead of carrying the silt to the rivers.
    In the diagram explaining the building and functioning of Franklin Roosvelts earth banks in Bill Mollisons video, “ dryland permaculture strategies”, the bank holds the water back on flat ground  on the up side of the bank so you can make the water puddle and enter the landscape, without building a ditch, you obtain a flat swale  by building a wall on a slope. Maybe the idea of flat puddling is taken from some sort of mistake of mine in interpreting the diagram of this type of swale.
          So, may be the hollow dug out ditch or swale that often accompanies the berm or earth work bank, is not always on the uphill side of the bank or berm. In the bit of video I mentioned above of Roosevelt’s banks and swales, the ditch is on the down side of the bank and in Geoff Lawsons video, “Permaculture Water harvesting”, of banks and swales the bank or berm is on the down side of the swale. This sort to complexity makes studying so hard.
     In Geoff Lawton’s’ explanation of a swale and berm on a slope, in the video, Permaculture Water Harvesting  which I also find hard to puzzle out, sometimes the spoken account seems different from the drawn one. The swale or channel is just above the bank and is built so that the lip on the lower side of the channel that runs from sid e to side of the slope crossing down flowing water, is lower than the lip on the higher side so that when the swale overflows it goes in to a bank of soft organic material that runs along the channel on the downhill side of it, which berm or mound of organic material fills full of water which also starts to soak the ground underneath. So, soakage into the slope occurs from the from the channel or swale which has a loose earth bottom  and from the wet material next to the channel. At the far end of the swale the lip is even lower allowing the water to overflow from the channel and be carried were you want it to go, into another and lower swale for example.
  You are meant to plant berms and swales with grass seeds and such to hold them firm.
  This probably needs some correcting that is meant to be the advantage of internet, others can add their corrections.
        Jesus Charcos tamarix ,tamarisk aphylla holding up a sand dune in his book,” Guia de los Árboles y Arbustos de África”, with it roots,  the dune under the tree keeps the soil under the dune humid, so  keeping some sand humid for the tamarix. The tamarisk grows apparently to accomadate any incease in the dune due to driven sand, so the dune grows with time. So a mound of sand keeps the land below moist so if you build a bank or berm water collected on the up side of the dune and percolated down and under the bank the earth or sand of the bank would be kept from evaporating by the bank.  The water would seep downhill into the ground below the berm and then below the ditch or swale on the other side, then the swale would have damp soil in it. This means you could put the swale on the downhill side of the bank as well as on the uphill side where the water would just drop right into the swale.
     If you can put your swale on either side of your berm or bank you can put it on the shady side with the whole earth bank to shade it, if the earth bank is a big one like Franklin Roosevelt’s one in Mollison’s video, the earthwork bank would shade the swale a lot and if you add the depth of the swale to the height of the bank or berm then you can see that you might get a goodish shadow.
I am doing a lot of imagining in order to explain  a slightly diagram combined with a bit of film in  a foto that don’t exactly match up with each other, or a slightly explained one or the differences between the accounts of banks and swales in some videos from those in others. Even if I get this a bit wrong I think people should end up with a bit more knowledge about swales than they started off with. You need to buy Geoff Lawton online tape on this sort of thing, I have not got together buying on line yet. agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
berms swales puddles and ponds.
  All I have gleaned abut swales
3    After these dents in the deserts  and the blocking of the path of water with a bank, so it is held up and can’t run away, another permaculture practice seems to be swales, long wide or less wide channels that  cross a piece of land that hold water so that it can permeate into the land slowly wetting it thoroughly so watering all the land that lies below them.

        Swales are something  mentioned in a paper by the group, “Harvest H2O.com” in  a paper called, “Dikes berms and swales,” in google,  as a practice that got lost when we started using concrete and  getting the water to run off the concrete straight into drains. Channels or ditches  that have an earth floor that carry runoff water or hold it, so, made to take the water were you want it or retain it. Swales unlike modern water channels don’t have concreted bottoms just lose earth ones. They are ditches.

