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Geoff Lawton's "Permaculture for Profit" video now live!

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Geoff talks with Mark Shepard on his farm in Wisconsin about what it takes to make a profit doing broadacre permaculture. Mark explains that savings on inputs makes all the difference. There are also some very eager pigs just waiting for an apple to fall! See the short version below.

See the FULL VIDEO HERE. You will need to use your email address/pwd to sign in OR create a new account if you don't already have one. (Note: footage of gratuitously cute pigs getting belly rubs in this version).

 
Peter Ellis
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Just watched it. Highly informative and useful. The "pocket pond" concept being a huge take away.

And the one thing that really caught me - when Mark spoke about training the pigs to get onto the trailer, so they can be taken to the slaughter hoouse - he literally choked up saying that they have one bad day.
 
William James
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@Peter
I'm thinking the Pocket pond idea is something similar, the same as, or related to the "Dieu (or dew) pond"
http://tcpermaculture.blogspot.it/2011/07/dew-ponds-or-dieu-ponds.html

Yeah, a neat little way to do small scale earthworks that have big impacts and get around code violations at the same time. They would dry up in the summer, so not really a water storage technique, per se, but definitely a 'waterproofing' strategy for seasonally inundated land and mitigating big rain events.
William
 
Miles Flansburg
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And a new permies word "STUN"... "Strategic Total Utter Neglect"

Also liked his comments on planting apple seeds and getting one of his best trees from a seed.
 
Peter Ellis
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William James wrote:@Peter
I'm thinking the Pocket pond idea is something similar, the same as, or related to the "Dieu (or dew) pond"
http://tcpermaculture.blogspot.it/2011/07/dew-ponds-or-dieu-ponds.html

Yeah, a neat little way to do small scale earthworks that have big impacts and get around code violations at the same time. They would dry up in the summer, so not really a water storage technique, per se, but definitely a 'waterproofing' strategy for seasonally inundated land and mitigating big rain events.
William


I think Mark's farm shows what a terrific water storage technique it is, William The water soaks into the ground, where it moves along (the plume Geoff is always talking about with swales) without being exposed to evaporation. Water stored on the surface has the constant loss to evaporation happening. This pond system doesn't give you a constant body of water that you can use to feed through your irrigation system, but it works to hydrate your system so you don't need the irrigation.

So, I see your point that it doesn't give you a holding pond of available liquid water, but I think it does a great job of storing water in a different way.

And the getting around the issue of damn building is a pretty big deal, I think.
 
Peter Ellis
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Miles Flansburg wrote:And a new permies word "STUN"... "Strategic Total Utter Neglect"

Also liked his comments on planting apple seeds and getting one of his best trees from a seed.


Yep. Definitely a case where he throws so much against the wall, some of it has got to stick

I need to keep Mark in mind, as my plans involve Michigan. He's working in a relatively similar environment to where we plan on ending up, making his ideas potentially very useful in our future.
 
Penny Dumelie
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I loved his comment about planting (fruit) tree seeds. I literally gave an out-loud "Yes!" (ignored by everyone here since they are used to me talking to my laptop).

That whole line of thinking (not to plant seeds) bothers me a little.
Just because the tree may not be identical to the parent is no reason not to plant a seed anyway (unless a parent copycat is all you are interested in).
Maybe that seed will be something delicious and different, or more suited to your environment and better producing.
 
Dave Burton
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I loved that video! Very useful, and I love Mark Shepherd's technique: Sheer/Strategic Total Utter Neglect! It just makes sense, I think. Also, the ending to the video was very sweet, too, seeing the pigs follow after Mark.
 
Jason LaVoy
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:O Kind of makes me want to watch Mark's DVD, "Restoration Agriculture in Practice" that's sitting on my desk for the past few months.
 
wayne stephen
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Wow!
 
Leila Rich
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Great to see a profitable permacaulture farm
I couldn't see information about harvest methods though?
If someone harvests a polyculture and makes a profit, I'd love details!

Maybe there's general New Forest Farm money info out there?
I get the impression it's a very diversified operation-I'd love to see some income stream breakdown.
 
Earl Mardle
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Peter Ellis wrote:

I think Mark's farm shows what a terrific water storage technique it is, William The water soaks into the ground, where it moves along (the plume Geoff is always talking about with swales) without being exposed to evaporation. Water stored on the surface has the constant loss to evaporation happening. This pond system doesn't give you a constant body of water that you can use to feed through your irrigation system, but it works to hydrate your system so you don't need the irrigation.

So, I see your point that it doesn't give you a holding pond of available liquid water, but I think it does a great job of storing water in a different way.

And the getting around the issue of damn building is a pretty big deal, I think.


Which raises the question of where and how he stores water. As he says in the video, there are timers you don't want to totally neglect the trees, such as watering them in a drought. I'd be interested to know where that water comes from.
 
William James
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Earl Mardle wrote:

Which raises the question of where and how he stores water. As he says in the video, there are timers you don't want to totally neglect the trees, such as watering them in a drought. I'd be interested to know where that water comes from.


I think he maintains trees with water for 2-3 years. There is a Q&A video on youtube with Mark where he talks about flexible plastic tubing that costs very little and can be attached to a water tank on the back of a wagon or truck for drought-protection. After that they should be getting their own water.

