Introducing my experimental project called "The Red Baron Project"
For my project I am using these 10 principles:
Principle 1: No till and/or minimal till with mulches used for weed control
Principle 2: Minimal external inputs
Principle 3: Living mulches between rows to maintain biodiversity Principle 4: Companion planting
Principle 6: The ability to integrate carefully controlled modern animal husbandry (optional)
Principle 5: Capability to be mechanized for large scale or low labor for smaller scale
Principle 7: As organic as possible, while maintaining flexibility to allow non-organic growers to use the methods
Principle 8: Portable and flexible enough to be used on a wide variety of crops in many areas of the world
Principle 9: Sustainable ie. beneficial to the ecology and wildlife
Principle 10: Profitable
The project is only 2 years old so far, but basically is an amalgamation of a lifetime of experience and research.
The basic idea I had is to develop an organic model using Permaculture principles that are scale-able to any size garden or Farm, without killing the biodiversity present, or in most cases improving it. Early results show a beneficial effect of the minimal disturbance. This could be anything from a backyard of mowed grass yard, to a full on native rangeland "wilderness area", to a formerly plowed and farmed out cornfield, to a cow pasture, to an abandoned weed choked urban lot and everything in between.
I am using a science based approach that builds on the research of many giants in organic agriculture. I borrowed the paper and mulch technique from Ruth Stout's No Work Garden. I borrowed The living Mulch technique from Helen Atthowe. I borrowed the integration of animals from Joel Salatin, Allan Savory, and Bill Mollison. I borrowed the Pasture cropping idea from Col Seis. I borrowed the compost ideas of Sir Albert Howard and Dr. Elaine Ingham. I borrowed the best from Commercial Ag too, like no-till, mechanised hay baling and what Ray Archuletta and Gabe Brown are doing with multi-species cover crops. I took all these and many more influences, formed a synthesis of commonality and a hypothesis on how they could all be integrated into one system. For a partial list of influences visit my youtube page here and search the playlists. Red Baron Farm I also wrote a wikipedia page as part of my research on the optional animal husbandry, so others could find many references easier. Holistic management
Basically, in simplified terms. All you do is mow, roll out paper or cardboard and roll out hay right over that to make your beds. Later you part the mulch and dig a small hole for your seedlings and fill the hole with inoculated compost and soil. You leave a strip of pasture or other perennials between rows to be either mowed or grazed. That's it, couldn't be more simple. But yet it has the ability by changing mulch material or paper barrier to be scalable to any size operation. The grasses and forbs between the rows can be mowed with a lawn mower, or even a chicken tractor or portable rabbit hutches, or even sectioned off with electric portable feathernet fencing for grazing. Or any combination of the above. The possibilities are endless.
I am asking humbly that anyone else interested in helping to try it out themselves, even in a small test plot, and welcome them to post their results good and bad here. Questions about details are welcomed.
"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."-Bill Mollison
I saw a post in another thread referencing your project and I thought I'd check it out. I recently moved onto a 3 acre plot of land with what appears to be fairly hard clay. The land is definitely asleep and in need of some help to enable it to produce food crops. I like your general principles and they align with what my family is looking to achieve. You mention in the other thread that you've solved the sheet mulching at scale issues, can you elaborate a little more on that? Is it simply that you can roll out the hay? Additionally, if we choose to go this route, or a similar route, I'll offer feedback on how it's going. Thanks!
Is your project ongoing? Any updates?
Furniture stores give away huge sheets of cardboard. It’s amazing how big an area can be covered in minutes. One downside might be its great slug habitat. What is a natural predator for slugs? Garter snakes and ducks? I once put down a big sheet of rusty steel on some rocks trying to create garter snake habitat.
Solar Station Construction Plans by Ben Peterson -- ebook