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Sepp Holzers Permaculture

for exam ple, we have a clou d y m aritim e clim ate, in stron g con trast to Au str ias con tin en tal clim ate. Alth ou gh our win ters are milder, so too are our sum m ers. Above all we lack th e sun shin e wh ich is such a key elem en t in th e way he creates favourable m icroclim ates. H um idity is also greater here. W h at you can do, say, at 250m on th e edge o f Bodm in Moor is n ot th e sam e as wh at you can do at ten tim es th at altitude on th e Kram eterhof. Sim ilar allowan ces m ust be m ade for oth er parts o f th e world. Th is is n ot to n egate th e value o f th is book for people wh o live outside Austria - far from it. Much o f th e d etailed in form ation is h igh ly relevan t in any tem perate country. As lon g as you bear in m in d th at both your clim ate an d your soil are possibly quite differen t to th ose on th e Kam eterhof, you will find it a storehouse o f valuable in form ation . Nevertheless th e b ook s greatest value is n ot so m uch in th e in form ation it con tain s bu t in th e attitud es it teaches. Its m essage is n ot so m uch th is is h ow you do it bu t this is th e way you go about th in kin g o f h ow to do it. Sepp H olzer s way is th e way o f th e future. In th e fossil fuel age we ve been able to im pose our will on th e lan d by th rowin g cheap en ergy at every problem . In th e future t h at option won t be open to us an y m ore. Well have to tread th e m ore subtle path, th e path wh ich p atien tly observes n ature and seeks to im itate it. Th at future m ay n ot be as far off as we thin k. Patrick Wh itefield Septem ber 2010

Patrick Wh itefield is a perm aculture teach er and th e auth or o f Permaculture in a Nutshell (1993), How to make a Forest Garden (1996), The Earth Care Manual (2004) and The Living Landscape (2009). More details about his courses can be foun d a t www.patrickwh itefield.co.uk

Preface
Dear readers, Th is is th e secon d book I have written so far, to pass on m y over 40 years o f experien ce as a farm er practisin g altern ative agriculture. I was inspired to do th is b y th e m an y people wh o have com e to visit th e Kram eterhof: am on g th em teachers, professors and d octors as well as farm ers and gardeners. My darlin g wife, Vroni, and m y ch ildren were particularly eager for m e to pu t m y experien ces an d discoveries into writin g. My first book, an autobiograph y en titled The Rebel Farmer, sold over 120,000 copies in just un der two years and was a great success. It was presen ted wit h a golden book award an d I received well over a th ousan d letters from en th usiastic readers. Th is m ade m e realise th at th ere was a great deal o f in terest in m y work. W h en m y daugh ter Claudia and son J osef An dreas offered their help, I sim ply could n ot refuse. I wan t th is book to h elp people realise th at tryin g to un derstan d and live in h arm on y wit h n ature in stead o f figh tin g again st it is well wor th th e effort. On th e coun tless trips I have m ade to oversee m y projects abroad, I have seen m an y terrible sights wh ich have stayed wit h m e an d even given m e a few nightm ares. Wh eth er it is in Bosnia, Colom bia, Brazil, Th ailan d or in th e Un ited States, it is plain to see h ow irrespon sibly n ature is treated everywhere. Man y people seem to have lost th eir ability to th in k in d epen den tly abou t or to feel respon sibility for our plan et and its future. Th e result is a loss o f respect for n ature an d our fellow creatures. Tens o f th ou san ds o f hectares o f scrublan d and rain forest are in ten tion ally bein g bu rn ed to m ake way for m on ocultu res and, o f course, any wildlife is destroyed alon g with it. A sm all few profit at th e expen se o f large swathes o f society, wh o gen erally do n ot kn ow h ow to provide th em selves with food. Th e poverty an d hardship people en dure in d evelopin g cou n tries kn ows
S e p p Holzer

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

no boun ds! Youn g an d old alike are treated like refuse and live on th e streets from h an d to m outh . On ly th e powerful have rights, wh ich I have seen and experien ced for m yself. In addition , th is happen s in areas wh er e no on e should have to go hungry, becau se th e soil is fertile an d th e weath er is favourable. Th ere sh ould be m ore th an en ou gh food for everyone. Man y people have lost th eir lan d to powerful lan down ers an d with th at th e ability to provide for th eir fam ilies. Th ey have had th eir in d epen den ce taken away, wh ich th en becom es very difficult to take back. So m an y o f th ese people live rough on th e outskirts o f town in terrible con dition s, wh ilst th eir lan d is relen tlessly overworked and ruined. Man y people th in k th at th is can n ot h appen in Europe, bu t we are already well on our way! Most sm all farm s on ly provide a subsidiary in com e, becau se th e farm ers do n ot kn ow h ow to m ake en ou gh m on ey from th em to live on an y m ore. Today, very few people dare to forge th eir own way an d consider altern ative farm in g m ethods. Instead m an y people look to subsidy program m es to tell th em h ow to run th eir busin esses an d alter th eir farm s accordingly. Either th at or qu an tity is prioritised over qu ality and farm ers t r y to com pen sate for low prices with a larger volum e o f produce. Th e result is a m on ocultu re m ain tain ed with large qu an tities o f chem icals. Man y people are deterred by th e bureaucratic obstacles th at are pu t in th eir way wh en th ey tr y to practice altern ative farm in g m ethods. It is every person s d u ty to defen d th eir rights, lan d an d even their con cept o f d em ocracy and m ake th em their guid in g principles. If we do not, th ere is a real dan ger o f fin din g ourselves in an adm in istrative and bureaucratic dictatorship. I have already described h ow d ifficult it is to forge your own way in m y first book. Som e years ago I had a visitor from New Zealand. Th is visitor was th e late J oe Polaischer - our lives t ook sim ilar paths. He ch ose to leave Austria and em igrate to New Zealan d to set up a perm aculture farm un der difficult con dition s. He had visitors all th e way from Europe and t h ey were delighted wit h wh at he had accom plish ed. J oe was a rem arkable man. He was a teach er and had a great deal o f practical experien ce, wh ich is exactly wh at we n eed right now. His ach ievem en ts should m ake it clear th at th ere are people on th e oth er side o f th e world wh o wan t to live in h arm on y wit h th eir en viron m en t and n ot at odds wit h it. Treatin g our plan et an d fellow creatures with respect - and not bein g m otivated by rivalry, jealou sy or hatred - is th e on ly way! My dear frien d Joe, for your com m itm en t to u sin g lan d sustainably, your con tr ibution to th e d evelopm en t an d teach in g o f perm aculture in Austria, you have m y m ost h eartfelt than ks. I wou ld also like to th an k m y colleagues o f m an y years Erich Au er n ig and Elisabeth Mohr, wh o have always supported m e in m y work. W ith ou t th eir tir e less efforts it wou ld never have been possible to raise su ch a large am ou n t o f pu blic in terest in m y farm in g m ethods. W it h th eir help, I have been able to show th ousan ds o f interested visitors aroun d th e Kram eterh of an d oversee coun tless

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Preface

projects abroad. I have also had th e opp ortu n ity to pass on m y experience th rou gh presen tation s an d sem inars. I wou ld also like to express m y gratitude to Mrs Maria Ken dlbach er an d her daugh ter Heidi wh o look after our guests on th e Kram eterhof. I also th an k m y broth er an d gam ekeeper Martin Holzer. Most o f all I wou ld like to th an k m y fam ily and m y darlin g Vroni! Th r ou gh ou t our m ore th an 36 years o f m arriage she has always stood by m e and su p ported m e com pletely. W ith ou t her it would never have been possible to run th e Kr am eter h of so successfully and still have tim e to wr ite a book. It is a joy to have such a won d erfu l family. In th is book I have tried to answer th e m ost frequen t question s raised at m y presen tation s and sem inars. I h ope th at th is b ook helps you to fin d your way towards livin g a life in h arm on y wit h nature: wh eth er it begin s wit h a win dowbox, a garden, or a field is n ot im portan t. I f th is book h elps on e person to start th in kin g ecologically and in depen den tly, it will have don e its job. I wish you success p u ttin g your ideas and, perhaps, perm aculture projects o f you r own in to practice.

Gener al Conver sion Formulae


From in ches m illim etres in ches cen tim etres feet m etres yards m etres sq in ches sq cen tim etres sq m etres sq feet sq yards sq m etres acres hectares pin ts litres gallon s litres oun ces gram s poun ds grams poun ds kilogram s To m illim etres in ches cen tim etres in ches m etres feet m etres yards sq cen tim etres sq in ches sq feet sq m etres sq m etres sq yards hectares acres litres pin ts litres gallon s gram s oun ces gram s poun ds kilogram s poun ds Multiply by 25.4 0.0394 2.54 0-3937 0.3048 3.281 0.9144 1.094 6.452 0.155 10.76 0.0929 0.8361 1.196 0.4047 2.471 0.5682 1.76 4.546
0.22

28.35 0.03527 453-6 0.002205 0.4536 2.205

Introduction
In 1962, at th e age o f 19 , 1 took over m y paren ts farm in Lungau, Salzburg. Since th en I have man aged th e Kr am eter h of in m y own way. I have bu ilt ponds, terraces and gardens, kept fish an d wild cattle, I have grown m ushroom s, set up an altern ative tree n ursery an d so m u ch m ore. Despite th e fact th at th ere are m an y differen t areas a farm can specialise in, it was im portan t to m e th at I did n ot focus on any one source o f in com e. I wan ted to rem ain as flexible as possible, so th at I wou ld always be able to react to ch an gin g m arket con dition s. In addition , m y in terests at th e tim e were so broad t h at th ere was no way I wou ld have been able to decide on just on e area. Over th e years, this d ecision has been proved right again an d again. It is tru e t h at m an y people called m e cr azy d urin g m y tim e as a you n g farmer. Th ey said th at m y m eth od s would n ot am ou n t to m u ch an d th at I would soon have to sell th e farm, but success proved m e right in th e end. Since th en I have m an aged to d ou ble th e origin al size o f th e Kram eterhof, wh ilst m an y o f m y critics have had to give up th eir farm s or look for addition al in com e. Now th e Kram eterh of m easures 45 hectares, r each in g from 1,000 to 1,500m above sea level across th e south ern slope o f th e Sch warzen berg m oun tain . People still call m e cr azy today, bu t it does n ot really both er m e an y m ore. I have realised th at m an y people find it d ifficult to accept wh en you do th in gs in a way th at is not so wid ely recogn ised. Th is m akes you difficult to predict and harder to control, wh ich m an y people find threaten in g. My altern ative farm in g m eth od s have brough t m e in to con flict with th e auth orities m an y tim es an d som e o f th ese disputes have been extrem ely drawn -out and tiring. It has taken a great deal o f stren gth and effort to com e th rou gh th em and to n ot let m yself be discouraged. On e con flict wit h our selfim portan t adm in istrative system , wh ich was m akin g m y life as an in d epen den t farm er difficult, caused m e m an y sleepless nights. Tim es were often difficult and I did n ot kn ow h ow I was goin g to get th rough it all. Fortunately, m y wife Veron ika always supported m e com pletely and has stood by m e all o f th ese years, wh ich has given m e th e stren gth to carry on despite th e con d ition s set by th e authorities, th e special taxes an d oth er chicanery. I also gath ered stren gth from nature: wh en ever I had fin ished with yet an oth er tediou s lawsuit or had read one o f th e m an y im practicable expert reports, I wou ld wan der th rou gh m y cultures and, for hours, collect seeds an d sow th em again in differen t places. Obser vin g m y plan ts an d livestock also gave m e fresh energy. Nature an d m y fam ily have h elped m e to persevere despite th e n igh tm arish bureaucracy. It is in com preh en sible to m e t h at a person with so m an y in n ovative ideas should have so m an y hurdles an d stum blin g blocks pu t in th eir way. Th e fact th at I have

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

n ot let m yself be in tim idated an d do n ot stay qu iet just to please people has given m e a reputation for bein g a rebel farm er . Th e fact th at it is actually n ecessary to becom e a rebel to run a farm in h arm on y wit h n ature is really ver y sad! Th e adm in istrative system has becom e overgrown and n ips any creative t h ou gh t in th e bud. It is th e respon sibility o f th ose in power to fix th ese problem s. We have to m ake d em ocr acy our guid in g prin ciple instead o f actin g like lem m in gs an d followin g th e m asses blindly, oth erwise on e day we will lose our dem ocr acy and our rights. On my farm I have no problem s with large population s o f pests , becau se n ature is perfect and keeps everyth in g in balan ce. I on ly wish th at our adm in istrative system could be regulated in a sim ilar way, so th at th e bu reaucracy does n ot push us to breakin g poin t and we are n ot pun ished for th in kin g creatively. I th in k we all n eed to wor k to com bat th is un bearable situation and brin g th is bureaucratic overpopulation back un der norm al levels. In th e sum m er o f 1995, I received a letter from th e Un iversity o f Natural Resources and Ap p lied Life Sciences in Vien n a askin g if th ey could hold a sem in ar at th e Kram eterhof. Th rough th is sem in ar I learn ed for th e first tim e th at th ere was a term for m y farm in g m ethods: per m acultur e . This word was coin ed by th e Australian ecologist Bill Mollison and his studen t David H olm gren an d is derived from per m an en t agr icu ltu re . A perm aculture system is a system th at resem bles n ature and is based on natural cycles and ecosystem s. Som e o f th e studen ts from th e sem in ar sen t m e a few books on perm aculture. As I read th e books I could on ly agree with th e argum en ts with in them . Th e fun dam en tal th ou gh ts an d ideas in th ese books were in cr ed ibly sim ilar to m y own m ethods. I discovered th at wh ilst th ere are m an y n ew farms, wh ich claim to use perm aculture m ethods, th ere was n ot a sin gle on e th at worked in th e sam e way as ours on th e Kram eterhof. Th is is because th e con cept o f perm aculture was first developed in 1978, whereas I began to create garden s an d pon ds and experim en t with sustain able system s in m y youth . My m eth od s have had over 40 years to develop. I have had tim e to con tin u ally im prove upon an d develop th em

V e ro n ika a n d S e p p Holzer

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Introduction

so t h at now I have as little wor k to do as possible an d I still ach ieve good yields. It was obvious to m e t h at I was d oin g th is by im itatin g natural cycles. W h a t aspect o f nature cou ld I im prove u p on wh en n ature already fu n ction s perfectly? Every tim e I tried to im prove u p on n ature I qu ickly realised th at I had on ly created m ore wor k for m yself an d th e loss in yield was greater. So I always return ed to th e natural way, wh ich , as far as I am con cern ed, has proved to be th e on ly right one. Th e basic pr in ciples o f perm aculture are: All o f th e elem en ts with in a system in teract with each other. Multifun ction ality: every elem en t fulfils m ultiple fu n ction s an d every fu n ction is perform ed by m ultiple elem ents. Use en ergy pr actically and efficiently, wor k wit h r en ewable energy. Use natural resources. Intensive system s in a sm all area. Utilise an d shape natural processes an d cycles. Support and use edge effects (creatin g h igh ly productive sm all-scale structures). Diversity in stead o f mon oculture.

My farm in g m eth od s m eet all o f th ese criteria. Wh en it was fin ally suggested th at I should label m y farm as bein g based on perm aculture prin ciples an d open it to th e public, I agreed. Unfortunately, I soon foun d ou t t h at th ere are m an y self-styled perm aculturists and perm aculture design ers wh o on ly con cern th em selves wit h perm a culture th eor y an d have no idea h ow to pu t it into practice. In perm aculture design practical experien ce is in dispen sable. It is d ifficult to gain an u n d er stan din g o f n ature just from theories. On ly th ose with person al experien ce can give a profession al con sultation . So I th in k it is on ly appropriate for som eon e to offer th eir services as a perm aculture design er if t h ey have gath ered p len ty o f practical experien ce over a n um ber o f years. A little wor k experien ce an d a few short courses are certain ly n ot en ough. Th is is wh y I advise an yon e in terested in perm aculture prin ciples to find ou t h ow m uch practical experien ce th ese con sultan ts have and n ot just rely on testim on ials or oth er references. It is a good idea to take a look at th e con sultan t or d esign er s offices in person before th e con sultation . Th is will tell you a great deal abou t th eir kn owledge and abilities. H olzer perm aculture in corporates lan dscape design (creatin g terraces, raised beds, water gardens, ponds, h um us storage ditch es an d m icroclim ates), agroforestry (in tegratin g trees an d shrubs in to farm in g), fishery, growin g aquatic plan ts, keepin g livestock, fruit-growing, alpin e pastures and growin g alpin e an d m edicin al plan ts. Even tourism is n ot ruled out. Econ om y and ecology are n ot a con tradiction . H olzer perm aculture dates ba ck to 1962 and is based on decades o f experien ce r un n in g a full-tim e farm. You m ust see and

Sepp Holzers Permaculture

u n derstan d th is tech n iqu e as a wh ole, so th at it can be used profitably. On ly th ose wh o practice perm aculture can also un derstan d it an d pass it on to others. Th is is wh y it m akes no sense to sim ply create a perm aculture system just like m ine. You m u st learn it for you r self like learn in g th e alph abet at school. Th is is th e on ly way you can ach ieve success an d gain happin ess from it. Perm aculture prin ciples wor k all over th e world, as I have seen wh ilst wor kin g on m y projects in Colom bia, Thailan d, Brazil, th e Un ited States an d Scotland. You can find up to date information on my projects as well as lectures, seminars and guided walks around the Krameterhof on our website www.krameterhof.at/en. Unfortunately, as a result o f the large am ount o f public interest we can no longer answer all o f the letters and inquiries that reach us. We askfor your understanding and hope that this book can answer at least som e o f these questions.

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i Landscape Design
Early C hildhood Experiences
My first experien ces wit h growin g plan ts date back to ch ildh ood . I had a sm all piece o f d ry an d ston y lan d on a steep slope near th e h ouse th at I ren ted from m y fath er for two Au str ian schillin gs, wh ich wou ld be a little over two poun ds today. As far as m y paren ts were con cern ed, th e lan d was n igh on worth less an d it was on ly cu t back on ce a year. Th e sun n y and ston y plot provided an ideal habitat for a large p opu lation o f sn akes an d it was for th is reason th at it was referred to as th e BeiJSwurmboanling after
A p h o to o f th e K ra m e te rh o f fro m m y c h ild h o o d .
l

th e legen dary Beifiwurm, a large and poison ous serpent. As a child, this plot o f lan d allowed m e to learn m ore about growin g plan ts. Before this, m y on ly experien ces with cu ltivation cam e from ten d in g m y m oth er s flowerpots. I began to wor k m y 2m 2 piece o f lan d wit h a h oe an d m attock. I laid down stones to m ake a bed, wh ich , th ou gh small, was th e first terrace I ever created. Strawberries, sm all fruit trees, pum pkin s and m an y oth er plan ts soon began to grow. I n oticed th at th e strawberries th at grew very close to th e stones were larger and sweeter th an th ey wou ld be usually. I n am ed th e strawberries ston e strawberries or Stoaroadbe an d I traded th em at sch ool for erasers an d Karl May books. My experien ce wit h th e strawberries m ade m e realise som eth in g im portan t wh ich wou ld be o f use to m e later on. A n um ber o f factors such as th e ston es ability to store an d release heat, th eir balan cin g effect on th e tem perature, t h e way th e earth ben eath th e ston es wou ld rem ain wet an d th e abun dan ce o f earthworm s and soil life all had a positive effect on th e strawberries and wou ld also have th e sam e effect on oth er plants. Th is m ean t th at m y woodlan d strawberries, wh ich wou ld n orm ally bear on ly sm all fruit, grew large an d very sweet. Th is is wh y it is im portan t to always observe th e soil an d plan ts closely. You sh ould t r y wh en ever you can to fin d ou t wh y plan ts grow well, as well as d iscoverin g wh y plan ts grow poorly. Th is kn owledge will h elp you to draw th e

Sepp Holzers Permaculture


The K ra m e te rh o f in w in te r.

right con clusion s. This is on e o f th e m ost im portan t skills n eeded for workin g with nature. It is still wor th an alysin g th in gs th at have gon e badly, because from this we can wor k out wh y t h ey have failed. W h y is th is plan t so beautiful and h ealth y wh ile th e oth er on e is so sickly an d weak? W h y is on e plan t so lush and its leaves such a dark green, but th e oth er so colourless and pale? Keepin g a keen eye on th e garden was a decisive factor in m y success from th e begin n in g. Th e range o f plan ts I grew con stan tly in creased and soon I was able to grow m an y differen t fruit trees, herbs and vegetables. I con tin u ed to observe an d im prove upon m y system . Finally, I m ade m y first pon d so th at I could breed m y own fish. I have already wr itten in detail about th e way I developed m y cultivation and lan dscapin g m eth od s th rou gh ou t m y ch ildh ood and you th in m y first book, The Rebel Farmer.

Past Mistakes
In th e last few decades m an y m istakes have been m ade with th e m an agem en t o f land. In th e nam e o f agriculture we try to correct perceived im perfection s in th e terrain and drain un wan ted water. Rocks and cliffs are blasted to m ake th e fields an d m eadows suitable for m ech an ised farm ing. Wetlan ds in wh ich th e m ost beautiful orchids grow are drain ed and den se spruce m on ocultu res are plan ted th ere instead. Th e Austrian Ch am ber o f Agricu ltu r e is respon sible for th ese m easures havin g in creased from 60 % to 80 % today. Large-scale drainage is still actively en couraged in a n um ber o f places. H edges and orchards are still bein g grubbed ou t and cu t down, rivers and stream s are straighten ed an d it is th e m on ocultu re system th at is drivin g th ese changes. Th e result o f th ese m on ocultu res an d th is irrespon sible attitud e to n ature is already well kn own : th e catastroph es are becom in g greater and greater and th e dam age to th e n ation al econ om y is im m easurable. Floods, lan dslides and

Landscape Design

dam age caused b y storm s and sn ow are becom in g m ore prevalent. Valuable biom ass an d fertile h um us are bein g lost. This n arrow-m in ded attitud e is causin g th e soil to lose its capacity to store water - en tire areas o f lan d are acid ifyin g an d turn in g to desert. Eventually, th e widespread use o f pesticides and fertilisers will poison th e groun d water. Biodiversity is bein g seriously th reaten ed in th ese areas: in stead o f well-stru ctu red habitats th ere is sudden ly on ly a m on ocultu ral lan dscape. Th is loss o f h abitat causes th e p opu lation o f a few plan ts an d anim als to in crease rapidly wh ilst oth ers disappear com pletely. An im al an d plan t diversity is bein g lost. H um ans disturb th e balan ce o f nature an d t h en begin to figh t again st pests an d weed s for wh ich t h ey have on ly th em selves to blam e. A n ew industry, agrochem icals, has d evoted itself to th e d estr uction o f th ese en em ies by ch em ical m eans. An yon e wh o un derstan ds th e processes o f n ature m u st recogn ise t h at it is we hum an s wh o have caused th ese organ ism s to appear in such large num bers. If con d ition s are con ducive to only a few species th en t h ey are th e on es th at will becom e th e m ost pervasive. Their natural predators and rivals, wh ich help to keep th e system in balan ce, are gone. H ow can we even begin to r ectify th ese m istakes? Recogn isin g and adm it tin g our m istakes is a step in th e righ t direction . On ce we have realised h ow far we have gon e wron g, we can fin d our way back to natural ways o f th in kin g an d behaviour. It helps to focus on our own m istakes and n ot th ose o f others. Even I have m ade m an y m istakes in th e nam e o f so-called modern agr icu ltu re . I learn t about th e assum ption s m odern agriculture has m ade from courses at

The te rra c e s o n th e K ra m e te rh o f s tre tc h fro m th e v a lle y (1,100m a b o v e sea le ve l) to th e m o u n ta in p a s tu re (1,500m a b o v e sea le v e l). Previously in a c c e s s ib le a re a s c a n n o w b e re a c h e d ; this w a y all o f th e la n d c a n b e used e ffe c tiv e ly .

