Posts Tagged ‘Sepp Holzer’

Whilst most people who may have heard the term or read something about Permaculture, link it to Growing Food / Sustainable Farming methods, Permaculture Design itself can be used in many aspects including town planning,  right up to Large City Design and no, I’m not exaggerating at all!

marawiii

Destroyed Buildings in Marawi City, Philippines

Personally my opinion on the future and implementation of Permaculture Design in Urban areas will lie in the developing world, whilst I strongly know that there are many talented and enthusiastic individuals in the so called ”first world” countries, it is in my opinion that this is where the most red tape and corporate dictated bureaucracy will be experienced.

The city of Marawi in Mindanao Southern Philippines was the victim of a 5+ month conflict between Local terrorist groups and Government forces, which ended around October 2017. Most people worldwide saw the news on mainstream media and alternative / social media (due to the fact that both groups decided to pledge allegiance to ISIS) , I personally was quite shocked when image searching for the city after the conflict was over, it is almost reminiscent to video footage of Syria! (Syria and the Philippines have one distinct thing in common, the west are not very fond of the two leaders Bashar al Assad and Rodrigo Duterte – in other words, the recent conflicts in both countries are merely ……. coincidences)

Events like this, although being horrific in nature both for the local population and also the environment should be taken advantage of, a partially destroyed infrastructure can be repaired using locally sourced, sustainable materials instead of resource wasting and polluting materials such as concrete and so forth! Whilst rebuilding and construction is taking place, the machinery available can be used to install low cost and cost saving functions / technology such as solar and wind power systems on larger buildings, the possibilities are endless! With China becoming a dominant regional power and the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte leaning away from US control to a Russian / Chinese friendship, this could see the Philippines entering trade agreements which could highly benefit the rebuilding of the area and future projects in the country, China (more…)

Advertisements

The concept of Hugelkultur (Hugel Mound Growing) can basically be described as a self-composting bed or planting area (in the case of this article, in large pots). The gardener digs a shallow trench or pit and places logs, branches, sticks, twigs, brown leaves, nitrogen rich greens and or fresh manure, then tops these materials with the dug out earth and finally a decent layer of compost.

A good Hugel with large thick logs can be self-composting for anything up to 10 years. Read previous articles on traditional Hugels here Article 1 and Article 2.

Just the other day I realised that I can re-create the Hugel system but in large plastic planter pots, this will give you the benefit of Hugelkulturs without having to strain your back doing loads of digging!

Anyone taking on an uncultivated or fallow piece of land such as a disused Allotment Plot can always Sheet / Lasagna mulch a section, cover the result with thick impermeable black plastic sheet to kill off the perennial weeds and simply place Hugel Pots on top to ensure the land is still productive. Once you need to remove the sheet after a year and start using the ground space for planting, you can simply knock over the pots and empty the goodness to build up the humus / top layer!

Hugel Pots.jpg

Hugelkultur Mound in Planter Pots

The general rule in terms of what can be grown on the Hugel Mound in year 1, are shallow rooted crops / plants such as various lettuces. Thereafter you can grow plants that require more nutrients and moisture and then finally on year 3  you can pretty much grow anything from Tomatoes to Pumpkins.

In the terms of the Hugel in a large pot, you can start the bottom layer either with composted or semi-composted wood chips (skip them and use soil if you have Slug / Snail problems), place a decent layer of soil (especially soil you wish to amend) on top of the latter with the Branch, Sticks, Twigs and cardboard / leaves as the carbon layer.

