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The Basics of Permaculture Design Ross Mars Artwork by Martin Ducker

CHELSEA GREEN PUBLISHING COMPANY W h i t e River J u n c t i o n , V e r m o n t

A Permanent Publications Book


Published by: Permanent Publications Hyden House Ltd. T h e Sustainability Centre, East Meon, Hampshire G U 3 2 1HR, UK Tel: (01730) 823 311 Fax: (01730) 823 322 Email: enquiries@permaculture.co.uk Web: www.permaculture.co.uk Published in the United States in 2 0 0 5 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company www. chelseagreen .com Published in 2003 by Permanent Publications, UK First Published 1996 by Candlelight Trust, W.A., Australia Š 1996 Candlelight Trust, W.A., Australia Artwork by Martin Ducker Typesetting and layout by Ross Mars British Library Cataloguing in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. I S B N 1 85623 023 6 All rights reserved. A p a r t from a n y fair dealing for the p u r p o s e of study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the C o p y r i g h t Act, no part of this publication m a y be r e p r o d u c e d , stored in a retrieval system, r e b o u n d or transmitted in any f o r m or by any m e a n s , electronic, mechanical, p h o t o c o p y i n g , recording or otherwise, w i t h o u t the prior written permission o f Ross M a r s , H y d e n H o u s e Limited o r C h e l s e a Green Publishing C o m p a n y .

Acknowledgements A sincere thank you goes to the following people who have commented on various chapters of this book and made valuable contributions to its production: Graham Bell, Peter Bennett, Dora Byrne, David Coleman, Naomi Coleman, Peter Cuming, Chris Dixon, Martin Ducker, Calen Feorn, Pratibodha Foreman, David Holmgren, Max Lindegger, Jeff Nugent, Peter Pedals, Salli Ramsden, Margaret Sampey, Pat Scott, Reny Mia Sley, Russell Turner, Patrick Whitefield, Julie Woodman, Peter Woodward. A special thank you to Barbara Sheppard and Bob Gehringer for permission to use the design of their Donnybrook property for the cover.


Foreword by David Holmgren T h e p e r m a c u l t u r e concept, developed by Bill Mollison a n d myself in the m i d 70's, is the conscious design of our working relationship with n a t u r e . F u r t h e r development, application a n d extension to a wider public h a v e r e s u l t e d in an explosive growth t o w a r d s a worldwide network of activity a n d influence. M a n y would see this growth as p a r t of a fad a n d fashion element in the "global village". O t h e r s see it as the r e s u l t of Mollison's p e r s o n a l energy a n d c h a r i s m a . While t h e s e factors a r e undoubtedly elements in the growth of p e r m a c u l t u r e over the l a s t twenty y e a r s , in the a b s e n c e of a n y organisational s t r u c t u r e a n d m a n a g e m e n t for growth, it is r e a s o n a b l e to s u g g e s t t h a t p e r m a c u l t u r e does provide some of the conceptual links a n d practical solutions needed to re-establish our working relationship with n a t u r e . It is now widely accepted, a l m o s t to the level of cliche, t h a t design is the central o r g a n i s i n g skill of the post-industrial revolution. T h a t enough b a s i c knowledge exists, b u t t h a t this knowledge is theoretical a n d divided into specialist disciplines r a t h e r t h a n b e i n g practical a n d integrated, is increasingly understood. P e r m a c u l t u r e involves the integration of ecological design principles, the ethics a n d v a l u e s of working with n a t u r e a n d the detailed situation a n d site-specific practical r e a l i t i e s of life. In trying to combine t h e s e three very different s p h e r e s of h u m a n activity, there is c o n s t a n t tension a n d the need to r e - a s s e r t b a l a n c e . In The Basics of Permaculture Design we see the results of one experienced p e r m a c u l t u r e practitioner, designer a n d teacher's efforts to m a i n t a i n this balance. R o s s M a r s h a s written a clear a n d r e a d a b l e guide to p e r m a c u l t u r e design. T h e personal experience in d e a l i n g with the realities of the affluent society a n d the West A u s t r a l i a n environment come through as h a l l m a r k s of practical knowledge, while the design process orientation a n d frequent e x a m p l e s provide a link to a wider r e a d e r s h i p . T h e m a s s solutions i n l a n d u s e , livelihoods a n d l a n g u a g e o f our industrial culture h a v e failed u s . T h e hope a n d search for new m a s s solutions contradicts the site a n d situation specific c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of n a t u r e . W h a t we need a r e u n i v e r s a l , powerful a n d comprehensible design principles for guiding practical a n d diverse development. T h i s is the "holy grail" of p e r m a c u l t u r e which needs ongoing effort a n d focus. However, in life, we a l w a y s lack complete u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d yet, we m u s t act. R o s s M a r s h a s provided a useful tool for effective action now.

David Holmgren, Hepburn. A u g u s t 1996

iii


Contents F o r e w o r d b y D a v i d Holmgren 1

iii

P e r m a c u l t u r e is a direction, not a destination

2

3

w h a t p e r m a c u l t u r e is a n d w h a t it is not

ecosystems

4

sustainable.land use

7

M a x i m i s i n g the edge

10

l a n d - b a s e d food production

10

w a t e r - b a s e d food production

14

G e n e r a l d e s i g n principles

18

elements

18

zones a n d succession

19

sectors

22

microclimate

23

- frost

24

- aspect

26

- reflection a n d radiation

27

d e s i g n i n g for c a t a s t r o p h e

28

- wind - fire

28 28

- a b u n d a n c e of w a t e r

31

- other considerations

31

S t e p s in the design process

32

the design process

design considerations

34

design steps

35

• 5

1

4

1

32

- information p h a s e

36

- analysis phase

37

- design p h a s e

38

- management phase

41

i m p l e m e n t i n g a design

41

B a s i c tools for the designer •

43

a designer's field tool kit

43

- tape measure

43

- piece of s t r i n g

43

- penetrometer

44

- folding shovel

44

- magnetic compass

44

- pH t e s t k i t

44

- salinity m e t e r

45 iv


6

s u r v e y i n g the l a n d s c a p e

45

- b u n y i p level

45

- "A" f r a m e level

46

- d u m p y level

47

- more expensive e q u i p m e n t

47

a designer's d r a w i n g tool k i t

48

- scale ruler

48

- light box

48

- stationery i t e m s

48

- mathematical drawing aids

50

- drawing paper

50

B a s i c principles o f g a r d e n b u i l d i n g a n d m a n a g e m e n t introduction

51

building h e a l t h y soil

51

- the n a t u r e of soil

51

- why m u l c h ?

53

- soil conditioning a n d t r e a t m e n t s •

7

8

56

stacking

60

guilds

62

other t i p s for g a r d e n e r s

63

It's all a m a t t e r of location

65

location a n d climate

65

choosing a property

67

local r e g u l a t i o n s

70

G e t t i n g t h e h o u s e right: zone 0

72

the p a s s i v e s o l a r h o m e

72

i n t e g r a t i n g the h o u s e a n d g a r d e n

75

retrofitting existing h o u s e s

80

Water harvesting

84

on the s u r b u r b a n block

84

on the f a r m

86

- keyline cultivation

86

- dams

89

- m o v i n g w a t e r through d r a i n s

90

• 10

54

integrated pest management

9

51

in dry a r e a s

96

D e s i g n s for u r b a n settlement •

99

gardens

99

- compost

99

- garden areas

100

- ponds

102

v


11

12

13

104

- bees

105

- poultry

106

limited s p a c e s

108 108

- small backyards

110

- g e r m i n a t i n g seed

113

D e s i g n i n g for r u r a l properties

115

whole f a r m p l a n s

115

w i n d b r e a k s a n d shelterbelts

116

a n i m a l s in the s y s t e m

122

P e r m a c u l t u r e in schools

127

a needs analysis

127

determining resources

127

guidelines for designing school g r o u n d s

128

p r a c t i c a l design considerations

131

Communities

135

h a m l e t - to be or not to be

135

d e s i g n considerations for ecovillages

137

- bylaws and regulations

137

- guidelines for l a n d development

138

- looking at options

139

- housing structures

142

social a n d legal s t r u c t u r e s of h u m a n settlements

144

A p p r o p r i a t e technology •

148

g e n e r a t i n g power

148

- photovoltaic cells

148

- wind g e n e r a t o r s

149

- hydro-electric s y s t e m s

151

electric fencing

153

pumping water

154

15

104

- earthworms

- balconies a n d windows

• 14

animals

- solar p u m p

155

- hydraulic r a m

155

cooking devices

156

- s o l a r oven

156

- solar food dryer

157

- haybox cooker

157

Glossary

159

16

Bibliography

164

17

Index

166

vi


1

Permaculture is a direction, not a destination P e r m a c u l t u r e i s not j u s t a b o u t g a r d e n i n g , although i t s origin of p e r m a n e n t agriculture s u g g e s t s this. N o w a d a y s , p e r m a culture is thought of along the l i n e s of p e r m a n e n t culture, incorporating all a s pects o f h u m a n b e i n g s a n d h u m a n settlements.

What permaculture is and what it is not P e r m a c u l t u r e d e a l s with our existence on this planet and it encompasses many different a s p e c t s of this. Firstly, p e r m a culture is a b o u t producing edible lands c a p e s , m i r r o r i n g the n a t u r a l e c o s y s t e m s in their diversity a n d production. P e r m a culture is p r i m a r i l y a d e s i g n s y s t e m . T h i s is the m a i n difference between it a n d all other a g r i c u l t u r a l a n d horticultural practices. P e r m a c u l t u r e d e s i g n s endeavour to i n t e g r a t e all components of the ecosystem in a holistic approach to s u s t a i n a b l e livi n g a n d practice.

G a r d e n i n g , however, is one s i m p l e w a y in which people can t a k e s o m e responsibility for their own existence a n d begin to c a r e for the E a r t h . H e l p i n g y o u r s e l f and others to build g a r d e n s in your own b a c k y a r d , in an effort to d r a s t i c a l l y r e d u c e the n e e d to b u y produce from someone e l s e , is one of the m o s t e n v i r o n m e n t a l l y - r e s p o n s i b l e t h i n g s you can do to help reduce our cons u m p t i o n of r e s o u r c e s a n d to h e a l the planet.

P e r m a c u l t u r e s t a r t e d out as permanent a g r i c u l t u r e a n d t h u s f o c u s s e d on the growth a n d development of perennial food crops. A n n u a l s a n d b i e n n i a l s do h a v e their p l a c e , b u t t h e u s e of long-living food crops, such a s fruit a n d n u t t r e e s , i s the priority. S o m e a r e a s of the g a r d e n need to be devoted to a n n u a l s a n d in m o s t c a s e s they c a n be i n t e r p l a n t e d between the perennial h e r b s a n d other t r e e s a s companion p l a n t e d g u i l d s . Too often, a n n u a l s a r e t a k e n for g r a n t e d in food production a n d they should be u s e d in the s y s t e m within the framework of perennial production.

S i n c e the l a t e s e v e n t i e s the concepts of p e r m a c u l t u r e h a v e a l s o developed, such t h a t i t e n c o m p a s s e s finances, w a t e r harv e s t i n g , communities, b u i l d i n g s , a n d alternative a n d a p p r o p r i a t e technology. For m a n y of u s , p e r m a c u l t u r e is a f r a m e w o r k t h a t u n i t e s m a n y disciplines, a n d s o the subjects of a q u a c u l t u r e , ethical investment, horticulture, solar technology, soils, a n d m a n y others can be i n t e g r a t e d together, each contributing as p a r t of the whole. T h i s framework p e r m i t s m a n y different forms of knowledge to be interwoven - all relative to one another. It is not a s e t of techniques per se, b u t r a t h e r how a n u m b e r of techniques a r e employed to b u i l d a s y s t e m in which energy is h a r v e s t e d , directed a n d allowed to flow, b e a r i n g in m i n d t h a t it is a l w a y s c h e a p e r to conserve energy than to produce it. P e r m a c u l t u r e is also different from both o r g a n i c g a r d e n ing a n d forest g a r d e n i n g in t h a t both of t h e s e a r e techniques of g a r d e n construction and composition. P e r m a c u l t u r e is more than this. It is a d e s i g n s t r a t e g y .

Figure 1.1 A garden should have diversity of annuals and perennials. 1


T h e outcomes of good design should include: • sustainable land use strategies, without w a s t e s a n d pollution. • e s t a b l i s h e d s y s t e m s for h e a l t h y food production, and m a y b e s o m e surplus.

P e r m a c u l t u r e is the h a r m o n i o u s integration of d e s i g n with ecology. T h e ethics of e a r t h c a r e , people care, l i m i t s - a w a r e a n d s u r p l u s - s h a r e a r e common to all p e r m a c u l t u r i s t s , even though the design s t r a t e g i e s a n d the techniques they employ vary w i d e l y . W e d e s i g n for l o n g t e r m s u s t a i n a b i l i t y , a n d this is why a design is a h a r m o n i o u s integration of l a n d s c a p e , p l a n t s , a n i m a l s a n d h u m a n s , a s well a s the p l a c e m e n t of components or elements in r e c o g n i s a b l e p a t t e r n s .

T r u l y successful d e s i g n s create a selfm a n a g e d s y s t e m . A l a r g e a m o u n t of what we call p e r m a c u l t u r e is really j u s t common s e n s e , u s i n g h u m a n intuition a n d i n s i g h t to solve p r o b l e m s t h a t confront u s .

restoration of degraded l a n d s c a p e s , r e s u l t i n g in conservation of endemic species - especially r a r e a n d e n d a n g e r e d species. integration a n d h a r m o n y of all livi n g things on the property - all things live in an a t m o s p h e r e of cooperation or interact in n a t u r a l cycles. minimal consumption of energy.

Figure 1.2 A permaculture design is more than a garden plan. It must consider all aspects of the interaction between organisms. (Part of the design of gardens at Parkerville Primary School). 2


all facets of h u m a n existence. C o m i n g to the realisation t h a t c h a n g e s a r e needed to the w a y s h u m a n s live, a n d then facing the bold step of acknowledging t h a t we should do something a b o u t it, is crucial for our own s u r v i v a l on this planet. M a n y people find it difficult to accept t h e s e i d e a s a n d c h a n g e their outlook. B u t to e m b r a c e p e r m a c u l t u r e y o u h a v e to change b e c a u s e it r e q u i r e s you to look at your life a n d lifestyle from a different perspective. G r a h a m B e l l , well-known p e r m a c u l t u r e teacher a n d author from the Scottish B o r d e r s district, told me t h a t "permaculture is not a destination, it is a direction". You don't suddenly "arrive" at s o m e p o i n t to finally d e c l a r e "I'm a permaculturist". It is a life-long j o u r n e y of change a n d growth.

T h e u l t i m a t e design, if there is such a thing, is the m a r r i a g e of w h a t is b e s t for the l a n d a n d w h a t is b e s t for the people who live there. W h a t we call a "design" is really only a pictorial r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the implied inter-relationships between objects, s t r u c t u r e s , p l a n t s , a n i m a l s a n d h u m a n s . T h e d r a w i n g only g i v e s information a b o u t p l a c e m e n t and types of species a n d nothing about their interaction, which is the m o s t i m p o r t a n t thing about any ecosystem. F o r s o m e p e r m a c u l t u r i s t s , difficulties a r i s e b e c a u s e of their limited vision, their restricted world view a n d their world experience. T h e r e a r e s o m e people who m a y not h a v e h a d the experience of growing fruit a n d v e g e t a b l e s , n u r t u r i n g the soil or building p a s s i v e s o l a r h o u s e s , yet they can come up with a plan for somebody a n d tell t h e m this is w h a t they need. I n one s e n s e , t h e s e a r m c h a i r p e r m a culturists may be perpetuating myths about how well p e r m a c u l t u r e works, when they h a v e n ' t ever fully i m p l e m e n t e d a design t h e m s e l v e s or observed, firsthand, the productivity of their g a r d e n . However, don't be d i s c o u r a g e d by this. How m u c h m o r e d a m a g e can you do to what's a l r e a d y been done? It is better to build your g a r d e n s a n d grow your own food, a n d m a k e m i s t a k e s , t h a n it is to do nothing a n d continue to s u p p o r t the promotion of v a s t monocultures.

We a r e only limited by our i m a g i n a t i o n . E a c h of us h a s the ability to m a k e some difference in the world in which we live. T h e r e a r e no problems, only solutions, a n d s o m e t i m e s we need to look at s o m e t h i n g s from a different direction, ignoring w h a t we a l r e a d y know a n d s t e p p i n g outside of our comfort zone. As they s a y , one person's rubbish is another p e r s o n ' s resource. Permaculture is also about designing stability a n d p e r m a n e n c e . We try to u s e p l a n t s , on the l e a s t a m o u n t of l a n d , t h a t give the g r e a t e s t production. While yields in a p e r m a c u l t u r e s y s t e m can be high, much higher than n a t u r a l b u s h or forest a r e a s , there is a limit, no m a t t e r how well we design a n d how ingenious we a r e . P l a n t s a n d a n i m a l s h a v e limits to their growth a n d production. H a v i n g a diverse g a r d e n , m e a n i n g lots of different p l a n t s a n d a n i m a l s in it, is no g u a r a n t e e t h a t the g a r d e n will be highly productive. G a r d e n s m a y be only productive, in t e r m s of high yields of carbohyd r a t e s , proteins a n d b i o m a s s , i f they a r e consciously m a i n t a i n e d . Left to themselves, neglected g a r d e n s quickly fall into disrepair. They m a y still be productive, in

D e s i g n e r s who h a v e a m b i t i o n s to produce d e s i g n s for other people, whether they a r e p a y i n g clients or friends or long-suffering r e l a t i v e s , m u s t h a v e the practical experience in their own b a c k y a r d . N o t h i n g b e a t s f i r s t - h a n d knowledge a n d acquired skills from g a r d e n i n g , d e s i g n i n g a n d building your own s y s t e m s . A g a i n , p e r m a c u l t u r e i s not j u s t a b o u t designing gardens. It is about designing h u m a n s e t t l e m e n t s . It is a plan t h a t end e a v o u r s to m a x i m i s e and enhance hum a n interaction with the environment t h a t s u r r o u n d s them. T h i s plan considers 3


an ecological s e n s e , b u t they m a y not n e c e s s a r i l y be useful for the owner. T h e r e is a l s o a difference between yield a n d production. G a r d e n p l a n t s can b e very productive - they grow rapidly, produce lots of b i o m a s s as new l e a v e s a n d extensive b r a n c h e s and root s y s t e m s - b u t they m i g h t not produce a high yield. Yield, to m e , is w h a t you can actually obtain, by w a y of food primarily, b u t a l s o by any other u s e a b l e products such a s dyes, medicinal t r e a t m e n t s from h e r b s , or timber a n d firewood. While a g a r d e n m a y look like a j u n g l e , you m a y not actually g e t m u c h out of it.

in the g a r d e n is closely linked with natural cycles, and it also provides the opportunity to t a k e responsibility for growing your own healthy food. F u r t h e r m o r e , we m u s t n ' t forget t h a t m a n y p l a n t s in our p e r m a c u l t u r e s y s t e m s m a y not be directly useful to u s , b u t m a y be e s s e n t i a l in the life cycle of insects, birds and other animals. I don't believe p e r m a c u l t u r e should be seen as a way in which people can become self-sufficient. T h e e m p h a s i s should be on people becoming self-reliant, with positive interaction a n d co-operation between all m e m b e r s within the community. It is true t h a t the goal of p e r m a c u l t u r e design is to create an edible l a n d s c a p e . L i k e a n a t u r a l forest, our g a r d e n s should contain a m i x t u r e of both different species a n d different a g e s . How to achieve this is known as succession, a n d it occurs in all ecosystems.

T o t a l y i e l d s in any s y s t e m h a v e both tangible a n d intangible components. We've briefly d e a l t with the tangible a n d those yields w e can m e a s u r e , such a s m a s s o f l e m o n s produced by a lemon tree. B u t w h a t a b o u t those "yields" t h a t w e simply cannot m e a s u r e . How do you m e a s u r e a p e r s o n ' s h e a l t h a n d well-being a n d the p l e a s u r e they derive from their garden? T h e s e intangible yields h a v e worth which we often s e e m to neglect. How can you m e a s u r e the effectiveness of your p a s s i v e solar h o u s e , other than comp a r i n g it to the " a v e r a g e " consumption of a typical h o u s e elsewhere, or the energy bills y o u p a i d in a h o u s e you once lived in e l s e w h e r e ? How well would a conventional h o u s e fare if you h a d built this type on the property right where your solar h o u s e i s ? T h e s e a r e s y s t e m yields t h a t defy m e a s u r e m e n t .

Ecosystems P e r m a c u l t u r e h a s been described a s cultiv a t e d ecology, where h u m a n s deliberately develop cultivated e c o s y s t e m s which a r e designed to m a i n t a i n genetic biodiversity a n d m i n i m i s e energy a n d m a t t e r i n p u t s . An ecosystem describes an a r e a a n d all t h a t it contains - the living things a n d their non-living s u r r o u n d i n g s , such as the air, w a t e r a n d soil particles. F o r exa m p l e , an e x a m i n a t i o n of a pond or forest ecosystem would show the m a n y food chains a n d other relationships between the o r g a n i s m s which live there. In n a t u r e , m o s t e c o s y s t e m s a r e exceptionally fragile, a n d s m a l l c h a n g e s , m o s t often c a u s e d by h u m a n t h o u g h t l e s s n e s s , can destroy the s y s t e m forever. T h i s is due to the interconnectedness of the web of life. All things depend on each other in either direct or indirect w a y s . For e x a m p l e , some a n i m a l s e a t others, p l a n t s require nutrient w a s t e s from a n i m a l s to grow, a n d p l a n t s m a k e the oxygen which all living things require.

I u s e d to think t h a t we h a d to design the m o s t intensive, productive s y s t e m p o s s i ble, b u t n o w a d a y s I think we should a i m for a s y s t e m t h a t produces j u s t enough j u s t enough of w h a t we need a n d a little e x t r a which e n a b l e s us the opportunity for s a l e , e x c h a n g e or to give away. M a n y people think of food g a r d e n s a n d self-sufficiency when they think about p e r m a c u l t u r e , b u t p e r m a c u l t u r e is really a b o u t s u s t a i n a b l e living. W h a t you learn

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Figure 1.3 Λ forest ecosystem showing some of the feeding relationships between organisms and how these organisms interact with their environment. P e r m a c u l t u r e g a r d e n s c h a n g e by ecologi­ cal succession, b u t u n l i k e n a t u r e , h u m a n s m a n a g e to direct the c h a n g e s . S u c c e s s i o n is normally the slow, p r o g r e s s i v e c h a n g e in an ecosystem. When l a n d is c l e a r e d the first p l a n t s a r e usually broad-leaved weeds (pioneer species) which cover, protect a n d s h a d e the soil. N e x t come h e r b s a n d shrubs, and finally trees. Permaculture s y s t e m s s p e e d the succession p r o c e s s with p l a n t e d h e r b s a n d t r e e s s o t h a t the climax (final) community is achieved at a f a s t e r r a t e . T h e succession o f p l a n t s a n d ani­ m a l s slowly c h a n g e s a n d modifies the environment.

E n e r g y is continuously lost from all natu­ ral ecosystems and thus m u s t be replaced to m a i n t a i n the l a r g e r n u m b e r s of inter­ a c t i o n s t h a t occur. T h e s u n is the source of all energy on the e a r t h a n d p e r m a c u l t u r e systems are designed to capture as much o f t h i s free energy a s possible. P l a n t s a r e n a t u r e ' s energy a b s o r b e r s a n d storers. E c o s y s t e m s also cycle matter. S t a b l e , natu­ r a l e c o s y s t e m s h a v e little m a t t e r i n p u t a n d output, m e a n i n g t h a t organic m a t e ­ rial is not b r o u g h t into the a r e a or ex­ ported to other a r e a s . P l a n t s grow, die a n d t h u s r e t u r n their organic m a t t e r t o the soil. P e r m a c u l t u r e s y s t e m s endeav­ our to m i m i c this n a t u r a l cycle by the d e l i b e r a t e i n t e n s i v e p l a n t i n g of a wide r a n g e of herbs, trees and shrubs. Animals complete the s y s t e m so t h a t a complex food web develops within the e c o s y s t e m . We try to develop e c o s y s t e m s which a r e self-perpetuating, a n d although they a r e d y n a m i c , t h e r e is a b a l a n c e of n u m b e r s of o r g a n i s m s within it. We s a y t h a t the eco­ s y s t e m is in equilibrium, even though s m a l l c h a n g e s a r e a l w a y s occurring.

T h e early colonisers o r pioneers, such a s broad-leaved weeds, h a v e special c h a r a c ­ t e r i s t i c s to survive i n h o s p i t a b l e environ­ m e n t s . T h e s e include: •

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u s u a l l y short-lived (either a n n u ­ a l s or p e r e n n i a l s only l a s t i n g a few years).

not very competitive.

u n p a l a t a b l e (unlikely to be e a t e n ) .

prolific s e e d p r o d u c e r s (or h a v e persistent runners).


Figure 1.4 Succession is the gradual change in the numbers and types of plants and animals in an area over a period of time. 6


defence m e c h a n i s m s such as thorns or poisonous s u b s t a n c e s .

tendency to be dynamic a c c u m u l a tors a n d to mine p a r t i c u l a r minera l s from the soil.

T h e a i m of your design is to develop i d e a s of s u s t a i n a b l e l a n d u s e , to the b e s t of your ability, m a k i n g the property as intensively productive a s possible, m i n i m i s i n g energy input or l o s s to the s y s t e m , a n d hopefully allowing you or the property owner to work t o w a r d s becoming partially self-reliant. T h e principles of s u s tainable f a r m i n g include:

Their role is to protect, cover a n d build the soil. T h e pioneers change the soil so t h a t other species can follow and colonise the a r e a too. As succession proceeds, the larger s h r u b s a n d t r e e s , which a r e longer l a s t i n g a n d more competitive for resources such as light, water a n d nutrients, replace the pioneers, as shown in the figure opposite. S u c c e s s i o n is d i s c u s s e d in further detail in C h a p t e r 3.

self-sustaining s y s t e m s m u s t be developed. We want the l a n d to be productive, y e a r after y e a r , b u t we h a v e to look after it for this to occur.

diversity. T h e property should be about one-third a r a b l e or horticultural a n d two-thirds stock a n d fodder. T h i s is true for much of E u r o p e a n d l e s s true in A u s t r a l i a where a l a r g e r proportion for stock is u s u ally allocated a s m o s t soils a r e poorer a n d rainfall is l e s s frequent. T h e s e figures will vary, d e p e n d i n g on the climate, soil and other factors, b u t they include a l a r g e proportion of trees (30%) which should be planted in every site.

I believe t h a t we should do our d e s i g n s to the b e s t of our knowledge a n d ability a n d let n a t u r e t a k e over. We m i g h t grow a nitrogen-fixing plant, such as vetch or clover, u n d e r n e a t h a fruit tree, thinking t h a t t h e s e will connect a n d all will benefit. T h i s naive view is w h a t m o s t of us hold. N a t u r e is much more complex than this, a n d the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between p l a n t s , a n d between p l a n t s a n d a n i m a l s , a r e very complicated; so much so t h a t little is generally understood a b o u t how it all works. When we companion p l a n t our fruit trees, we probably don't r e a l i s e the m a n y other connections a n d interactions that occur between t h e s e t y p e s of p l a n t s a n d others nearby, as well as their interactions with soil o r g a n i s m s . For e x a m p l e , s o m e nitrog e n - f i x i n g p l a n t s m a k e the soil nonwettable. Soil particles become coated with organic m a t t e r , which repels water. When you water your g a r d e n , or when it r a i n s , w a t e r doesn't effectively soak into the ground. W a t e r availability to your trees is t h u s reduced.

T h e ratio of l a n d u s e activities does depend on factors such as t h e s e , a n d e x a m i n i n g the a n n u a l rainfall a n d soil type in a p a r t i c u l a r location will allow the determination of a p p r o p r i a t e ratios of stock a n d other f a r m i n g p u r s u i t s . •

net yield m u s t be high. A good s u r p l u s provides income a n d this contributes to the s t a n d a r d of living.

s m a l l size. T h i s gives more productivity per unit a r e a a n d is e a s i e r to manage.

Sustainable land use

One person can possibly m a n a g e 10 ha (25 a c r e s ) of intense f a r m i n g , b u t would h a v e difficulties looking after 40 ha (100 a c r e s ) with the s a m e level of care.

S u s t a i n a b l e l a n d u s e occurs when the productive capacity of the l a n d and its resource components of soil, air, water a n d biota a r e preserved, a n d hopefully enhanced.

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economic v i a b i l i t y . W o r k e r s or


f a r m e r s m u s t g e n e r a t e enough income to survive, and m a i n t a i n a n d develop the property. • m a x i m u m processing of farm produ c t s at the source. For e x a m p l e , milk can be m a d e into cheese and y o g h u r t on the farm. •

both a e s t h e t i c a l l y a n d ethically acceptable. Consideration is given to the i m p a c t of buildings and lifestyle on the environment. However, functions generally come before a e s t h e t i c s in any design s y s tem, a n d it is probably true to sugg e s t t h a t a e s t h e t i c s a r e a by-product of good function a n d good design.

conservation of wildlife, h a b i t a t s a n d forestry. S o m e n a t u r a l , untouched or restored a r e a s should be set a s i d e for wildlife.

u s i n g a p p r o p r i a t e technology - not n e c e s s a r i l y heavy machinery. S i m ple, low energy-using or energyproducing technology is best.

S u s t a i n a b i l i t y h a s an ecological component and an economic component. For example, when considering tree p l a n t i n g and revegetation work, you need to include the public benefit and environmental cost in the a s s e s s m e n t , not j u s t the cost-benefit ratio for the farmer or landowner. Economic viability is ultimately dependent on ecological viability and both need consideration in s u s t a i n a b l e l a n d u s e strategies. We m u s t give an account of our ecological s t e w a r d s h i p , and t h u s the guidelines for a n y e c o l o g i c a l l y - b a s e d d e s i g n for sustainability would include: • providing long-lasting future benefits, but m e e t i n g the i m m e d i a t e and current n e e d s of people. • protection a n d conservation of existing n a t u r a l b u s h or woodland. • s t r a t e g i e s to improve soil fertility. • m a i n t a i n i n g or enhancing water quality, and h a r v e s t i n g a n d storing water.

Figure 1.5 Responsible land use, while still reaping financial and environmental benefits, is the benchmark for sustainability. 8


able, in the s y s t e m .

u s i n g a p p r o p r i a t e species in the development. Local (indigenous) s p e c i e s a r e the first choice, but proven exotics, which h a v e minim a l i m p a c t on n a t u r a l e c o s y s t e m s , a r e acceptable. We tend to ignore, or m a y b e we a r e j u s t not a w a r e , t h a t native forests can provide high yields of bee a n d a n i m a l forage, edible fruits a n d n u t s , a n d good timber and firewood. u s i n g locally a v a i l a b l e m a t e r i a l s a n d r e s o u r c e s for buildings, fences a n d other s t r u c t u r e s .

u s i n g a p p r o p r i a t e technology for energy a n d power production, water m o v e m e n t a n d general property development.

developing s y s t e m s which require low m a i n t e n a n c e a n d input, a n d which a r e easily monitored.

consideration of the cultural, social, economic a n d legal a s p e c t s of the people.

T h e total s y s t e m yield is not infinite. Perm a c u l t u r i s t s a r e interested in obtaining a s u s t a i n a b l e yield - a yield t h a t still allows all things in the s y s t e m to m a i n t a i n themselves a n d survive. T h e s y s t e m b e c o m e s d y n a m i c when there a r e a l a r g e n u m b e r of interconnections between components, or there is a l a r g e a m o u n t of interconnectedness within the entire s y s t e m . T h e r e is also a l a r g e r a n g e of benefits - not cost related - t h a t we a l w a y s s e e m to ignore, yet should consider. F o r e x a m p l e , revegetation projects h a v e :

F o r the s y s t e m s we design to be s u s t a i n able they h a v e to produce an equal or g r e a t e r yield than t h a t which is consumed or u s e d in the s y s t e m . S y s t e m yield can be defined or m e a s u r e d in t e r m s of energy r a t h e r than b i o m a s s , which is limited. S y s t e m yield is the surp l u s energy t h a t is stored, or m a d e avail-

recreational v a l u e , where people can visit a n d u s e a r e c l a i m e d a n d restored a r e a .

aesthetic v a l u e , where l a n d c a r e p l a n t i n g s can both look p l e a s a n t a n d serve m a n y other functions.

b e q u e s t v a l u e , where future generations of our children will be able to enjoy the a r e a as well.

intrinsic v a l u e , where it is recognised t h a t all living t h i n g s h a v e some worth a n d h a v e a r i g h t to exist. T h i s is a powerful r e a s o n why r e m n a n t vegetation should be protected.

S u s t a i n a b l e f a r m i n g practices a n d the concept of whole f a r m p l a n s a r e further d i s c u s s e d in C h a p t e r 11.

My notes

Things I need to find out

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2

Maximising the edge

Land-based food production N a t u r e is full of p a t t e r n s and s h a p e s . You can find intricate s p i r a l s in sunflowers a n d g a l a x i e s , h e x a g o n s in bee hives and circles in rain drops and winds. Mathematical s h a p e s like s q u a r e s , p r i s m s a n d r e c t a n g l e s a r e r a r e in n a t u r e . They m a y occur in some chemical crystal formations, b u t s p i r a l s a n d circles are much more common in the U n i v e r s e . P a t t e r n s a r e found in every known ecos y s t e m , and the interface or boundary between two ecosystems is extremely rich in life - in complexity, abundance a n d variety. T h e interface between different surfaces, objects or ecosystems is known as the edge. It is where the air m e e t s the water, the forest m e e t s the g r a s s l a n d , the l a n d m e e t s the ocean, as well as the a r e a above a n d below the frost line on a hillside a n d the zone around a plant root in the soil. T h e edge is rich in life b e c a u s e it contains species typical of each side, such as those in a forest or g r a s s l a n d , and species unique to the boundary itself. E d g e s a r e very productive s y s t e m s as there is more light a v a i l a b l e in these a r e a s , a large variety of p l a n t s a r e found there, a n i m a l s seek protection, food a n d shelter and m a k e their h o m e s there a n d the resources of two e c o s y s t e m s a r e shared.

T h i s is why p e r m a c u l t u r i s t s create designs with large a m o u n t s of edge a n d particular patterns; hence circles, keyholes a n d curved g a r d e n beds. For example, as wind r i s e s or is deflected u p w a r d s at the edge of a forest, it u s u a l l y drops its load of dust, s a n d , l e a v e s , water or seed. T h u s , the edge of a forest or heavily treed a r e a is rich in nutrients and organic matter, and they a r e very productive. Even so, there a r e some negative aspects to creating edge in g a r d e n s . For example, you can get weed invasion in newly planted b e d s in much the s a m e way that you find in burnt and cleared b u s h or forest. The weeds (pioneers) quickly invade these areas. C h a n g i n g the s h a p e of garden b e d s not only i n c r e a s e s the a m o u n t of edge, and therefore production, it s a v e s on watering. For example, circle g a r d e n b e d s a r e far easier and more economical to water with a sprinkler or spray s y s t e m than a rectangular or s q u a r e bed, as m o s t sprinklers project a circular s p r a y of water. Convoluted garden b e d s as shown in the d i a g r a m below h a v e a g r e a t e r surface a r e a or edge than the rectangular b e d s . More p l a n t s can be grown in these types of 'folded' garden b e d s . Common types of

Figure 2.1 Changing the shape changes the amount of surface area or edge. 10


garden b e d s u s e d in permaculture designs include: (a) herb spiral. T h i s g a r d e n bed is built like a p y r a m i d , with a path or water line spiralling u p w a r d s . T h e circular b a s e of the herb s p i r a l is u s u a l l y about two metres d i a m e t e r and r i s e s about one metre above the ground, b u t it can be larger a n d higher, or s m a l l e r than this. A spiral is a useful p a t t e r n as the a m o u n t of edge a n d growing s p a c e i n c r e a s e s as the g a r d e n bed climbs higher.

Figure 2.3 Circle garden beds are very common.

Figure 2.2 A herb spiral. (b) circle. T h e s e a r e very common b e d s a n d they a r e u s u a l l y between one to two m e t r e s diameter. If you m a k e them too wide you cannot easily reach all p l a n t s , so t h e s e b e d s a r e deliberately s m a l l . S o m e people m a k e each circle g a r d e n bed a different theme. For e x a m p l e , planting t o m a t o e s , b a s i l a n d other M e d i t e r r a n e a n h e r b s a n d v e g e t a b l e s a s a n Italian cooking theme, or h a v i n g a circle bed for medicinal h e r b s , cooking h e r b s , t e a s a n d d r i n k s (lemon g r a s s , lemon verbena a n d lemon b a l m and so on) or p e s t repellent herbs. H e r b s are good companions for vegetables. 11

Unfortunately, circle b e d s don't h a v e a lot of edge, as circles h a v e the l e a s t edge of any s h a p e for their a r e a of cover. We s a y t h a t circles, and s p h e r e s generally, h a v e the lowest surface a r e a to volume ratio. T h e other problem with a group of circle b e d s close together is t h a t the s p a c e between them v a r i e s , m a k i n g p a t h s somet i m e s too narrow or too wide. (c) keyhole. T h e "keyhole" can either be the path t h a t you step into to reach your bed or the s h a p e of the g a r d e n b e d itself. Keyhole p a t h s allow easy-reach a c c e s s to all p l a n t s .


(e) narrow b e d s . Mainly designed a n d built for narrow garden p l a c e s where you don't h a v e much room, but what you h a v e can be effectively u s e d to grow v e g e t a b l e s such as onions a n d chives. (f) broad b e d s . M a n y s u m m e r crops such as melons and pumpkin require room to spread. Once the initial mounds are seeded and the vine crops s t a r t to grow, allow them to fill the a r e a , as this helps reduce weed infestation. (g) vertical. S m a l l - s i z e d g a r d e n s m a y h a v e to utilise vertical growing space. Think about u s i n g fences or trellis for vines (grape, p u m p k i n , cucumber, s q u a s h ) , berries (soft fruit, such as boysenberries a n d r a s p b e r r i e s ) a n d p e a s and b e a n s . Trellises can be u s e d to provide s h a d e a n d create s u n t r a p s . T r e l l i s e s r a n g e from wooden lattice s t r u c t u r e s to wire s t r u n g up between poles to allow a vine or creeper to grow up and into a tree.

Figure 2.4 Keyholes allow easy access to all parts of the garden bed. (d) clippingand pluckingbeds. T h e s e types of b e d s contain v e g e t a b l e s that you can snip t h i n g s from - m a y b e a l e a f or flower - as you would for lettuce a n d nasturt i u m s . Y o u can walk alongside plucking b e d s a n d h a r v e s t foods such a s tomatoes, silverbeet, spinach, p a r s l e y , c a p s i c u m s a n d m a n y other useful foods. S e e F i g u r e 2.5 which depicts a narrow plucking bed.

(h) r a i s e d g a r d e n b e d s . N o t everyone is able to bend over g a r d e n i n g all the time a n d who w a n t s to anyway? B u i l d i n g a g a r d e n bed off the ground is a simple solution. You can build g a r d e n s on top of

Figure 2.5 Narrow beds are ideal in small spaces. You can harvest from a plucking bed as you walk along the path. 12


Figure 2.6 Broad beds are good for melons and vine crops.

Figure 2.7 Use vertical growing space for greater food production.

Figure 2.8 Espalier and fan pruning are techniques to utilise vertical and horizontal growth in fruit trees. 13


Figure 2.9 Raised garden beds can be built on any ground surface. old, s i n g l e , wire b e d f r a m e s or box a garden with s l e e p e r s or concrete s l a b s . People in wheelchairs will be able to a c c e s s a n d enjoy their g a r d e n s , a n d y o u n g children find it e a s i e r to work on t h e s e types of g a r d e n b e d s .

a n d Albizia spp., a m o n g s t the edible food crops further e n h a n c e s the s y s t e m . U n d e r p l a n t i n g your fruit trees with p e s t repellent h e r b s a n d other good companions m a k e s t h e s e trees h e a l t h y a n d reduces the need for other types of p e s t control.

T h e r e is no limit to the diversity of p l a n t a n d a n i m a l species t h a t can b e i n t e g r a t e d in the terrestrial polyculture s y s t e m , a n d the layout of the p l a n t s can v a r y also. For e x a m p l e , i n s t e a d of p l a n t i n g in rows, with p a r t i c u l a r s p a c i n g , trees can be clumped one to one a n d a h a l f m e t r e s a p a r t , leaving a v a i l a b l e ground for interplanting. S o m e t i m e s , orchard trees can be clumped. T h i s technique is s u i t a b l e for some nut a n d fruit trees, including coconut, edible p a l m s p e c i e s a n d b a n a n a . P l a n t i n g pioneer l e g u m i n o u s trees, such as Acacia

Water-based food production Water is very i m p o r t a n t in p e r m a c u l t u r e . Water s y s t e m s can achieve g r e a t e r overall protein production per s q u a r e m e t r e of water surface than the s a m e a r e a i n l a n d systems. E v e n s m a l l ponds can produce a s t e a d y supply of edible foods such as w a t e r c r e s s , water c h e s t n u t s , taro a n d w a t e r spinach ( k a n g kong). S o m e of the m o s t productive e c o s y s t e m s in the world a r e found at the land-ocean interface or edge. T h e s e include m a n g r o v e s w a m p s , which a r e on the l a n d side of this interface, and coral reefs which a r e located on the ocean side. Any a q u a c u l t u r e we develop n e e d s to be set up like t h e s e e c o s y s t e m s , with lots of edge, which not only contains p l a n t s a n d a n i m a l s with commercial v a l u e , b u t a h o s t of other o r g a n i s m s . T h e s e are the b a s i s of the m a n y food chains t h a t need to be developed a n d functioning if such a s y s t e m is to work. Unlike terrestrial polyculture, a q u a c u l ture polyculture should only involve a

Figure 2.10 Underplant orchard trees with herbs and ground covers. 14


Figure 2.11 In polyculture aquaculture many species are grown together.

ally. T h e microscopic a l g a e a n d b a c t e r i a ,

m o s t o f the food c h a i n s t h a t b e c o m e e s t a b ­ l i s h e d i n t h e a q u a t i c environment. S m a l l p o n d s , s u c h a s t y r e p o n d s a n d bath-size t a n k s , a r e not conditioned in t h i s way. To condition a pond, a r o u g h g u i d e is as follows. A p p r o x i m a t e a m o u n t s a r e given for a p a r t i c u l a r d a m size a n d volume, so you can d e t e r m i n e your specific require­ m e n t s for y o u r d a m or pond. F o r a d a m s i z e of 50 m 3 (e.g. 5 m χ 10 m ) , v o l u m e = 100 m 3 (depth a v e r a g e 2 m ) , b r e a k u p a n d s p r e a d two b a l e s o f s t r a w a n d a d d two wheelbarrow l o a d s o f a n i m a l m a n u r e evenly over the pond. Within a week the water c h a n g e s to a d a r k e r colour a n d t h e r e is evidence of living t h i n g s . T h e d a m m u s t t h e n b e aer­ a t e d , continuously i f possible, b u t a t l e a s t for two h o u r s , four t i m e s a d a y for t h r e e or four d a y s .

and the macroscopic i n s e c t s , p l a n k t o n a n d

T h e w a t e r m u s t b e moved, d r a w i n g u p

other i n v e r t e b r a t e s , all a p p e a r shortly

from n e a r t h e bottom a n d s p r a y i n g i t

limited n u m b e r of s p e c i e s . While, in prin­ ciple, p e r m a c u l t u r i s t s would like to m a k e complex e c o s y s t e m s involving literally tens of different species, it b e c o m e s in­ creasingly difficult to monitor a n d m a i n ­ tain such a s y s t e m . Simple polycultures involving four to six species ( a t the m o s t ) i s the ideal t h a t y o u should deliberately introduce. T h u s you could h a v e s o m e c r u s t a c e a n s i n the bottom of the pond, one or two s p e c i e s of fish as middle a n d t o p dwellers a n d several p l a n t species t h a t the a n i m a l s feed on or shelter in, or both. Many of the f a m o u s C h i n e s e polyculture s y s t e m s u s e herbivorous f i s h . T h e r a i s i n g of carnivorous fish a d d s g r e a t e r c o s t s of production, m a i n l y in feed. The r e s t of the e c o s y s t e m develops n a t u r ­

after the pond is conditioned.

a c r o s s the s u r f a c e . T h e w a t e r b e c o m e s

Conditioning a pond or d a m involves a d d ­

aerated at the surface.

ing organic p l a n t a n d a n i m a l m a t t e r t o

T h e w a t e r s h o u l d s t a r t to t u r n a light

m a k e a rich d e t r i t u s which is the b a s i s of

g r e e n a s a l g a e become prolific. I f mosqui-

Figure 2.12 The submersible pump inlet should point upwards so that it does not draw in detritus material from the bottom. 15


t o e s a r e a problem, continue with a e r a tion a n d w a t e r movement. If the water doesn't b e c o m e green, you m a y h a v e to a d d a little m o r e m a n u r e or s o m e soluble p h o s p h a t e fertiliser - about a tablespoon s h o u l d b e enough. Once the pond or d a m is conditioned in t h i s way, y o u can then a d d the p l a n t s a n d a n i m a l s to the s y s t e m - butnot all at once. P l a n t s first, especially the forage ones for the animals.

Figure 2.13 First condition a pond, then introduce plants and finally animals.

Y o u m a y h a v e t o wait six m o n t h s o r m o r e for the p l a n t s to become e s t a b l i s h e d b e fore y o u introduce fish a n d c r u s t a c e a n s . T h e s e a n i m a l s will devour, pull out a n d d e c i m a t e p l a n t s t h a t a r e not well e s t a b lished.

In s m a l l ponds, where the w a t e r t e m p e r a ture can easily change, the a v e r a g e w a t e r t e m p e r a t u r e i s u s u a l l y about three-quart e r s of the a i r t e m p e r a t u r e . F o r e x a m p l e , if the a i r t e m p e r a t u r e is 3 0 ° C the w a t e r t e m p e r a t u r e m i g h t only b e 2 4 ° C . T h i s i s important, a s m o s t freshw a t e r a q u a t i c a n i m a l s will die if the w a t e r t e m p e r a t u r e r i s e s to over 3 0 ° C for a d a y or two, s o m e t i m e s l e s s . E d g e i n a q u a c u l t u r e i s equally a s import a n t a s i t i s for l a n d - b a s e d polyculture.

Don't p u t lots of deciduous fruit a n d n u t t r e e s a r o u n d the d a m , a s l a r g e a m o u n t s o f organic m a t t e r falling into the w a t e r w a y will quickly pollute the s y s t e m a n d all living t h i n g s will literally die overnight d u e to lack of oxygen. When fruit or l e a v e s fall into water, b a c t e r i a a n d fungi b r e a k t h e m down. L a r g e a m o u n t s of t h e s e o r g a n i s m s consume the s m a l l a m o u n t s of oxygen p r e s e n t in the w a t e r , especially at night when all living t h i n g s r e s p i r e a n d u s e oxygen. T h e pond life dies. Oxygen l e v e l s a r e also dependent on water t e m p e r a t u r e . As temperatures increase t h e a m o u n t of dissolved oxygen d e c r e a s e s . P o n d s a n d d a m s containing w a r m water m a y n e e d r e g u l a r aeration i f p l a n t s a n d a n i m a l s a r e present.