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

The la n d s c a p e w a s d e s ig n e d so th a t it w o u ld w o rk in h a rm o n y w ith n a tu re : th e p ic tu re shows a w e tla n d I c r e a te d o n th e K ra m e te rh o f a t 1,400m a b o v e sea le ve l.

agricultural college, th rou gh train in g an d from textbooks. As a you n g farmer, th e Ch am ber o f Agricu ltu r e used th eir biased subsidy system and various econ om ic advisors to urge m e to use m odern cu ltivation tech n iques. I was en couraged to be a m odern farm er and n ot a cou n try bu m pkin . I let m yself be con vin ced by on e-sid ed in form ation an d biased in structors an d I lost m y way for som e tim e. Luckily, m y experien ce wit h plan ts an d an im als began at a you n g age. This experien ce m ade m e realise th at I was on th e wr on g path. Th e dam age I had caused before realisin g this was still lim ited. Nevertheless, if I had n ot had m y own positive experien ces to fall back on, I wou ld still be on th e path o f so-called progress wh ilst bein g com pletely unaware o f th e con sequen ces. I th rew ou t th e official guidelin es and decided to restore th e farm accordin g to m y own ideas. It was im portan t to m e th at I had h ealth y an d h ardy plan ts and anim als on th e farm again. At last I could pu t m y ideas in to practice with ou t an swerin g to an yon e else an d just en joy th e process o f cultivation . I started b y usin g m ach in es to im prove and wid en th e terraces I m ade as a child. Th en I wan ted to m ake proper use o f th e sprin gs on m y lan d. I have always liked keepin g fish, so I m ade pon ds an d lakes across th e farm to breed th em in. This is h ow th e perm aculture lan dscape o f th e Kr am eter h of began to em erge. At th e tim e I did n ot kn ow about th e rice terraces o f Asia or th e terraced fields o f th e Berbers in Morocco. It was on ly later th at I discovered th at th is had been a tried an d tested m eth od o f cu ltivation for m illen n ia. I am con vin ced t h at an yon e wh o tries to farm seriously will autom atically arrive at th e sam e m ethods. Man y differen t cultures th rou gh ou t th e world have developed th ese

Landscape Design

successful an d h arm on ious system s t h rou gh trial an d error an d have con stan tly im proved u p on th em by learn in g from th eir own m istakes. Perm aculture lan dscape design essen tially involves restorin g a partially destroyed n atural lan dscape. It is abou t return in g to sm all-scale lan dscapes based on natural ecosystem s. It offers us a viable altern ative to th e m on ocultu re system th at destroys our soil an d pollutes our groun d water.

The Perm aculture Landscape


General
A perm aculture lan dscape is design ed so th at all o f th e plan ts and anim als livin g th ere will wor k in h arm on y wit h each other. This is th e on ly way to m an age land in a stable an d sustain able way. All available resources - wh eth er th ey are springs, ponds, m arshes, cliffs, forests or buildin gs - are used and in clu ded in th e plan. It is im portan t th at th e resources are used in a way th at is appropriate to th e en viron m en t aroun d th em ; in practice th is m ean s t h at th e natural features o f each area m ust be supported and reinforced. To m ake proper use o f th e available natural resources we have to work wit h n ature an d n ot again st it. Th is gives us th e desired result for th e least expen diture o f energy. Water is life and m ust th erefore be treated wit h great care. Th is is wh y I t r y to keep water (wh eth er it is rain water, sprin g water or surface r un off) on m y land for as lon g as possible. Th ere are m an y possible uses for this water. Wh er e there is wet soil, for instance, I wou ld m ake a pon d, water garden or wetlan d and plan t orchids. In d ry places I grow herbs t h at prefer sem i-arid con d ition s like thym e, creepin g th ym e (Thymus serpyllum), m arjoram an d sage. Grain am aran th and New Zealan d spin ach are also suited to d ry places an d give a good yield. Th ese are just a few exam ples o f plan ts th at thrive in th ese conditions. Terraces are a very im por tan t part o f m y per m acultur e system . W ith ou t ter races it wou ld have been im possible for m e to wor k th e oth erwise u n productive an d at tim es in accessible lan d on th e Kram eterhof. W it h th ese terraces, wh ich can also be used as paths, I can cultivate even th e steepest of slopes and still m ake a profit. Th e terraces even m ake it possible to use m ed iu m -sized m achin ery. Th ey provide m e wit h a su bstan tially larger area for cu ltivation an d gain in g this extra lan d is particu lar ly im p or tan t for sm all farms. Th e terraces also h elp to stop valu able h u m u s from bein g wash ed away or oth er wise lost. Finally, th ey h elp to preven t soil erosion an d m ake a con siderable con tr ibution to th e h ealth an d fer tility o f th e soil. W h en m akin g a terrace it is ver y im por tan t to m in im ise th e n um ber o f dead ends. If possible every terrace sh ould form a con tin u ous belt o f lan d, so th at th e terraces can be worked u sin g th e least am ou n t o f energy. W h ilst m akin g terraces I t r y to follow th e prin ciples o f nature. As a rule, th ere sh ou ld be no straigh t lin es, corn ers or steep slopes (with th e exception o f raised beds). It is also im por tan t to br eak up th e lan dscape by creatin g p len ty

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

Main Road

Proposed site
for the oase

Plan fo r th e BERTA p ro je c t b a s e d o n Holzer p e rm a c u ltu re p rin c ip le s fo r Le b en sh ilfe A u sse e rla n d , a n o rg a n is a tio n fo r th e d is a b le d in Austria.

o f form s an d features. Th ese h elp to create n u m er ou s m icroclim ates, wh ich give th e lan d an even greater poten tial for cultivation . Creatin g d ry areas, wetlan ds, hedges, win dbreaks or raised beds in differen t location s results in special clim atic con dition s. In th ese places I can grow a large var iety o f plan ts t h at wou ld oth er wise n ot be able to survive. Th e lan dscapin g possibilities are alm ost lim itless wh en creatin g a perm a culture system . An yth in g is possible as lon g as th e terrain an d soil con dition s allow it. Raised beds are used to grow vegetables an d crops. Terraces provide a larger area for plan tin g an d access to th e rem otest corn ers o f m y farm. Th e beds and terraces can perform a m u ltitu d e o f differen t fun ction s. For exam ple, if a road or railway lin e borders th e land, or if th ere is a factor y nearby, I can use raised beds to keep ou t em issions, dust, n oise an d fum es. I place th e beds on t h e edge o f m y lan d an d plan t th em wit h various trees an d shrubs. Th e beds and th eir lush vegetation wor k as a visual barrier an d protects th e lan d from p ollution . Th ey grow in to a h ed ge th at provides birds, h ed geh ogs an d in sects wit h sh elter an d som ewh ere to live. Barriers like this play a substan tial part in en couragin g com m un ities o f useful anim als an d insects.
6

Landscape Design

Possible w a y s to use th e la n d a t Holzer H of in B u rg e n la n d , Austria.

The permaculture system at Holzer Hof

.'t a

Key
Aquaculture sysfem Overflow : Raised beds Orchard Root cellar boundary, steps

Wh en d esign in g beds and terraces you should respect property boun daries and your n eigh bou rs rights. This way you will n ot have to deal wit h an y u n n ecessary problem s later on. I try to follow regulation s as m uch as I can. If this is n ot d on e at th e plan n in g stage or wh ilst buildin g, it will be a lot m ore difficult to gain th e n ecessary perm ission from th e auth orities afterwards. Livestock (pigs, chicken s, ducks etc.) play an integral role in a perm aculture system and th ey have had th is im portan ce for m an y cultures th r ou gh ou t history. A well th ou gh t-ou t system o f paddocks an d en closures allows m e to keep an i m als on th e sam e lan d as m y crops. Instead o f d am agin g th e lan d by overgrazin g it, th e an im als actually h elp m e with m y work. Naturally, great care m ust be taken wh en m akin g larger changes to th e lan d scape. Th e geological conditions m ust be taken into consideration to avoid lan d slides or gully erosion. As a result, it is always a good idea to start off slowly and gradually gather the experience you need. If you wan t to do som ethin g on a larger

Sepp Holzers Permaculture

scale straight away you should seek professional advice. To this day, I have never seen a piece o f land where it was n ot possible to establish and m ain tain a perm a culture system. Wh eth er it is in th e sm allest o f gardens or on th e largest o f estates, in town or in th e country, perm aculture principles can be applied anywhere.

Reshaping the Land with an Excavator


Accor din g to H olzer perm aculture principles, m ech an ical diggers on ly n eed to be used on ce wh en th e system is bein g set up. Th e d epth you can dig to depen ds on local soil conditions. Th is can vary from 20 cm to two or th ree m etres depen din g on wh at kin d o f structure you are buildin g. Th e legal requirem en ts for th is sort o f wor k var y from state to state in Austria. Th ese requirem en ts seem largely poin tless to m e, because th ey can be in terpreted in m an y differen t ways and m ost o f th em are un realistic. If you have a project th at goes again st any o f these regulation s you will n eed to do a lot o f research an d m ake a con vin cin g case. Usin g an excavator m akes it possible to loosen th e soil to a greater depth and to in troduce biom ass. Unwanted plan t growth an d roots can easily be rem oved and worked in to th e soil. Th e ben eficial effects o f th is tech n iqu e are lon g lastin g an d th e area will n ot n eed to be d ug over every year. In troducin g th ese plan ts an d roots in creases th e soils capacity for water r eten tion an d therefore also im proves th e water balan ce. In add ition to this, th e soil is loosen ed an d aerated. Wh er e th ere is oxygen th ere is life. Even if you are tryin g th is ou t for th e first tim e, you will qu ickly see th at this way o f d ealin g wit h th e soil brin gs th e best results. It will give us an area o f land we can sow, plan t an d use to grow crops. I wou ld like to state em ph atically th at th e practice o f rem ovin g an d burn in g biom ass is a m istake. A large am ou n t o f biom ass is lost by bu r n in g it. Th e little ash th at is left over and used as fertiliser is easily blown away by th e win d or washed away by rain. Th e accum ulated m aterial sh ould always be pu t to use right wh ere it is found. It can be used to con str u ct r oun dwood shelters, paddocks, and th e foun dation s for raised beds, or it can sim ply be used as m ulch. Wh ilst usin g an excavator, I have often com e across layers in th e subsoil, wh ich stop th e water from drain in g properly. Loosen in g th ese layers up and m ixin g in sand, stones an d h u m u s is a lastin g way to m ake th e soil productive again. Th is h elps to en sure good plan t growth an d a h ealth y soil. Som e o f th e larger raised beds sh ould be r ebuilt every five to 10 years (depen din g on th e type o f cultivation ). Beds can be flatten ed or com pressed b y anim als. Also, if th ere is too m u ch grass growin g on a bed it can becom e trod den d own and it can com pact th e bed. Usin g a com pact digger, it is very straightforward to repair th e beds or to rebuild them . Th e wor k can be carried ou t just as well wit h a tractor an d backh oe loader or plou gh - th is is ver y sim ilar to th e way spargel (white asparagus) beds are m ain tain ed. Th e m ach in er y you use sh ould depen d on wh ich m eth od is th e m ost con ven ien t an d requires th e least am ou n t o f energy.

Landscape Design

Dealing with the Authorities


Th e first th in g I have to kn ow is wh at I wan t an d wh at I n eed to achieve it. It is on ly on ce I have com plete faith in m y project th at I can fin d a way o f m akin g it possible. In m y experience, th e official organisations - wh eth er th ey are th e local coun cil, th e Ch am ber o f Agricu ltu r e or an y oth er auth orities - rarely give useful advice on farm ing. From wh at I can see, practically n oth in g is allowed at th e m om en t. I f I t ook th at seriously m y option s wou ld be very lim ited. My ability to th in k creatively and to in n ovate wou ld fall b y th e wayside. I have to kn ow wh at I wan t and wh at I am capable of. Th ese days we n eed a little im agin ation and courage to lead a life in h arm on y wit h nature. Th an k heaven s farm ers are still free to do wh at th ey wan t wit h th eir land provided t h ey use it for agricultural purposes. Unfortunately, m an y farm ers are m isled in to t h in kin g t h at th ey can on ly do wh at th e auth orities will support th em to do. I f th ey wan t a subsidy, th e project will have to be officially approved; project d ocu m en tation an d plan s will have to be subm itted. Larger projects m ust be approved for agricultural credit an d th e ban k m ust perform a profit evaluation . No one th at goes down th is p ath o f d epen den ce and subm ission will have m u ch success. Here is an exam ple o f h ow a govern m en t-approved project m igh t go: you wan t to m ake an u n im posin g little pool for bath in g wit h a surface area o f around 200m2. Maybe you also wan t som e fish or a few geese or ducks; or just to have a n ice stretch o f water on you r land. So you take th e n orm al route and go to th e town hall. Th ey tell you th at you will have to go to th e water regulatory auth ority to m ake sure you r plan s do n ot con flict with local water law, because th e town hall is on ly respon sible for th e bu ild in g side o f thin gs. You get th e sam e in form ation from th e Ch am ber o f Agricu ltu re. Th ey an n oun ce th at th ey will support you r project, bu t on ly if you can provide plan s an d project d ocu m en tation drawn up by a builder or hydraulic engineer. Now th e approval process is in full swing. It turn s ou t later on th at you n eed to get approval from th e fishin g auth orities just to keep a few trout in th e pond. You will also n eed to have a stability survey carried out. Last bu t n ot least, th ey have to find out if th e pon d will affect your n eighbours. Th is m ean s th at all o f th e n eigh bours will be presen ted wit h you r plans. Now on e o f you r n eigh bours th in ks th at th e pon d m igh t pose som e kind o f a hazard. Som eon e m igh t fall in an d it wou ld on ly attract m ore midges. Frogs or even sn akes m igh t start to appear. Th e pon d m igh t also en croach on n eigh bou rin g land. Th e n um ber o f obstacles in your way seem s endless. Wh en faced wit h all o f th ese problem s an d red tape m an y people wh o wan t n oth in g m ore th an to pu t a pon d in a field en d up decidin g it would be better just to give up. But wit h just a little spark o f creativity you can fin d an oth er way. You could, for exam ple, fin d a part o f you r lan d th at is n aturally wet. You could rem ove wh atever plan t growth th ere is an d use it to m ake low banks. Th e depression in th e groun d is n ot a hazard, because th e water is n ot above groun d
9

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

level. Water will on ly collect in th e depression . Th e surface o f th e water will on ly span a few square m etres. In tim e th e ban ks will kn it together. Th e h ollow can also be m ade a little deeper, wh ich hardly an yon e will notice. It will n ot pose a dan ger to anyon e, becau se ver y little has actually been changed. Th e resultin g wetlan d can be m ade even larger u sin g th is m ethod. Neigh bours an d visitors alike will en joy watch in g th e pon d an d plan t life as it grows and flourishes. Children will tell th eir paren ts an d get th em in terested in it. Th en m aybe t h ey will t r y to m ake som eth in g sim ilar for them selves. In th e u n likely even t th at a n eigh bou r does go to th e auth orities to com plain about th e pon d havin g no plan n in g perm ission, you can explain to th e officials from th e water regulatory auth ority th at it has always been there. You have on ly taken m easures to m ain tain it. I f you ever m eet an ecologically m in ded official, th en t h ey will sym pathise with your approach an d th e m easures you have taken and sim ply close th e matter. In an y oth er case, th e auth orities will have to prove you wr on g first. If th ere is an y d ou bt in th e matter, it will be assum ed th at you are tellin g th e truth. You just have to keep on trying. Th e valu e o f a biotope like th is far outweigh s all th e hard wor k th e bureaucrats dem an d th at we do. Do n ot be dissuaded from you r project by seem in gly in com preh en sible laws or be daun ted by th e adm in istrative system . J ust th in k for a m om en t - an d you will be able to find friends to support you in you r endeavours.

Setting up a Perm aculture System


General Questions
Man y people wan t to m an age th eir lan d in a natural way or to switch from usin g tradition al farm in g m eth ods to perm aculture ones, an d ask m e abou t th e best way to m ake use o f their lan d. I have to ask th em som e question s o f m y own first: wh at is th eir goal and wh at do th ey expect from th eir land? Do th ey wan t to be able to live o ff o f it - wh eth er th ey just wan t to be self-sufficien t or produce food as a busin ess - or would th ey rather just have a pleasan t place to relax in and grow a few herbs an d som e fruit and vegetables for th e kitch en ? Ar e t h ey in terested in u sin g th eir lan d for growin g plants, keepin g an im als or agroforestry? Will th e area be open to th e pu blic as an orn am en tal garden; som ewh ere t h ey can p ick th eir own food, or a th erapeutic oasis o f calm ? Th e an swers to th ese question s are th e foun dation s for success. It is im portan t to do exactly wh at m akes you happy, piques you r in terest an d en courages your th irst for kn owledge. Th en wor k will n ot feel like a chore and success will follow naturally. People often wan t to realise th e dream s th ey have had sin ce ch ildh ood. It is gratifyin g to see h ow happy people are wh en th ey fin ally m ake th ese dream s a reality. Durin g th e design phase, it is always im portan t to con sider th e interests o f th e people involved. If th e wh ole fam ily is en th usiastic abou t th e project

10

Landscape Design

th en th is gives us m an y m ore option s. Spouses, ch ildren and paren ts should all be able to get in volved in th e plan n in g and design process. For exam ple, m ost ch ildren will be d eligh ted if t h ey are given a sm all area o f lan d to experim en t wit h an d look after by them selves. You just have to tru st you r self an d follow your instin cts, an d th en you will be on th e righ t track. You have to kn ow wh at you wan t - on ly th en will you ach ieve in depen den ce.

Assessing the Land


On ce I have worked ou t wh at I wan t to do with th e land, I have to exam in e th e area a little m ore closely. Soil con dition s, elevation , clim ate, exposure, relief, drainage basins, previous use o f lan d an d plan t growth are all-im portan t factors to con sider wh en plan n in g a perm aculture system .

Aspect and Climate


Th e aspect (the direction th e land faces) and elevation o f th e lan d affect th e d e sign o f th e system to a great extent. Obviously, it is far easier to set up a productive perm aculture system at low altitudes, on flat groun d and in sun n y places th an on steep slopes or at high altitudes. It requires a lot less en ergy (i.e. workin g with diggers and growin g plants). But even in so-called unfavourable location s it is possible, with a little skill, to set up a fu n ction in g perm aculture system. At h igh altitudes - from aroun d i,ooom above sea level - I aim to design th e system to com pen sate for th e shorter growin g season and th e lower t em p eratures. It is im portan t to get th e m ost sun ligh t an d m ake sure crops will be sheltered from th e win d. A win dbr eak m ade up o f various fruit bushes, fruit trees an d flowerin g shrubs at differen t h eights is very effective. Raised bed s also have a sim ilar effect. Win d tun n els sh ould n ot be allowed to form , oth erwise th e soil will begin to cool an d lose valu able m oisture. It is particularly im portan t to take m easures again st soil erosion on steep slopes. I find t h at terraces and h u m u s storage ditch es as well as en surin g perm an en t plan t cover are particularly effective again st soil erosion. W it h a little in gen u ity it is possible to apply perm aculture prin ciples an y where. Seeds can be sown in cracks, clefts or h oles in steep slopes or even r ock faces. For exam ple, I plan ted sweet ch estn u t seeds in clefts in th e rock. Afterwards I filled th em up with leaves and sowed broom seeds over th e top. To m y surprise th e m ost m agn ificen t sweet ch estn u t trees grew an d th e broom produced th e m ost beau tiful flowers. W h at h appen ed? Th e layer o f leaves cover in g th e sweet ch estn u t seeds gave th em en ou gh m oisture to germ inate. Th e roots foun d th eir way from th e cleft down in to th e soil and could even force them selves th rough th e rock. Th e m icroclim ate h elps both th e broom an d th e sweet ch estn u t to thrive. Even at h igh altitudes, sou th -facin g slopes offer a m u ltitu d e o f possibilities for growin g vegetables, fruit an d berries. Th ere th e crops will have en ough hours

1 1

Sepp Holzers Permaculture

o f sun shin e to ripen. However, th e differen ce between th e tem perature durin g th e day and at n igh t is so great t h at it m akes sou th -facin g slopes vuln erable to frost dam age. In spring, freezin g at n igh t an d th awin g ou t again in th e day is particularly dan gerous for th e crops. Th is m akes it especially im portan t to ch oose h ardy varieties. Durin g d ry sum m ers, soil on sou th -facin g slopes is liable to dry out. On ce again, keep in g th e soil covered u sin g green m an ure crops will h elp to p r otect cultivated plants. Bare earth dries ou t qu ickly an d th en has no protection again st th e win d and rain. Th is results in erosion an d th e loss o f nutrients. On n orth -facin g slopes and areas wit h just a few hours o f sun shin e it is im portan t to ch oose early-m aturin g varieties, wh ich can still ripen fully un der th ese con dition s. To m ake th e best use o f the warm th and sun ligh t I use m an y differen t tech n iqu es to capture heat. For exam ple, it is possible to m ake a n ich e in th e hillside. You should place as m an y large stones on th e hillside as possible. Th ey store th e h eat like a m ason ry stove an d release it again slowly into th e surroun din g area. I place plan ts th at n eed a lot o f h eat next to th e stones. If possible, I pu t a pon d or lake in front o f th e niche. Th e suns rays are th en reflected by th e surface o f th e water and th e overall effect o f th e n ich e is increased. Th is h elps th e n ich e to gath er heat an d therefore serve its purpose as a suntrap. Th is way even plan ts th at require very warm con d ition s can be cultivated at h igh altitu d es and on n orth -facin g slopes.

