Permaculture forum: chop and drop

Page 1 of 3 • 1 2 3
Views: 1667, Replies: 58 » Jump to the end

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 7, 2015 7:16 PM CST
Using the chop and drop technique to diversify plantings in a pond setting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPJpe4mJ55s&t=17
Name: Dave Paul
Puna, HI (Zone 10b)
Live in a rainforest, get wet feet.
Plant Identifier
Image
Metrosideros
Mar 16, 2015 7:23 PM CST
This is an important ideal in creating a healthy home forest.

Most landholders here tend to maintain a lawn with shrubs & trees on the edges. When the plants are trimmed, they like to have the trimmings hauled away, as piles of sticks & leaves are considered ugly. Then spread chemicals to achieve some fertility.
The outcome of this is a yard full of plants that look okay, but are easily vulnerable to pests and diseases. Therefore pesticides are brought in.

In a natural forest, there is no lawn, and leaf litter & sticks mulch the forest floor.

In my cocoa & tea gardens I drop all the weeds, trim the useful plants, and leave all the trimmings lay in place. I am working to replace any grass covering with mulch. I water young plants from a fish pond, and spread some chicken manure and calcium carbonate once in a while. As a result, production has gone up and cultural problems have reduced.

Under the mulch layer is a thriving community of micro-organisms which support the plants.


Thumb of 2015-03-17/Metrosideros/c1e0d0


Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 17, 2015 2:44 PM CST
I just this winter learned about "chop and drop". I have used a machete, a bush axe, and a Black & Decker "alligator". Someone recently mentioned that you can use a reciprocating saw with a pruning blade, so I may add one of those to my tool arsenal. A shredder would be handy, but maybe unwieildy for a smallish person.
Metrosideros, do you have any favorite chop and drop tools?
Name: Toni Melvin
Sherwood Oregon (Zone 8a)
Region: Oregon Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs Beekeeper
Permaculture Composter Canning and food preservation Bee Lover Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Toni
Mar 18, 2015 11:45 AM CST
Thumb of 2015-03-18/Toni/5269e8

here is one way I chop and drop. My sweet sweet husband bought me a chipper/shredder! Unfortunately he won’t let me use it so I don’t have near enough yet. But it is wonderful here in Oregon there are ALWAYS limbs and leaves to chip and shred. My plants, trees, and shrubs just love it.
Toni
I aspire to be the person my dog thinks I am
Name: Dave Paul
Puna, HI (Zone 10b)
Live in a rainforest, get wet feet.
Plant Identifier
Image
Metrosideros
Mar 18, 2015 12:56 PM CST
Favorite chop & drop tools?

Depends on the plant being chopped.

Machete, hedge shears, loppers, pruiners, pruining saw, weedeater, chain saw.






Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 19, 2015 9:27 AM CST
Toni. "Unfortunately he won’t let me use it" what kind is it?. Ive been looking for a manageable shredder. I am female, 75, 5ft 6" and live alone (by choice) with my dogs so my tools have to be operator friendly. I have found some of the lithium ion tools work great--they are versatile, light weight and vary in working ends from grass shears, to hedge cutters, to reciprocating pruning blades. And with the lithium ion chargeable batteries, you are not limited by an electric cord. But for the basic stuff I use my 1970s bush axe. It is light weight and with a good whack it will fell all most anything that doesn't require a chain saw! I have an electric chain saw--the gas pull chain was getting to be a little much. I also have a few machetes but to me they don't handle as well as the bush axe.

Of course with all tools you need to operate them safely, but there is no reason why a woman cannot operate most garden tools on the market today, or any traditional one's. There are instruction videos on YouTube for most tools--even how to operate a traditional grass cutting scythe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gL2_chKPWjE
[Last edited by hazelnut - Mar 19, 2015 9:30 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #812074 (6)
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Mar 19, 2015 11:14 AM CST
Hazlenut - First off, let me say thanks for all of the info that you've linked on the Permaculture forum. I'm totally new to the concept and am trying to get my feet wet.
I've been gardening 20+ years - mostly shade gardening - in an oak/hickory wooded area in NW IN. I've always done a massive cleanup of (mostly) oak leaves in the spring because my garden beds are densely planted (old school). I do have a chipper/shredder that DH hauls out after lots of cajoling to help reduce the massive piles of leaves and branches. And, after spending a few weeks gathering up all of the oak leaves (because they do a great job of smothering), I then have to mulch with the shredded leaves. Do you know of a website/link that might address this situation to make it a little easier to manage? I don't use weedkillers and I rarely fertilize so would like to get the soil in top condition. Would appreciate it if anyone can point me in the right direction.