Figure 2.16 Fingers of land surrounded by water can be economically and easily fenced to reduce the impact of unwanted predators.

Figure 2.14 Hiding places are very important for territorial animals such as many freshwater crayfish species. Suspended, floating hides are used as protection sites when crayfish moult. 16


Figure 2.15 Change the shape of a dam to increase the edge and, therefore, the production of the system. Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and amphibi a n s all breed a n d grow in the shallow w a t e r s of w a t e r w a y s . R e e d s , r u s h e s a n d s e d g e s , a n d a h o s t of other macrophytes, a r e found growing on or n e a r the water's edge. T h e s e p l a n t s provide food for both a q u a t i c a n d l a n d e c o s y s t e m s a s well a s shelter a n d breeding s p a c e a n d m a t e r i a l for b i r d s a n d other organisms.

P o n d s or d a m s don't h a v e to be the typically-found s q u a r e or r e c t a n g u l a r s h a p e . A d d i n g curves a n d b e n d s to the e d g e s of w a t e r w a y s i n c r e a s e s the surface a r e a , a n d a g a i n , g r e a t e r production a n d carrying capacity in the s y s t e m is the result. T h e c h i n a m p a s y s t e m o f Mexico a n d S E A s i a , for e x a m p l e , is one of the m o s t productive h u m a n - m a d e a q u a c u l t u r e s y s t e m s . H e r e , thin s t r i p s of w a t e r a n d l a n d a r e interwoven to provide lots of edge for bird a n d other a n i m a l h a b i t a t s , a s well a s for food production.

T h e concept of m a x i m i s i n g the edge in design is further i l l u s t r a t e d by the s h a p e s of w i n d b r e a k s , h o u s e s a n d other struct u r e s which a r e d i s c u s s e d later in other chapters.

T h e e d g e s of w a t e r w a y s a r e i m p o r t a n t development a r e a s for m a n y o r g a n i s m s .

My notes

Things I need to find out

17


3

General design principles don't h a v e weeds, we h a v e dynamic accumulators". In holding these views, we recognise and acknowledge the b a s i c life ethic t h a t all things a r e worthwhile and h a v e intrinsic v a l u e themselves.

Elements We u s e the term "element" to describe a n y t h i n g we place in the design. T h i s can be a plant, an a n i m a l , or some building or other structure. However, elements a l s o include those n a t u r a l f e a t u r e s t h a t m a y be p r e s e n t on the site. For e x a m p l e , num e r o u s l a r g e rocks, clay and gravel (for m u d b r i c k s a n d r a m m e d earth walls) a n d a patch of r e m n a n t b u s h l a n d or woodland all i m p a c t on the final design s t r a t e g i e s . We u s e e l e m e n t s to provide the m a n y functions we desire, a n d t h a t m a k e the property productive a n d beneficial to all t h i n g s which a r e present. T h e s e functions include w i n d b r e a k s , food production, fire control, energy production, a n d soil building a n d conditioning. E a c h of t h e s e functions is served by several e l e m e n t s ; in this way each element contributes to the whole s y s t e m . If one element fails there a r e others to perform the function.

Knowing what elements we should place in our s y s t e m is one of the h a r d e s t probl e m s we h a v e to solve. D e s i g n e r s b a s i c a l l y need to know where t h i n g s a r e placed a n d why. To help us work out w h a t we should develop or grow, we perform a S i t e or E l e ment Needs Analysis. Here, we consider all a s p e c t s of the element, such as its Intrinsic characteristics, N e e d s , Products, B e h a v i o u r s a n d Functions. As an e x a m p l e , consider the earthworm, which is the b e s t a n i m a l to h a v e in every p e r m a c u l t u r e s y s t e m . A brief a n a l y s i s is shown in the T a b l e 3.1 below. Integrating all elements into the design is the next step. We m a k e s u r e t h a t s o m e elements can supply the needs of the earthworm and that the earthworm products a r e u s e d in the s y s t e m as well.

It is the l a r g e n u m b e r of useful relations h i p s which exist between the elements of a p e r m a c u l t u r e s y s t e m t h a t m a k e s it so dynamic a n d functional. Diversity in a s y s t e m i n c r e a s e s the likelihood of s u c c e s s . Our observations of nature's rich, biodiverse ecology confirms this. It is b e c a u s e of this philosophy that we view o r g a n i s m s from a different perspective. We view weeds, for e x a m p l e , as pioneer p l a n t s , or we s a y things like "we

We try to u s e the products of one e l e m e n t to satisfy the needs of another element. For e x a m p l e , organic matter, as food for the earthworm, m a y be supplied by falling leaves, kitchen s c r a p s or chicken m a n ure a n d u s e d p a p e r . T h e earthworm c a s t i n g s a n d vermicompost are also u s e d in our design as they

Table 3.1 A needs analysis of an earthworm. Analysis

Element characteristics

Needs

organic matter, oxygen, coolness, other worms and water

Intrinsic characteristics

breed or type (for example, red wriggler or tigerworm), size and colour

Behaviour

fast breeding, prefers cool, dark environment

Products

castings (worm poo), vermicompost

Functions

aerator of soil, breaks down organic matter, soil tiller 18


others in the s y s t e m , a r e placed relative to each other and relative to the n u m b e r of times you h a v e to visit them on a daily, weekly or some other b a s i s .

supply nutrients to our growing p l a n t s . It is this holistic approach to design t h a t m a k e s p e r m a c u l t u r e unique. We try to develop an integrated, functional ecosystem t h a t h a s a diverse n u m b e r of elem e n t s (principally p l a n t s a n d a n i m a l s ) . F u r t h e r m o r e , j u d i c i o u s u s e of plants and other elements in our d e s i g n s is also m e a n t to c a u s e l e s s s t r e s s for a n i m a l s . Placing other e l e m e n t s , such as fodder tree species a n d w a t e r near to your milking goat, for e x a m p l e , c a u s e s l e s s s t r e s s in the daily life of the goat.

Not all elements need attention all the time. For e x a m p l e , long-term (slow growing) trees need very few visits. T h e positioning of e l e m e n t s in the design is known as zoning. I m a g i n e five concentric rings around your h o u s e , called zones 1, 2, 3, 4 a n d 5, with zone 1 closest to the h o u s e a n d zone 5 generally furthest away.

P e r m a c u l t u r e is b a s e d on conserving energy - not only the type you h a v e to buy to run the refrigerator or television, b u t t h a t of h u m a n energy.

We place different elements in each, depending on how often we h a v e to visit them. For e x a m p l e , v e g e t a b l e s and h e r b s a r e grown close to the h o u s e in zone 1, while orchard trees a r e further a w a y in zones 2 or 3.

T h e design is such t h a t you m i n i m i s e the energy and effort needed to walk in different directions to feed the chickens, milk the g o a t a n d collect the vegetables for the evening meal. T h e s e elements, along with

T h e more attention a n element m u s t h a v e , the closer to the h o u s e it should be. Generally, zones a r e not bounded by fences or delineated in other w a y s . Zones a r e simply a convenient way to deal with the

Zones and succession

Figure 3.1 Zonation. Zones are imaginary boundaries that depict different parts of the property. 19


the driveway.

d i s t a n c e from the core of the s y s t e m - you in your h o u s e . H a v i n g a food crop or a herb g a r d e n close to the h o u s e invites good m a n a g e m e n t , w h e r e a s d i s t a n c e e n c o u r a g e s neglect. T h i n g s t h a t a r e further a w a y from the h o u s e , which you don't see or visit often, a r e often neglected. T h e e m p h a s i s here is to produce what you consume or to cons u m e l e s s of w h a t you can't produce. A brief mention should be m a d e of the h o u s e a r e a itself. T h i s a r e a is often called zone 0. T h e h o u s e needs to be i n t e g r a t e d with the g a r d e n a n d the g a r d e n , in turn, can h a v e a g r e a t influence on climate control of the h o u s e . T h i s is d i s c u s s e d in g r e a t e r detail in C h a p t e r 8. E a c h zone c h a n g e s in the n u m b e r and types of species, s t r u c t u r e s a n d other elem e n t s a n d s t r a t e g i e s for implementation a n d maintenance. However, zoning is more a conceptual process where a r e a s a r e allocated, b u t m a y c h a n g e over time. T h e r e is no m a g i c a l s h a p e for a zone. F i g u r e 3.1 i l l u s t r a t e s only one e x a m p l e . T h e location of zone b o u n d a r i e s depends on the size of the property and particular f e a t u r e s . For e x a m p l e , zone 1, n e a r e s t the h o u s e , m a y be extended along p a t h s or

Generally, zone 1 is an intensive p l a n t garden. Zone 2 also contains p l a n t s , b u t a n i m a l s such as chickens or d u c k s a r e now introduced. A s u m m a r y of the t y p e s of things (elements) typically found in each zone is listed in T a b l e 3.2. S u b u r b a n properties, which a r e u s u a l l y 1000 m or l e s s , normally only contain zones 1 and 2. T h e r e is not enough room for elements typically found in the other zones, namely, orchards, g o a t s , g e e s e a n d other e l e m e n t s such as these. However, you m a y decide to dedicate a small a r e a for zone 5 to encourage native b i r d s a n d a n i m a l s to visit the g a r d e n . S m a l l rural properties can support t h e s e additional elements, so you will often find zones 1, 2, 3 and 5. B r o a d a c r e rural is l a r g e enough to accommodate all zones, with the l a r g e s t possibly being zone 4. Now, p u t t i n g this together, i m a g i n e this scenario. You leave the back door, collect the v e g e t a b l e s for t e a or remove fallen fruit and dead l e a v e s . P u t t h e s e into the compost h e a p or t a k e them to the chickens. Collect e g g s , r a k e out any m a n u r e and uneaten food r e m a i n s a n d place them in the earthworm farm (or compost h e a p ) , 3

Table 3.2 The kinds of elements in each zone. Zone

Key features

0

H o u s e or other h u m a n living a r e a s .

1

Intensive sheet-mulched food g a r d e n s , pond, s h a d e h o u s e , g r e e n h o u s e , r a i n w a t e r tank, tool shed. S o m e fruit trees, such as lemon. Low windbreak around the garden.

2

G a r d e n b e d s . A n i m a l s such as chickens or other poultry, earthworm farm, r a b b i t s or g u i n e a p i g s . A q u a c u l t u r e t a n k s or ponds. H e d g e s a n d trellising utilised for edge effects. C o m p o s t h e a p . S m a l l orchard of fruit and nut trees.

3

L a r g e r - s c a l e orchards a n d g e e s e , living mulches, g o a t pen, bee hives, fodder p l a n t s , windbreaks for house, firebreaks.

4

Woodlots (long term development), d a m s , agroforestry (extensive tree culture), shelterbelts, windmills, farm stock. S w a l e s , d r a i n s , d a m s a n d other water h a r v e s t i n g strategies.

5

Wilderness, n a t u r a l forest or b u s h . C a t c h m e n t a r e a a n d flora and f a u n a preservation. Wildlife corridors. F o r e s t regrowth. Reforestation. 20


Figure 3.2 Elements are placed so that human energy is saved. E a c h pioneer h a s its own niche or role to play in the ecosystem. B r a c k e n i n v a d e s l a n d which is low in p o t a s s i u m or h a s been burnt. It "mines" or b r i n g s up p o t a s s i u m from deep within the soil. B l a c k b e r r y a n d g o r s e a r e very d e n s e , prickly s h r u b s which prevent stock, deer or r a b b i t s from a t t a c k i n g the oak, birch or a s h trees growing up in the middle of the thicket.

continue b a c k to the h o u s e , collecting plucking g r e e n s or h e r b s such as lemon b a l m or lemon v e r b e n a to m a k e yourself a nice cup of herbal tea. We design our s y s t e m s like this to s a v e energy. Left to t h e m s e l v e s these zones slowly change. In particular, a r e a s which we d e s i g n a t e zone 5 wilderness a r e a s should be fenced off a n d left alone on rural properties. If we p l a n t n a t u r a l species back into t h e s e a r e a s we a r e , in effect, p l a n t i n g an artificial forest, not a n a t u r a l one. Provided t h a t stock, w e e d s a n d excessive fire a r e excluded from these a r e a s , natural b u s h a n d woodlands will develop thems e l v e s over a n u m b e r of y e a r s . T h e succession of p l a n t s in t h e s e a r e a s follows a similar p a t h , no m a t t e r where on the p l a n e t you live. F o r e x a m p l e , in the U K , pioneer species such a s bracken fern, blackberry, g o r s e and broom invade the site. Soon, l a r g e r trees such as rowan, birch a n d oak s t a r t to grow a m o n g s t the pioneers.

In cool t e m p e r a t e regions, the soft berry fruits a r e the pioneer species. It is very common in the U K , for e x a m p l e , to s e e

T h e s e trees, in turn, s h a d e out the pion e e r s a n d allow other small s h r u b s to develop. S o m e of t h e s e pioneers, especially the nitrogen-fixing ones such as g o r s e and broom, a r e short-lived, and either fall over or j u s t die - r e l e a s i n g the stored nitrogen to the soil.

Figure 3.3 Prickly brambles such as blackberry protect young trees from damage by animals. 21


blackberries, wild r a s p b e r r i e s a n d gooseberries on the e d g e s of woodlands. B r a m b l e s can prevent the formation of low b r a n c h e s in climax species. T h e trees grow rapidly through the low-lying b r a m ble b u s h e s a n d then develop the characteristic round crown s h a p e so typical of m a n y trees. B r a m b l e s also s h a d e out g r a s s from ben e a t h l a r g e r trees. M a n y g r a s s e s r e l e a s e chemicals which inhibit tree growth and development a n d they should be u s e d s p a r i n g l y in m o s t design s y s t e m s . In A u s t r a l i a , a similar pattern e m e r g e s . F a s t growing, short-lived pioneer species of a c a c i a a n d c a s u a r i n a or a l l o c a s u a r i n a , which a r e all nitrogen-fixing, establish in cleared b u s h l a n d . T h e s e condition the soil a n d contribute to the growth a n d protection of the l a r g e climax species of eucalypts and b a n k s i a s . In the U S A , nitrogen-fixing pioneers such a s black locust, silverberry and m e s q u i t e , give way to the climax species such as w a l n u t s , o a k s , p i n e s (e.g. redwood) and pecans. Pioneers generally do not need mulching or much looking after - m a n y a r e not fussy about the conditions they grow in. They p r e p a r e the soil for the p l a n t s t h a t follow. Hopefully, once a design is implemented, the only thing you need to do is the fine t u n i n g so t h a t it p r o g r e s s e s unhindered.

Sectors Sector p l a n n i n g is another design strategy t h a t is u s e d when a site is a n a l y s e d . Sectors consider the energies t h a t move through a system. T h e s e energies, such as those of wind and rain, a r e directed, harn e s s e d or u s e d in the s y s t e m . S o m e of the elements in a sector a r e natural, such as winds, rain or s u n s h i n e , while others a r e human-influenced a n d artificial, such as aesthetic views a n d screens from neighbours. To direct these energies or to counter their effects, we design w i n d b r e a k s a n d s u n t r a p s , plant screen trees, a n d place deciduous a n d evergreen trees in particular a r e a s of the property. To know what k i n d s of s t r a t e g i e s or elem e n t s we need to place in a design, we m u s t h a v e information about the property. Observation of your site is the m o s t crucial p a r t of the design process. Y o u should m a k e note of the sun a n g l e s , wind direction, a r e a s of p a r t i a l s h a d e , sunny a s p e c t s , and d a m p and low-lying a r e a s . T h e role of observation in the design proc e s s is d i s c u s s e d in the next chapter. As an e x a m p l e of sector planning, consider sun a n g l e s . You m a y r e m e m b e r t h a t the h i g h e s t position of the sun in the sky (the zenith) c h a n g e s from s e a s o n to s e a son. It m a y only rise to a height of 3 5 ° in winter but 8 5 ° in s u m m e r . T h i s affects the

Figure 3.4 Winter shading - large trees block winter sunlight to the food garden. Summer shadows - the garden is still in full sunlight at midday. 22


Figure 3.5 Sector plan for a typical property. length of the shadow, which could be important if you w a n t s h a d e for the h o u s e or lots of s u n for the food producing a r e a s . S h a d o w s will be longer during winter time, as shown in F i g u r e 3.4. Remember also, that the sun angle c h a n g e s with l a t i t u d e , so find out w h a t angle the sun r i s e s to in your location during s u m m e r a n d winter. Sector p l a n n i n g often d e t e r m i n e s the position of windbreaks a n d garden b e d s , house location a n d the p l a c e m e n t of m a n y other e l e m e n t s in the s y s t e m . If we h a v e a flood-prone a r e a , we will p l a n t t r e e s t h a t can tolerate inundation a n d h e a v y soil.

Microclimate T h e term "microclimate" refers to the clim a t e in a p a r t i c u l a r a r e a which v a r i e s in its t e m p e r a t u r e r a n g e , humidity a n d wind intensity. For e x a m p l e , sheltered g a r d e n a r e a s m a y h a v e slightly cooler d a y t i m e t e m p e r a t u r e s and w a r m night-time temp e r a t u r e s , r e d u c e d wind velocity a n d higher humidity than other a r e a s nearby or somewhere else on the property - a n d there m a y even be significant differences within the s a m e g a r d e n . You can easily create microclimates by building terraces, w i n d b r e a k s a n d sunt r a p s , or by p l a n t i n g p a r t i c u l a r evergreen or deciduous trees. C r e a t i n g w a r m or h u m i d microclimates will enable you to avoid frost d a m a g e , prolong the growing s e a s o n of your vege t a b l e s , c a u s e the early ripening of fruit or allow you to grow other t y p e s of p l a n t s which m a y not survive in the normal climate. Even composting around the b a s e

If we w a n t to protect the h o u s e from winter storm winds a n d rain, we will design a windbreak to deflect a n d reduce the ferocity of the winds and a d v e r s e weather conditions. You can r e a d more about the location and design of windb r e a k s in C h a p t e r 11. 23


late a u t u m n or early spring, with little or none during s u m m e r .

of trees will g e n e r a t e h e a t and change the microclimate conditions. With thoughtful design you can change an environment by the u s e of particular plants. Firstly, u s e p l a n t s native to an a r e a or at l e a s t those which will survive in that p a r t i c u l a r climate a n d soil. Secondly, by careful placing of windbreaks, shelter a n d irrigation, a l m o s t any type of p l a n t can be grown in any a r e a - provided, of course, that the plant's special requirem e n t s a r e met.

T h i s will determine how long p l a n t s , anim a l s and h u m a n s will h a v e to survive without water during this time, and hence there needs to be provision in the design to catch a n d store an a p p r o p r i a t e a m o u n t of water to offset the drier times. Frost Microclimate design to counter the effects of frost is essential in m a n y climatic regions. F r o s t is accentuated by l a n d clearing and lack of vegetation.

S o m e p l a n t s j u s t don't grow in clay, yet others don't mind getting "wet feet" a n d they thrive in heavy soil. E v e n so, m a n y p l a n t s are susceptible to frost d a m a g e , and a n i m a l s s t r e s s a t high t e m p e r a t u r e s , such as above the midforties. Often it is more important to know the r a n g e of s e a s o n a l t e m p e r a t u r e s than the monthly a v e r a g e . R a n g e s give an indication of the likely incidence of frost a n d the m a x i m u m temp e r a t u r e s that p l a n t s or a n i m a l s m a y h a v e to tolerate.

F r o s t occurs when the land cools rapidly as it r a d i a t e s h e a t a n d is m o s t common in the very early morning, j u s t before daybreak. T r e e s help prevent frost by trapping the h e a t as it is lost from the ground, thus preventing it from e s c a p i n g altogether. In this s e n s e , trees help insulate the E a r t h . M a n y t r e e s will a l s o r a d i a t e infra-red h e a t at night from stored d a y t i m e sunlight.

S i m i l a r l y , it is probably more i m p o r t a n t to know when m o s t of the rain falls a n d how much falls at this time than the yearly rainfall.

Conversely, preventing h e a t from b e i n g r a d i a t e d into the a t m o s p h e r e also a t t r a c t s frost. A mulch covering the soil p r e v e n t s h e a t from being lost, a n d dew a n d frost settle on top of the surface.

F o r e x a m p l e , if the yearly rainfall is 6 0 0 m m , 4 0 0 mm m a y fall in two months in winter a n d the other 2 0 0 mm mainly in

Moisture needs to settle on a surface, u s u a l l y j u s t above ground level - either on l e a v e s of a tree or mulch on the ground.

Figure 3.6 Heat loss from the ground is trapped by the tree canopy, thus preventing frost formation. 24


Figure 3.7 Mulch keeps the heat in. Mulch prevents heat loss and moisture settles on the mulch layer. This will freeze if the temperature is cold enough. B a r e g r o u n d h a s l e s s frost b e c a u s e h e a t i s r a d i a t e d s k y w a r d s , and this is why it is b e s t to h a v e b a r e soil in the cold winter months if you w a n t to k e e p some types of frost-sensitive p l a n t s alive. However, there n e e d s to be s o m e consideration of the soil biota - those living c r e a t u r e s , such as e a r t h w o r m s , which will survive cold winters if they are kept w a r m by h a v i n g a layer of mulch on the surface.

fires in l a r g e d r u m s to circulate air a n d why sprinklers a r e s o m e t i m e s turned on. T h i s u n s e t t l e s the air a n d the water is comparatively w a r m , so frost does not form. Knowing about the occurrence a n d regularity of frost is crucial to d e t e r m i n i n g the length of the growing s e a s o n . L a t e frosts often kill a n d set back newly-sprouted v e g e t a b l e s , so protection from frost is e s s ential.

Cold air often settles on top of hills a n d in the valley floor. T h e cold air tends to fall from the hilltops to the valley a n d this can c a u s e p r o b l e m s if o b s t a c l e s t r a p this air. F o r e x a m p l e , inappropriately placed solid w a l l s will t r a p cold air a n d frost as it m o v e s downwards.

S o m e crop p l a n t s , such a s o a t s a n d barley, a r e frost-resistant. However, others, such as rice and cotton, a r e frost-sensitive a n d soon die when t e m p e r a t u r e s drop. F r o s t does h a v e its a d v a n t a g e s a s well. M a n y fruit trees, such as stone fruit, require a certain n u m b e r of chill h o u r s (below 7 ° C ) in order for them to complete their life cycle a n d produce flowers a n d

T h e secret in preventing frost is to move air so t h a t water v a p o u r can't condense a n d settle. T h i s is why orchardists light

Figure 3.8 Walls should have gaps to allow cold air to continue to fall downwards. 25


Figure 3.9 Frost forms on hill tops and in valleys. ble, buildings a n d h o u s e g a r d e n a r e a s should be higher than this line, as little or no d a m a g e by frost can be expected. On the higher p a r t s of a slope, cold air can also settle, as shown in the following diagram. Aspect

fruit. F r o s t also kills m a n y p e s t s , b r e a k s up compacted ground a n d provides large v o l u m e s of water to the soil a n d soil org a n i s m s when it m e l t s . It is not difficult to see why the b e s t location for a h o u s e site is within the thermal belt of a slope. T h i s is roughly the middle p a r t of a slope. Below this a r e a , cold air settles in the lower valley a r e a s a n d frost m a y be common. O b s e r v a t i o n s during cold spells will allow you to determine the frost line, below which frost is common. In ideal circumstances, wherever possi-

Aspect, which is the direction t h a t a slope faces, also creates microclimates. For example, in the southern hemisphere, southfacing slopes a r e generally colder a n d potentially h a v e more shadow. North-facing slopes a r e u s u a l l y sunny and warmer. E a r t h m o u n d s surrounding a h o u s e , at

Figure 3.10 A hill with a sun-facing aspect has both shaded and sunny sides. Earth mounds (berms) are much smaller versions than this hill and are built around, or partly around, the house. 26


T h i s doesn't m e a n t h a t you can't u s e l a n d which is high above s e a level. T h e r e a r e a n u m b e r of s t r a t e g i e s to m a k e the l a n d w a r m e r a n d to create w a r m e r microclim a t e s than the s u r r o u n d i n g countryside. In dry c l i m a t e s , where w a t e r is s c a r c e , it m a y be better to design for coolness, r a t h e r t h a n trying to m a k e t h i n g s w a r m e r .

least on the p r e v a i l i n g wind s i d e s , provide protection a n d different a s p e c t s such a s sun-facing a n d shade-facing slopes for

Reflection and radiation L e a f colour affects the a m o u n t of light which is a b s o r b e d or reflected. We u s e this concept a n d p l a n t s h r u b s a n d t r e e s which h a v e light coloured or silvery l e a v e s , a n d waxy a n d shiny l e a v e s , to reflect light a n d h e a t to c r e a t e a w a r m m i c r o c l i m a t e . L e a v e s a r e specially a d a p t e d for different climates. F o r e x a m p l e , h a i r y , thick l e a v e s a r e found in arid, s a n d d u n e a n d windy

Figure 3.11 Water can be used to reflect sunlight and heat during winter.

Figure 3.12 Floor radiating heat at night. Dark floors can absorb heat. those p l a n t s t h a t require t h e s e k i n d s o f g r o w i n g conditions. An earth mound can a l s o be u s e d as a w i n d b r e a k a n d , coupled with t r e e s , will protect the h o u s e from cold storm winds b u t m a y permit cool s u m m e r b r e e z e s to be directed toward the house.

a r e a s , while wax covered l e a v e s a r e found in cold, high altitude a r e a s . U s e t h e s e f e a t u r e s in d e s i g n s for t h e s e t y p e s of climates. W e can a l s o u s e s t r u c t u r e s , such a s s h e d walls and roof a r e a s , in much the s a m e way as p l a n t s , which h a v e light or silvercoloured foliage, to reflect s u n l i g h t into d a r k g a r d e n a r e a s . W a t e r s u r f a c e s can a l s o be u s e d to reflect sunlight a n d create a w a r m microclimate nearby. Water p l a y s an i m p o r t a n t role in creating a n d c h a n g i n g microclimates. W a t e r h a s a

F u r t h e r m o r e , the external t e m p e r a t u r e falls a b o u t one degree C e l s i u s for every one h u n d r e d m e t r e s rise in altitude, so you would expect properties high above s e a level to experience lower winter temp e r a t u r e s t h a n c o a s t a l regions. 27


high t h e r m a l capacity, and d a m s and ponds can actually be used to store heat. N o t only does water reflect h e a t a n d light, it slowly g a i n s a n d then r a d i a t e s h e a t (at a slower r a t e t h a n l a n d ) and t h u s is w a r m e r than nearby land at night. Gard e n s n e a r w a t e r w a y s will be warmer too. A s t e m p e r a t u r e s drop, h e a t i s r a d i a t e d from the water to the surrounding air and g a r d e n a r e a s . T h i s is why it is beneficial to p l a n t trees nearer to coastal a r e a s to t a k e a d v a n t a g e of the temperature-moderati n g influence of a l a r g e body of water. T h e r e is also higher humidity near the water's edge, which is good for subtropical trees. (I wonder if this is the reason why coconuts and p a l m trees grow on the water's edge?) Hot dry winds blown a c r o s s water a r e cooled - before they hit the h o u s e ! Conversely, cold winds can be w a r m e d a s well. F o r the s a m e types of r e a s o n s , we u s e dark-coloured bricks or slate in our house to absorb winter sunlight. T h e s e d a r k s u r f a c e s r a d i a t e h e a t into the h o u s e during night-time, m a k i n g the house warm a n d comfortable. Again, grow frost-tender p l a n t s a g a i n s t or near heat-radiating earth m o u n d s a n d solid walls.

Designing for catastrophe Wind You m u s t consider the e x t r e m e s in clim a t e when designing. For example, little or no rain in s u m m e r , floods in winter and frosts in spring. S o m e t i m e s , wind is the over-riding design criterion, such as in cyclone-prone a r e a s . Wind can be both friend and foe. M a n y p l a n t s will not get fungal d i s e a s e if they a r e p l a n t e d where wind often p a s s e s through. S o m e fruit trees, such as apples, p e a r s and stone fruit, as well as g r a p e vines, will be covered in mildew and other fungal d i s e a s e s if they a r e planted in protected, shady a n d d a m p a r e a s . You can solve this problem by shifting the trees and vines to a sunny a r e a that h a s 28

occasional winds p a s s i n g by. Wind is important for trees. Wind-stress strengthens the trunk fibres a n d overprotection m a y weaken the tree. T r e e s need to become h a r d y in their environment with little interference from humans. On the other h a n d , strong wind can c a u s e considerable d a m a g e to young seedlings a n d s h r u b s . Often, these types of p l a n t s need to be protected until they become established. Wind c a u s e s g r e a t e r evaporation and transpiration r a t e s , so that the plant and/or soil dries out quickly, finally c a u s i n g the death of the plant. It is a l s o important to plant windbreaks a r o u n d d a m s to minimise water loss by evaporation. T h e evaporative cooling effect of winds is well known and t e m p e r a t u r e falls of several degrees a r e common. It is important to note the direction of prevailing wind for design work. T h i s is the direction of wind flow that is higher than the a v e r a g e . For e x a m p l e , if wind blows from the SE for 3 5 % of the time (and the r e s t of the time l e s s than this in all other directions), then this is the prevailing wind direction. T h e consequence of this is planning for windbreaks or strategies to h a r v e s t wind for energy generation a n d water pumping. Fire You h a v e to consider the a m o u n t of u s e able, harvestable wind. In particular, wind associated with fire is a major concern. Don't u n d e r e s t i m a t e the destructiveness and ferocity of fire. F i r e s p r e a d s quickly through dry paddocks, along b u s h corridors and a c r o s s the forest canopy. Fire moves faster uphill than downhill, and even more so when fanned by strong winds. T h e most serious threat of danger is during hot, dry s u m m e r s . For this reason, it is important to put as m a n y wind and firebreak s t r a t e g i e s on the downhill and windward sides of the house or s h e d s a s possible. Consider planting deciduous fruit trees,


Figure 3.13 Some strategies for fire protection around a house site. tall, combustible t r e e s o v e r h a n g h o u s e roofs. M o s t fires in forests a r e s p r e a d v i a the canopy. T h e intensity of a fire a n d i t s e a s e of s p r e a d depends on several factors. S o m e of t h e s e include: • moisture content-dry timber b u r n s much faster a n d at a h i g h e r t e m p e r a t u r e t h a n d a m p wood. • a m o u n t of fuel - intensity i n c r e a s e s with i n c r e a s i n g f l a m m a b l e g r o u n d litter. • fuel size - s m a l l pieces of timber burn f a s t e r t h a n l a r g e l o g s . • wind s p e e d - w i n d s p r e a d s fire at a g r e a t e r r a t e t h a n still air. Dry, hot winds off the l a n d i n c r e a s e the fire d a n g e r more t h a n cool, ocean or s e a breezes. • slope of l a n d - as fire t r a v e l s f a s t e r uphill there is a g r e a t e r d a n g e r for h o u s e s on r i d g e s .

such a s p l u m s , a p p l e s a n d p e a r s , a n d evergreens, s u c h as carob a n d Coprosma, in fire-prone a r e a s , as t h e s e types of trees a r e p a r t i a l l y fire r e s i s t a n t a n d burn l e s s easily t h a n e u c a l y p t s , m e l a l e u c a s a n d pines. Other s t r a t e g i e s include u s i n g g r a z i n g a n i m a l s or the chicken pen to m a i n t a i n b a r e earth, a n d constructing d a m s , ponds and roads. It is a good i d e a , for e x a m p l e , to p l a n t the deciduous stone fruit orchard in the poultry p e n below the h o u s e as t h e s e trees do not burn well a n d poultry k e e p the ground bare as a fire break. Furthermore, d a m s or p o n d s a r e e s s e n t i a l in this downslope area. S i n c e fire t r a v e l s more rapidly uphill than downhill (twice the s p e e d for each ten d e g r e e s r i s e in slope), then only fire-res i s t a n t t r e e s and forests should be planted at the bottom of hills. G e n e r a l l y , there is a g r e a t e r risk a n d frequency of fire in g r a s s l a n d a r e a s , followed by woodland a n d much l e s s in wet forest. D e s i g n e r s n e e d to be a w a r e t h a t in s o m e p a r t s of a country the r i s k of fire is m u c h g r e a t e r t h a n elsewhere a n d more p r e c a u t i o n s need to be taken. F u r t h e r m o r e , fires a r e s p r e a d by either b u r n i n g along the ground or b u r n i n g the tops (crowns) of t r e e s . Crown fires a r e m u c h more difficult to control a n d it is e a s y to s e e how h o u s e s can catch fire when

29

humidity of air - dry air e n h a n c e s the b u r n i n g r a t e . T h e r i s k of fire can be m i n i m i s e d . T h e r e a r e m a n y t h i n g s we can do to r e d u c e the fire risk. S o m e sensible s t r a t e g i e s include: • building r o a d s as fire b r e a k s . On small acreage properties, don't limit yourself to only one a c c e s s r o a d the fire b r i g a d e m a y not be a b l e to enter your property from this direction a n d your only e s c a p e is in the direction of the fire! T h i s is poor design.


Figure 3.14 Windbreaks of fire retardant species deflect hot winds and capture ash and cinders. They produce a fire shadow to reduce the effects of radiation. siting d a m s a n d other water struct u r e s , such as r a i n w a t e r t a n k s , on the fire r i s k side of the property, r e d u c i n g t h e fuel l o a d on t h e ground. Pine trees and eucalypts, for e x a m p l e , a r e litter accumulators a n d they build up a thick layer of dry litter underneath, which prom o t e s ground fires. T h e s e t y p e s of t r e e s should not be planted in firer i s k a r e a s . U s e low litter p l a n t s , p l a n t i n g g r e e n s u m m e r crops g r a z e d by stock or poultry. G r a z i n g a n d b r o w s i n g a n i m a l s will also reduce the fuel load in every s e a s o n , either by e a t i n g lots of the ground cover or by providing the m a n u r e , which allows micro-organisms to rapidly b r e a k down l e a f and p l a n t litter.

w i n d b r e a k s of fire-resistant trees a n d s h r u b s - to catch a s h a n d burning cinders. F i r e b r e a k t r e e s not only catch flying a s h a n d b u r n i n g l e a v e s a n d twigs, they reduce the h e a t of radiation by producing a fire shadow. Radiation will often kill p l a n t s , anim a l s a n d h u m a n s before the f i r e actually reaches them. E a r t h b e r m s a n d buildings will also produce a fire shadow which will s h a d e a n d shield o r g a n i s m s from h e a t r a d i a tion. poultry y a r d - poultry can k e e p an a r e a b a r e and free of dry weeds a n d grass. placing grey water d i s p o s a l a r e a on the fire-risk side - this k e e p s the soil moist a n d vegetation green.

Figure 3.15 In hot climates, trees overhanging ponds will shade them and reduce evaporation. Winds can pass underneath the canopy and be cooled before they hit the house. 30


•

•

p l a n t i n g a stone fruit or evergreen fruit orchard, with free-ranging g e e s e to control g r a s s e s . s p r i n k l e r s on roofs a r e e s s e n t i a l in high fire-risk a r e a s . S p r i n k l e r s , both on top of the h o u s e roof and in the s u r r o u n d i n g g a r d e n s , m u s t b e p u t on before the fire a p p r o a c h e s very wet s u r f a c e s j u s t won't burn a n d the fire cannot s p r e a d .

Fire does h a v e i t s good points! We u s e it to cook a n d to w a r m ourselves. L i g h t i n g a fire in a 2 0 0 L d r u m (44 g a l ) at night when a d a m a g i n g l a t e frost m i g h t occur, helps to circulate the normally still air, preventing frost from forming a n d settling, t h u s protecting your frost-sensitive p l a n t s at blossom time. Abundance of water Water is the m a i n limiting factor in our agricultural a n d horticultural endeavours, no m a t t e r where we live. Too little a n d all living things die; too much a n d flooding occurs, which often h a s detrimental effects on p l a n t s a n d anim a l s . D e s i g n e r s need to know details such as the h i g h e s t known flood levels on the property to avoid potential problems in house siting, a n d the h i g h e s t or e s t i m a t e d intensity of the precipitation r a t e to devise s t r a t e g i e s for limiting run-off a n d erosion, a n d to allow m a x i m u m water s t o r a g e without e x c e s s i v e loss a s d a m s fill a n d overflow. Other considerations T h e elevation of the sun, the slope of the l a n d a n d the m o v e m e n t of water and air all m a k e a difference as to where we place elements.

T h e slope of the l a n d also d e t e r m i n e s the k i n d s of p l a n t s you should grow or the activities you can do. F o r e x a m p l e , steep slopes should not be cultivated. T h e y should be p l a n t e d with t r e e s and s h r u b s which will hold the soil together (what's remaining) a n d prevent further soil erosion. S h a d e - f a c i n g slopes u s u a l l y produce a g r e a t e r n u m b e r of chill h o u r s which perm i t s the growth of some t y p e s of fruit trees. F u r t h e r m o r e , trees in s u n - s h a d e d a r e a s m a y be inhibited from flowering and leafing too soon, so there is l e s s likelihood of d a m a g e from l a t e frosts. Slope a l s o p r e s e n t s problems. A s a l r e a d y mentioned, wind a n d fire both r a c e uphill and wind over hills c a u s e s turbulence. Sun-facing slopes, while very i m p o r t a n t in cool climates, a r e more fire-prone t h a n s h a d e d slopes a s the soil, p l a n t s a n d l e a f litter dry quickly and, therefore, burn more easily. H o u s e s in tropical or hot a r e a s obviously need protection from too much sun, a n d this will require s t r a t e g i e s of s h a d e t r e e s nearby or directing cold b r e e z e s toward the h o u s e (wind funnels). In s u m m a r y , careful consideration is m a d e for the placement of e l e m e n t s in our des i g n s . For e x a m p l e , for effective p l a n t e s t a b l i s h m e n t we need an a d e q u a t e s u p ply of water, protection from b r o w s e r s , protection from drying wind a n d e x c e s s sun, good soil, a n d m i n i m u m soil erosion. Hence the need for water h a r v e s t i n g a n d supply m e a s u r e s , fences, tree w i n d b r e a k s (hedgerows), a n d a p p r o p r i a t e soil treatment a n d conditioning.

My notes

Things I need to find out

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4

Steps in the design process

The design process Bill Mollison, in h i s Designers' Manual, s t a t e s t h a t p e r m a c u l t u r e design "is a s y s tem of a s s e m b l i n g conceptual, m a t e r i a l a n d s t r a t e g i c components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all of its forms." Moreover, the h u m a n intellect needed in the design process d i s t i n g u i s h e s p e r m a c u l t u r e from conventional lands c a p e practices a n d i t i s h u m a n i m a g i n a tion t h a t is the key to p e r m a c u l t u r e design. We a r e only limited by our own i m a g i n a t i o n a n d life experience. T h e b e s t d e s i g n e r s a r e those who h a v e a wealth of practical experience. They know w h a t works and w h a t doesn't. T h e y know which p l a n t a n d a n i m a l g u i l d s work well for t h a t a r e a a n d climate (see C h a p t e r 6) a n d they are realistic in their expectations a b o u t i m p l e m e n t i n g the d e s i g n .

G r a n d i o s e d e s i g n s , which a r e totally ina p p r o p r i a t e or expensive, a r e not in the b e s t i n t e r e s t s of all concerned. T h e f u n d a m e n t a l s of p e r m a c u l t u r e design h a v e a r i s e n from an u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the cycling of m a t t e r a n d energy in n a t u r e . H e r e , m a t t e r a n d energy a r e p a s s e d from o r g a n i s m to o r g a n i s m along v a r i o u s food chains. O r g a n i s m s die a n d decay, a n d their w a s t e s a r e also broken down, which r e l e a s e s stored nutrients to the soil. T h e s e nutrients can then be reu s e d by p l a n t s to continue the cycle of life a n d death. Furthermore, permaculture designs are b a s e d on broad, universal principles which allow for local knowledge so t h a t local species can be incorporated. T h i s m a k e s s e n s e . Wherever possible, local resources and species, found in t h a t soil type, clim a t e and a r e a , should be used. T h i s is

Figure 4.1 Matter and energy flow and cycle within an ecosystem. 32


h e r e is people. T h i s is why participation in the planning a n d design is crucial to its s u c c e s s . D e s i g n i n g is a consultative proc e s s involving all of those living on the property and, s o m e t i m e s , v a r i o u s a d v i s ers.

both economically a n d ecologically responsible action. In designing, we r e p a c k a g e or r e - a s s e m ble components a l r e a d y e x i s t i n g on the property and incorporate new ones. Components a r e a s s e m b l e d a n d e l e m e n t s placed according to the function they perform. We u s e i n s i g h t to develop unique and effective s t r a t e g i e s . T h e design m a y examine m a n y options and some decisions of p a r t i c u l a r options a r e t a k e n so that they a r e definitely included. Each p e r m a c u l t u r e design is tailor-made. It is the m a r r y i n g a n d b l e n d i n g of what grows b e s t in the particular a r e a a n d soil with w h a t the owner or g a r d e n e r w a n t s . Permaculture e m p o w e r s people to solve their own design problems and apply solutions to their everyday situations. Designers h a v e a responsibility to recognise which p e r m a c u l t u r e principles need to be applied to a specific problem or situation. Solutions m a y include the u s e of edge, patterns or g u i l d s , a n d good d e s i g n e r s see every difficulty as really an opportunity. For any design to be useful it m u s t h a v e ownership by those living on the land. A design should involve everyone who lives there. A design is a collaborative effort, rather t h a n the r e s u l t of an "expert designer".

You can't successfully i m p o s e your i d e a s about a design on someone else's property. Y o u h a v e to work a l o n g s i d e the owne r s , so t h a t they feel they h a v e m a d e a worthwhile contribution a n d they feel t h a t they h a v e ownership. In effect, we should teach people how to plan r a t h e r t h a n plan for them. P e r m a c u l t u r e designing, then, is actively p l a n n i n g where e l e m e n t s a r e p l a c e d so t h a t they serve at l e a s t three functions. We h a v e a l r e a d y t a l k e d a b o u t how nothi n g is w a s t e d in a p e r m a c u l t u r e s y s t e m . T h e s y s t e m we d e s i g n a l s o n e e d s to u s e all of the outputs or products. Pollution occurs when a s y s t e m h a s exc e s s outputs. T h e w a s t e s of one e l e m e n t a r e u s e d a s the n e e d s o f another. T h e m a n u r e from the chickens h e l p s the compost heap.

The t r e e s a r e p l a n t e d by the property owners a n d cared for by t h e m to ultimately benefit t h e m s e l v e s . T h e e m p h a s i s

D e a d l e a v e s a n d fallen fruit k e e p the earthworm farm going, so t h a t the c a s t i n g s produced will be the fertiliser or potting mix for your g a r d e n p l a n t s . If a n y product is not u s e d , we h a v e a potential pollutant and this is u n a c c e p t a b l e in a permaculture system. Remember, we don't h a v e liabilities, only a s s e t s .

Figure 4.2 Elements serve at least three functions (earthworm). 33


stand that they a r e often much wider than their vertical height. T h e r e are some things on a property t h a t you can easily change when you a r e working on a design a n d there a r e some things that you can't change. For example, you have very little control over the climate in a p a r t i c u l a r region, w h e r e a s you can change roads, location of d a m s a n d trees, and construction of fences. Fences, by way of illustration, can be placed on contours a n d also along regions of soil change. F e n c e s could then m a r k where s a n d a r e a s change into clay a r e a s and so on.

A permaculture design is more than j u s t a l a n d s c a p e plan. M a p s , p l a n s and overlays do not i n d i c a t e or s u g g e s t the interconnectedness between things, nor can t h e y d e a l with other a s p e c t s of p e r m a c u l t u r e such as the social and financial a s p e c t s of h u m a n settlements. However, a landscape-style plan does give some indication about d a m and house placement, and the future location of swales a n d orchards. You m i g h t think a b o u t the design as being a v i s u a l representation of the concept. Implicit in any design should be a number of energy h a r v e s t i n g and modifying strategies, a n u m b e r of soil, water a n d land conservation s t r a t e g i e s , a number of food producing s t r a t e g i e s and a number of h u m a n s e t t l e m e n t s t r a t e g i e s , such a s housing, shelter, village development a n d so on.

However, keep in mind t h a t this m a y not be the b e s t solution for a particular property. For example, keyline cultivation, discussed in Chapter 9, places soil type as a low planning priority, so fences m a y not need shifting.

D e s i g n s a l w a y s change and hopefully for the better. T h e design is the beginning point of the journey, and as new i d e a s and experiences develop, the design evolves as well.

M a n y things will affect the development and progression of a property. S o m e of these are beneficial and some are not. A list of these design considerations might include:

Design considerations

erosion and s a l t scalds. Does water cascade over the surface or seep into the ground? What k i n d s of p l a n t s will grow in soil a r e a s of high salt content?

prevailing wind directions. Where will windbreaks be placed?

views - those you want a n d those you want to hide. Where will you plant screen trees to give yourselves privacy?

sources of noise and pollution, such as b u s y r o a d s . U s e trees to screen and to absorb pollutants from vehicles.

While the client's wishes for a site a r e important, foremost is the consideration of the site itself. W h a t you a r e really doing is working out how the property will improve and become rehabilitated, b e c a u s e clients sell properties and move on. Look beyond the client and see the land. When designing, all things that could affect the land should be considered. T h i s includes s e w a g e treatment, water stora g e , food production a r e a s , placement of a n i m a l s and the needs of h u m a n s . For e x a m p l e , you need to consider the characteristics of each tree you plant, such as s p r e a d or width, height, and whether evergreen or deciduous. It m a y seem silly to plant a carob fifteen m e t r e s a w a y from all other trees, b u t if you've seen a m a t u r e carob, you'll under34

P e r m a c u l t u r i s t s h a v e to become accountable and a s k t h e m s e l v e s the questions "Do I create w a s t e ? Do I consume v a s t a m o u n t s of energy, electricity and h e a t in the home or vehicles?"