A sun tra p in a n ic h e : c a s to r-o il p la n ts, t o b a c c o , c u c u m b e rs , p u m p kin s, c o u rg e tte s , sunflow ers a n d m a n y o th e r p la n ts th riv e h e re in a p o ly c u ltu re a t 1,300m a b o v e sea le ve l.

12

Landscape Design

Soil Conditions
It is particularly im portan t to get a feel for th e qu ality o f th e soil you will be dealin g with . Th e m ore I kn ow about th e properties o f th e soil, th e better I can wor k wit h it. It is vital to m ake an accurate assessm en t o f th e soil if you are goin g to be reshapin g th e land. You m ust id en tify and determ in e an y r isk o f landslides. It is also a good idea to fin d ou t wh at sources o f water th ere are. Ar e th ere areas o f m arshy lan d or places wh er e water has accum ulated? W h a t is t h e soil type? Is it a light, m ed iu m or h eavy soil? H ow deep is th e soil and h ow well developed is th e hum us? I have to an swer all o f th ese question s if my design is goin g to be successful. My ability to assess th e lan d h elps m e to select th e plan ts th at will im prove th e soil th e m ost. Th e m ore fertile th e soil is, th e m ore successful th e perm aculture system will be. It is a soils structure th at m akes it good or bad. Th e best soil has a cru m bly structure. A cru m bly topsoil allows plan ts to establish th eir roots m ore easily. Its h igh pore volum e m ean s th at it h old s water an d n utrien ts like a spon ge. Th e m an y in vertebrates and m icroorgan ism s th at live with in th e soil h elp to create th is cru m bly structure. On e o f th ese creatures is th e earthworm . Th e positive effect earthworm s have on soil is well kn own an d th e cru m bly structure o f worm casts is clear for an yon e to see. It is also im portan t to con sider th e pH value o f th e soil. Th is is determ in ed by th e soils m ineral com position , but, like m ost properties o f soil, it can be altered by plan ts and th e creatures an d m icroorgan ism s th at live with in it. Th ere are plan ts th at prefer an acid soil an d others th at grow better in an alkalin e soil. Most cultivated plan ts grow best in a sligh tly acid soil (between pH 6 an d 7). A near-n eutral pH valu e is particularly good for th e h ealth o f th e soil, because m ost m icroorgan ism s th at live in it fu n ction best u n der th ese con dition s. Th e m ore effectively th ey can work, th e faster biom ass an d h um us can be produced. An in crease in soil acidity, wh ich is frequen tly caused by m on ocultu res an d th e use o f fertilisers, leads n utrien ts to be wash ed away and th e cru m bly structure o f th e soil is lost. Th is in turn has a n egative effect on th e balan ce o f air an d water with in th e soil.

Assessing the Soil


I f you wan t a d etailed soil analysis, you can have a soil sam ple exam in ed to m ea sure n utrien t conten t, com position and pH value. An In stitute o f Environm ental En gin eerin g (e.g. in Graz or In nsbruck) or one o f th e m an y private com pan ies will offer th ese services. In an y case, I th in k it is ver y im portan t to develop a feel for th e soil yourself. Th ere is a tried an d tested way to determ in e th e soil type. It is called th e finger test and it is very easy to carry out. To perform th e test take som e fresh soil (n ot dried out) an d roll it between your palm s or finger an d thum b. Th e stickin ess an d h ow easy th e earth is to m ould varies from soil type to soil type. You can also fin d ou t h ow large th e

13

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

grains o f soil are in th e sam e way. Th e first th in g I determ in e is wh eth er th e soil is ligh t an d m ade o f san d or loam y sand, med iu m an d m ade o f san dy loam or heavy and m ade o f loam , clay loam or clay. Th e weigh t o f th e soil depen ds on h ow well th e m aterials it is com posed o f bin d together. To begin with , I try to roll th e earth between m y palm s to abou t th e th ick ness o f a pen cil. If this does n ot wor k it m ean s t h at th e soil is sandy. Oth erwise I am d ealin g with at least a med iu m soil o f san dy loam . If I can roll th e earth to h a lf th e th ickn ess o f th e previous one, t h en it is h eavy loam or clay. To tell th e difference between th e two I can break th e roll in two. Shiny layers in dicate clay, whereas m att layers in dicate loam .

Characteristics of Light a nd H eavy Soil


Light soil is well aerated and heats up quickly. However, its fin e grain structure m akes its capacity to store water and n utrien ts low. Th is m eans th at plan t cover is n eeded at all tim es. Th e plan ts will help to produce h um us and preven t th e topsoil from dryin g out. H eavy soil, on th e oth er hand, retains water easily. The n u tr ien t con ten t is higher, becau se th e soil stores th e n utrien ts m ore effectively. H eavy soil is also poorly aerated, wh ich m eans it is pron e to com paction . Its average soil tem perature is lower. It is as hard for plan ts to establish their roots in it as it is for people to wor k with it. Raised beds have m an y advan tages wh en d ealin g wit h th is kind o f soil. Con str u ctin g th e beds loosen s th e soil an d the in tr od u ction o f biom ass h elps to aerate it. Well-aerated soil warm s up m ore quicldy an d stores th e war m th well, becau se air does n ot readily con d u ct heat. By in tr od u cin g large ston es to store heat, th e suns en ergy can be harn essed an d th e average soil tem perature will increase. I use sm all structures, win dbreaks, h edges and rows o f trees to slow d own th e win d, wh ich always travels at high speeds. Th ese stop it from carryin g all o f th e h eat away, an d create a useful m icroclim ate with a h igh er soil tem perature wh ere I can grow crops. The average soil tem perature is an im portan t factor for th e germ in ation and growth o f plants. Even th e m icroorgan ism s t h at live in th e soil are m ore active at higher tem peratures. Decom position takes place m ore qu ickly and I have good quality h u m u s for m y plan ts in very little tim e.

Indicator Plants
Th e plan ts growin g in an area tell us a great deal about th e n u tr ien t ratio, pH value and th e general con d ition o f th e soil. W ith a little practice, it is possible to assess th e soil con d ition s based on th e vegetation growin g in th e area. If there are nettles, h ogweed or orache th en th e soil is rich in nitrogen. In th is soil I can grow plan ts th at n eed a great deal o f n utrien ts like root vegetables and tubers. If th ere is a large qu an tity o f sorrel, th e lan d will be suitable for growin g J erusalem artich okes (Helianthus tuberosus) an d sun flowers (Helianthus annuus), because th ey take up th e excess n itrogen and provide valu able green m aterial, tubers and

14

Landscape Design

seeds. In th is way I deprive th e orache and n ettles o f nutrien ts. Th ey are qu ickly overshadowed by th e oth er plants, wh ich have grown tall, and begin to die. It is im portan t n ot to exclude an y plan ts wh en assessin g th e soil conditions. You will n eed as m an y in d icator plan ts as possible to m ake an accurate analysis. Certain com bin ation s o f plan ts or an above average n um ber or certain varieties can h elp you to determ in e th e soil con d ition s im m ediately. To give you an idea o f this I have m ade a short list o f in dicator plants:

Nit r ogen r ich soil:

Acid soil:

Ch ickweed (Stellaria media) Stin gin g n ettle (Urtica dioica) An n u a l n ettle (Urtica urens) Cow p ar sley (Anthriscus sylvestris) H ogweed (Heracleum sphondylium ) Elderberry (Sam bucus nigra) Com m on orach e (Atriplex patula) Goosegr ass (Galium aparine) Sh ep h er d s p u rse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) Fat h en (Chenopodium album) Mu gwor t (Artemisia vulgaris) Nitrogen p oor soil: Sweet vern al grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) Sh eeps fescu e (Festuca ovina) Mou se-ear h awkweed (Hieracium pilosella) Cor n ch am om ile (Anthem is arvensis) Br oad-leaved th ym e (Thymus pulegioides)

Sh eep s sorrel (Rum ex acetosella) Br acken (Pteridium aquilinum ) H eath er (Calluna vulgaris) Bilber ry (Vaccinium myrtillus) Cor n ch am om ile (Anthem is arvensis) Cr eep in g soft grass (Holcus mollis) Wa vy h air grass (Avenella flexuosa) Mat grass (Nardus stricta)
Dr y soil:

Bugloss (Lycopsis arvensis) W h itlow grass (Erophila verna) Br oad-leaved th ym e (Thym us pulegioides) Gold en m argu er ite (Anthem is tinctoria)
Wet soil:

Wood clu b ru sh (Scirpus sylvaticus) Pu rple m oor grass (Molinia caerulea) Cor n m in t (Mentha arvensis) Cr eep in g bu tter cu p (Ranunculus repens) Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) Soft r u sh (Juncus effusus) Com p act ru sh (Juncus conglom eratus)
Com p a ct ed soil:

Alk a lin e soil:

Mead ow clar y (Salvia pratensis) Ph easan ts eye (Adonis aestivalis) Forkin g larksp u r (Consolida regalis) Salad b u r n et (Sanguisorba minor) Beton y (Stachys officinalis) San icle (Sanicula europaea) Blue m oor grass (Sesleria varia)

Field h or setail (Equisetum arvense) Dan d elion (Taraxacum officinale) Greater p lan tain (Plantago major) Silverweed (Potentilla anserina)

15

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

INDICATOR PLANTS

Mugwort
(Artemisia vulgaris)

Nitrogen poor soil

Wet soil

Broad-leaved thyme (Thymus pule gioidesj

J J r A.

Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens )

Sheeps fescue
(Festuca ovina)

Compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus)

16

Landscape Design

Com pacted soil

Acid soil

Silverweed (Potentilla
anserinaj

Mat grass (Nardus stricta )

Sheep's sorrel
(Rumex acetosella )

Dry soil

Alkaline soil

Sanicle
ISanicula euro paea)

Betony
(Slachys officinalis )

Yellow marigold (Anthemis tinctoria)

Meadow clary
(Salvia pratensis)

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

Experiences with Different Types of Soil


In th e course o f m y projects in Au str ia an d abroad I have worked with very differen t types o f soil. W h en I survey th e lan d for th e first tim e, I d ig a n um ber o f test tren ch es in differen t areas to give m yself an idea o f th e soil conditions. Th e soil can var y greatly with in as little as 10-20 m etres, but can also rem ain th e sam e over large areas. For exam ple, here on th e Kram eterh of th e soil con dition s chan ge dram atically with in a very sm all area. At m y project in Burgenland, however, th e chan ges were far m ore gradual. If you are plan n in g to m ake largescale chan ges to your land, wh eth er you wan t to create a terrace, water garden or pond, you will n eed to use com pletely differen t m eth od s d epen din g on th e characteristics o f th e soil. On th e Kram eterhof, th e deeper layers (two to th ree m etres) are m ade o f a ver y distin ct coarse and ston y m aterial. If I wan ted to m ake a terrace or pon d here, I would have to separate th is m aterial. To do this I d ig ou t th e required am ou n t o f earth and shake it to form a tall m oun d. It is best to use an excavator for this. It can scoop up th e earth and t h en scatter it from as high up as possible. Th e fine m aterial will stay in th e m iddle, wh ilst th e coarse m aterial will fall to th e sides. W h en I am m akin g terraces or pon ds I use th e coarse m aterial to support and secure th e structures, whereas I use th e fin e m aterial on th e terraces as it m akes a fertile soil, or I use it to m ake th e bases o f pon ds watertight.

Left: Test tre n c h a t a p e rm a c u ltu re p ro je c t in T h a ila n d (c la y lo a m ). Right: Test tre n c h fo r th e BERTA p e rm a c u ltu re p ro je c t in A u s s e e rla n d (A ustria). The layers c a n b e se e n c le a rly (hum us, g ra v e l a n d lo a m ).

Landscape Design

Loam requires a ver y differen t strategy. If you are plan n in g on bu ild in g a pon d you will n ot n eed to separate th e m aterials, except for th e h um us layer, wh ich sh ould always be separated. W it h this kin d o f soil, sealin g pon ds is n ot a problem . Th e challen ge is to stabilise t h e walls o f deeper ponds. Loam has a high level o f water r eten tion an d absorbs water quickly, wh ich m ean s th at it easily becom es m u dd y and takes a lon g tim e to d ry out. Th is m eans t h at h eavy clay an d loam soils should n ot be shaken in to tall heaps. Even if you com pact it with a digger or a roller, you will n ot be able to stabilise th e soil, becau se o f its h igh water con ten t. If th e accum ulated weigh t o f th e soil is too m uch, th e increase in pressure will slowly squeeze out th e soil m oisture. Th e separated soil will fin ally give un der th e pressure and th e earth will sin k like an un successful cake. Cracks will begin to form across th e surface. Wh en th e pon d is filled or if it rains, there is a dan ger th at water will en ter th e walls o f th e pon d. Th is could lead th em to slide. This is wh y separatin g soil o f this type will on ly wor k over a lon ger tim escale. Th e separated m aterial m ust have tim e to stabilise before any further wor k can be don e. On ce th e soil has had th e tim e to dry ou t an d harden, it will be able to take th e addition al weight.

Design Ideas
Test Areas
Th e little gardens I ten d ed as a child were m y first test areas. Over th e years m y test areas grew larger. By experim en tin g I learn t a great deal about nature. My cu riosity never ceased to grow. Now m y lan d m easures aroun d 45 hectares, wh ich m akes for a ver y large test area indeed. Alth ou gh I kn ow ver y well wh at will grow and thrive on m y farm, I always m ake a poin t o f sowin g n ew plants. Th e outcom e never ceases to surprise me. Plants that, accordin g to th e experts, should n ot be able to grow h ere can be cultivated on th e Kram eterh of regardless. If I had n ot tried, I n ever would have th ou gh t it possible. For instance, I can grow m an y varieties o f kiwi, lem on s an d grapes in suntraps. I cultivate an cien t cereals on old pasture at 1,500m above sea level. This is also th e result o f an experim ent. I sowed ein korn wheat, em m er wh eat and an cien t Siberian grain and, to m y surprise, even at this height, th ey had fully ripen ed by September. Alth ou gh Lun gau is th e coldest area in Salzburg - hen ce its reputation for bein g th e Au str ian Siberia - cereals can be grown here despite th e high altitude. Man y experts claim th at Lun gau is n ot suitable for growin g cereal crops and th at th e high er areas are even less so. Despite this, barley, wheat, oats, rye an d even flax and sun flowers ripen fully on our farm at 1,500m above sea level. However, this on ly works wit h old h ardy varieties. Th ese varieties, un like th e standard EU-approved seeds, can cope with th e poorest soils an d th e m ost extrem e tem peratures. Th e n utrition al value and con ten t of th e cereals I grow on m y m oun tain pasture is far better th an th at o f cereals grown as a m on oculture.
19

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

O rc h a rd a t 1,400m a b o v e sea le ve l: a c o lo u rfu l a sso rtm e n t o f d iffe re n t va rie tie s a n d co u n tle ss s u p p o rtin g p la n ts stabilise th e system .

Man y differen t kin ds o f fruit bush and fruit tree grow very well at this altitude. Naturally, th ese cultures do n ot give th e sam e yields th at are possible in lower regions. Scien tific research has sh own th at th e n utrition al value o f m an y fruits in creases wh en t h ey are grown at higher altitudes. This is m ain ly th e result o f th e harsh, cold nights, wh ich help to im prove th e flavour. Growin g in th ese so-called un favourable location s also m akes it possible to offer h igh quality, arom atic fruit at tim es o f th e year wh en th ere is ver y little com petition . Specialist d istilleries t h at use organ ic fruit an d berries are particularly en thusiastic. Our products are used to m ake distillates, juices, vin egar and cider. Th e price is h igh er th an th e usual m arket price, becau se th e p r od u ct is o f a h igh er quality. This m ore th an m akes up for th e lower yield com pared to th at o f fruit grown in favourable location s. My fruit trees grow at i,ooom above sea level in th e wildlife area all th e way up to 1,500m on th e Lan sch iitz, wh ich is an area n am ed after th e local m oun tain . Kassins Friihe cherries ripen fu lly in th e wildlife area by th e en d o f J une, wh ilst th ey can on ly be harvested on th e Lan sch iitz at th e begin n in g o f Septem ber. Th e situation is m u ch th e sam e wit h currants, pears an d apples. On our farm, th e Wh ite Tran sparen t an d Stark s Earliest varieties ripen in th e m iddle o f Au gu st at 1,000m, bu t from th e m iddle to th e en d o f Septem ber at 1,500m. At 1,100m above sea level th e W h ite Tran sparen t is so flou r y by th e en d o f Au gu st t h at it can n ot be used for juice or cider any m ore. At 1,500m above sea level, however, it is still an excellen t juice an d cider apple at th e en d o f September.
20

Landscape Design

I have also in troduced m ushroom s into m y experim en ts. Accor d in g to experts, shiitake m ushroom s can on ly be cultivated at lower altitudes, because t h ey n eed a great deal o f warm th. As an experim en t, I in ocu lated a 50 cm -thick oak log wit h shiitake m ush room spawn at 1,500m above sea level. Afterwards, I sun k th e log 30 cm in to th e groun d and th e sam e way up as it wou ld have been growing, to provide it with th e n ecessary water. Two years later th e first m ushroom s appeared, bu t th ere were so m an y o f th em th at th e en tire log was covered. Mushroom s con tin u ed to appear every n ow an d th en u n til th e first frosts. It has been m ore th an ten years an d th e log is still prod u cin g n ew m ushroom s each year. In th e last few years shiitake m ushroom s have even started to com e up th rou gh th e earth aroun d th e log. For ten years I have don e n oth in g to h elp th e m ush room s grow, I have m erely harvested them . After th is successful outcom e, I d ecided to tr y growin g m ushroom s on livin g wood. I bored h oles in a n um ber o f br oad leaf trees with a h an d brace and in ocu lated th em with m ycelia. Naturally, I used on ly one kin d o f m ushroom per tree. Unfortunately, th e experim en t was n ot successful. Th e trees rejected th e m ycelia an d th e h oles healed over. However, m ush room s appeared on th e groun d aroun d th e trees t h at had been rin g-barked before bein g in oculated and had bark on th e earth aroun d th em as a result. An y crop from this m eth od would, adm ittedly, be som ewh at lim ited, as th e trees wou ld die with in a year an d be qu ickly blown down by th e win d or collapse un der snow. Test areas are very im portan t and you sh ould never stop experim en tin g. Th ere are m an y m ore th in gs th at are possible in n ature th an you will find wr it ten d own in books. However, you will on ly discover this if you are ready to fail an d you are ready to learn.

Microclimates
Microclim ates are a very im portan t aspect o f an y perm aculture system . Every m icroclim ate form s a special biotope th at is colon ised by a particular com m u n ity o f plants. A large n um ber o f anim als fin d food, a habitat, som ewhere to breed an d take refuge; th e differen t m icroclim ates give u seful in sects som e wh ere to breed as well. Th is is wh y I t r y to create as m an y m icroclim ates as possible th rou gh ou t a perm aculture system . Th e diversity o f plan ts an d anim als helps to create a system in wh ich every species will fin d its n atural balan ce. This is th e on ly way to preven t th e p opu lation o f any on e species from becom in g dom in an t an d reducin g th e overall in tegrity o f th e ecosystem . Microclim ates are areas in wh ich th e clim atic con dition s are com pletely un like th ose o f th e surroun din g area. This m eans th at these places can be com paratively dry, wet, shady or sun n y - all d epen din g on wh at th e m icroclim ate is n eeded for. This allows m e to create th e correct con d ition s for very different kin ds o f plan ts in a relatively sm all area. Microclim ates m ay develop n aturally near large stones, in clefts in th e rock, in h ollow tree trun ks, n ear tree stum ps, in hedges or am on gst trees and
21

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture


M ic ro c lim a te o n a ro c k fa c e : s p a g h e tti squash g ro w in g o n th e rock.

shrubs. Favourable clim atic con d ition s can also be created in an area by m akin g terraces, raised beds and ditches. It is especially im portan t to keep th e lin es o f th e terraces an d path s as roun ded an d win din g as possible. Straight lin es create win d tun nels, whereas curved shapes m ake niches. Th ese n ich es are sheltered from th e win d and can wor k as suntraps. In particularly exposed places I also m ake hills and hollows to lessen th e effects o f th e weather. On m y travels in South Africa, n or th ern Brazil an d Colom bia, I have seen large stretches o f lan d lyin g fallow. Th e lan d is com pletely un pr otected again st erosion and is gradually d ryin g out. It is in exactly th ese coun tries th at we need to use m icroclim ates to ch an ge un productive areas back into fertile land. On this kin d o f land I could, for instance, plan t particularly hardy and fast-growin g trees to create a kin d o f pion eer forest to protect th e lan d from erosion and preven t it from dryin g out. Later on, m ore dem an din g fruit trees can grow safely am on gst th e in itial ones. On ce th ey are stable an d have grown large en ough, th e pion eer trees will no lon ger be required and can be cu t down and used for timber. An oth er way to establish cultures is by m akin g raised beds on top o f large bran ch es an d shrubs. Th en I can in troduce seeds like m an go or papaya into th e bed. Alth ou gh differen t crops like m an ioc, or th e seeds o f trees th at produce valuable wood can be sown as well. Th e seeds will probably lie dorm an t for som e tim e. At first t h ey will n ot en cou n ter th e con d ition s th ey n eed to germ inate, because it will still be too dry. However, on ce th e rains com e water will begin to collect. Th e biom ass with in th e raised bed will retain water an d slowly begin to decom pose, allowin g th e seeds to germ inate. A m u lch o f leaves an d straw can be used to stop th e germ in atin g seeds from dryin g out. Laying acacia bran ch es or an y oth er th or n y bran ch in th e n ewly created m icroclim ate will protect th e ch oice plan ts from bein g eaten. I have to m ake th ese places as in h ospitable for th e anim als t h at eat th e plan ts as I can. If possible I lay an en tire th or n bush or tree on th e bed. It will wither, it is bu lky

22

Landscape Design

and it will keep th e an im als away. It pr otects th e plan ts and also slowly rots back down in to fertiliser. At th e sam e tim e I also sow m an y plan ts th at th e anim als prefer, because th is is th e on ly way to p r otect th e plan ts th at I do n ot wan t to be eaten. Th e bu lky m aterial used to protect th e plan ts has a further advantage: fin e m aterial carried b y th e win d is deposited on th e beds an d a sm all biotop e begin s to develop. Th is is h ow useful system s, wh ich retain m oisture, p r otect th e soil from erosion and preven t th e plan ts from bein g eaten are created. In th e Scottish H igh lan ds th e situation was com pletely different: th e areas th at I visited had been cleared cen turies ago. Now th ere is n oth in g but m iles an d m iles o f h eath wit h n ot a tree to be seen. Th e rainfall th ere is very h eavy an d th e win d is quite stron g and never stops. Th is m akes it difficult for an yth in g oth er th an heath er an d sedge to grow. Th e pH valu e o f th e soil has sun k to a value between four an d five, so an y yield from such an area wou ld be m inim al. In places like th ese it is vital to set up sun traps an d win dbreaks. As th ere are so m an y stones, sm all ston e walls and islan ds can be con structed. In th e lee o f th e islands th ere is shelter from th e win d an d th e stones balan ce ou t th e tem perature. Th e win d also deposits fin e m aterial an d a hum us layer gradually begin s to bu ild up. Between th e stones, I plan ted an d sowed differen t varieties o f willow, wild rose, broom , lupin, sweet clover and com fr eyas pion eer plants. Th e perm aculture system in Scotlan d is n ow gettin g on wonderfully. Now th at th e first sm allscale attem pts have been successful, it is possible to create a larger-scale biotope, possibly u sin g a m ech an ical digger. As th e system develops, the lan d will begin to resem ble a rag rug. Man y irregularly shaped lan dform s will be created, wh ich will produce n um erous m icroclim ates. In this way th e diversity o f plan ts will con tin u e to increase. W h en you are creatin g terraces an d raised beds to im prove th e m icro clim ate, you sh ould take th e exist in g clim atic con d ition s in to con sid eration. In places th at are rainy and win d y you will n eed to do th e opposite to wh at you wou ld t r y in h ot an d d ry places. For exam ple, in th e Scottish H ighlan ds I m ade sure th at th ere was
i j

always drainage in place to take th e

P ro te c te d b y a la rc h trunk, e v e n b itte r o ra n g e s (P o n c iru s tr ifo lia ta ) c a n flourish.

