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Paul’s review of Sepp Holzer’s Desert or Paradise continues (along with some more talk about his Kickstarter, some updates on the Bootcamp and the PDJ) with Opalyn and Katie.

(Referring back to the monk designs from podcast 545) “So many problems with the middle drain – impossible to clean out without SCUBA gear.  Floating debris will clog it every fall, and the huge elbow in the dam will be a hard to stop to snake the drain.” None of the speakers are convinced that you’ll need SCUBA gear to clear the pipe out.  At most, the pipe is 7ft deep, and even a novice diver can reach 10ft quite quickly.  Or just drain the pond enough with a siphon.  They also doubt the claims that the pipe will clog annually – it might clog sometimes, but not often.  It’s more likely to get clogged with algae, but that can be prevented by tossing some logs or stumps into the pond to keep the algae down.

“I reject intensive animal husbandry.  This holds true for water landscapes.  The vegetation and surrounding environments suffer from over-exploitation.  The animals do not thrive when overcrowded – they get stressed and sick.”  Paul recalls going to a fish farm and seeing several ponds that were so densely packed with fish that he estimates that about 20% of the volume in them was pure fish, and were entirely dependent on being fed by the farmer.  In contrast, Sepp’s ponds are much more sparsely packed and are basically self-sufficient.

“As always, diversity wins.  It is possible to keep predatory and non-predatory fish in the same pond, especially when the pond is extensively used.  People often ask “how does that work?  Pike and carp in the same pond?  The pike will eat all the carp!”  Nonsense – this does not happen in nature either.  Fish live off eachother, but they do not exterminate eachother.  Only in a rectangular or circular pond with the same depth everywhere, and no roots or rocks would this happen because the non-predatory fish would not have anywhere to hide.  To keep the balance, the habitat needs to be diverse, giving each fish the living conditions they need to thrive.  I create whole hills made of stones on the bed of the lake.  I add tree trunks, even whole trees, and keep the vegetation along the banks diverse.  This way, the young fish and non-predatory fish find enough spaces to hide.  Some of the young fish serve as food for the predatory fish, but the other ones are for market and to stock the pond.  The fittest survive and the system thrives.  Birds also benefit from a mixed fish stock – even big fish can get eaten by an otter, but the damage is limited with a diverse stock, compared to a pond where all the fish are equally big and heavy”

Relevant Threads

Ponds forum
Sepp Holzer on ponds and "the monk"

Paul's SKIP book kickstarter

Podcast 545 - Listening to that before this one can provide some more context for the start of this episode's review segment.

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This podcast was made possible thanks to:

Dr. Hugh Gill Kultur
Eivind W. Bjørkavåg
Suleiman, Karrie, and Sasquatch
Kyle Neath
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ellen fisher
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