Figure 4.3 We have a responsibility to minimise our impact in the environment. recharge and discharge areas. Where does water enter the lands c a p e a n d where does it re-surface? waterlogging a n d s o a k s . Are there a r e a s t h a t a r e permanently d a m p , clayey or waterlogged? slope of the land. Contours should b e determined a s water h a r v e s t i n g a n d water movement control a r e e s s e n t i a l in dry climates, other components of the environment, such as aspect, a m o u n t of vegetation cover and soil type. Our environment doesn't necessarily j u s t m e a n the biological and non-biological components in the scientific s e n s e , b e c a u s e , when we consider h u m a n s we also have to consider the economic, social and cultural a s p e c t s . F u r t h e r m o r e , n a t u r a l vegetation h a s intrinsic v a l u e and n e e d s protection. a m o u n t of resource m a t e r i a l available on site. S t a r t by looking at the r e s o u r c e s you already h a v e or h a v e a c c e s s to. T h e s e vary from sources of mulch to clay and stone for building m a t e r i a l s . People a r g u e t h a t we ought to recycle more of the i t e m s we u s e daily, b u t I think t h a t w a s t e m i n i m i s a -

tion is a better, s o u n d e r p a t h to tread. It m a k e s s e n s e to u s e l e s s than to recycle more. People often t a l k a b o u t "reduce, r e u s e a n d recycle". I would like to a d d "repair, refuse, re-think, r e - a s s e s s , refrain, reject and reconsider". R e s o u r c e s can b e skills a s well a s m a t e r i a l s . Y o u need to e s t a b l i s h what the c l i e n t s can do as p a r t of the overall plan for the property. You m u s t also consider the n e e d s of all occupants of a property, including children. Do children e a t the s a m e food as a d u l t s ? Or is my family different from everyone e l s e ' s ? All need to be involved in the decision-making. However, m a k i n g choices a l w a y s involves c o n s e q u e n c e s , compromises and trade-offs.

Design steps T h e process of d e s i g n i n g can be seen as a series of s t e p s or p h a s e s . L i k e all p l a n n i n g exercises there is an order to follow when these t h i n g s are u n d e r t a k e n . T h e s e s t e p s a r e d i s c u s s e d in turn, b u t a brief overview would be: 1.

Information p h a s e - observing a n d collecting d a t a .

2.

A n a l y s i s p h a s e - reflecting, e x a m i n ing and collating d a t a . Recognising patterns.

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3.

Design p h a s e - determining s t r a t e g i e s , r e - o r g a n i s i n g a n d placing elem e n t s in the s y s t e m . Zoning a n d sector planning.

4.

M a n a g e m e n t p h a s e - implementing, priorities for implementing, and monitoring a n d m a i n t a i n i n g .

the house, outbuildings and other structures, is u s e d for the b a s i s of the design. M a p s are very useful tools. You can obtain m a p s from local or s t a t e authorities which show the contours on a property (although t h e s e a r e not often accurate) and property s h a p e and sizes.

Information phase T h i s is when you collect information about the site. D a t a can be collected through observation, or by e x a m i n i n g m a p s a n d records, a n d by discussion with the property owners (and occasionally their neighbours).

T h e next r e q u i r e m e n t before the design actually b e g i n s is to m a r k and draw the existing l a n d s c a p e features - contours, r i d g e s , valleys, s t r e a m s a n d watercourses, rock outcrops a n d soil types, a n d including the location of the proposed h o u s e a n d outbuildings.

It is e s s e n t i a l to consider the needs and d e s i r e s of the people living on the property a n d involve them as much as possible in the early s t a g e s of the design process. T h i s can be as s i m p l e as getting them to list the r e s o u r c e s a v a i l a b l e on the property or to write down their observations a b o u t storm a n d winter winds, flooding a r e a s a n d so on. Good listening, to both l a n d a n d people, is a h a l l m a r k of a good designer.

Contour lines on the m a p will determine where d a m s a n d water harvesting or movem e n t will, or can, occur. Contours on the slope will also determine where r e t a i n i n g walls m a y need to be built and where particular g a r d e n b e d s or orchard a r e a s should be placed. U s i n g g r a p h p a p e r for your m a p is very useful a n d allows you to d r a w structures a n d i d e a s in proportion a n d to scale.

T h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t information you need for a design is a m a p of the property. A scaled d i a g r a m showing the dimensions of each b o u n d a r y a n d p r e s e n t location of

It is often useful to do nothing to your property for a y e a r or so. At l e a s t see what h a p p e n s during each season, such as which weeds flourish ( a s an indication of soil conditions), where the frost line is in the

Figure 4.4 A map of the property is the first step in the design process. 36


Figure 4.5 Develop the map by locating and drawing contours, landforms and other structures. lower p a r t s of the block and which a r e the p r e v a i l i n g wind directions. Detailed a n d careful observation m u s t be m a d e of such t h i n g s as wind directions, water m o v e m e n t on the property, a m o u n t (degree) of slope, sun a n g l e s d u r i n g s u m m e r a n d winter, m o i s t and wet a r e a s , shady a n d sunny a r e a s , c h a n g e s in soil type, a n d n a t u r a l p a t t e r n s in any prominent l a n d formations. Information about rainfall, insolation d a y s a n d s e a s o n a l wind direction a n d speed, can be obtained from sources such as the B u r e a u of Meteorology a n d , in some c a s e s , the local post office or local government authority.

You should e s t a b l i s h if you h a v e the client's permission to s p e n d money, on their behalf, for aerial photographs or c a d a s t r a l a n d topographical m a p s , r e s o u r c e booklets of soils a n d p l a n t s of the a r e a a n d so on. Analysis phase T h e a n a l y s i s p h a s e involves selecting a n d a n a l y s i n g the proposed e l e m e n t s in the s y s t e m . A n e e d s a n a l y s i s m a y h a v e to be performed on p a r t i c u l a r e l e m e n t s so t h a t you can m a k e decisions on which elem e n t s a r e b e s t suited in the d e s i g n . Here we s t a r t to a l s o consider zonation and sector planning. We d r a w a n d note the sectors for problem a r e a s , such as

Figure 4.6 Collecting data and information about the site is a prerequisite to design. 37


Figure 4.7 Draw the zoning and sector planning considerations on your map. p e r m a n e n t waterlogging, occasional floodprone a r e a s a n d s a l t s c a l d s . We also identify a n d m a r k storm a n d prevailing wind directions, fire d a n g e r directions a n d sun a n g l e s for the property.

Practical a i d s to help with design work include d r a w i n g concepts a n d g a r d e n a r e a s on graph paper, u s i n g clay, plasticine, and wooden blocks to place structures in the design, and u s i n g a s a n d pit to s h a p e slope, s w a l e s and d a m s .

Design phase M o s t often a design is a m a p or plan which shows the p l a c e m e n t of elements or components. T h i s plan is usually a two-dim e n s i o n a l d r a w i n g , although a three-dim e n s i o n a l model, while t a k i n g a longer time to build a n d m o r e resources to m a k e , h a s m a n y a d v a n t a g e s . For e x a m p l e , a s c a l e 3D model will allow you to investig a t e the effect of p l a n t placement on such t h i n g s a s s h a d o w s a n d wind movements. When d r a w i n g the design you can either u s e a series of overlays or several copies of the b a s i c block plan showing dimensions, contours, n a t u r a l rock formations, d a m s a n d other things which a r e fixed a n d mostly cannot be changed. S o m e overlays can be u s e d to show future developments, such as the location of new d a m s , fencelines, additional buildings, general p l a n t i n g s , windbreaks, and commercial enterprises. 38

All of these a i d s help us better v i s u a l i s e the design s t r a t e g i e s , as seeing a design in three dimensions (3D), as we h a v e j u s t mentioned, is much better than in 2 D . A p e r m a c u l t u r e design m i g h t contain a l a r g e a m o u n t of information a n d either show or allow you to: •

identify food production a r e a s , including zone 1 a n d 2 p l a n t i n g s , orchards and woodlots.

•

indicate proposed d r a i n a g e lines, s w a l e s and d a m s . T h i s is e s s e n t i a l for the control of water m o v e m e n t a n d h a r v e s t i n g , a n d to prevent flooding.

•

indicate proposed revegetation a r e a s - of n a t u r a l b u s h . Zone 5 is allocated to the conservation and restoration of indigenous p l a n t species.


Figure 4.8 Developing a total design for Ian and Peter's property in Toodyay, WA. •

T h e report, accompanying the d e s i g n , will list the m a t e r i a l s , components, s t r a t e g i e s a n d priorities.

recognise the importance of s a n c t u a r y . People need to h a v e some place they like to go a n d visit. T h i s m i g h t be an aesthetic view or somewhere t h a t h a s a particular c a l m i n g feel a b o u t it. A design m i g h t include s e a t s , a gazebo or log to sit on in this a r e a .

Design reports need i d e a s a n d h i n t s a b o u t m a n a g e m e n t , a n d l a n d owners should b e encouraged to u n d e r t a k e a p e r m a c u l t u r e design course so that they can u n d e r s t a n d the p r o c e s s e s which occur a n d be able to m a k e a p p r o p r i a t e decisions about c o u r s e s of action.

location and position of roads, p a t h s a n d p a r k i n g . Access r o a d s should slowly wind u p w a r d s t o w a r d s the house.

If you a r e producing a design for someone else, the information that you s u p p l y in your design and report m u s t s a v e the property owners m u c h more t h a n the fee you charge.

R o a d s l e a d i n g down to the h o u s e site generally c a u s e h e a p s of probl e m s , including water from rainfall a n d melting snow cascading toward the h o u s e .

However, m o s t d e s i g n s for properties a r e done by the owners t h e m s e l v e s . F e w people a r e professional c o n s u l t a n t s a n d des i g n e r s . A design report for a property typically contains the following information:

H a v i n g a driveway sloping a w a y from the h o u s e will p e r m i t e x c e s s w a t e r to be diverted to garden a n d orchard a r e a s ( a s well a s allowing you to j u m p - s t a r t the car when the b a t t e r y i s flat). •

place s h e d s a n d h o u s e close to water a n d electricity s u p p l i e s . T h i s will m i n i m i s e the costs of installation for t h e s e services.

design considerations. Write a brief a p p r a i s a l of the k i n d s of things t h a t need consideration in the design. T h i s includes water availability and quality, the effect of native, feral

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Figure 4.9 Access roads should rise toward the house. a n d domestic a n i m a l s on garden a r e a s , s e a s o n a l climatic changes, l a n d s c a p e , client r e q u i r e m e n t s for the property, orientation of the block a n d so on. •

It m a y not be obvious to the client why y o u w a n t c e r t a i n p l a n t s grouped together, b u t if you s a y t h a t this grouping will be m u t u a l l y beneficial to each plant a n d there would be l e s s risk of d i s e a s e , then the client b e g i n s to u n d e r s t a n d the importance of design.

site a n a l y s i s - listing rainfall, temp e r a t u r e e x t r e m e s a n d other a s pects of the climate, soil t y p e s , e x i s t i n g v e g e t a t i o n , topography (for example, granite rock outcrops, slope of land and location of water courses) a n d general overview of the property.

priorities. You should list, in order of priority, the sequence to implem e n t the design. Identify the essential s t a g e s , such a s water harvesting, which m u s t occur early in the implementation process, and continue to list other important s t e p s to the l e a s t import a n t one.

recommendations. A detailed list of c h a n g e s to v a r i o u s p a r t s of the property a r e given. Y o u m i g h t choose b r o a d h e a d i n g s such as south side of block, north side, house site, orchard area, woodlot, zone 5, e a s t e r n hill slope and summer grazing area. E x p l a i n a n d elaborate on these recommendations, including listing t h i n g s t h a t do not need to be c h a n g e d on the property. You need to explain why you a r e m a k i n g certain recommendations. 40

e s t i m a t e d costs for v a r i o u s s t a g e s of development.

p l a n t list. T h i s contains details of s u i t a b l e s p e c i e s a p p r o p r i a t e for t h a t climate and soil type. It should not list illegal or hard-to-get species.

background information. Depending on client knowledge, you m i g h t include some information a b o u t


ecological a n d p e r m a c u l t u r a l principles, such a s g u i l d s , s t a c k i n g a n d succession. •

s t r a t e g i e s for d e a l i n g with, or generating, income. P e r h a p s the client h a s little financial resources, b u t m a y h a v e time a n d skills. An early, s m a l l income from activities on the site, such as seed collection a n d p l a n t production, could be d e s i g n e d in. T h e client m a y be in full-time employment off the site a n d w a n t s to reduce that. C a n you plan to move t h e m t o w a r d s part-time work with an on-site income? Is there an opportunity for co-operative work in the local community? W h a t does the client h a v e to offer in e x c h a n g e ?

•

Management phase Ongoing monitoring a n d review a r e essential, as unexpected i m p a c t s on soil fertility, p l a n t and a n i m a l h e a l t h a n d water quality can be noticed a n d design modifications m a d e . It is i m p o r t a n t to develop a m a n a g e m e n t plan which is reviewed a n d changed a s the need a r i s e s . T h e r e a r e m a n y w a y s to monitor c h a n g e s t h a t occur on the property. T h i s can involve periodically t a k i n g a series of photog r a p h s or t r a n s p a r e n c i e s (slides) which will depict growth a n d c h a n g e in trees, a n d general development. Records of acidity (pH) a n d salinity levels in soils, d a m s , bores a n d other w a t e r w a y s can be k e p t a n d e x a m i n e d for trends. T h e d a t a you collect from t h e s e t y p e s of activities will enable you to a d j u s t the design s t r a t e g i e s for t h e s e particular a r e a s . T h i s p h a s e also includes d e s i g n implementation or execution which is covered next.

m a i n t e n a n c e of property. T h i s includes information about the ongoi n g care needed for p l a n t s and animals.

Implementing a design B u i l d i n g g a r d e n s costs money. Too often we try to do too much too soon. We run out of energy, e n t h u s i a s m a n d money, a n d then time, to m a i n t a i n the g a r d e n . S t a r t off s m a l l , a n d when a p a r t i c u l a r a r e a is set up, then move on a n d develop a n d build more g a r d e n s .

Y o u m a y mention the particular nitrogen-fixing a c a c i a s (wattles) t h a t you h a v e included in the design (which will live for only eight to ten y e a r s a n d thus m a y h a v e to be replaced); when they should a d d m a n u r e or mulch to growing plants; or how they can organically deal with fruit fly or other p e s t s ; how v e g e t a b l e s a r e to be replaced once they a r e h a r v e s t e d ; and what types of h u s b a n d r y g o a t s or sheep need. •

Work within your b u d g e t a n d plan to t a k e a few y e a r s to i m p l e m e n t your design. S t a r t slowly from your h o u s e - work outw a r d s from one zone to another. Cost out each s t e p or you m a y be d i s a p pointed and frustrated t h a t you cannot complete the project b e c a u s e you h a v e run out of funds. T h i s i d e a of s t a r t i n g small a n d slowly p r o g r e s s i n g cannot be over-emphasised.

resources. W h a t r e s o u r c e s does the local community offer? T h i s includes people, who h a v e particular expertise, such as d a m building or k n o w l e d g e o f soil c o n d i t i o n i n g s t r a t e g i e s , a n d n u r s e r i e s where p l a n t s can be obtained.

T h e implementation t i m e s c a l e should be b a s e d on economic reality - w h a t you or the client can afford to do as t i m e p a s s e s . Don't be too ambitious. S t a r t s m a l l a n d m e e t with success. Then slowly e x p a n d as more resources, such a s time, m a t e r i a l s ,

Y o u can a l s o list free sources of mulch, building m a t e r i a l s or compost. R e c o m m e n d e d r e a d i n g a n d references can be included. 41


collecting and germination. Y o u m a y need literally t h o u s a n d s of p l a n t s per h e c t a r e . Implementing a design, even in a s m a l l b a c k y a r d , can be d a u n t i n g for some people. A lot of h u m a n - h o u r s and h u m a n energy h a s to be expended to j u s t build a few g a r d e n s .

money a n d energy, become a v a i l a b l e . T h e order i s : look after what we h a v e first, restore what we can next and then finally introduce new e l e m e n t s into the s y s t e m . When e s t a b l i s h i n g a property the followi n g a r e the sorts of things you need to do, not n e c e s s a r i l y in the order of priority: •

water supply - earthworks, d a m s , s w a l e s , r o a d s a n d d r a i n s . Priorities include the development of good w a t e r a n d a p p r o p r i a t e earthworks such a s d r a i n a g e , d a m s and the foundations for the h o u s e . E a r t h w o r k s a r e generally costly. T h e r e is a high cost for any sort of machinery a n d an operator, so plan to do as m a n y j o b s on one day as you can.

T h i s is where friends can be handy. Working with other people h a s m a n y benefits and more can be accomplished while working as a t e a m . You s o m e t i m e s h e a r of the term "synergy" when g r o u p s of people work together. T h i s is where the s u m of the whole is g r e a t e r than the s u m of the individual p a r t s . In other words, only a certain a m o u n t can be done by yourself, w h e r e a s working with someone else accomplishes more than two individual efforts. In e s s e n c e , one p l u s one e q u a l s three. T h e r e is a g r e a t e r s e n s e of satisfaction when you share the journey with others a n d the actions of m a n y people can inspire you to continue to grow. Remember, d e s i g n e r s do not h a v e to be e x p e r t s on building h o u s e s a n d d a m s , identifying p l a n t s and a n i m a l s , or driving heavy machinery.

For e x a m p l e , dig the power line to the shed a n d holes for a s m a l l pond or d a m , level the ground for drivew a y s , clear fallen trees, dig draina g e lines to move water and so on. •

access roads and paths.

s t r u c t u r e s - shelter. While machinery is a v a i l a b l e for earthworks do the h o u s e a n d shed p a d s .

shelterbelts a n d w i n d b r e a k s for gardens, orchards and planted areas.

e n e r g y - p r o d u c i n g or h a r v e s t i n g structures.

plant procurement - nurseries, seed

My notes

Things I need to find out

42

A designer only h a s to e x a m i n e the interrelationships between things and see possibilities to promote both biodiversity a n d productivity.


5

Basic tools for the designer

A designer's field tool kit Every consultant n e e d s to h a v e some basic e q u i p m e n t that allows m e a s u r e m e n t of land size, acidity a n d salinity in water and soil, soil characteristics, slope a n d property orientation. H e r e is a brief s u m m a r y of some of t h e s e types of items. Tape measure You need at l e a s t two t a p e m e a s u r e s . One, up to 10 m, for m o s t u r b a n b a c k y a r d m e a s u r e m e n t s , a n d one a b o u t 100 m for small a c r e a g e p a d d o c k s a n d some rural properties. I find a 30 m t a p e very useful. This allows you to m e a s u r e urban property layout easily.

Figure 5.2 A longer tape measure is an essential toolkit item for larger properties. odometer reading. Alternatively, u s e a dumpy level, which is described later, to calculate the distance. R u r a l d e s i g n s a r e more concept-orientated and it doesn't m a t t e r if you a r e five m e t r e s out - you j u s t p l a n t a n e x t r a tree. Piece of string A 2 0 0 m roll of string, with k n o t s every metre, can be u s e d in open paddock situations. T h e string b e c o m e s t a n g l e d a n d c a u g h t on p l a n t s if you try to u s e it in someone's u r b a n b a c k y a r d . T h e only other problem is t h a t you h a v e to m a r k the k n o t s somehow, so that you know w h a t the m e a s u r e m e n t is. T h e e a s i e s t way I've seen is to p a i n t the knot a n d p a r t of the s u r r o u n d i n g s t r i n g p a r t i c u l a r colours. For e x a m p l e , black for the first ten m e t r e s , red for the n e x t ten m e t r e s , a n d so on.

Figure 5.1 Small tape measures are ideal for small, urban backyards. You don't u s u a l l y m e a s u r e p a d d o c k s for rural d e s i g n s . F a r m e r s normally know the size of p a d d o c k s , or you can drive along the fenceline and record the

Figure 5.3 A knotted piece of string can be used as a substitute tape measure. 43


K n o w i n g the s e q u e n c e of colours will enable you to calculate the distance. For e x a m p l e , it m i g h t be the blue section a n d knot n u m b e r five along. T h i s m a y t r a n s l a t e to a d i s t a n c e of 85 m. I prefer to simply p a c e out the d i m e n s i o n s of p a d d o c k s . If you practice your p a c i n g s t e p s along a long t a p e m e a s u r e you can work out w h a t d i s t a n c e you cover each step. I would recommend you practice a step of one m e t r e . After a while, your p a c e s become quite accurate, and certainly a c c u r a t e enough for you to determ i n e d i s t a n c e s a n d draw a general m a p of a site a r e a . Penetrometer

h a n d trowel or small, portable shovel helps you to collect soil s a m p l e s for a n a l y s i s of p H , salinity, clay content a n d other soil characteristics.

A penetrometer allows you to g a u g e the depth of soil l a y e r s to p a r e n t rock, as well as s o m e indication about soil compaction. Y o u can m a k e a penetrometer from a one m e t r e length of 6 to 8 mm steel rod. B e n d one end for a h a n d l e a n d sharpen a point on the other end, so that it easily pene t r a t e s the soil.

Magnetic or directional compass Every design should contain information about orientation. Normally, this includes a symbol m a r k i n g the direction of north or south (wherever the m a i n sun direction is, so t h a t the property is sun-facing). Knowledge of property orientation allows e a s i e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of wind a n d storm directions, a s these a r e a l w a y s e x p r e s s e d in reference to the c o m p a s s points.

Figure 5.5 Soil samples are often collected in the field and examined later.

Generally, if you h a v e difficulty p u s h i n g d o w n w a r d s it m a y indicate a h a r d pan clay layer below the surface or heavy soil. Rock is e a s y to determine - you p u s h down a n d it j u s t stops. S o m e t i m e s , you can h e a r the clunk as it h i t s rock. Small, folding shovel or hand trowel If you s u s p e c t h e a v y soil, h a r d p a n probl e m s or rock, y o u can simply dig a s m a l l hole a n d h a v e a look. F u r t h e r m o r e , a

Figure 5.6 A compass indicates the direction and orientation of a property. pH test kit or meter

Figure 5.4 A penetrometer permits you to determine some subsurface conditions. 44

There is a good r a n g e of k i t s a n d m e t e r s , which test the level of acidity or alkalinity in soils and water, on the m a r k e t . Generally, you get what you p a y for (where h a v e you h e a r d t h a t before?), so buy a decent kit that you know will be a c c u r a t e . For the serious consultant or designer, it is worth the expense to buy an electronic


meter - especially since you can usually buy a v a r i e t y of pH a n d salinity meters m e a s u r i n g a full r a n g e of levels a n d concentrations.

Surveying the landscape A variety of m e t h o d s a r e u s e d to m e a s u r e slopes and levels. T h e s i m p l e s t is the B u n y i p or h o s e level, while more elaborate i n s t r u m e n t s include a theodolite a n d p l a n e table. Professional d e s i g n e r s u s u a l l y h a v e a dumpy level as a m i n i m u m . While water levels, such as the B u n y i p level, a r e very

You will a l s o need a n u m b e r of sterile bottles or j a r s , with screw-top lids, to hold soil a n d water s a m p l e s . Stick-on l a b e l s or m a r k i n g p e n s can be u s e d to m a r k the bottles with s a m p l e d e t a i l s .

Figure 5.7 Electronic meters are more accurate, but more expensive, than powder test kits. Salinity meter T h e s e hand-held m e t e r s a r e similar to the pH meter. However, m o s t only m e a s u r e a particular r a n g e of total dissolved s a l t ( T D S ) levels a n d you will, therefore, need to buy the one/s you require. Generally, a meter t h a t m e a s u r e s within the r a n g e 0 to 20 m S / c m is s u i t a b l e for m o s t applications. S e a w a t e r i s 3 5 m S / c m a n d m o s t land properties h a v e T D S r e a d i n g s in soil or w a t e r much lower than this. (Note: m S / cm m e a n s m i l l i s i e m e n s per centimetre which is a m e a s u r e of the electrical conductivity of a solution. 1 m S / c m = 5 5 0 ppm = 38.5 grains/gallon.)

accurate, their u s e in d e t e r m i n i n g contours and slopes can be slow, especially over long d i s t a n c e s or if a l a r g e n u m b e r of points h a v e to be m e a s u r e d . T h e following brief descriptions of i n s t r u m e n t s t h a t m e a s u r e distance a n d slope are listed in order of their increasing complexity a n d price. Bunyip level A clear plastic tubing or hose, or at l e a s t one m e t r e of clear tubing at each end of a g a r d e n hose, enables levels to be determined. T h e hose is mostly filled with water, with enough s p a c e in both e n d s to allow for water fluctuation. L o o s e c a p s ,

Figure 5.8 A salinity meter allows you to monitor both soil and water samples. 45


corks or h o s e c l a m p s can be u s e d to seal or pinch the e n d s of the h o s e so t h a t w a t e r is held within the t u b i n g while it is being moved around. F u r t h e r m o r e , u s i n g a h o s e with a bore d i a m e t e r of a b o u t 12 mm (half an inch) p e r m i t s f a s t e r e q u a l i s a t i o n of the w a t e r levels t h a n a s m a l l e r internal di­ a m e t e r of s a y 10 mm (three-eights of an inch).

An "A" frame level An "A" f r a m e level is very h a n d y for s m a l l a r e a s such a s s u b u r b a n b a c k y a r d s . It is m a d e u s i n g two long pieces (2 m) of timber a n d one shorter piece for the cross­ b a r (1 m ) . A builder's level is s t r a p p e d or tied to the crossbar. One leg is swivelled to a new

Figure 5.9 A simple Bunyip level made from plastic tubing. Water s e e k s its own level. Hence, point A a n d point B, in the above d i a g r a m , a r e at the s a m e vertical height. When applied to a slope, house s a n d p a d or wall, the a m o u n t of fall can be d e t e r m i n e d over the d i s t a n c e between points A a n d B.

position such t h a t the air bubble in the level r e m a i n s in the middle. Both l e g s a r e then at the s a m e vertical position. An "A" f r a m e can be pivoted a r o u n d s h r u b s a n d other s t r u c t u r e s , so it h a s t h i s a d v a n ­ t a g e over conventional telescopic levels.

Figure 5.10 One leg is pivoted around the other. Points A and Β are at the same vertical height when the bubble is central. 46


Dumpy level

the top r e a d i n g w a s 1.2 m a n d the bottom

Dumpy levels are u s e d for g r e a t e r accu­ racy. T h e s e a r e telescopic levels t h a t a r e mounted level on a tripod. A staff is u s e d for r e a d i n g s , a n d m a r k i n g s on the view­ ing l e n s p e r m i t not only m e a s u r e m e n t s taken a t h u n d r e d s o f m e t r e s d i s t a n c e , b u t permit the a c t u a l d i s t a n c e to the staff to be calculated. You g e t both fall or r i s e a n d distance a t the s a m e time.

r e a d i n g w a s 0.7 m, then the difference is 0.5 m. M u l t i p l i n g this by one h u n d r e d (this is u n i v e r s a l for all such levels) gives a d i s t a n c e of 0.5 x 100 = 50 m. T h e staff is fifty m e t r e s a w a y from the level. More

expensive

equipment

Other more expensive s u r v e y i n g equip­ ment, such a s the p l a n e table a n d theodolite, can be u s e d if y o u w a n t information

Figure 5.11 The difference between A and Β gives the amount of rise in the slope. The viewing l e n s u s u a l l y h a s three crosslines. T h e middle one is the d e a d centre a n d this is u s e d to r e a d the staff height. Above a n d below the centre line are two shorter lines. B y r e a d i n g the staff m e a s ­ u r e m e n t s for t h e s e lines a n d calculating the difference between them, the horizon­ tal d i s t a n c e to the observer holding the staff can be d e t e r m i n e d . F o r e x a m p l e , if

a b o u t slope, direction a n d d i s t a n c e . A simple p l a n e table can be m a d e u s i n g a t i m b e r board on top of a stool or s t a n d . A l a r g e , 3 6 0 ° protractor is m o u n t e d on the b o a r d , so t h a t m e a s u r e m e n t s of a n g l e s to objects can be m a d e . T h i s tool is ideal for quick, overview p l a n s for a design, as it p e r m i t s y o u to m e a s u r e the d i s t a n c e a n d angle of a n y object to a

Figure 5.12 The viewing lens has three cross-lines. These help determine the distance to an object. Multiply the difference between the top and bottom lines by 100 to give the distance to the staff. 47


fixed point. By r e d r a w i n g on a sheet of g r a p h p a p e r , the plan will show whatever objects a r e fixed for a design. A theodolite is u s e d by professional surveyors a n d is not d i s c u s s e d here. You would u s e a theodolite if you were surveyi n g a l a r g e a r e a for contour b a n k s or for a village development.

Figure 5.14 A scale ruler is a must for designers.

Figure 5.13 A simple plane table is a useful design aid. Light box

A designer's drawing tool kit D r a w i n g a design requires some skills a n d some tools. T h e s e include a r a n g e of p e n s and pencils, other stationery items, a n d m a t h e m a t i c a l a i d s such a s protractors and a d r a w i n g c o m p a s s . You don't n e e d an expensive drafting table or a d r a w i n g board, although both of t h e s e would be very handy. S o m e of the i t e m s for a s t a n d a r d toolkit a r e listed below. Scale ruler D r a w i n g s should a l w a y s be done to scale. M a n y urban d e s i g n s can be drawn on an A4 or A3 sheet u s i n g a scale such as 1:100. T h i s scale m e a n s t h a t one centimetre on the d r a w i n g r e p r e s e n t s 100 cm, or one metre, on the property. R u r a l d e s i g n s u s e a l a r g e r scale. For exa m p l e , 1:1000 or more, depending on the actual size of the l a n d you a r e drawing, is a common scale. A scale ruler h a s v a r i o u s s c a l e s already imprinted on the ruler edges, a n d u s i n g one s a v e s time a n d lengthy calculations of the sizes of objects a n d d i s t a n c e s which h a v e to be placed onto the drawing. 48

T h i s is a box, normally wooden, which h a s a clear or t r a n s l u c e n t g l a s s top. A fluorescent tube or incandescent light globe (40W) is h o u s e d under the g l a s s . When it is switched on, the light s h i n e s through the g l a s s so t h a t copies of design d r a w i n g s can be easily traced. T h i s box is a l s o h a n d y for viewing slides. J u s t tip the slides over the g l a s s surface a n d you will be able to view m a n y slides at once. T h i s allows you to quickly sort a n d order the s l i d e s for a presentation. Stationery items K e e p a good r a n g e of s t a n d a r d stationery items such as lead pencils, e r a s e r , coloured pencils, s h a r p e n e r a n d fine felt tip pens. Pens a n d coloured pencils a r e u s e d for s h a d i n g a n d m a r k i n g different regions of the design. M a k e s u r e t h a t you h a v e a s t r a i g h t , unchipped ruler, a clean e r a s e r , a new sharpener a n d a few felt tip p e n s for labelling and inking in the main design lines.


Figure 5.15 Alight box allows you to make copies of basic maps and designs.

Figure 5.16 Some of the stationery items you will need.

Figure 5.17 A protractor and compass are always used in design work. 49


Mathematical drawing aids You will often need a few drawing aids. T h e s e include a protractor, M a t h o m a t ™ a n d drawing c o m p a s s . Protractors m e a s u r e a n g l e s , and the skill of u s i n g a protractor and a compass is essential in design work. You h a v e to be able to draw in slope (on elevation drawings), various s h a p e s for buildings, rainwater t a n k s and other structures, and m a r k out sector angles. Mathomat™, M a t h m a s t e r ™ and Mathaid™ are common commercial mathemati-

cal drawing a i d s which contain a r a n g e of s h a p e s , such as circles, s q u a r e s and rectangles, as well as a protractor, curved surfaces and ruler. They are invaluable for design work. Drawing paper Designers need a reasonable r a n g e of graph paper, tracing paper and normal white bond art paper. S i z e s up to A2 (twice A3 size) a r e useful, but you can get by with j u s t A3 and A4 paper sizes for most design work.

Figure 5.18 Make sure you possess a range of paper sizes for design work. My notes

Things I need to find out

50


6

Basic principles of garden building and management farming strategies. Organic and biodynamic food m a y not be produced in l a r g e quantities, b u t the quality is far better a n d more n o u r i s h i n g t h a n chemically produced food. T h e secret to h e a l t h y food is healthy soil.

Introduction This is not a chapter about how to build sheet-mulched g a r d e n b e d s . While it does have s o m e h i n t s a b o u t g a r d e n building techniques, the chapter focuses on design principles such a s i n t e g r a t e d p e s t m a n agement, s t a c k i n g a n d g u i l d s , a s well a s d i s c u s s i n g the importance of soil. We h a v e a l r e a d y d i s c u s s e d how a p e r m a c u l t u r e design is a combination of techniques a n d s t r a t e g i e s - how we build the g a r d e n s a n d why we p l a c e t h e m there. K e e p i n g this in mind, we should now realise t h a t the g a r d e n a r e a s should b e : •

m a i n l y perennial - mostly h e r b s a n d some v e g e t a b l e s , such a s eggp l a n t and globe artichoke, which last several years.

self-perpetuating - allowing n a t u r e to t a k e its own course by letting some v e g e t a b l e s self-seed each y e a r . T h i s m a y not be possible in very s m a l l g a r d e n s .

diversified - place in the s y s t e m as m a n y different p l a n t s a n d a n i m a l s as p o s s i b l e . Diversity is the key to successful g a r d e n i n g a n d forage systems.

Building healthy soil The nature of soil A plant's ability to w a r d off d i s e a s e is strongly dependent on the h e a l t h of the soil. Soil is alive! H e a l t h y soil contains a good b a l a n c e of nutrients a n d e l e m e n t s , living o r g a n i s m s , h u m u s (decaying m a t ter), water, air a n d soil p a r t i c l e s . T h i s allows p l a n t s to obtain the n e c e s s a r y s u b s t a n c e s they need for growth, r e p a i r a n d d i s e a s e immunity. T h e m i n i n g of m i n e r a l s from the soil by p l a n t s and the s u b s e q u e n t r e p l a c e m e n t a n d cycling of t h e s e m i n e r a l s , with the creation of productive h e a l t h y soil, is one of the key design s t r a t e g i e s in p e r m a culture. T h e soil is the k e y to successfully growing food crops. Soil is a combination of different particle s i z e s . It is a m i x t u r e of s a n d , silt a n d clay, the differences of which a r e shown in the following table.

T h e g a r d e n b e d s w e build a r e organic ones. T h i s m e a n s t h a t w e don't advocate or u s e chemical s p r a y s for p e s t s , we u s e compost a n d mulch a s n a t u r a l fertilisers for our growing p l a n t s , a n d we p r a c t i s e sound garden -management and husb a n d r y to m i n i m i s e d i s e a s e . O r g a n i c a n d biodynamic f a r m i n g s y s t e m s h a v e been shown to be viable, although they m a y not exceed or m a t c h the yields of traditional chemical f a r m i n g methods. O r g a n i c produce u s u a l l y gives a higher return for the crop, a n d with lower input costs, t h e s e food production techniques a r e seen a s a p p r o p r i a t e g a r d e n i n g a n d

T h e b e s t soil for g a r d e n s is loam which contains a b o u t 2 0 % clay, 4 0 % silt a n d 4 0 % s a n d . L o a m also contains organic m a t t e r . T h i s is e s s e n t i a l for s u s t a i n a b l e fertility, as it i m p r o v e s the structure, field capacity, e x c h a n g e capacity a n d m a n y other f e a t u r e s of the soil. Table 6.1 The classification of soil particles. Particle

51

Size (mm)

clay

< 0.002

silt

> 0.002 < 0.02

sand

> 0.02 < 2.0


elements for p l a n t s in the soil. F i g u r e 6.2 shows how zinc a n d calcium ions, for exa m p l e , a r e exchanged with hydrogen ions from the p l a n t roots.

Figure 6.1 The composition of different soil types. C l a y soil is u s u a l l y h e a v y , becomes waterlogged easily, a n d a n y holes d u g for p l a n t s create wells full of water which eventually kills m o s t t r e e s . C l a y is i m p o r t a n t in holding a n d then r e l e a s i n g w a t e r a n d nutrients to p l a n t s , b u t too much can create poor soil structure, depending on the chemical n a t u r e of the clay. For e x a m ple, if the clay forms an i m p e r m e a b l e barrier, it w a t e r l o g s easily. However, if the clay forms a crumbly structure the soil m a y be rich in n u t r i e n t s . It m i g h t be all right to s a y t h a t you can e a s i l y c h a n g e soil, b u t if you h a v e lots of clay the e x p e n s e of a d d i n g g y p s u m or s a n d or b r e a k i n g the clay up can be prohibitive, d e p e n d i n g on the local availability of g y p s u m or the a r e a t h a t n e e d s treatment. S m a l l a r e a s where the h o u s e vegetable g a r d e n s a r e can b e treated, b u t l a r g e a r e a s would b e impractical. C l a y h a s a high cation e x c h a n g e capacity. Ions loosely held by the clay particles a r e e x c h a n g e d with others from the surrounding soil a n d p l a n t m a t e r i a l . T h e exchange capacity of the clay depends on factors such as the soil p H , the t y p e s of ions held by the clay a n d the a m o u n t of organic m a t t e r present. F o r e x a m p l e , in highly acidic conditions (low pH) iron a n d alum i n i u m ions a r e r e l e a s e d by the clay, resulting in potentially toxic levels of these 52

Figure 6.2 Clay binds positive ions (cations) strongly to its surfaces. These cations can be progressively released to plants by exchange with hydrogen ions. S a n d doesn't h a v e t h e s e cation exchange properties anywhere n e a r the s a m e extent. It can be g u t l e s s , with low waterholding capacity a n d high leaching. S a n d h a s good d r a i n a g e . T h e l a r g e r particles, a n d l a r g e pores between t h e s e particles, allow water a n d air to move through it easily. S i l t h a s a b a l a n c e of the properties of s a n d a n d clay, with r e a s o n a b l e water-holding and water-releasing ability. T h e other major component of soil is organic matter. L a n d owners often h a v e to work to increase the organic m a t t e r content in the soil. Once the soil b e c o m e s "alive" a g a i n with the proliferation of organic m a t t e r a n d o r g a n i s m s , such a s b a c teria, fungi a n d earthworms, then nutrients become a v a i l a b l e to p l a n t s , p l a n t s a r e healthier a n d r e s i s t d i s e a s e , a n d crop production i n c r e a s e s . F u r t h e r m o r e , more water can be stored in the soil. Even s a n d y soils store about 0.8 mm of water in 1 cm of soil. However, soils with high organic m a t t e r can store 3.5 mm of water for every centimetre of soil, so there is a very good c a s e for building up our soils with h u m u s a n d organic matter.


Why mulch? Mulching is one way to improve soil fertility which m i m i c s n a t u r a l forest s y s t e m s . Organic m u l c h e s of chipped p l a n t m a t e rial, for e x a m p l e , can be s p r e a d about 5 cm thick over the g a r d e n b e d s . T h e mulch slowly b r e a k s down and the action of micro-organisms a n d macro-invertebrates, such as e a r t h w o r m s , r e l e a s e s nutrients to the soil.

h a s s u s t a i n e d the fertility of r a i n forests for t h o u s a n d s of y e a r s due to its powerful chelating properties. T h a t i s , n u t r i e n t s a r e held within the h u m i c acid s t r u c t u r e a n d t h u s a r e m a d e more readily a v a i l a b l e to p l a n t s . A l a r g e r a n g e of mulches is u s u a l l y available. E a c h h a s its own p a r t i c u l a r u s e a n d you should u s e the mulch b e s t suited for the job. For e x a m p l e , if you w a n t to get rid of a lot of invasive weeds, then b l a c k plastic or some other lightproof m e m b r a n e is ideal, while to cover an e s t a b l i s h e d g a r d e n bed, full of h e r b s arid v e g e t a b l e s , then only a p l a n t - b a s e d mulch, such as shredded tree p r u n i n g s , should be u s e d . Wherever the ground is p e r m a n e n t sod or mulched the soil structure improves. However, where the surface is tilled or left b a r e by u s i n g herbicides, soil structure becomes u n s t a b l e , with low porosity a n d higher r i s k s of erosion a n d d e g r a d a t i o n .

Mulch protects the soil, k e e p s the soil cool, allows g r e a t e r w a t e r infiltration a n d reduces water l o s s by evaporation. Mulch also p r e v e n t s erosion d u r i n g thunderstorms with torrential rain, and the lower t e m p e r a t u r e s u n d e r the mulch keep microbes a n d e a r t h w o r m s happy. T h e soil should a l w a y s be covered, a n d a r e a s for growing living mulches, such a s m u s t a r d and clover, should be considered. Mulches can be m a d e of both living a n d non-living material (organic and inorganic, respectively). R o c k s a n d p l a s t i c can be u s e d to cover the ground, b u t mulches of organic m a t t e r , including n e w s p a p e r a n d cardboard, a n d s h r e d d e d p l a n t m a t e r i a l , are much better in m o s t c a s e s . Organic mulches a r e b e s t as they will, in turn, break down a n d provide g r e a t e r levels of nutrients for p l a n t s . ( U s i n g rocks as a mulch is a d e s i g n s t r a t e g y in d e s e r t regions.) T h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t contribution of organic m u l c h e s is the lignin and other s u b s t a n c e s t h a t they contain which a r e transformed into h u m i c acid. It is the continuous production of humic acid that

Figure 6.4 Water dropping onto bare ground causes soil to be lost by erosion. Mulch protects the soil and minimises topsoil loss.

Figure 6.3 Weed-free, deep litter leaf fall from Acacia saligna. Mulches reduce weed growth. 53


p l e : in Western A u s t r a l i a , sorrel (Rumex spp.) a n d s o u r s o b (Oxalis spp.) s u g g e s t acidic soil; blady g r a s s (Imperata cylindrica) or b a r l e y g r a s s (Hordeum leporinum) s u g g e s t s a l t c o n t a m i n a t e d soil; while c a s t o r oil p l a n t s indicate recently cleared l a n d a n d b r a c k e n fern a recently b u r n t a r e a . T h e following table s u m m a ­ r i s e s s o m e of the p l a n t s u s e d as soil indi­ cators.

Mulch is g r e a t for a l m o s t every s i t u a t i o n . However, a m u l c h layer on the g a r d e n b e d s in frost-prone a r e a s d u r i n g the colder m o n t h s i s not a p p r o p r i a t e , a s w e h a v e d i s c u s s e d in C h a p t e r 3. M u l c h p r e v e n t s h e a t l o s s from the soil b u t frost t e n d s to s e t t l e on the m u l c h a n d p l a n t s in the g a r d e n . B a r e g r o u n d is a b e t t e r a l t e r n a ­ tive for t h e s e t i m e s b e c a u s e h e a t can radi­ a t e from the soil surface at night, mini­ m i s i n g frost d a m a g e . Soil conditioning and treatments P e r m a c u l t u r e i s a b o u t r e s t o r i n g a n d reju­ v e n a t i n g the l a n d , not m i n i n g it. E v e n t h o u g h p e r m a c u l t u r e concerns i t s e l f with holistic, i n t e g r a t e d d e s i g n , it is not impor­ t a n t to i n c l u d e every known s t r a t e g y for i m p r o v i n g t h e soil in the d e s i g n , nor could every i d e a b e p u t into practice. H o w e v e r , s o m e t i m e s soil n e e d s t o b e c h a n g e d . Y o u m a y often notice t h a t par­ t i c u l a r w e e d s a r e flourishing where you don't w a n t t h e m to be, or your p l a n t s look yellow a n d w e a k .

Once an a s s e s s m e n t of the soil h a s b e e n m a d e y o u can then decide how the soil n e e d s to be conditioned or t r e a t e d . Soil conditioning is the gentle c h a n g e s y o u m a k e to the composition, n a t u r e a n d struc­ ture of the soil. F r e q u e n t l y , it involves loosening the soil and/or a d d i n g a m e n d ­ m e n t s to c h a n g e acidity, a l k a l i n i t y or chemical composition. A full soil a n a l y s i s of the t y p e s of m i n e r a l s p r e s e n t is the only m e a n s of a c c u r a t e soil n u t r i e n t a m e l i o r a ­ tion a n d b a l a n c e . Soil conditioning c a n occur by s e v e r a l methods. For small urban properties, a g a r d e n fork p u s h e d into the soil a n d moved slightly to a n d fro will c a u s e air a n d w a t e r to freely enter the soil. Alternatively, deeprooted p l a n t s , s u c h a s d a i k o n r a d i s h , comfrey a n d dandelion, or l a r g e r t r e e s p e -

T h e s e w e e d s a n d m a n y other p l a n t s can be u s e d as i n d i c a t o r s of soil h e a l t h . T h e i r p r e s e n c e s u g g e s t s t h a t the soil could be acid, wet, clay-based, s a n d y , n u t r i e n t de­ ficient or s o m e other condition. F o r e x a m ­

Table 6.2 Plants as soil indicators. Soil

Plant low Ν

Clover (Trifolium spp.) Salad

burnet

indication

(Poterium

sanguisorba)

a l k a l i n e soil

F a t h e n (Atriplex hastata)

h i g h fertility

S t i n g i n g nettle

cultivated soil, high fertility

Sheep

sorrel

(Urtica

urens)

s a n d , acid soil, low in m a g n e s i u m

(Rumex acetosella)

cultivated, wet, clay soil

P l a n t a i n (Plantago spp.) Wild

radish

(Rapranus

raphanistrum)

low fertility

Dock (Rumex s p p .)

wet, acid soil, low in m a g n e s i u m

H o r s e t a i l (Equisetum spp.)

wet, clay, acid soil

Bracken

fern

(Pteridium

aquifolium)

low Κ a n d P, acid soil

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

cultivated soil, clay

B a r l e y g r a s s (Hordeum leporinum)

salty soil, w a t e r t a b l e n e a r surface

54


cies, such as Acacia spp., will h a v e the s a m e effect, b u t slower. Finally, let e a r t h w o r m s do the j o b for you. Place a layer of compost or mulch on the soil surface a n d let the e a r t h w o r m s do the rest. E a r t h w o r m s are n a t u r e ' s g a r d e n e r s . In s o m e countries, such as those in the U K , Europe and America, large animals such a s moles a n d gophers, and insect l a r v a e , s u p p l e m e n t earthworm activity by their burrowing h a b i t s . In the drier a r e a s of A u s t r a l i a (and in some other countries) where e a r t h w o r m s a r e seldom found, a n t s replace e a r t h w o r m s in the ecosystem. A n t s fill an important niche in the cycling of matter. For s m a l l a c r e a g e a n d b r o a d scale f a r m s , mechanical aeration with chisel ploughs (for e x a m p l e , Wallace plough and Yeom a n ' s plough), or even a s t u m p j u m p scarifier, can be used. T h e s e slice through

Figure 6.5 For suburban backyards, a garden fork or deep-rooted plants help improve aeration and drainage.

the soil, cutting deeper each season, breaking up the compacted soil without turning it over like a conventional disc plough. Mechanical machinery should not be u s e d on steep slopes. I n s t e a d , the u s e of deeprooted trees, such as pine and oak, will improve soil structure. T h e s e types of trees create soil while others, such as eucalypts, deplete the soil of its nutrients. Ploughing should be done along the contours as p a r t of the keyline s y s t e m of l a n d m a n a g e m e n t , which is d i s c u s s e d in more detail in C h a p t e r 9. If you wanted to plant a tree shelterbelt you would m a k e only one run at the deeper cut (50 cm or more). Chisel ploughs can be u s e d , b u t it is more common to "rip" the ground to a depth of about one metre u s i n g a bulldozer, pulling one to three rip tynes. T h i s single, deep cut allows seedlings to become better established by sending down roots more easily in search of water. A s much a s possible, m i n i m u m tillage should be practised. Heavy machinery a n d l a r g e n u m b e r s of stock easily compact some types of soils a n d this needs to be examined. Unfortunately, m i n i m u m tilla g e often implies the u s e of herbicides. By planting clovers a n d other leguminous plants, a n d u s i n g crop and soil m a n a g e ment strategies, herbicides are not needed. Many farmers (and gardeners) plantgreen m a n u r e crops which a r e e a s y to grow in m o s t local conditions and which produce

Figure 6.6 Chisel ploughs are used, with increasing depth of cut over a couple of seasons, on both small and large farms. This improves aeration and drainage, breaks up compacted soil and permits plant roots to penetrate deeper into the soil. 55


large amounts of plant biomass. These p l a n t s can be t u r n e d into the soil to improve its quality, a n d i n c r e a s e nitrogen a n d other nutrient levels. Other t y p e s of p l a n t s , called cover or catch crops, t r a p nutrient run-off a n d protect the soil. T h e s e p l a n t s can be h a r v e s t e d , by s l a s h i n g for e x a m p l e , a n d u s e d as a source of mulch a n d for compost m a k i n g . T a b l e 6.3 l i s t s a few e x a m p l e s of g r e e n m a n u r e a n d cover crops which can be grown in p a r t i c u l a r seasons.

ing, chemical d a m a g e , over-burning, erosion a n d nutrient e x h a u s t i o n , so will the h u m a n society, which over-works the soil, collapse.