D ,

,,

, .

, ,

23

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

excess water. I f I had n ot don e this, th e raised beds wou ld have becom e acid. In drier areas th e water m ust un der no circum stan ces be drain ed away, in stead th e lan d should be design ed to retain it. As plan t m aterial is broken down inside th e raised bed, h eat is released and th is h elps to en courage h ealth y soil life. Ch oosin g th e right plan ts will lower th e acidity o f th e soil and allow a greater n um ber o f plan ts to grow on th e heath. Durin g m y experim en ts in Scotlan d, it becam e clear to m e th at we wou ld n eed h igh er fen ces to deal wit h th e in creased dan ger o f plan ts bein g eaten. Even the black an d willow grouse could fly over th e th en two-m etr e-h igh fen ces around th e test areas and eat th e plan ts and seedlings. Th e ben eficial effects o f m icroclim ates have even allowed m e to grow cacti (prickly pear; Opuntia ficus-indica) outside d urin g th e winter, and apri cots (Primus armeniaca), sweet ch estn u t (Castanea sativa), grapes and kiwi fruit {Actinidia deliciosa) in particularly warm and sheltered areas on the Kram eterhof. As th ese plan ts are so sensitive I also m ake sure th at a blan ket of leaves from n earby trees protects th em durin g th e winter.

Terraces a n d Paths
H um an bein gs have kn own th e ben efit o f usin g terrace system s for a very lon g tim e. In Asia, South Am erica, Africa an d Europe people have been u sin g terraces to cultivate cereals, vegetables, coffee, tea, herbs and grapes for th ousan ds o f

N e w ly -c re a te d te rra c e s in B u rg e n la n d . A c o n s id e ra b le a re a o f e xtra la n d has b e e n g a in e d o n this s o u th -fa c in g m e a d o w .

24

Landscape Design

years. Makin g steps in steep slopes h elps to preven t soil erosion . Valuable h um us rem ains on th e slope in stead o f bein g wash ed away. Terraces store and hold m oisture so th at plan ts have access to rain water an d m eltwater for longer. Terraces in crease th e area available for cultivation , are m ore pleasan t to work an d are far easier to access th an a steep slope. You can stroll alon g th e terraces an d just take in you r surroundings. Th e n um ber o f ways in wh ich th e lan d can be used will in crease and its valu e will rise. Well-d esign ed terraces m in im ise th e dan ger o f lan dslides an d m udslides and also greatly im prove th e m icroclim ates in cultivated areas. I ten d to design terraces so th at th ey can be used as path s an d provide access for m ech an ised farm in g equipm en t. By com bin in g th e two uses, I have bot h a terrace t h at is a path and a path th at is a terrace. Th e two possible uses are always open to m e. O f course, th is will on ly wor k as lon g as n o sin gle terrace is used as a path for too lon g, oth erwise th e soil will becom e com pacted an d th e crops will suffer. It is still possible to access th e terraces wh ile th ey are u n der cultivation , bu t it is im portan t to keep to th e em ban km en ts.

Building a Terrace System


W id th
Before an y terraces are created, it is im portan t to th in k about h ow th ey will be m an aged. Th e wid th required by an y m ach in er y you are plan n in g to use should also be taken into accoun t, so th at wor kin g th e terrace will be straightforward and th e crops will n ot be dam aged. It is best to m ake sure th at th e en tire terrace can be cultivated or harvested in a sin gle trip. Th is way th e least am ou n t o f en ergy is used an d th e dam age caused by m ach in ery is m inim al. In m y experience, m an agin g two terraces each wit h a wid th o f five m etres is far easier and m ore profitable th an m an agin g a sin gle terrace with a wid th o f 10 m etres. Creatin g a narrower terrace also requires far less earth to be m oved. W h en you are calculatin g th e perfect wid th for a terrace, it is im por tan t to con sider th e curren t gradien t o f th e slope. Th e steeper th e slope, th e narrower th e terrace sh ould be. Th e shallower th e slope, th e wid er th e terrace. Th e prevailin g soil con dition s should also be noted. Particular care sh ould be taken with fine, loam y soil on very steep slopes, because th is is wh ere th ere is th e greatest dan ger o f erosion. Under th ese con d ition s I wou ld on ly m ake very n arrow terraces.

G radient
Th e gradien t o f th e terraces depen ds on th e accessibility an d developm en t o f th e oth er p lots o f lan d. Th e gradien t sh ould be as low as possible an d no m ore th an 15 to 20 percen t. Th e terraces sh ould be laid ou t to m ake as m u ch o f th e lan d accessible as possible. It is a good idea to have sh ortcuts an d path s to con n ect th e terraces, so th at you will n ot have to travel th e full len gth o f th e terrace wh en

25

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

T e rra c e d la n d s c a p e o n th e K ra m e te rh o f.

you wan t to m ain tain th e land. Dead en ds waste tim e and en ergy an d sh ould be avoided. Th e gradien t o f th e terrace em ban km en ts can be 1:1 if th e soil is stony. On san dy or loam soils I have had th e best results with gradien ts o f aroun d 1:1.5 to 1:2.

Risers a nd Separating M aterial


To stabilise th e em ban km en ts risers n eed to be con structed. Th e topsoil and th e layers o f earth ben eath should be rem oved un til you reach solid and stable m aterial. Th e riser form s th e fou n d ation o f th e em ban km en t and is an gled sligh tly into th e hill. Next, th e em ban km en t should be bu ilt up replacin g th e excavated layers. Th e topsoil form s th e upperm ost layer. Th is wor k can be carried ou t very easily wit h a m ech an ical digger. A specialised excavator can fit into th e sm allest spaces; a m in i digger can get t h rou gh a garden gate an d a walkin g excavator or spider can even clim b over a fen ce. W h en th e correct equipThe w a lk in g e x c a v a to r (s p id e r') c a n e v e n w o rk o n ro u g h te rra in .

26

Landscape Design

EMBANKMENT The same material is used to form the embankment.

P L A N T S Fruit frees and bushes establish their roots deep into the embankment and contribute greatly to its stability.

The riser is the foundation of the embankment and is angled slightly into the hill.

m en t for th e task is chosen , th e wor k goes qu ickly and any un n ecessary an n oy an ce is avoided. It is im portan t to h an dle th e topsoil very carefully. Mistakes are frequen tly m ade wh en th e operator o f th e m ech an ical digger or th e person in charge does n ot have en ou gh experien ce and fails to preserve th e topsoil. Everythin g is plou gh ed th rough , th e m aterial is n ot separated an d th e risers are forgotten. Th e m aterial is strewn aroun d all over th e place, wh ich n aturally m akes it very difficult to plan t up later on an d also in creases th e dan ger o f landslides.

Working with Water


In areas wh er e th ere is little rain, I tr y to an gle th e terraces into th e hill sligh tly to help retain water. Wh en stabilisin g th e terraces and securin g th em again st h eavy rainfall, it is im por tan t to m ake sure th at th eir align m en t will n ot ch an n el th e water, oth erwise this will cause sign ifican t dam age. W ith a loam y subsoil it is particularly im portan t to m an age water well. You should un der no circum stan ces an gle an y watercourses or d itch es in to th e hill, because th e h igh est terrace can becom e waterlogged and this greatly in creases th e dan ger o f lan dslides. On h eavy soils, surface water m ust be drain ed o ff over a large area. Th is is best ach ieved by creatin g th e terrace wit h a sligh t downward angle. This way you can create watercourses th rou gh wh ich large quan tities o f water can drain away safely. W h en p u ttin g in path s and roads, it is com m on to d ig ditch es and install culverts at in tervals o f 50 -ioom . Unfortunately, little n otice is n orm ally taken of wh eth er th ere is an y water presen t or not, h ow th e n earby subsoil will react to an

27

Sepp Holzers Permaculture

increase in water or h ow well th e plan ts can cope wit h waterlogged con dition s. Th is careless attitud e causes vegetation to be killed o ff by water loggin g an d can even tually lead to m udslides an d rockfalls. In m y opinion , it m akes far m ore sense to disperse th e water wh erever it m igh t accum ulate - by m akin g th e m idd le o f th e p ath or road sligh tly higher th an its edges. Th is will n ot lead to ch an n ellin g an d th e water can travel at its own speed wit h ou t causin g an y dam age. O f course, this will n ot h elp wit h stream s or springs, wh ich sh ould be diverted u n d er n eath path s an d roads th rou gh pipes or culverts. After th e b r ief diversion t h ey can return to th eir natural course. Th rough dry, ston y or san dy soil water will percolate over greater distances. Ditch es are particularly good for raisin g th e m oisture level o f th e surroun din g soil. Th ey store surface water and r u n off an d let th e m oisture seep in to th e soil. Th is provides very good con d ition s for th e neigh bou rin g plants. Th e d itch es also collect organ ic m aterial, providin g water an d a h abitat for m an y livin g creatures, and therefore boostin g th e p opu lation o f useful an im als and insects.

Stabilising the System


Large stretch es o f con tin u ous lan d should n ot be altered d urin g th e growin g season, becau se this in creases th e dan ger o f lan dslides. Th is is wh y I carry out large-scale projects gradually over a lon g period o f tim e. In th e first year, terraces are m ade at th e top, m iddle and bottom o f th e slope and th en plan ted. In th e

N e w te rra c e system o n th e K ra m e te rh o f: th e te rra c e s a re a ro u n d fo u r m e tre s w id e . A v a rie ty o f h a rd w o o d s a n d fru it trees a re p la n te d o n th e e m b a n k m e n ts . A m ix tu re o f seeds (m u sta rd , flax, c o m fre y a n d p o ta to ) a re a lre a d y b e g in n in g to g ro w .

28

Landscape Design
W ithin a y e a r o f th e te rra c e b e in g built, v a lu a b le b iom ass is a lre a d y b e in g p ro d u c e d a n d m ost o f it rem a in s o n th e s u rfa c e . A m o n o c u ltu re o f sp ru ce s used to g ro w o n w h a t w as o n c e p oor a n d a c id soil. The te rra c e has q u ic k ly m a d e it possible to c u ltiv a te m o re d e m a n d in g pla n ts.

secon d year, m ore terraces are created between th e origin al terraces on ce th ey are com pletely stable. On steep slopes th e first terrace should be started at the lowest poin t. Th en you should wor k you r way up. If m aterial begin s to slide down wh ile you are workin g, th e terraces below will collect it. Th e m aterial can th en be in corporated into th e soil. Stones can be placed on th e terrace for addition al stability and heat storage. Ch oosin g th e correct plan ts m akes a large con tr ibution towards stabilisin g a slope. Plants with root system s th at grow to different depths are very useful. On ce work with th e excavator is fin ished, n ew terraces sh ould be sowed and plan ted im m ediately, because at th is poin t th e dan ger o f erosion is at its greatest. Th e soil is also very loose an d m oist just after th e terrace is created an d th is provides seeds with th e best con d ition s for germ in ation . W h en it rains, th e seeds will be pushed th rough th e loosen ed h um us layer and further into th e earth. Th en th e

A p o n d w ith steps (very n a rro w te rra c e s ) in B u rg e n la n d . The w a te r le v e l c a n b e a lte re d to a n y h e ig h t. The te rra c e s c a n also b e flo o d e d w h e n re q u ire d . E v a p o ra tio n d u rin g th e su m m e r c re a te s a b e n e fic ia l m ic ro c lim a te . In th e h o t, d ry su m m e r m o n th s (P a n n o n ia n c lim a te ) o f so u th e rn B u rg e n la n d this is a re a l a d v a n ta g e .

29

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

soil can be covered in leaves or straw. Mulch in g h elps to retain m oisture wh ile th e plan ts are takin g r oot an d it provides th e crops wit h add ition al n utrien ts. To en sure th at th e trees an d plan ts r oot well, it is im por tan t th at th e em ban km en ts are ver y stable and bu ilt up u sin g loose soil th at is r ich in hum us. My m eth od differs from th at o f con ven tion al terraces, wh ere th e steep em ban km en ts are con stru cted o f heavily com pacted soil an d th en sm ooth ed flat. Seeds are th en easily blown away by th e win d or wash ed away by th e rain. Th ey also have m ore d ifficu lty germ in atin g and takin g root in th ese flatten ed areas o f soil.

Managing a Terrace Culture


Terraces can be used to grow an y con ceivable crop; th ey can be worked just like fields. It is im portan t to cultivate and m ain tain plan t cover as soon as th e terraces have been con structed. If th e topsoil is good en ough, dem an din g plan ts such as vegetables or cereals can be grown straight away. Oth erwise, green m an ure crops will be n eeded and th e soil will have to be prepared before crops can be cultivated. Meadow flowers are also very good for plan t cover. If th ere is a wildflower m eadow n earby th at has n ot been cu t back for a lon g tim e, you will fin d m ore th an en ou gh seeds there. You can also add sweet-sm ellin g plan ts and m edicin al and culin ary herbs to th e m ixture o f seeds, to create a lush flora. On poor soils or on steep slopes deeprooted green m an ure crops like sweet clover an d lupin s are best. Th ey stabilise

A v a rie ty o f fru it tree s a n d ro w a n trees w ith lupins to im p ro v e th e soil o n a te rra c e e m b a n k m e n t o n th e K ra m e te rh o f.

30

Landscape Design

th e terrace wit h th eir deep r oot system s. Th ey also im prove th e n u trien t con ten t o f poor soils with th eir ability to fix n itrogen and m ake it available to oth er plants, wh ich is assisted by sym biotic bacteria. In wetter areas Alsike clover can be sown an d wh ite clover and black m ed ick can be used for plan t cover. Oth er plan ts th at are suitable for plan t cover can be fou n d in th e Green Man ure section . Even in th e first year, plan t cover h elps to create substan tial am ou n ts o f biom ass for th e terrace culture. Th ese plan ts pr od u ce hum us, wh ich con tin u es to im prove th e fer tility o f th e soil. Usin g th is m eth od , I have m an aged over th e course o f tim e to cu ltivate t h e m ost d em an din g types o f vegetable on wh at was on ce th e acid soil o f a form er spruce culture. By autu m n th e p lan t cover will have begu n to d ecom pose an d will pr otect th e soil from frost. Th e earth will n ot fr eeze as quickly, wh ich m ean s t h at th e in vertebrates an d m icroorgan ism s in th e u pper layers o f th e soil will survive lon ger in th e sp rin g an d autum n . Th e practice o f cu ttin g grasses back in th e su m m er an d au tu m n an d rem ovin g th em to m ake h ay is a terrible m istake. We m u st discard th e con cept o f order t h at so m an y people em brace tod ay an d recogn ise t h at un tid in ess is a part o f nature. On ce th e soil is fertile en ough, th e crops can be plan ted. Th e em ban km en ts between th e terraces provide relatively d ry and warm con dition s, wh ich I always bear in m in d wh en plan tin g crops. I have had th e best results plan tin g fruit bushes and trees on th ese em ban km en ts. If th e right varieties are selected, th e fruits an d berries ripen in th e autum n after th e vegetables and cereals have been harvested. Th is use o f season al crops m akes efficien t use o f th e land and avoids th e risk o f th e crops bein g dam aged. Wh en I am selectin g trees an d shrubs, I ch oose varieties th at will be useful to m e and th at can deal well with th e local conditions.

Humus Storage Ditches


Wh en m akin g an y chan ges to th e terrain, especially wh en creatin g n ew terraces, I dig ditch es in appropriate places to h old hum us an d water. Th ese d itch es collect an y surplus water from h eavy rainfall or sn owm elt. Th ey are d otted th rou gh ou t th e en tire perm aculture lan dscape. I m ake th em lon g an d wid e wit h low banks, so th at th e water can be absorbed over a large area. Th e terraces an d raised beds below will steadily be supplied wit h water. Great care should be taken with ditches on h eavy soils: th e dan ger o f lan dslides is at its greatest! It is best to start on a sm all scale and observe th e system closely. Th e sides o f th e d itch should slope gen tly upward an d it sh ould be set well into th e hill. As I have previously said about m akin g terraces, it is im portan t n ot to let th e water form chan n els, oth erwise it will cause a great deal o f dam age. Th e gen tle slopin g o f th e sides h elps to preven t this. If th e hill already has any h ollows or depression s in it, an excavator can be used to m ake th em into ditches very easily. To do this, th e excavator uses a two-m etre wid e slope bu cket th at
31

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

HUMUS STORAGE DITCH

can be h ydraulically operated in any direction . In this situation it is n ot n orm ally n ecessary to dig a ditch. You can just use th e bottom o f th e bu cket to push the soil down, m akin g th e h ollow deeper. Som e d itch es are filled with water th e wh ole year roun d, wh ilst others, d epen din g on th e location and size o f th e ditch, d ry out periodically. Th e advan tage o f th ese ditches is th at valuable n utrien ts and hum us will be collected with th e surface water wh en it rains heavily. On ce th e water level has sun k again, it is easy to extract an d use this m aterial on n ew system s, em ban km en ts and crops. Th is way th e best hum us, en rich ed with nutrien ts, is provided for lush plan t growth. Using ditch es in this way also has a very positive effect on th e h ydrology o f m y land. Th e accum ulated water evaporates slowly and brin gs sign ifican t lon g term ben efits to th e n earby vegetation . This reservoir o f water is vital for th e survival o f m y plan ts in d ry areas and durin g h ot sum m ers, because th ey do not receive any addition al waterin g. Th e m an y ben eficial effects o f h um us storage d itch es m ean th at th ey play a substan tial part in preservin g th e natural balan ce o f th e en tire perm aculture system . Th ey take very little effort to create an d are ver y useful wh en m an agin g th e land.

32

Landscape Design

Raised Beds
Raised beds have a substan tial advan tage over n orm al beds th at are at groun d level. Th ey create m icroclim ates, wh ich accordin g to th eir position , relative to t h e course o f th e sun an d th e prevailin g win d direction , provide very different plan ts wit h th e con d ition s t h ey need. Th e beds are bu ilt loosely, wh ich helps th e soil to retain m ore water, and t h ey soak up rain water like a spon ge. Th e water is stored in th e lower levels o f th e beds an d th e h ollows between them , wh ile th e raised part dries ou t far m ore quickly. Th e result is both d r y an d wet areas. It is also m y experien ce th at th e raised part o f th e beds warm s up m ore quickly, wh ich is a great advan tage in colder clim ates an d at h igh altitudes. Wellaerated an d correctly-plan ted raised beds can h elp to slow d own th e freezin g o f th e topsoil. I f th e beds are m ade o f organ ic m aterial, th e in n er part o f th e bed will slowly begin to decom pose. Th is releases heat, wh ich in turn im proves th e con dition s for germ in ation an d plan t growth. Th e d ecom position also releases n utrien ts, wh ich m akes it possible to cultivate m ore dem an din g varieties o f vegetable wit h ou t usin g fertilisers. Th e shape o f th e raised bed provides a larger area for cultivation . On sm all plots o f lan d - like town garden s - gain in g this extra space is particularly im portan t. Finally, bu ild in g raised beds offers m an y excitin g possibilities for garden and lan dscape design.

Raised b e d w ith te rra c e s fo rm in g a c r a te r g a rd e n .

Design Ideas
In a n u m ber o f garden in g books it is becom in g in creasin gly com m on to find in struction s for m akin g raised beds. Most o f th em give dim en sion s for th e perfect raised bed to th e cen tim etre. Th ese kin ds o f d etailed in struction s m ake it easy to con str u ct th e bed exactly as it is described. Free t h in kin g an d creativity are qu ickly lost. Th ere is no tem plate for th e perfect raised bed in H olzer

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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

perm aculture, becau se th e beds can have very differen t dim en sions. Durin g th e plan n in g stage, I con sider th e local con d ition s an d th e in dividual requirem en ts o f th e people th at will be m an agin g it. Alth ou gh th e beds can var y con siderably in th eir dim en sions, all o f th em create th e positive effects th at I have already described. Th e beds var y in h eight, len gth, wid th an d shape accordin g to fun ction , location , soil con dition s an d th e preferen ces o f th ose involved. Flat areas o f land in particular offer a var iety o f in terestin g aspects to experim en t with: th e beds could be m ade in wavy lin es o f differen t heights, t h ey could form a h a lf m oon, a m aze or a circle. In th e cen tre o f th e circle th ere could also be a pond. In Burgenland, for exam ple, I m ade a crater garden. In th e sum m er, a ben eficial h um id m icroclim ate develops in th e crater. This provides a n um ber o f very in terestin g possibilities for cu ltivatin g plants. Even th e way th e foun dation s o f m y raised beds are m ade varies to reflect local con dition s. I do n ot th in k it is n ecessary to state exactly h ow th e layers should be arranged or wh at m aterial sh ould be used to m ake th e foundations. It m akes th e m ost sense and is far m ore econ om ical to work with th e m aterial th at is already to hand. For m an y years, I ch ipped bran ches, shrubs and trees and m ixed th em wit h earth to m ake raised beds. Th is m ade for very exh austin g an d laborious work. Eventually, I tried m akin g a raised bed with ou t ch ipped m aterial; instead I in corporated th ick bran ches and en tire shrubs in to th e bed. This bed gave a far greater yield th an I had expected. Th e reasons for this were obvious: wh en spreadin g th e ch ipped m aterial I had to be very careful; I could n ot in corporate too m u ch wood (no m ore th an a fourth o f th e m aterial) in to th e bed. I also had to m ake sure th at th e m aterial was spread ver y loosely, so th at it would not com pact. Substan ces like resin can also be released too qu ickly into th e earth and th e pH valu e o f th e soil sinks. In th e worst cases th e soil acidifies an d th e yield suffers. I foun d th at in tr od u cin g m u ch bu lkier m aterial had exactly th e opposite effect. Alth ou gh th e raised beds ten d to be m u ch larger and h igh er wh en en tire trees are in corporated in to it, th e aeration o f th e system is vastly im proved. Th e bu lky m aterial causes sm all shifts to occur th r ou gh ou t th e bed as it slowly breaks d own an d as it respon ds to chan ges in th e m oisture con ten t o f th e soil. It con tracts an d expands again, wh ich keeps th e structure o f th e bed loose. Bulky m aterial rots d own m ore slowly, wh ich lessen s th e dan ger o f th e soil becom in g acid or o f th e crops bein g overfertilised. Tree trun ks are also excellen t at m ain tain in g a balan ced level o f m oisture with in th e system . Th is kin d o f raised bed is particularly good for growin g potatoes an d oth er r oot vegetables, I have also used th em to cultivate cereals. I have had good results u sin g th ese beds in spruce forests as well. Raised beds o f th is typ e can last for ten years or m ore with ou t an y m ajor rebuilding, wh ich is m uch lon ger th an on es m ade with wood chips.