They should be sown, seeded, with some plant that will stop them being eroded grass and such. They will not be wet all the year round just after a rain event. They are not necessarily an irrigation method they can also be a simple ditch used d to carry water  to the place you deem best for it.
        Permaculturists use swales as a irrigation method. They also have different techniques for collecting water for example they collect water from roofs and channel it to their swales. You can build a concreted area on the ground to catch water that works like a false roof.
      The swales used for irrigation typically run from side to side of slopes cutting across water flowing down the slope, interrupting the downward flow. They are built on contour which is to say at the same level all the way round so as to hold water rather than carrying it. If they have been built to irrigate the land the water is held in them rather than running down them, stays level, so that as it is held there for a long time it can seep deep into the land to feed the plants on the lower side of the swales. The video that shows this is Youtubes’ “video of geoff lawtons  that is called “permaculture water harvesting”. 
      The swale running across the slope can also reduce erosion, if the water flowing down possible carrying earth is held up, it flow stayed, its acceleration that gives it the impulse which helps it carry earth slowed, it will erode less soil. They also build their swales or ditches round hills. A swale humidifies and waters all the parts of your garden that are below it. At least for some yards.
        The overflow from the far end of your swale, if there is enough water to overflow it, may be carried down to fill a swale at a lower level that waters the land below it and so on.
        Swales bring about a much greater penetration of rain water than occurs with rarain that ltha tsimply falls on the surface of the earth. The soil will benefit from the first rains if there are swales to help the water penetrate the land, you wont have to wait till there have been enough rains to drench the soil through though the water they bring does not all lie  on the surface but runs off the land or gets evaporated. Look at all the permaculture videos on you tube and read about permaculture water harvesting. After several heavy rains this autumn the soil on the slopes of my garden was still dry beneath the surface. The normal way rains wet the soil after a dry season is that the rain manages to wet a few inches of soil with the first rain event and a few more with the next and takes a good while to soak through.

More on swales
    Another reason for using swales ditches as drains and channels instead of letting the water on your land flow in any old way is to hold the water on your own land not to lose it to a neighbors land or to the river.
  Water that runs into the land will drip out slowly keeping rivers full for longer, while water that runs fast off peoples land,  fills the river on the day of the rainfall and leave rivers empty the following  days.
Swales on slopes.
      Because the channel of the swale that you have cut across a slope, cuts through the first inches of land were the water normally runs down a slope, so that when the water in the slope gets to the channel that is crosses its path, it will find itself at the edge of a small drop to the bottom of the channel, the water flowing down the slope  should drop into the channel, I imagine and help fill the channel. The permaculturists swale is sometimes also filled from water that has fallen off a roof or some such, maybe from a rainwater trap and directed into the swale.
        Often in permaculture these channels are also fed with the runoff water from spaces that provide such, such as roofs and from yards. Bill Mollison creates sloped concrete floors in African villages that will work as roofs do catching the rain water which drains of the floor into an underground cistern that provides the village with water. You see this in his dryland strategies video. I have tried to buy his book and the shop got me a book with a preface by him, I will go on trying, I am going to try another shop.
        Sometimes the overflow from the swale may be from all the length of the lip on the edge facing towards the bottom of the slope that will be a lot lower than the lip on the uphillside of the channel if you dig into a bank you always have to dig down a lot to where you are level with the down side edge of the hole you dig. You can build up a soft mound of absorbent organic material to receive the water that overflows from the lower lip of the channel on the down side of your channel a berm.The mound or berm of organic material built along the down side of the channel a will become saturated with  water and will like the ditch also feed water slowly into the ground.
        You also might provide the channel with a overflow at the end of the channel and carry the water that overflows down into another swale at a lower level in a channel or in a pipe. Vso as to assure that your slope is ell wetted at all levels.
Of course these are strategies for dry countries in wet areas most channels are built to drain the land not to irrigate it.
          Swales are not meant to have compacted earth bottoms, much less plastic or concrete ones though they may have organic material in the bottom of the swale mulch to keep it damp when there is no rain fall  or stones and rocks or broken bits of concrete. Ones that are made to carry water from one place to another may have rocks and walls in them to slow down the flow if they flow faster than you want them to.

Swales on pretty flat land,this is a description of  Geoff Lawton “greening the desert” youtube .video of the swales he made to green the desert.
Swales are usually made on slopes but:--
  Near the dead sea, the permaculturists Geoff Lawton made swales, on the pretty flat lands, though they are usually made where there is a slope. He was given ten acres of of pretty flat and salty land to green near the Dead Sea in Jordan in Jordan he built one and a half kilometers of swales in it ½ meters deep and two meters wide. He reckoned these swales would catch Jordan’s winter rains. His account is that they catch and feed into the soil when they are full a million liters of rain and they fill several times a winter. The swales, though they were on pretty flat land, in the most difficult place to green, a salty desert, worked! He greened an incredibly dry and salty place. Look up Geoff Lawton “greening the desert” on you tube.
        He also used other permaculture techniques such as a lot of mulch, a half meter of it in the swale and on the banks of the swales  to stop water loss from evaporation  and planting the banks either side of the swales with specially chosen trees  and other plants. Maybe he did other things like inoculating fungi the land with fungi. He put micro drip watering on top of the banks either side of the swales, he used a fraction of the water what surrounding farmers use in that area, I suppose this fraction of water he used refers to water from the mains, that he did not harvest.  agri rose macaskie.
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 669
Location: Zone 5
I want to thank you Rose.  I told you I was trying to think of another place for the puddles and overflow that crosses my path from house to barn.  I have come up with one...bridges, bridges and a pond right there.  I think I like it.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
last peice on puddles, swales, berms and ponds.