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 19, 2015 9:02 PM CST
Shadegardener: It does seem like you might be doing a lot of unnecessary work, and also that you might need more wood included in your mulch mix. Also you might want to grow some cover crops in the summer to provide additional nutrients. Think diversity, not just one or two ingredients.

I think permaculture is about learning how to build an ecological system out of the plants you want in your back yard (or back 40 if you have it). I also think Americans have a hard time understanding the systemic interactions that go into the design of a backyard ecosystem. For a permaculture beginner I would recommend any and all of Bill Mollison's works--the Tasmanian founder of the permaculture concept. In the US Toby Hemenway's ideas have been central to the permaculture revolution here.

As for learning about mulch, what and how to do it, you might enjoy the chop and drop forum at Permies.com.
http://www.permies.com/t/4124/permaculture/Chop-Drop-Mulch
You can post questions there also.

Here are a couple of my articles that reflect my own early learning about Permaculture.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/208/

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/178/

Another chop and drop video on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77rat8Rgi2s
[Last edited by hazelnut - Mar 19, 2015 9:31 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #812533 (8)
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Mar 20, 2015 8:30 AM CST
Thanks for posting those links. I look forward to checking them all out. Yeah, wood is added to my shredded leaves because we always have fallen oak tree branches. I hadn't seen a lot on DG about permaculture and had even requested a forum but got no response. The only other person to show an interest over at DG is now gone. I did purchase the 2-volume set of Edible Forest Gardens for DD as she does sustainable gardening at the moment which I know is a little different but have never read the volumes. Might be on my summer reading list along with some of the others. Thanks!
Name: Dave Paul
Puna, HI (Zone 10b)
Live in a rainforest, get wet feet.
Plant Identifier
Image
Metrosideros
Mar 20, 2015 8:46 AM CST
I do feel concerned about relying on tools which need to be plugged into the grid.

I do use gas powered tools, but also have everything needed to keep working if the gas runs out.

Hand powered tools work all the time without electric companies or petroleum distilleries.

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 20, 2015 4:32 PM CST
Metrosideros: As an anthropologist, I am keenly interested in hand tools. As you know in archaeoloogy, that's all there is left of some societies. And it is the job of the archaeologist to reconstruct what those people were like, often from an inventory of the tools they left behind.

Also, I grew up on a farm and I do have a sampling of my grandfathers and my Dad's hand tools.

In our excavations we rarely use gas tools--if its on a creek or river, we may use a trash pump to run fire hoses to screen artifiacts from dirt. But otherwise our tools are shovels, pruners, mason's trowels and sometimes a grapefruit knife for intracate excatations.

For site clearing we use a bush axe and loppers.

Shadegardener: I found also that there was not much interest in permaculture at DG, and to date the permaculture forum here has not attracted that much attention either. I hope that situation will change. There has been a problem as Metrosideros mentioned, some of the PDF "permaculturists" invent their own rules with no reference what so ever to the ecological principles first out lined by Bill Mollison. And capitalist enterprise in some cases has reared its ugly head: As for example grants used by outsiders to replace native practices such as swidden horticulture. Rarely do Europeans know better than Africans about how to farm their own land.

I hope we can inspire more interest in the subject matter of this forum, so that all of us can behave more intelligently in the future. There is so much to learn!
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Mar 20, 2015 4:45 PM CST
I do appreciate the intelligent thought that you've put into your responses. I have thought, based on what little I have read so far, that it's a whole 'nother learning curve to get it "right". I did read the permies thread link you posted and am going to check out Mollison. I also read your DG articles and thought that they were very informative. I'm anxious to work out my chop and drop plan as spring cleanup is just days away.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Mar 20, 2015 5:30 PM CST
I just purchased the intro to permaculture book to get me started. What is your opinion of the "Integrated Forest Gardening" book (not by Mollison)?

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 20, 2015 6:33 PM CST
I haven't read that book (recent I think) but here's a favorable review by Mother Earth News.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/integrated-...

This is the Yankee Permaculture pdf of Bill Mollison's articles

http://www.barkingfrogspermaculture.org/PDC_ALL.pdf
155 pp. pdf.

(The link in the References to my Dave's Garden article seems to be messed up.)