34

Landscape Design

The c o n s e q u e n c e s o f m is g u id e d fo re st m a n a g e m e n t: th e sto rm b ro u g h t d o w n m o re th a n th re e m illion solid c u b ic m e tre s o f s p ru c e tree s in A ustria!

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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

In Novem ber 2002, m y sim ple m eth od o f buildin g raised beds cam e in useful again wh en large areas o f th e exten sive spruce m on ocultu re in Lun gau suffered storm dam age. Th e h eavy win ds caused serious dam age to th e m on oton ous forests surroun din g th e farm. Today, t h ey are still dealin g with th e fallen trees. On th e Kr am eter h of th e dam age was m inim al. Th e on ly victim s o f th e storm were som e sm all stands o f spruce th at were awaitin g official perm ission for clearin g an d recultivation . A few o f th em fell on to m y fruit trees an d fences. My plan ts h appily with stood win d speeds o f up to i7okm / h. I in corporated th e fallen spruces I foun d in to m y raised beds just as t h ey were. As th e oppor tu n ity was there, I d ecided to build a couple o f open shelters an d n ew paddocks for m y pigs ou t o f th e rem ain in g wood from th e fallen trees. It is always better to m ake th e best o f a situation in stead o f just com plain in g. Wood from trees blown down by storm s usually fetch es a low m arket price. W h en th ere is su d den ly so m u ch o f it, it is n orm ally ver y difficult to get a good

O n th e K ra m e te rh o f, w e in c o rp o r a te d th e fa lle n s p ru c e trees in to a n u m b e r o f structures. They w e re u sed o n la n d th a t w e b o u g h t fro m A u stria n F e d e ra l Forests in 1988 w h ic h has n o t y e t b e e n r e c u ltiv a te d . S h o w n in th e p h o to : sp ru c e tre e trunks used to te rra c e a n d b u ild a raised b e d .

A n o th e r w a y to use th e tre e trunks: b u ild in g n e w paddocks and o p e n structures fo r pigs a n d c a ttle . The structures c a n also b e used fo r shelter, s to ra g e o r to g ro w m ushroom s.

36

Landscape Design

price for th e wood at all. In addition to that, a great deal o f useful tim ber is lost, because th e tree trun ks have sn apped in th e m iddle. Th e large n u m ber o f fallen trees m akes it dan gerous as well as expen sive to get veh icles in to rem ove them . Frequently, th e cost o f clearin g th e trees is greater th an th e m on ey m ade by sellin g th e wood. Th ese exam ples sh ould m ake it clear th at creativity an d im agin ation are

what you need most to build raised beds. The way you organise your land is
en tirely up to you. You on ly n eed to m ake sure th at it fulfils its purpose and th at th e areas wh ich require h arvestin g are easily accessible. It is also a good idea if possible - to build at least two raised beds n ext to each other. In th e h ollow between th e beds m oisture is retain ed for m u ch longer, wh ich is very useful durin g h ot sum m ers.

Designing a Raised Bed System


Before you start bu ild in g a raised bed system , you sh ould find ou t wh at direction the win d usually com es from and take n ote o f it. Th e sim plest way to do th is is to tie a strip o f m aterial to a tree or pole an d observe it regularly over a period o f tim e. You sh ould also ch eck it at n igh t. This way you can fin d ou t very qu ickly

RAISED BEDS ON SLOPES

CORRECT
The raised b e d s a re a t a n a n g le to th e slope. The b e d s w ill b e e v e n ly d is trib u te d w ith w a te r. The w a te r c a n b e a b s o rb e d a n d re ta in e d easily - th e re is n o d a n g e r o f c h a n n e llin g . Im a g e p .65 (b o tto m )

INCORRECT
Parallel w ith th e slo p e : th e raised b e d s a t th e to p w ill re c e iv e a n e xcessive a m o u n t o f w a te r (d a n g e r o f la n dslides), w h ilst th e lo w e r ones b e g in to d ry o u t.

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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

DESIGN IDEAS FOR RAISED BEDS


Course o f th e sun (East-West) W ind dire ctio n

A raised b e d used as a w in d b re a k, to keep o u t pollution a n d as a visual barrier, w hich ca n also b e h arvested; plants in a polycu ltu re with flow ering shrubs a n d fruit bushes. The raised b e d is stabilised b y d e e p -ro o te d plants.

The raised beds in th e m idd le o f th e system are positioned to c a tc h as m u ch sunlight as possible. The plants are in a polycu ltu re (here w ith v e g e ta b le s ). Herb spirals m ake an e xcelle nt a d d itio n to th e o th e r plants a n d m ake th e best use o f th e a v a ila b le sp ace .

wh ich direction th e win d com es from an d wh ich areas are th e win diest. If necessary, a win dbr eak can be pu t up aroun d th e system or th e en tire system o f raised beds could be position ed again st th e win d an d used as a win dbreak itself. I fin d th at raised beds plan ted with fruit bushes and tall-growin g plan ts like sunflowers, J erusalem artichokes, or hem p m ake th e best win dbreaks. I build th ese beds to a h eigh t o f at least 1.5 m etres. Th ey are exactly like norm al raised beds, except th at I m ake th e sides a little steeper. This way th e beds will n ot com pact so qu ickly u n d er th e increased pressure. W ith raised beds th at are h igh er th an three m etres, I pu t a narrow terrace on th e top. This m akes m an agin g an d h arvestin g th e bed easier. Th e higher th e bed is, th e m ore space will be taken up and you will n eed to allow for this in you r plans. Raised beds n ot on ly m ake good win dbreaks, but also m ake excellen t visual barriers and keep out n oise and pollution . Frequently, it is en ou gh just to have th ese win dbreaks surroun din g th e system . I can also an gle th e beds to give th em m ore sun light. On steep slopes this is n ot so easy, because you also have to take in to accoun t wh ere th e surface water drains. W it h raised beds on h ills it is ver y im p or tan t to pay atten tion to th e flow o f water wit h in th e system . Th e beds m u st n ot be parallel to th e slope, oth erwise th ose at th e top o f th e h ill will absorb all o f th e water wh en it rains, wh ilst th e bed s at th e bottom will, in th e wor st case, begin to d r y out. Water m u st be su pplied even ly to all o f th e beds. Th e water m u st n ot be allowed to ch an n el eith er or it cou ld lead to lan dslides. Th e align m en t o f th e bed s in r elation to

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t h e h ill sh ou ld be d eterm in ed by th e course rain water takes d own th e slope. A system o f raised bed s can be bu ilt by h an d or wit h a m ech an ical digger, alth ough on ly relatively sm all m aterial can be in corporated into th e beds wh en t h ey are bu ilt with ou t u sin g m achinery. As m y experien ce has led m e to favour bu lky m aterials for con str u ctin g raised beds, diggers are in dispen sable for me. I use th e digger to m ake a d itch 1 - 1.5m deep and aroun d 1.5 - 2m wide. I carefully rem ove th e h u m u s layer and separate it. Th en I place shrubs and trees alon g wit h th eir roots in to th e ditch. On top o f th at I loosely heap a m ixture o f earth, fin e organ ic m aterial and turf. Finally, I take th e h um us th at was rem oved and place it over th e bed. If th ere are no trees or shrubs to use for th e bed, I have to m ake do with turf. H avin g addition al organ ic m aterial brough t in from elsewhere wou ld waste far too m u ch tim e and energy. Th e sides o f th e raised beds should, depen din g on th e m aterial, be at an angle o f at least 45 degrees. I have had good results with even steeper beds o f 60 to 70 degrees on h eavy loam . Even with a bed m ade en tirely o f earth, a steeper angle m akes sense. W it h som e m aterials it is n ecessary to heap th e earth as steeply as possible, as high as it can be and still hold together. W h en I am visitin g oth er farm s or givin g advice, I see far too m an y raised beds th at are m uch too flat. Th ey ask m e wh y th e bed is n ot growin g as well as th ey had hoped. Th e answer is sim ple: th e an gle o f th e sides is too shallow, so th e beds becom e com pacted. Th e supply o f oxygen is decreased, th e process o f d ecom position is in terrupted and, if n ot dealt with , a fou l-sm ellin g an aerobic sludge can build up, wh ich has a negative effect on th e plants. In addition , th e plan ts will not be able to establish th eir roots properly, becau se th e groun d is too com pacted and th ey will begin to wilt. People con tin ue to m ake raised beds th at are too flat, wh ich m akes it all th e m ore im portan t for m e to em phasise th is poin t right now. W it h wet, h eavy soils it is a good idea to pu t in a drainage system to preven t water from buildin g up. A French drain can be used to do this. W ith d ry and sandy soils, on th e oth er hand, it is im portan t to keep water with in th e raised bed for as lon g as possible. Th is will h appen autom atically with ou t an y addition al water bein g diverted, as it will collect n aturally in th e h ollow between two beds and in th e cen tre o f th e bed as th e bu lky m aterial rots down. Coverin g th e surface o f th e bed wit h m u lch will also stop plan ts from d ryin g out wh en th ey are takin g root and are vuln erable. W h en th e seeds have been sown an d th e plan ts are developin g, keepin g th e soil covered will stop th em from d ryin g ou t too m uch. Crops th at are n ot harvested an d oth er self-set or wild plan ts can be left on th e bed as m ulch, wh ich will develop slowly in to a rich layer o f hum us. H avin g deep, coarse h um us and keepin g th e soil covered are th e best ways to retain m oisture. Th e h eigh t o f th e beds depen ds on person al preferen ce. I usually create beds wit h a h eigh t o f between 1 - 1.5m. Th is allows people o f average h eigh t to harvest th e beds wit h ou t difficulty.

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A stone path. Plant cover, possibly m ade up of various kinds of clover and thyme th a t is suitable for walking on, makes for a pleasant path to harvest the bed from.

Managing Raised Beds


It is best to sow and plan t raised beds as soon as th ey are created. As th e soil has on ly just been piled up it is still ver y loose and has n ot yet begu n to settle. Plants fin d it easier to establish them selves an d take root in loose soil. Seeds fall th rough th e loose soil and are n ot blown away by th e win d so easily. Th e rain will n ot wash th em away, bu t in stead wash th em further into th e bed. So as not to h in der th is effect, th e beds should n ot be sm ooth ed over. If you are plan n in g to successively crop vegetables and fruit bushes, you should, if possible, plan t th e bush es on top o f th e raised bed. Th e vegetables below can th en be reached quite easily. Organ isin g th e crops in th is way is a particularly good idea in warm , sun n y clim ates, on d ry soils and wh en cu ltivatin g plan ts th at n eed partial shade. Selectin g wh ich fruit bush es to use and th e in tervals at wh ich th ey are plan ted allows you to regulate th e am ou n t o f shade. It is also possible to com bin e th em with fruit trees if you wan t th e wh ole system to be in shade. Fruit trees and bush es can also be plan ted between th e beds. Th e distan ce between th e in dividual beds can be altered to suit wh at is bein g grown . W h en you are d esign in g a raised bed you should always take into
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Landscape Design

Raised b e d s o n th e K ra m e te rh o f in w inter.

accoun t h ow you are p lan n in g to m an age th e bed an d wh at equ ipm en t you will be u sin g to do this. Oth er wise th ere m ay be som e un pleasan t surprises later on. For exam ple, if I wan t to use a tractor to harvest th e fruit, I have to allow en ough space for a path between th e beds for th e tractor to travel along. Th is path could, for exam ple, be plan ted with differen t varieties o f clover for plan t cover. Raised beds are suited to growin g all kin ds o f vegetables: peas, beans, salad, tom atoes, radishes, cucum bers, carrots, courgettes, pum pkin s, p otatoes and m an y others. Th e m aterial breakin g d own in th e cen tre o f th e bed provides th e plan ts with plen ty o f n utrien ts and th e plan t growth will be lush. Th e am oun t o f tim e th e n utrien ts last or h ow qu ickly th ey are used up depen ds on wh at th e cen tre o f th e bed is m ade of. If a raised bed is m ade o f ch ipped wood, wh ich breaks down quickly, a large am ou n t o f n utrien ts will be released in th e first year. To make th e m ost of this I select plan ts th at dem an d a very high n u trien t conten t: pum pkins, courgettes, cucum bers, cabbages, tom atoes, sweetcorn, celery and potatoes to nam e a few. In beds like th ese it is better to cultivate less dem an din g plan ts like beans, peas an d strawberries after th ree years. If th ey are plan ted any earlier th ey m igh t becom e overfertilised. Overfertilised plan ts do n ot develop a good flavour. W ith som e plan ts - e.g. spin ach - n itrates can also build up in th e leaves o f th e plan t, wh ich can be dan gerous to on es h ealth if eaten. Raised beds con stru cted with bulky m aterial such as wh ole tree trun ks do n ot develop a particularly h igh n u tr ien t con ten t in th e first year. Th e bu lky m aterial rots down ver y slowly. However, th e supply o f n utrien ts will be steady for m an y years and th ere is hardly an y dan ger o f overfertilisin g with in th e first
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year. To use a raised bed in th e m ost effective way, you should take in to accoun t th e n utrition al n eeds o f th e plants. I deal wit h an y un wan ted plan ts as I wan der aroun d th e farm. I sim ply pull th em up an d leave th em th ere wit h th eir roots facin g up. If th e weath er is very dry and it is aroun d midday, th en th is is even m ore effective, becau se th e plan ts dry out an d do n ot take r oot again. Mulchin g, in oth er words spreadin g straw, hay, leaves or sim ilar organ ic matter, is a good way to keep th ese un wan ted plan ts in check; it also keeps th e soil covered an d retain s m oisture. From th e secon d year, pigs can be allowed on th e raised beds for a little tim e to graze after th e harvest. As th ey search for food, t h ey will till th e beds and leave m an ure. Th e best fruit and vegetables sh ould be harvested, bu t en ough should be left for th e pigs. Th ey sh ould have som eth in g to m otivate th em and m ake th em happy. If too m an y pigs are allowed to graze in a sm all area, th ey can do a great deal o f dam age. Th e n um ber o f pigs an d th e am ou n t o f tim e th ey are allowed to graze m u st be determ in ed by th e available space. W h en th ey have worked th e soil, it is in th e perfect con d ition for sowing. Depen d in g on th e weath er and h ow th ey are used, th e raised beds flatten gradually over th e years. Th ey are th en eith er rebuilt or replaced.

Pick-Your-Own
Man y people are begin n in g to th in k about th e quality o f their food and wh er e it com es from . Th e tren d for bu yin g th e ch eapest possible food is wan in g and n ow people wan t to bu y food t h at is organ ically grown . Th e m arket has picked up on th is qu ickly an d has produced m an y item s wit h th e word organ ic on th em an d developed n ew organ ic bran ds . Th e fact th at n ot everythin g, wh ich has th e word organ ic on it, is actually organ ically grown is n ow well known . This is wh y m an y people n ow wan t to be able to harvest organ ically grown food for them selves, especially if th ey can com bin e it wit h a pleasan t day out. An appropriately design ed raised bed system can m ake an excellen t and relaxin g pick-your-own area. By h arvestin g food for them selves, th e visitors feel con n ected wit h n ature an d can con vin ce th em selves o f th e high quality o f th e produce. Th is also has m an y advan tages for th e farmer: no addition al wor k is required to harvest, clean, tran sport an d store th e produce. As everyth in g th at is h arvested also has to be paid for, any loss caused by havin g to store u n purch ased produce is avoided. Th e visitors will usually take m ore th an th ey origin ally in ten ded to as t h ey wan der th rou gh th e pick-your-own area an d see h ow won d er fu lly everyth in g grows. Man y people start m akin g juices an d jam s even th ou gh th ey have no garden s o f th eir own. As th e visitors see th at th ey are gettin g gen uin e organ ically grown produce, it will fetch a good price. Raised bed s are especially suitable for pick-your-own areas, because th e shape o f th e beds m akes it very easy to lead th e visitors alon g a design ated path. I cultivate th e plan ts and fruit th at I wan t to offer on lon g raised beds r un n in g parallel to each other. Th e bed s could also form a circle or a spiral. It is
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Landscape Design

PICK-YOUR-OWN
O ne possible design is a system w he re high qua lity fo o d c a n b e harvested, c o m b in e d w ith a ple a sa nt d a y o u t tor th e w h o le fam ily.

Half - w a y through there is a large rest a rea w here visitors c a n stop for a w hile to e njoy th e w a te r gard e n , a n d n ea rb y nature a n d a d ve n tu re pla yg ro un d .

Small p on d w ith fountain

Raised beds

Entrance a n d exit w ith scales a n d cash register

Steep raised beds are a t the p e rfe c t heig h t for visitors to harvest: for children a n d adults as w ell as p e o p le w h o use w heelchairs.

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a good idea to m ake th e sides o f th e beds relatively steep, so t h at visitors can n ot clim b over th em . Ch ildren will also find it easy to reach and h arvest th e lower h a lf o f th e beds. Even people wh o use wh eelch air s can easily h arvest fruit and vegetables from where t h ey are sitting. Ad u lts can h arvest th e upper h a lf o f th e beds wit h ou t havin g to ben d down. I fin d it best to place th e beds close en ough togeth er so th at people have to m ove in sin gle file. At th e en d th ere could be an area wh ere th e produce is weigh ed an d paid for. Custom ers n eed n ot be charged for wh at t h ey eat on th eir way th rou gh th e pick-your-own area. W h en run n in g a pick-your-own it is very im portan t to have sign s up clarifyin g th at everyth in g harvested - apart from th e food eaten alon g th e way as just m en tion ed - m ust be paid for. Ch ildren in particular ten d to harvest far m ore th an th eir paren ts can possibly use. A trip to th e pick-your-own becom es an appetisin g walk th at can be experi en ced th rou gh all th e senses. Design in g th e area leaves plen ty o f room for n ew ideas. For instance: abou t h a lf way th rou gh th e pick-your-own th ere could be a rest area n ext to a water garden; a good opportu n ity to take a break. Near th e rest area th ere m igh t be a herb spiral wh ere th e visitors can p ick fresh herbs to have with th eir packed lun ches. Th e ch ildren can tire th em selves ou t playin g on th e tree trun ks, in th e earth shelters an d livin g willow dom es in th e n ature and adven ture playgroun d nearby. You could also pu t in a coun ter wh er e visitors can buy h om em ad e produce (vinegar, herb oil, spirits, juice, jam etc.). W h en d esign in g a rest area you should n ot forget to plan t plen ty o f trees to provide shade. Pergolas can also wor k well here. If th ere are plen ty o f sweet-sm ellin g flowerin g plan ts nearby, th en th e trip will becom e an u n forgettable day ou t and th e visitors will h appily m ake th e jou r n ey to th e pick-your-own . O f course there does n ot have to be a rest area if you do n ot wan t you r visitors to stay for long. In an y case, it is a good idea to provide places to sit down, e.g. a rustic ben ch m ade o f logs, becau se som e people are n ot so good on th eir feet. Before you begin wor k on th e beds, you should find out wh at kin d o f herbs, fruits and vegetables are gen erally grown in th e area, so th at you can find a n ich e for your own crops, wh ich en sures you will have a com m ercial advan tage. In m y experience, un usual varieties are always in dem an d, wh eth er th ey are fruit, vegetables, salad or herbs. I get r equests for m y n ew variety o f purple potato from all over Austria. By cu ltivatin g an d propagatin g th ese un u su al varieties, you will be m akin g a substan tial con tr ibution towards m ain tain in g th e diversity o f cultivated plants.