Follow on top with vegetables, fruit scraps, cut grass or fresh manure and then go on to adding the thick layer of soil / compost for growing in

(refer to image for general idea on layers, there are no specific rules but rather guidelines to follow) such as:

  1. Wood and wood chip need Nitrogen to break down, the plants you intend to grow need nitrogen too, the wood will suck this out of the soil and this is why we add manure or nitrogen rich fresh greens like veggie scraps and grass clippings / garden prunings, therefore, try to add as much green / manure / nitrogen rich material the more wood you have – greens decompose much quicker so stuff a lot in there.
  2. Compose the larger wood at the bottom and build up with smaller pieces until you reach brown leaves and cardboard this should ensure nice air spaces between are protected from being filled in by settling materials, these air spaces are important to ensure that the process does not become anaerobic – you could even start the logs on top of a 3-5cm thick layer of fresh grass clippings although this is not imperative.
  3. Intending on using this pot every year for the same purpose and do not intend on emptying it for a few years? then this is the time that you can use much thicker logs and branches in the bottom, if you want to empty the contents regularly (every 1 – 2 seasons) then it would be more beneficial to use thinner branches and sticks instead.
  4. Shallow rooted crops are mostly recommended in the first year however, you could easily use root crops such as carrots and parsnips provided you have a deeper layer of top soil / compost, remember that carrots and parsnips need nicely sieved compost / soil to prevent roots from ”forking”

I am in no way going to be benefiting from this financially, however, as an avid follower of Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture methods, I stumbled upon this excellent deal which, I unfortunately cannot take advantage of due to already owning Both books 😦

sepp-book-deal

Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture and Desert of Paradise – Huge Discounted Offer

The Books: ‘Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture’ and the equally interesting ‘Desert or Paradise, Restoring Endangered Landscapes using Water Mangement, including Lake and Pond Construction‘ are Both on a very good clearance offer for only £18.95 with free delivery for Both Books, this is a massive saving of £16.95 and just short of getting one of the books for Free! – on the website Green Shopping which stocks a wide range of books and magazines not only from Permanent Publications. Click here for the offer (Note, the link is likely to become unuseable once they stop the offer or sell out).

Are you interested in Permaculture, Organic Gardening, Wildlife Gardening, establishing a Rural self sufficient homestead or related? Then Get These Books! You will kick yourself in the future for not having taken this deal …

Late Summer / Early Autumn is the best time to start gathering the materials you need for your planned Hugel Bed / Mound, many Herbaceous plants which can be used in conjunction with the wood logs, branches and sticks are now ready to be chopped down and composted or used in another way. Autumn / Winter is the preferred time her in the UK to create your Hugelkultur mounds mainly due to the need for the wet season to soak the beds, the buried logs will soak up the winter rains for months until the upcoming growing season.

Two pieces of advice I can definitely lecture on about in this article to ensure a successful Hugel Project are;
1: Ensure Air Spaces inside the mound and
2: Add lots of Nitrogen rich Biomass internally to offset the nitrogen locking that the logs will create during decomposition

Air Spaces:
Although there are guaranteed to be air spaces between the logs and branches / sticks, I have found that rain and the settling down of the materials can cause these spaces to fill in, often causing or risking an anaerobic result – go explore your garden or any other garden you have access to (You may even be able to make a deal with a local gardening company – they could leave a bag of said such materials for you outside one of their customers properties so as long as you collect the bag and not leave unwanted contents at the site!) remember, you can always bargain that most companies have to pay to dump their waste at commercial specialist dumps, remind them that you are helping them reduce the need to do so, in most cases they will still have charged their customers to ”remove” the waste even though you took if off of their hands, the customer will inevitably still be charged for it being dumped.

There are many herbaceous plant species which have a hollow stem and need cutting down in Autumn, cut these stems into pieces which you will spread around and in between your logs at different levels to ensure small air cavities will remain. Cedums, Ornamental Globe Artichokes, Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes), Young Bamboo (and old), some Hydrangea varieties and many more have hollow cavity stems which harden enough when dry to be used in this case.

Then there is dry hard leaf ”garden waste” which takes ages to decompose, these are leaves from shrubs and trees which are more on a glossy and hard / stiff texture than a soft / decidious and most likely in all cases, evergreen. Three options I have from the top of my head as examples are the leaves of ‘Magnolia Grandeflora’, The climber ‘Clematis Armandii’ , the Loquat ‘Eribotrya japonica’ Fruit Tree, Some Rhododendrons (look for the large leaved varieties) and Laurels. We have found that most of these leaves can take up to two years in an unturned / undisturbed compost pile to break down, they maintain their structure even when pressed down so they are perfect for maintaining air spaces / gaps internally within the Hugel Bed / Mound! Practically any glossy leaved plant / shrub / tree will do but the larger and dryer – the better!
In fact, a couple of these Tree / Shrub leaves will actualy curl up to form a cilyndrical tube shape with an internal hollow gap, when pressed these are strong and bounce back right away once released.

