• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Restoration Agriculture/ Savannah Agriculture / Mark Shepard's approach, coastal BC and lower mainla

 
charlie durrant
Posts: 11
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know that style is designed where oak Savannah naturally exists, but how about doing something similar in coastal BC/ PNW? It seems to me it would be a big step in the right direction, perhaps only needing a few minor tweaks.

I recognise that the main difference is that we have a lot of rains in winter when there would be no leaves on the trees and not so much in summer in the main growth season. I'm trying to get my head around whether Swales and key line design is still a good idea. My intuition tells me that is is still a good idea, the whole system, but perhaps it would involve designing swale and pond systems with large spillways and erosion control in the swale for the heavy winter rains, but to have them ready to hold water in the spring when it;d be needed as a reserve.

Please share you thoughts.

I'm helping an agrologist design the permaculture scenario of an 8 Acre Plot near Abbotsford, and at the same time building my dream farm for the future.

1. Is this system logical for this climate?

2. Are swales and key line design logical for this climate? 2.b would i make altercations knowing that there are minimal rains in summer, yet an over abundance in winter?

3. How about any Conifers to throw in the mix, pine nuts?

4. Please share any ideas and links I may find useful.

Thanks for your time.

Here is Mark Shepard's talk on restoration Agriculture.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb_t-sVVzF0

 
Sam Boisseau
Posts: 155
Location: PNW, British Columbia
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Charlie

My intuition also tells me that approaches derived from PA Yeoman's work (Mark Shepard, Doherty...) would work well over here. I'm on the BC coast and seeing how dry this year is (we have an open fire ban already and it hasn't rained a drop for weeks), building ponds and swales and keyline would definitely help.

And keyline is also supposed to help with soil building.


Swales would soak in whatever rain we have in the winter and make it available for a longer period of time.

Ponds store winter water for summer irrigation.

I posted my keyline resources over here http://www.permies.com/t/24917/permaculture-podcast/Podcast-Keyline-Systems



Where are you at in terms of looking for your dream land? I am also very inspired to do something on the scale of Mark Shepard. Land is quite expensive around here, so I'm possibly looking into joining forces with other permies.

 
charlie durrant
Posts: 11
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the reply Sam!

I suppose my real concern then is simply a matter of fine tuning the size of swales and ponds (or as mark Shepard makes them, holes in the ground), as well as how to properly manage overspills areas so that crops aren't washed out when rains return in a flood event.

I'm located on the sunshine coast and there are genuine food security concerns here, as everything comes in on the ferry. I love it here for so many reasons. I'm a long ways off achieving my dream land, but sense that it'll all fall into place when I'm ready for it.

My questions also stem to Abbotsford as I've been asked to do a scope design of a permaculture system for an 8 acre property there. They are very interested in permaculture, but don't know too much about practical application possibilities. The research continues and I'll share when the report is finished.

Thanks for sharing your key line resources I'll get to them now.

Where are you based?
 
Sam Boisseau
Posts: 155
Location: PNW, British Columbia
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm in the discovery islands. Everything does come from the ferry.

I think it is a good thing that you are trying your designing skills at other people's land first.

I don't have much practical experience with swales and ponds, but I think your issue is more about getting the right dimensioning. Using annual rainfall, max rain event, catchment area, estimated % of runoff etc; as well as observation. Your swales and ponds should have a plan for overflows anyway.

Doherty's stuff is a great resource and I'm waiting for his regrarian handbook coming out at the end of the year.

charlie durrant wrote:Thanks for the reply Sam!

I suppose my real concern then is simply a matter of fine tuning the size of swales and ponds (or as mark Shepard makes them, holes in the ground), as well as how to properly manage overspills areas so that crops aren't washed out when rains return in a flood event.

I'm located on the sunshine coast and there are genuine food security concerns here, as everything comes in on the ferry. I love it here for so many reasons. I'm a long ways off achieving my dream land, but sense that it'll all fall into place when I'm ready for it.

My questions also stem to Abbotsford as I've been asked to do a scope design of a permaculture system for an 8 acre property there. They are very interested in permaculture, but don't know too much about practical application possibilities. The research continues and I'll share when the report is finished.

Thanks for sharing your key line resources I'll get to them now.

Where are you based?
 
Laura Sweany
Posts: 275
Location: Onalaska, Lewis County, WA
2
food preservation forest garden tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've been trying to locate someone that has a keyline plow/subsoiler for the Seattle area (Monroe, particularly) and there is NO ONE I can find with this tool. I sense there's a big need for resources like this here in the rainy PNW/BC areas.

It's hard to experiment and do trials when the equipment is unavailable.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3306
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Genuine key line plows are expensive, but a subsoiler is a lot more common and cheaper.

