Lennan Bate

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since Apr 12, 2018
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Recent posts by Lennan Bate

Hi Tania,

any organic matter you have handy will do. There will always be a debate on which wood (the essence, the age, the size, etc.) is best but really use what you have close to you.
Understanding the principle behind the huggel bed might help to make those decisions.

As always, observe, experiment and keep learning

Edit : you might want to have a look at Geoff Lawton's technique in desert environment. Huggelmound might not be the best solution for your climate considering that if it is too raised it might dry off quickly and delay the rotting/digestion process. It really depends on your situation (if you have strong winds, shade or no shade, etc..). As an immediate reaction to your “high desert“ location, I would say rather use that organic matter you have as heavy mulch and try to develop shade, water collection and build up life within your soil

Here's a video to help, but you can have a look at a few others you may find on the subject : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keQUqRg2qZ0&feature=youtu.be
6 months ago
Thank you Gurkan, Lots of good resources there :)

And Shari, here you go, I didn't translated myself, it was actually mostly done already, I just had to check the translation and voilà ! http://lowtechlab.org/wiki/Pompe_manuelle_(verticale)/en
Some parts are a bit weird english but you should be able to understand it !
Feel free to translate ome of it in portuguese if you have the time ! ;)

8 months ago

Love the photos...your land looks fabulous. Very GREEN! :)



Thanks ! It has been raining a lot this past couple of months so we'll see how the land holds up after the summer, I'll post some more photos then.
8 months ago
Hi again Shari,

I'm glad this could be of some help and inspiration!

I'm currently researching/designing a water irrigation system that will pull water from the river without any need for power...a bit more testing but will post observations here once it's up and running and doing what it should be.



For that, I had personally been very curious as to find a low tech or at least low energy input system for water pumpage. And I came across this beautiful invention the Hydraulic Ram. For the quick story, in the Versaille castle gardens, King Louis XIV had this system installed for his fountains, of course, there was no electricity back then, so it had to be mechanic. And for the cool fact, the hydraulic ram from the garden (which would be several hundreds of years old by now) still works :)
Here are some articles about that system, but I think they're only available in French here.. Versaille's Hydraulic Ram & The river Seine's System.

So as long as you have flow, you can have water pressure. Then again, good luck in building one of those yourself !!! If you end up buying one (they're quite an investment), I would be very curious what you think of it and make of it. I hear it makes a kind of banging noise (mechanics again !).


Or you could do it by hand.. hand pump
Or use electricity if you have wind : 200W Wind turbine
Both of those are in French I think but they will get translated, by me too eventually, so if you're very interested in one of those wikihows, give me a shout I'll start translating it ;)



To go further in understanding the potentials of such system here's Bill's class on Tromp  and Geoff's contribution through a Tromp animation


Sorry for the number of links !! But might as well give you a chance to select whatever you find is interesting or inspiring to you ;)
Best
Lennan
8 months ago
Hi Austin,

Tradd Cotter's book on organic mushroom growing has a chapter on low tech mushroom growing. He even developed a disaster growing kit for natural disaster places.
It seems that he really is onto low tech mushroom growing so I think he is a good place to start. Nevertheless, his book is well worth the read !

Best
Lennan
8 months ago
Hey,

Thanks yeah I'll check it out. Keep you posted here on my findings

What I have heard is that they are being fed by hunters which “diminishes“ the stress and allows population growth. I've also heard that they have been mixed with non-wild pigs so their litter has gotten much bigger from that mix.
I'm not sure how accurate those informations are though.

I'll find some documentation and come back with a digest
8 months ago
Hi William,

what pop's to my mind here would be some Grand Designs episodes on natural building, cob building etc.. There is one that's pretty good on this land in Scotland if I remember correctly.
You could get some ideas there.

Then for livestock, I don't think any on Netflix though you can find some on Youtube from Alan Savory (if you are not familiar check it out!)

I'll post again if anything comes to mind.
Best
Lennan
Thank you Redhawk, that means a lot.
Unfortunately, people don't think the same way here and everyone hates the wild boars...

