Paul continues his review of Sepp Holzer’s Desert or Paradise with the usual suspects among his patreons, along with some gushing about his latest Kickstarter success.
“We noticed some wild avocado trees next to the house. These trees had self-seeded, had not been grafted, and were tall, healthy, and beautiful. They also sported rather large fruits – these trees had come into being by chance, naturally, and looked similar to known varieties, but were clearly different. With a discovery of a mutation like that, a grower can develop his own varieties with the qualities of a wild fruit, a high yield, and great quality in general. It can sometimes happen that a stand of fruit trees in a garden or plantation gets grafted onto a particular root stock with bad results as that root stock might not be suited for the climate or simply give too much work. It can also happen that right next to these, some own-root wild species grow superior to the grafted ones, with better flavor and quality, as was the case with the wild avocados. “Own-root” means plants that are not grafted, they grow from seed. These are natural processes, and happen everywhere in nature – I think they deserve to be studied more.” Paul started off being heavily influenced by Sepp, so they have a very similar philosophy. Sepp used to use his greenhouse to grow plants before transplanting them, now he doesn’t transplant anything if he can get away with it, and the greenhouse is used to cultivate three breeds of earthworms. The reason why in his video he is transplanting a grafted tree, is because the guys doing the filming didn’t want to just have him pointing at things and decided to get him 50 trees, which he gladly accepted. Same goes for the fish feeding – if they weren’t fed, he’d have nothing to do.
“On a tour of the property, we noticed that the wild trees were nibbled, whereas the grafted ones were not. We investigated and found the reason quickly – the wild fruit simply tasted better.” Turns out that if you breed for shelf-life over quality, you get less quality. In an interesting counterpoint, Sally Fallon asserts that food that is still alive, and thus high quality, keeps the longest. Paul suspects that there’s truth to both claims, but he just doesn’t understand Sally’s position yet.
Project Spain: Water paradise instead of desert and Princess Nora Von Liechtenstein in Extremadura
“I suggested that they create a water landscape with several lakes and ponds. It would have been the first project on such a large scale, and I could not show proof that it would work. I had no doubts that it would, but the other experts were not confident. There were no wells, nor streams, so where would the water come from? The annual rainfall was only about 16 inches. There was a lot of debating, but eventually Princess Nora decided to follow my suggestion to create water retention spaces.” Paul’s met at least 20 people who claim that Sepp is a dumbfuck, but when pressed, have nothing to show at all. Proof is in the pudding, as is often said.
“We started in the autumn of 2006. Again, I did not dig out big lakes, I just used the natural formation of the land, and inserted barriers to key positions to collect the rainwater. The dams were built in the shape of a meander. The drains and fords constructed with natural stones to make it look natural. These should look as if the landscape has always looked that way. Nature helps us when we do things in a natural way. And it is also aesthetically pleasing.”
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