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Podcast 036 - Aquaculture, Community, and Weeds

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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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Credit: Landon Sunrich

In this podcast Paul Wheaton sits down to a roundtable discussion with friends Rob, Krista, Suzy, and Caleb at the Iron Horse Pub in Missoula, MT. The atmosphere is what one would expect of a lively brew-pub and eatery which unfortunately makes some moments of this podcast harder to digest and comprehend. But for those who can cut through the noise a wealth of information and opinion are presented in this brief 45 minute podcast.

The discussion begins with Caleb and Suzy briefly mentioning their conversion to Cast Iron cook wear and their shock that the 'non-stick' modern cookwear actually seem to stick more. Suzy confirms that she has removed the 'non-stick' wear from their kitchen and that no one has even noticed.

Paul then delves into a rather in-depth discussion regarding his experience building ponds, drawing primarily from his time and experience outside of Spokane, WA. He talks about his preference for digging a deep central bowl with with shallow fingers extending around the periphery as a means to provide edge, diverse micro climate, and habitat for 'live in' fish food. Paul recalls that the warm shallow fingers will be shunned by trout but embraced by tadpoles and other trout food species. Based on his experience near Mt. Spokane he suggest that by leaving such a pond 'fallow' for a year before stocking it with fish one may very well be able to establish enough feed species to close the loop and provide the fish with a self sustaining food cycle.

The pond talk continues with some anecdotes of dealing with the authorities and installing poly pipe into the pond damn to help ensure year long water flow and aeration. He discusses keeping the line buried in the damn to avoid freezes, and transitioning from one inch to one and a half inch poly near the apex in order to avoid siphon effects. Paul discusses the pros and cons of running poly pipe at the apex, rather than the base, of pond damns.

Paul's food arrives and Krista discusses her experiences while traveling and living in Armenia. In many Armenian communities cows are owned individually by family but are grazed collectively. Each family houses their own animals on a postage square of land half the size of a city lot, but each morning a professional herder will come around town to collect the animals and bring them out to pasture before returning them each evening. Paul likes the idea but maintains that in his opinion such an idea would fall flat on its face in the USA. Krista for her part still views it as in interesting idea and method of organizing a community and food system, while agreeing that the average American is no where near responsible enough to maintain livestock. She notes that every Armenian family had a garden rather than a lawn. Paul goes on to talk about his idea's of intentional community, getting 20 people into a house without anyone getting stabbed, the importance of division of labor to getting a diversity of tasks accomplished, and Paul opinions on the dysfunctional of consensus based community decision making.

They finish the round table with discussion of Mullen, Knapweed as well as utilizing other 'weeds' even if only as chop and drop mulch. Mullen seems to thrive in compacted sandy and gravely soils and has numerous uses for home remedy including a lung cleansing tea, throat soothing smoke, and soft 'all natural' personal wipes. Paul notes that Knapweed also seems to thrive and pioneer through dry sandy areas with little diversity, choking out competition by exuding niacin from its roots, but feels that it is easily thwarted in a polyculture.

Relevant Threads

Adding biodiversity to a trout pond
Sepp Holzer fish feed
Sepp Holzer and 'the monk'
Weeds as beneficials
Chop and Drop


The Rebel Farmer by Sepp Holzer

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

Sepp Holzer's Permakultur DVD

Relevant Links

Paul's article on Sepp Holzer

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Posts: 172
Location: USDA 5b - Central IL
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So what do you do for an established pond that has Catfish, Large Mouth Bass, Bluegill, Red Ear Hybrid, and Crappie to make it self-feeding for the fish? Would you recommend dumping in a large amount of shad or other similar minnows since getting enough pollywogs would be difficult.

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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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I think you'd need to create multiple "fingers" off the main pond, to serve as wetland spawning places for frogs, insects, etc. Places that are more shallow than the big fish like, but connected for little swimmers.
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