W aterscapes
Th e use an d m an agem en t o f water is one o f th e m ost im portan t areas o f H olzer perm aculture. Water is life, so it is o f great im portan ce to deal wit h this resource carefully. Unfortunately, th ese days very little th ou gh t is given to water
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Landscape Design

W a te rs c a p e o n th e K ra m e te rh o f.

con servation an d u sin g water carefully in agriculture. In th e past, we ten ded to treat water wit h great respect eith er for fin an cial reason s or just ou t o f instin ct. Man y mod er n agricultural tech n iqu es have led to th e problem s we are dealin g wit h today. People are aban d on in g th e cu ltivation o f sm all-scale plots o f land, gru bbin g ou t h edges an d creatin g th e m an -m ade steppes o f th e m on ocultu re lan dscape. Th ese areas do n ot just lose h u m u s to stron g win ds; th ey also d ry ou t m u ch m ore quickly. In m ost o f th em th e water table sinks con stan tly an d an y water th at is left can on ly be accessed wit h th e frequen t use o f a pum p. Th e water is usually so con tam in ated by th e large am oun ts o f fertiliser an d pesticides th at it is no lon ger suitable for drin kin g. Trees n ext to stream s are often felled to m ake room for just a few m ore square m etres o f cultivated lan d. Th is m ean s th at th ere is little left to stop fertilisers an d pesticid es from r each in g th e watercourse. Drain age an d straigh ten in g stream s also have a substan tial im pact on nature. Th e straigh ten in g an d ch an n ellin g o f stream s has a large in fluen ce on natural flora an d fauna. It is m y opin ion th at th ese tech n iqu es frequen tly have th e opposite effect to th at wh ich was origin ally in ten ded. Nature will n ot be boxed in or subjugated. A stream th at can no lon ger flood th e lan d at its headwater durin g h eavy rains will carry th e water further down stream wh er e m u ch greater flood in g will in evitably occur. In th e future, we will n eed to take a step back and recon sider our approach, becau se th ese problem s will n ot be solved if we con tin u e to act as we have d on e so far.
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Sepp Holzers Permaculture

Perm aculture prin ciples lead u s to use water as wisely an d carefully as p os sible. In a perm aculture lan dscape every resource an d advan tage is m ade use o f exactly wh er e it is. Th is is wh y I often con sider drainage to be a bad idea. Wh er ever water is foun d is wh er e it sh ould be m ade use of. If I wa n t to m ake m on ey ou t o f wetlan d s I do n ot drain th em , in stead I cultivate plan ts like orchids or a var iety o f aquatic an d m arsh plan ts t h at prefer dam p or wet con dition s. Takin g th e n ext step an d p u ttin g in a water garden or pon d will require on ly a m in im al am ou n t o f en ergy if th ey are placed in areas t h at are n aturally dam p or wet. By d oin g th in gs th is way an d payin g atten tion to th e n atural con d ition s o f th e lan d I have always had excellen t results. I also t r y to keep water on m y lan d for as lon g as possible an d m ake as m uch use o f it as I can on th e Kram eterhof. From th e upper bou n d ar y o f th e farm (1,500m above sea level) to th e valley (1,100m) th e water is used for a n um ber o f differen t purposes: th e sprin gs are used for d rin kin g water an d are also used to feed th e pon ds an d water gardens. Th ese pon ds are placed th r ou gh ou t th e en tire farm and m ost o f th em are con n ected. In total, a n etwor k o f 60 ponds, water gardens, wetlan d s and d itch es covers th e Kram eterhof. Th ey allow m e to breed fish, crayfish and m ussels as well as cultivate m an y differen t aquatic plants. Ducks and geese can also be kept on th e pon ds quite happily. Areas o f water also provide a n um ber o f advan tages th at are n ot so obvious. Wetlan ds, water garden s an d pon ds provide a h abitat for in n um erable useful creatures such as sn akes an d am phibian s. Th ey are som e o f m y h ardest workers an d th e pon ds en sure th at th ere are m ore th an en ou gh o f them . Th ese workers play an im por tan t part in th e regulation o f so-called pests . Th e toad (Bufo bufo) is particularly useful, becau se its favoured prey is th e dreaded Span ish slug (Arion vulgaris). An oth er advan tage o f waterscapes is th e positive effect th ey have on crops. Large areas o f water help to balan ce ou t tem perature fluctuation s on th e h ills n ext to th em by reflectin g sun ligh t an d releasin g stored heat. Th ey

T a d p o le s in a s h a llo w a re a o f w a te r.

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Landscape Design

increase th e m oisture levels in th e soil an d create useful m icroclim ates th rough evaporation . We even use water power on th e Krameterhof: th e farm reaches from 1,100m to 1,500m above sea level, so I can use th e height difference to create en ergy in an en viron m en tally friendly way. I built two small generators using old Pelton wheels, wh ich are fed from th e pon ds through a pen stock. Th e height difference of, in this case, around 100 m etres (10 bars) allows m e to supply th e wh ole farm with electricity. I have already described h ow to construct a generator o f this kind in detail, with all th e bureaucratic obstacles it entails, in m y book The Rebel Farmer. I also m ake use o f oth er m ore tradition al ways o f u tilisin g water power. I have two m ills wh ich are driven by water wheels. Th ere is also a hydraulic ram in use on th e farm. It is powered usin g water from th e pon d and, u sin g th e pressure difference, it pum ps drin kin g water wit h ou t n eedin g an y extra energy. Th e drive water con stan tly stretches a m em bran e inside th e apparatus as it pulses. Th is way drin kin g water is pu m ped up th rou gh a delivery pipe to th e m ou n tain pasture. It provides up to 15 bars o f pressure. Th e flow rate ratio is 1:10. To pum p on e litre o f drin kin g water I n eed 10 litres o f drive water. Apart from creatin g energy, th ese system s also have th e advan tage th at th ey all release cool, oxygen-rich water back in to m y fish ponds. Th is allows me to keep trout in th e lower, warm er pon ds with ou t difficulty. Th e su bject o f aquaculture is so broad th at it cou ld fill an en tire book on its own. Th is m eans th at I will on ly be able to cover som e o f th e basic prin ciples in th e followin g section.

Building Water Gardens and Ponds


Before you build a pon d or water garden it is im portan t to have a clear idea o f wh at it will be used for. For each fu n ction you will n eed to take differen t th in gs in to con sideration . A pon d for fish or crayfish has ver y differen t requirem en ts from a water garden for aquatic plan ts or a natural pool for bathin g. O f course, it is possible to com bin e all o f th ese fun ction s, but you will have to take th is into accoun t from th e outset. As it would go beyon d th e scope o f this book to discuss th ese poin ts in greater detail, I will explain m y m eth od s u sin g th e exam ple o f a pon d an d its m an y possible uses on th e Kram eterhof. Th e m ost reliable exam ple o f a fun ction in g, ecologically valu able an d vis u ally pleasin g pon d is foun d in nature. So if you decide to build a pon d, you sh ould take a good look at a natural bod y o f water first. This is th e on ly way th at you can get a good grasp o f th e basics an d you will also find a con stan t source o f ideas an d possible designs. A pon d can on ly fulfil its purpose on ce it has developed in to a fu n ction in g ecosystem th at can be used sim ply an d wit h little expen diture o f energy. My experien ce wit h bu ild in g pon ds stretches ba ck for 40 years. I m ade m y first sm all pon d usin g just m y bare hands. In tim e, I learn ed from these experien ces an d wen t on to build larger an d larger ponds. Do n ot forget th at
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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

you will still n eed approval from th e water regulatory authority, wh ich u sually involves havin g a stability survey carried out. I th in k t h at it is im portan t to start sm all so th at you can gain plen ty o f experien ce for yourself. However, if you wan t to bu ild a large pon d straight away you will n eed to con sult an experien ced profession al. I begin b y surveyin g th e site for th e pon d. I take n ote o f th e soil conditions, topograph y (position in relation to th e terrain) an d an y water th at is present. Th e topograph y is im portan t for th e stability o f th e pond. Buildin g th e pon d in th e proper way will preven t it from leakin g or slidin g. It is vital to get a good idea o f th e soil con dition s an d to fin d out if th ere are an y parts o f th e lan d th at are n aturally wet or areas wh ere a lan dslide has already occurred. Naturally occurrin g water is a real advan tage wh en bu ild in g a pon d. O f course, water can also be fed in to th e pon d, bu t this requires con siderably m ore work. If th ere are no springs an d th e groun d water can n ot be used, you can always m ake a pon d th at is fed b y rainwater. However, th ese pon ds are gen erally m ore suitable for aquatic plants. Fish and crayfish require a con stan t exchan ge o f water, becau se th ey n eed it to be fresh an d rich in oxygen. Th e shape o f th e pon d m ust look as natural as possible. It is im portan t to have a well-stru ctu red pon d wit h both deep an d sh allow areas. This m akes it possible to have a fu n ction in g ecosystem , as differen t plan ts an d anim als also n eed differen t habitats. Th e better th e pon d is structured, th e greater th e n um ber o f fu n ction s it can fulfil. Sh allow areas create a h abitat for a large

This p o n d a t 1,500m a b o v e sea le ve l o n th e K ra m e te rh o f is used fo r g ro w in g a q u a tic p la n ts a n d k e e p in g fish a n d crayfish, as w e ll as fo r b a th in g .

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Landscape Design

variety o f plan ts and anim als and allow m an y differen t kin ds o f fish to reproduce naturally. This also roun ds th e pon d out n icely an d m akes it easier to clim b in an d out for bathin g. Deeper areas o f water are also required so t h at th e fish can h ibern ate an d in order to preven t aqu atic plan ts from becom in g overgrown . Most o f th e invasive plan ts grow to a d epth o f arou n d two m etres. If I wan t to preven t th e pon d from becom in g overgrown , I m ake part o f th e p on d abou t th ree m etres deep with a sharp drop from th e sh allow area. Th is creates a barrier th e plan ts will n ot be able to pen etrate. Th is is on ly on e exam ple o f h ow a well t h ou gh t-ou t plan can save a great deal o f tim e an d effort later on. Deeper areas o f water are also im por tan t for balan cin g out th e tem perature in th e pon d. Th ey m ake it possible for th e fish to ch oose between warm an d cold water accord in g to th eir needs. On ce I have a good idea o f th e local con dition s an d have d ecided on th e shape and size o f m y pon d, th e wor k can begin. First o f all, th e rough shape o f th e pon d is dug out. Th e size and type o f m ach in er y th at I use depen ds on th e terrain and th e size o f th e pond. Sm all wetlan ds can be m ade by hand, whereas larger projects will require a m ech an ical digger. W h en bu ild in g th e walls o f th e pon d it is im portan t to separate th e coarse from th e fine m aterial. To do th is th e m aterial is h eaped into a tall pile. Th e coarse m aterial will roll away to th e sides and th e fine m aterial will stay in th e m iddle. Th e pon d walls are n ow m ade from 30 to 50 cm t h ick layers o f fin e m aterial an d tam ped down. W it h larger pon ds

Finished p o n d o n th e K ra m e te rh o f.

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th e layers sh ould be com pacted with a digger. Th e coarse m aterial can be used later on for stabilisin g th e walls and banks. Islands an d small biotopes can also be m ade in th e pond. On ce I am happy with th e shape o f th e pond, it m ust be sealed. Water is fed into th e pon d un til the digger is stan din g in 30 to 40 cm o f water. Th en a sm all excavator bu cket vibrates th e subsoil from h a lf a m etre to a m etre deep. Th e depth depen ds on th e local soil conditions. Th e excavator bu cket is in serted in to th e earth and vibrated, wh ich m akes th e fine m aterial sink and m akes th e base o f the pon d watertight. Th e effect is sim ilar to vibratin g concrete. To get th e m ost use out o f th e pond later on, a stan dpipe is put in at th e deepest poin t o f th e pon d durin g con str u c tion . Th e water level can th en be regulated sim ply by adjustin g th e h eigh t of the pipe. This way the pon d can be drained at any tim e to harvest th e fish and plants. In case o f h eavy rainfall, I always put in an em ergen cy overflow pipe. The pipe can take in large am oun ts o f water and allow it to drain away safely. This is th e m eth od I use on th e Kram eterhof. On loam soils th e m aterial does n ot n eed to be separated - except for th e h um us layer wh ich n eeds to
Stones used as a crossing a n d to store h e a t in a w a te r g a rd e n .

be carefully rem oved, separated and pu t back again afterwards wh en carryin g out any kin d o f work. Sealing th e pon d is also m uch easier with loam soils. I have already described th e particulars o f bu ild in g pon d walls in th e section Experiences with Different Types o f Soil .

Design Ideas
On ce th e pon d is finished, I begin to shape th e banks. To do this I use stones and tree stum ps. Stones risin g out o f th e water warm up in th e sun very quickly, wh ich raises th e water tem perature. In winter, this reduces th e len gth o f tim e the surface o f th e water is frozen and also reduces an y dan ger o f th e fish n ot gettin g

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Landscape Design

en ou gh oxygen. Water garden s con tain in g fish an d plan ts th at prefer warm con d ition s profit from th is m ost o f all. At this stage, I can let m y im agin ation r un wild an d m ake m y vision a reality. From picturesque, gn arled tree trunks, stone steps and crossin gs to bridges, everyth in g can be d on e at very little cost. Th e excavator just has to lay stones in th e shallows or ham m er logs in to th e base o f th e pon d as supports for a bridge. My m eth od for bu ild in g pon ds is com pletely at odds with con ven tion al m eth od s wh ere th e pon d is m ade water tigh t wit h a liner. I am con vin ced th at a wildlife pon d should n ot have a pon d lin er as it preven ts natural pon d life from developing. Th e vibr ation m eth od can be used on alm ost every kin d o f subsoil and is usually cheaper th an bu ild in g a pon d wit h a liner, becau se th e cost o f hirin g th e excavator is gen erally m u ch ch eaper th an th e cost o f th e lin er and un derlay required. I would also n ot be able to wor k with th is kin d o f pon d any further, because th e sh eetin g wou ld be too fragile an d easily dam aged. Growin g aquatic plan ts as well as ch an gin g th e shape o f th e pon d or wor kin g on it usin g m ech an ised equ ipm en t wou ld be ou t o f th e question.
Koi c a rp in a p o n d a t 1,500m a b o v e sea level.

Possible Uses
A pon d for aquatic plants, fish or crayfish does n ot have to be square or even m ade o f con crete to be used efficiently. Th e righ t way to create high quality produce is n ature s way. For exam ple, I have successfully kept brown trout (Salmo trutta), arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), carp (Cyprinus carpio), ten ch ( Tinea tinea), pike (Esox lucius), wels catfish (Silurus glanis), zan der (Sander lucioperca), koi carp, forage fish like roach (Rutilus rutilus), rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus) m in n ows (Phoxinus phoxinus) an d also European crayfish (Astacus astacus) an d swan m ussels (Anodonta cygnea) in m y pon ds and water gardens for decades.

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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

Y ellow irises, w h ite w a te r lilies a n d bulrushes in a w a te r g a rd e n .

I have also cultivated aquatic plan ts up to a h eigh t o f 1,500m above sea level such as: m an y different varieties o f wh ite water lily (Nymphaea alba), yellow water lily (Nuphar luteum), bulrushes ( Typha latifolia), sweet flag (Acorus calamus), fringed water lilies (Nymphoides peltata), water plan tain (Alism a plantagoaquatica), water soldier (Stratiotes aloides), m ares tail (Hippuris vulgaris), arrowhead (Sagittaria sagittifolia), yellow irises (Iris sp.) and m an y others. I grow th e plan ts in th e sh allow areas o f m y pon ds and in specially m ade ditches. As th ese d itch es are shallow, th e tem perature o f th e water is higher, providin g aquatic plants, wh ich prefer warm er tem peratures wit h th e perfect con dition s to grow. Th e plan ts can be easily h arvested from path s run n in g next to them . As I grow u n u su ally h ardy varieties with ou t fertilisers or an y addition al care, I can also replan t th em in very un favourable location s an d t h ey will thrive wh ere oth er plan ts would be u n likely to. W h en bu ild in g n ew pon ds an d wetlan ds I can m ake good use o f th ese tou gh an d h ardy plants. However, pon ds an d water gardens are m ore th an just a way o f m akin g money, t h ey also deligh t th e soul. Water is life. An yon e wh o has listen ed to th e frogs croakin g in th e even in g or just sat by th e side o f th e water qu ietly for a wh ile will kn ow why.

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2 Alternative Agriculture
Basic Ideas
In m y experien ce, a great deal o f th e problem s wit h con ven tion al agriculture are caused by th e d epen den ce o f m an y farm ers on subsidies, th e govern m en t and cooperatives. Th ey do this, becau se t h ey believe it will guide th em in th e right direction . However, this is u sually a terrible m istake, as th ese areas are frequen tly stron gly in fluen ced by agribusiness, agroch em icals an d th e lobbyists wor kin g for them . Th e train in g given in m an y agricultural schools, colleges an d un iversity courses often seem s to be on e-sided an d focused on fulfillin g th e requirem en ts, wish es an d dem an ds o f agricultural lobbyists. Scien tific research projects are supported by wealth y com pan ies an d guid ed in a direction th at suits them . Th ere seem s to be very little fun din g available for research in to th e prin ciples and practice o f sustain able farm ing, perm aculture an d th e in teraction s between differen t plan t com m un ities. This is becau se th ese prin ciples wou ld n ot help to increase th e use o f pesticides, ch em ical fertilisers and specialised techn ology, in fact, t h ey wou ld m in im ise it. Th ere are m ore an d m ore people followin g th e path o f con flict in stead o f acceptin g n ature in all its diversity. Th e b elief th at n ature can be im proved upon an d so-called pests sh ould be fou gh t again st is a m istake. W h en an im balan ce em erges, we have to establish th e source o f th e pr oblem and n ot just treat th e sym ptom s. In th e m ajority o f cases, th e specialisation an d m odern isation o f farm in g practices has n ot given farm ers th e advan tages th ey hoped for. It has on ly forced farm ers - wh o were still well respected wh en I was a child - to rely on subsidiary in com e to keep th em selves in business. Man y farm ers n ow grow large quan tities o f a far narrower range o f crops. To do th is th ey n eed to invest in expensive buildin gs for anim als, an d crops, and specialist equ ipm en t an d m achinery, wh ich can usually on ly be u sed for on e purpose. This specialisation m akes it difficult to react to th e m arket an d un foreseeable changes. Th e produce is usually m arketed by a bu lk buyer wh o decides th e price an d con d ition s o f purchase. This results in a on e-way depen den ce. Ch an gin g to an oth er way o f farm in g is usually difficult for th ese farmers, becau se t h ey gen erally have a large n um ber o f com m itm en ts like subsidy con tracts an d agricultural credit. Even in vestm en ts, wh ich have already been m ade, m ake farm ers reluctan t to ch an ge th eir m ethods, because th ere wou ld su d den ly be no use for th e n ew bu ild in g th at can h old a hun dred fatten in g pigs. So th ey go on as t h ey did before an d th ey rem ain at th e m er cy o f th e m arket an d subsidy cutbacks. W h en th ere is a shortage o f money, m an y

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farm ers t r y to com pen sate for it by in creasin g production . This is com pletely th e wr on g approach! On e o f th e biggest problem s is th at so m an y farm ers are fixated on subsidies. Con trary to all o f th e prom ises, it should be clear to anyon e th at th e subsidy system , as it exists today, will n ot last. Subsidies should never be th e m ain source o f in com e for a business! Th e ben eficiaries o f in dustrialised agriculture are cooperatives, com pan ies an d lobbyists for agroch em icals an d agribusiness, bu t n ot farmers. We are n ow fam iliar wit h th e full con sequen ces o f this: in ten sive livestock farm ing, grou n d water pollu tion and con tam in ated food to n am e bu t a few. We desperately n eed to chan ge th e way we thin k. Th e on es wh o suffer from this developm en t m ost are th e farm ers fam ilies, wh o often can n ot cope wit h th e strain an y m ore - and n aturally th e livestock suffer as well, as t h ey are forced to eke ou t a pitiful existence. Fortunately, a brave few leave th e path o f convention al agriculture and dare to follow their own ideas and vision. This is wh y it is so im portan t to have courage and determ ination . If you are used to doin g all o f your work by followin g pat tern s and recipes you will find that this path towards a n ew and genuine in d e pen den ce takes som e gettin g used to. You will have to m ake all o f your decisions for yourself. W h at your n eighbours are doin g is not necessarily right for you quite th e contrary: wh at everyone around you is curren tly growing or breedin g is already available in abun dan ce and is therefore no lon ger interesting as a product. This m eth od also requires courage, but it is worth it if you proceed cautiously but with determ ination . Ecological farm in g can also m ake sense econom ically, as the Kram eterhof shows. Before th e business began to offer training an d excursions, it was a full-tim e farm. However, I would not advise anyone to try th e sam e strategy, because it is your own strengths and interests that help a farm to grow and n oth ing else. There are plen ty o f n iches in th e market. You on ly need to use your in tui tion and take a good look around you. It is im portan t to rem ain flexible and not to invest m on ey in rigid farm in g m ethods th at will becom e unprofitable the secon d th e m arket changes. My experiences and ideas alon g with th e old farm in g m eth ods that I wan t to bring back should en courage you to th in k and act in depen d en tly again. Th e goal is to find alternative farm in g m ethods for your farm th at are based on natural cycles and allow you to live in peace and harm on y with nature. Th e basis for farm in g is th e fer tility o f th e soil. In th e n ext section I will discuss th is topic in greater detail.

Soil Fertility
A h ealth y soil th at is rich in m icroorgan ism s is a fertile soil. Th is is a fact th at a farm er sh ould never forget, because it is th e m ain requirem en t for successful farm ing. If th is is always en sured t h en th e farm will always rem ain flexible. You m u st pay atten tion to natural processes an d t r y to m ake use o f them . If you treat t h e lan d wit h care n ature will wor k for you. I wan t to stress th at it is vital for
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Alternative Agriculture

A m ix e d c r o p o f s o il-im p ro vin g p la n ts.

our attitudes to ch an ge in th is area. En ough dam age has already been caused by con ven tion al m on ocultu re farm in g m eth od s an d th e excessive am oun ts o f pesticides an d fertilisers required to m ain tain them . Th e soil should n ot be seen purely as a pr od u ction plan t, it is a diverse and sensitive ecosystem . In num erable creatures play a part in m ain tain in g th is system . It is on ly wit h th eir help th at t h e soil will rem ain fertile an d o f use to us. Every plan t has its own requirem en ts and affects its surroun din gs and th e soil in a differen t way. If there is on ly one kin d o f plan t growin g in a certain area, th en th e dem an ds on th e soil are un balan ced. If th e crop is harvested com pletely, th e n utrien t con ten t o f th e soil will becom e lower and lower un til it is com pletely exhausted an d on ly large am oun ts o f fertiliser will briefly m ake it suitable for growin g again. Th en th e topsoil will be left bare th rough th e harsh winter, wh ich m akes it even m ore difficult for th e m icroorgan ism s in th e soil to thrive, assum in g th ey have n ot already been killed off by th e chem icals. If th e exhausted soil is to be regenerated, we have to look after th e soil life first. Th e creatures livin g in th e soil - earthworm s, bacteria an d fun gi am on g others - are th e key to h ealth y soil. In order to provide th em with th e right en viron m en t, it is im portan t to avoid u sin g pesticides and ch em ical fertilisers. Th e com m on practice o f deep plou gh in g in th e autum n causes th e soil to freeze and th ey both in tur n destroy n ot on ly th e soil life, but also th e natural layering and th e build-up o f hum us. If you leave these areas fallow for a wh ile, th ey usually regenerate on th eir own. This process o f regen eration is self-supportin g. By growin g plan ts th at im prove th e soil, nature can be h elped an d th en n ature will start to take care o f itself.

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Green M anure
Th e correct plan ts to select n aturally depen d on th e curren t state o f th e soil. I t r y to br in g th e n u trien t con ten t in overfertilised areas back in to balan ce u sin g very d em an din g plan ts. I f I wan t to recultivate con tam in ated or exh austed soil, I have to take care o f th e soil life first. In th ese areas it is particularly im portan t to get a good layer o f hum us. Th is is wh y I tr y to use as m u ch biom ass on th e soil as possible. A good m ixture o f green m an ure crops is very im portan t, so t h at th e in dividual plan ts can propagate them selves. Th is in creases th e stability o f th e system an d also its value for th e soil, soil life an d ben eficial insects. W h en biom ass is left on th ese areas it ben efits th e soil an d th e soil life. Th e slow d ecom position o f th e green m an ure crops in autu m n an d win ter builds up a productive layer o f soil, wh ich will be well supported by th e regenerative power o f nature. Th e biom ass an d th e loosen in g o f th e soil (caused by th e rootsystem s from th e plan ts in troduced) leads to a good soil structure, wh ich is th e m ost

C o lo u rfu l m ixture o f g re e n m a n u re c ro p s o n a te rra c e .

