Permaculture forum: Farmers' handbook

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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Aug 15, 2012 2:51 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

If you haven't seen this before, you are in for a real treat. I present to you the Farmers' Handbook:

Worldwide, mainstream aid projects tend to deal with the symptoms of problems, rather than the problems themselves. In fact, often aid projects actually exacerbate the root issue, by supply free food and clothing that undermines the ability of people on the ground to make a living. In other words, we put them out of their low carbon business, forcing them off the land into cities where they must become part of the consumer treadmill, or perish.

But, sometimes, people with clear heads and unselfish hearts manage to help in much more substantial ways.


Check it out at: http://permaculture.org.au/2010/01/06/farmers-handbook/
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Aug 16, 2012 7:51 AM CST
A good site! Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

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hazelnut
Jun 20, 2013 9:03 AM CST
"These files are free for personal use and circulation (please just link to this page), but can not be used for commercial purposes. They are copyright of Chris Evans and Jakob Jespersen. "

Five volumes of free information in PDF format. Wow! Now I have something to read on rainy days!

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hazelnut
Jun 21, 2013 7:40 AM CST
I am reading the chapter on green manures. I have a weedy place where I wanted to put a garden this fall. So I thought I might sow some buckwheat there and hope that the soil would be ready to plant maybe in september or october. But after reading the Green Manures chapter, there are a number of summer green manures that I will have to explore.

On beyond buckwheat! Mustard, sunhemp (Crotalaria), sesbania, chenapodium, fenugreek, lab lab, velvet bean, jack bean, hemp, and tobacco (well maybe not tobacco).
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Jun 21, 2013 7:46 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I'm a fan of a lot of plants on that list. I also use purple hull peas or cowpeas for a summer green manure, too. In the winter it's Austrian Winter Peas (Pisum sativum subsp. arvense 'Austrian Winter')

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hazelnut
Jun 21, 2013 6:33 PM CST
I don't know what fenugreek is but lately I have been learning about Indian cooking and it is a frequent ingredient in those recipes. Good to know that it is good for diabetes also.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-733...

And now I know it can be used for green manure. Now where do you get the seed?

Dave, do you eat the purple hull and Austrian Winter peas as well as use the plants for green manure?.

[Last edited by hazelnut - Jun 21, 2013 6:35 PM (+)]
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hazelnut
Jun 23, 2013 9:41 AM CST
Today I am reading about No Till Farming from the Farmer's Handbook. Many of Permaculture's basic techniques are based on Masonabu Fukuoka's ideas developed as a microbiologist who inherited farming land in Japan. So why No-Till? M. Fukuoko says:

Because ploughing is crazy!

So here are more reasons NOT to use that expensive rototiller:

http://www.permaculturenews.org/resources_files/farmers_hand...

Im looking at this method because I just received via Amazon.com a 5 lb can of organic black soybeans that were quite expensive. My plan is to plant some of the soybeans and save myself in the future the cost of paying $5.00 a pound for soybeans.

Black soybeans can be used for green manure, and to make soymilk &, tofu, and otherwise they can be used the same as any other dried bean.
[Last edited by hazelnut - Jun 23, 2013 9:46 AM (+)]
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 2, 2013 7:09 PM CST
Thanks for the link!

I added it to my sig bloc so I'd have it handy and easy-to-find.

It seems that they use A-frames (bi pods with a cross-brace) to mark out horizontal swales (ditches that follow a contour-line at a uniform height along a slope). That's in Volume 5, the A-frame chapter.

But it says there are photos 7-14, and I can only find photos 1-4, all on the same page.

Volume 5, "Soil Management", refers to the A-Frame chapter, has one tiny photo on page 23 to show them being used to dig a contour ditch, but I can't see how they are used.

Can someone else see photos 7-14, or know how the A-frames are used to survey a contour line?

I would guess that they use the horizontal brace like a sighting level, but text says it doesn't matter whether the middle stick is exactly horizontal.



Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 2, 2013 7:42 PM CST
http://reap-eastafrica.org/blogs.info/reap/pdf/AFrame.pdf

I see it now. You "calibrate" the A-frame to be a level - the feet are at the same contour if the dangling string hangs to the right point on the semi-horizontal cross-bar.

To calibrate the level, set it on pretty level ground and mark lightly where the dangling string intersects the cross-bar.

The flip the A-frame around so the right leg is where the left leg was (and vice-versa). Then note where the dangling crosses the cross-bar now.

Then mark darkly exactly halfway between them. That shows when the feet are level with each other

Then you can "walk" the A-frame horizontally across a contour, like walking a divider across a map, leaving stakes where each foot had to be placed in order to make that foot exactly level with the other foot.

It relies on the ends of the pols not sinking into the soil, so perhaps two little cross-bars as "feet" would be an improvement.

Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Jul 3, 2013 7:32 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I haven't poked my head back in this thread for a couple weeks and missed your question. Sorry about that.

hazelnut said:Dave, do you eat the purple hull and Austrian Winter peas as well as use the plants for green manure?.


We definitely eat the purple hull peas. You pick them when the seeds are full size but before they start to dry. The color of the hull indicates the right time for harvest. Once you harvest and shell them, they are put in ziplock bags and frozen until later use. We like to cook them in a pan with some bacon. There are numerous recipes online for the right way to cook these and they are all good. Smiling

As for the Austrian Winter Peas, the children will graze on them and I'll nibble on a few of them. We don't harvest and bring them to the table, though.

Rick, that's a good description of the A-Frame. The west side of our hill is entirely in swales that I made using an A-Frame level I built.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 3, 2013 12:10 PM CST
>> The west side of our hill is entirely in swales that I made using an A-Frame level I built.

I assume that's to retain as much water as possible for the dry season. Plus maybe to reduce erosion?

The Farmer's handbook seemed to emphasize digging the ditch, but the illustrations made it look like the built-up berms on either side of the ditch were 2-3 times bigger than the ditch.

Did you use buried logs (hugelculture) to beef up some raised ridges below or above the swales?

Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Jul 3, 2013 12:17 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

It was mostly done to retain the water. Erosion wasn't a concern in this particular location.

You can see all the photos of them here:

http://garden.org/ideas/view/dave/41/Building-a-Hugelkultur-...

Scroll halfway down for the swale photos.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jul 3, 2013 12:23 PM CST
Thanks! I thought I remembered something like that, and yes, the logs laid out below the ditch as "hugelswales" was what I almost remembered.

P.S. I like the way my browser or your software abbreviates that link:

"Building-a-Hug ..."

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