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Summary

Paul’s permaculture smackdown continues with Katie and Geoff into chapter 4 of Sepp Holzer’s Desert or Paradise.

Holzer’s permaculture for self-sufficiency gardens and smallholdings
“I often do an exercise with the students in my workshop – what would you do with a hectare of land which is not producing, has poor soil, a low Ph. value, steep slopes, and needs to feed you and your family as quickly as possible?  How would you revitalize ground and vegetation?  The land should give you good yields within a few months.  I can cooperate with nature everywhere, and the land can feed me everywhere too.  Once I have had success under difficult circumstances, I will have success anywhere.  People will hear about it and feel inspired.  This is what I believe to be the most effective way: I get two or three pigs or piglets, ideally one male and two females, then I divide my hectare into four paddocks of 2-3 thousand meters squared, and I separate each with a fence.  Then I cultivate the land as described earlier on page 108.  At a low cost, I can achieve a lot with this method.  Once the ground is opened up, free of coph (?) chafer grubs and voles, and nicely composted with pig manure, I sow lettuces, radishes, herbs, and also potatoes and grain.  The pigs are moved to the next paddock, and I watch the vegetables grow.  Cultivating polycultures activates soil life and bacterial flora.  I have my first salads and radishes after 5-6 weeks, followed by peas and beans.  The first harvest will be relatively small, but will get bigger and better all the time.  By then the pigs will have worked the second paddock and within a few months I’ll have turned my previously unproductive land into a beautiful garden with great soil and full biodiversity.  A beautiful cycle develops as I finish harvesting from the first paddock – the pigs have finished cultivating the fourth, and they’re ready to go back to the first one.  They can eat my leftovers, and the whole cycle begins anew.  Simultaneously I begin the second step – I plant berry bushes and fruit trees in between the vegetables.  I will have the first harvest after two or three years, the total yield will increase with every year, I can feed my whole family by creating such an edible landscape.”
A massive book all in a single page – Paul Wheaton.  This is the page everybody wants.  How to be self-sufficient in one page.  The group’s horror at Katie’s fawning over the adult form of the chafer grub notwithstanding.

Relevant Threads

Pigs forum

Food preservation forum

Paul and Sepp's video on bone sauce

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I checked the german version of the book, the part about the high bed is titled hochbeet which I would translate to raised bed, but it then goes on to talk about terrasses and dams, I think a stepped berm would have been an easier translation. No plant material inside is emphasised to prevent sinking. The bushes planted at an angle are in fact berry bushes, but the word used 'Beerenobst' is unusual to me, might be an Austrian thing.
 
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