Integrated pest management Your g a r d e n should be a place of h a r m o n y between all of the elements in the s y s t e m . Why is it t h a t m a n y g a r d e n s a r e riddled with p e s t s a n d everything else h a s a feed of the v e g e t a b l e s you p l a n t e d ? Y o u never g e t to pick fresh fruit a n d v e g e t a b l e s , so you j u s t g i v e u p . S o u n d f a m i l i a r ? M a y b e i t is time to try i n t e g r a t e d p e s t m a n a g e ment.

Finally, there a r e soil additives t h a t you can u s e to a m e l i o r a t e the soil. Y o u m i g h t w a n t to c h a n g e acidic soil to become neutral, improv e d r a i n a g e a n d w a t e r and root penetration in clay, or provide p a r t i c u l a r n a t u r a l fertilisers to improve soil fertility.

I n t e g r a t e d p e s t m a n a g e m e n t is a holistic approach to p e s t control. It is u s e d in conjunction with the five principles for a

Table 6.3 Green manure and cover crops. Season

Plants

Summer

cow pea*, lablab*, J a p a n e s e millet, s o r g h u m , vetch*

Autumn

lupins*, canola, f a b a b e a n s * , o a t s , field p e a s * , barley

Winter

o a t s , canola, m u s t a r d , f a b a b e a n s * , barley, f i e l d p e a s * , rye-corn, sub-clovers*, m e d i c s *

Spring

cow pea*, vetch*, canola, s o r g h u m , pinto's peanut*, m u s t a r d , b u c k w h e a t , lupins*

* l e g u m e s . All other green m a n u r e crops listed in the table a r e non-legumes. F o r e x a m p l e , a r e a s n e a r coastal regions often h a v e s a n d s which a r e typically leached a n d low in nutrient content. S o m e t i m e s , t h e s e s a n d s lie over limestone a n d a r e t h u s a l k a l i n e (high p H ) . S o m e amelioration, by a d d i n g acidifying s u b s t a n c e s such a s s u l p h u r a n d slow-release fertilise r s to i m p r o v e the nitrogen a n d phosphor u s content, n e e d s consideration before p l a n t i n g is u n d e r t a k e n . S o m e of the more common soil t r e a t m e n t s a r e shown in T a b l e 6.4. M a n y others, such a s m a g n e s i t e a n d rock p h o s p h a t e , a r e not d i s c u s s e d . So i m p o r t a n t is the soil to our very wellbeing, t h a t I believe when the structure of our soils collapse b e c a u s e of over-stock56

healthy g a r d e n . T h e s e a r e : 1. Develop a s u s t a i n a b l e polyculture. T h e concept of s u s t a i n a b l e polycultures w a s d i s c u s s e d in C h a p t e r s one a n d two. B a s i c a l l y , we w a n t to grow a r a n g e of different p l a n t s t h a t h a v e different functions (niches) in the g a r d e n . F o r e x a m p l e , scented h e r b s and a t t r a c t i v e flowers can b e u s e d a s borders o f g a r d e n p a t h s . Y o u could consider b e d s which h a v e a s e a s o n a l theme such t h a t different b e d s flower in s p r i n g or s u m m e r , or a r r a n g e p l a n t s such t h a t there a r e a l w a y s s o m e in each bed which a r e flowering all-year-round. T h e s e h e r b s a n d p l a n t s m a y a l s o repel p e s t s a n d some will h a v e medicinal, culinary or other


Table 6.4 Soil amendments. Uses

Substance Gypsum

i m p r o v e s d r a i n a g e in clay a n d s u p p l i e s e s s e n t i a l protein-building " s u l p h a t e "

Dolomite

c h a n g e s acid soil to a l k a l i n e , contains calcium a n d magnesium

Limestone

c h a n g e s acid soil to a l k a l i n e , contains calcium

Rock d u s t

g r o u n d rock for sources of m o s t nutrient e l e m e n t s

Blood a n d bone

organic fertiliser, high nitrogen a n d p h o s p h o r u s content

S e a w e e d (kelps, not s e a grass)

good source of trace e l e m e n t s , all-round fertiliser, high p o t a s s i u m

Worm c a s t s

excellent, b a l a n c e d fertiliser

Sulphur

c h a n g e s b a s i c (alkaline) soil to acid

Wood a s h

from fires, c o n t a i n s high p o t a s s i u m l e v e l s (caution: very a l k a l i n e when fresh)

Lime

c h a n g e s acid soil to a l k a l i n e , contains calcium

Sheep and pig manures

high levels of nitrogen, p h o s p h o r u s a n d p o t a s s i u m

Cow a n d h o r s e m a n u r e s

slow r e l e a s e fertilisers, lower nitrogen content

Poultry a n d pigeon m a n u r e s

very high nitrogen content. Pigeon m a n u r e contains the h i g h e s t b r o a d s p e c t r u m of all trace elements

Bentonite

e x p a n s i v e clay to i n c r e a s e w a t e r holding capacity of soil a n d cation e x c h a n g e capacity of light s a n d y soils T h e r e a r e m a n y other w a y s in which complex e c o s y s t e m s a n d polycultures could be set up. Why not experiment! 2. U s e a diversity of s t r a t e g i e s .

u s e s . F l o w e r s a r e also i m p o r t a n t for a d u l t ichneumon w a s p s a n d hover flies which m u s t h a v e nectar before p a r a s i t i s i n g p e s t s with their l a r v a e . T h e orchard a r e a is another place where polycultures can be developed. For e x a m p l e , you could u n d e r p l a n t orchard species with:

S o m e p e s t s find food by the chemicals produced by the h o s t plant. If you p l a n t lots of the s a m e type of v e g e t a b l e s together ( a s a monoculture) then the chemical signal i s much stronger. T h i s m e a n s you a t t r a c t more p e s t s .

(a)

companion p l a n t s for p e s t control - such as n a s t u r t i u m s , t a n s y a n d r u e . P l a n t s should complement others nearby.

(b)

g r o u n d cover to s m o t h e r weeds a n d utilise the a r e a - such as sweet potato, m e l o n s a n d pumpkin.

G e t t i n g rid of g a r d e n p e s t s n a t u r a l l y is difficult. Y o u m u s t u s e a r a n g e of s t r a t e gies or y o u will be doomed to failure. T h e next few p a g e s i l l u s t r a t e s o m e i d e a s .

(c)

g r e e n m a n u r e crops to s l a s h or turn in - such as clover a n d m u s tard.

Organic g r o w e r s u s e crop rotation as a strategy against pests and disease. The rotation of a n n u a l crops limits p e s t a n d 57


Figure 6.7 Sawdust barriers discourage snails and slugs. d i s e a s e a t t a c k a n d r e d u c e s over-exploitation of p a r t i c u l a r n u t r i e n t s which would be m i n e d y e a r after y e a r from the s a m e soil. M a n y p e s t s h a v e p a r t of their life cycle in the soil. By c h a n g i n g the location of p a r t i c u l a r p l a n t s each y e a r you can d i s r u p t this cycle. For e x a m p l e , in the s a m e patch o f g r o u n d you m i g h t p l a n t c a r r o t s in the first year, then t o m a t o e s in the second year, then silverbeet in y e a r three, p o t a t o e s in y e a r four a n d so on. 3. Y o u don't h a v e too m a n y p e s t s - you h a v e n ' t got enough predators! A p h i d s m i g h t be a problem for lemons or r o s e s b u t they a r e seen a s a n opportunity

Figure 6.8 Grease on the base of trees discourages climbing insects. It is best to place the vaseline on a band rather than directly on the bark. the g a r d e n a n d let n a t u r e control the pests. 4. Don't allow any ... icides n e a r your garden. Pesticides, insecticides, fungicides a n d weedicides kill useful p r e d a t o r s a s well a s the p e s t s . Avoid them! T h e r e a r e lots of alternatives. For e x a m p l e , if mildew is a problem look for the c a u s e . Consider shifting the p l a n t into a breezeway or don't u s e s p r a y s or sprinklers for watering. If y o u h a v e to t r e a t a p l a n t for mildew u s e a "tea" of

Figure 6.9 Crop rotation breaks the life cycle of some garden pests. by l a d y b i r d s . T h i s philosophy e n s u r e s t h a t we s e e the solution, not the problem. We look at p r o b l e m s differently and, in this way, decide t h a t we don't h a v e a snail problem, b u t we do h a v e a duck deficiency. P e r m a c u l t u r i s t s d e s i g n for p r e d a t o r s . We develop s t r a t e g i e s to a t t r a c t p r e d a t o r s to 58

some combination of chamomile, s t i n g i n g nettle, comfrey or horsetail. All of t h e s e contain silica which inhibits the growth of fungus. 5. N u r t u r e the soil. G e t the p l a n t nitrition right a n d you eliminate m o s t d i s e a s e problems. It really i s a s simple a s that. Healthy p l a n t s living


Figure 6.10 Use natural predators to eliminate pests.

Figure 6.12 A pond also helps in pest control.

Figure 6.11 Umbelliferous plants attract predators to the garden. in healthy soil do not g e t d i s e a s e d easily and can w a r d off d i s e a s e . T h e r e is much we do not know a b o u t how p l a n t s r e s i s t d i s e a s e o r g a n i s m s , b u t we do know t h a t they can, given the correct m i n e r a l s a n d nutrients they require. Too often we forget t h a t in the living world, a n d in our own g a r d e n , we are the

Figure 6.13 Adequate pest control requires a range of different strategies.

Figure 6.14 Make pest traps in the garden. This is much better than spraying pesticides. 59


Figure 6.15 Companion planting ensures a healthy garden. m o s t s e r i o u s p e s t s . We compete for food with a whole h o s t of other a n i m a l s , a n d we m u s t b e c o m e s m a r t e r about how w e can obtain a n d satisfy our n e e d s a n d look after the other c r e a t u r e s at the s a m e time.

together in a technique commonly known a s stacking. S t a c k i n g also occurs in n a t u r e . In any n a t u r a l forest, you will find p l a n t s s t a c k e d together - tall trees h a v e understorey s h r u b s and s m a l l t r e e s , and g r a s s e s a n d h e r b s occupy the ground level. Below the ground, root and tuber p l a n t s proliferate.

Stacking M a n y native peoples throughout the world practice s u s t a i n a b l e forage s y s t e m s . Vines, s h r u b s , h e r b s a n d trees a r e all grown

S t a c k i n g allows a s much a s possible t o grow in the s m a l l e s t possible a r e a . D e n s e p l a n t i n g s such a s t h e s e s u p p r e s s weed growth and soil erosion, a n d e n s u r e t h a t all ecological niches are filled by p l a n t s you need for your g a r d e n . T h e degree to which s t a c k i n g occurs dep e n d s on limiting factors such as the a m o u n t of water, light a n d nutrients. You would expect, for e x a m p l e , to find a denser g r o u p i n g of p l a n t s in a well-watered g a r den than in a n a t u r a l , dryland climate area. S t a c k i n g u s e s vertical growing s p a c e more effectively. You should a r r a n g e or s t a g g e r p l a n t s according to height, tolerance to s h a d e a n d so on.

Figure 6.16 Practice sound management techniques in the garden. 60

For e x a m p l e , g r a p e vines can be grown over a fig tree. P u m p k i n s and melons can be grown up and over a shed wall a n d roof - all utilising the free s p a c e a v a i l a b l e in a


Figure 6.17 The principle of stacking. s y s t e m . You can u s e trellis, fence, tree t r u n k s a n d walls to obtain more vertical growing a r e a s . U s i n g the principle of s t a c k i n g allows other p o s s i b i l i t i e s . F o r e x a m p l e , you should a i m to h a v e successive crops of edible foods throughout the y e a r - a variety of fruit trees such t h a t you a r e a l w a y s picking s o m e fruit any time, any s e a s o n . F u r t h e r m o r e , you don't h a v e to wait to p l a n t the next s e a s o n ' s v e g e t a b l e s until you've cleared and finished picking t h a t s e a s o n ' s crop. T i m e s t a c k i n g is a technique where new seedlings a r e planted or come up as the previous crop is finishing. 61

T h e r e is l e s s waiting time between one picking time a n d another. F o r e x a m p l e , you can grow silverbeet, onions a n d globe artichokes together. T h e silverbeet g r o w s the f a s t e s t and is h a r v e s t e d within eight weeks. T h e artichokes t a k e about four months to grow a n d flower, and finally the onions plod along a n d can be h a r v e s t e d after six months. After the silverbeet is h a r v e s t e d , you can replant new seedlings and so the process continues. I will a d d t h a t silverbeet can be h a r v e s t e d over a long time if you only pick one or two l e a v e s from each p l a n t at any one time. New l e a v e s will regrow a n d so h a r v e s t i n g continues for quite some time.


Figure 6.18 An example of stacking in a temperate-Mediterranean climate.

Guilds Designing leads to the selective placement of objects, both living and non-living, in the system. T h e placement of living elements occurs as we try to m a x i m i s e the benefits to each species. In this way, guilds a r e formed. A h u m a n - m a d e guild is modelled on the functional, symbiotic diversity we so often see in nature. Guilds a r e thought of as harmonious a s semblies of several species around a cen-

tral element (either a p l a n t or a n i m a l ) . For example, for an orange tree, h e r b s such as lavender and rue would be planted as understorey to repel p e s t s , a n d n a s t u r t i u m s as ground cover (also repels insects) a n d to smother weeds a n d g r a s s e s . Clover and vetch can provide nitrogen in the soil, and an albizia tree is also planted nearby to attract ladybirds to eat a p h i d s . D u c k s or chickens can be occasionally let in to eat s l u g s , s n a i l s and insect p e s t s .

Figure 6.19 An example of an orchard guild. 62


(Poultry will devour n a s t u r t i u m s a n d graze clover, b u t l e a v e m o s t of the other plants mentioned.) T h e albizia will a l s o provide wind protection, nitrogen for the soil a n d mulch for the o r a n g e tree. T h i s is an e x a m p l e of an orchard guild. A guild, then, is an a s s e m b l y of m a n y different o r g a n i s m s , both p l a n t a n d anim a l s , which c o m p l e m e n t each other. It is an extension of companion p l a n t i n g which many people a r e f a m i l i a r with, b u t it can involve a n i m a l s as shown in the rock guild below. H e r e , a lizard e a t s p e s t s in the g a r d e n , then s e e k s shelter in the rocks which, in turn, a b s o r b h e a t a n d r a d i a t e it to create a w a r m microclimate for growing p l a n t s . T h i s s y s t e m i s m u t u a l l y beneficial to the p l a n t s a n d a n i m a l s found there.

Figure 6.21 Shopping bags make ideal garden beds. be allowed to complete their life cycle so t h a t they flower a n d s e e d s a r e produced. •

P l a n t trees a n d under storey s h r u b s a t the s a m e time. I n m a n y c a s e s understorey s h r u b s cannot e s t a b lish t h e m s e l v e s u n d e r e x i s t i n g tall trees.

G a r d e n b e d s should only be as wide as your reach, so t h a t you don't h a v e to walk all over the b e d s to h a r v e s t . Often, a b e d one m e t r e wide or one a n d a h a l f m e t r e s wide will allow you to h a v e a c c e s s all the way round the bed. P a t h s a r e a l s o narrow, u s u a l l y u p to h a l f a m e t r e wide. S o m e t i m e s p a t h s h a v e to be wider for wheelbarrow or wheelchair a c c e s s .

Figure 6.20 A rock guild.

Other tips for gardeners •

Here a r e a few h i n t s on p a r t i c u l a r a s p e c t s of g a r d e n i n g . D e s i g n e r s will be a b l e to u s e t h e s e i d e a s a s well a s incorporating some of t h e m in their own g a r d e n s . •

T h e C l a y t o n ' s g a r d e n bed when y o u don't h a v e a g a r d e n bed. Grow your v e g e t a b l e s in p l a s t i c or h e s s i a n s h o p p i n g b a g s (double p l a s t i c ) with holes in the bottom. T h i s cons e r v e s m o r e w a t e r than a conventional g a r d e n bed.

Bare-rooted tree species a r e much cheaper and readily available. M a n y deciduous t r e e s , which a r e dormant in winter a n d can be transported without soil, a r e sold b a r e rooted. They a r e p l a n t e d s t r a i g h t into the g a r d e n at the o n s e t of winter. A s the w i n t e r b r e a k s a n d t h e warmer spring weather arrives, t h e s e t r e e s s t a r t t o b u d a n d grow.

T h e r e is a need to collect seed from your v e g e t a b l e s a n d h e r b s . In the g a r d e n , some of t h e s e p l a n t s should

63

B e a r in m i n d t h a t you h a v e m o r e s u c c e s s with some v e g e t a b l e s t h a n others. If this is the c a s e , y o u m a y


â&#x20AC;˘

have to change your diet and learn how to u s e more of these vegetables and l e s s of the ones that you can't seem to grow. Sometimes, wherever mulch is used the soil becomes non-wetting. Water simply r u n s off its surface and doesn't penetrate. To solve this problem you have to get water into the root zone. A piece of pipe or modified cool drink bottle can be positioned alongside the tree and drippers or other irrigation devices can be placed into the bottle. Water percolates down, deep into the soil, minimising loss by evaporation in dry a r e a s . Alternatively, water repellency is

My notes

Things I need to find out

64

Figure 6.22 Plastic bottles can be recycled as water suppliers to the root zone. reduced by adding and mixing the c l a y b e n t o n i t e t o the o r g a n i c mulches you place around the b a s e of trees.


7 It's all a matter of location Location and climate As you go from the e q u a t o r t o w a r d s either of the two poles, the n u m b e r of indigenous (native) species d e c r e a s e s . T h e equatorial region h a s a rich tropical diversity, while the polar regions h a v e much l e s s variety. T h i s phenomenon is d u e to the climatic c h a n g e s t h a t occur as you go from the warmer e q u a t o r i a l region to the much cooler polar regions. Before we r u s h into d i s c u s s i n g how we a s s e s s a property so t h a t you can buy the ideal site for a p e r m a c u l t u r e f a r m , we need to e x a m i n e s o m e b a s i c i d e a s a b o u t climate a n d location. Knowing about these concepts will enable us to m a k e informed choices a b o u t v a r i o u s a s p e c t s of a potential p e r m a c u l t u r e site. The local climate is largely determined by factors such a s latitude, altitude, topography (such as hills, m o u n t a i n s , valleys a n d w a t e r w a y s ) , vegetation cover and closen e s s to the s e a or ocean. T h e daily a n d s e a s o n a l c h a n g e in temp e r a t u r e , for e x a m p l e , is d u e to the a n g l e of the s u n ' s r a y s to the E a r t h ' s surface. As the l a t i t u d e c h a n g e s from the equator t o w a r d s either pole the s u n ' s r a y s become l e s s steep. Angled sunlight is s p r e a d over a l a r g e r a r e a , t h u s the t e m p e r a t u r e is low. When the s u n is directly overhead the

a m o u n t of light a n d h e a t is concentrated on a s m a l l e r a r e a , which c a u s e s a w a r m e r temperature. T h e m e a s u r e of the a m o u n t of s u n l i g h t reaching a p a r t i c u l a r point on the E a r t h ' s surface is called insolation. T h i s is recorded a s the n u m b e r o f w a t t s / s q u a r e metre, a n d a t m i d d a y could b e a s high a s 1000 W / m . 2

T h e v a l u e of the s u n ' s insolation allows us to m a k e predictions a b o u t the effectiven e s s a n d u s e f u l n e s s of solar e q u i p m e n t in different p a r t s of the world, and a b o u t how much energy solar a p p l i a n c e s can be expected to e x t r a c t or h a r v e s t from incomi n g sunlight. T h e a n g l e of the s u n also c h a n g e s s e a s o n ally as the s u n a p p e a r s to move from one h e m i s p h e r e to the other. T h e a n g l e of the E a r t h ' s tilt on i t s a x i s a n d the direction of the E a r t h to the s u n c a u s e s the s e a s o n s . Here, the altitude of the sun ( a n g l e above the horizon) d u r i n g winter m a y be only 3 5 째 b u t 8 0 째 i n s u m m e r . A t the s a m e latitude, the a z i m u t h a n g l e , t h a t between t h e north a n d the direction of the s u n , m a y be 6 0 째 for mid-winter, for e x a m p l e , b u t 120째 mid-summer. These seasonal changes are considered in p e r m a c u l t u r e design a n d were d i s c u s s e d in C h a p t e r 3 when we dealt with sector planning.

Figure 7.1 The temperature in a local area is partly due to the angle of the sun's rays to the Earth's surface. 65


F u r t h e r m o r e , g r e a t e r condensation is possible a s trees provide l a r g e surface a r e a s for water v a p o u r to condense. F o r e s t e d mountain a r e a s h a v e p e r m a n e n t f o g , m i s t or cloud on their p e a k s . In s o m e places, condensation contributes m o r e than rainfall in the total a m o u n t of w a t e r reaching the E a r t h . We can think of a forest of trees as e s s e n tially a l a k e above the ground. T r e e s often contain more than 8 0 % w a t e r a n d they continue to p u m p l a r g e v o l u m e s of water into the a t m o s p h e r e . N o t only do trees store l a r g e a m o u n t s of w a t e r in their t r u n k s a n d l e a v e s , p l a n t roots a l s o hold water in the soil, u s u a l l y as a thin film around each root fibre. L a r g e t r e e s can lose t h o u s a n d s of litres of water each day. Much of the rain a n d cloud formation comes from the t r e e s in a forest. You can i m a g i n e w h a t the effect of

Figure 7.2 The difference between the azimuth and altitude of the sun's position. W h a t we call climate, the daily a n d s e a sonal c h a n g e s in t e m p e r a t u r e , rainfall a n d so on, is influenced by the water cycle, a n d the i m p o r t a n c e of trees, in providing w a t e r to the a t m o s p h e r e through t r a n s p i ration a n d evaporation of water from p l a n t s u r f a c e s for cloud formation, cannot be underestimated.

Figure 7.3 The water cycle. forest clearing would h a v e on climate patterns. Fertile land is slowly t u r n i n g into desert. Densely-planted trees also soften the force of rainfall a n d greatly reduce erosion a n d run-off. In fact, light showers m a y not even reach the ground a n d the water

It is i m p e r a t i v e t h a t no more forest a r e a s a r e cleared a n d t h a t literally billions of t r e e s a r e r e p l a n t e d , especially on hill slopes, as t h e s e play an e s s e n t i a l role in the w a t e r cycle. We h a v e the ability to c h a n g e a n d i n c r e a s e local precipitation patterns simply by planting trees. 66


Figure 7.4 Wind deflects over bare hilltops but no cloud or rain is produced. Clouds will form and rain will fall on forested hillslopes, chancing local rainfall patterns. r e m a i n s as a fine m i s t in the tree canopy, causing a humid atmosphere. In cold climate ( t e m p e r a t e ) regions, such a s the U K a n d E u r o p e , light, not water, i s the m o s t i m p o r t a n t limiting factor. M a n y t r e e s are_deciduous, so evergreen u n d e r s t o r e y can be grown d u r i n g the colder m o n t h s . D u r i n g the s u m m e r , the tree canopy s h a d e s m o s t of the understorey a n d ground. Food crop p l a n t s need to be chosen accordingly - they m a y need to be s h a d e tolerant or e x i s t a n d thrive in d a p p l e d sunlight. In t h e s e countries the a n n u a l rainfall m a y only be 750 to 1000 mm (30 to 40 67

inches), b u t this i s s p r e a d r e a s o n a b l y evenly over the whole year, while in p l a c e s like southern A u s t r a l i a , m o s t of the rainfall falls in the three or four m o n t h s of winter, a n d the s u m m e r s a r e much drier. Another factor i s t h a t i n the U K a n d E u r o p e , evaporation doesn't often exceed precipitation. T h e r e is l e s s need to build s w a l e s , d a m s and keyline d r a i n i n g s y s t e m s b e c a u s e w a t e r is u s u a l l y not in short supply.

Choosing a property W h a t do y o u look for in a property? Is it the gentle sun-facing slope, clear s t r e a m water or loamy soil? Different people v a l u e


some t h i n g s more than others and this will depend on the person's personal preferences a n d viewpoint. There m a y be times when you will h a v e to a s s e s s different a s p e c t s of a property to see if it is suitable for your needs. T h e following set of criteria, which can be u s e d to a s s e s s a particular site, can be applied to rural properties of a few acres or more. You wouldn't consider m a n y of t h e s e when b u y i n g an urban block, where scheme water is u s u a l l y a v a i l a b l e a n d n a t u r a l resources, energy supply and soil type a r e not t h a t relevant. T h e criteria a r e not listed in any particular order or priority, but they are the k i n d s of things you can easily observe or note a n d a s s e s s . Any checklist for a s s e s s i n g a site might include: •

house building.

B u y e r ' s resources: capital (money, machinery and so on) and their skills a n d abilities (including their willi n g n e s s to h a v e a go).

Water: a b u n d a n c e and quality.

S l o p e : this allows you to collect, store a n d s a v e water. A s p e c t : s u n - f a c i n g (northerly in southern h e m i s p h e r e ) for warmth, h o u s e site a n d better v e g e t a t i o n growth.

Figure 7.5 Natural resources are an asset on the property.

C l i m a t e : a n n u a l rainfall, a m o u n t of frost, n u m b e r of chill hours, length of growing s e a s o n and t e m p e r a t u r e extremes.

Soil type: clay, loam or s a n d .

N a t u r a l resources: rocks, types of trees p r e s e n t and type of soil for

E n e r g y supply: a v a i l a b l e electricity or do-it-yourself solar or wind power generation.

A l t i t u d e : m o r e cold a n d frost in higher altitudes, microclimates present. R e m e m b e r t h a t slopes will often drain cold air.

Access: r o a d s , quality, need for repair, rebuilding.

C o s t and size: value for money, potential to increase in v a l u e , a m o u n t needed to be borrowed (and therefore a m o u n t needed to service the loan).

Prior historical land u s e : traditional orchard t h a t h a s been chemically sprayed or natural, untouched bushland.

Amount of vegetation cover: trees, r e m n a n t b u s h l a n d or totally cleared. R e m n a n t b u s h l a n d or forest should not be cleared for h o u s e s or other developments.

Fences or hedges: type, quality, those t h a t need replacing.

Figure 7.6 Find out about prior uses for the land. 68


development, such as recycling greywater, composting toilets a n d a q u a culture license r e q u i r e m e n t s .

V i e w s : aesthetically p l e a s i n g or will you be looking out over someone's untidy b a c k y a r d ? Activities of neighbours: traditional chemical farmers or responsible l a n d o w n e r s a n d supportive community. S e r v i c e facilities: public t r a n s p o r t for school children, distance to shops. F i r e d a n g e r r i s k : dry wind direction, f l a m m a b l e t r e e s a n d p l a n t s nearby. Potential income: opportunities to produce income from resources on site or possibilities and potential for

S u i t a b l e h o u s e s i t e s : the selection of the house site depends on a n u m b e r of factors, some of which m a y include slope, microclimate, water supply, soil type (stability, clay), draina g e , fire risk a n d views.

C l o s e n e s s to m a r k e t s : c l o s e n e s s for t r a n s p o r t services - road, rail or b o a t - a n d m a r k e t s to sell produce.

S o m e criteria a r e m o r e i m p o r t a n t than others in different locations. F o r e x a m p l e ,

Figure 7.7 Potential aquaculture development. the activities of neighbours m a y be very i m p o r t a n t in one situation b u t l e s s import a n t in another, a n d energy supply m a y not be i m p o r t a n t if s t a t e - g e n e r a t e d electricity a n d g a s p a s s the property. R e m e m b e r that if you a r e c o n t e m p l a t i n g b u y i n g a p a r t of a farm or once r u r a l property, the farmer or owner is probably selling the worst piece of l a n d - t h a t is u s u a l l y subject to waterlogging, salinity problems a n d so on.

developing aquaculture, forest indust r i e s a n d agricultural activities. •

Privacy: a r e there trees t h a t screen you from neighbours or u n w a n t e d visitors. C a n trees be planted for this p u r p o s e ?

C l e a r i n g needed: for house site, d a m construction a n d g a r d e n a r e a s .

Drain a g e : does property flood or does w a t e r drain a w a y into the soil?

Dwellings on property: extent of u s e ful s h e d s , c o t t a g e s , a n d other struct u r e s such as a hothouse or shadehouse.

Ecological value: n a t u r a l ecosystems p r e s e n t or a b s e n t .

Restrictions on land u s e : zoning, leg a l covenants, local or s t a t e governm e n t restrictions on the n u m b e r of dwellings a n d on land a n d property

M a k e s u r e t h a t you observe the l a n d in both s u m m e r and winter, which will probably give you some indication about the property in these two e x t r e m e s of climate and conditions.

69

R a t h e r than try to prioritise the checklist of a s s e s s m e n t for a site, it is better to allocate a v a l u e to each criterion dependi n g on the property concerned. F o r e x a m ple, water is u s u a l l y the m o s t i m p o r t a n t


consideration (what grows without water?) a n d it m i g h t g e t a v a l u e of four or five out of five if a b u n d a n t , clean water is a v a i l a b l e ; only two or three if water is a v a i l a b l e only d u r i n g winter a n d is stored in d a m s or there is a creek; a n d only one if you rely solely on a n n u a l rainwater. If you s e t up a chart with these criteria y o u c a n easily a s s e s s them, allocate a score a n d a d d up the total to give a final a s s e s s m e n t . One property can then be c o m p a r e d to another a n d decisions m a d e a b o u t their suitability. Y o u will not be able to find the perfect property, so analys i s in s o m e way like this is important. If you a r e weighing up the pros and cons of a couple of properties, each of which h a s s o m e good f e a t u r e s a n d some not-so-good features, then analytically evaluating each site m a y be an option. In this procedure, you simply a s s e s s each criterion a b o u t the block by a n u m b e r e d s c a l e . F o r e x a m p l e , in e v a l u a t i n g a s p e c t on a site you m i g h t give it a r a n k i n g from 1 to 5 , 1 m e a n i n g poor (shade-facing) a n d 5 m e a n i n g very good (sun-facing), with n u m b e r s 2, 3 a n d 4 m e a n i n g facing in other directions t h a t you arbitrarily decide. E a c h site or property is a s s e s s e d in this way, a n d the one which achieves the highe s t total score is the b e s t all-round property. A further variation is to weight each criterion. F o r e x a m p l e , you decide t h a t water

availability is much more i m p o r t a n t than existing road a c c e s s . Now you a r e considering the importance of some features over others. You will need to prioritise the criteria a n d allocate a weighting for each. A simple e x a m p l e is given in the table below. You m a y never find the perfect block - the one t h a t h a s a gentle, sun-facing slope, g r e a t humic soil, n a t u r a l woodland still present, the neighbours all u s i n g organic methods, plentiful, clean water, h e a p s of building m a t e r i a l present (rocks, clay) and so on. Realistically, we try to find a block with as m a n y good features as possible a n d try to optimise the poorer features.

Local regulations Before y o u or your client p u r c h a s e s a property, you should contact the local authorities about your p l a n s . They will tell you what developments a r e allowable and what a r e not. T h e r e m a y be restrictions on the u s e of land for particular p u r p o s e s , or on clearing or about effluent a n d w a s t e disposal. For e x a m p l e , you m a y not be able to run a school at a community y o u wish to set up u n l e s s the land is re-zoned for this purpose. C h a n g i n g the zoning of land can be an expensive, lengthy a n d very slow process. Furthermore, if naturally-occurring s t r e a m s , rivers or waterways p a s s through the property, you should check with your

Table 7.1 Assessing properties. Property 1, with a higher overall score, may be more suitable for your needs than Property 2. Property 2

Property 1 weighting value

total

weighting

value

total

3

30

plentiful, clean water

x10

4

40

x10

high h u m i c soil

x6

2

12

x6

4

24

slope

x8

3

24

x8

3

24

sun-facing a s p e c t

x8

4

32

x8

2

t o t a l = 108 70

16 total = 94


local authority, or water authority or commission, about p u m p i n g rights and restrictions on water u s e . For example, you may not be able to d a m the waterway, but you might be able to pump water to irrigate trees. Similarly, there m a y be restrictions on house site and outbuilding placement. This depends on the property zoning, locality and b y l a w s of the local government authority. These a r e the k i n d s of things that m u s t be

established before p u r c h a s e of a property occurs. Your dream of building a demonstration permaculture site a n d working for a living on the land m a y not become a reality unless you've done some essential research about the site. Finally, each property is unique, so the design for the site will also be unique. Wherever possible, try to incorporate unique a s p e c t s in the design. T h i s will enhance the value of the property you have finally chosen and m a k e it special.

My notes

Things I need to find out

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8 Getting the house right: zone 0 it warm or cool and also to moderate the adverse effects of climate on the house. P a s s i v e solar house design often includes:

The h o u s e s we design have to be harmonious with the environment, so where we live is an integral p a r t of the holistic approach to the design of the property. It is said that h o u s e s are extensions of the people who live in them and that they reflect the beliefs and values of the owners. If this is true, and if we profess to be concerned about the E a r t h , then we ought to focus on m a k i n g our h o u s e s simple, effective and efficient. Zone 0 is the focus of a design and the house is u s u a l l y the m o s t important element in the design. Here we look at the principles of energy efficient housing and the integration of the house with the zone 1 garden a r e a s .

The passive solar home T h e energy needs of a home can be solved by a combination of design and materials. Good design permits p a s s i v e solar gain, and building m a t e r i a l s and h a r d w a r e allow energy capture, storage and transmission.

long a x i s east-west with the house twice as long as wide (or even longer), giving m i n i m u m exposure of the western wall to the sun.

high percentage, 30 to 60% (depending on latitude) of g l a s s on the sun-facing side.

minimum windows on the e a s t and w e s t s i d e s , especially the west which receives the severe hot summer sun.

insulation on the prevailing wind and rain sides - usually the pole (sun-shaded) side of the house and either the west or e a s t s i d e s , or both.

Housing is relevant to the climate. For example, in temperate and Mediterranean climates, h o u s e s should be p a s s i v e solar, with the long a x i s facing east-west (sun-facing), minimum windows on the prevailing cold wind sides, clerestory window b a n k s for winter light gain and a

A p a s s i v e solar house is one which can effectively utilise the sun's energy to keep

Figure 8.1 A typical solar house. The principles of a solar pergola and solar air panels are discussed under the heading 'retrofitting' later in this chapter. 72


the h o u s e into the home. A typical A u s tralian "outback" h o m e s t e a d , for e x a m ple, is a h o u s e with v e r a n d a h s all a r o u n d , a silver-coloured tin roof for light reflection, and outdoor cooking facilities.

solarium or c o n s e r v a t o r y on the sun-facing side for further winter w a r m t h . Houses in tropical, subtropical a n d d e s e r t areas should be d e s i g n e d so t h a t they remain cool d u r i n g the s u m m e r day a n d warm d u r i n g the s u m m e r a n d winter nights. D e s e r t a r e a s a r e well known for their large t e m p e r a t u r e e x t r e m e s - a r a n g e of 30 to 4 0 ° C in one d a y is not uncommon. These t y p e s of h o u s e s need to be s h a d e d (for e x a m p l e , by p l a n t s on a trellis), cool winds need to be directed toward the house, and s u r f a c e s p a i n t e d white for light reflection. U n d e r g r o u n d h o u s e s or earthcovered s h e l t e r s a r e useful b u i l d i n g strategies. Underground a n d earth-covered h o u s e s are r e m a r k a b l e in t h a t the t e m p e r a t u r e , both day a n d night a n d s e a s o n to s e a s o n , is fairly c o n s t a n t a n d within the h u m a n comfort level at all t i m e s . Another b u i l d i n g s t r a t e g y for a hot climate is to draw cool air through the ground into rooms. F o r e x a m p l e , cool air from a cellar can be moved (by convection or fan) to v a r i o u s p a r t s of the h o u s e , as shown in Figure 8.3, or air can be p a s s e d over a wet surface or pond as a form of e v a p o r a t i v e

Figure 8.3 Large diameter PVC pipe is used to allow air to move from a cool cellar into warmer rooms. T h e secret in k e e p i n g a h o u s e w a r m is to reduce h e a t l o s s . S t r a t e g i e s to m a i n t a i n h e a t or m i n i m i s e h e a t l o s s in a h o u s e include insulation, double g l a z i n g ( e s p e cially on the s u n - s h a d e d side a n d in the direction of cold winter winds), i n c r e a s i n g

Figure 8.2 An example of an earth-covered house with a sun-facing side exposed. cooling. S t r a t e g i e s to cool the h o u s e include insulating the roof a n d walls, building verand a h s or porches a n d pergola at l e a s t on the w e s t side, p l a n t i n g deciduous vines and trees, h a v i n g b r e e z e w a y s which direct cool winds, a n d d r a w i n g cool air from a s h a d e h o u s e on the s u n - s h a d e d side of 73

the thermal m a s s of h o u s e (brick w a l l s , d a r k s l a t e on floor), i n c r e a s i n g the perc e n t a g e of g l a s s on the sun-facing side (north in southern h e m i s p h e r e ) , s e a l i n g g a p s under doors and around loosely-fitted windows, and building a h o t h o u s e or g r e e n h o u s e on the sun-facing side. S o d , or soil covered, roofs m a y be another


Figure 8.4 Cold night air is cooled as it passes over water before it is ducted into the house.

Figure 8.5 A solar chimney is one way to cool the interior of a house. Air is drawn from below the house, often across water, and ducted through the house and then vented.

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Figure 8.6 Directing breezes through a house by efficient cross-ventilation is an important strategy in regulating the house temperature. 74


strategy t h a t can be u s e d to i n s u l a t e a building. T h e only two considerations a r e the damp-proofing a n d the e x t r a roof weight. Thick p l a s t i c s h e e t i n g is laid over the roof before 75 to 100 mm of soil is added. T h e s h e e t i n g allows rain water to drain d o w n w a r d s t o w a r d s the g u t t e r . E x t r a re-inforcing t i m b e r s h a v e to be placed in the roof to s u p p o r t the additional weight. Y o u could expect a b o u t 150 kg or more of wet soil p e r s q u a r e m e t r e of roof a r e a (100 mm thick). Plants, such a s g r a s s e s a n d h e r b s , can b e planted on top of the sloped s i d e s a n d roof for f u r t h e r h e a t c o n t r o l a n d s o i l stabilisation.

s t o r a g e t a n k m u s t b e slightly higher ( 3 0 0 mm is a d e q u a t e ) t h a n the panel so t h a t cold water from the t a n k falls t o w a r d s the bottom of the panel. T h e collector p a n e l h e a t s the w a t e r a n d the hot w a t e r r i s e s t o w a r d s , a n d into, the s t o r a g e t a n k . In an active s y s t e m , energy is u s e d to p u m p w a t e r through the p a n e l s to a n d from the s t o r a g e t a n k . T h e t a n k can be positioned anywhere, such as in the roof s p a c e above the b a t h r o o m or outside on the g r o u n d n e a r the kitchen. S e n s o r s detect the t e m p e r a t u r e differences between the p a n e l a n d t a n k a n d , u s u a l l y when the panel i s hotter t h a n the t a n k , the p u m p i s e n g a g e d and water s t a r t s to flow.

For h o u s e s in w a r m c l i m a t e a r e a s , it is not important to orientate the h o u s e toward the sun for p a s s i v e solar g a i n . H o u s e s need to exploit cooling b r e e z e s a n d increase wind m o v e m e n t (ventilation) through the h o u s e .

I n t e g r a t i n g the h o u s e a n d garden

Evergreen t r e e s for s h a d i n g and shelter for the house from potentially strong winds are important. In tropical a r e a s , where hurricanes and cyclones a r e a threat, reinforced dwellings, s o m e t i m e s r a i s e d off the ground, a r e built. In m a n y c l i m a t e s s o l a r hot water s y s t e m s should be m a n d a t o r y . T h e s e can provide free hot w a t e r for m o s t of the year, a n d when it is raining or cloudy, various booster s y s t e m s can be employed T h e s e r a n g e from solid fuel to g a s to electric boosters. There a r e two m a i n types of solar hot water s y s t e m s . In a p a s s i v e hot water system, which relies solely on n a t u r a l convection c u r r e n t s to m o v e water, the

Ideally, the h o u s e a n d g a r d e n should comp l e m e n t each other. T h e g a r d e n can be d e s i g n e d to t a k e an active role in the h e a t i n g a n d cooling of the h o u s e . F o r example, deciduous trees should be p l a n t e d a l o n g the sun-facing wall of the h o u s e . T h e s e r e g u l a t e microclimate b y providing s h a d e i n s u m m e r a n d allowing sunlight to filter through d u r i n g winter. T h e r e should be a m i x t u r e of deciduous a n d evergreen trees a r o u n d the h o u s e . A sector plan of sun a n g l e s will show y o u where each type of tree should be planted. E v e r g r e e n s can be p l a n t e d in a r e a s around the house where only s u m m e r sun reaches, such a s the e a s t e r n a n d western walls. T h e winter sun angle for your property might be narrow, and only deciduous trees should be p l a n t e d in this sector. As these trees a r e found in zone 1 you

Figure 8.7 Extra timber beams are needed to support the additional weight of a sod roof. 75


Figure 8.8 The differences between a passive and an active solar hot water system. Also shown is a passive system with the storage tank in the roof space and one way to increase energy gain, by using a reflecting plate to direct light and heat waves to a solar water collector. 76


Figure 8.9 Deciduous trees and light coloured paths both contribute to the amount of light energy entering a home during winter. should consider p l a n t i n g evergreen fruit trees such as citrus a n d deciduous fruit trees such as stone fruit. G a r d e n s t r u c t u r e s can a l s o be u s e d for t e m p e r a t u r e control. A hothouse attached to the m a i n h o u s e can supply additional winter h e a t i n g for the home as well as being u s e d to grow food during the cooler months. A hothouse works when light p e n e t r a t e s g l a s s a n d is absorbed by obj e c t s . H e a t energy i s re-radiated a s longer w a v e l e n g t h s which cannot p a s s through the g l a s s layer. T h i s hothouse, or greenhouse, slowly h e a t s u p .

By placing a few windows or v e n t s between the h o u s e wall and the h o t h o u s e structure, w a r m air can be drawn into the house. E x a m i n e F i g u r e 8.12. D u r i n g winter the external vent is closed a n d the internal windows or v e n t s between the h o u s e and hothouse a r e open. W a r m air produced during the day can be directed into the house. Cool air from the h o u s e will enter the hothouse to complete the convection cycle of air movement. A word of caution: if you u s e water in the hothouse to grow p l a n t s , the high level of humidity m a y c a u s e m o u l d s and mildew

Figure 8.10 A sector plan helps to place deciduous and evergreen trees in the design. 77


Figure 8.11 The principle of a hothouse. to grow on walls. You need to vent well a n d keep the hothouse a s dry a s possible to m i n i m i s e this problem. D u r i n g s u m m e r , the internal vents a r e closed a n d the external vent is open. Hoth o u s e s g e t very hot in s u m m e r a n d a r e seldom u s e d to grow food during these months. T h e hot a i r is ducted to the outside a t m o s p h e r e . R a d i a n t h e a t can also be u s e d to help p l a n t s growing n e a r the house. You can grow cold-sensitive p l a n t s n e a r t a n k s of water or alongside stone or earth walls. Water h a s a high h e a t capacity and slowly

r a d i a t e s o r r e l e a s e s i t s stored h e a t a s t e m p e r a t u r e s fall. F r o s t - s e n s i t i v e p l a n t s a r e k e p t a little w a r m e r in this way, which is an excellent e x a m p l e of the u s e of microclimate in design. H e a t is a l s o a v a i l a b l e from other s o u r c e s , a n d can be directed from the h o u s e into the g a r d e n . T h e major hot g r e y w a t e r source is from the bathroom - either the shower or b a t h . Only a s m a l l a m o u n t comes from kitchen sink. If people consistently hot water for w a s h i n g clothes, then source also needs to be considered.

Figure 8.12 A hothouse can provide additional winter heating for a home. 78

the use this Hot


Figure 8.13 A rainwater tank can keep plants from freezing. Rainwater tank overflow can be directed to a wet, bog, and/or shaded garden, where many food plants can be grown, including taro, watercress and sweet potato. in the colder climates. It is common to see vertical trellis supporting p e a s , b e a n s a n d b e r r y fruits, such a s l o g a n b e r r y a n d boysenberry, in colder a r e a s . Trellis and p e r g o l a s enable h u m a n s to also enjoy the g a r d e n in the hot m o n t h s . T h e s e structures can provide quiet, s h a d e d a r e a s in the s u m m e r g a r d e n . A variation of g a r d e n trellis is the vertical living screen. M a n y west-facing h o u s e walls a b s o r b considerable h e a t d u r i n g s u m m e r . T h e s e w a l l s can be protected by building a m e s h screen or vertical trellis structure close to the h o u s e wall. S h a d i n g

water could be isolated from the other g r e y w a t e r s o u r c e s a n d directed through the floor of a hothouse so t h a t this h e a t can be u s e d , especially in winter to w a r m the s u r r o u n d i n g s . G a r d e n microclimates a r e also created by a r e a s o f s h a d e a n d coolness. T h e h o u s e a n d a t t a c h e d s t r u c t u r e s can provide the n e c e s s a r y s h a d e a n d coolness required by some t y p e s of g a r d e n p l a n t s . S t r u c t u r e s such a s trellis can b e built horizontally over the g a r d e n for hot, a r i d c l i m a t e s , b u t it is m a i n l y positioned vertically for m a x i m u m sunlight and h e a t gain

Figure 8.14 Using waste heat from showers andbaths can supplement the heating of a hothouse. 79


Figure 8.15 Trellis protects the vegetable garden in a hot climate. by evergreen creepers will lower the h e a t g a i n by the wall, keeping the h o u s e cooler in s u m m e r . T h e screen can be built ten to twenty centimetres from the wall so t h a t a layer of air is t r a p p e d between the screen a n d wall, further i n s u l a t i n g the wall from h e a t radiation. Alternatively, place the screen a m e t r e from the wall and m a k e a sheltered p a t h w a y . Either way, protecting w a l l s from direct h e a t radiation will lower the overall t e m p e r a t u r e of the h o u s e . C o n s i d e r children when you a r e designing the h o u s e a n d g a r d e n . P l a c e a play a r e a where children can be seen a n d sup e r v i s e d from the lounge room, kitchen or wherever a d u l t s tend to be at the time. T h e play o r g a r d e n a r e a s should b e j u s t extensions of the h o u s e a n d j u s t another a r e a where children can learn about and experience life. 80

T h e extent a n d n a t u r e of play a r e a s dep e n d s on the a g e s of children or grandchildren. Y o u n g children like to h i d e , while larger children (adolescents) tend to throw or kick b a l l s about, or shoot a few b a s k e t balls. Views overlooking play a r e a s a l s o often h a v e a focus such as a p l e a s a n t looking building, a s e a t , a pond or a particular tree.