I just watched Mark Shepard restoration ag video, he talks a little about other biomes and what to substitute as food species. For pine forest, he grows Korean pines or other pine nut producing species, blueberries, and the usual assortment of fruit (apples, cherries, Mulberry, grapes, etc.)
 
charlie durrant
Posts: 11
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for your replies! And Sam I'll definitely be looking out for that book also! With all these droughts I real feel like it's a good time to be getting to work doing it.

Regards no key line ploughs around, as always the problem is possibly the solution. It's fair to say that If a farmer was to purchase a subsoiler or key line plough, they'd be sought after and could probably make it pay for it's self by renting it out..?

As regards to the other trees, I've added the pine nuts to my list of trees to plant on swale berms along with monkey puzzle.

Interestingly enough I heard that the bands that lived here before european arrival (especially coastal) were able to have sophisticated and advanced culture, unlike any other place in the world (without agriculture), due to the natural abundance. Perhaps the best system for here would be to ban traditional forestry practices, pollution, commercial fishing and then selectively and regeneratively wild harvest and develop low energy processing techniques for wild food...

It's hard to convey a sense of awe but also sarcasm to my own pondering in text, but hope its comes across.

Realistically we have a bunch of useful families to play with.

The more I read, the more I am of the opinion that restoration agriculture very similar to Mark's system would be a very rational direction to go to replace mono crop agriculture in this region.

Here are some other resources I found useful.

http://ibis.geog.ubc.ca/biodiversity/eflora/E-FloraTreesofBritishColumbia.html

http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=65174

Thanks again everyone for you interest, please do keep sharing.
 
Blayne Prowse
Posts: 53
Location: Cumberland BC
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am leary of putting the work into swales in our climate these days, since the energy it takes vs the amount of good they do might not be worth it. If we had summer rain, absolutely! I think planting on contour and keyline maybe a better use of energy, as are dams. Storing water in the soil is key, with piles of bio-mass under your trees being number 1. Huglekulture, especially wood buried under grade and on contour, for perenial crops is a wise move. If you have materials available of course.

Mimicking what already exists in this climate for food crops is obviously the way to go. Apples, berries of all varieties, nut trees. We really have massive diversity in the PNW. I love the idea of restoring the natural cycles and living from the land. Salmon, deer, bottom fish, elk, shellfish, bear, berries, nuts.... Oh man how well we could eat!
 
R Scott
Posts: 3306
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I put swales in as much to dry out the roots as to water them. We have heavy clay and it is too easy for trees to drown during the wet season. Planting up on the berm lets the roots breathe but still reach water. If I do need to irrigate, I flood the swale. Not as efficient as drip, but if I only do it once or twice a year it is better than messing with drip tape.

But I agree that you need to check the costs. Around here I could hire the work for $1.50 per foot of swale or less, for large swales. That is pretty cheap compared to the cost of running irrigation over the life of an orchard.
 
charlie durrant
Posts: 11
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
After the crazy drought this summer, I'm feeling even more confident in this style. Especially when the ponds can be used to flood the swale bellow once or twice through the growing season.

Sam, Did you have any more progress looking for some land?

Also do any of you happen to know about places where natural building is permitted - "Pockets of freedom"

My partner and I are trying to establish some roots, and currently have much of BC we could choose from and so are trying to find the place that would most suit us. If we can be somewhere with relaxed building laws it would be incredible!
 
Sam Boisseau
Posts: 155
Location: PNW, British Columbia
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Charlie,

Someone contacted me on permies and I'll be looking at a potential land share in the kootenays soon.


The drought definitely gave me some food for thought. We managed to irrigate our gardens but it was tight (we have two small ponds) and had to use a bit of well water for a couple weeks.

I'll PM you about building laws.

BTW, Doherty published the first two chapters of his regrarian handbook in e-book format.
 
charlie durrant
Posts: 11
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nice! Thanks so much Sam. I have downloaded the handbook but got myself side tracked. I'll get to it!
 
steve barker
Posts: 37
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love this discussion and everyone has contributed great ideas.

I am offering my design or installation services fro anyone who would like them. I have been studying this issue for a long while and studied with Tom ward on these topics of surveying, keyline, and dam and swale construction. I am working with a friend who has an excavator and we are offering help to those people in the PNW who would like to design and construct these water systems. we have built many systems already and have lots of ideas that correlate to the ones on this thread. I am available for all questions.

Steve Baker
ptstevebaker@gmail.com
 
We've gotta get close enough to that helmet to pull the choke on it's engine and flood his mind! Or, we could just read this tiny ad:
Rocket mass heaters in greenhouses can be tricky - these plans make them easy: Wet Tolerant Rocket Mass Heater in a Greenhouse Plans
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!