One of my favorites, from A Terrible Time of Day: QUOTE.
The Phasmid Conspiracy
Now we come to a thing called the phasmid conspiracy.
Each forest varies in each country in that its elms, its chestnuts,
its poplars, its firs, are subject to attack by specific pathogens.
Insects are taking some sort of cauterizing measures.
The American reaction would be to spray; the British reaction
would be to fell and burn; and in Australia, the reaction is to
say: "Aah, what the Hell! It's going to be gone next year; let it
go!"
PDC Pamphlet I, An Introduction to Permaculture, Page 3
Really, is it these diseases? What are the diseases? Phasmids
are responsible for the death of eucalypts. There is the
cinnamon fungus. In elms, it's the Dutch elm disease. In the
poplars, it's the rust. And in the firs, it's also rust. Do you think
that any of these diseases are killing the forest?
What I think we are looking at is a carcass. The forest is a
dying system on which the decomposers are beginning to feed.
If you know forests very well, you know that you can go out this
morning and strike a tree with an axe. That's it. Or touch it with
the edge of a bulldozer, or bump it with your car. Then, if you sit
patiently by that tree, within three days you will see that maybe
twenty insects and other decomposers and "pests" have visited
the injury. The tree is already doomed. What attracts them is
the smell from the dying tree. We have noticed that in Australia.
Just injure trees to see what happens. The phasmids come.
The phasmid detects the smell of this. The tree has become its
food tree, and it comes to feed.
So insects are not the cause of the death of forests. The
cause of the death of forests is multiple insult. We point to
some bug and say: "That bug did it." It is much better if you can
blame somebody else. You all know that. So we blame the bug.
It is a conspiracy, really, to blame the bugs. But the real reason
the trees are failing is that there have been profound changes
in the amount of light penetrating the forest, in pollutants, and
in acid rain fallout. People, not bugs, are killing the forests.

[Last edited by hazelnut - Mar 20, 2015 7:04 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #813190 (14)
Name: Toni Melvin
Sherwood Oregon (Zone 8a)
Region: Oregon Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs Beekeeper
Permaculture Composter Canning and food preservation Bee Lover Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Toni
Mar 20, 2015 9:12 PM CST
@hazelnut ~ you are an AMAZING woman! Oh how I wish we were neighbors Rolling my eyes.
The chipper shredder has to be attached to the tractor via a PTO. I think it is a Woods 4000 or 5000. I can’t remember *Blush* Also, I searched and searched for some pictures of it in use. Apparently I was too busy being excited shoveling all of the beautiful material it was producing to stop for photos...
I have taken the Permaculture Design Certificate course from Geoff Lawton in 2013. It is a wonderful course. I did indeed submit my design and passed the course to my surprise Hurray! I am a baby to permaculture but I am taking in as much as my mind can grasp. It is such a wonderful thought process.
Geoff has a wonderful library of you tube videos on all things permaculture. If I was good at computers I could insert a link to a video he posted on chop and drop that I thought was very inspirational and motivational. I will search and try to post it to this site.
Toni
I aspire to be the person my dog thinks I am
Name: Toni Melvin
Sherwood Oregon (Zone 8a)
Region: Oregon Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs Beekeeper
Permaculture Composter Canning and food preservation Bee Lover Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Toni
Mar 20, 2015 11:39 PM CST
http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/33812-urban-permaculture
I hope this link works. It is the video about a very small space producing an amazing amount of food. It goes into depth of how he chops and drops and improves the soil and fertility as opposed to causing disease.
Everyone choosing to look at the video is required to put in their email for access. Nothing bad comes of it Smiling
Toni
I aspire to be the person my dog thinks I am
Name: Dave Paul
Puna, HI (Zone 10b)
Live in a rainforest, get wet feet.
Plant Identifier
Image
Metrosideros
Mar 21, 2015 12:16 AM CST
What kind of archaeology projects have you been doing Hazel?

Before I started doing botanical surveys, I used to work on archaeology projects on Maui. I worked for Xamanek Researches (Drs. Walter & Demaris Fredericksen). I learned how to dig large holes with small spoons. In Wailea, Maui we found a hearth two meters below the surface and learned that Hawaiians had been in Hawai'i at least 500 years earlier than the South Point date (290 AD). The Hawaiians already had a tradition of boating to Kahoolawe, mining dense basalt, boating it back to Wailea, and making tools.

Interesting discussion on tree mortality.