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im portan t requirem en t for good general plan t growth. An add ition al advan tage is th at a plot o f land worked in th is way always provides a large am ou n t o f groun d cover. Th is pr otects th e soil from extrem e weath er (wind, storm s, rain, h eat and sun) an d th e plan ts will retain water an d nutrien ts. Th e plan t cover works like a qu ilt an d protects th e soil from frost, so th at it freezes m u ch later and th e frost does n ot reach as far in to th e soil. Th is m ean s th at th e soil life can con tin ue wor kin g in th e topsoil up un til late autu m n an d con tin ue in to winter. As I walk aroun d th e farm, I regularly ch eck th e con dition o f th e soil in differen t places th r ou gh ou t autum n and winter. I f I can dig up earth th at has n ot frozen yet from ben eath th e snow, it is a sure sign o f a job well don e.

Green Manure Crops


Above all others, legum es m ake th e greatest con tr ibution to soil im provem en t. W ith th eir varied an d distin ctive rootsystem s (from sh allow to deep roots) th ey can grow in very differen t areas. Th e greatest advan tage o f legum es is th at th ey can fix n itrogen with th e help o f bacteria and release it into th e soil. Th e bacteria (prim arily types o f Rhizobium) live in close sym biosis with th e plan ts rootsystem and create root nodules. In th e root n odules nitrogen, wh ich is abu n d an t in th e air, is fixed and released in to th e plan ts n u trien t cycle. In return, th e bacte ria receive carbohydrates from th e plan t, wh ich h elps th em to grow. Th is sym bi otic relation ship offers th e bacteria n oth in g but advan tages. On ce th e plan t dies it rots down in to n utrien t-rich hum us. After this, th ere are far m ore Rhizobia in th e soil th an there were originally, so it is n ot on ly th e origin al sym biotic part ners th at profit from th e action o f legum es, bu t also th e en tire area. Th e best-kn own m em bers o f th is fam ily o f plan ts belon g to th e sub-fam ily Faboideae. Th is plan t fam ily is ver y large an d is fou n d all over th e world. Th an ks

Lupins im p ro v in g th e soil.

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to their sym biotic relation sh ip with bacteria th ey grow well on dry an d nitrogenpoor soil. Som e o f th e m em bers o f th is fam ily are: peas, beans, clover and lupins. However, legum es are n ot th e on ly good green m an ure crops, a n um ber o f varieties o f cabbage, oilseed rape, turn ip, sun flower and bu ckwh eat are also excellen t at im provin g th e soil, becau se th ey grow large am oun ts o f leaves and fruit with in a short period o f tim e.
The ro o t n o d u le s o n this lupin c a n c le a rly b e seen.

My Method
In autum n I usually leave green m an ure crops standing. Nature does all th e work for me: th e first h eavy sn ow push es down th e plan ts and th ey begin to decom pose. In m y opin ion , th is is th e best and m ost successful way to im prove th e soil. Th e plan ts rot down slowly an d th e biom ass does n ot com pact so easily, wh ich wou ld usually be th e case with m aterial th at is cu t down. Th e plan ts grown in m ixed culture var y so m uch in h eigh t an d structure th at th e area looks quite overgrown by autum n , wh ich m ean s th at th e biom ass does n ot collapse, bu t instead gets rough ly packed together. On lan d m an aged in th is way th e air circulation is always good and th e con d ition s for soil regen eration are optim al. A p lot o f land, wh ich is m an aged u sin g th is m ethod, provides en orm ous advan tages and can also give an adequate yield. I can alter th e lan d as often as I like, growin g differen t m ain crops an d m an agin g it u sin g differen t system s (orchard, p ad d ock etc.) - or wor k it wit h or wit h ou t th e use o f anim als. Th e area can also be used for gath er in g seeds or to grow h on ey plants. Th e proportion o f h on ey plants, m edicin al herbs or cu lin ary herbs - in oth er words th e plan ts

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Alternative Agriculture

M y m e th o d : in a u tu m n I le a v e g re e n m a n u re c ro p s s ta n d in g .

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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

grown in addition to th e m ain crop - can be varied to suit differen t requirem en ts and th e in ten ded purpose o f th e lan d. An cien t cereals are also well suited to this. Th e m ore diverse th e plan ts are, th e m ore stable th e system is and th e m ore useful it can be. Areas wh ere green m an ure crops are cu ltivated have th e advan tage th at th e com position o f th e plan ts can have a sign ifican t effect on an im als and insects. I often sow sun flowers and hem p, becau se th ese plan ts are an excellen t source o f food for birds. To en courage useful n ectar- an d pollen -collectin g in sects (bum blebees, bees, lacewings, hoverflies etc.) variou s local wildflowers such as corn flowers ( Centaurea cyanus), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), calen dula (Calendula officinalis), golden m arguerites (Anthem is tinctoria), scented m ay weed (Matricaria chamomilla), spreadin g bellflowers (Campanula patula) and com frey (Symphytum officinale) m ake a suitable addition . Leavin g green m an ure crops stan din g m ean s th at I save m yself m ore than just th e wor k o f cu ttin g th e plan ts down: this way th e plan ts can ripen, bloom and produce seeds. I no lon ger have to reseed th e area. Man y seeds are eaten by th e birds, stratified in th eir stom ach s (the layer wh ich preven ts germ in ation is broken down) an d are distributed in oth er areas. If I had to con tin u ally sow and plan t m y 45 hectares o f land, this in add ition to all th e oth er th in gs I have to do wou ld take up far too m uch o f m y tim e. It would also be too expen sive to have to con stan tly bu y m ore seeds for sowin g large areas o f lan d - wildflowers are in credibly expensive!

The a d d itio n o f va riou s flo w e rin g p la n ts will h e lp g re e n m a n u re c ro p s to p ro v id e a b e tte r h a b ita t fo r useful a n im a ls a n d insects.

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Alternative Agriculture

Lupins im p ro v in g slo p e sta b ility a n d soil c o n d itio n s .

On steep slopes an d em ban km en ts I m ake sure th at th ere is a large n um ber o f ver y deep-rooted plan ts like lupin s an d sweet clover in m y seed m ixtures. Th ese plan ts do n ot on ly im prove th e soil, bu t t h ey also stabilise th e slope with th eir deep rootsystem s (stron g m ain an d taproots). Th eir stron g growth an d well-establish ed roots also im prove th e capacity o f th e soil to retain water. W h en you com pare a slope o f th is kin d wit h a m eadow u n der sim ilar con dition s, th e differen ce becom es even clearer. On th e slope th e lupin and sweet clover roots are m etres lon g, wh ereas in th e m eadow th ere are m ain ly grasses wit h roots m easurin g on ly cen tim etres. In m y polycultures, I have th e soil an d plan ts wor kin g to a d epth o f m etres an d n ot cen tim etres. On steep slopes and em ban km en ts this effect is o f greater im portan ce, because with ou t it h eavy rain fall wou ld easily lead to h igh surface run off, th e erosion o f h um us an d lan dslides. A m ixture o f sweet clover, lucern e, vetch , peas, lupins, sun flowers and differen t tubers like J erusalem artich okes an d tur n ips is well suited to this. Th is
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m ixture o f plan ts and th e slow process o f d ecom position will activate th e soil life very quickly. W it h th e help o f th is low-work m eth od o f n ot cu ttin g green m an ure crops, I m an aged to im prove th e poor an d d r y soil on m y slopes to th e exten t th at I cou ld grow d em an din g fruit trees after on ly two to th ree years. Th is is h ow I ch an ged th e slopes on th e Kr am eter h of in to th e lush orchards th at th ey are today.

Mistakes
Th e widespread use o f flail m owers, wh ich are very com m on in Burgen lan d and Steierm ark, stands in opposition to th e prin ciple beh in d en viron m en tally frien dly green m an ure crops. All o f th e vegetation is shredded to a fin e m aterial. Th e fact th at th is also kills everyth in g from th e tin iest creatures up to creatures th e size o f a ladybird is n ot con sidered. Th e shredded m aterial dries ou t qu ickly and is m ostly blown away by th e win d or wash ed away by th e rain. Th e result: th e soil is left bare an d defen celess again st erosion. Erosion dries ou t th e soil and deep cracks form (especially in loam soils). Fine particles o f soil are carried away by th e win d and th is has a n egative effect on th e soil life. Th en th e soils ability to retain water suffers. H eavy rainfall leads to flood in g and lan dslides. Th e water table sinks as a result o f t h e lack o f reten tion , wh ich causes sprin gs an d wells to d ry up. Last o f all, th e soil loses its natural ability to regenerate. Man kin ds use o f ch em icals has an even greater effect. Luckily, we are n ot powerless in th e face o f th ese developm en ts! Natures regenerative processes can be properly supported wit h th e help o f green m an ure crops grown in m ixed culture.
F id d le n e c k (P h a c e lia t a n a c e t if o lia j

Plant List
I have p u t togeth er th e followin g list to give you a qu ick overview o f th e best green m an ure crops.

G o ld -o f-p le a s u re (C a m e lin a s a tiv a )

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Alternative Agriculture

C om m on N am e (Family) Legum es Yellow lupin Narrow-leaved lupin W hite lupin

B otanical N am e
Fabaccae Lupinus luteus Lupinus angustifolius Lupinus albus

N otes

annual, good for slope stabilisation and building hum us, grow well on sandy and acid soils, forage plants, honey and insect plants annual, good forage plant annual, undem anding perennial, light soil, good nectar plant annual or biennial, undem anding annual, loose soil, good forage plants (rich in protein)

Garden pea Grass pea Fodder vetch Narrow-leaved vetch Faba bean Field bean Broad bean Yellow sweet clover W hite sweet clover

Pisum sativum Lathyrus sativus Vicia villosa Vicia sativa Vicia faba Vicia faba minor Vicia faba major Melilotus officinalis Melilotus albus

biennial, also grow on dry soil, perm anent green cover, good as catch crops biennial or perennial, perm anent crop, forage plant annual, acid soil, perm anent crop, good as a catch crop perennial, forage plant perennial, perm anent crop, forage and meadow plant, all soils, good as a catch crop annual or biennial, perm anent green cover annual, frost hardy, also grows on poor soil annual, frost hardy biennial, also grows on poor soil, good as a catch crop perennial, hardy, good as a catch crop, perm anent green cover perennial, perm anent green cover, also grows on dry soil, good forage plant, good for slope stabilisation perennial, undem anding, good as a catch crop perennial, grows on chalky soil, pioneer plant, perm anent green cover, honey plant, good forage plant annual or biennial, acid soil, prefers sandy soil, forage plant

Red clover

Trifolium pratense

Subterranean clover

Trifolium subterraneum

Alsike clover W hite clover

Trifolium hybridum Trifolium repens

Crimson clover

Trifolium incarnatum

Persian clover

Trifolium resupinatum

Egyptian clover Kidney vetch Birdsfoot trefoil

Trifolium alexandrinum Anthyllis vulneraria

Lotus corniculatus

Lucerne

Medicago sativa

Black medick

Medicago lupulina

Sainfoin

Onobrychis viciifolia

Serradella

Ornithopus sativus

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C om m on N<ime (Family) C rucifers Oilseed rape

B otanical Nam e
Braspicaceae Brassica napus

N otes

annual (sum m er variety), biennial (winter variety), undem anding, good catch crop sum m er and winter crop, similar to oilseed rape, undem anding annual, forage plant annual, undem anding, pioneer plant, frost hardy annual, very good forage plant

Turnips

Brassica rapa
.

Radishes W hite m ustard

Raphanus sativus Sinapis alba

Marrowstera kale

Brassica oleracea var. medullosa Poaceae Secale cereale Secale multicaule Sorghum dochna Panicum miliaceum

1 G rasses Rye W ild rye Sorghum Millet O th e rs Buckwheat Fiddleneck

perennial, frost hardy, undem anding, very good forage plants, good yield annual, prefer sunny areas

Fagopyrum esculentum Phacelia tanacetifolia

annual, good honey plant annual, undem anding, grows on all soils, good honey plant annual, good honey plant, seeds can be left as bird food frost hardy, undem anding, needs welldrained soil, seeds well, tubers will produce new plants, very good forage plant annual, oil and fibre crop annual, undem anding and fast growing, can grow in poor soils (sandy), high drought resistance, fairly disease and pest resistant, oil crop perennial, undem anding, also grows on chalky soils, year-round plant cover perennial, year-round plant cover, m edicinal plant, good honey plant

Sunflowers Jerusalem artichokes

Helianthus annuus

Helianthus tuherosus

Flax Gold-of-pleasure

Linum sp. Camelina sativa

Salad burnet

Sanguisorha minor

Mallow

Malva silvestris

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Alternative Agriculture

Ways to Regulate Problem Plants


It is im portan t to always bear in m in d th at wh en we wor k a p lot o f lan d we are ch an gin g th e natural balan ce to a greater or lesser degree to m ake it ben efit us. Cultivated plan ts are usually n ot as well adapted an d stron g as wild plants, so we tr y to help th em grow by d oin g th in gs such as tillin g th e soil. Som etim es it is also n ecessary to regulate com petition . It is im portan t to bear in m in d th at every th in g in n ature has a reason. We m u st t r y to un derstan d th e natural processes an d in fluen ce th em in our favour. J ust figh tin g th e sym ptom s o f a problem will n ot wor k - especially seein g as we have caused m ost o f th ese problem s ourselves. It is n ot just n ature and its catastroph es th at are to blam e wh en large areas o f forest are su d den ly br ou gh t down d urin g a storm , th e m an agers in charge o f th e un stable m on ocultu re system s are also to blam e. Bark beetle infestation s are a result o f th ese un n atural farm in g m eth od s as well. Short-sighted th in kin g creates th ese problem s in th e first place. We have to adm it th ese m istakes to ourselves. An yon e wh o tries to look at n ature with open eyes will soon recogn ise th at th ere is a reason for everyth in g an d a solution to every problem . Con trollin g and regulatin g th in gs on a sm all scale is quite sim ple. Alm ost an y desired effect can be ach ieved wit h m an ual labour, wh ich leads m an y people to take their obsession with order too far. Th ey often do n ot con sider th e con sequen ces o f their actions. At this poin t I wou ld like to m ake th ese con sequen ces clear with th e follow in g exam ple: I have a sm all garden an d wan t to m ake it n eat an d tidy. I rem ove all o f th e weeds in m y vegetable patches. I keep th e lawn short an d th e groun d un der m y fruit trees neat . W h at will I ach ieve by d oin g this? Th e answer: a tidy, in oth er words, artificial garden. Th ere is n oth in g left to stop th e vegetable patch es an d fruit trees dryin g ou t because o f th e lack o f groun d cover, so I will have to water th em more. Th e h um us pr od u ction on bare soil is m uch worse an d frequen t waterin g flushes ou t th e nutrien ts, wh ich m eans th at soon er or later I will have to use fertiliser. Ch em ical fertilisers are bad for th e soil life, fewer creatures livin g in th e soil m akes th e h um us pr od u ction worse an d th e viciou s cycle continues. A tid y garden provides useful anim als an d in sects with little refuge an d no habitat, wh ich m ean s t h at there are no natural defen ces again st pests. Th e list goes on. This just illustrates th e relation ship between action an d reaction in nature. If I m an age m y lan d with an u n d er stan d in g o f nature, I can achieve great results with m u ch less work. My m eth od s for gardens are outlin ed in the Garden s section . On agricultural lan d th in gs are no different, th e on ly differen ce is th at th e wor k is carried out on a larger scale an d m ust be better th ou gh t out. However, wh at gen erally applies to sm all plots o f lan d also applies to larger ones. Man ag in g crops or pastures in cor rectly an d in an un balan ced way often leads to in di vid u al plan ts gettin g out o f con trol an d drivin g out th e cultivated plan ts th at

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you wan t to grow. I will use broad-leaved d ock (Rumex obtusifolius), stin gin g n ettles ( Urtica dioica) an d orache (Atriplex patula ) as an exam ple. Th ese plan ts in dicate a h igh level o f n itrogen in th e soil. Overfertilisin g or overly inten sive pasture m an agem en t usually causes this im balance. To deal with this I have to tr y to restore th e balan ce an d m an age th e lan d differently. It m akes no sense just to treat th e sym ptom s. Problem s wit h rapidly growin g plan ts frequen tly occur in fallow areas or on lan d th at has ch an ged from bein g m an aged u sin g con ven tion al m eth ods to bein g m an aged u sin g natural ones. Th ese areas often used to be in ten sively fertilised an d provide ideal con dition s for th ese plan ts and sudden ly n ot usin g pesticides an y m ore lets th em com e back up. Som e farm ers th en begin to doubt them selves an d forget th at th is ch an ge is th e righ t decision. Mistakes th at were m ade years or even decades ago can n ot be rectified in such a short period o f tim e. Nature takes a wh ile to recover. W ith m y farm in g m eth od s - n am ely keepin g livestock on th e sam e lan d as m y crops - th ese plan ts do n ot pose a real problem . Movin g th e paddocks ensures th at th e lan d is never overgrazed. It has tim e to recover wh ile n ot in use or can be used to grow crops. Th e dan ger o f livestock diseases is alm ost en tirely preven ted by th e paddocks bein g m oved and th eir varied diet. If a particular var iety o f plan t still appears in n um bers th at are too great in one area, th ere are still possible solutions: I pu t m y pigs ou t to graze in this area an d support th e process by sowin g peas, beans or sweetcorn between th e un wan ted plants. This m akes th e pigs con cen trate on th ese areas. Th e plan ts an d roots will be partly eaten or the d iggin g will brin g th em to th e surface wh ere th ey will d ry out. After this is don e, th e pigs are m oved on to th e n ext padd ock and I in troduce dem an din g plants, especially tubers like J erusalem artich okes (Helianthus tuberosus), but also sun flowers (Helianthus annuus) and h em p (Cannabis sativa). Th ey absorb all o f th e excess n utrien ts and m ake th e con dition s worse for th e weed s . Th ey also grow tall an d qu ickly on th e n utrien t-rich soils, so th ey will oversh adow an d kill off any rem ain in g problem plants. Th e cultivated plan ts provide livestock with a valuable source o f food. J erusalem artichokes, for exam ple, are peren n ial and give a h igh yield o f tubers. Th e plan ts can be eaten by th e pigs or, if necessary, rem oved again. This m eth od h elps m e to rid an area o f un wan ted plan t growth, balan ce out th e n utrien t con dition s and still get a good yield. An oth er possible way to regulate problem plan ts is coverin g and m ulchin g. W it h th ese m eth od s we can n ot on ly regulate h arm less wild plants, bu t also invasive plan ts like sorrel. To cover an area, I use cardboard, jute sacks and oth er biodegradable m aterials (i.e. on ly natural m aterials). To weigh this down I pile soil an d m u lch on top. Th e m aterial coverin g th e plan ts should n ot be airtight o f course; oth erwise everyth in g u n d er n eath it will die. Th e problem plan ts will n ot receive an y m ore ligh t un der th is layer; th ey will die off an d provide th e soil life wit h n ourish m en t. Im m ediately after I have covered an area I sow th e m u lch wit h seeds. For th is I use th e dem an din g plan ts I m en tion ed previously.

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Tubers o n a Je ru sa le m a rtic h o k e
(H e lia n th u s tu b e ro s u s )

All varieties o f turn ip are well suited to this m ethod. Th e plan ts will develop well, because th e m u lch soon provides th em wit h h igh -qu ality hum us. Th ey overshadow th e system and balan ce out th e n utrien ts with in th e soil. As br oad leaved d ock requires light to germ inate, a perm an en t plan t cover usually prevents it from reappearing. However, th e broad-leaved d ock is very hardy; its seeds can survive in th e soil for years an d can grow back from its roots. For th ese reasons it is usually n ecessary to repeat th e coverin g process. This sh ould be don e early in th e year, because this will preven t th e un wan ted plan ts from seeding. Th e covered area will also be sown with crops, wh ich will n eed tim e to develop. Careful observation will help you to qu ickly recogn ise wh en it is a good idea to interven e. If a certain variety o f plan t is becom in g over prevalen t and em ergen cy m easures are n eeded, it will already be too late for th e m eth ods I have described an d con trollin g th e pr oblem will becom e m ore and m ore difficult. You sh ould never forget th at every creature has its purpose in th e cycle o f n ature and can also be very im portan t to hum an s. Corn flowers (Centaurea cyanus), to nam e an exam ple, are n ow relatively rare, because t h ey have been ban ished from cereal fields as a so-called weed. Th e fact th at th ey are n ot only pleasin g to th e eye, bu t also valuable m edicin al plan ts gen erally goes un n oticed. Th e stin gin g n ettle is also a valuable plan t. It perform s a n um ber o f purposes as a culin ary and m edicin al plant, for liquid fertiliser and for m ulch . It is also in dispen sable as a food source for caterpillars. In n ature th ere is n oth in g bad, an d th ere is a solution to every problem . You on ly have to look for it. Every plan t has a natural rival. If you leave th em en ough freedom with in th e system th ey will wor k for you. For exam ple, th e green d ock beetle (Gastroidea viridula) can becom e a useful worker. If you give th em th e opp ortu n ity to grow to reason able num bers, th ey can h elp you to keep th e system in check. Balan cin g out th e soil con d ition s is th e m ain priority. A sin gle species can on ly becom e prevalen t if th ere is an im balance.

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The roots g ro w through th e c o v e r a n d absorb th e excess nutrients a va ila b le a fte r d e co m p o sitio n .

Invasive plants (e.g. sorrel) are c o v e re d . As th e y w ere n ot c u t first, th e y will n ot c o m p a c t. There is e n o u g h oxygen left for them to rot d o w n quickly.