Retrofitting existing houses In the world in which we all live, owning a h o u s e , let alone building one t h a t you would like, is not a reality for m a n y people. S o m e people do own, or a r e p a y i n g off, their h o u s e s , b u t m a n y people cannot afford this luxury. You m a y h a v e to e x a m i n e how the design of buildings on a property (which is j u s t as important as the design of the g a r d e n s )


Figure 8.16 Air is a good insulator. A vertical living screen will shade a wall and reduce heat gain by the house during summer. fits into your p a r t i c u l a r situation. In m o s t c a s e s , retrofitting an e x i s t i n g h o u s e is far more economical t h a n pulling it down a n d starting again.

S o m e of t h e s e were d i s c u s s e d in the previous section, so we will focus on three s i m p l e i d e a s a s e x a m p l e s o f retrofitting strategies.

Retrofitting is the t e r m t h a t describes the c h a n g e s y o u m a k e to an e x i s t i n g energyinefficient h o u s e so t h a t it becomes more energy efficient.

A solar p e r g o l a is an effective way to allow winter sunlight into a h o u s e b u t k e e p s u m m e r sunlight out. Wooden or sheet m e t a l b l a d e s a r e p l a c e d a t a n angle s o t h a t s u m m e r s u n l i g h t cannot p a s s through, b u t winter sunlight, a t a lower a n g l e , can.

I n m a n y c a s e s , the h o u s e u t i l i s e s p a s s i v e solar g a i n a n d d e s i g n s t r a t e g i e s to minim i s e h e a t l o s s a n d m a x i m i s e h e a t gain d u r i n g winter a n d vice v e r s a for the hotter s u m m e r m o n t h s .

T h e b l a d e s a r e normally f i x e d a n d set, s o t h a t m a x i m u m light will p a s s through into a room at the winter solstice, when the sun is at the lowest a l t i t u d e in the sky. S p a c i n g between the b l a d e s r e g u l a t e s when sunlight is able to p a s s through, so t h a t you could h a v e s h a d i n g for four or more m o n t h s d u r i n g the h o t t e s t p a r t o f the year.

Y o u m a y be able to s u g g e s t retrofitting i d e a s to a m e l i o r a t e the influence of clim a t e on the h o u s e . T h e s e include the u s e of s h a d e h o u s e s , g r e e n h o u s e s , trellis a n d p e r g o l a s , earth b e r m s , the p l a c e m e n t of d e c i d u o u s a n d e v e r g r e e n t r e e s , windbreaks and ponds.

Figure 8.17 A solar pergola allows winter sunlight into a house. 81


s y s t e m doesn't o p e r a t e d u r i n g s u m m e r . M o s t h e a t loss from a h o u s e occurs through the roof a n d roof s p a c e . I n s u l a t i n g is an obvious solution a n d this does indeed help keep the house cool in s u m m e r and warmer in winter. However, you a l s o m i g h t w a n t to vent the roof s p a c e so t h a t the hot air t h a t builds up in the s u m m e r t i m e can be directed a w a y into the a t m o s p h e r e . Even d r a w i n g hot air from r o o m s v i a the roof s p a c e is possible as shown in the following diagrams.

In e x i s t i n g h o u s e s y o u m a y h a v e to replace s o m e of the roof p a n e l s with clear polycarbonate s h e e t i n g or g l a s s so t h a t s u n l i g h t can enter a room. T h e solar perg o l a is p l a c e d a n d supported on top of this. A d a r k s l a t e floor or walls with high therm a l m a s s will a b s o r b this energy a n d r e l e a s e it d u r i n g the night. S o l a r air p a n e l s can b e easily m a d e a n d fixed to a roof. T h e s e a r e s i m i l a r to solar h o t w a t e r s y s t e m p a n e l s except t h a t air, a n d not w a t e r , i s p a s s e d o r p u m p e d through them.

T h e r e a r e m a n y other i d e a s a b o u t retrofitting. T h e s e include p l a c i n g p e l m e t s a n d ceiling-to-floor c u r t a i n s over windows to reduce convection currents, blocking off windows on the w e s t e r n side and building windows on the sun-facing (equatorial) side, placing door s t o p s a n d s e a l s undern e a t h and/or behind doors to reduce wind flow-through in winter a n d s u b s e q u e n t h e a t l o s s , and building sheltered skylights in the roof which only allow additional

D u r i n g the. winter m o n t h s a i r i s d r a w n from either r o o m s , roof s p a c e or the outs i d e a t m o s p h e r e a n d i s h e a t e d a s i t blows a c r o s s the panel. T h e hot air is then ducted into the h o u s e a n d can enter d e s i g n a t e d rooms. S e n s o r s detect differences between room a n d p a n e l or outside environmental t e m p e r a t u r e s , c a u s i n g a n air fan o r p u m p to turn on or off. T h e m o v e m e n t of a i r is t h u s r e g u l a t e d . N a t u r a l l y , the solar a i r

Figure 8.18 A solar air panel heats up cold air and blows it into the house. 82


Figure 8.19 Roof space can be vented for summer cooling and winter warmth. winter s u n l i g h t into t h e h o u s e . T h e number of retrofitting s t r a t e g i e s are endless a n d I'm s u r e you'll think, or come

a c r o s s , lots of other ideas- about how to m a k e your home m o r e comfortable a n d more energy efficient.

Figure 8.20 Warm air can be ducted from the ceiling area via the roof space to the outside atmosphere during summer. Vents are closed during winter. My notes

Things I need to find out

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9

Water harvesting first to see if this is illegal in your a r e a ) , wells a n d b o r e s .

P u r e , clean w a t e r is the n u m b e r one prior­ ity for any p e r m a c u l t u r e s y s t e m . P e r m a ­ culture d e s i g n s try to h a r v e s t , r e t a i n a n d r e u s e a s m u c h water a s p o s s i b l e before i t is lost from the s y s t e m . T h i s is especially true in dry a n d a r i d c l i m a t e s where rain m a i n l y falls in a few m o n t h s . In countries such a s the U K a n d those i n E u r o p e , rainfall is often s p r e a d over the whole year and water harvesting techniques are not so critical.

To c a l c u l a t e how much w a t e r f a l l s on your h o u s e roof, multiply the a v e r a g e y e a r l y rainfall by the roof a r e a of the h o u s e . F o r 3 e x a m p l e , for a roof a r e a = 2 0 0 m a n d a n n u a l rainfall = 1000 mm or 1 m, 2 0 0 m 3 or 2 0 0 0 0 0 L can be collected (200 χ 1000). T h i s is quite a lot of water, provided you can h a r v e s t a n d store all of it. G u t t e r s a r e not needed o n h o u s e s u n l e s s r a i n w a t e r is collected a n d stored. A stone or pebble filled trench is u s e d to drain s o m e water a w a y a n d to direct w a t e r into the nearby soil.

In drier countries we need to incorporate a r a n g e of s t r a t e g i e s to h a r v e s t a n d store a s m u c h w a t e r a s possible. T h i n k o f the soil a n d y o u r g a r d e n p l a n t s a s w a t e r stor­ a g e v e s s e l s . A forest of t r e e s is s o m e t i m e s referred to as a l a k e above the g r o u n d b e c a u s e l a r g e a m o u n t s of w a t e r can be found in the living t i s s u e of every plant.

T e r r a c i n g is a n o t h e r way to build g a r d e n s on slopes. T h e soil is r e m o v e d in a cutand-fill operation. You u s u a l l y h a v e to

On the suburban block S t r a t e g i e s to h a r v e s t water on u r b a n s i t e s include directing r a i n water from the roofs of h o u s e s a n d o u t b u i l d i n g s into the gar­ den, s w a l e s in sloping ground, d r a i n s , ponds, s m a l l d a m s , r a i n w a t e r t a n k s , re­ u s i n g g r e y w a t e r onto the g a r d e n (check

Figure 9.1 Rainwater collected from a house roof can be stored in a tank. 84

Figure 9.2 Rainwater can be directed into the garden.


build a r e t a i n i n g wall. T h i s can be m a d e from tyres (filled with soil), s h e e t s of roofing iron or wooden p l a n k s - whatever you can afford or w h a t a r e a v a i l a b l e as inexpensive r e s o u r c e s . T h e terrace should be wide enough to include a path a n d garden bed - up to two a n d a h a l f m e t r e s a c r o s s , with h a l f a m e t r e for the path and up to two m e t r e s for the bed. R e m e m b e r , the bed can be this wide b e c a u s e you h a v e a c c e s s to both s i d e s - although you only h a v e to s t a n d on one side b u t bend over the other.

domestic wastewater. Before you decide to build a s y s t e m such as t h a t shown in F i g u r e 9.4, check with your s t a t e or local government authority to s e e if you can install this type of s y s t e m . You m a y be able to direct all of your b a t h and laundry water into a reed bed which will remove m a n y of the nutrients, d i s e a s e o r g a n i s m s and pollutants before you pour it onto your g a r d e n .

G r e y w a t e r is another water h a r v e s t i n g s t r a t e g y to provide additional g a r d e n w a t e r for your home. G r e y w a t e r is the

It is important to u s e local wetland p l a n t s . These types of plants are especially a d a p t e d to exist in waterlogged soil. Their l e a v e s can t r a n s p o r t oxygen from the air to their roots so t h a t all p a r t s of the p l a n t can function effectively. S m a l l a m o u n t s of

Figure 9.3 Water will flow down the slope into garden beds. w a s t e w a t e r from s o u r c e s such a s the kitchen sink, the shower and bath, handb a s i n s a n d l a u n d r y trough. If the toilet water, commonly referred t o a s black water, i s isolated a n d t r e a t e d s e p a r a t e l y , then the g r e y w a t e r can be recycled on site. W a t e r which you wish to r e u s e can be p a s s e d through a biological filter. T h e s e can be reed b e d s of p l a n t s which are able to t a k e up e x c e s s nutrients and store t h e m in their t i s s u e s . R e e d bed s y s t e m s a r e now being u s e d t h r o u g h o u t the world to t r e a t and purify 85

oxygen diffuse out of the roots into the surrounding water m e d i u m . T h i s oxygen s u p p o r t s a large r a n g e of b a c t e r i a a n d other micro-organisms which a r e import a n t in the t r e a t m e n t of w a s t e w a t e r . T h e m o s t commonly-used reed bed p l a n t s a r e s p e c i e s o f Typha ( b u l r u s h ) a n d Phragmites (common reed) b u t t h e s e produce wind-blown s e e d s a n d their u s e should be limited. Contact your local university, h e r b a r i u m or wetland m a n a g e m e n t g r o u p to find out what p l a n t s a r e in your a r e a and if they a r e suitable.


Figure 9.4 A typical reed bed system to treat and recycle your greywater.

Figure 9.5 Wetland plants can transfer oxygen from the air to the plant roots.

On the farm

along it a r e at the s a m e height or altitude.

Water should be stored in the soil. Every effort should be m a d e to get water into the ground. It is i m p o r t a n t to reduce water flow (slow it down) and hold it; otherwise erosion could occur. For small-acre a n d broad-acre properties water should be stored a s high a s possible. Provided t h a t w a t e r can be economically placed there, d a m s can be built on ridges, on top of hills a n d a t the keypoint.

A contour line is at right a n g l e s to the slope of the land, so as slope c h a n g e s so too will the contour lines curve and turn.

Keyline cultivation

Contour lines a r e arbitrarily placed at 5 or 10 m altitude intervals, so one line will be 5 or 10 m e t r e s above or below the n e x t line. From the number, spacing and s h a p e of these lines on a property, you can determine the total a m o u n t of fall, the degree of

Before we launch into the concepts of keyline cultivation, we need to d i s c u s s contours a n d their relevance in holding, storing or moving water. A contour is an i m a g i n a r y horizontal line, where all points 86

A contour m a p d i s p l a y s the location of contours, a n d l a n d s c a p e a n d m a n y topographical d e t a i l s can be interpreted from it. For e x a m p l e , lines close together s u g g e s t steep slope, contour lines further a p a r t indicate flatter, valley ground, while circular contour lines s u g g e s t hills.


Figure 9.6 A contour map shows the amount of slope and landform change on a site. slope a n d the p o s s i b l e location s i t e s for d a m s a n d other w a t e r h a r v e s t i n g s t r a t e gies. T h e keypoint is identified by finding the s t a r t of a valley. T h i s can be found by noticing either a slope or contour change s o m e w h e r e on the hillside. You can often find evidence of the valley forming in the u p p e r h a l f of the hillside, or somewhere around the middle. T h i s can be confirmed by m e a s u r i n g the contours at a n d around this point. T h e point at which the slope c h a n g e s direction, from convex to concave, is called the keypoint. T h e keyline is the contour at this point. Other lines a r e drawn parallel to the keyline as p a r t of keyline cultiva87

tion. S o m e of t h e s e keylines will be off the contour, permitting water to flow in the direction t o w a r d s the r i d g e s . D a m s a r e constructed a l o n g t h e s e keylines so t h a t they a r e linked a n d water can flow from one to another. A d a m at the keypoint, or s t a r t of the valley, would be one of the first and h i g h e s t in the slope. Generally, d a m s built in the h i g h e s t country would give the g r e a t e s t potential benefit, as water can be e a s i l y stored a n d moved. Ideally, d a m s are d u g a n d built on poorly drained sites, such as clay a r e a s . Consideration m u s t also be given to the s t o r a g e ratio. In other words, how much water can be stored for the a m o u n t of soil t h a t is moved to construct the d a m . A


Figure 9.7 Contours, ridges and valleys in the landscape. The keypoint is found by looking at the changes in slope. ratio of 3 : 1 , or higher, is b e s t a n d this ratio g e n e r a l l y i n c r e a s e s with d e c r e a s i n g slope a s the l a n d flattens. S l o p e on your property is to be u s e d for a d v a n t a g e . W a t e r t h a t i s stored higher u p the slope can be let to i r r i g a t e your g a r d e n a r e a b y gravity. W a t e r can a l s o be directed from the valleys or gully a r e a s , where it a c c u m u l a t e s , to the drier ridge a r e a s by m a k i n g it flow a l o n g contours a s p a r t o f the keyline s y s tem of d r a i n s a n d c h a n n e l s . Generally, s t e e p e r g r o u n d i s drier a n d s h a d e d a r e a s a r e wetter or, at l e a s t , dry out slowly. To c a l c u l a t e how m u c h w a t e r you can expect to h a r v e s t you h a v e to find out the

a n n u a l rainfall for your a r e a or property. I m a g i n e if you owned, or were doing a design for a client who lived on, 4 0 0 ha (1000 acres). F o r a 1000 mm a n n u a l rainfall a n d 10% w a t e r l o s s , you would expect 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 m or 4 0 0 0 million litres h a r v e s t e d , of which 4 0 0 0 0 0 m or 4 0 0 million litres would be lost each year. To v i s u a l i s e a 1000 mm rainfall i m a g i n e water one m e t r e deep completely over the land. Keyline cultivation is like h u n d r e d s of s m a l l absorbent d r a i n s , each holding some water, so t h a t the w a t e r does not fall t o w a r d s the valley. K e y l i n e cultivation is p r i m a r i l y a soil i m p r o v e m e n t s y s t e m . 3

3

Figure 9.8 The higher the slope, the lower the storage ratio. The flatter the slope, the more water that can be stored efficiently. 88


Figure 9.9 Dams should be built along a slope so water can move by gravity. As soil becomes fertile, more water can be absorbed a n d stored a n d the a m o u n t of air in the soil i n c r e a s e s .

Dams When siting a d a m u s e the keyline strategy. Don't put the d a m in the valley in the belief t h a t the bottom is b e s t for water collection. Place s m a l l e r d a m s higher u p the hill at the s t a r t of the gully or valley, to h a r v e s t water which can be stored a n d then moved by gravity alone. R e m e m b e r to scalp the topsoil a n d store it when b u i l d i n g a d a m or doing major earthworks. T h e topsoil (the first 15 cm or so) should be u s e d to help rehabilitate a n d l a n d s c a p e the changed a r e a , so t h a t p l a n t s a n d soil s y s t e m s , such as fungi, b a c t e r i a and a n i m a l s , become re-established. However, do not leave a l a r g e h e a p of top soil for too long - the soil life will eventually die.

Along with m o v i n g water out towards the ridges is the r e p l a n t i n g of t r e e s in these a r e a s . T r e e s should be left or r e p l a n t e d on all ridgelines. F u r t h e r m o r e , if ridge a r e a s contain remn a n t vegetation, then these a r e a s should be fenced to prevent stock from destroying w h a t is there.

T h e r e a r e m a n y types of p l a n t s which can a s s i s t i n stabilising d a m walls. B a m b o o s and clumping g r a s s species, such as vetiver g r a s s a n d b a n n a g r a s s , a r e useful. You can also sow o a t s , native g r a s s e s or living mulch p l a n t s . T h e s e will hold the soil and i n c r e a s e the h u m u s a n d nutrient content of the soil, if they a r e s l a s h e d a n d left as a surface mulch. L a r g e t r e e s should only be planted beyond the w a l l s as they often fall a n d remove the d a m wall as they do.

Figure 9.10 Keyline cultivation makes furrows along lines which are parallel to the keyline. 89

D a m wall slopes should be at l e a s t 1:2 a n d preferably 1:3 or 1:4. T h i s is the ratio of the height of the wall compared to the b a s e . D a m walls will s l u m p a n d fall in if they a r e too steep.


Figure 9.11 Large trees can shade and protect water supplies in dams. Grasses, bamboos and ground covers are useful plants for slopes as their extensive root systems help bind and protect the soil. Occasionally, a silt or chemical trap m a y need to be built whenever severe run-offis known to contain silt, fine clay or excess nutrients. Wetland p l a n t s can be u s e d to help filter a n d settle soil particles from the w a t e r as shown in F i g u r e 9.13. T h i s holding pond can also be u s e d as an initial t r e a t m e n t site for fertiliser accumulation. F o r e x a m p l e , e x c e s s p h o s p h a t e can be precipitated by a d d i n g a l u m , a n d calcium a n d p h o s p h a t e can be removed by a d d i n g soluble ferrous s u l p h a t e where the s u l p h a t e links with calcium a n d the iron (ferrous) with p h o s p h a t e . S o m e nitrate will be removed by u p t a k e from the a q u a t i c p l a n t s in the pond. You a l s o m a y need to consider possible health p r o b l e m s , such a s b a c t e r i a l d i s e a s e s , c a u s e d by contamination of the soil or w a t e r by a n i m a l droppings.

D r a i n s which collect water can h a v e several u s e s . T h e structure a n d construction of these d r a i n s vary depending on the function you wish them to perform. For e x a m p l e , d r a i n s can be called s w a l e s , diversions, interceptors or s p r e a d e r s depending on the situation. Moving water through drains S w a l e s a r e ditches on the contour. When they fill or catch water, the water does not flow a w a y . They hold run-off water a n d allow it to seep into the soil. F u r t h e r m o r e , placing a c c e s s r o a d s along contours in effect doubles up as a s w a l e where water can be collected and/or directed to other p a r t s of the property. S w a l e s work b e s t on s a n d y soil b e c a u s e the water can be c a u g h t and then allowed to soak into the ground. If s w a l e s a r e constructed in h e a v y clay soil you m a y h a v e to rip the ground and/or a d d g y p s u m which will c o a g u l a t e (clump together) the clay particles. T h i s will improve draina g e , and water a n d root penetration of the soil. Deep ripping of h a r d ground to a b o u t one m e t r e is often u s e d before tree p l a n t i n g occurs. Only t h a t a r e a where t r e e s a r e actually planted n e e d s to be ripped. S m a l l s w a l e s in s u b u r b a n b a c k y a r d s or on small a c r e a g e properties can be mulched a n d sown with s e e d s to grow food crops such as melons. Y o u don't normally follow this practice on rural properties b e c a u s e of the e x p e n s e and time needed for the operation. However, aim to utilise all p a r t s of the s w a l e .

Figure 9.12 The slope of dam walls should be such that they don't cave in. Slopes of 1:2 (27°) or 1:3 (18°) are the minimum. 90


Figure 9.13 A settling pond and reed bed is used to remove excess nutrients. Here are two different ways this can be set up.

Figure 9.14 A swale is a ditch cut along a contour. Water is held in the ditch until it soaks into the soil.

Figure 9.15 Permaculture uses multifunctional elements. An access road built along a contour can also act as a swale. 91


should be wide enough to p e r m i t a c c e s s either footpath, wheelbarrow or even trac­ tor.

S w a l e s a l s o t r a p organic m a t t e r a n d t h e ditch b e c o m e s a rich, thick layer of h u m u s which h o l d s lots of water. You can p l a n t directly into t h e ditch (good for m e l o n s ) or u s e t h e ditch as a p a t h w a y . E v e n t u a l l y , t h e s w a l e will fill up a n d you m i g h t end up with a t e r r a c e .

Flood irrigation can be achieved by u s i n g s p r e a d e r d r a i n s , which a r e e s s e n t i a l l y like s w a l e s in t h a t they a r e level a n d on the contour. Water from a d a m or s t r e a m is directed into the drain, it fdls up a n d overflows over the top side, a l o n g i t s length, a n d c a s c a d e s downhill over crops or p a d ­ docks. A word of caution: on s t e e p slopes, a n d compounded by non-wetting soils, s h e e t erosion can occur. S p r e a d e r d r a i n s a r e only s u i t a b l e for g e n t l e slopes. U n l i k e s w a l e s , which a r e normally b u i l t on p e r m e a b l e soils, diversion d r a i n s h a v e a slight g r a d i e n t . E v e n a slope of 1:1000 will drain water, b u t g r a d i e n t s of 1:100 or l e s s a r e m u c h m o r e effective. T h i s m e a n s t h a t there is a one m e t r e fall over a dis­ t a n c e of 100 m e t r e s . A slope of 1 in 2 0 0 is

T e r r a c i n g i s p o s s i b l e o n s o m e slopes, b u t is m o r e common in tropical a n d subtropi­ cal a r e a s t h a n i n dry a n d M e d i t e r r a n e a n areas. T e r r a c i n g is effective in high rainfall ar­ e a s as a m e a n s of h a r v e s t i n g water, re­ d u c i n g erosion a n d growing water-loving p l a n t s such a s t a r o a n d rice. T e r r a c e d s l o p e s still n e e d a r a n g e of p l a n t s to stabi­ lise t h e soil. S w a l e s in f a r m p a d d o c k s will n a t u r a l l y a c c u m u l a t e a n i m a l m a n u r e s from stock, t h u s providing a nutrient-rich fertiliser for t r e e s grown in or on the s w a l e s . S w a l e s

Figure 9.16 Terraces form when swales fill up.

Figure 9.17 Spreader drains can be filled and then allowed to overflow to irrigate crops. 92


by licensed consultants, b e c a u s e the s p a c ing a n d placement of t h e s e types of d r a i n s is critical to the s u c c e s s of the s y s t e m . T h e s e trained consultants can recognise n a t u r a l field barriers, dykes, throughflows a n d recharge a r e a s . They also u n d e r s t a n d the chemical c h a n g e s t h a t t a k e place under waterlogged conditions, a s well a s perched a n d rising w a t e r t a b l e s a n d other water m o v e m e n t s in the l a n d s c a p e . We have to a d d r e s s the salt and waterlogging p r o b l e m s by d r a i n a g e , soil improvement a n d so on before trees a r e planted.

enough to move water and slow enough to minimise erosion and u n w a n t e d movement of s a n d and silt. Diversion d r a i n s work better when the b a s e a n d s i d e s a r e clay-lined. T h i s m a y mean t h a t the drain cut is deep enough to slice into the clay layer, often below the sand layer. D r a i n s m a y be 0.5 m or more deep. Interceptor b a n k s , b a s e d on the work of Harry Whittington in Western A u s t r a l i a , are known as W I S A L T S - Whittington Interceptor S u s t a i n a b l e Agricultural L a n d Treatment System. T h e s e t y p e s of d r a i n s a r e a l w a y s cut into the clay a n d compacted, no m a t t e r how deep it is (often up to 2 m down). The clay is u s e d to line the trenches, which can be cut on the contour, as a swale is, or cut slightly off the contour so t h a t water d r a i n s a w a y . If no clay is a v a i l a b l e , plastic s h e e t i n g m a y b e used. W I S A L T d r a i n s a r e u s e d t o t a k e water a n d salt-affected water a w a y from waterlogged a r e a s , such a s p a d d o c k s , and discharge it into d a m s or s t r e a m s . T h e compacted, clay-lined, downward side prevents salt-laden water moving through the soil d o w n w a r d s , t h u s reducing further soil collapse.

D e g r a d e d l a n d and soils, with high salinity problems, a r i s e from either groundw a t e r rising a n d bringing dissolved s a l t to the surface or from soil collapse, where the l a n d is cleared, cultivated a n d compacted, and the soil structure b r e a k s down or changes. Erosion removes the topsoil. T h e r e is l e s s h u m u s a n d air, a n d more waterlogging. Clay s e a l s the ground on the surface a n d often somewhere below the surface. In effect, a soil s w a m p or bog is produced in this collapsed soil situation. U s u a l l y before soil collapse occurs, there a r e tell-tale s i g n s , which include particular vegetation growing in p a r t i c u l a r a r e a s (rising water table, waterlogged a r e a s ) , such as reeds, barley g r a s s a n d dock, or a noticeable wet a r e a which r e m a i n s wet well into the s u m m e r (farm vehicles e a s ily bogged). S o m e s a l t is u s u a l l y evident

In effect, interceptor b a n k s drain and dry the soil, removing potential waterlogging problems, including problems of anaerobic conditions a n d p l a n t death. W I S A L T b a n k s should only b e installed

Figure 9.18 Interceptor banks have to be cut into the clay layer to prevent water from seeping downslope. The water can be used upslope -it moves through the soil by capillary action - or taken to a dam or safe disposal site. 93


on top of the ground. Generally, there is a l s o evidence of reduced crop yield or p a s t u r e growth, as well as the yellowing of p l a n t s in waterlogged a r e a s . You can u s e a backhoe to dig a three metre deep test hole which will allow you to determine if soil collapse is occurring. Water t h a t trickles or s e e p s from the top l a y e r s downward to fill the bottom (diag r a m A below) s u g g e s t s soil collapse and

a h a r d p a n clay layer, c a u s i n g s e e p a g e . Water that a p p e a r s to well u p w a r d s from the bottom of the hole ( d i a g r a m B) also can s u g g e s t poor d r a i n a g e . T h e digging r e l e a s e s p r e s s u r e and the water bubbles u p w a r d s . T h i s m a y also indicate possible s a l t problems due to the collapsed soil. S t r a t e g i e s for both of these situations would include building interceptor b a n k s to restrict the recharge water from mov-

Figure 9.19 Digging test holes to examine soil collapse and drainage.

Figure 9.20 Clay-lined drains are barriers to water movement downslope. These drains can divert water from salt scalds and help to dry paddocks which waterlog easily. 94


ing through the soil. P l a n t i n g trees in these r e c h a r g e a r e a s would also help to utilise some of the excess water. You should expect t h a t good soils, with a high holding capacity, will h a v e little water m o v e m e n t through them. Land clearing h a s also c a u s e d the water table to r i s e , b r i n g i n g s a l t with it to the surface. T r e e s n a t u r a l l y act a s p u m p s , keeping the water t a b l e below the surface. When t h e s e trees were removed the water r o s e . Waterlogging a n d flooded a r e a s killed all soil life as the air w a s expelled. T h e soil structure collapsed. Soon, all you see a r e ever-increasing a r e a s o f s a l t s c a l d s . S o m e salt is b r o u g h t up from lower soil l a y e r s , but much of it is t r a p p e d above the h a r d pan a n d cannot drain away. T h e s a l t slowly a c c u m u l a t e s a n d the concentration inc r e a s e s . B a c t e r i a a n d soil o r g a n i s m s die,

below the surface. T h e soil becomes waterlogged. When this h a p p e n s further rain cannot enter the soil at all a n d more overland flow occurs. T h e problems escalate. Keyline cultivation is u s e d to b r e a k up the h a r d p a n , allowing w a t e r a n d air to enter a n d infiltrate the soil. W a t e r is then permitted to p e r m e a t e deeper into the soil,

Figure 9.22 Piezometers allow you to examine water table height and water pressure and salinity level.

Figure 9.21 Hills are often recharge areas where rainwater enters the soil and moves down into the soil and down the slope. the soil becomes anaerobic and stock refuse to e a t the r e m a i n i n g g r a s s growing on it. After l a n d is cleared some soil, the topsoil, is often w a s h e d a w a y by erosion. S m a l l soil p a r t i c l e s a r e a l s o w a s h e d downwards where they c o m p a c t and cement together to seal the lower subsoil. T h i s is w h a t is called the clay h a r d p a n , which g r a d u a l l y rises as more topsoil is lost a n d g r e a t e r compaction occurs. A s rain falls, m o s t i s lost a s run-off a n d w h a t d o e s enter the soil p e r m e a t e s only to the h a r d p a n , which m a y be only 200 mm 95

where it is held, and t h u s able to be u s e d by p l a n t s . Planting trees often doesn't solve the problem - even if some of t h e s e p l a n t s can survive in waterlogged soil. T h e environmental movement's p u s h to "green" the world by p l a n t i n g trees is futile if the soil is not suitable for the trees to grow. S o m e interceptor b a n k s hold the water where it is needed m o s t - on the slopes. T h e trenches don't allow w a t e r to drain away, carrying nutrients, h u m u s a n d organic m a t t e r with it. T h e s e m a t e r i a l s s t a y


so t h a t p l a n t s can access them. B a n k s by t h e m s e l v e s a r e of little u s e . T r e e s h a v e to be planted along the whole length of the drain. F o u r or five rows of t r e e s a r e not uncommon and you could expect to p l a n t about 1000 trees for one kilometre of drain. If stock a r e to be k e p t in a r e a s containing d r a i n s then fencing of the trees m u s t occur. E v e n electric fencing, which is the l e a s t e x p e n s i v e option, does i n c r e a s e the cost of l a n d m a n a g e m e n t s t r a t e g i e s . However, u n l e s s fences a r e erected stock will quickly devour the s h r u b s and trees. In time, stock can be rotated through the fenced tree belts as p a r t of the farm grazing system. S w a l e s a n d interceptor b a n k s a r e s p a c e d d e p e n d i n g on soil type, rainfall and slope. U s u a l l y s w a l e s a r e close together on the steeper slopes a n d further a p a r t on the shallower g r a d i e n t s . You m a y , for e x a m ple, cut s w a l e s every h u n d r e d m e t r e s on

one p a r t of the farm and only h a l f t h a t distance on a steeper a r e a . However, m a chinery cannot operate safely on slopes g r e a t e r than 2 0 ° . On slopes of this size, or l e s s , a bulldozer m a y be able to p u s h the soil into a b a n k as it moves downwards. T h i s is the b e s t way to build the d r a i n s .

In dry areas In dryland a r e a s it is better to store the water underground. In hot climates, water quickly e v a p o r a t e s from d a m s , so it is b e s t to m a k e water fall into trenches a n d pits, where it can infiltrate into the nearby soil and supply nourishment to the root s y s t e m s of plants. T e r r a c e s can also be u s e d in drier a r e a s . S m a l l p a t c h e s of cereal crops or green m a n u r e crops, such as m u s t a r d , can be easily grown and h a r v e s t e d . T e r r a c e d slopes a r e normally cut by h a n d - u s i n g tools of course. P l a n t i n g on slopes is essential for soil stability. Vetiver g r a s s , Vetiveria zizanioides, is a r e m a r k a b l e

Figure 9.23 When building swales and interceptor banks, start at the top of the hill and work downwards.

Figure 9.24 Dams should be deeper in drier areas to minimise evaporation. 96


Figure 9.25 A pit filled with compost and covered in stone or sand can trap and store water. Natural seepage and drainage of water will slowly fill pits and wells. p l a n t t h a t h a s a very long root s y s t e m a n d can survive in both drought a n d flood. H e d g e s of vetiver g r a s s a r e u s e d in a r i d a r e a s for erosion control a n d can t r a p a n d a c c u m u l a t e l a r g e a m o u n t s of topsoil, thus c r e a t i n g mini-terraces a t the s a m e time. W h a t ' s m o r e , it's good fodder for stock a n d e a s y to p r o p a g a t e . L e m o n g r a s s , Cymbopogon citratus, is a l s o good for erosion control. Water u s e in the g a r d e n should be monitored a n d controlled. Y o u r a i m is to obtain the o p t i m u m benefit from the water t h a t is u s e d a n d to m i n i m i s e evaporation a n d s e e p a g e a w a y from p l a n t root zones. B u r y u n g l a z e d clay pots in the vegetable g a r d e n , fill with water a n d leave it to slowly p e r m e a t e through the walls into the s u r r o u n d i n g soil. T h e s e t y p e s of s t r a t e g i e s should be tried more in the drier a r e a s of A u s t r a l i a a n d

A m e r i c a , a s a t p r e s e n t they a r e u s e d m a i n l y in Africa. In dry a r e a s , the d a y t i m e soil t e m p e r a t u r e s can be very high. T h e surface could

Figure 9.27 Water held in clay pots can diffuse into the surrounding soil.

Figure 9.26 Vetiver grass is used to reduce erosion on slopes. 97


retain moisture. Even stone mulches can be u s e d when this resource is available. Often, timber-based mulches a r e j u s t not available or would be expensive to buy and transport in.

be over 4 0 ° C . T h e s e high t e m p e r a t u r e s will c a u s e s t r e s s to p l a n t s , especially exotic garden vegetables, and high transpiration r a t e s resulting in wilting and possible death. T h e u s e of s h a d e trees, including some that a r e nitrogen-fixing and general soil builders, over a food crop is common in some countries. Mulches should be u s e d in these a r e a s too, as these will help to keep the soil cool and

As water is very scarce in arid climates m a n y s t r a t e g i e s m u s t be tried, even wire fences which allow dew to condense a n d drip onto the soil. Dew is a limited water collection strategy, but in these a r e a s any water is helpful for plant survival.

Figure 9.28 Even a stone mulch will protect and cool the soil.

Figure 9.29 Dew will condense on objects. Water can then drip into the soil.

My notes

Things I need to find out

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10 Designs for urban settlement Permaculture d e s i g n s for s u b u r b a n y a r d s and s m a l l city properties h a v e to primarily consider the lack of s p a c e a n d the lack of n a t u r a l vegetation cover. T h e suburban l a n d s c a p e in m a n y cities is being decimated in much the s a m e way as forests a r e b e i n g reduced to i s l a n d s of p l a n t s . Consequently, you h a v e to utilise w h a t space you h a v e very effectively, as there j u s t isn't enough room to grow m a n y types of p l a n t s . F o r e x a m p l e , you could only h a v e one avocado, walnut or pecan in the a v e r a g e b a c k y a r d - a n d not much else! For t h e s e types of s i t u a t i o n s , we need to better u s e vertical growing space, promote the u s e of d w a r f a n d multi-graft fruit t r e e s , a n d focus on growing herbs and v e g e t a b l e s for our culinary requirem e n t s . We m a y not be able to grow all of our food b u t we can s u p p l e m e n t our needs.

food), a variety of p l a n t s in g a r d e n a r e a s and water. Here we d i s c u s s each of t h e s e in turn. Compost C o m p o s t i s m a d e when p l a n t a n d a n i m a l m a t e r i a l s b r e a k down into s i m p l e r s u b s t a n c e s . T h e process, which is normally slow, can be sped up by a l t e r i n g one or more of the n e c e s s a r y r e q u i r e m e n t s for m a k i n g compost. T h e s e r e q u i r e m e n t s include air, high t e m p e r a t u r e , a good balance of p l a n t and a n i m a l m a t e r i a l s a n d water. T h e b a l a n c e of p l a n t and a n i m a l m a t e r i a l s is reflected by the carbon-nitrogen ratio, which should be about 2 0 : 1 for ideal compost m a k i n g . Y o u can build compost h e a p s from solely p l a n t m a t e r i a l , b u t the overall process t a k e s longer. Generally, the g r e a t e r the a m o u n t of air available for the feeding m i c r o - o r g a n i s m s a n d the l e s s loss of h e a t (higher t e m p e r a ture), the faster the decomposition. S o , by turning the h e a p or allowing more air to circulate through the pile, a n d by covering the h e a p so t h a t h e a t is not lost to the environment, decomposition occurs quickly.

Gardens M a n y g a r d e n b e d s in urban settlements a r e narrow. T h e common bed s h a p e s disc u s s e d in C h a p t e r 2, such as circle, herb spiral, keyhole ( m a n d a l a pattern) a n d plucking b e d s , a r e frequently u s e d in suburban g a r d e n s . U r b a n b a c k y a r d s m i g h t only contain zones one a n d two, a n d possibly s o m e zone five. T h i s m e a n s t h a t you will be able to grow some v e g e t a b l e s , h a v e a few fruit trees a n d m a y b e k e e p a couple of chickens. E s s e n t i a l to all g a r d e n s a r e compost (plant

M a n y people find t u r n i n g the compost h e a p h a r d work, so here is a s i m p l e solution. Recycle a m e t a l 2 0 0 L (44 gallon) drum by cutting h a l f of the lid a w a y . L a y the drum on its side a n d s t a r t filling it

Figure 10.1 Use a 200 L (44 gal) drum as a compost turning device. 99


with compost m a t e r i a l s . To increase a e r a tion, roll the drum b a c k w a r d s a n d forw a r d s or, if possible, u s e a small r a m p as shown in F i g u r e 10.1. M a n y people j u s t build a compost pile wherever they find some space in the b a c k y a r d . Others h a v e a set area. Your organic recycling centre can be built from m a t e r i a l s such as old wooden pallets, or timber s l a t s , as shown in F i g u r e 10.2, or you m a y simply choose to place all of your organic w a s t e s in the garden bed itself. A b a n a n a circle is an ideal compost heap, as food s c r a p s a n d leaf litter a r e placed in the hollow in the middle and the surrounding b a n a n a s or other p l a n t s feed on the w a s t e s Figure 10.4 Small holes in bins such as these increase air flow through the compost pile. If the base is solid you should make holes in it to allow drainage of excess water. as they quickly b r e a k down. You m a y h a v e to check to m a k e sure your local council allows you to have a compost pile in your backyard. S o m e of the commercial plastic compost bins that you can buy (or are supplied by some local authorities) do not work effectively b e c a u s e air is restricted from reaching all p a r t s of the pile. Cutting holes all over the bin, including the lid, will increase air flow through the compost.

Figure 10.2 Compost bays are easy to construct.

To minimise insects a n d other p e s t s from entering the bin, glue some flywire screen over each hole. Holes in the lid a r e a l s o important to allow rain water to enter the bin to keep the compost moist. Garden areas

Figure 10.3 A banana circle is a compost heap in disguise.

Much of the urban yard should be mulched. Sheet-mulched garden beds are common, and all other trees, such as fruit, chicken fodder and so on, are mulched, at l e a s t out to their drip line. Mulch i n c r e a s e s the microbial activity of the soil, and p l a n t s growing nearby extend their root m a s s into the mulch, thus increasing their water and nutrient intake.

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Mulch is u n d e r - u s e d in the community, mainly b e c a u s e people a r e u n a w a r e of its benefits. T h e m a n y conventional landscape practices t h a t a r e u s e d in g a r d e n s are cosmetic, a n d they a r e u s e d to m a k e the g a r d e n a r e a s look attractive. P e r m a c u l t u r e , however, is about m a k i n g these a r e a s useful - a n d beautiful as well. So, we p l a n t a n d m a i n t a i n a variety of herbs, v e g e t a b l e s a n d other p l a n t s t h a t contribute to our daily needs. P e r m a c u l t u r e is a l s o a b o u t s a v i n g energy, so it m a k e s good s e n s e to place the food production a r e a s n e a r the c o n s u m e r s , whether t h e s e a r e h u m a n s , chickens or g o a t s . Y o u need to grow v e g e t a b l e s where you can see t h e m - close to the h o u s e , along the p a t h s to the chicken pen, or in view from the kitchen window. When d e s i g n i n g your g a r d e n b e d s , choose the p l a n t s m o s t a p p r o p r i a t e to your soil type a n d microclimate a r e a s . I f you h a v e lots of s h a d e ( a n d you can't change this),

p l a n t s h r u b s t h a t a r e s h a d e tolerant, such as comfrey and angelica. You can't expect to grow all types of p l a n t s successfully. S o m e like well-drained soils, while others t o l e r a t e clay a n d waterlogging. For e x a m p l e , w a l n u t s a r e s u s c e p tible to root rot in heavy soil, b u t grow well in s a n d y soils. Generally, m o s t fruit t r e e s a r e s u i t a b l e for b a c k y a r d s . In particular, lemon, m a n darin, orange, mulberry, a p p l e , g u a v a , b a n a n a (unless there i s r e g u l a r frost) a n d early v a r i e t i e s of p l u m s u r v i v e in m o s t climate types a n d a r e a p p r o p r i a t e in s m a l l backyards. S o m e t y p e s of fruit trees, including p e a r s , p e a c h e s a n d nectarines, a r e often not as hardy, easily succumb to fungal d i s e a s e s or a r e a t t a c k e d by p e s t s . U s e fruit trees t h a t don't get r a v a g e d by b i r d s or fruit fly, or become covered in fungus. E a r l y v a r i e ties of m o s t trees are b e s t as they a r e l e s s susceptible to attack by d i s e a s e s a n d p e s t s .

Figure 10.5 An example of zoning in an urban property. Food production areas are placed close to the house. 101


F r u i t trees a n d g a r d e n b e d s need protection from d a m a g i n g winds, even in urban b a c k y a r d s . F a s t - g r o w i n g , vertical windb r e a k s h r u b s and trees, such a s clumping b a m b o o s a n d b a n n a g r a s s , a r e ideal windb r e a k species. B a m b o o s a r e very useful p l a n t s a n d can be u s e d for g a r d e n s t a k e s , fence m a t e r i a l s a n d thatching, a n d poles for p e r g o l a s a n d w a l k w a y s (besides eati n g them, of course). How w i n d b r e a k s function a n d how they a r e constructed is d i s c u s s e d in C h a p t e r 11.

P a t h s should be narrow and can be m a d e of any type of m a t e r i a l , including sawdust, mulch, concrete and carpet. F o r slippery surfaces and slopes or even wooden s t e p s , consider stretching and securing poultry wire across them. Your shoes will h a v e better grip on the new surface. S t e p s can also be m a d e from car tyres, filled with soil, as shown in F i g u r e 10.9 on the next p a g e .

Figure 10.6 Windbreaks are also needed in urban properties to protect delicate plants.

Figure 10.8 Stretch chicken wire over slippery slopes, paths and steps.

D e s i g n e r s also need to consider g a r d e n bed a c c e s s . Access to g a r d e n a r e a s can be achieved by a variety of methods. For e x a m p l e , the s i m p l e s t is probably stepp i n g stones - of timber, s l a b s , stones or concrete. P a t h s can also be "living" by p l a n t i n g herb l a w n s , such a s chamomile, lippia, Dichondra and thyme, in-between the s t e p p i n g stones.

Ponds

Figure 10.7 Stepping stones and herb lawns make useful, functional paths.

Water is the m o s t important element in p e r m a c u l t u r e design. Ponds a n d aquaculture were covered in C h a p t e r two, so here we a r e j u s t briefly looking at water in the urban l a n d s c a p e . Even small ponds can be productive, a n d a l a r g e r a n g e of edible food crops can be successfully grown in water, such as taro, watercress, water c h e s t n u t s a n d C h i n e s e water spinach ( k a n g kong). A word of caution: m a n y p a r a s i t e s a n d pathogens (disease-causing organisms) h a v e p a r t of their life cycle in water, so m a k e sure t h a t you obtain healthy, disease-free plant stock. You might consider introducing tadpoles caught from nearby s w a m p s or creeks, as these will contribute to p e s t control in the g a r d e n - after they turn into frogs. F r o g s a r e a good indicator of the quality of a waterway. If the water becomes polluted or stale (low oxygen, anaerobic) the

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Figure 10.9 Use tyres filled with soil as steps. frogs will d i s a p p e a r . They m i g h t also disa p p e a r after predation by cats, so watch this. An alternative to ponds is the bog g a r d e n . Here, a wet a r e a can be developed, as m a n y of the p l a n t s t h a t live in ponds will thrive in m a r s h y , wet soil as well.

T h e bog g a r d e n can be built by lining a hollow with plastic sheeting or clay and filling it with soil t h a t is k e p t moist at all times. The idea of u s i n g a bog g a r d e n , i n s t e a d of a pond, in a school design is also briefly mentioned in C h a p t e r 12.

Figure 10.10 Top: Even small ponds can be productive. Bottom: A bog garden can replace a pond in a garden area. 103


small, red worms which a r e distinct from the larger earthworm found in some gardens and p a s t u r e s . It is the m a n u r e worms which we a r e generally talking about, even though we j u s t call them all earthworms, as these can breed quickly and be u s e d to digest household w a s t e s . People who do not h a v e g a r d e n s , or who rent a property, or m a y not h a v e much room, can keep e a r t h w o r m s a l m o s t anywhere, even in a small box similar to that shown in F i g u r e 10.12. Kitchen s c r a p s , torn n e w s p a p e r and other organic m a t e rial can be placed in the box each day. An earthworm farm such as this m i g h t contain several t h o u s a n d earthworms, each consuming up to their own weight in food every day.

Animals M a n y s m a l l a n i m a l s can be k e p t in the urban y a r d . However, the three m o s t common useful a n i m a l s a r e earthworms, bees and chickens. The use of a n i m a l s in permaculture s y s t e m s is further discussed in the next chapter. Earthworms E a r t h w o r m s are the n u m b e r one a n i m a l to h a v e in the urban l a n d s c a p e . They a r e e a s y to k e e p a n d cultivate. E a r t h w o r m s can be bred in a box, but they should be livingin the garden! Here, e a r t h w o r m s do what they do b e s t - improve the soil. You don't need an earthworm box to p u t your kitchen s c r a p s in. J u s t dig the s c r a p s into any g a r d e n bed and not only will they be turned into nutrients for your p l a n t s , the soil will benefit too. Garden b e d s should become your earthworm farm.