Here people started to lament about dying Wiliwili trees (Erythrina sandwicensis) several years ago, and what could be done about it. They were quite beautiful seeing them in flower on the roadsides. What folks hadn't considered was that the Wiliwili trees used to be part of diverse dry forests that got turned into ranchlands. The Wiliwili trees were left standing alone in cattle fields. It just took them longer to die than the rest of the forests.
The cattle ranches have reeked havoc on the Island's ecosystems. They have caused the rain to go away on the leeward sides. We're seeing forests that were diverse endemic mesic forests turn into dry indigenous shrublands.
Add feral pigs, goats, and sheep and Hawai'i's rare endemic forests are not only in trouble, they've almost been completely destroyed.
Many folks have suggested removing the rare plants and putting them in a protected area, but the rare endemics need to be in their own intact habitat (not in a zoo).

This photo shows a forest that kinda looks okay, but the endemic plants are dropping dead, and being replaced by common indigenous species.



Thumb of 2015-03-21/Metrosideros/58c33d

Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Mar 21, 2015 8:05 AM CST
Hazelnut - thanks for posting that article and the additional links. I may have to add another book to my reading list. Toni - will definitely check out the video when I have a bit of time to absorb. Metrosideros - sad story about the demise and effects. When all I've seen of HI is basically travel video, it seems that some of the real stories are "hidden". I do watch a tv series - "Gardening: Australia" - that touches on a lot of this forum's subject matter and opened my eyes to ill-conceived common practices here. I live in a small subdivision carved out of an oak/hickory area and my neighbors gang up on me to remove trees in my yard. How someone can call a native shag bark hickory a "weed" tree is beyond me. I do see the man-made damage to the woods all around me and it's very sad.

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 21, 2015 8:35 AM CST
It is so hard for people to understand that everything is connected. And as Mollison says in the quote--the trees are already dead from OUR ignorant cultural practices--the bugs are only there to clean up the mess. [As an aside I recently read a similar explanation of cholesterol. Doctors are so concerned about cholesterol levels and prescribe medications to lower it--but the cholesterol is only there to heal the damage caused by inflammation. What is needed is to fix the inflammation. Indeed another example of treating the wrong thing too late because the systemic properties of the human body were not understood.]

I mentioned earlier that I grew up in the beech-maple forest of Northern Michigan. This forest is rapidly deteriorating --again the explanation is the phasmid theory. This time of year is the time to tap the maple trees and collect the sap for making maple syrup.
I did this job on skis as a kid. A visitor from home tells me that this may be the last year for the maples. The elms are gone--dutch elm disease. The ash trees have succumbed to the Emerald ash borer. And now the maples are being attacked. No one seems to think that the loss of the big trees is due to random clear cutting which has destroyed the structure of the forest.

I think this is exactly what you are seeing in Hawaii. And it will continue until we learn to live within our natural environments instead of despite them. And of course that's what permaculture seeks to do.

Archaeology. I studied anthropology at the University of California (and as you know archaeology is one of the subdivisions of anthropology). Some of the best anthropologists were then at Santa Barbara (they fled when Ronald Reagan became governor of California), then I entered the graduate school at San Diego State University--again majoring in anthropology. I got a job as a teaching assistant for a new PhD who had just returned from doing archaeology in East Africa. (salvage archaeology to recover cultural information before a dam was put in along the Niger.) This association turned me more in the archaeology direction. Then my education took a side trip, and I wound up at Stanford University. From there I went to the University Kentucky and was accepted into their PhD program. And at that time I started doing archaeology on TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) salvage projects, were archaeological information was being destroyed by modifications along the Tennessee River. So my archaeological experience is mainly in the Southeast US with a focus on the Tennessee and Tombigbee River valleys. And the work was mostly salvage archaeology--recovering information that would be lost by construction or flooding. Today I work as an editor for an outfit called Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research--so I can work at home on my computer.--Shovel getting rusty!

Do the Wiliwili trees have red flowers as the erythrina trees do here? [There was a erythrina blooming out side the anthropology building where I taught classes on the San Diego campus.]
[Last edited by hazelnut - Mar 26, 2015 11:53 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #813488 (19)

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Mar 21, 2015 8:44 AM CST
Toni. Thanks for the link. That must have been a life changing experience to do a PDC with Geoff Lawton.

I think there are several ways to go at Permaculture. I think some PDCs just consider it a set of techniques: chop and drop, hugelkulture, food forests, etc. with no real understanding that the mission is to come to an understanding of the whole planet as an ecological system--in which the human race is only one small component, then curing our ignorance about the things we are doing to cause its demise. I don't think that can be done from an armchair in a city apartment.

Page 1 of 3 • 1 2 3

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Permaculture forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by Baja_Costero and is called "Agave"