The third types of hollows made to better water permeation in land used to grow food are ponds.

        There is the series of ponds on Sepp Holzer land that serve as cisterns but double up as fish ponds. In Germany they eat fresh water fish not habitually eaten in England.  My parents were there once and got served pike, if I remember right.
      Making sure water permeates your land well helps rivers, it drips out of th eland slowly and so helps people lower down the stream receive an steady flow of water instead of being awash with water after a storm and later having none.
        The ponds like swales help the water to really permeate the earth.  Sepp has a number of ponds that constitute a irrigation system as the water from them seeps into the landscape slowly. This according to him creates damp soil without creating those excesses of water that move through the soil leaching nutrients out of the soil with the water that washes through the soil. Too much water that leaches goodness out of the soil can be one of the disadvantages of irrigation
        The ponds also mean the trees have a supply of water whether or not Sepp is there to water them.
        He also uses the water that flows out of  them to turn a water wheel and provide his house with electricity.
    The overflow from the Sepps ponds goes down pipes into the next pond down or to drive his water wheel. I don’t know exactly how he works it.

        In a youtube  video of Sepp Holzers, “ work in the Ecuador against natural disasters”, He says that ponds stop landslides. This is another aspect of ponds on hills.
      If the wet mud starts to slide pushing the wet mud in front of it, then, if you have a eaten out a bite of the slope where you have built a pond, the mud can only slide till it falls into the pond the pond will break the chain reaction, the falling mud can’t push the mud downhill from the falling mud it will have fallen in to the pond. Instead of going on pushing the mud in front of it there wont be more mud in front of it until the otherside of the pond a place the falling mud will never get to. The ponds will shorten landslides. So ponds to break the flow of mud slides.
        If mud falls into a pond most of the mud will sink into the pond so it will be water that overflows from the pond not mud, The mud will displace the water in the pond.  If the overflow pipe is big enough a lot of the extra will go down the pipe and not wet the already soaked hill. This must also reduce the damage a landslide can do.

Sediment Ponds that reduce flooding down stream.
      In engineering swales can be used to carry water into a sediment trap which is a pond where the sediment will fall to the bottom and the clean water will be on top. In a building site you would not want all the sand of the site to end up on other peoples land so you construct a a sediment trap and a swale to carry your sandy water to the trap. You can find a description of this if you tap into youtube the words  “ dikes berms and swales. Erosion and sediment control fact sheet”.   
    As one reason for flooded rivers can be that the mountain slopes near the rivers source have been bared of protective vegetation by over exploitation, overgrazing, and rainfall causes a lot of erosion carrying mud into streams that carry it into rivers.  With the earth bared though there is not an actual mud slide the rain fall is going to carry a lot of mud downhill to the streams with it and so a lot of sediment into the rivers. If rivers  get silted up there is much less room for water in them, so that if there is a big water event a lot of rainfall  the rivers are more likely to overflow, their courses no longer big enough to carry the water from a heavy rainfall event . So stopping mud getting into rivers helps stop disasters. 
    Sediment ponds can stop the mud that has eroded off hills getting into rivers as the sediment sinks to the bottom of the ponds and does not get to the rivers only silts up the ponds.       

  This function of his ponds is given in Sepps video, on you tube  “ work in Ecuador against natural disasters” 
        In Sepps ponds we know the water that drains off the pond is taken off from the surface water as it flows down an overflow pipe is taken from the surface. His overflow pipes head is near the surface of the pond so when the pond level rises, the water ¡rises above the top of the pipe  and flows down it. A plug hole in the air. So in Sepps pond, the drainage, the water that flows down pipe comes from the clean, sediment free, top part of the pond. This must mean that the pond slowly fills up with sediment and needs to be cleaned.
            So sediment ponds such as Sepps as well irrigating the slopes of the hills they are embedded in in dry weather can catch sediment coming off the slope and stop flooding,down stream,  be disaster saving ponds.  The sediment falling off the hill ending up in the bottom of the ponds instead of in the rivers .

        Also they are part of a drainage system, if you control the water flowing out of them providing channels for it to go down the slope in or water pipes, Sepp has big water pipes to carry of the overflow from his ponds, you reduce the water that wets the mud making it too heavy to stay put, by draining the water down hill away from the slopes.
      A lot of rain will fall in the ponds instead of onto the banks and be siphoned of into channels or pipes.  This is a third reason ponds can stop mudslides.

So. cisterns,  irrigation, fish ponds, , electric power source, a break  to mud slides, drainage and sediment trap.
           