Figure 10.11 Earthworms are nature's cultivators. T h e r e a r e m a n y different types of earthworms, a n d the ones that are mostly u s e d a r e the m a n u r e or compost worms, often

An active earthworm farm of m a n u r e worms such as red wrigglers a n d tiger worms, properly m a n a g e d , can d i g e s t up to a kilogram of food s c r a p s each day. Provided that you keep them warm, moist, a e r a t e d a n d well-fed, e a r t h w o r m s will be tireless workers for you day in and day out. An earthworm farm can replace the need for a s e p a r a t e compost pile. Although earthworms e a t anything organic, they don't like too much of one thing, especially acid foodstuffs, so excess citrus peel, onion s k i n s a n d t e a b a g s can be placed directly into the compost h e a p . E a r t h w o r m s also cannot digest bones, so

Figure 10.12 Earthworms can be kept and cultivated in a plastic, cardboard or foam box. Make sure that you have air holes in the top and bottom of the box. 104


after they h a v e consumed the skin or feathers and soft t i s s u e , p u t the skeleton, after a little crushing if possible, into the compost pile as well, or burn the bones and apply the a s h to your g a r d e n beds. Bees B e e s h a v e a role to play in a l m o s t all natural ecosystems. They pollinate m a n y different types of p l a n t s and therefore are essential in the plant's life cycle. Not everyone likes to keep bees. S o m e people a r e allergic to bee s t i n g s and others h a v e a fear about bee a t t a c k s . S o m e people can't keep bees b e c a u s e of local authority r e g u l a t i o n s - check with your local g o v e r n m e n t before you buy and s e t up a hive. In s o m e s t a t e s or countries you m a y need a license to k e e p bees. M a k e s u r e you tell your neighbours about your p l a n s too. B e e s a r e very productive a n i m a l s . You can h a r v e s t a b o u t 50 kg of honey from one hive (double s u p e r ) each y e a r - more than enough for your own n e e d s a n d to sell or give a w a y to friends, family a n d neighbours. Y o u need to obtain a hive two boxes (sup e r s ) high. T h e bottom box is where the queen r e s i d e s , a n d there will be a m i x t u r e of y o u n g l a r v a e , p u p a e , pollen a n d honey a m o n g s t the honeycomb. You don't t a k e any honey from this box. T h e top box is where the worker bees store their honey. You can often extract this honey three or four t i m e s a year, dependi n g on the strength of the hive a n d the s e a s o n . F o r e x a m p l e , you don't u s u a l l y h a r v e s t honey during winter and the bees a r e m o s t active d u r i n g the s u m m e r , so more honey is a v a i l a b l e then.

Figure 10.13 A bee hive can be mounted on a roof. This would only be practical if nearby trees provide some shade during the hotter months. they fly to a n d from the hive during forage times. If you want to keep the hive on the ground, you can still force the bees to t a k e a high flight path as shown in F i g u r e 10.14. Here a tree screen, shed wall or fence is u s e d to m a k e the bees fly high to g e t over the obstruction. Once over, the bees m o s t often s t a y on the s a m e flight path until they arrive at their destination. If you've never kept b e e s or don't h a v e the

B e e s like to live in a hive with the sun shining on it m o s t of the time. T h i s m a y be a problem in a s h a d e d b a c k y a r d . T h e solution is to place the hive on top of a s h e d or g a r a g e roof. T h i s will also m e a n t h a t the b e e s ' flight p a t h will be high and this will reduce encounters with bees as

Figure 10.14 Use a hedge or wall to force bees to use a high flight path. 105


n e c e s s a r y equipment, you might like to contact people from the D e p a r t m e n t of Agriculture, local authority or council, local A p i a r i s t Association and bee product suppliers. You m a y choose to let someone else m a n a g e your hives a n d extract the honey. T h e person who t a k e s the time a n d m a k e s the effort to extract the honey gets some a n d you g e t some. It's one of those win-win situations. S e t t i n g up with a smoker, suit, h a t and veil, h a n d tools, extractor, b u c k e t s a n d filters is expensive. For e x a m p l e , a handoperated extractor might cost several hundred dollars, while a motorised one could be well over a t h o u s a n d dollars (ÂŁ500). However, once you h a v e t a s t e d pure honey from your own hive, you'll never buy commercial b l e n d s a g a i n . You m i g h t consider s h a r i n g the costs for the n e c e s s a r y equipm e n t with neighbours, or friends in different a r e a s , who m a y extract honey at different t i m e s d u r i n g the year. Poultry A couple of chickens a r e useful additions to any p e r m a c u l t u r e s y s t e m . A g a i n , there m a y be r e g u l a t i o n s about whether you can keep poultry in your locality or how m a n y you can h a v e - especially roosters! Check with your local authority. T h r e e healthy chickens will provide one to two e g g s a d a y for m o s t of the year.

It is best to keep ducks, g e e s e a n d chickens in s e p a r a t e pens, as g e e s e will h a r a s s d u c k s and chickens, while ducks can attack chickens. Both g e e s e and d u c k s will foul drinking water quickly, which m a y c a u s e health problems for other poultry. Generally, ducks a n d g e e s e suffer fewer d i s e a s e s than chickens. You need to recognise that each poultry species h a s particular needs, a n d fulfilling those n e e d s can best occur when they a r e s e p a r a t e d . In the urban situation most people j u s t h a v e chooks. There is a l a r g e r a n g e of different breeds of chickens and you can buy them from a variety of sources, including your p e r m a c u l t u r e friends, poultry b r e e d e r s and b a c k y a r d e n t h u s i a s t s . S o m e are m e a t birds, some produce an abundance of eggs, some a r e black-skinned a n d some a r e small. T h e s m a l l e r b a n t a m s a r e e a s y to k e e p a n d feed, a n d m a k e good mothers, although their e g g s a r e about h a l f the size of the larger breeds of birds. To recycle all domestic organic w a s t e you only need three elements - a compost h e a p , chickens and earthworms. Give all of the household s c r a p s to the chooks. L e t them t a k e what they want. After a few d a y s , r a k e up what is left a n d place it in the earthworm farm or compost h e a p . Of course, you will need to s u p p l e m e n t the household s c r a p s with other foodstuffs such a s g r a i n s (cereals), herbs a n d g r e e n s to provide a b a l a n c e d diet for the poultry.

Chickens, d u c k s a n d g e e s e can be k e p t in an u r b a n b a c k y a r d , b u t g e e s e tend to be noisy at t i m e s a n d they prefer the larger open a r e a s of rural properties. D u c k s need to h a v e water, at l e a s t a good bucketful so t h a t they can dunk their h e a d s a n d b e a k s . They also a r e noisy when you h a v e a few of them.

All poultry m a k e good pets. Children like to pick them up and hold a n d p a t them. However, if you intend to eat any e x c e s s poultry that you breed, don't give them n a m e s . It is very h a r d to kill a n d e a t Alice, F r e d or Muffin.

Their w a t e r n e e d s to be changed regularly as they will foul and muddy it quickly. While d u c k s a r e good at e a t i n g s l u g s , s n a i l s a n d m o s t food s c r a p s , they don't seem to b r e a k all things down like chickens do.

If you h a v e a big b a c k y a r d you m i g h t consider a rotating chicken pen as shown in F i g u r e 10.15. In a rotating poultry pen, chickens, d u c k s or g e e s e can be k e p t in pen 1, while p e n s 2 and 3 a r e cropped with vegetables or planted with poultry fodder

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species. When a p p r o p r i a t e , the poultry can then be moved into the n e x t pen and allowed to clean up the r e m a i n i n g v e g e t a b l e s or e a t the fodder p l a n t s .

Chicken m a n u r e and food s c r a p s provide the n e c e s s a r y nitrogen for b a c t e r i a a n d fungi to b r e a k down the s a w d u s t , p a p e r s a n d l e a v e s , m a k i n g a good compost within a few weeks.

T h i s is a useful s t r a t e g y for the s u m m e r a n d a u t u m n m o n t h s when there is not a lot of green feed.

All you do is r a k e out the layer once a month or so a n d p u t it on the g a r d e n , or if it does need a little m o r e t i m e to b r e a k down, throw it on the compost h e a p .

Poultry will weed, m a n u r e and a e r a t e the soil, p r e p a r i n g the ground ready for the next crop. It is i m p o r t a n t t h a t poultry h a v e a c c e s s to the h o u s i n g shed, no m a t ter w h a t pen they a r e using. A c c e s s holes to each of the other p e n s a r e covered up. H a v i n g three c o m p a r t m e n t s or p e n s a l s o allows one pen to be rested, one pen for the b i r d s a n d the other p l a n t e d with food for you or the poultry, or both. F o r s m a l l e r b a c k y a r d s , either a chicken tractor or a deep litter s y s t e m is ideal. In the deep litter pen, poultry a r e k e p t in a pen or s h e d a n d a thick layer of s a w d u s t , l e a v e s or even n e w s p a p e r s is placed over the floor.

T h i s method of placing l e a v e s , p a p e r or c a r d b o a r d on the ground works well in the rotating chook pen too. It is an e a s y way to m a k e compost, so you don't need a special compost a r e a or h e a p i f you u s e this s y s t e m . A chicken tractor can also be u s e d in s m a l l b a c k y a r d s , where it can be e a s i l y moved to different a r e a s . It is e s s e n t i a l l y a portable poultry pen, often on wheels, so it can be easily p u s h e d or pulled a r o u n d . P l a c i n g a mother hen a n d b a b y chicks in a chicken tractor is a good s t r a t e g y to protect the young from p r e d a t o r s like c a t s , foxes and l a r g e b i r d s .

Figure 10.15 A rotating poultry pen.

Figure 10.16 A deep litter chicken pen. 107


Figure 10.17 A chicken tractor.

Limited spaces P e r m a c u l t u r e is not restricted to the wide open s p a c e s of l a r g e properties. You can p r a c t i s e the principles of p e r m a c u l t u r e a n d d e m o n s t r a t e the design concepts by building mini g a r d e n s and growing food on balconies, window sills and in h a n g i n g b a s k e t s , a n d even the occasional aquatic p l a n t s in an a q u a r i u m inside your home. You a r e only limited by your imagination a n d your design skills. Balconies and windows M a n y people don't h a v e the luxury of a back a n d front y a r d . Although they m a y live in flats a n d units, they can still grow food in the s p a c e they do h a v e a v a i l a b l e , a n d be clever about how they do it. M a n y h o u s i n g u n i t s h a v e small balconies which, in m o s t c a s e s , are under-utilised for growing food. It is e a s y to m a k e or buy

stepped pot s t a n d s , free-standing minigarden b e d s , or g a r d e n containers which you can screw or secure to a wall. Herbs and plucking (green s a l a d ) v e g e t a bles can be grown in these s t a n d s so t h a t

Figure 10.19 Free-standing mini gardens can be easily moved in a small area. you h a v e some food all y e a r round. You can even utilise the underside of the balcony above you by growing p l a n t s in h a n g ing b a s k e t s or securing trellis from one balcony to the next. Windows and window sills in a h o u s e or shed can be u s e d if there is limited g a r d e n space.

Figure 10.18 Stepped pot stands allow sunlight access for all plants.

S h e l v e s can easily be m a d e to fit within the window frame, and window b o x e s a n d lattice or trellis can be secured to the wall either side of the window. Again, a variety of culinary h e r b s a n d vegetables can be grown, including climbers such a s p e a s , b e a n s , n a s t u r t i u m s a n d even passionfruit. 108


Figure 10.20 A planter box outside a window.

Figure 10.21 Use every available growing space in small areas. 109


trees in pots which can be rolled away when needed, trellis (both horizontal a n d vertical), a n d h a n g i n g b a s k e t s which can be secured to pergolas, existing l a r g e trees or v e r a n d a h a r e a s . Trellis can t a k e a variety of forms a n d be m a d e from a variety of m a t e r i a l s , including wire mesh, poultry wire, bamboo sticks and roofing b a t t e n s . Ingenuity a n d common sense are u s e d as we realise t h a t in our y a r d s we don't h a v e j u n k , only t r e a s ured resources.

Figure 10.22 Build shelves inside a window frame. Figure 10.22 Build shelves inside a window frame. Small backyards There a r e m a n y design strategies for small a r e a s . T h e s e include h a v i n g dwarf fruit

You can u s e some m a t e r i a l s to construct a pergola-type walkway so t h a t vines can be grown up and over the trellis, or you can place trellis vertically to grow climbers a n d vines. Multi-graft fruit trees a r e another option. Multi-grafts h a v e two or more different varieties of the s a m e type of fruit on the

Figure 10.23 Dwarf fruit trees in pots are easy to move about. 110


Figure 10.24 Trellis and other structures use vertical height for growing food crops.

Figure 10.25 Fruit trees can be espaliered along a wall or vertical trellis. Vine crops, such as passionfruit, can be grown along a fence. 111


Figure 10.26 Garden beds need to be compact and functional.

Figure 10.27 Permaculture design is an integrated, holistic approach to human settlement. 112


one tree. A p p l e s a n d citrus can easily be grafted onto root stock, or an existing variety of tree, so you could potentially h a v e fruit for a l a r g e p a r t of the y e a r from the "one" a p p l e or lemon tree in the y a r d . Before you graft different varieties onto your tree, or g e t someone else to do this, find out the fruiting t i m e s and other qualities of the v a r i e t i e s you a r e going to u s e . Otherwise, you m a y h a v e one p a r t of the tree growing faster a n d t a k i n g over the slower growing varieties, or you m a y h a v e an a b u n d a n c e of fruit at the s a m e time rather than the total yield s p r e a d over m a n y months.

T h e s i m p l e s t way is to place the s e e d s in a g l a s s j a r . Cover them with w a t e r a n d leave overnight, or for m o s t of a day. U s e a cheesecloth, stocking or clean kitchenwiper cloth to cover the mouth of the j a r in p l a c e of the lid. An elastic b a n d or string is placed, or tied, over the stretched cloth to hold it in place. P l a c e the seed j a r in a w a r m p l a c e , such as on a window sill. D i s c a r d broken and shrivelled s e e d s or s e e d s t h a t a r e floating when you i n s p e c t the j a r the next day. D r a i n the water off a n d rinse the s e e d s each d a y until the s p r o u t s a r e l a r g e enough to e a t . Invert the j a r after rinsing so e x c e s s w a t e r d r a i n s away. T h i s daily w a s h i n g of the s e e d s m a y t a k e a week or more, depending on the actual type of seed u s e d , the temperature and other climatic conditions.

Figure 10.29 Many seeds are easy to germinate in the kitchen.

Figure 10.28 Hanging baskets are ideal food growing gardens. Germinating

seed

A l a r g e n u m b e r of s e e d s p r o u t s are edible a n d can provide high levels of nutrition in the form of proteins, v i t a m i n s and minera l s , a n d occasionally carbohydrates. S e e d s of wheat, barley, sweet corn and lentils, a l o n g with the commonly sprouted m u n g b e a n s , s o y b e a n s a n d alfalfa, a r e easily germinated.

Don't buy commercial seed p a c k e t s , as some seed c o m p a n i e s u s e fungicides a n d other chemicals to protect their s e e d s from d i s e a s e s . U s e only organically grown seeds or, better still, ones you h a v e h a r v e s t e d yourself from your g a r d e n . S e e d s need to be from the l a s t s e a s o n ' s crop. M a n y s e e d s lose their viability after a y e a r or more a n d so will not sprout, a n d those that do m a y contain little nutrition. S o m e s p r o u t s mould quickly, so by trial a n d error you will know when to e a t them. For e x a m p l e , lentils, p e a s a n d sunflower 113


s p r o u t s a r e eaten when they a r e l e s s than two centimetres long, whereas m u n g b e a n s a n d alfalfa a r e eaten when they a r e twice t h i s length. G e n e r a l l y , the longer the s p r o u t the more n o u r i s h m e n t it contains, b u t if they get too long they do not t a s t e as nice. To g e r m i n a t e l a r g e r a m o u n t s of s e e d s you should u s e a cold frame or hothouse. Here, a g l a s s lid covers a wooden or steel box so t h a t winter sunlight can penetrate and w a r m the interior. S e e d l i n g t r a y s a r e p l a c e d inside the box and watered each day. As s e e d s g e r m i n a t e , the t r a y can be removed and the seedlings pricked out into pots or placed directly into g a r d e n b e d s , provided t h a t the d a n g e r of frost is over a n d the ground t e m p e r a t u r e is well above zero.

Figure 10.30 You can use a cold frame to germinate trays of seeds for the garden. All you need is a box with a clear glass or plastic lid. Heat is trapped and held inside the box.

My notes

Things I need to find out

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11 Designing for rural properties land m a n a g e m e n t practice, a s waterlogged a r e a s dry out, dry a r e a s g e t water, salinity problems are a d d r e s s e d a n d soil quality improves.

Whole farm plans P l a n n i n g is required for any s u s t a i n a b l e f a r m i n g development. T h e development of whole farm p l a n s a n d the integration of all components on the farm further illust r a t e s the importance of functional design. T h e d e s i g n of shelterbelts, fodder lock-up areas, water harvesting drains and woodlot a r e a s m u s t contain information a b o u t the m a i n t e n a n c e and m a n a g e m e n t of the s y s t e m . Economical a n a l y s i s of the monetary outlay a n d income of f a r m i n g a n d land m a n a g e m e n t s t r a t e g i e s h a s shown that putting in tree b e l t s , building d a m s a n d undert a k i n g e a r t h w o r k s for d r a i n a g e and so on, can all h a v e a high benefit-to-cost ratio. E s s e n t i a l l y , this m e a n s t h a t t h e s e s t r a t e g i e s can m a k e more money than they cost the farmer.

It might a l s o m e a n t h a t waterlogged are a s a r e better u s e d b y p l a n t i n g wetland p l a n t s , and dryland species a r e u s e d to m a x i m i s e the potential of dry a r e a s . Whole farm p l a n s often h a v e the following characteristics:

N o t all benefits a r e financial in nature. L a n d c a r e , conservation a n d land m a n a g e m e n t s t r a t e g i e s will help improve the quality of the environment a n d also m a k e the farm look p l e a s i n g - a e s t h e t i c s a r e important to h u m a n s . Improving the quality of w a t e r w a y s , conserving a n d restori n g n a t u r a l w e t l a n d s , wildlife h a b i t a t s a n d b u s h a r e a s , and i n c r e a s i n g the recreational v a l u e of l a n d all benefit the community. F a r m e r s a n d l a n d owners m u s t consider w h a t they will do to e n s u r e the b e s t return for money i n v e s t e d for l a n d improvement work. When money is not freely a v a i l a b l e for all f a r m p l a n n i n g s t r a t e g i e s , then some prioritising of all of the options should occur. S e t t i n g priorities h e l p s the l a n d owner to work t o w a r d s realistic g o a l s a n d the slow, ongoing implementation of the design. An i n t e g r a t e d whole farm plan allows all a p p r o p r i a t e conservation a n d developm e n t p r a c t i c e s to be blended together into a s i n g l e s y s t e m . T h e outcome will be good

paddocks a r e divided into homogeneous land u n i t s by soil type, natural topographical f e a t u r e s , v e g e tation t y p e s , or w a t e r d r a i n a g e areas.

each l a n d unit is m a n a g e d a n d developed after e x a m i n a t i o n of the potential stock carrying capacity, crop yield, a m o u n t of d e g r a d a t i o n a n d erosion, a n d soil fertility.

the impact of d e v e l o p m e n t s a n d improvements such as roads, revegetation, water harvesting s t r a t e g i e s a n d crop a n d p a s t u r e c h a n g e s a r e considered in the light of the whole farm - in an integ r a t e d , holistic way.

farm m a n a g e m e n t s t r a t e g i e s m u s t incorporate s u s t a i n a b l e practices, such as m a x i m i s i n g nutrient recycling, m i n i m i s i n g energy a n d resource u s e , m a i n t a i n i n g land productivity, p r e s e r v i n g n a t u r a l ecos y s t e m s and increasing species diversity, a s well a s m a k i n g s u r e t h a t the farm is profitable.

T h e successful implementation of a whole farm plan is a long-term p r o c e s s . It literally t a k e s m a n y y e a r s before financial benefits to crops, p a s t u r e s a n d a n i m a l s r e s u l t from tree p l a n t i n g a n d other s u s tainable l a n d practices. However, even though land owners m a k e s u b s t a n t i a l capital i n v e s t m e n t s on imp r o v e m e n t s to the soil, fences, fodder

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a r e a s a n d water c a t c h m e n t s , the v a l u e of the farm l a n d i n c r e a s e s a n d other benefits to the environment follow. M o s t f a r m e r s view r e p l a n t i n g and revegetation initiatives in t e r m s of economic return. They need to be convinced t h a t shelterbelts, regeneration of native forest a r e a s a n d r e p l a n t i n g of riparian ( s t r e a m or river b a n k ) a r e a s will a d d v a l u e to their property, m a k e the u s e of the land more s u s t a i n a b l e a n d give a potential income in the long term. Income from woodlots a n d specialised timber m a y t a k e ten y e a r s or more. Even fodder tree species h a v e to be fenced from stock for two to three y e a r s before cutting or g r a z i n g is allowed. F a r m e r s should be e n c o u r a g e d to become foresters a n d to r e p l a n t t r e e s in d e g r a d e d a r e a s a n d near remnant vegetation patches. Furthermore, conservation m u s t be seen as good business. Economic viability m u s t be equated to ecological stability. For e x a m p l e , on s m a l l a n d b r o a d - a c r e properties the practice of m i n i m u m tillage should be investigated. N a t u r e doesn't plough and turn the soil, a n d nor should we. You m a y need to b r e a k up compacted ground, either by u s i n g a chisel plough or, in some c a s e s , ripping to p l a n t tree belts. R i p p i n g along the contour also i n c r e a s e s w a t e r absorption by the soil. T h i s can be an effective s t r a t e g y as this technique is cheaper than building s w a l e s .

Windbreaks and shelterbelts S e v e r e winds reduce food production. T h e m o s t d a m a g i n g winds a r e hot a n d dry or those coming from offshore laden with salt. T h e s e types of winds increase the transpiration and desiccation of the plant. Cold winds during winter will also adversely affect m a n y subtropical species. S t r o n g winds can do physical or mechanical d a m a g e and the ferocity of severe winds needs to be tempered. M a n y food producing trees such as kiwifruit, m a c a d a m i a nut and b a n a n a s a r e easily d a m a g e d by wind, with food yield reduced. W i n d b r e a k s should be positioned to counter the effects of severe winds, whether they a r e p r e v a i l i n g or not. P r e v a i l i n g winds are those blowing m o s t often from a particular direction. In some places your windbreak tree belt m a y h a v e to be placed on the e a s t e r n side of the house, in other a r e a s the western side. In other places, the prevailing winds could be south-westerly or north-easterly. T h e wind direction of prevailing winds in winter will differ from those in s u m m e r , and cooling, s u m m e r afternoon (ocean) breezes a r e often in opposite directions to night-time (land) breezes. You might like to re-read C h a p t e r 3, which d e a l s with sector planning, to h a v e a better u n d e r s t a n d i n g of where w i n d b r e a k s a r e placed and how the energies t h a t move through a s y s t e m a r e directed a n d controlled.

Figure 11.1 Tree shape gives some indication of the direction of prevailing winds. 116


a n g l e s ) to the prevailing winds. Shelterbelts, a s the n a m e implies, a r e often a r r a n g e d so t h a t stock can find shelter a n d refuge in them, especially when giving birth and during s t o r m s . Windbreaks protect the soil, preventing it from drying out and minimising the loss of topsoil by wind erosion. G r e a t e r production occurs in a r e a s protected by windb r e a k s . T r e e s m a k e the b e s t windbreaks. Solid fences should never be built as they can be p u s h e d over by the force of strong winds and they c a u s e turbulence. As a general rule of t h u m b the a r e a protected by a tree windbreak s y s t e m is about twenty times the height of the trees. In F i g u r e 11.5, if the trees were 5 m e t r e s high, the distance t h a t is protected on the leeward side is about 100 metres.

L a n d a n d s e a b r e e z e s occur b e c a u s e of the uneven h e a t i n g a n d cooling r a t e s of land (soil) a n d water. D u r i n g the day, the l a n d h e a t s up f a s t e r than the s e a . Hot a i r r i s e s above the land a n d is replaced by a cool sea breeze which u s u a l l y blows in the afternoon. At night, the land cools faster than the s e a a n d cold air from the land flows t o w a r d s the ocean. S o m e t i m e s , wind blowing a c r o s s the land h e a t s up a n d it is not uncommon to experience hot, dry l a n d b r e e z e s early in the morning. W a t e r t e n d s to h e a t up a n d cool down slower than the land. T h e r e a r e several t e r m s which h a v e the s a m e m e a n i n g a n d hence a r e interchangeable. For e x a m p l e , shelterbelts a r e essentially windbreaks. However, we sometimes u s e shelterbelts to describe rows of trees

Figure 11.2 Land and sea breezes. surrounding agricultural land while windb r e a k s m a y refer to those trees protecting buildings, o r c h a r d s a n d g a r d e n a r e a s . S h e l t e r b e l t s a n d windbreaks are planted in a direction which is about 9 0 ° (right

Windbreaks should be a minimum of three rows, but preferably five rows in some circumstances. Five row windbreaks can be u s e d for paddock fence lines within the property. T h e s e give protection to the

Figure 11.3 Shelterbelts are windbreaks that provide protection of stock. 117


p a d d o c k s on both s i d e s of the windbreak s y s t e m b e c a u s e wind speed is reduced a n d winds a r e r a m p e d over them. T r e e s also reduce the a m o u n t of wind p a s s i n g through the a r e a . At l e a s t h a l f of the wind m a y still p a s s through, b u t at a much slower, l e s s d a m a g i n g speed. T r e e s

further reduce wind erosion by t r a p p i n g s a n d and silt. L a r g e trees which a r e slow-growing, such as oaks and carobs, should be planted in the middle rows (of a five-row set) a n d the fast-growing (and nitrogen-fixing) trees, such a s wattles, t a g a s a s t e and c a s u a r i n a ,

Figure 11.4 Windbreaks are used to deflect wind upwards.

Figure 11.5 Tree windbreaks offer protection for 15 - 20 times their height.

Figure 11.6 Poorly designed windbreaks can intensify the problem. Shrubs and trees should have foliage to ground level.

a r e planted on the outside. T h e s e offer protection while the more productive a n d often c o m m e r c i a l l y - v i a b l e s p e c i e s a r e growing. L i k e all p e r m a c u l t u r e elements, windb r e a k s should also serve several other functions. For e x a m p l e , windbreak trees can also be u s e d for bee forage, sources of mulch and firewood, screens for noise, absorbers of pollution, shelterbelts for stock and s u n t r a p s for climate modification. S p e c i e s which can serve as fodder and windbreak include acacia, t a g a s a s t e , carob, o a k s and leucaena. 118


Well-designed w i n d b r e a k s can a l s o slow a fire to one-tenth of i t s speed. Windbreak trees, which a r e u s e d a s n a t u r a l f i r e b r e a k s as well, should h a v e high m o i s t u r e contents, low levels of f l a m m a b l e resin and oils, and should not s h e d l e a v e s a n d branches. Whenever a n y p l a n t i n g occurs, the sequence of s h r u b s a n d t r e e s should follow nature's p a t h w a y . Pioneer trees need to be p l a n t e d first on d e n u d e d a n d d e g r a d e d land. Once t h e s e a r e e s t a b l i s h e d the l a r g e r clim a x species can be planted. R e m e m b e r that the pioneer species such as a c a c i a s , c a s u a r i n a s (or holly a n d b r a m b l e s in colder climates) a r e good windbreak species a n d protect the climax species such as o a k s , nuts, beech or carobs. Stock need shelter from cold winds as

Figure 11.7 Windbreaks should contain several rows of trees.

Figure 11.8 Trees have to be staggered so that both wind speed and wind penetration is reduced. 119


Figure 11.9 Wind must be able to penetrate some of the tree belt, or turbulence will occur. m a n y will die in e x t r e m e conditions l a s t i n g s e v e r a l d a y s . S h e l t e r b e l t s of t r e e s provide refuge as well as fodder during these lean t i m e s .

and m e a t production. T h e p l a c e m e n t of these belts of trees, fences for stock y a r d s a n d water s u p p l i e s a r e crucial to any property containing stock.

Stock production d e c r e a s e s both during e x t r e m e cold and e x t r e m e heat. In fact, shelter is crucial to stock productivity, as open p a s t u r e s will d e c r e a s e milk, wool

S h e l t e r b e l t s can also be productive in other w a y s - as sources of firewood, honey, mulch, building timber and edible crops. For e x a m p l e , c h e s t n u t s for h u m a n s a n d

Figure 11.10 Windbreaks should be curved so that wind is deflected as well as slowed. Banna grass (Pennisetum spp.) or clumping bamboos are useful windbreaks. Here a windbreak also acts as a suntrap. 120


medics. Finally, larger nut and berry trees, such a s o a k s , l e u c e a n a and carobs, should be u s e d as they drop pods or n u t s with high carbohydrate and/or protein content during the lean a u t u m n or fall periods. Alley cropping practices in the paddock should follow the contour as much as possible ( a g a i n to h a r v e s t water to supplement their needs). E v e n s m a l l pockets of trees would effectively improve p a s t u r e s a n d reduce erosion. For s o m e windb r e a k s on a slope, place s w a l e s every 10 m or more to capture water to provide addiFigure 11.11 Nurse trees such as tagasaste or . tional w a t e r i n g of the trees. T h e higher wattles are used to protect wind- and sunslope a r e a s tend to dry out first so you sensitive plants such as macadamia nut trees. should rotate stock from high a r e a s downNurse trees can be continually pruned as the wards. protected tree grows. T r e e b e l t s h a v e the a d d e d a d v a n t a g e s of: o a k s for stock. F a s t growing, potentially stock shelter a n d s h a d e ; microclimate commercial timber species include c h a n g e s so t h a t crop a r e a s a r e more propaulownia (Paulownia tomentosa), ductive; g r e a t e r a n i m a l a n d bird life on blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon), silky oak the f a r m ; source of nectar a n d pollen for (Grevillea robusta) and o a k s (Quercus spp.) b e e s ; and source of firewood, construction generally. F a s t - g r o w i n g nursery, stock poles, fencing p o s t s a n d timber. All of this feed a n d nitrogen-fixing t r e e s include m e a n s , in turn, g r e a t e r stock carrying wattles (Acacia spp.), t a g a s a s t e capacity a n d g r e a t e r opportunity to diver(Chamaecytisus palmensis) a n d Albizia sify f a r m income, by developing a q u a c u l lophantha. ture in the d a m s , honey from bee hives T h e a r r a n g e m e n t of tree b e l t s with a r a b l e a n d timber for s a l e . l a n d in-between, which is u s e d to grow On l a r g e agricultural a r e a s , shelterbelts s o m e sort of crop, is called alley cropping m a y be s p a c e d about 20x the h e i g h t of the or h e d g e r o w intercropping. Even though tallest tree. T h i s corresponds to the a r a b l e l a n d is lost in the p l a n t i n g of t h e s e a m o u n t of protection t h a t this shelterbelt t r e e belts, the total production of the l a n d offers. i n c r e a s e s a n d it is a worthy s y s t e m to P l a n t i n g t r e e s close t o g e t h e r e n s u r e s adopt. canopy closure which, in turn, m i n i m i s e s Alley cropping, which is a l s o known as agroforestry or forest f a r m i n g , is growing t r e e s , u s u a l l y as tree b e l t s , in conjunction with a g r i c u l t u r a l crops or p a s t u r e a n d d o m e s t i c g r a z i n g a n i m a l s , or both.

T h e other i s s u e for p e r m a c u l t u r a l i s t s is t h a t we should be a d v o c a t i n g the u s e of p e r e n n i a l p a s t u r e crops r a t h e r t h a n a n n u a l p a s t u r e s . Perennial p a s t u r e p l a n t s include h e r b s such a s comfrey and d a n d e lion, a n d fodder s h r u b s a n d trees such a s Coprosma, willows, p o p l a r s , t a g a s a s t e a n d

wind infiltration. However, light is restricted from p e n e t r a t i n g to the ground l a y e r a n d few p l a n t s will g r o w a s understorey. Understorey s h r u b s i n c r e a s e the ecological diversity a n d stability, a n d they a r e i m p o r t a n t in the tree belt s y s t e m . Good design of shelterbelts will allow thinning a n d p r u n i n g without affecting their effectiveness a g a i n s t wind. T h e r e is no m a g i c a l n u m b e r for the perc e n t a g e of f a r m l a n d which s h o u l d be p l a n t e d or replanted with trees. Even at 121


1 5 % tree cover, the loss of production of p a s t u r e is m o r e t h a n c o m p e n s a t e d by inc r e a s e d crop production and potential income from tree-based enterprises. F u r t h e r m o r e , try to design zone 5 a r e a s so t h a t they a r e linked to n a t u r a l b u s h l a n d , r e m n a n t b u s h a r e a s a n d wildlife corridors. C o n s i d e r p l a n t i n g r a r e and endang e r e d species from t h e s e a r e a s - especially on s t e e p slopes g r e a t e r than 15 to 18° - as one way you can contribute to their survival. T h e r e p l a n t i n g of indigenous tree species in a r e a s which were once forested b u t a r e now depleted, such a s s p a r s e b u s h l a n d a n d a g r i c u l t u r a l a r e a s , is called "reforestation". Afforestation is p l a n t i n g trees in a r e a s which a r e devoid of trees, such as desert a r e a s . Even so, m a n y of these desert a r e a s were once forested, b u t are no longer

Overgrazing a weed-infested a r e a by stock, before planting, m a y give new s e e d l i n g s a greater chance of survival. Generally, seed p l a n t i n g i s more successful than tubestock planting, a s g e r m i n a t e d s e e d s send down long roots in search of water, w h e r e a s roots a r e often p r u n e d (air or physical) in tubestock pots a n d do not re-establish quickly in the ground. Poor weed control is p e r h a p s the g r e a t e s t hindrance to p l a n t e s t a b l i s h m e n t .

Animals in the system E a c h farm a n i m a l h a s its own special r e q u i r e m e n t s and i t s own special functions. L a r g e a n i m a l s such a s h o r s e s a n d cows require l a r g e a m o u n t s of w a t e r a n d feed, a r e difficult to control a n d pen, a r e l e s s efficient at converting p l a n t m a t e r i a l into a n i m a l protein a n d h a v e a low reproductive potential.

Figure 11.12 Trees planted close together (1 m apart) tend to be tall and narrow while those of the same species planted further apart tend to become more bushy and widespread. b e c a u s e of climatic change a n d h u m a n intervention. T o g e t p l a n t s e s t a b l i s h e d , some p r e p a r a tion a n d care should be u n d e r t a k e n . Direct s e e d i n g is a cheap method of tree planting, a n d provided the s e e d s h a v e been pre-treated, such as pelletising the s e e d or scarifying the seed coat, s u c c e s s should follow.

A s you can i m a g i n e , m o s t s m a l l a n i m a l s , such a s sheep, g u i n e a p i g s a n d poultry, a r e much the opposite. T h e selection of the n u m b e r a n d type of a n i m a l s t h a t a r e placed in the s y s t e m depends on factors such a s :

S m a l l s e e d can be mixed with s a n d before s p r e a d i n g . T h e l a n d owner is a d v i s e d to initially proceed on a s m a l l scale, until a working s y s t e m is developed and e s t a b lished. 122

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climate a n d environment conditions. S o m e b r e e d s of s h e e p , for e x a m p l e , prefer dry climates, while others survive on poor hill s i t e s or in fertile lowland a r e a s .

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size of property. For e x a m p l e , you m a y only h a v e enough l a n d to carry one cow b u t ten sheep.


breeding habits. S o m e animate produce l a r g e litters (pigs) while others only one or two offspring (cows, sheep). You m a y need to a s s e s s the potential d a m a g e t h a t could be c a u s e d by domestic stock which e s c a p e and become feral, including their effects on native a n i m a l s and p l a n t populations.

forage a n d fodder requirements. C h i c k e n s require a m i n i m u m of about 2 0 0 g a day, while sheep c o n s u m e 1 to 2 kg a n d cows u s u a l l y g r e a t e r t h a n 5 to 6 k g .

stocking r a t e . For e x a m p l e , only one cow for every ten a c r e s , one sheep an a c r e a n d so on. T h i s dep e n d s on the carrying capacity of the land.

p u r p o s e . You m i g h t choose stock for m e a t , wool, milk or m a n u r e . You m a y w a n t an a n i m a l to keep the weeds down in the paddock. If you w a n t l a n d cleared, a n d s h r u b s , t r e e s a n d w e e d s removed, then g e t PigsP i g s can be contained by electric fencing, as shown in figure 11.13. A simple electric line is all you need. T h e p i g s will "learn" quickly a n d t e s t the line periodically - or p u s h one of their m a t e s into the electric fence to s e e if it is still on!

p e r s o n a l preference. S o m e people prefer particular a n i m a l s a n d not others. S i n c e you will be looking after the a n i m a l s , t a k e time to consider your opinion.

h u s b a n d r y needs. A n i m a l s h a v e particular needs. For example, sheep may need dipping and drenching (for lice a n d p a r a s i t i c worms respectively), while cattle m i g h t h a v e t o b e t r e a t e d for mastitis, ringworm or warbles (lumps under the skin c a u s e d by the g r u b s of warble flies).

In p l a n n i n g for stock, m a k e s u r e y o u consider both the l a n d capability a n d the sex ratio. For e x a m p l e , one sheep per a c r e , one cow per ten a c r e s , one r a m for fifty ewes a n d one rooster for 10 h e n s . S t o c k i n g levels need to be low enough to allow p l a n t regrowth. S o m e characteristics a n d req u i r e m e n t s for p a r t i c u l a r a n i m a l s a r e listed in the t a b l e s t h a t follow. Stock lock-up a r e a s a r e a good way to provide feed all y e a r round. In F i g u r e 11.14 stock a r e m a i n t a i n e d in pen A for a few w e e k s and then moved into pen B. T h i s set-up a n d rotation can be r e p e a t e d all along the farm boundary (if s e r v i n g as a windbreak as well), or wherever stock a r e kept. Stock should only be locked up in the fodder p e n s for a short time, then moved on.

Figure 11.13 Pigs can be contained by electric fencing. 123


Feeding habit

Animal

Size

Financial commitment

Reproductive fecundity

Horse

large

large

grazer

low

Cow

large

large

grazer

low

Sheep

medium

small

grazer

low

Rabbits

small

small

grazer

high

Pigs

medium

medium

scratcher

high

Chickens

small

small

scratcher

high

Goat

medium

medium

browser

low

Table 11.1 Some characteristics of animals. Animal

Uses, notes

Horse

draft a n i m a l

Cow

milk producer, manure

Sheep

wool or m e a t

fair

shearing

Rabbits

m e a t , fur

very good

shelter, protection from predators

Pigs

m e a t , omnivorous diet

poor

shelter

Chickens

eggs, meat

good

shelter, protection from predators

Goat

milk producer, need strong, secure fencing

good

consistent good q u a l i t y feed for milk

Note:

1. 2.

M a n u r e as fertiliser Special r e q u i r e m e n t s fair

shelter

poor, slow r e l e a s e

consistent good quality feed for milk

Table 11.2 More characteristics of selected animals. A n i m a l m a n u r e for u s e as fertiliser is j u d g e d by the p e r c e n t a g e of nitrogen a n d phosphorus. G r a z e r s mow the g r a s s e s to n e a r ground level. B r o w s e r s prefer new leafy shoots a n d b u d s of s h r u b s a n d trees. They e a t above the ground.

It is i m p o r t a n t to only allow the stock a short s t a y in each enclosure, as p l a n t s t h a t a r e too b a d l y eaten a n d pruned m a y never recover. Different t y p e s of stock can be rotated through the s a m e a r e a , one after another. F o r e x a m p l e , cattle could be contained first. They will chop off higher limbs, some of which will fall on the ground or h a n g lower. After a week or two (depending on

the n u m b e r of p l a n t s and a n i m a l s in the pen a r e a ) they can be moved on a n d replaced by sheep which will browse the broken a n d lower-hanging b r a n c h e s . Stock m u s t b e rotated through g r a z i n g a r e a s . P l a n t s t h a t a r e overgrazed react by producing and secreting toxins to deter browsers. Moving stock on also allows trees and s h r u b s to recover a n d produce new shoots.

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Figure 11.14 An example of a stock lock-up forage system. A m o v e a b l e electric fence is u s e d in this intensive s t r i p - g r a z i n g paddock. Fodder species such as wattles (e.g. Acacia saligna, A. longifolia), t a g a s a s t e (Chaemocytisus palmensis), albizia (Albizia lophantha), honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) a n d l e u c a e n a ( L e u c a e n a leucocephala) a r e grown, u s u a l l y in r o w s a b o u t five m e t r e s a p a r t so t h a t m a c h i n e r y can be driven between them. An a l t e r n a t i v e s y s t e m combines fodder with a w i n d b r e a k strip. F o d d e r t r e e s ( a s

mentioned above) a n d s h r u b s such a s tree medic (Medicago arborea) a r e p l a n t e d as a windbreak a l o n g the length of a p a d dock. Stock can be directed into the fodder strip, which i s u s u a l l y u s e d a s a n occasional feeding lot, especially d u r i n g the " a u t u m n feed g a p " , or they can forage along the fence line at all times. If electric or conventional fencing is too difficult or too costly, or other factors limit this type of s y s t e m , you can simply cut p l a n t m a t e r i a l and feed the stock at your

Figure 11.15 Stock start at the top and are directed downhill as the paddock dries up or tree damage is imminent. 125


will. P r u n e t r e e s at w a i s t to shoulder height. If you let the trees get too big, stock won't be able to reach and you'll need a l a d d e r to prune them yourself. C o m m e r c i a l s l a s h e r s a n d cutters are now

Figure 11.17 Coppicing of willow species produces many wands or canes which are used for craft work or stock fodder.

Figure 11.16 Suckering or running varieties of poplar, wattle and bamboo can be used as a fodder provision strategy for stock. As long as the parent tree is not devastated or eaten, the tree will survive even if the suckering growth parts are eaten to the ground. Established trees may not even need fencing.

available, so trimming the p l a n t s occasionally by machine m a y be practical, if you can hire or find a contractor. T r e e cutters a r e expensive to buy, but for l a r g e f a r m s , h a v i n g your own machine m a y be necessary. M a n y trees can be coppiced. T h i s m e a n s that you can cut the tree at s t u m p height a n d it will re-grow. T h e cut foliage can be u s e d as fodder, building timber or firewood. Poplars and willows are well-known coppicing trees.

My notes

Things I need to find out

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12 Permaculture in schools Schools a r e a special situation in p e r m a culture d e s i g n . No-one lives there, students grow up a n d leave each year, there is no p e r m a n e n t ownership of the g a r d e n a r e a , no-one looks after it all of the time, and much of w h a t we put in m a y be cosmetic a n d for demonstration. However, w h a t better place is there to become p a r t n e r s with n a t u r e a n d to learn about the water cycle, nutrient cycles, e a r t h w o r m s , food chains, soil a n d foods than a school g a r d e n ? T e a c h e r s do not h a v e to t a k e c l a s s e s long d i s t a n c e s to observe n a t u r e . They can create g a r d e n s a n d b u s h or mini-forest a r e a s right at the school. G a r d e n i n g allows t e a c h e r s to instil a love for n a t u r e a n d for the land, a n d if students feel intimately involved with nature, their concern for environmental probl e m s will be long-lasting. S o m e of the positive outcomes from building g a r d e n s a r e the s e n s e of pride a n d accomplishm e n t in m e e t i n g s u c c e s s , a n d feelings of self-worth as t h i n g s s t a r t to grow a n d c h a n g e occurs. E v e n so, it is difficult to grow h e a p s of v e g e t a b l e s b e c a u s e other s t u d e n t s , vand a l s a n d community m e m b e r s m a y r a i d the g a r d e n a n d destroy or steal things. C h i c k e n s can d i s a p p e a r after a weekend, ponds m a y be s p i k e d a n d then leak, a n d p l a n t s a r e uprooted and thrown about the place. T h i s doesn't h a p p e n all of the time or at all schools. B u t it does occasionally h a p p e n a n d t e a c h e r s and d e s i g n e r s need to be a w a r e of this. In other words, schools h a v e different n e e d s t h a t m u s t be considered in the design process.

A needs analysis In working with children a n d schools, as with any p e r m a c u l t u r e client, you need to determine: •

the n e e d s a n d w a n t s of the children, t e a c h e r s a n d the school.

what the b u d g e t is (how much can they spend).

how much time and energy is available to implement, m a i n t a i n a n d develop the g a r d e n a r e a .

what resources a r e a v a i l a b l e - b o t h on site and in the local community.

the potential site - its limitations, existing s t r u c t u r e s a n d positive qualities.

T h e b i g g e s t stumbling block for the development of school grounds is money. U s u ally the school administration a n d staff a r e on-side b u t lack of resources often d a m p e n s the e n t h u s i a s m . M a t e r i a l s can be obtained from a variety of sources, such as donations from the local n u r s e r i e s a n d l a n d s c a p e suppliers, but often you h a v e to b e g students, p a r e n t s a n d staff for p l a n t s , pond m a t e r i a l s a n d other donations. Acc e s s i n g resources a n d m a t e r i a l s is an ongoing project, a n d this needs to be considered in the initial designing s t a g e s . To determine the needs of a school, the budget and level of support in the community, you really need to d i s c u s s your i d e a s with a wide number of people, some of whom will include the teachers who want to u s e the a r e a , school principal, other school staff, the gardener, and m e m b e r s of the school council and/or the p a r e n t s a n d citizens (or p a r e n t s a n d friends) a s s o ciation.

Determining resources T h e resources a v a i l a b l e should b e a s s e s s e d . Does the school d u m p its lawn clippings or a r e they composted on site? Is there money for p l a n t s , mulch a n d compost? How much land is a v a i l a b l e ? Is a source of water and irrigation n e a r the proposed a r e a ? Ask yourself these types of questions. R e s o u r c e s can t a k e the form of people, m a t e r i a l s , money a n d energy. M a t e r i a l 127


main principles and concepts of p e r m a culture. Many students will begin to und e r s t a n d the i d e a s after they can visualise what they can do at their school. S t u dents learn by seeing and then doing.

r e s o u r c e s can be a s s e s s e d , for e x a m p l e , by g e t t i n g s t u d e n t s to conduct s u r v e y s which determine the a m o u n t of building supplies, n e w s p a p e r s , carpet or underfelt, tyres, sleepers and bricks which the school can obtain from the local community either by way of donation or, at least, at reduced cost.