I really wish they were more documentation on wild boars in south of France, they're fascinating animals but are quite difficult to observe.
8 months ago
Hi again Shari,

I noticed, when some of those heavy heavy rains happened here, how the entire land became a swamp (the soil is clay as I said before) or how the water would just gush down the terraced land is other areas. Of course after one or two days of sun, everything was dry again.
Traditional technique for the provence landscape was to terrace the hills with the Dry Stone technique. Unfortunately as the land has not be tend to, they are (almost) all falling down from erosion and lack of water in the lower grounds. Also, most of the terraces were not build on contour, so I wander if it was done on purpose (in order to have the water flow in a S shape down the slope) or just by “mistake“.

My approach with the swales was to concentrate the water from the heavy rains in certain areas (small ponds throughout the land) and to soak it in the ground as it badly needs it (most of the springs in the region are dried out now). My hope is that by soaking up as much water as I can in the ground and especially the lower grounds (there is a hard clay layer not so far below (about 2-3m I'm guessing) the ponds will maintain water all year long even during dry season, but that would only be possible if the whole land was soaked with water and was not “drinking“ off the water accumulated in the pond. This thread on Sepp Holzer's technique helped me figure this out : Sepp's Terraces
Here is a quote from someone on the forum, I'm sorry I can't find his name again to give him credit...

1) He has lots of ponds.  Some are deep.  Some are shallow.  In the shallow ponds, he puts lots of rocks.  The rocks heat the water and the water evaporates.  The air surrounding his farm becomes humid.  He gets more morning dew than average.

2)  Sepp plants no monocultures.  Everything is a mix of lots and lots of things.  And there is a strong focus on deep rooted plants.  Deep rooted plants reach deep water sources and can transpire the water out of their leaves adding to the general humidity.  Plus, there can be symbiosis between the deep rooted plant roots and fungi.  And between the fungi and shallow rooted plants.

3)  Terraces and hugelbeds do move and hold water when it rains - and then share it properly when it is dry.

4)  Rocks, rocks and more rocks ....  Rocks seem to be a major component in everything Sepp does.  Rocks have a powerful thermal intertia ...  If you stack a pile of rocks, air can move through the pile.  And the rocks in the middle will be quite cool.  If humid air moves through the pile, water will condense on the cooler rocks, thus creating a poor man's drip irrigation system.  




So that's what I did basically. And as we have had a weird May and June month with lots of series of heavy rain, although it has been super dry for a few weeks now, some ponds have kept water longer and longer, (one of them is still half full) :)

Another food for thought and design, here wild boars play the same “game“ as I do : they tend to take the same route through the land, almost on contour and by doing so they kinda dig swales, also, they like to build wallows which is kinda like ponds. So I followed their lead and enhanced their work, also following the natural “wetter“ areas of the land that were made obvious during heavy rains.

Here are a couple of photos ;)

8 months ago
Hello Shari !

Nice to hear that someone else is giving care and love to a land of olives and pomegranate.
I have just taken over my aunt's land in Provence, South of France, where hundreds (I mean hundreds!) of olive trees grow on terraced hills. The clay soil is heavily eroded, poor and with calcium and phosphate lock down (they tend to bind together and only mushrooms such as from the basidiomycete family will break it up and make it available to trees --> food for thought and design !).


One of my techniques for this particular land was to dig swales on the top terraces with ponds to collect the excess water (when it rains here, it floods everything). Hopefully, the water tables will benefit from the water soaking. Does your land have a slope ?


I have been looking at Olive tree guilds. I'll share those findings with you, I am yet to experiment and see what works best.

Here is the list :
Pomegranate
lavender
thyme
rosemary
wild asparagus
oregano
almonds
figs
artichoke
lemongrass
jujube
purslane
rose
dates
grapes
wheat
barley
Dittrichia viscosa (false yellowhead) (helps with the olive fruit fly)

I like your suggestions for potassium accumulation, I'll test them out too !


Once I set up my design dossier for this land I'll send it to you if you interested, I would be glad to exchange more on your findings and ideas.

Best
Lennan
8 months ago