I think the first step might be to make a list of lists. After all, the seed one tosses under a newly planted tree in the spring might be quite different from the seed one might toss under a newly planted tree in the summer.
I suppose it is possible that sepp doesn't even think like this anymore. He probably has 50 different seeds sitting in a shed somewhere and then he makes a mix depending on what he about to set out to do. Much like how a chef might make a cake.
For those of us that still follow recipes .... I suppose a cookbook would be good: "apple tree guild in the early spring" might be one recipe. "Hugelkultur in early summer" might be another. "Patch of grain for next summer (planted in early fall)" could be another.
Hi My name is Satora and a friend just told me about this forum today. I was co-organizer and an interpreter of the Sepp Holzer tour in WA earlier this year. It was a life-changing event for me and led me to start my own little Holzer Permaculture project and a seed retail business offering heirloom and herb seeds and Holzer Permaculture inspired seed mixtures.
The important thing about seed mixtures is to always use deep, medium and shallow rooting plants to activate as much of the soil as possible and because they all have different functions in the plant community.
I want to add some plants to your lists.
Sepp uses a lot of legumes for soil improvement/nitrogen . Because his soil is often very poor, he plants cover crop/ green manure mixes for 2-3 years, then the soil will be fertile enough to plant fruit trees. He just leaves the cover crops and doesn't mow them, because he's got lot's of snow in winter that does the work for him. Also this way most plants reseed themselves. Such a mixture would be: Alfalfa Melilot (Sweet Clover, Melilotus) vetches peas Lupines Sunflowers different root veggies such as Jerusalem artichoke, rutabaga, turnip
He loves chicory, the wild flower and other varieties. Cornflowers (I have lots of cornflowers with my corn and peas. Looks pretty, everything grows great and the bees love it)
He uses lots of herbs such as wormwood Inula Arnica
Calendula (can't have enough calendula) Garden Angelica Horehound common Marshmallow Comfrey Lovage Mugwort/ Common Wormwood Mullein Orange Mullein Ononis spinosa Peppermint Potentilla Motherwort
St. John’s Wort Valerian White Yarrow
to name just a few
Needless to say, I offer a lot of those seeds. Some I haven't found yet or they are just too expensive here. I also have a great fall/winter seedmixture with veggies, herbs and wildflowers for fall/winter/spring harvest.
Oh, and a another great grain to plant in fall is spelt.
To add veggies to the list He told me to plant lots of carrots (I have heavy clay soil) together with turnips and all the other stuff. Lots of radishes, too. He loves Jerusalem Artichoke and told me to plant lots of that, too. (You can just plant the ones you buy at the food coop/ health food store)
One more thought about the stinging nettles - they are great for compost tea or however you call that brew (fill vessel with nettles, add water, stir daily, let sit for appr. 3 weeks. Stinks, but is great as fertilizer and for plant health. Comfrey, horsetail, White yarrow can be added for plant health.)
Enough for today. cheers
New Earth Wise
Joined: Aug 03, 2009
One more thought on seed mixtures: If it is a veggie mixture for harvest, it is important to have a good portion of fast germinating, fast growing, early harvest stuff in there, such as the little radishes, Arugula and other greens. They cover the soil quickly and as they are harvested they make room for the bigger, slower veggies to grow. I also love buckwheat in mixes, it grows anywhere and fast and if you want you can just pull it and use it as mulch. It provides shade in summer ( but only put a little portion of it, it is very good in covering ground and crowding out other plants) Also check your planted area for gaps after a while and reseed if necessary. But you guys probably know all of that already...
Joined: Jul 13, 2009
New Earth Wise, thank you for your reply. It would be great to hear your ideas of Sepps course and practices! And I for one would certainly like to know if you have a website or how can one purchase seeds from you.
P.S. in the film about Holzer's raised terraces, they say that he seeds and plants fruit plants once after the terrace is formed. But surely he has to reseed roots and other one-year vegetables?
New Earth Wise
Joined: Aug 03, 2009
Thanks Eco House. My website is in the works, but not operational yet. You can contact me under firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in seeds. I have a sale going right now.
About reseeding: Here is what I understand, Sepp is doing. He experiments and does whatever the situation requires, so there is no fixed recipe for anything. As I said earlier, it seems that he does not reseed covercrops/ green manure and lets those reseed themselves. I know that he works a lot with his animals, pigs in particular. So a lot of times he lets the animals into a cultivated area such as terraces and also huegelbeds. He plants veggies for the animals, a lot of root crops such as turnips, Jerusalem artichokes. Jerusalem artichokes don't need to be replanted, you just have to leave some in the ground and they will come back. That should work for potatoes, too. So, no matter if the area is for humans to harvest or just animal pasture ( with veggies), pigs are always the last ones to harvest the left overs, clean up (slugs, moles, voles, weeds, etc), and work the soil. He makes sure, the pigs don't stay too long in one area, because then they will do damage. After the pigs have worked an area over, he plants new seeds. That's one method I think he uses a lot. I don't know if he has areas where he lets the different veggies reseed themselves. I think it would be worth trying on a smaller patch, especially if you don't have pigs to do the work for you.
Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Location: Oakland, CA
Of course mastery of any science means no need of lists or books.
No science that I have seriously studied! Then again, I've stuck to sciences that feature large tables of seemingly-arbitrary numbers known with breathtaking precision, such as chemistry and physics.
I have heard that there are stupefying numbers of potato varieties in the Andes, most of them adapted to a particular niche of slope, insolation, elevation, drainage, etc. I wonder if access to a few more of these might improve his yields even further?
New Earth Wise wrote:
He just leaves the cover crops and doesn't mow them, because he's got lot's of snow in winter that does the work for him.
The amount of snow he gets sure would be a game-changer if it fell where I live. I bet many of the other forum-goers will have to adapt some of these lists for their own climate. I hear the Land Institute in Kansas is working on perennials of many grains other than rye, including pearl millet and some other (to me) surprising possibilities.
"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.
Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Location: North Central Michigan
after rereading his book I would also like to point out that you should seek out old varieties and open pollinated or perennial as much as you can, or you'll just end up having to buy seed..if you use OP and perennials you won't have to buy seeds ..and that is what permaculture is about..permanent ..
Bloom where you are planted.
i tried a sepp inspired cover crop mix at the farm this spring .... started april 1.. central ohio
fava bean (stick planted)
all of these plants grew very well together.. they all flowered at about the same time which made for a beautiful floral display
they were planted as a cover crop adjacent to this years potato crop
as they were all dried up a couple of weeks ago we sowed buckwheat and soybeans into the standing plants... then we gleaned seed for next year, cut them down with a sickle and I added an inch or two of straw mulch and irrigated.