William
 
nancy sutton
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I caught his remark about having to till to control the rhizomatous grasses ... which I'm guessing is quack (couch, etc) grass. I guess he hasn't found a more permaculture way to deal with it, either ;)
 
Earl Mardle
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nancy sutton wrote:I caught his remark about having to till to control the rhizomatous grasses ... which I'm guessing is quack (couch, etc) grass. I guess he hasn't found a more permaculture way to deal with it, either ;)


On a MUCH smaller scale, I'm having some success with black polythene mulching. It takes aq while over winter, even in NZ, but in summer you can kill the grass (we have kikuyu) in about 2 weeks. I create a clear zone in one place, then a border around it with more polythene, then remove the inner patch and resow. Keep pushing the border out and rewsowing the inner patch. Procesds not finished but I'm not getting any regrowth in the middle (yet). Of course, polythene sheet IS a compromise but it lasts and is reusable for a few years.
 
siu-yu man
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that's a really great idea about continually expanding the border Earl. genius even.
what are you resowing with? clover?

old carpet works too on a garden scale.
 
Earl Mardle
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siu-yu man wrote:that's a really great idea about continually expanding the border Earl. genius even.
what are you resowing with? clover?

old carpet works too on a garden scale.


Genius we will see about, eventually. Resowing with orchard ley and beneficial insect blend, when the weather warms up a bit, still getting late winter here in NZ.

Been using carpet on a small berm that was built out of topsoil (long story) and was full of weeds so we laid carpet over the whole thing then cut holes for the fruit trees. Again, when it warms a little we will sow wildflowers/insect bl;end on the carpet, spray with light cow manure slurry and hope the flowers can grow down through the carpet soon enough to beat the drought in late summer.
 
Sean Henry
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I loved the video and was glad to see an environment that is closer to what I live in.

Taking care of the grasses with tilling, I believe that it is only a shallow till to breakup and expose the rhizomes.

What I have found to help control the crab grass that we have here is in the spring do not cut the grass. If there is a patch of grass you do not want break it up with a shovel to expose the roots and dry it out. Since you have not cut the grass the grasses you want they will shade out the crab grass some and produce seed. Once the grass has gone to seed I will cut it dropping the seed to compete with the unwanted grass. Once all the grasses have started growing I will selectively not cut patches around the crab grass. That all pertains to lawns.

In my garden and berms the only things that I have found to help is hand pulling and shade.
1. What I do is hand pull any runner I see and try to remove all of it, If there are no trees close by I might use a spade to cut around the edge this will make it into two plants but the one in the garden will be smaller and hopefully easier to remove when it pops up.
2. Plant everywhere make sure that when your plants are full size that they will cover almost every area. If you find that there are going to be empty areas toss some more seed for a ground cover.
3. Leave easier to remove running plants. I have found on my property what I consider one on the best competitors to crab grass "Creeping Charlie" some know it as "gill-over-the-ground". It has a broad leaf that sits 1-3 inches above the ground that gives good shade. When you want to plant where it is grab a handful and pull, its roots are shallower than the grass and can be used medicinally.
 
nancy sutton
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I like the varied tactics for unwanted grasses. Researching kikuyu grass, it does seem as challenging as quack grass. However, my quack grass quickly resurfaces after only a few weeks of light-exclusion, but I do have the white roots 'pooling' right under the plastic mulch... easier to pull ;)

I did use discarded carpets years ago, which worked for keeping the horsetail, knotweed, etc. suppressed in a ravine. However, ivy has been creeping in (everywhere!) over the years, and ended up covering the carpet. When I finally got the time, I peeled the ivy back (it has a lovely spicy smell ;), and rolled up the carpet down the hillside. By leaving it halfway down, it made an ingenious horizontal, semi-level, stable path across the steep slope.... a silver lining ;) (I had already made crude steps for the vertical transit.)

And, I also am giving myself permission to use the black, woven plastic 'weed mat', which resists UV degradation, where I need a discreet permanent pathway, and also the non-woven landscape 'fabric', with a wood chip mulch to protect from light, for weed suppression in areas I cannot get to regularly. It is also useful in areas where I will get to the quack grass, but not right now... to discourage it's galloping spread ;)

I think crab grass and quack grass are different challenges. I will continue to manually remove the wiry white roots... forever, but hope that my 'fabric' ally will help me feel 'on top' of it :) Btw, organic Essex Farm in NY also has a challenge with quack grass (and bindweed ;) and has to plow to keep it from over-running the crops.

It was reading about Stefan Sobkowiak's Permaculture Orchard and Jean Fortier's organic market garden, both in Canada, where success would not be possible without judiciously using black plastic mulch, that convinced me I could use the available help :) Although, I wish that the 'problem was the solution' for quack grass ... and also bindweed ;)
 
William James
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nancy sutton wrote:
It was reading about Stefan Sobkowiak's Permaculture Orchard and Jean Fortier's organic market garden, both in Canada, where success would not be possible without judiciously using black plastic mulch, that convinced me I could use the available help :) Although, I wish that the 'problem was the solution' for quack grass ... and also bindweed ;)


Stefan also uses cover perennials like Hosta next to his trees, without black plastic. So I think there might be alternatives that work just as good if not better. I don't want to say that it's impossible to not use black plastic mulch, but I am working to do without. So far I'm pretty happy, even with the bindweed. And my chickens like to dig up quack grass, so there's that. All I have to do is throw down on top if it something they want to dig into and it is 'ameliorated' (don't want to say that the problem is solved).

Paul discusses this exact question in his podcast on Stefan's DVD.

William
 
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