Really Jeremiah Bailey is right to keep on talking of Masanobu Fukoakadon't know if i have written his name right, if you want to build up earth in places where the soil is lost and you have got down to stone his is one of the complete methods for building up lots of vegetable matter and the soil you buy for your pots is only vegetable matter that which i buy has no bits of sand in ti. then he really grows a lot in one year. He was a soil scientist and plant pathologist who walking in the country found rice growing among other meadow plants and decided that he would grow it that way. He sowed rice oats and rye and clover all together in the autumn. The clover oats and rye grew, the cereals through the clover and he harvested the oats and rye in spring and put their straw on the land and there under so much vegetation and in the spring rains i suppose the rice was so snugly wet and humid that it germinated without the field being flooded or with a minimum of time flooded, this reduced or took away the necessity to use pesticides, which permiculture does not approve of, and notr do I they are cancerigenic, there being near to no water critters, a great problem in rice growing apparently. Then he had the straw from the rice to feed to his earth, so winter growing cereal and spring summer growing cereal all on the same patch twice as much vegetable matter not to mention the poor clover smothered under so much cereals. His rice growing on land so full of vegetable matter had such full grains an dso many of them that the government wanted to patent his rice. I write this for those who aren't really used to the computer, or arent used to using it as a encyclopedia and imagine it will tell you really complicated things and get scared of trying because this is not the case well if you write in this man name in google, you had better take the way its spelt from a piece of Jeremiah Baileys writing because i might have forgotten how you spell it, you will find a really short easy article and that from someone who probably knows more about him than i do. Of course clover and such beanish type of family things have little balls on their roots full of nitrogen working bacteria, that fill your land full of nitrogen. I did biology at school i don't know what is to much detail and too little what everyone of course knows already. Thats why peas, clover, beans and such, all the plants from the family called leguminous which include broom for example, are, many of them, used for covercrops or green maures they are better green maures than other plants are or part of crops rotation systems, where you grow different crops so the critters that like wheat find themselves starved out when you plant potatoes and those of potatoes with wheat and you don't get a build up of critters that like one thing and you put in clover for one year to better the land and plough it into the land and so leave it full of nitrogen. If you grow beans instead of clover you can get a crop of beans and plough the rest of the plant into the ground except ploughing isn't especially good thing to do so just leave them where they fall to get incorporated the natural way. If you are Masanobu then you put them in all together, maybe you end up with some critters problems. Maybe thats why Sepp Holzer plants an even bigger variety of plants no monocultures, no just growing one thing, no enormous build up of the critteres that eat just that one thing.
Leah Sattler talked about petrol on her rocky land to. She must read the book advertised here on fungi, its absolutely brilliant and Paul Stamets uses oyster mushrooms to clean up petrol. He trains mushrooms to eat different things, he says their mycelium try out different chemicals on new substances so if you first grow them using something they normally eat and then take away their normal food leaving only what you want them to process petrol for example they will learn to do it. He found a way of reducing the molecules of the nerve gas VX but he had to use a mushroom, fungi that normally breaks down things with phosphorous. Hydrocarbides, petrol, gasoil, is easier, it is made of hydrocarbides hydrogen and carbon and normal foods are carbohydrates oyster mushrooms break down bonds between carbon and hydrogen and so they can eat petrol and they turn it into themselves carbohydrates, marvelous. May be any old oyster mushroom works or maybe you have to get ones he has adapted you can order his things. You can find him on goggle but also you can listen to his lectures on youtube an easy way of picking up his knowledge and then when you really get a taste for him you can buy his books i am going to. He also planted Brazil mushrooms on his land he grows and sell mushrooms normally indoors and explains how to do it. He had a problem what with the affluent from the house and from a few animals he had to many e-coli bacteria where coming out of his land and that was not good for the oyster farm of the man down land from him. With a healthy bed of brazil musrooms the bacteria from the effluent disappeared. He took themback to his lab and found they detect the e-coli with one liquid and then attract it and stun it with another and then zamp them, they are bacteria guzzlers! They can also really help with developing soils and a plant micorized, with a special beneficial hongos on its roots, will grow to twice the size of one without, thaqs why herbicides and chemical nitrogen are bad, they do for the fungis and microbes and other critters inthe earth that really help plants.
I thought i would send you stoney ground in the mediterenean, here things get really stoney, one is a wheat feilds covered in round stones and the other a hill that has lost its top soil, you can tell that plants can grow here, that there is enough rain for them from all the dry grass in the fore ground. In this case i don't know if the soil was lost because the hill was ploughed and lost its soil or because the land was overgrazed, the presence of bushes suggests the second, they don't normaly have bushes in ploughed land. Here, in Spain they often grow cereals on lower lying bits of land and graze slopes.
that is very similiar to what much of the land looks like here. But it is just the natural forces eroding the old mountains that created it not farming or grazing.
the petrol here on our land is natural gas and it is deep in the ground. it doesn't contaminate the soil or anything. It is what is left of the ocean that once covered the area. how the frack water from the extraction of the natural gas is disposed of is definetly a concern for ground water though.
Leah Sattler , the stones on the Field here are defiantly bared by erosion. The Fields are near enough flat. I have a foto bu tin slide form of a cutting in the road in this village and what you see with a cross section of the ground like this is layer upon layer of stones this land is stone on other stones. If you take the stones away to reduce the percentage of stones to earth, then as the land is bared because this is cereal growing land, the wind probably carries away the bared earth and you get down to the next layer of stones. T There are still mud brick houses in the village and the first part of the walls are built with these stones. it is better to keep mud building off the ground so that wetness does not seep up through the mud. Even on hills, a good ground covering of plants allow for a build up of earth that will cover the stones, unless there is a land slide. I think earth will build up surprisingly fast if the land is covered with plants.
I said that Heidi Gildemeister who writes about making a garden in places with a dry climate using plants that can take a bare season and lots of mulch, suggests putting, on a sheet of rock, some earth and then some mulch in which she put some bulbs which she went on mulching each year and so built up a decent piece of earth on the rock and had the bulbs to enjoy. The bulbs did well after the first year or so. I wanted to add, she might have suggested bulbs because they don't mind drying out in summer and a shelf of rock with a small amount of earth on it would be a place that dried out easily.
If you want to bury a water system (to prevent evaporation, say, or to change its thermal properties), two common options are building an overhang or filling it with gravel. People sometimes take measures to prevent sediment or biomass from filling in between the stones, but not always.
A French drain is basically a gravel-filled drainage ditch. What Robert built in the above link has a storage function as well as a re-direction function...if I understand correctly, the idea was to restore the seasonal creek that had run through his property before development, and add a less-seasonal pond to irrigate with, but build (part of) his garden on top of all that.
I would be tempted to use it as a thermal reservoir, too, bringing water and/or air from the gravel bed to a heat exchanger in the house if inside temperatures became uncomfortable. Using air as a working fluid appeals to me, because the whole system could be driven by a solar chimney, which drives air more forcefully when the sun is hot or when the air is particularly dense, i.e. when the house is more likely to need climate control.
"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.
Pollyparadigm what is a french drain-style cistern it sounds really interesting. Why are you so mysterious, why don't you just tell? the bit of mystery is more fun, now I'll have to wait until who knows when to know.