      The ponds are cut deep into the slope so they are far from the surface of the slope and from the part of the slope likely to be part of a mud slide. Though I suppose there must always be the really bad occasion when half the slope will fall down ponds and all.
            If you look at the diagram of the ponds on a slope in Sepps video, work in Ecuador against natural disasters , you will see  the ponds are set way into the slope, their weight and water content is not on top of that last two or three meters  of land that wet through and precipitate down the slope in a land slide .

        All these ponds change your landscape which might be a struggle if you have got fond of the land as it was.    Agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Jennifer hall, i don't really understand it, i didnot expect the bridges when you talked of water courses but it sounds really pretty. Thanks for the thanks rose.
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 669
Location: Zone 5
That's the thing Rose,

till our conversation here I had not considered bridges, only ponds and puddles.  Mostly drainage away from my barn.  I know I have a lot of water and most people when they see the vast amount of water in my yard think, drain it away... but not us.  We want to save it and use it. 

Sometimes just talking things thru with like minded people bring on new ways of seeing things.

And hey, bridges are cool.  Maybe I will plant us a root bridge even, to grow alongside a wooden bridge maybe.  Anything is possable.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  The japanese like bridges in their gardens and they have so cool ideas.
  i did not know you had horses as well as listening to them or dreaming of listening to them, i thought it was an indication of the type of person you were rather than a reality. 
    You could have a swimming pool in your yard. Silly ideas time. Yah, talking gets you thinking, it gets me thinking and takes me to a different place than i might otherwise have got to although that place has nothing very directly with the conversation. What about clogs to keep your shoes out of the mess. i am just brain storming and in brain storming you are meant to say the craziest things i have heard as well as the sensible ones. agri rose macaskie.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Sorry if this is off topic, but that's how conversation flows...

Jennifer Hall wrote:Maybe I will plant us a root bridge even, to grow alongside a wooden bridge maybe.


A shortcut to a root bridge might be to take a wand that is long enough to span the distance already, and encourage it to root from nodes at either side of the body of water.

The aerial parts of the tree can then be trained away from traffic, or perhaps inosculated into an arch or even a truss.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
You would want  temporary bridge while the root one grew.
  I thought you lived in a fairly southerly part of the states why do you have so much water?
Bill Kearns


Joined: Feb 13, 2009
Posts: 154
Location: E Washington steppe
    
    2
Here's the article written by my friend Kyle published on the PRI site.  Kyle's article includes his visit to my place and he talks about the talus garland rock wall we built!

http://permaculture.org.au/2009/11/02/rethinking-water-a-permaculture-tour-of-the-inland-northwest/#comments

Kyle's also been very busy crafting a new website.  Fascinating stuff.  Especially read his "About the author" section.

https://sites.google.com/site/humanhabitatproject/home

Bill

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15273
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I was asked this the other day and I came up with seven things so that one can eliminate irrigation.

There is one through four above.

Then ....

5)  If you don't irrigate a plant, it will make deeper roots, which will not only be more efficient at finding water, but more efficient at finding nutrients too.

6)  Plant leaves do an air exchange.  I am pretty sure it is usually through the bottom of the leaves.  We've all heard about a plant taking in carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen.  Well, as part of this, the plant gives off a bit of moisture/humidity.  When things get dry, the plant curls its leaves downward a bit, thus sorta/kinda shrinking teeny tiny holes for the air exchange, and thus, losing less moisture.  My impression is that irrigated plants sorta "forget" how to do that.

7) Swales, terraces and more OM in the soil in general - much of the land retains more moisture overall.

If you water a tree with a tap root for several years, the tap root disappears.  Not ever doing that keeps your tap roots and makes your tap rooted plants and surrounding plants more resiliant.

9) Shade.  A little shade can cut a plants water needs by as much as 90%!  And a lot of plants thrive more with a little shade over all day sun.

10)  Mulch.  Adding a few inches of straw can reduce the water needs of a plant by as much as 80%.


What am I leaving out?


tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3099
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
paul wheaton wrote:
6)  Plant leaves do an air exchange.  I am pretty sure it is usually through the bottom of the leaves.  We've all heard about a plant taking in carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen.  Well, as part of this, the plant gives off a bit of moisture/humidity.   When things get dry, the plant curls its leaves downward a bit, thus sorta/kinda shrinking teeny tiny holes for the air exchange, and thus, losing less moisture.   My impression is that irrigated plants sorta "forget" how to do that.


the "tiny holes" you mention are called stomata (singular: stoma).  they're each bordered by a pair of guard cells that regulate the size of the pore.  in my understanding, curling leaves don't really change the size of stomata, but could create a more humid microclimate on the underside that slows down transpiration.  might not change the general thrust of your statement, but the details, you know?


find religion! church
kiva! hyvä! iloinen! pikkumaatila
get stung! beehives
be hospitable! host-a-hive
be antisocial! facespace
 
 
subject: Sepp Holzer uses no irrigation
 
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books