It m a y not be possible for the s t u d e n t s to come up with a fully-functioning design, but unless they h a v e some ownership, along with the teacher, of the plan, the future success of the g a r d e n a r e a is not g u a r a n t e e d . Children get excited and willing to work when they know t h a t what they a r e doing is something they h a v e contributed to. You m a y be s u r p r i s e d at the number of really good (and innovative) suggestions they m a k e about the garden and site development. L e a d them gently through the process. Your role, as a designer, is to oversee the development and offer expertise and help. It should not be your job to draw the design without input from the "users". K e e p i n g this in mind, here a r e some u s e ful guidelines when considering building g a r d e n s in schools:

S e c u r i n g "people resources" should be a high priority. S t a f f training and professional development a r e crucial to the succ e s s of a school g a r d e n a r e a . Individual teachers don't h a v e time to spend m a i n t a i n i n g the g a r d e n , so this responsibility should be shared. It is b e s t if all staff could have some t r a i n i n g in permaculture, b u t this m a y not be possible. At the very least, the school should m a k e a financial and supportive commitment to m a k e sure several staff h a v e an active interest in the garden. H a v i n g a school g a r d e n e r who is s y m p a thetic to p e r m a c u l t u r e i d e a s is an added bonus for any school. However, schools which do not h a v e a regular gardener, or which rely on community or p a r e n t support to m a i n t a i n the school l a w n s and g a r d e n a r e a s , should not be seen as disadvantaged. T h e r e a r e m a n y p a r e n t s and community m e m b e r s , not directly associated with a particular school, who j u m p at a chance to put in g a r d e n s and gain practical experience after they h a v e done a permaculture course. S o m e of these m a y be working t o w a r d s their Permaculture Diploma and a r e m o r e than willing to devote some regular time and energy to the school grounds.

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consider the a g e s of the children. S m a l l a r e a s are g r e a t for s m a l l children, not so good for teena g e r s . Garden beds m a y h a v e to be smaller than u s u a l so t h a t children can access all a r e a s easily.

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children like their own g a r d e n beds. Groups of two or three work well together and can easily build, p l a n t and look after their beds. Individuals should be allowed to develop their own garden if they a s k , but encourage group co-operation. Remember that we a r e trying to teach life skills and community v a l u e s , a s well a s gardening.

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sometimes different c l a s s e s w a n t a p a r t of the g a r d e n . It m a y be better to consider building small garden a r e a s nearby each c l a s s room, rather than one larger a r e a a w a y from the school. S m a l l e r

Guidelines for designing school grounds Involve children as much as you can. Teach them about design. Get them to m e a s u r e the a r e a and do scale drawings. Show them how to build sheet mulch g a r d e n b e d s , v i s i t e s t a b l i s h e d local p e r m a c u l t u r e properties and d i s c u s s the 128


Figure 12.1 Small, easy-to-build and maintain garden beds should be developed by different groups of students. g a r d e n s , solely the responsibility of one c l a s s and one teacher, are more intimate for the children. Alternatively, allocate different a r e a s in the larger garden for those c l a s s e s and teachers that do want their own space. •

will other groups of people, besides those directly building and maintaining the garden, be u s i n g the a r e a ? How can you u s e other teachers and their c l a s s e s in the g a r d e n ? Can you a s k the a r t dep a r t m e n t to g e t their students to design and m a k e clay-fired birdb a t h s ? Do they want to display some of their sculptures in the g a r d e n ? Will m a n u a l a r t s help build the s e a t s you want to put in the a r e a ? Do any science teachers want to set up and stock a pond? If you involve everyone, then everyone will own the garden. will the produce from the garden be sold, taken home or given away? Is the school canteen willing to buy foodstuffs from the students? What kinds of foods would the canteen want? Gardening gives a 129

d i r e c t connection to our food source. Many students initially fail to see the connection of what they are growing to the food they eat at home. •

some garden beds could contain plants for propagation work. These stock garden beds m a y be small b e d s of particular herbs t h a t are u s e d for cuttings a n d grafting work. B e d s could have different themes. For example, one bed for culinary herbs, another for medicinal herbs and another for p e s t repellent herbs. All students could then take small pieces of these plants from the stock beds for their own u s e .

outside activities should be organised and related to the curriculum. Many educational objectives and outcomes can be covered by simple, fun-to-do activities in your new outside classroom. other types of activities lend themselves to schools. For example, nesting boxes for birds, p o s s u m s and b a t s could be studied by science students. Place one or two


Figure 12.2 Bird boxes and bird baths in the school grounds are useful teaching aids. bird b a t h s and/or feeding t r a y s in the g a r d e n - you'll be s u r p r i s e d w h a t y o u will a t t r a c t . B u i l d a w e a t h e r station t h a t h o l d s equipm e n t which m e a s u r e s daily temperature and barometer changes, humidity, rainfall and wind direction a n d speed. •

an energy a u d i t of the school buildi n g s would provide information about electricity consumption a n d w a s t e in the classrooms. T h i s could l e a d to the development of an energy m a n a g e m e n t policy and a desire to reduce school operational costs. At all t i m e s we a r e trying to teach y o u n g people a b o u t the six R ' s reduce, refuse, r e u s e , recycle, rep a i r a n d rethink.

as schools move more into environmental education other schooldirected activities follow. For exa m p l e , the school m a y become the recycling centre for the local community. G l a s s , p a p e r , m e t a l s a n d plastic

a r e b r o u g h t in by s t u d e n t s or their p a r e n t s , m a y b e once a w e e k . Money r a i s e d from this v e n t u r e is invested back into the school to provide e q u i p m e n t and teaching resources. in some c i r c u m s t a n c e s the school g a r d e n could become the community g a r d e n . P a r e n t s a n d community m e m b e r s could help s t u d e n t s with g a r d e n development and/or be r e s p o n s i b l e for a r e a s thems e l v e s . They m a y grow t h i n g s to t a k e home or for u s e by the school. T h e r e is a g e n e r a l push by governm e n t s a n d education a u t h o r i t i e s to better u s e schools as this valuable resource is under-utilised at present.

C o m m u n i t y g a r d e n s a r e one way to e n s u r e a win-win situation. It also helps alleviate some of the potential v a n d a l p r o b l e m s mentioned earlier. One of the p l e a s i n g outcomes is t h a t students s t a r t to teach their p a r e n t s . Children soon build ponds a n d g a r d e n s at

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Figure 12.3 Bush tucker and bush medicine plants make useful additions to any garden. home, p l a n t v e g e t a b l e s and develop simple earthworm f a r m s and compost h e a p s after they see how easily it is done at school. T h e skills t h a t children learn help build their self-esteem as they realise that they h a v e the ability to grow things and that they h a v e a role to play as p a r t of a co-operative t e a m - a role that they learn at school which they continue to develop throughout their life as p a r t of the local community.

P r a c t i c a l design considerations

this i s s u e . You m a y be able to develop a walk or nature trail, register the b u s h l a n d as a heritage v a l u e a r e a , or seek s t a t e or local government a s s i s t a n c e to help preserve the a r e a from overuse. T h e number of activities, g a r d e n i d e a s and design strategies a r e endless. Teachers and students will be able to experiment and see what works b e s t for them and their school environment and situation. However, here a r e a few i d e a s a n d practical considerations that have worked well in schools:

T h e development of the school grounds should be within the p a r a m e t e r s of the school plan or the vision for the future direction of the school. For e x a m p l e , if the school w a n t s to conserve water a n d plant a native garden, then consider native bush tucker and b u s h medicine plants. M a n y schools already h a v e a m a s t e r grounds p l a n . A permaculture design of one particular a r e a needs to complement any existing school p l a n s . If n a t u r a l b u s h l a n d or woodland is on the school site, develop a strategy to replant, m a i n t a i n a n d protect this area. P a r t of your design for the school should a d d r e s s 131

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where will tools such as shovels, pitch forks, h a n d trowels, gloves and wheel barrows be stored? What about potting mix, p l a n t pots, watering c a n s and s e e d s ? Can you put a lockable s h e d in the design so that all of these are available on site? Worry about buying or obtaining one later on.

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plan for open s p a c e . You h a v e to get at l e a s t one c l a s s in the garden a r e a at any one time. T h i s could be up to thirty students - where are you going to put them all? Consider bench s e a t s and a r e a s of


herb lawn where s t u d e n t s can sit a n d work. Not everybody h a s to work on the g a r d e n beds during the lesson. S o m e will want to plan, record, draw and think, m a i n p a t h w a y s h a v e to be wide. It is not practical to h a v e the half-am e t r e path t h a t you h a v e a t home in the school g a r d e n a r e a . Plan for a couple of s t u d e n t s walking sideby-side or wide enough for a wheelbarrow and s o m e leeway so accidents don't h a p p e n . A p a t h w a y about 1.2 m wide is a m p l e for school g a r d e n s . S m a l l e r p a t h w a y s a r e more suitable for individual (student) g a r d e n a r e a s , or to lead to quiet places within the g a r d e n . T h e typical size of a M a n d a l a keyhole g a r d e n is not appropriate in s o m e schools. You either h a v e to m a k e the p a t h s a n d k e y h o l e s l a r g e r or consider m a k i n g a double M a n d a l a with keyhole b e d s on the outside as well, secret or quiet places are important. Children like to hide, especially from t e a c h e r s , and secret

g a r d e n a r e a s provide sanctuary. Young children a r e quite h a p p y to play hide and seek, older children hide for different r e a s o n s , so teachers should not m a k e secret p l a c e s too secret or overgrown. It is possible to include a r e a s for s t u d e n t privacy, y e t still m a k e these visible from the staffroom or classroom. •

s e a t i n g is essential. S i m p l e log or bench s e a t s a r e more than s a t i s factory, b u t rock or carved s e a t s can really look g r e a t . Older s t u d e n t s do like to sit and talk. Younger students a r e too busy running around.

plan for some g a r d e n a r e a s to be shaded. T h i s could m e a n placing some of the s e a t s under l a r g e t r e e s or u s i n g s t r u c t u r e s like w a l k w a y s , vines and pergolas. In hot climates, s h a d e from the sun is a critical factor in design, as s t u d e n t s will only u s e a n d s i t in the garden a r e a if they feel comfortable. M a n y schools h a v e policies about

Figure 12.4 Two different ideas for a double Mandala which provides greater student access to the garden beds. 132


Figure 12.5 Students value a quiet place to sit and talk.

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outside activities and the precautions needed to be taken by students, including wearing h a t s and sunscreen cream, and the length of exposure time in the sun. There a r e g r e a t opportunities to design a r e a s for s h a d e so that s t u d e n t s can safely work in the garden. developing your own shrub and tree n u r s e r y will help in reducing

costs of obtaining plant stock for the garden. T h i s can be as simple as a potting a r e a , s m a l l s h a d e house (covered frame) or a series of benches in a hothouse for plant propagation. â&#x20AC;˘

compost a r e a s m a y c a u s e some minor p r o b l e m s . F r e s h l y - m a d e compost tends to smell, especially when you u s e animal m a n u r e s and

Figure 12.6 A simple nursery can be set up to raise seedlings for your garden beds. 133


Figure 12.7 Compost may smell if it is not covered up. it is summer! If there is a likelihood that odours m a y occur n e a r c l a s s r o o m s , consider shifting the compost a r e a to another p a r t of the school away from buildings. T h i s m a y not s o u n d the b e s t s t r a t e g y from a p e r m a c u l t u r e viewpoint, b u t you have to consider the needs and comfort of teachers and students. O p e n , uncovered c o m p o s t a n d m a n u r e piles could a t t r a c t flies a n d p e s t s . It is worthwhile to build proper s t o r a g e b a y s from wooden sleepers or concrete s l a b s so that these can be easily covered with h e s s i a n , carpet or underfelt to reduce the smell and p e s t problem while the compost is being m a d e . While the end product m a y h a v e a "nice earthy smell" the process of decomposition produces a range of noxious g a s e s if the ratio of plant

a n d animal m a t e r i a l s , water and oxygen a r e not right. â&#x20AC;˘ there are often some restrictions on b u i l d i n g p o n d s in school grounds. S o m e education departm e n t s or authorities h a v e rules and regulations, mainly for safety reasons, about water a r e a s . Find out what these are. Your pond m a y h a v e to have a weld m e s h cover over it, or only a certain depth or a certain size. Schools should be fun! Developing an outside classroom, where students can both learn and enjoy, is a sensible way in which educators can effectively teach the "curriculum". S o m e students only seem to learn by working outside in the garden or doing practical activities. Others thrive in the more academic sphere. All students, however, need s t i m u l a t i n g l e s s o n s to hold their interest. What better way is there than to go outside and observe and learn from nature? My notes

Things I need to find out Figure 12.8 Ponds may need to be covered to protect young children. Alternatively, consider a bog garden which will not need the mesh covering. 134


13 Permaculture communities Hamlet - to be or not to be? B e i n g isolated in the u r b a n sprawl m a y not be the b e s t way to live. S o m e people feel threatened by the u r b a n environment and they will spend lots of money on security. S u b u r b a n i t e s a r e renowned for s t a y i n g in their h o m e s a n d not interacting with the people a r o u n d them. T h e type of h o u s i n g developments m o s t of us live in do not encourage neighbourhood interaction. S o m e urban developments a r e successful, such as the general move tow a r d mixed-density "green street" a r e a s . Even so, m a n y people don't even know their neighbours' n a m e s . T h e r e is an alternative - community living. T h e s t r u c t u r e and beliefs and v a l u e s of communities vary enormously, and one t h a t s u i t s your lifestyle a n d n e e d s can u s u a l l y be found. If not, consider s t a r t i n g your own group. V i l l a g e or community living h a s the potential to reduce the g e n e r a l cost of living for i n d i v i d u a l s a n d families. T h e r e could be some relief from the economic burden t h a t m a n y people carry with the u s u a l m o r t g a g e on a h o u s e in the s u b u r b s . T h e d r e a m of owning your own home is really j u s t that, a d r e a m . Money lenders, b a n k s and other financial institutions own the security of a l m o s t everyone's home. If you w a n t a different lifestyle, it m a y be achieved m o r e easily if you a r e debt-free. Village living m a y give you the opportunity for this to h a p p e n , although this does depend on m a n y other factors such as your financial position, b e c a u s e you still m a y need to borrow money. It w a s n ' t t h a t long a g o that people lived in s m a l l v i l l a g e s dotted about the countryside. T h e s e little h a m l e t s , a s they are also known, a m a l g a m a t e d a s h o u s e s were built between them on m a i n r o a d s . As the population increased, the "village" s o m e t i m e s

grew to become regional towns a n d finally larger cities. M a n y people a r e now s t a r t i n g to seriously consider returning to the s m a l l community living i d e a s where you know your neighbours and life doesn't seem so hectic. T h e t e r m s community, village a n d h a m l e t a r e generally i n t e r c h a n g e a b l e a s they m e a n much the s a m e thing - a form of h u m a n settlement where a group of people deliberately live nearby to each other for a particular purpose. However, in this context, a "hamlet" refers to a cluster or group of 20 to 50 h o u s e s with facilities such as a hall, service s t a tion and general store. A "village" m e a n s a l a r g e r grouping of h o u s e s (several h a m l e t s ) with the additional services such as a school, post office a n d other shops, while a "community" often m e a n s the people, r a t h e r than the h o u s e s , that live together in the s a m e locality. A community of people often s h a r e the s a m e ideals a n d beliefs or hold s i m i l a r ethics. T h e s e ideals can be common religious beliefs, ethical beliefs or some other beliefs a n d v a l u e s . For e x a m p l e , the term "ecovillage" often describes a group of people who s h a r e a concern for the environment and who wish to live in a s u s t a i n able way. T h e village infrastructure is d e s i g n e d so that it h a s little i m p a c t on the environment, a n d the lifestyle of those living on the site is one of "treading lightly on the earth". T h i s d e s c r i b e s the t r u e e s s e n c e of a p e r m a c u l t u r e village. People with likem i n d s , with commonly-held beliefs or a s pirations, coming together to form vill a g e s , need to hold similar g o a l s , or the 135


Figure 13.1 The concept of zoning can be symbolically applied to human settlements. community will s t r u g g l e to survive. L i v i n g in a close community h a s m a n y benefits. T h e s e include income generation on site (from a r a n g e of agricultural a n d financial activities), g r e a t e r self-employment, l e s s reliance on vehicles, m a chinery a n d equipment, the ability to pool labour (in building h o u s e s and other struct u r e s ) , g r e a t e r provision of the b a s i c hum a n n e e d s of food a n d shelter, reduced household o p e r a t i n g costs, a n d on-site energy a n d electricity generation (thus l e s s need to rely on s t a t e or private comp a n y services). In s u m m a r y , the a i m s of any eco-village should be to: â&#x20AC;˘

develop e n t e r p r i s e s so t h a t resid e n t s can earn a living on the site. T h i s r e d u c e s t r a n s p o r t costs and provides income and material goods for m a n y r e s i d e n t s .

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provide the b a s i c life e s s e n t i a l s of shelter, food a n d energy for each resident. T h i s m a y m e a n t h a t some r e s i d e n t s e a r n income from grow-

i n g food for o t h e r s , g e n e r a t i n g power for the community, or building h o u s e s a n d other s t r u c t u r e s for individuals. â&#x20AC;˘ provide services, such as education, and recreational facilities. If more of these communities were s e t up then the incidence of social problems might d e c r e a s e . T h i s , is turn, could m e a n h u g e s a v i n g s in welfare a n d m a y reduce the need for counselling services a n d other g o v e r n m e n t a n d private agencies. Ecovillages a r e m e a n t to only contain a s m a l l number of people. One h u n d r e d households, with a total population between two hundred to five hundred, would probably be the ideal. A t this number, L E T S t r a d i n g can b e effective, a n d several people can work the land and derive income from b u s i n e s s e s a n d activities on the property. It is i m p o r t a n t to at l e a s t know each

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Figure .1.3.2 An example of income producing enterprises in a community. other's n a m e s and be able to hold a conv e r s a t i o n with another community m e m ber. It is also p o s s i b l e to s e t up a school where funding from the regional or s t a t e education authority will often p a y for a teacher's s a l a r y . T h e r e a r e also enough people to m a i n t a i n a n d develop the common a r e a s a n d any r e s e r v e s s e t a s i d e by the community. M o s t communities a r o u n d the world a r e u s u a l l y s m a l l , with p e r h a p s l e s s than one h u n d r e d people being the m o s t common population size. I t h a s been e s t i m a t e d t h a t b y the y e a r 2 0 3 0 two-thirds of the world's population will live in major cities. F i n a l l y , ecovillages should link into other s i m i l a r s e t t l e m e n t s in the bioregion, so t h a t the u n n e c e s s a r y duplication of services is reduced, a n d t r a d e a n d support can b e encouraged. A variation to community life is the co-

h o u s i n g v i l l a g e s set up in E u r o p e (originally D e n m a r k ) in the late 1970's. Here, a group of individual family h o m e s a r e built s u r r o u n d i n g a central, common h o u s e so t h a t facilities can be s h a r e d . In this way, i n d i v i d u a l s retain their privacy by living in their own units, b u t can participate in community life by h a v i n g m e a l s a n d activities together. T h e central house might contain l a u n d r y a n d full kitchen facilities, m a k i n g t h e s e obsolete in every home or unit a n d t h u s reducing overall building costs. S o m e of the different w a y s t h a t communities can be s e t up are d i s c u s s e d in the p a g e s t h a t follow.

D e s i g n c o n s i d e r a t i o n s for ecovillages Bylaws and regulations T h e development of v i l l a g e s n e e d s considerable research a n d thought. E a c h s t a t e , county or country h a s rules a n d r e g u l a tions about the type of h o u s i n g developm e n t s they will approve. 137


Guidelines for land development H e r e is a short checklist of the types of considerations a n d i s s u e s that h a v e to be a d d r e s s e d when communities a r e d e s i g n e d or built. •

will development enhance the quality of life for those who live a n d work on the property?

will biodiversity, existing vegetation cover and soil a n d water quality be protected or enhanced?

a r e w a t e r c o u r s e s being changed or new w a t e r w a y s and waterbodies developed? Will these watercourses a n d the surrounding c a t c h m e n t a r e a b e protected? Will recharge a r e a s be protected a n d rehabilitated?

how a r e w a s t e s b e i n g t r e a t e d ? Will the soil be contaminated by the possible unintentional dumping of household rubbish? will the proposed land u s e practices be s u s t a i n a b l e ? Will the environment benefit from activities u n d e r t a k e n on the l a n d ? will the community development be compatible with the general character a n d l a n d u s e of adjoining properties?

will the aesthetic qualities of the p r o p e r t y be r e t a i n e d , or can visual improvements be m a d e ?

what will be the i m p a c t s of providing services such as water, power and telephone on the land?

is there provision for m i n i m i s i n g the i m p a c t of feral a n i m a l s , fire, drought, flood, hail a n d other n a t u r a l d i s a s t e r s on the property?

a r e resources well-managed so that they a r e not quickly depleted?

does l a n d u s e provide a r a n g e of opportunities for h u m a n enterprises?

will development enhance a n d complement local l a n d care initiatives?

h a s there been observation a n d consideration of the natural d r a i n a g e and flow of water on the property?

will the development foster community a w a r e n e s s a n d education?

is there potential for rehabilitation of wildlife corridors? particular applications for a c c e s s requirements.

You need to be a w a r e of t h e s e regulations well before you s t a r t looking for land or a group to s h a r e it with.

power, telephone and w a t e r services layout - u n d e r g r o u n d or overhead. Overhead power supply is cheaper to install, but underground is more aesthetically p l e a s i n g a n d safer in a r e a s t h a t h a v e frequent s t o r m s and high winds.

n u m b e r of dwellings p e r m i t t e d . T h i s m a y depend on the zoning of the land.

n a t u r e of the titles - multiple occupancy, s t r a t a title or other. S o m e

F u r t h e r m o r e , the development of any ecovillage n e e d s to fit into the existing or proposed p l a n s for the bioregion. Local, s t a t e or federal government a u thorities can be contacted for information a b o u t the restrictions a n d conditions for site development such a s : •

r o a d t y p e s needed - wide, narrow, gravel, brick-paved or bitumen. E a c h o f t h e s e h a s a d v a n t a g e s , disa d v a n t a g e s , different costs a n d 138


your c i r c u m s t a n c e s a n d the s i t u a t i o n s that a r i s e . S h a r i n g t h a t journey with others reduces the burden a n d is generally more r e w a r d i n g a n d fruitful. Looking at options L i k e any p e r m a c u l t u r e design, the formation of ecovillages involves a series of s t a g e s such a s r e s e a r c h a n d collating information about the site, the design of the infrastructure on the l a n d s c a p e , a n d developing guidelines for the i m p l e m e n t a tion a n d m a n a g e m e n t p h a s e s .

a r r a n g e m e n t s permit individuals to own their own l a n d within the site, while other set-ups h a v e the community owning all of the titles and individuals l e a s i n g their h o u s e area. T h e r e a r e m a n y other combinations of conditions, each h a v i n g p a r t i c u l a r rules a n d regulations. •

s e w a g e a n d w a s t e disposal options. T h i s is of i n c r e a s i n g concern to local authorities, as they a n d the general public a r e a w a r e of the potential pollution p r o b l e m s to underground a n d surface w a t e r s u p plies. • d r a i n a g e , earth works, restrictions on d a m s a n d w a t e r w a y s . For exa m p l e , you m a y h a v e to obtain p u m p i n g r i g h t s to t a k e water from e x i s t i n g creeks and rivers, or you m a y not be able to clear some a r e a s of the site for o r c h a r d s or a h o u s e site without written approval. F i n d i n g the right piece of land for you does present problems. S o m e a r e grounded i n l e g a l constraints, a s w e h a v e j u s t seen, a n d others a r e related to availability, cost, size a n d the specific f e a t u r e s you desire, such a s a s p e c t , sun-facing slopes, a n d a b u n d a n c e a n d quality of water.

T h e actual design of the community a l s o develops in a series of s t a g e s - generally in the order of:

r o a d s a n d services.

dwellings a n d outbuildings.

primary producing a r e a s , such as orchards, n u r s e r y a n d livestock.

r e s e r v e s a n d c o m m u n a l land, including forested a r e a s , w a l k w a y s , trails a n d recreation (such as ovals).

E l e m e n t s , such a s those j u s t listed, placed in the design need to be connected, rather than isolated objects on their own. H u m a n s need to be connected too, a n d h u m a n settlements and communities a r e an integral p a r t of the p e r m a c u l t u r e lifestyle.

a property owner w a n t s to better use land he or she already has. M a y b e a f a r m e r w a n t s to develop an ecological village on one hundred or m o r e a c r e s (40 h a ) of land on p a r t of the property. a group who h a v e common intere s t s s e a r c h for a n d buy a block of l a n d s u i t a b l e for their needs. a person h a s a property and invites others to buy a s h a r e so t h a t they can jointly develop it.

Which p a t h you travel down d e p e n d s on

water h a r v e s t i n g .

Ecovillages need to h a v e s t r u c t u r e s a n d p l a n s to m a x i m i s e water s t o r a g e , set a s i d e l a n d for housing, o r c h a r d s a n d g a r d e n a r e a s , n a t u r a l forest a n d crop a r e a s , a n d sites for community shops, school, hall and roadways.

T h e r e a r e m a n y w a y s in which land for v i l l a g e s becomes a v a i l a b l e a n d here a r e a few: •

T h e development of particular infrastructure such as earthworks, b u i l d i n g s , r o a d s a n d installation of services n e e d s to be funded. Potential b u y e r s or r e s i d e n t s of the vill a g e m a y need to provide money for site development, which can be placed in a trust a n d u s e d a s v a r i o u s s t a g e s occur. Either the group pools their r e s o u r c e s a n d funds in this way, or a l a n d developer

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provides the financial outlay a n d he/she t a k e s their p e r c e n t a g e a n d costs from the s a l e of titles. T h e developer m a y either h a v e the n e c e s s a r y funds or they will r a i s e the capital from potential investors or through l o a n s .

alongside an existing village or where essential services a r e already establish ed. It is especially i m p o r t a n t that a b u n d a n t , clean water is a v a i l a b l e and t h a t enough water can be h a r v e s t e d , stored and recycled on the site.

T h e costs for some s t a g e s m a y be paid by m e a n s other t h a n money. C o n t r a c t o r s for e a r t h w o r k s , r o a d construction or other major service s u p p l i e s m a y choose to t a k e equity in the property, as one or more h o u s e s i t e s , r a t h e r than cash. They m a y choose to become r e s i d e n t s t h e m s e l v e s or sell the h o u s e site/s at s o m e later d a t e provided t h a t this is legal in your s t a t e or country.

F u r t h e r m o r e , if energy generation is to be considered, then s u p p l i e s of wood or high p r e s s u r e water m a y b e important. T h e site m i g h t lend itself to solar a n d wind harvesting, as alternative or a p p r o p r i a t e energies such as these h a v e l e s s i m p a c t on the environment. S o m e of the criteria t h a t you could consider when p u r c h a s i n g a block or looking for a site were d i s c u s s e d in C h a p t e r 7.

N o t all v i l l a g e s need to be located on v a c a n t or r u r a l land. Ecovillages can be s e t up in a city by utilising adjoining h o u s e s in a block, or the flats or units of a h o u s i n g complex.

On-site w a s t e disposal is an i m p o r t a n t consideration. Dry composting toilets for each household m i n i m i s e water u s e . All greywater can be treated at each h o u s e site or, where appropriate, at one or more central treatment plants. These could comp r i s e a series of settling t a n k s or ponds a n d reed b e d s - in either ponds or subsurface flow.

A community really focuses on the h u m a n component, r a t h e r than the structural a n d physical components. Any village development on rural land, however, generally h a s the g r e a t e s t startup costs. It is better for a group of people who w a n t to form a village to look for land

T h e community should t a k e responsibility for its own w a s t e s a n d recycle or t r e a t these as much as possible. We h a v e to

Figure 13.3 On-site waste disposal can be achieved for a community. 140


Figure 13.4 Larger villages might have a central hall, shops and workshops. However, you u s u a l l y h a v e to obtain permission for fuel depots such as t h e s e from local and s t a t e authorities. F i n d out a b o u t the rules and regulations before you s t a r t planning.

change the belief t h a t the E a r t h h a s an e n d l e s s capacity to a b s o r b h u m a n w a s t e s . A village m a y refer to h o u s e s in a particular a r e a , b u t it also contains the village centre where workshops, the school, stores, hall and other buildings a r e found. In particular, a community hall with meeti n g rooms and a kitchen is e s s e n t i a l . T h i s m a y be u s e d as a school; the community library; to run workshops a n d courses; g e n e r a l m e e t i n g s of community m e m b e r s ; the co-ordinating centre in c a s e s of emergency, such as t h r e a t s of fire; and for b u s i n e s s operations, such as a coffee shop, fruit a n d vegetable co-op or a community deli.

A full range of tools such as lathes, posthole digger, chipper or mulcher, electric s a w s and so on, can be loaned to m e m b e r s through the community L E T S s y s t e m . T h e community m a y also own a r a n g e of vehicles such as a backhoe, a front-endloader ( F E L ) tractor with i m p l e m e n t s a n d a t t a c h m e n t s for soil conditioning, a n d a truck or van for carting large objects a n d goods. A bobcat is not needed as the slower backhoe a n d F E L tractor will do the s a m e job.

L a r g e r communities m a y want to build a l a r g e workshop where vehicle r e p a i r s , welding a n d wood t u r n i n g can be carried out. T h e village design should advocate the m i n i m a l u s e of c a r s by designing for people a n d not m a c h i n e s . R o a d s should be narrow or curved (even i n s t a l l i n g speed h u m p s a t the main road entry) to reduce the speed of traffic, and w a l k w a y s a n d narrow pedestrian streets can be built.

T h e site design for the community, the implementation schedule and m a n a g e ment plan should be m a d e a v a i l a b l e to all residents. T h e r e m a y also be legal r e q u i r e m e n t s for certain m a n a g e m e n t statements a n d property p l a n s to be p r e p a r e d .

S o m e vehicles a r e a necessity these d a y s . C o n s i d e r a bulk fuel supply for r e s i d e n t s by h a v i n g a community petrol bowser or petrol stored in t a n k s or d r u m s at a central depot. T h i s can m e a n s a v i n g s to residents.

In particular, the t r u s t e e s of the l a n d t r u s t need to set up monitoring a n d reporting s t r a t e g i e s on the development of the site a s time p a s s e s . C h a n g e s to the design, a n d other initiatives, should be recorded so t h a t future monitoring and m a n a g e m e n t can be effective.

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E x i s t i n g r e s i d e n t s and intending b u y e r s should be informed of any c h a n g e s to the design a n d , wherever possible, actively involved in the review process.

Furthermore, elderly people m a y prefer small units, so a selection of h o u s i n g types m a y be required to meet all of the needs of future residents.

Housing structures

T h e actual style of the house and its building m a t e r i a l s should be left up to the individual.

A r a n g e of different types of dwellings is a p p r o p r i a t e for villages. M o s t would be individual family h o m e s , b u t the community m a y wish to h a v e single or double bedroom units for temporary accommodation for visitors or workers (either contractors or employees). T h e s e units could a l s o be u s e d for emergency accommodation in t i m e s of family crisis.

However, it would be hoped t h a t a community would insist that all h o u s e s h a v e solar a c c e s s , screens for privacy, and be able to utilise gravity for water m o v e m e n t - from greywater, roof run-off and so on, down towards g a r d e n a r e a s or s t o r a g e tanks.

Figure 13.5 Many building materials can be used for house construction. 142


Figure 13.4 Larger villages might have a central hall, shops and workshops. However, you u s u a l l y h a v e to obtain permission for fuel depots such as t h e s e from local and s t a t e authorities. F i n d out a b o u t the rules and regulations before you s t a r t planning.

change the belief t h a t the E a r t h h a s an e n d l e s s capacity to a b s o r b h u m a n w a s t e s . A village m a y refer to h o u s e s in a particular a r e a , b u t it also contains the village centre where workshops, the school, stores, hall and other buildings a r e found. In particular, a community hall with meeti n g rooms and a kitchen is e s s e n t i a l . T h i s m a y be u s e d as a school; the community library; to run workshops a n d courses; g e n e r a l m e e t i n g s of community m e m b e r s ; the co-ordinating centre in c a s e s of emergency, such as t h r e a t s of fire; and for b u s i n e s s operations, such as a coffee shop, fruit a n d vegetable co-op or a community deli.

A full range of tools such as lathes, posthole digger, chipper or mulcher, electric s a w s and so on, can be loaned to m e m b e r s through the community L E T S s y s t e m . T h e community m a y also own a r a n g e of vehicles such as a backhoe, a front-endloader ( F E L ) tractor with i m p l e m e n t s a n d a t t a c h m e n t s for soil conditioning, a n d a truck or van for carting large objects a n d goods. A bobcat is not needed as the slower backhoe a n d F E L tractor will do the s a m e job.

L a r g e r communities m a y want to build a l a r g e workshop where vehicle r e p a i r s , welding a n d wood t u r n i n g can be carried out. T h e village design should advocate the m i n i m a l u s e of c a r s by designing for people a n d not m a c h i n e s . R o a d s should be narrow or curved (even i n s t a l l i n g speed h u m p s a t the main road entry) to reduce the speed of traffic, and w a l k w a y s a n d narrow pedestrian streets can be built.

T h e site design for the community, the implementation schedule and m a n a g e ment plan should be m a d e a v a i l a b l e to all residents. T h e r e m a y also be legal r e q u i r e m e n t s for certain m a n a g e m e n t statements a n d property p l a n s to be p r e p a r e d .

S o m e vehicles a r e a necessity these d a y s . C o n s i d e r a bulk fuel supply for r e s i d e n t s by h a v i n g a community petrol bowser or petrol stored in t a n k s or d r u m s at a central depot. T h i s can m e a n s a v i n g s to residents.

In particular, the t r u s t e e s of the l a n d t r u s t need to set up monitoring a n d reporting s t r a t e g i e s on the development of the site a s time p a s s e s . C h a n g e s to the design, a n d other initiatives, should be recorded so t h a t future monitoring and m a n a g e m e n t can be effective.

141


Ideally, all h o u s e s i t e s are placed in practical, w a r m e r a r e a s of the hillside. If a client w a n t s a view, they can walk up the hill to an observation p o s t where they can sit a n d view the s u r r o u n d i n g countryside a t their leisure. B u i l d i n g h o u s e s in the t h e r m a l belt on a hillside m a k e s s e n s e . All services can be s u p p l i e d along one m a i n r o a d on the contour as it curves a r o u n d the hills. T h i s is a single service s y s t e m - power, water, g a s , telephone line a n d a c c e s s road all a l o n g the s a m e p a t h , as shown in

F i g u r e 13.6. E a r t h w o r k s and contractors' fees will be m i n i m i s e d if the j o b is e a s y and simple to do, a n d can be done in a short time. T h e a r r a n g e m e n t of h o u s e s v a r i e s from community to community. S m a l l clusters of about half-a-dozen h o u s e s (an enclave) is a good h u m a n settlement strategy, as there is s o m e privacy as well as allowing for social interaction. You can even h a v e clusters a s t h e m e s , such a s a r t and craft, p l a n t s a n d p r o p a g a tion or wilderness conservation. People can then choose which group h a s similar interests to t h e m s e l v e s a n d live in t h a t area.

Figure 13.8 Clusters of houses (an enclave) is a good design strategy. There is a balance between privacy and community living and social interaction.

Figure 13.10 Another alternative is to have houses around a central access road.

Social and legal structures of human settlements E a r l y in the formative s t a g e , prior to any development of the village, v a r i o u s a i m s , objectives a n d general s t a t e m e n t s about the ethics of the group should be developed.

Figure 13.9 Design for people. Here, houses are grouped around a common area, with cycle paths and walkways to link small hamlets. The access road is positioned at the back of the houses.

T h i s mission or ethic s t a t e m e n t should be a broad, realistic goal t h a t u s u a l l y does not promote a particular belief s y s t e m and which is universally accepted by all memb e r s of the community. Often, the s t a t e m e n t reflects a stewardship focus, such as "care of the Earth". 144


Obviously, religious g r o u p s will w a n t to specify the beliefs a n d v a l u e s they wish all m e m b e r s to uphold, a n d this becomes their creed. T h e ethics s t a t e m e n t influences the direction t a k e n in the development of any financial, legal a n d physical s t r u c t u r e s in human settlements. S e v e r a l t r u s t s m a y n e e d to be s e t up to a d m i n i s t e r t h e s e a s p e c t s of the community. For e x a m p l e , one t r u s t m a y be needed for the s a l e of l a n d a n d the general m a n a g e m e n t of common land, including the future development of community buildings. T h i s would be a l a n d t r u s t t h a t is s h a r e d equally by all m e m b e r s of the community or is u s e d by p a r t i c u l a r r e s i d e n t s for some purpose. L e g a l s t r u c t u r e s a r e needed so t h a t common l a n d held by a t r u s t is m a n a g e d by a c o m p a n y ( a s t r u s t e e ) with v a r i o u s elected r e s i d e n t s a s company directors. T h i s a r r a n g e m e n t will then allow resid e n t s to be able to l e a s e p a r c e l s of l a n d for s o m e s m a l l s u m of money or u n d e r t a k e its u s e with an agreed-to a r r a n g e m e n t . F o r e x a m p l e , it m i g h t be a g r e e d t h a t ten percent of profits from an enterprise be r e t u r n e d to the community as community funds.

A second t r u s t could h a n d l e all b u s i n e s s t r a d i n g operations. T h e b u s i n e s s , moneye a r n i n g activities from land u s e a n d other community enterprises should be m a n a g e d by a trustee for this type of trust. T h i s t r u s t n e e d s continual income for the m a i n t e n a n c e of r o a d s , fences, w a t e r s u p ply and other services, as well as capital expenditure for machinery a n d equipment. It can g e n e r a t e income from the l e a s e or hire of equipment, tools or land, or s e t a n n u a l c h a r g e s ( a s a m a i n t e n a n c e fee) t h a t all households pay. You can find out a b o u t t r u s t s a n d how they operate from a c c o u n t a n t s a n d lawy e r s . T h e s e people will complete a n d s u b m i t the n e c e s s a r y p a p e r w o r k to register a t r u s t a n d t r u s t e e companies. T r u s t s d o h a v e some r u l e s , such a s a n annual meeting of trustees, but these are minimal and not overbearing. It is possible for l a r g e communities to g e n e r a t e j o b s for m a n y v i l l a g e r s on the site - r a n g i n g from firewood collection to s u p p l i e s of fruit a n d v e g e t a b l e s a n d m e a t , milk and milk products, h e r b s , n u r s e r y p l a n t s , building m a t e r i a l s such a s timber and mudbricks, a n d so on. M a n y people should be able to earn some income from e n t e r p r i s e s on the site.

Figure 13.11 Some aspects of community life. 145


F o r e x a m p l e , a dairy processing centre is one option. One family could operate a dairy for g o a t s or cows and sell milk a n d milk products such as yoghurt, cream, butter a n d cheese to villagers. T h i s is another e x a m p l e of k e e p i n g money inside the community b o u n d a r i e s a n d lett i n g it circulate only within the community. A n u m b e r of s m a l l v i l l a g e s in a region can form a t r a d i n g co-operative. T h i s opens up other opportunities for trade, m a n u facturing a n d industry. S c a t t e r e d ecovillages t h e m s e l v e s need to network with other villages to further pool resources. V i l l a g e s should encourage the settlement of a b r o a d r a n g e of people who will provide n a t u r a l diversity wthin the group. I n d i v i d u a l s or families, with a wide r a n g e of incomes, should be able to join the community. T h e y m a y be able to "pay for their s h a r e " by s w e a t equity or some other satisfactory a r r a n g e m e n t . T h i s m e a n s t h a t i n s t e a d of p a y i n g money for their s h a r e in the property, they m a y be able to physically work for the community in some way, from administration t a s k s to building h o u s e s , to m a i n t a i n i n g common food-producing a r e a s , to planti n g trees to rehabilitate degraded a r e a s . One option for the community is to set up a credit union as a financial body to m a k e low-interest l o a n s a v a i l a b l e to residents, so t h a t everyone is able to h a v e the s a m e opportunities of living a n d working in the community. F u r t h e r m o r e , the community m a y want to recruit p a r t i c u l a r individuals who they need for further development and expansion. Providing house sites, s h a r e s or other incentives will entice prospective community villagers. T h e actual s a l e of land units or titles, held by a g r o u p of people, m a y h a v e to be undertaken by a licensed real e s t a t e agent,

depending on the l a w s a n d r e g u l a t i o n s in the s t a t e or country. Individuals can u s u ally sell their own land. T h e n e c e s s a r y information a n d the offer and acceptance forms a r e readily a v a i l a b l e from newsag e n t s and some stationery s u p p l i e r s . T h e other main a s p e c t of community life is the community b y l a w s . E a c h community group needs to get together to decide the 'house rules', such as whether pets can be kept, and, if so, which ones a r e suitable, which ones a r e not, how m a n y , which a r e a s a r e restricted to pets a n d which allow a c c e s s . T h i s should not be an e x h a u s t i v e list of restrictions, but rather a short list of ten or so basic rules to which everybody agrees. V a r i o u s community m e m b e r s should be responsible for different a s p e c t s of community life. It is a good idea to give responsibility to different individuals, so that m a n y residents a r e involved in the day-to-day running operations. It might be t h a t a s m a l l group of r e s i d e n t s becomes responsible for a d m i n i s t r a t i n g a n d formulating these b y l a w s , and they might develop regulations about m u s i c a n d noise curfews, or about how people can buy into or out of the community. For e x a m p l e , the a r r a n g e m e n t for b u y i n g a n d selling h o u s i n g sites can vary. In some villages, r e s i d e n t s can live in h o u s e s they build, but they cannot sell for profit. If they leave, the ownership of the h o u s e reverts back to the community. S o m e money can be paid by the community as compensation. In other communities, h o u s e s a n d a s m a l l a r e a of l a n d surrounding the h o u s e site a r e privately owned. Owners can sell their h o u s e s for whatever price they wish. In some communities the new b u y e r s h a v e to be approved by the group, in other communities there a r e no such restrictions. P e r m a c u l t u r e c o m m u n i t i e s , I believe,

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should be developed in such a way t h a t those who live on the property a r e all likeminded, a n d only those who adhere to the community ethics should be encouraged to settle in the community. Good m a n a g e m e n t skills a r e essential for the s u c c e s s of a n y community. Administrators h a v e to h a v e a clear vi-

sion for the future potential and development of the community, including promoting responsible land u s e practices, h a v i n g a good knowledge of financial deali n g s and constraints, a n d being able to m a k e decisions t h a t will benefit both indiv i d u a l s and all m e m b e r s of the community.

My notes

Things I need to find out

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14 Appropriate technology Appropriate technology is the u s e and promotion of m a c h i n e s , techniques and equipment that are environmentally friendly. It m a y be technology that harv e s t s renewable energy sources such as the s u n or wind, h a s low energy requirem e n t s itself or does not produce w a s t e and pollution. Appropriate technology includes the u s e of alternative energy sources, such as b i o g a s a n d solar energy, a n d most often can be easily built or developed. Only some a s p e c t s of appropriate technology a r e d i s c u s s e d here: those related to producing or u s i n g electricity or power, pumpi n g water a n d cooking food.

Generating power Photovoltaic cells A photovoltaic panel or module is composed of m a n y individual solar cells that a r e electrically joined together. E a c h solar cell only produces about 0.6 volt, so m a n y a r e needed to produce sufficient voltage to recharge a battery or run an a p p l i a n c e such as a solar p u m p . S o l a r p a n e l s come in a r a n g e of sizes with the m o s t cost-effective being about the 40 to 90 w a t t (W) r a n g e . An eighty watt panel will produce up to five a m p e r e s of current when charging a 12 V battery. T h i s is enough to trickle charge the battery during the day. T h e solar panel m a y h a v e a blocking diode in the output box so t h a t current cannot flow from the battery back into the panel. A diode is like a one way valve which only lets electricity flow in one direction.