Nitrogen Rich Biomass:
Probably one of the best options are fresh grass clippings from your lawn mowing or that of a neighbour / friend. You can even clip your grass at your home twice a week for the last 3 or so weeks of Summer, keep these clippings aside in a breathable bag until ready to add into the Hugel Bed – if you obtain clippings over several weeks, you Will need to add additional fresh greens into the mix to compenate lost nitrogen.
Horse Manure is also a great option but I would suggest it be used more as an addition to fresh green waste rather than 100% of the nitrogen source
The not-so-popular option amongst people new to Permaculture, is human Urine, which has a good nitrogen content and is often used diluted 1 part to 10 in early season liquid feed for plants
If you plan on lets say December being your target month for getting your Hugel project started, I would advise Growing a patch of Broad or Field bean green manure from Late August / Early September – these will be ready for chopping down and adding into your bed around and amongst the logs as the fresh greens instead of grass clippings which won’t be available during that month anyway

Further Reading: Click Here for an article on the step-by-step making of a Hugelkultur Mound / Bed

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Sepp Holzer -The Rebel Farmer

 

”Pigs are blessed by nature with a plough in front and a compost spreader at the back”
– Sepp Holzer (page #109, Desert or Paradise)

Everyone in the Permaculture scene has heard of, or studied the works of Sepp Holzer to some extent, if not, then their tunnel vision is testament to their level of research skill.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sepp Holzer in Austria

Ever since I decided to buy Sepp’s main book ‘Holzer Permaculture’ from the Book Stand at the London Permaculture Festival 2015, I was truly captivated, this man Knows what he is doing and he was practicing Permaculture way before the word had even been coined!

Sepp Holzer, a short Bio :

Sepp Holzer (born July 24, 1942 in Ramingstein, Province of Salzburg, Austria) is a farmer, author, and an international consultant for natural agriculture. He took over his parents’ mountain farm business in 1962 and pioneered the use of ecological farming, or permaculture, techniques at high altitudes (1100 to 1500 meters above sea level) after being unsuccessful with regular farming methods.

Holzer was called the “rebel farmer” because he persisted, despite being fined and even threatened with prison, with practices such as not pruning his fruit trees (unpruned fruit trees survive snow loads that will break pruned trees). He has created some of the world’s best examples of using ponds as reflectors to increase solar gain for Passive solar heating of structures, and of using the microclimate created by rock outcrops to effectively change the hardiness zone for nearby plants. He has also done original work in the use of Hugelkultur and natural branch development instead of pruning to allow fruit trees to survive high altitudes and harsh winters.

kramertehof

Ponds and House at his 45ha Krameterhof Farm

His expanded farm – the Krameterhof – now spans over 45 hectares of forest gardens, including 70 ponds, and is said to be the most consistent example of permaculture worldwide.
In 2009 Sepp Holzer left the Krameterhof in the hands of his son Josef Andreas Holzer. Since 2013 Sepp Holzer lives on his new farm – the Holzerhof farm – in the Burgenland, Austria. He is currently conducting permaculture (“Holzer Permaculture”) seminars both at his Holzerhof farm and worldwide.

He is an author of several books, works nationally as a permaculture-activist in the established agricultural industry, and works internationally as an adviser for ecological agriculture.

Source: Sepp Holzer’s Website

Click Here for more on the Krameterhof farm where he was born.

Click Here for what he is doing currently on the new, smaller Holzerhof.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sepp Takes Great Effort to Rest and Connect With Nature

I have two videos that I recommend watching, the first is ‘Sepp Holzer, The Agro Rebel’ (44 min’s):

Second Video is ‘Sepp Holzer’s Mountain Permaculture Farm’ (33 min’s):

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Sepp Passionately Explaining on His Farm