Polycrystalline p a n e l s require this diode because of current leakage, whereas monocrystalline p a n e l s u s u a l l y do not. You can monitor the r a t e of charge a n d the panel performance by wiring one a m meter into the circuit. A m m e t e r s can be placed to m e a s u r e both the current flowing into the battery b a n k a n d that flowing out through the circuit, as shown in the following d i a g r a m . A regulator is a l s o placed in the circuit to stop the battery from overcharging. While some appliances and motors can be run directly off a solar panel, m o s t applications u s e a battery to store the electricity until it is needed. B a t t e r i e s convert direct current (DC) into chemical energy which is stored on the battery p l a t e s . In effect, b a t t e r i e s u s e direct c u r r e n t to change the chemical s t a t e of the battery p l a t e s . T h i s chemical reaction can be reversed to produce an electrical current. M o s t house appliances rely on a l t e r n a t i n g current (AC) which is electricity flow t h a t c h a n g e s direction (alternates) about fifty times each second. To u s e the low voltage DC power to run high voltage AC appliances we need an inverter. Inverters b a s i cally convert DC into A C . M o s t h a v e both 12 V and 24 V input, so various combinations of battery voltage can be used. A full r a n g e of inverters a r e a v a i l a b l e a n d you should h a v e no trouble finding one to suit your budget and requirements. C h e a p inverters, however, m a y not produce a proper sine wave, so you m a y experience

Figure 14.1 Ammeters allow monitoring of the electrical system. 148


background noise - a h u m m i n g when appliances, stereos or amplifiers a r e used. You usually find t h a t a p p l i a n c e s will not work as well if you u s e an inverter which does not produce a true sine wave. Always buy or recommend an inverter which produces g r e a t e r power than t h a t actually required as s o m e t i m e s they a r e over-rated by the m a n u f a c t u r e r s ; they can be slightly inefficient a n d they m a y only supply the s t a t e d w a t t a g e output for a short time, a n d cannot s u s t a i n continuous u s e at the higher output. Inverters should specify a continuous, intermittent and a s u r g e rating. M a n y appliances, in particular motor-driven appliances, will r e q u i r e a s t a r t - u p s u r g e significantly higher than their continuous power consumption. S o l a r p a n e l s a r e m o s t effective when they a r e facing the sun. A m a n u a l or electronic tracker can be u s e d to move the panel or p a n e l s so t h a t it faces the sun throughout the day. T r a c k e r s follow the s u n on one a x i s - e a s t to w e s t - and they are m o s t beneficial in the early morning or late afternoon a n d in s u m m e r with the longer daylight hours. T r a c k e r s can squeeze up to 5 0 % e x t r a power during t h e s e times, depending on l a t i t u d e and climatic conditions. T r a c k e r s aren't that effective in winter as the s u n ' s arc is l e s s than t h a t in summer. M a n u a l t r a c k e r s , where you physically

move the p a n e l s d u r i n g the day yourself, are only suitable for those people who can remember to do this t a s k every now and again. You m a y h a v e to move the panels four or five times a day to i n c r e a s e the effectiveness of energy production. S o l a r p a n e l s alone are limited, by the availability of clear sunny d a y s , in s u p plying the energy needs of a household. M o s t often a combination of energy harvesting s t r a t e g i e s a r e u s e d , in what is called a hybrid system. Here, solar p a n e l s m a y be used in conjunction either with a wind generator, diesel generator or hydro-electric s y s t e m to produce power day and night a n d s e a s o n to s e a s o n . T h e principle of a hybrid s y s t e m is t h a t when one energy h a r v e s t i n g source is non-operational, another m a y be sufficient to k e e p the batteries charged or motors running. Wind generators T h e rotational motion of the b l a d e s of a windmill can be directly u s e d to p u m p water or generate electricity. Wind generated power usually costs l e s s to produce than solar p a n e l s if a windy site is available. S o l a r p a n e l s do not get cheaper as the array g e t s larger. However, wind generators can become cheaper as they get bigger, m a k i n g the unit energy production costs lower. Furthermore, wind generators m a y be up to ten times more costeffective than solar cells. T h i s m e a n s that

Figure 14.2 A solar array needs to be seasonally adjusted for the greatest current production. 149


Figure 14.3 A hybrid system combines several energy harvesting strategies. they proportionally produce more electricity a n d lose l e s s energy in the s y s t e m . Efficiency is the ratio of the energy outp u t compared to the energy input. For e x a m p l e , a car battery (accumulator) is a b o u t 8 0 % efficient in converting chemical energy into electrical energy, w h e r e a s a solar cell is only about 10 to 15% efficient in changing light into electricity. T h e a m o u n t of electricity produced by wind g e n e r a t o r s d e p e n d s on factors such as the wind speed, size a n d number of propeller b l a d e s , a n d the degree of turbulence or v a r i a t i o n s in wind speed. Generally, wind speed i n c r e a s e s dramatically with the h e i g h t above the ground, so towers up to twenty m e t r e s high are used. Wind towers need to be placed reasonably close to h o u s e s (less than 100 m if it is a DC turbine) b e c a u s e the further a w a y

it i s , the g r e a t e r will be the voltage drop, size of wiring a n d general installation costs. High voltage AC t u r b i n e s can be placed further away from h o u s e s i t e s . T h e high voltage output of some t u r b i n e s can help overcome voltage drop a n d significantly reduce the cost of cable. T h e tower should be at l e a s t 8 m above any obstructions for at l e a s t 150 m in any direction. T h i s m i n i m i s e s the effects of air turbulence a s wind p a s s e s over t r e e s a n d buildings. N o i s e from wind t u r b i n e s can be h e a r d on their downwind side. Altitude also p l a y s an i m p o r t a n t p a r t in calculating the size of the generator. Wind g e n e r a t o r s a r e r a t e d for p a r t i c u l a r r a n g e s of wind s p e e d s . As you travel higher above s e a level, the density of air c h a n g e s a n d t h u s higher wind s p e e d s a r e required for the s a m e output. Wind towers a l s o need to be e a r t h e d

Figure 14.4 It is important to place wind generators in areas not subject to turbulence. 150


Figure 14.5 The siting of the wind generator is crucial to its success in supplying energy. a g a i n s t lightning and guyed with cable, j u s t in c a s e of s t o r m s a n d very strong winds. It is a d v i s a b l e to monitor a potential wind site for at l e a s t one y e a r before installing the tower a n d generator. U s e an a n e m o m e t e r to m e a s u r e daily wind s p e e d s to a s s e s s the viability of a site. You can u s u a l l y buy a r a n g e of digital a n d hand-held a n e m o m e t e r s which a r e accur a t e enough to a s s e s s the site. Wind g e n e r a t o r s for domestic u s e a r e not that costly or large. However, if you wanted to supply the power r e q u i r e m e n t s for a community the wind generator would be expensive, l a r g e a n d noisy. They a r e ineffective at very low wind s p e e d s , a n d a t higher s p e e d s (during severe s t o r m s , cyclones a n d h u r r i c a n e s ) d a m a g e can occur. However, wind g e n e r a t o r s normally h a v e a feathering device to protect them again st high winds. T h e tower i s placed several h u n d r e d met r e s a w a y , a s the l a r g e r g e n e r a t o r s m a k e a continuous h u m which can be annoying at times. Y o u w a n t to h a v e the wind generator in the windiest site - but not your house. Hydro-electric systems S m a l l hydro-electric s y s t e m s will be much c h e a p e r t h a n the equivalent power production from solar cells if a good hydro site is a v a i l a b l e . If sufficient water flows allyear-round, power is g e n e r a t e d day a n d

night. S o l a r p a n e l s only produce current when the sun is shining a n d a r e j u s t not suitable in countries or c l i m a t e s where the n u m b e r of blue sky d a y s is low. T h e type of hydro-system you m a y need depends on the a m o u n t of w a t e r flow a n d h e a d of p r e s s u r e a v a i l a b l e . T h e "head" is the vertical height t h a t the water drops as it flows from the inlet pipe to the generator, as shown in F i g u r e 14.7. Power output from a hydro-system is a product of h e a d a n d flow, so with l e s s h e a d you will require g r e a t e r volume of water (or increased flow) to achieve the desired w a t t a g e output. T h u s , when e v a l u a t i n g the u s e of a hydros y s t e m you need to establish both the h e a d a n d w a t e r flow. G r e a t e r h e a d perm i t s l e s s volume a n d greater volume reduces the h e a d requirement. Hydro-electric s y s t e m s complement photovoltaics as there is u s u a l l y an abundance of water in the winter months or wet s e a s o n but sunshine is scarce. Pelton wheels, as shown in F i g u r e 14.8, a r e e x a m p l e s of small hydro-electric power stations. They a r e designed to work b e s t with low volume, b u t higher p r e s s u r e , water sources. Pelton wheels g e n e r a t e electricity when a fine j e t s p r a y of water is directed into a series of cup-like b u c k e t s which c a u s e the wheel to turn. T h e wheel is a t t a c h e d to a g e n e r a t i n g device a n d electricity is produced. 151


Figure 14. 6 Wind generators are cost-effective in many areas.

Figure 14.7 The head of water is the vertical height of the water column. 152


Figure 14.8 Pelton wheels generate electricity when a jet of water causes the wheel to turn.

Electric fencing Electric fencing is cheap to build, generally reliable and can keep out p r e d a t o r s a n d feral a n i m a l s a s well a s containing stock a n d domestic a n i m a l s . Y o u can either buy build-your-own k i t s from electrical s u p p l i e r s or buy cheap commercial v a r i e t i e s from a r a n g e of farm supply stores. S o m e require a motor vehicle coil and m o s t need a 12 V l e a d acid (accumulator) battery. In this type of s y s t e m , a s m a l l solar p a n e l can be u s e d to charge the battery. Y o u can a l s o g e t m a i n s power e n e r g i s e r s , b u t t h e s e a r e generally dearer and they require a m a i n power supply to run the equipment. T h i s is how it works. T h e energiser s e n d s

out a p u l s e of low current, high voltage electricity along the wire. When an anim a l touches the wire, the electricity can p a s s through the a n i m a l ' s body to the earth. T h e a n i m a l receives a high voltage shock for a split second, enough to m a k e the a n i m a l wary of the fence in future. T h e r e a r e two common electric fence s y s t e m s . T h e s i m p l e s t is a single wire or t h r e a d t h a t is e a r t h e d at the control box. T h e wire m u s t be i n s u l a t e d from any other m e t a l conductors or short circuiting will occur. T h e second method u s e s more wire in an a l t e r n a t i n g pattern of "live" a n d "earth" wires. An a n i m a l will receive a shock when it s i m u l t a n e o u s l y touches any live and e a r t h wires. Nothing occurs if the earth wire alone is touched. 153


Figure 14.9 When an animal touches the wire electricity passes through its body to the ground. The circuit is complete.

Pumping water P u m p i n g w a t e r requires a fair a m o u n t of power. W a t e r is h e a v y stuff. It weighs one k i l o g r a m a litre (over 8 pounds per gallon) a n d considerable power is often required to lift it g r e a t d i s t a n c e s . It would be g r e a t if we could all live on a hillside with a fresh mountain s t r e a m at the top so t h a t water could be directed by g r a v i t y t o w a r d s the h o u s e . T h i s is the exception, not the rule. F e w people h a v e this luxury, so water h a s to be p u m p e d a n d stored.

Figure 14.10 This system is more reliable as more wires are used and earthing occurs easier.

F o r g a r d e n s p r i n k l e r s to function effectively, or for you to h a v e r e a s o n a b l e p r e s s u r e at the kitchen t a p , we h a v e to h a v e a b o u t fifteen to twenty m e t r e s of head. We can g e t by with ten to fifteen m e t r e s b u t the p r e s s u r e obviously i s reduced a n d j u s t trickles out of the g a r d e n hose.

supplying the n e c e s s a r y energy to run a DC pump. It is also possible to run the p u m p directly off a solar module or wind g e n e r a t o r if the conditions a r e right. However, s m a l l , cheap electronic devices, called m a x i m i s e r s , can be built or b o u g h t to amplify the current output from solar p a n e l s or wind g e n e r a t o r s when the sun is partly covered or wind speed is low.

You shouldn't recommend a h e a d of water a n y l e s s than twenty m e t r e s if you w a n t crop a n d tree irrigation by gravity alone. It m a y be all right for the client to h a v e a weak s u p p l y to the kitchen, b u t there j u s t won't be enough p r e s s u r e to irrigate orc h a r d s a n d food crops. You m a y be able to g e t a booster p u m p t h a t will i n c r e a s e the p r e s s u r e from the s t o r a g e t a n k to the h o u s e . Alternatively, u s i n g l a r g e r d i a m e t e r pipe to i n c r e a s e the flow of w a t e r achieves the s a m e result as u s i n g higher water p r e s s u r e . B a t t e r i e s can be u s e d to p u m p water by

M a x i m i s e r s e x a m i n e the w a t t a g e coming in a n d what is required by the battery or p u m p and change the output accordingly. M a x i m u m power can be obtained from a solar panel or wind turbine by continuously a d j u s t i n g the voltage to suit the application. T h i s , in turn, produces the m a x i m u m current so that the power (watts) r e m a i n s the same.

154


Figure 14.11 To irrigate crops and trees by gravity you need at least 20 metres of head. Solar pump A s w e h a v e j u s t d i s c u s s e d , p u m p s can run off a s o l a r panel directly. Modern electronics is such t h a t the low current produced, even d u r i n g cloudy d a y s , can be i n c r e a s e d ( m a x i m i s e d ) by electronic circuitry a n d the p u m p will continue to work m o s t of the day, lifting a n d shifting water to where it is u s e d or can be stored for later use. M a n y A C s u b m e r s i b l e p u m p s consume three to four t i m e s more power than a DC powered p u m p to move the s a m e a m o u n t of water. Generally, AC s u b m e r s i b l e motors a r e h a r d e r to s t a r t , a r e not designed to be energy-efficient nor engineered with the quarterly power bill in mind. D C powered p u m p s t h a t a r e run directly off a solar p a n e l a r e the c h e a p e s t a n d e a s i e s t solution to w a t e r supply problems. As long as the s u n s h i n e s the p u m p will

work - even if it is very slow at times. R e m e m b e r t h a t the total volume of water p u m p e d by a s u b m e r s i b l e p u m p d e c r e a s e s with the total lift from the bore or d a m . T h e deeper the p u m p i s , the l e s s water that can be p u m p e d each d a y - for t h a t size of p u m p . Hydraulic ram Hydraulic r a m s u s e the water itself a s the power source. Water flows down a drive pipe to the r a m , a valve closes a n d the hydraulic h a m m e r effect forces some water into a delivery pipe or small tank. M o s t of the water is expelled from the r a m when t h a t s a m e valve opens. E s s e n t i a l l y , a l a r g e a m o u n t of water falls a short distance, c a u s i n g a s m a l l a m o u n t of water to be lifted a g r e a t e r distance. While hydraulic r a m s can only effectively transfer 10 to 2 0 % of the water t h a t enters, they can lift this water twenty times

Figure 14.12 Submersible solar pumps are very reliable. 155


Figure 14.13 A floating solar pump is another option. the incoming (drive) h e a d . F o r e x a m p l e , a 3 m supply h e a d can be p u m p e d to a t a n k or d a m 60 m up the hillside. S o m e hydraulic r a m s can be placed directly in the w a t e r of a s t r e a m , while others a r e placed on dry land a n d the inlet pipe c a r r i e s w a t e r from the s t r e a m to the pump.

Cooking devices Solar oven A p p r o p r i a t e technology can be u s e d to m a k e a r a n g e of cooking devices. T h r e e common ones a r e described here. S o l a r ovens a r e u s u a l l y m a d e by painting the inner lining of a cardboard or wooden box with m a t t black paint. T h i s i n c r e a s e s h e a t absorption a n d re-radiation. About 50 mm of wool, f i b r e g l a s s or some other type of insulation is placed between the inner a n d outer box walls. A clear g l a s s lid, preferably double glazed, is s e a l e d to keep

Figure 14. 14 A hydraulic ram uses water as a source of power to drive it. the h e a t in. T h e solar oven is placed in direct s u n l i g h t a n d moveable side flaps and lid flap (all coated with a l u m i n i u m foil) a r e adjusted so t h a t sunlight is directed into the oven.

Figure 14.15 Hydraulic rams work day and night to pump water uphill to a storage tank. 156


Solar ovens will h e a t up to well over 150°C, which is enough to cook most things - even if it does t a k e a little longer than conventional wood, g a s or electric ovens. Solar food dryer A solar food dryer is an effective way to dry e x c e s s fruits a n d some vegetables. S u n l i g h t is absorbed by the black rear surface a n d r e - r a d i a t e s this a s heat. T h e air slowly b e c o m e s hotter inside the dryer a n d r i s e s u p w a r d s a n d vents out a t the top. As the hot air rises, cool air is

drawn in at the bottom a n d this, in turn, h e a t s u p a s well. T h e fruit slices are placed in t r a y s at the top. T h e hot air p a s s e s through the t r a y s and dries the fruit, u s u a l l y within a few hours. Haybox cooker A haybox cooker doesn't h a v e to be m a d e out of hay, although h a y is a very good insulator. T h e cooker doesn't supply any energy to cook the food either. It simply allows the food to continue to s i m m e r long

Figure 14.16 A solar oven uses free energy to cook food.

Figure 14.17 A solar food dryer allows you to preserve some foodstuffs for later use. 157


after the food is removed from a stove or burner. The haybox cooker is an insulated box that helps to contain the heat of the actual cooking vessel inside it. A stew or other dish is cooked for a short time, usually until it boils for a few minutes, and is placed inside the haybox cooker. A lid is tightly positioned and the cooker is left for as long as you need. The heat from the cooked meal is prevented from escaping and this energy can continue to cook and simmer the food for several hours.

My

notes

Things I need to find out

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Figure 14.18 A haybox cooker keeps the heat in so that food continues to cook slowly.


15 Glossary A c t i v e s o l a r : a s y s t e m h a r v e s t i n g and u s i n g the s u n ' s energy, b u t where some energy is a l s o e x p e n d e d in m o v i n g air or water ( u s u a l l y by p u m p s or f a n s ) through the s y s t e m .

B i o l o g i c a l c o n t r o l : the u s e o f n a t u r a l p r e d a t o r s to c o m b a t p e s t s . B i o m a s s : the weight o r m a s s o f the living components of the e c o s y s t e m .

A f f o r e s t a t i o n : planting trees in areas currently devoid of trees. A g r o f o r e s t r y : f a r m l a n d where t r e e s a r e grown for timber or other u s e s , as well as crops or p a s t u r e s . A l l e y c r o p p i n g : rows o f t r e e s s e p a r a t i n g b a n d s of crops. A l t e r n a t i n g c u r r e n t ( A C ) : electricity which r e v e r s e s i t s direction at a constant r a t e . N o m i n a l l y 50 hertz (cycles per second). A n a e r o b i c : r e s p i r a t i o n without oxygen. V a r i o u s noxious g a s e s , such a s m e t h a n e a n d a m m o n i a , a s well a s carbon dioxide, m a y b e produced.

B i o t a : living o r g a n i s m s . B u n y i p l e v e l : common n a m e for a w a t e r level which can be u s e d to e s t a b l i s h m a r k s or points at the s a m e level. C a r b o n - n i t r o g e n r a t i o : the ratio o f carbon a t o m s to nitrogen a t o m s in organic matter. T h e decomposition r a t e of compost i n c r e a s e s with a CN ratio of 20:1 or less.

A n i m a l h u s b a n d r y : the practices involved in the m a n a g e m e n t and welfare of raising farm animals. A n n u a l p l a n t s : p l a n t s t h a t complete their life cycle within one year. A p p r o p r i a t e t e c h n o l o g y : the promotion a n d u s e of low-energy, low-maintenance, environmentally-friendly equipment and materials. A q u a c u l t u r e : food production u s i n g water a s the m e d i u m . A r a b l e l a n d : l a n d t h a t can b e cultivated a n d u s e d for crops or p a s t u r e . A r i d : a r e a s where the r a t e o f t r a n s p i r a tion a n d evaporation exceeds precipitation. A s p e c t : direction or orientation of the slope of land. e.g. facing north or south. A z i m u t h : a n g l e between north and the direction of the s u n , on the horizontal plane. B i e n n i a l p l a n t s : p l a n t s t h a t t a k e about two y e a r s to grow a n d produce seeds. B i o d i v e r s i t y : the diverse r a n g e and variety of life in a region. 159

C a t c h m e n t a r e a : the land a r e a t h a t collects water for a p a r t i c u l a r s t r e a m or waterway. C a t i o n : positive charged atom, u s u a l l y of a metal or hydrogen. C h i c k e n ( a n i m a l ) t r a c t o r : a portable, fenced pen structure which holds s m a l l n u m b e r s of poultry or other a n i m a l s . C h i n a m p a : s e r i e s o f channels o f water between fingers of land. A very productive aquaculture system. C h i s e l p l o u g h i n g : tillage operation where soil is s h a t t e r e d b u t not inverted. C l i m a x s p e c i e s : d o m i n a n t p l a n t species in an ecosystem. C o l d f r a m e : a box, with a g l a s s lid, which a c t s as a mini-hothouse. U s e d to germin a t e s e e d s in the colder months. C o m b u s t i o n : the b u r n i n g o f o r g a n i c matter, which r e l e a s e s water, a s h , g a s e s a n d s m o k e into the a t m o s p h e r e . C o m p a n i o n p l a n t s : plants, such a s h e r b s , which a r e beneficial to o t h e r s nearby. For example, they m a y repel p e s t s , d i s g u i s e a food crop or exude beneficial chemicals into the soil. C o m p o s t : a mixture of decomposing p l a n t and animal material. C o m m u n i t y : a group (of any size) of likeminded people who live, and s o m e t i m e s work, together on the s a m e property.


C o n d e n s a t i o n : process o f water v a p o u r c h a n g i n g to a liquid, such as dew on the surface of l e a v e s or the ground. C o n s e r v a t i o n : looking after our environment, which includes n a t u r a l forest a r e a s , soil a n d w a t e r w a y s . C o n t o u r : i m a g i n a r y line with all points at the s a m e altitude or level. C o n t o u r b a n k : trench a n d b a n k d u g a l o n g the contour which catches water a n d p r e v e n t s erosion. C o n v e c t i o n : transfer of h e a t by the natural flow or circulation of air or water. W a r m e r air or w a t e r tends to e x p a n d a n d rise c a r r y i n g h e a t with it as it moves. C o p p i c i n g : chopping trees down at s t u m p level, where they will regrow. C o v e r c r o p : p l a n t s grown t o reduce erosion, t r a p n u t r i e n t s a n d protect the soil. C r o p r o t a t i o n : growing a succession of different crops on the s a m e a r e a of land. C u r r e n t : the flow of electricity. M e a s u r e d in a m p e r e s ( a m p s ) . D e c i d u o u s : tree t h a t loses i t s l e a v e s duri n g winter and becomes dormant. D i o d e : s m a l l electronic device which only allows electricity (current) to p a s s through it in one direction. D i r e c t c u r r e n t ( D C ) : electric current t h a t flows in only one direction, from negative to positive. D i r e c t s e e d i n g : s e e d s a r e placed directly into the ground, often by a m a c h i n e towed behind a tractor. D i v e r s i o n d r a i n : drain which m o v e s water off the l a n d into d a m s or other waterways. D r e n c h : a chemical given orally to anim a l s , u s u a l l y to control internal p a r a sites. D u m p y l e v e l : a telescopic i n s t r u m e n t which allows vertical height and horizontal distance to be calculated. U s e d to m a r k out contour lines a n d determine slopes for drains.

D y n a m i c a c c u m u l a t o r s : p l a n t s which t a k e in a n d a c c u m u l a t e high levels of particular m i n e r a l s from the soil. E c o l o g y : study of the interaction between o r g a n i s m s and their environment. E c o s y s t e m : a s y s t e m in which m a t t e r a n d energy flow. It consists of a community of p l a n t s a n d a n i m a l s and the surrounding environment. E c o v i l l a g e : a community of people who live in buildings and s u r r o u n d i n g s which a r e designed to be energy efficient a n d h a v e low i m p a c t on the environment. E d g e : the boundary between two different ecosystems, such a s where l a n d m e e t s water. E l e m e n t : anything which is u s e d in a p e r m a c u l t u r e design. E l e m e n t s include plants, animals, humans, structures and environmental components such a s rocks and water. E n v i r o n m e n t : the living and non-living s u r r o u n d i n g s of an o r g a n i s m . C o m p o s e d of biotic factors, such as p r e d a t o r s a n d p a r a s i t e s , a n d abiotic (non-living) factors such a s water, air a n d t e m p e r a t u r e . E r o s i o n : the m o v e m e n t of soil m a t e r i a l from one a r e a to another. C a u s e d by wind, water or gravity. E s p a l i e r : trees, u s u a l l y fruit, which a r e pruned a n d trained to grow flat a g a i n s t a wall or on a trellis structure. E v e r g r e e n : p l a n t t h a t k e e p s its foliage all y e a r round. E x c h a n g e c a p a c i t y (of soil): a measure of the ability of the soil to e x c h a n g e mineral ions with a plant. F e r t i l i s e r : any s u b s t a n c e , such a s m a nure or chemicals, a d d e d to the soil to improve fertility. F o d d e r c r o p : a crop grown to be cut a n d fed to a n i m a l s . F o r a g e c r o p : a crop grown to be g r a z e d by a n i m a l s . G e r m i n a t i o n : process where s e e d s s t a r t to sprout a n d grow. G r e e n h o u s e : (see hothouse). 160


G r e e n m a n u r e : p l a n t s grown a n d then s l a s h e d or cut a n d turned into the soil to provide additional n u t r i e n t s to the soil. G r e y w a t e r : all w a s t e water, except toilet water, from s o u r c e s such as the kitchen, bathroom a n d laundry. G u i l d : a n a s s e m b l y o f elements such that they a r e m u t u a l l y beneficial. C a n consist of any combination of p l a n t s , a n i m a l s a n d physical factors such as rocks, soil a n d water. H a m l e t : s m a l l group of h o u s e s in a community. H a y b o x c o o k e r : i n s u l a t e d box which r e t a i n s h e a t from a cooking pot so t h a t the food can continue to s i m m e r for some time after b e i n g removed from a stove or fire. H e a d ( w a t e r ) : the vertical difference, m e a s u r e d in m e t r e s , between the top and bottom of a water column. H o t h o u s e : covered structure, with p l a s tic or g l a s s , which k e e p s the internal temp e r a t u r e h i g h e r t h a n the s u r r o u n d i n g atmosphere. Used to germinate seeds and protect p l a n t s d u r i n g the cold winter m o n t h s . Also known as a greenhouse. H u m i d i t y : a m o u n t of w a t e r v a p o u r in the a t m o s p h e r e . H y d r a u l i c r a m : m a c h i n e t h a t u s e s water to provide the energy needed to p u m p s o m e of that water to another location or storage area. H y d r o - e l e c t r i c s y s t e m : a system or m a c h i n e t h a t g e n e r a t e s electricity by harn e s s i n g flowing water, c a u s i n g a turbine to turn. I n s o l a t i o n : a m e a s u r e of the a m o u n t of solar radiation over a p a r t i c u l a r a r e a . I o n s : charged atoms. I n t e g r a t e d p e s t m a n a g e m e n t : the u s e of s e v e r a l s t r a t e g i e s to control p e s t s , such a s companion planting, p e s t t r a p s a n d crop rotation. I n t e r c e p t o r b a n k : a trench a n d b a n k cut into the clay layer so t h a t surface or s u b s u r f a c e w a t e r is able to be collected a n d prevented from further downward flow.

I n v e r t e r : a m a c h i n e which converts DC into AC so that conventional, domestic electrical a p p l i a n c e s can be used. K e y h o l e b e d : a g a r d e n bed surrounding a keyhole s h a p e (which is normally the p a t h you step into to a c c e s s the p l a n t s ) . K e y p o i n t : position on a slope where curv a t u r e of the l a n d c h a n g e s from convex to concave. L o c a t e d by finding a contour t h a t suddenly i n c r e a s e s in width when compared to contour lines either side of it. U s u a l l y is found at the s t a r t of a valley. L a n d b r e e z e : breeze produced b y differences between air p r e s s u r e on the l a n d a n d water. Air flows from the l a n d m a s s t o w a r d s the ocean or s e a . L a n d d e g r a d a t i o n : the reduction i n the productive capability of the l a n d d u e to soil erosion, salinity or other factors. L e a c h i n g : m o v e m e n t o f soluble nutrients from the top soil d o w n w a r d s into the water table. L e g u m e : plant which can m a n u f a c t u r e its own nitrogen with the help of b a c t e r i a living in the p l a n t roots. E x a m p l e s include p e a s , clover a n d lucerne. L E T S : Local E x c h a n g e T r a d i n g S y s t e m . A community-based scheme t r a d i n g in "green dollars" for goods and/or services. M i c r o c l i m a t e : local climate differences which occur in a confined or s m a l l a r e a . For e x a m p l e , it m i g h t refer to the s m a l l t e m p e r a t u r e differences either side of a plant where one side is exposed to direct sunlight a n d the other side is shaded, a n d therefore cooler. M i n i m u m t i l l a g e : ground i s not cut u p a n d ploughed a s u s u a l , b u t lightly loosened a s s e e d s a r e planted. M o n o c u l t u r e : the growing of only one type of crop on a particular a r e a of land. M u l c h : natural or artificially applied protective covering to the soil. M a t e r i a l u s e d as mulch includes chipped tree prunings, stone, plastic sheeting and s t r a w . M u l t i - g r a f t f r u i t t r e e : a fruit tree t h a t contains at l e a s t two different v a r i e t i e s of the s a m e fruit grafted onto the tree. 161


N u r s e t r e e : fast-growing shrub o r tree which protects, u s u a l l y from wind, sun or frost, another slower-growing, often commercial species. P a s s i v e s o l a r : the gain o f solar energy without the u s e of additional energy expenditure. F o r e x a m p l e , a h o u s e able to be h e a t e d by sunlight b e i n g absorbed by the floor a n d walls. P a s t u r e : p l a n t s , u s u a l l y g r a s s e s and legu m e s , which generally provide g r a z i n g stock with their nutrient r e q u i r e m e n t s . P a t t e r n : the s h a p e , geometry or form of an edge, including circles a n d s p i r a l s . P e l t o n w h e e l : hydro-electric device which g e n e r a t e s electricity as flowing w a t e r p a s s e s over an internal cupped wheel. P e r e n n i a l : long-lived plant. P e r m a c u l t u r e d e s i g n : a n integrated, holistic l a n d s c a p e practice. U s u a l l y physically r e p r e s e n t e d by a detailed d r a w i n g of the potential development of a site. T h e design a l s o considers the interaction and i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p s between o r g a n i s m s a n d their s u r r o u n d i n g s . P e r m a f r o s t : a r e a s where the ground i s p e r m a n e n t l y frozen. P e r s p i r a t i o n : w a t e r loss from the skin or surface of an a n i m a l . P h o t o v o l t a i c c e l l s : solar cells which produce electricity (current) when sunlight s h i n e s on them. P i o n e e r : p l a n t which is first to invade a n d grow on cleared or d e g r a d e d a r e a s . U s u a l l y t h e s e p l a n t s a r e short-lived a n d f a s t growing. P i e z o m e t e r : inspection pipe in the ground which p e r m i t s determination of the height of the w a t e r table a n d possible s a l t contamination. F o r e x a m p l e , salty water e x e r t s higher p r e s s u r e than freshwater a n d t h u s r i s e s higher in the pipe. P l o u g h i n g : tillage operation where soil is s h a t t e r e d a n d partially inverted to kill a n d bury e x i s t i n g vegetation.

P o l y c u l t u r e : the growing of several different crops, p l a n t s or a n i m a l s on a common a r e a of land. P r e c i p i t a t i o n : water from the a t m o s phere which r e t u r n s to the E a r t h ' s surface, mainly as rain, hail or snow. P r e v a i l i n g w i n d : the m o s t common direction t h a t wind blows. R a d i a t i o n ( h e a t ) : invisible h e a t energy given off by a hot object. R e f o r e s t a t i o n : r e p l a n t i n g native or indigenous species in a r e a s which h a v e been cleared. R e t r o f i t t i n g : changing the structure of an e x i s t i n g h o u s e to m a k e it more energyefficient. R i p a r i a n : the p l a n t s a n d ecology of the b a n k s of a river, s t r e a m or other waterway. R i p p i n g : tillage of sub-surface soil without inverting soil layers. Tynes are d r a g g e d up to a metre below the surface of the ground, b r e a k i n g up the h a r d - c r u s t clay layer to permit better water a n d air penetration. R o t a t i o n a l g r a z i n g : moving livestock from one paddock to another. S a l i n i t y : the a m o u n t of s a l t in water or soil. S e a b r e e z e : cool breeze which blows, u s u a l l y during the day, from the ocean or s e a t o w a r d s (and over) the hotter land. S e c t o r : region of a property t h a t h a s particular external energies such as fire, wind, sun and water moving through the site. Sector p l a n n i n g allows us to control, direct or h a r n e s s t h e s e energies. S h a d e h o u s e : covered or partly covered structure which shades and protects plants during the hot s u m m e r m o n t h s . S h e e t m u l c h i n g : a technique of g a r d e n building where l a y e r s of mulch and compost a r e used to m a k e garden b e d s on top of the ground. S h e l t e r b e l t : g r o u p i n g of trees which protect stock a s well a s acting a s windbreaks. 162


S l o p e : the g r a d i e n t of the land. U s u a l l y e x p r e s s e d as the a n g l e of the ground to the horizontal p l a n e .

T e r r a c e : land that h a s been stepped down a slope - levelled and stepped down to the next level and so on.

S o i l : the p a r t i c l e s of the E a r t h ' s surface, which contain both inorganic a n d organic m a t t e r a s well a s living o r g a n i s m s . S o i l c o n d i t i o n i n g : c h a n g i n g the structure of soil by physical or chemical m e a n s . S o l a r a r r a y : a group of solar panels electrically connected together. S o l a r f o o d d r y e r : s t r u c t u r e which u s e s the s u n ' s energy to h e a t air which, in turn, dries food slices or pieces. S o l a r o v e n : i n s u l a t e d cardboard, wooden or m e t a l box, with a clear g l a s s lid, which u s e s the s u n ' s energy to cook food. S o l a r p e r g o l a : a n g l e d , b l a d e d structure which a l l o w s winter s u n l i g h t to p a s s through into a room or house, b u t s h a d e s out s u m m e r sunlight. S t a c k i n g : the placing a n d layering o f a s m a n y p l a n t s as possible in a particular a r e a . S o m e will be ground dwelling, some h e r b a c e o u s a n d others taller s h r u b s and trees. S t o c k i n g r a t e : the n u m b e r of one type of livestock a n i m a l k e p t on a hectare of land. S t r i p c r o p p i n g : crops a r e grown i n strips or b a n d s to help reduce water a n d wind erosion of the soil. T r e e s a r e s o m e t i m e s p l a n t e d between the s t r i p s or rows. S t r i p g r a z i n g : livestock g r a z i n g fencedoff sections of a paddock. S u c c e s s i o n : the slow progressive change in an e c o s y s t e m . S u n t r a p : semi-circular structure, u s u ally as a row of t r e e s , which reflects sunlight a n d c o n t a i n s it, t h u s creating a w a r m e r microclimate. S u s t a i n a b l e a g r i c u l t u r e : a system of a g r i c u l t u r e which m a i n t a i n s productivity without detrimental effects on the ecosystem, over a long time. S w a l e : ditch d u g on a contour so t h a t w a t e r can be held long enough for it to s o a k into the ground where it can be u s e d by p l a n t s .

T h e o d o l i t e : surveying i n s t r u m e n t which m e a s u r e s the horizontal and vertical angles of landforms. T i l l a g e : practice of turning the soil. T h i s often involves tractors and ploughs on f a r m s , b u t also refers to garden forks a n d other i m p l e m e n t s being u s e d in urban yards. T o p o g r a p h y : the type of terrain a n d landforms present, e.g. rock outcrops. T r a n s p i r a t i o n : loss of water from the leaves of a plant. T r e l l i s : structure t h a t allows climbing p l a n t s and vines to grow on it - either vertically u p w a r d s or horizontally across. T y n e : a steel point on a tillage implement which disturbs the soil as it is d r a g g e d through it. V o l t a g e r e g u l a t o r : electronic device which produces a constant voltage output even though the input voltage m a y vary. W a t e r c y c l e : n a t u r a l process where water, in its m a n y forms, circulates between the oceans and other waterways, the atmosphere and the land. W a t e r t a b l e : the top of permanent ground water in the soil. W i n d b r e a k : trees a n d shrubs, or structures, which are used to reduce wind speed and t h u s protect an a r e a from d a m a g e or desiccation. W i n d g e n e r a t o r : machine which produces electricity by the action of wind turning the blades of a turbine. W I S A L T S : Whittington Interceptor S u s tainable Agriculture L a n d Treatment S y s t e m . A s y s t e m of drains, cut into the clay layer, which are designed to capture water and direct it to other p a r t s of a property. Z o n e : i m a g i n a r y regions around a house, or some other focus, indicating the location and placement of p l a n t s , a n i m a l s and structures in a design.

163


16 Bibliography About Permaculture Books Bell, G. (1992). The Permaculture Way. T h o r s o n s . London. Bell, G. (1994). The Permaculture Garden. H a r p e r Collins. London. Brown, D. (Ed.) (1989). Western Permaculture Manual. A publication of the P e r m a c u l ­ ture Association of W.A. Cornucopia P r e s s . Perth. F i r t h , J. (1996). Permaculture - Dry Coastal Regions. Yilgarn T r a d e r s . Geraldton. H o l m g r e n , D. (1992). Permaculture in the Bush. N a s c i m a n e r e . M a l e n y , Qld. L i n d e g g e r , M. a n d T a p , R. ( E d s . ) (1990). The Best of Permaculture. N a s c i m a n e r e . Maleny, Qld. M a r s , R. a n d J. (1994). Getting Started in Permaculture. C a n d l e l i g h t T r u s t . Perth. M a r s , R . a n d Willis, R. ( E d s . ) ( 1 9 9 6 ) . The Best of PAWA Volume 1. Selected Articles from the

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T r u s t . Perth. Mollison, Tyalgum.

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Mollison, B. (1988). Permaculture:a Designers' Manual. Τ&g&r\ Publications, T y a l g u m . Morrow, R. (1993). Earth User's Guide to Permaculture. K a n g a r o o P r e s s . K e n t h u r s t . W a t k i n s , D. (1993). Urban Permaculture. P e r m a n e n t Publications. Clanfield ( U K ) . Whitefield, P. (1993). Permaculture in a Nutshell. P e r m a n e n t Publications. Clanfield (UK). Whitefield, P. (1996). How to Make a Forest Garden. P e r m a n e n t Publications. Clanfield (UK). Woodrow, L. (1996). The Permaculture Home Garden. P e n g u i n B o o k s . Melbourne. Journals Permaculture International Journal. PO Box 6039, S o u t h L i s m o r e N.S.W. 2 4 8 0 . F o u r issues per annum. The Permaculture Edge. PO Box 148, Inglewood, WA. 6052. F o u r i s s u e s for $ 1 6 . Permaculture

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Permanent

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About Organic Gardening, Herbs and Growing Vegetables Books B e n n e t t , P. (1989). Organic Gardening. N a t i o n a l Book D i s t r i b u t o r s . S y d n e y . B r e m n e s s , L. (1988). The Complete Book of Herbs. R e a d e r s D i g e s t P r e s s . Melbourne. B r e m n e s s , L. ( E d . ) (1990). Pocket Encyclopedia of Herbs. Dorling Kindersley. London. C o n a c h e r , J. WA.

(1980). Pests,

Predators and Pesticides.

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C u n d a l l , P. Organic Gardening. G a r d e n i n g A u s t r a l i a Collector S e r i e s N o . 1. F e d e r a l Publishers. Sydney. D e a n s , E. (1992). Esther Dean's Gardening Book. A n g u s a n d Robertson. Sydney.

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F a n t o n , Î&#x153;. a n d J. (1993). The Seed Saver's Handbook. S e e d S a v e r ' s Network. Byron Bay, N.S.W. French, J. (1989). Organic Control of Common Weeds. Aird B o o k s . Melbourne. French, J. (1990). Natural Control of Garden Pests. Aird Books. Melbourne. French, J. (1991). Jackie French's Guide to Companion Planting in Australia and New Zealand. Aird Books. Melbourne. French, J. ( 1 9 9 2 ) . The Wilderness Garden (Beyond Organic Gardening). Aird B o o k s . Melbourne. Kourik, R. (1986). Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Garden Naturally. Metamorphic P r e s s . S a n t a R o s a . Little, B. (1992). Backyard Organic Gardening in Australia. S a n d p i p e r P r e s s . Sydney. Little, B. (1993). Companion Planting in Australia (2nd Ed.). S a n d p i p e r P r e s s . Sydney. R o a d s , M. (1989). The Natural Magic of Mulch. Greenhouse Publications. Elwood (Vic). S m i t h , K. (1993). The Australian Organic Gardener's Handbook. Wilkinson, J. (1989). Herbs and Flowers in the Cottage Garden.

Lothian. Melbourne. I n k a t a P r e s s . Mel­

bourne. Newspaper Acres Australia. PO Box 27, E u m u n d i . Qld. 4562. Six i s s u e s per a n n u m .

About Appropriate Technology, Housing and Lifestyle Books B a l l i n g e r , J . , P r a s a d , D. a n d Rudder, D. (1992). Energy Efficient Australian Housing. A u s t r a l i a n G o v e r n m e n t Publishing Service. C a n b e r r a . E n e r g y Victoria. (1995). Guidelines for Building an Energy Efficient Home. Renewable E n e r g y Authority. Melbourne. French, J. (1992). Backyard Self-Sufficiency. Aird Books. Melbourne. Gordon,

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H a r r i s , M. a n d Hutchinson, A. ( E d s . ) (1990). Build Your Own Green Technology. A T A Publications. Melbourne. H a r r i s , M. a n d B e a u m o n t , L. ( E d s . ) (1993). Green Technology House and Garden Book. A T A Publications. Melbourne. Paolino, S . (1992). Living with the Climate. G r a p h i c S y s t e m s . Perth. P e d a l s , P. (Ed.) N i m b i n , N.S.W.

(1993). Energy From Nature (5th Ed.).

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Schaeffer, J. (Ed.) (1992). Alternative Energy Sourcebook. Real Goods. U k i a h ( U S A ) . Smith,

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Earth Garden. R M B 427, T r e n t h a m . Vic. 3458. Four i s s u e s per a n n u m . Grass Roots. N i g h t Owl Publishers. PO Box 242, E u r o a . Vic. 3666. S i x i s s u e s per annum. ReNew (formerly Soft Technology). Alternative Technology Association. 247 Flinders L a n e , Melbourne. Vic. 3000. F o u r i s s u e s per a n n u m . 165


17 Index clay h a r d p a n 95 climate, local 65 climax species 22 clusters, h o u s e s 144 co-housing 137 cold frame 114 community buildings 141 community b y l a w s 146 community g a r d e n s 130 community living 135 community mission s t a t e m e n t companion p l a n t s 57 c o m p a s s , for d r a w i n g 50 compass, magnetic 44 compost 99, 133 compost b i n s 100 condensation 66 conditioning a pond 15 conditioning of soil 54 contour, definition 86 contour lines 36 contour m a p 86 cooking devices 156 coppicing 126 crop rotation 57

A A-frame level 46 active hot water s y s t e m 75 afforestation 122 agroforestry 121 a i d s to design 38 air p a n e l s , solar 82 alley cropping 121 a l t e r n a t i n g current 148 alternative energy sources 148 altitude, of sun 65 a m m e t e r s 148 a n i m a l s , characteristics 124 a n i m a l s , in p e r m a c u l t u r e 104 a n i m a l s , rural 122 a p p r o p r i a t e technology 148 a q u a c u l t u r e 14 a s p e c t 26, 68 a s s e s s i n g a site 68 azimuth angle 65

B balcony g a r d e n i n g 108 b a n a n a circle 100 bare-rooted trees 63 b e e s 105 bentonite 57, 64 bog g a r d e n 103, 134 Bunyip level 45 b y l a w s , community 146

D d a m location 89 d a m s , keyline 87 d a m s , storage ratio 88 deciduous trees 75 deep litter poultry pen 107 design considerations 34 design, of h o u s e s 72 design process 32 design report 39 design s t e p s 35 designing for c a t a s t r o p h e 28 dew 98 direct current 148 diversion d r a i n s 92 dolomite 57 d r a i n s 90 drains, diversion 92 drawing a i d s 5 0

C catch crops 56 cation exchange capacity 52 chemical t r a p 90 chicken pen, rotating 106 chicken tractor 107 chickens 106 chill h o u r s 25 c h i n a m p a s y s t e m 17 chisel plough 55 choosing a property 67 circle g a r d e n bed 11 classification of soil 51 166

144


dryland w a t e r h a r v e s t i n g d u c k s 106 dumpy level 47

h a r v e s t i n g water 84 haybox cooker 157 h e a d , of water 151 herb lawn 102 herb spiral 11 hot water s y s t e m s 75 hothouse 77 house, construction m a t e r i a l s 142 house design 72 house site, determination 69 h o u s e s , clusters 144 h o u s e s , earth-covered 73 hybrid power s y s t e m 149 155 hydraulic r a m hydro-electric power 151

96

E e a r t h m o u n d 27 earth-covered h o u s e s 73 earthworm farm 104 e a r t h w o r m s 5 5 , 104 ecosystem 4 ecovillage 135 ecovillages, designing 137 edge effects 10 electric fence 125, 153 element 18 energy a u d i t 130 espalier, fruit trees 111 ethics, p e r m a c u l t u r e 2 evergreen t r e e s for climate control e x c h a n g e capacity 5 1 e x c h a n g e capacity, cation 52

I 7ÂŁ

F fire 28 flood irrigation 92 fodder t r e e s 125 food dryer, solar 157 frogs 102 frost 24

G garden paths 63 geese 106 g e n e r a t o r s , wind 149 g e r m i n a t i o n of s e e d s 113 green m a n u r e crop 56, 5 7 , 96 g r e e n h o u s e 77 g r e y w a t e r 85 g u i d e l i n e s for designing schools 128 g u i d e l i n e s , land development 138 guild, rock 63 guilds 62 gypsum 57

H h a m l e t s 135 h a n g i n g b a s k e t s 110, 113 h a r d p a n , clay 95

implementation, of design 41 indicators of soil 54 insolation 65 integrated p e s t m a n a g e m e n t 56 integrating house and garden 75 interceptor b a n k s 93, 95 inverter 148

K keyhole b e d s 11 keyline cultivation keyline d a m s 87 keypoint 87

86, 88, 95

L land breeze 117 land clearing, problems 95 land development, guidelines 138 land titles 143 land t r u s t 145 land u s e 68 land u s e , restrictions 69 LETS 136 level, "A" frame 46 level, Bunyip 45 level, dumpy 47 level, theodolite 47 light box 48 lime 57 limited g a r d e n i n g s p a c e s 108 local climate 65 167


ponds 102, 134 ponds, bog garden 103 poultry 106 predators, in g a r d e n 58 property, choosing 67 protractor, for d r a w i n g 50 p u m p i n g water 154

M magnetic compass 44 M a n d a l a keyhole garden 132 m a n u r e , a n i m a l 57 m a x i m i s e r s 154 meter, pH 45 meter, salinity 45 microclimate 23, 79, 101 m i n i m u m tillage 55 mulch 53, 98, 101

R rainwater t a n k s 84 r a i s e d g a r d e n b e d s 12 recharge a r e a s 94 reed b e d s 85 reforestation 122 regulator 148 resources, site 68 retrofitting, h o u s e s 80 ripping, ground 90, 116 rock d u s t 57 rock guild 63 rotating chicken pen 106 rotation, of crops 57

N n a t u r a l resources 68 non-wetting soil 64 n u r s e trees 121

O organic fertiliser 57 organic produce 51

P p a s s i v e hot water s y s t e m p a s s i v e solar h o u s e 72 p a t h s 63, 132 p a t h s , living 102 pattern, in design 10 pelton wheels 151 penetrometer 44

75

pergola 79, 110 pergola, solar 81 permaculture 1 p e r m a c u l t u r e design, rural 115 p e r m a c u l t u r e design, schools 127 p e r m a c u l t u r e design, urban 99 p e s t m a n a g e m e n t , integrated 56 pH meter 44 photovoltaic panel 148 piezometer 95 pioneer species 5 plane table 47 planter box 109 p l a n t s , companion 57 plants, indicators of soil 54 plough, Wallace 55 plough, Y e o m a n 55 plucking b e d s 12 polyculture 15, 56

S salinity meter 45 scale ruler 48 school, design guidelines 128 school d e s i g n s 127 schools, needs a n a l y s i s 127 schools, recycling centres 130

seabreeze 117

sector plan 77 sectors 22 seed, germination 113 sheet-mulched g a r d e n b e d s 100 shelterbelts 117, 120, 121 silt t r a p 90 site a n a l y s i s 40 site, a s s e s s m e n t 68 slope 68 sod roof 73 soil 51 soil collapse 93 soil collapse, testing 94 soil conditioning 54 soil, non-wetting 64 soil t r e a t m e n t s and a m e n d m e n t s solar air p a n e l s 82 168


solar chimney 74 solar food dryer 157 solar hot water s y s t e m s 75 solar house, p a s s i v e 72 solar oven 156 solar panel 148 solar pergola 8 1 solar p u m p 155 spreader drains 92 stacking 60 s t a c k i n g , time 6 1 stock lock-up a r e a s 123 s t o r a g e ratio, of d a m s 88 succession 4 surveying equipment 45 s u s t a i n a b l e l a n d u s e 7, 115 s w a l e 90, 96

water h a r v e s t i n g , dryland 96 water "head" 151 water, p u m p i n g 154 water repellency 64 waterlogging 93, 95 wetland p l a n t s 8 5 , 90 whole farm plan 115 wind g e n e r a t o r s 149 wind towers 150 windbreak, construction 117 w i n d b r e a k s 116 window sills 108 WISALTS 93

Y Y e o m a n ' s plough

Z

T

zenith 22

tanks, rainwater 84 tape measure 43 t e r r a c i n g 84, 9 2 theodolite 47 tillage, m i n i m u m 5 5 time s t a c k i n g 6 1 titles, l a n d 143 149 tracker, for s o l a r panel transpiration 66 treating greywater 85 tree b e l t s 121 trees, fodder 125 t r e e s , for climate control 75 trellis 12, 79, 110 t r u s t s , community 145

zones

U underground houses

73

V vents, in h o u s e s 82 village living 135

W W a l l a c e plough 55 w a s t e d i s p o s a l , communities w a s t e d i s p o s a l options 140 w a t e r cycle 66 water, h a r v e s t i n g 84

139

169

19

55


Notes

"We can make forests into deserts or deserts into forests. It is our choice" Bill Mollison, 1994 170


Basics of permaculture design  
Basics of permaculture design  
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