Old Varieties a n d Plant Diversity


My experien ces all show th at old varieties o f cereal, vegetable or potato - o f all cultivated plan ts in fact - m ake th e best crops. Th ey have a better flavour, are gen erally less dem an din g and deal far better with local con dition s th an new, overbred varieties. In earlier tim es, every country, in fact every region had their own cereal varieties. This also wen t for vegetables, potatoes an d herbs. There were n um erous local varieties wh ich were grown an d propagated on on ly one farm. Th ese varieties did n ot u sually have nam es o f th eir own. Th r ou gh a process o f selection , t h ey were bred over gen eration s to becom e th e plan ts best suited to th e local con dition s. Therefore th ese varieties grow best in th e areas in wh ich t h ey were bred. Th is is wh y it is im portan t to ask aroun d in your area to fin d out wh at local varieties th ere are an d t h en to propagate them . H ybrid seeds (Fi varieties) are en tirely un suited to perm aculture systems. Th ese seeds have been bred so t h at m ost o f th em no lon ger have th e ability to reproduce. Th ey do n ot breed tru e (in oth er words th ey can n ot pass on th e characteristics an d qualities o f th eir var iety every tim e) an d m ust always be

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Alternative Agriculture

bou gh t n ew again - m u ch to th e satisfaction o f seed com pan ies. Th ey com e from h om ozygou s in bred lines, are frequen tly sterile an d are n ot suited to varyin g local con dition s. Th ey give good yields, bu t are m ore susceptible to disease, becau se t h ey are n ot suited to local con dition s. All o f th is coupled with th e crops bein g grown as a m on ocultu re leads to th e pop u lation o f sin gle species in creasin g to large n um bers and later leads to th e use o f pesticides. Gen etically m odified seeds are even m ore question able! In m y opinion , it is a crim e again st n ature to alter th e gen etic m ake-up o f a livin g th in g in this way. An yon e wh o treats n ature wit h con sideration an d u n d er stan d in g will feel th e sam e. Th e results an d repercussion s o f u sin g gen etic m od ification in plan t cu ltivation and an im al breed in g can n ot yet be foreseen and it seem s th at its use can barely be regulated or kept in ch eck an y m ore. As a result o f specialisation an d m odern isation , we have alm ost en tirely lost th e plan t diversity we on ce had and, wit h it, m an y resources in farm in g and gardening. Th e fact th at in th e EU th e propagation and m arketin g o f seeds has been taken away from farm ers an d has been left to agricultural com pan ies is particularly question able. On ce I becam e aware o f this, I m ade a great effort to propagate th e seeds o f every con ceivable cultivated plan t suited to th e Kram eterhof. Th e plan t diversity on th e Kram eterh of provides m e with a kin d o f livin g gen e bank. Visitors to th e Kr am eter h of are allowed to harvest seeds in sm all am oun ts for th eir own use durin g tours o f th e farm. I have established th rou gh m y experien ce th at th e seeds o f th e stron gest plants, wh ich grow on th e worst soils an d un der th e m ost extrem e con dition s (high altitudes, frost etc.), are th e m ost suitable for propagation , because th ey have positive en ergy an d establish them selves well. In academ ic journ als th e opposite is often to be found. Th ey claim th at th e seeds from th e largest plants, wh ich grow on good soils, should be preferred. As far as I am concern ed, th ese seeds wou ld be th e worst choice. Alth ou gh plan ts growin g on good soils do produce th e m ost seeds, it is m y experien ce th at plan ts bred in th is way deteriorate. Seeds collected from th e stron gest plan ts on th e poorest soils, on th e oth er hand, provide plan ts th at can also deal well with difficult conditions, becau se t h ey are u n d em an din g an d still give satisfactory yields. For m e th ese are th e best selection criteria. I also con tin ue to breed hardier an d m ore robust plan ts wh ich can grow an d thrive on th eir own wit h ou t th e con stan t support o f fertilisers an d water. Naturally, I pay atten tion to th e taste o f th e varieties wh en selectin g seeds. Nutritious an d h igh -qu ality food develops an in ten se flavour an d con tain s m an y valuable substan ces, to th e exten t th at it works alm ost like a m ed icin e an d protects people an d anim als from sickn ess an d poor health. H ealthy food also develops this flavour. An yon e t h at has a sense o f taste and has been even partially protected from ready m eals an d fast food can use it to determ in e th e quality o f seed-producin g plants. Th e n um erous h abitats an d m icroclim ates th at I create are useful for p r o d ucin g seeds. In th ese places it is possible to preven t th e cross-pollin ation o f

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related varieties, because t h ey can be isolated spatially from each other. W h en you are growin g differen t seeds, wh ich can cross-pollin ate with in a sm all area, it is im portan t to create m ulti-layered, structured habitats. If th ere are hedges an d particularly tall raised beds between th e in dividual varieties wh ich are to be preserved an d im proved, this sh ould protect th em from bein g pollin ated, especially if t h ey are win d-pollin ated. Varieties th at are pollin ated by in sects should be grown a fair distan ce from each other, so th at th ey can be bred true to th eir variety. From experience, th ere is one th in g t h at you sh ould do to grow seeds successfully. Right at th e begin n in g you sh ould exam in e th e natural reproductive cycles o f th e plan ts you have chosen : h ow are t h ey pollin ated, are in sects required and, if yes, wh ich ? W ith win d-pollin ated varieties you m ust pay atten tion to th e win d direction , because this is th e direction in wh ich th e pollen will be carried. If I wan t to preven t two varieties from cross-pollin atin g, I have to keep a greater distan ce between th em in th is direction . It is sim pler to select varieties th at flower at differen t tim es, because I can th en com pletely rule out un wan ted pollin ation . Nevertheless, m an y varieties have arisen by chan ce cross pollin ation on th e Kram eterhof. From th ese I have propagated th e best and tastiest. So th ere are already a n um ber o f varieties o f potato, salad an d pum pkin th at I have had to invent nam es for.

Cereals
Breeding ein korn (Triticum monococcum ), an an cien t wheat, and em m er (Triticum dicoccum), a very early var iety o f wheat, is very in ter esting. Alth ou gh both varieties only give low yield s per plan t, it has been proven th at th ey are far richer in protein an d con tain m ore m inerals th an oth er varieties o f wh eat. Th ey are extrem ely nutritious, n ourish in g and easy to digest. Th ey also cope well wit h very poor soil conditions. Black em m er is even resistan t to UV radiation as a result o f its dark colour, wh ich is n ot th e case wit h an y oth er variety o f wh eat I have found. Spelt ('Triticum spelta) is very well kn own an d an oth er old cultivated var iety o f wh eat. Spelt also thrives on poor soil. It has a good flavour an d is rich in p r o tein, furtherm ore it is popularly eaten
A n c ie n t S iberian g ra in

before it is ripe an d can also be used

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Alternative Agriculture

A n c ie n t S ib e ria n g ra in in a test a re a in th e S cottish H ig h la n d s. It e v e n thrives o n this a c id h e a th la n d .

The u n d e m a n d in g a n c ie n t g ra in also g ro w s o n p o o r soils (h e re o n soil w h e re s p ru c e trees o n c e g re w a t n e a rly 1,500 m etre s a b o v e sea le ve l).

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as a substitute for coffee. Its positive qualities are so great th at it is even used to fill pillows to cure headaches, sleeplessn ess an d ten sen ess. I have cultivated a n um ber o f differen t varieties o f rye su ch as wild rye (Secale multicaule), black oats (Avena spec.), n aked oats (Avena nuda) an d barley (Hordeum vulgare). A particularly good old local var iety o f oats we used to grow t h at does well at h igh altitudes is fichtelgebirgshafer. On th e Kr am eter h of I also cultivate an an cien t grain, wh ich origin ally com es from Siberia. I was m ade aware o f th is an cien t Siberian grain in 1957 wh en I saw an advertisem en t by a Vien n ese com pan y in th e m agazin e Osterreichs Weidwerk th at read, An cien t Siberian grain - particularly suited for seedin g h u n tin g groun ds . I ordered a sm all am ou n t to tr y th e cereal out. To th is day I still cultivate cereal from th e on e kilogram o f seed th at I bou gh t back then . It is very sim ilar to our old brandroggen-, it grows on th e poorest o f soils an d is peren nial. Th is m ean s t h at if, for exam ple, you sow it in J une at 1,400m above sea level, it will ripen th e n ext year in Septem ber at th e earliest, i.e. th e ears will have grown an d can be harvested. If it is eaten by cattle or deer or is cut, th en it gives a good yield o f green m aterial an d it com pacts well. In this case, ears will grow on e year later. Up to 20 ears can grow on on e stalk. It was an oth er surprise for m e wh en th is cereal ripen ed in five m on th s at m y pr oject in Colom bia, wh ich is at sea level an d th e tem perature is aroun d 45 d egrees in th e shade. Th is dem on strates th e adaptability o f th is an cien t grain. You m ust be very careful with fertiliser wh en growin g any u n d em an din g va rieties o f cereal. If you use too m uch dun g or liquid fertiliser, th e grain will grow tall very quickly, th en subside and begin to rot in th e soil. This m an urin g in creas es th e n itrogen levels beyon d th e am ou n t th e plan ts can cope with . It is easier to grow an cien t grain in a gravel pit th an on fertilised garden soil. Apart from u sin g th em for bread grain and sowing, I also like to use various kin ds o f cereals as green m an ure crops and pion eer plan ts wh en sowin g n ew plots o f lan d for th e first tim e, becau se th ey are ver y u n d em an din g and grow quickly. I also use th em as feed grain. I sow p add ocks with a m ixture o f cereals, legum es an d root crops and do n ot h arvest them . Th e crops provide th e best feed for m y cattle and pigs in a short period o f tim e an d require ver y little energy.

Growing and Processing Brandroggen


On ce we used to grow a n um ber o f local varieties o f brandroggen. An exam ple o f th is is th e Lun gau tauernroggen, wh ich I still grow to th is day. As hardly anyon e kn ows about this m eth od an y m ore, I wou ld like to qu ickly describe h ow we used to grow brandroggen. In spring, wh ich is usually in May here, it was tim e for th e fields to be burn t, wh ich th e ch ildren wou ld also help with . Th is was a task, wh ich involved freein g m eadows from bran ch es an d plan t growth on ce th ey were cut. All o f th e bu lky m aterial was raked up, th e you n g shrubs an d spruces were ch opped up, and everyth in g was pu t in to a n um ber o f piles an d burn t. Burn in g m ade sure th at
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Alternative Agriculture

Rye o n a te rr a c e o n th e K ra m e te rh o f.

t h e m eadow did n ot becom e overgrown and m ade it easier to cu t later on. It also preven ted bran ches and un suitable m aterial from gettin g in to th e hay. After th e piles were burnt, th e ashes were raked over th e area, th en th e brandroggen was sown. Varieties o f rye grown on soil prepared in this way are kn own as brandroggen (literally fire rye), because th ey are sown after th e plan t m atter is burnt. Th e cereal grew ver y well on th e m eadows prepared in th is way. At th e en d o f J uly or th e begin n in g o f Au gu st th e brandroggen was harvested with th e rest o f th e m eadow grass, dried and pu t in th e barn. On larger plots o f lan d th e brandroggen was usually h arvested in th e secon d year at th e en d o f Au gu st or th e begin n in g o f Septem ber for bread grain an d seed. On th e Kram eterhof, we still bin d th e sheaves like we used to and gath er th em into stooks so th at th e grain can ripen for two to th ree weeks in th e field. Th en th e sheaves were brough t into th e barn. We p u t th em in trough s and carefully arranged them . We lean t th e sheaves togeth er in a circle workin g from th e m iddle outwards so th at all th e ears poin ted to th e centre. It was im portan t to m ake th e best use o f th e available space. Wh en on e circle was fin ished and th ere was no m ore space left, we tackled th e n ext circle un til all o f th e grain was in place an d th e trough s were full. Th e grain was th en stored th ere un til th e oth er autu m n tasks were com pleted and th e wood was cu t before th e snows cam e. In Novem ber it was tim e to start th resh in g th e grain wit h a th resh in g m achin e, wh ich was powered by an old paraffin or petrol en gine. Th is wor k was usually carried ou t wh en th e weath er was bad, becau se n oth in g could be don e outside. It was laborious, d usty an d exh austin g work. In th e th resh in g m ach in e
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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

O n th e K ra m e te rh o f w e still b in d freshly c u t g ra in in to sh e a ve s th e n g a th e r th e m in to stooks so th a t th e y c a n rip e n in th e fie ld .

th e ears were ch opped up an d separated from th e straw. On ce on e variety had been th resh ed we tid ied th e th resh in g m ach in e away to m ake room for th e win n owin g m achin e. Th is was operated by h an d an d produced a stream o f air to separate th e m aterial further. Th e ligh t m aterial such as th e blin d ears and pieces o f straw were qu ickly blown away and collected in a large pile th at was used later on as bed d in g for livestock. Often th is m aterial was m ixed with bran an d h ot water to form a paste to use as feed. Fine m aterial, like grains th at were broken in th e th resh in g m ach in e and particles o f sand, fell th rou gh th e sieve and were collected for ch icken feed. Bulky m aterial like stalks or sm all ston es - there were also often deer an d hare droppin gs - was left for th e ch icken s to scratch out th e grains. Finally, out o f th e m ain ch ute cam e th e beau tifully clean ed seed and m illin g grain. Everythin g th at cam e from th is process was m ade use o f on th e farm, wh ich can on ly serve as an exam ple to us in tod ays throw-away culture.

Tips for Polycultures


Growin g plan ts in polycultures is both possible an d practical an ywhere. As I have m en tion ed m an y tim es before, m on ocultu re farm in g practices are com pletely unn atural, th ey cause m an y problem s and sh ould be stopped. Differen t crops can grow well as a group, t h ey can be h arvested at th e sam e tim e and processed togeth er (e.g. as h igh qu ality feed). Fin din g th e m ixtures th at wor k best an d give

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t h e largest yield in you r situation an d on your lan d will take tim e, especially if you have no experien ce in th is area. As wit h all experim ents, you should always begin on a sm all scale an d observe th e crops as th ey develop before you try th e m ixture on a larger p lot o f land. Now I wou ld like to give a few exam ples o f polycultures I have had good results with m an y tim es over th e years. Wh en growin g cereals, catch crops such as clover, radishes, salad and various m ed icin al herbs can be sown. Th ese catch crops sh ould be sown once th e cereal crops have flowered. W h ile th e cereals ripen th e catch crops develop very slowly. Wh en th e cereals are harvested, th e catch crops sudden ly receive m ore ligh t and begin to thrive. Th en th ey can soon be harvested. Th is m eth od is tried and tested. Catch crops o f m ixed varieties o f clover can be sown earlier. Th e clover supports th e cereal crops wh ile th ey are growin g and h elps to preven t rival plan ts from d evelopin g by providin g groun d cover. Wh en th e cereals have been h arvested th e field can be used as a forage area. Stubble drillin g can also be used. Th e plan ts th at are suitable for this depen d on th e location and therefore growin g season. Here th e cereal h arvest takes place in September, so on ly forage or win ter fruit, like win ter rape and turn ips can be sown afterwards. Th ey are still takin g root in autum n , t h ey survive th e win ter an d ripen next sum m er. Th en th ey are eith er harvested or left to im prove th e soil, possibly th ey cou ld also be tilled in. At lower altitu d es wh ere som e cereals are th resh ed in July, a catch crop gives an oth er good yield with in th e sam e year. Fast-growing vegetables, turn ips and salad are suited to this. After th e catch crop is h arvested th e field can be plan ted with win ter crops in th e autum n. Naturally, th is kin d o f in ten sive use is on ly possible wh en n on e o f th e crops are grown in a m on oculture. In order to provide th e crops with th e n utrien ts th ey need, a balan ced m ixture o f plan ts wh ich im prove th e soil and fix n itrogen is required. Th e polycultures will n ot exhaust th e soil o f any one n utrien t, because th ey have differen t requirem en ts. It is also im portan t n ot to h arvest everything, bu t instead to leave som e o f th e crops as m u lch an d a source o f n utrien ts for th e plan ts as green m an ure. W h en th e secon d crop it self is used as green m anure, it provides an im m ediate an d direct yield, wh ich is n orm ally forgotten : n am ely seeds for sowin g oth er p lots o f land. Further exam ples are m aize, sun flowers and hem p, wh ich can all be grown with peas or beans. Th e tall-growin g plan ts give th e peas and bean s som eth in g to clim b. In turn th e peas an d bean s provide n itrogen and im prove th e growth o f th e su pportin g plants. A culture o f J erusalem artich okes with m aize, peas and bean s is particularly suitable and t h ey can be h arvested togeth er an d processed in a forage silo. A catch crop o f wh ite clover, black m ed ick and, on wet soil, Alsike clover can also be used. Peas an d m aize grown togeth er provide a very good feed com bin ation . Th ey can also be harvested an d th resh ed together. Maize is a very en ergy-rich feed, bu t it con tain s little protein , so adequate am oun ts o f pr otein -rich feed should be added to it - peas are particularly suitable for this.

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W h en growing flax a catch crop of white clover is advisable. If th e clover is sown a little later, th e flax will have a head start and it will stop th e clover from becom in g overgrown. Wh en sel ectin g catch crops it is im portan t to pay close atten tion to th e com bin ation o f plants, so th at th e m ain crop will not be overwhelm ed and th e plan ts will n ot be in com petition with each other. Poppies also m ake a good add i tion to black m ed ick and wh ite clover. Buckwheat, wh ich is sown in th e spring, also grows very well with wh ite clover as a catch crop. Salad or radishes can also be added. As bu ckwh eat n eeds a great deal o f light it can n ot itself be used as a catch crop. A good m ixture for an im al feed th at we use, is J erusalem artichokes, varieties o f kale an d turn ips. J erusalem artich oke tubers survive th rough th e win ter an d on ly th e leaves and stem
C e re a ls w ith a c a t c h c r o p o f d iffe re n t v a rie tie s o f c lo v e r.

freeze. Turnips can with stan d frost to a certain exten t an d th e varieties o f kale m en tion ed survive a relatively

. ,

, e

lon g tim e in frosty con dition s. This m akes it possible to feed livestock naturally for longer. If th e sn ow is n ot too deep, th e an im als can even survive th e win ter on this m ixture o f feed with ou t requirin g any addition al feeding.

A p o ly c u ltu re on a te rra c e o n th e K ra m e te rh o f: a c o lo u rfu l m ixtu re o f g re e n m a n u re a n d a ra b le c ro p s (e.g. to b a c c o fo r seeds) thrives. A m o n g s t th e m g ro w fruit trees.

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You will have to fin d th e best com position o f seeds for you r self th rough experim en tation , becau se th is depen ds a great deal on soil con dition s, m oisture levels, tem perature an d factors like win d an d frost. Th e in ten ded purpose o f th e p lot o f lan d also affects th e kin d o f polyculture you will need. I f I wan t to create a pick-your-own area or grow for m arket, I sow th e appropriate kin ds o f vegetable and select catch crops so th at I can always offer a good range. However, if I wan t to grow feed for livestock th at I am keepin g in a m eadow, clover wit h vegetables as a catch crop wou ld m ake an excellen t source o f food. Th ese are just a few exam ples to en courage you to start th in kin g about wh at kin d o f m ixed culture wou ld be best for you r own situation . In th e Garden s section th ere is a list o f plan ts, wh ich should help you to ch oose a suitable polycu ltu re for growin g in a field. It in clu des in form ation on th e m ost effective plan t com m un ities.

Alpine Plants
Over th e years I have had a great deal o f experien ce with cu ltivatin g plan ts from Alp in e regions. On e o f th e m ost im portan t th in gs I have learn t from th ese experien ces con tin u es to shape m y work: n am ely th at all even ts in n ature should be observed closely. Th is is a won derful and fascin atin g activity for an yon e wh o has an in terest in nature, because you never cease to learn and profit from it. Th e exam ple o f yellow gen tian s (Gentiana lutea) illustrates this clearly: For a tim e I tried to cultivate yellow gen tian s with no success. I tried to grow th e plan t in sheltered con d ition s with th e help o f a var iety o f differen t growin g in struction s - bu t I was un successful. It was on ly wh en I left th e seed trays ou t side th e door for disposal an d forgot about th em (and th e seed trays were exposed to th e elem en ts for a num ber o f m on ths) that, to m y surprise, I su d den ly had th e result I had given up on. Th e gen tian seeds ripen ed at an altitu d e o f 2,000m, in oth er words, in th e Alp in e region! H ow did th is happen ? Th e explan ation is th at th e weath er on h igh m oun tain s d urin g sprin g is ver y chan geable. Th is m eans th at th e m orn in gs are frosty, d urin g th e day it is d r y and warm an d later on it rains an d sn ows again. Th is pattern o f weath er begin s in sprin g and con tin ues in to J une, wh en it gets h ot for a sh ort period o f tim e. Th erefore gen tian seeds get wet, warm up and are frozen many, m an y tim es in th eir natural h abitat - like th e seeds in th e trays I left outside. Th e seeds germ in ate in th e war m th o f sum m er (July). In th e first year th e tin y seedlin gs can hardly be seen. Th e you n g plan ts are, o f course, exposed to th e sam e con d ition s in autu m n an d win ter t h at th e seeds were exposed to th e year before. Gen tian seeds n aturally germ in ate on ly u n der extrem e clim atic con d ition s (i.e. frost). So it tur n ed ou t th at I had sim ply tried too hard with m y plants. Nature can n ot be im proved upon. If you wan t to grow yellow gen tian s you sh ould take in to accoun t t h at th ey germ in ate in frosty con dition s, so t h ey sh ould be sown in th e autum n , win ter or sprin g at th e latest, as lon g as th ere are still a good n u m ber o f frosty n igh ts

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left. I f th is is n ot possible, th ere are ways to sim ulate th ese con dition s. Th e seeds can be placed in a plastic bag an d m ixed wit h earth from wh er e th e paren t plan t grows. Th en som e water is added. Th e bags are th en pu t in a freezer at -10 to -i5eC for a n um ber o f weeks, before th e seeds are sown. I t h in k it is u sually a good idea to take som e earth from near th e roots o f th e paren t plan t wh en cu ltivatin g alpin e plan ts, e.g. growin g oth er varieties o f gen tian like spotted gen tian s (Gentiana punctata) or alpin e plan ts like th e hairy alpin e rose (Rhododendron hirsutum), arn ica (Arnica montana), alpin e bellflowers (Campanula alpina), m ou n tain pasque flowers (Pulsatilla montana), cowberries ( Vaccinium vitisidaea) or bilberries ( Vaccinium myrtillus). Th ere are sym biotic fun gi in th e soil, wh ich th e plan ts require to grow. I f I were to sow th ese alpin e plan ts at lower altitu d es th an t h ey n aturally grow, th en th e fun gi wou ld n ot be present. Th is is wh y I have to in troduce n ative soil. W h en sowin g th ese plan ts in th eir natural en viron m en ts (at h igh altitu d es an d in alpin e pastures) - e.g. wit h th e in ten tion o f im provin g th e p opu lation - th is is o f course no lon ger necessary. Gen tian seeds also n eed exposure to ligh t to germ inate. Th e seeds m ust not be covered or push ed into th e soil, or th ey will rot. In nature th e seeds just fall to th e groun d aroun d th e paren t plan t and are left exposed to th e elem ents. Areas o f ch urn ed up soil are good for germ in ation . Soil is n aturally ch urn ed up by cattle, sheep and deer. On ce th e seeds have been sown on th e poorest and

In th e fo re g ro u n d : y e llo w g e n tia n s (G e n t ia n a l u t e a ) in b lo o m .

T errace w ith y o u n g g e n tia n pla n ts.

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m ost barren soil possible, t h ey will be left to th eir own resources com pletely accordin g to m y experien ce it is n ot wor th water in g th em or u sin g fertiliser. It is also im portan t to pay atten tion to th e difference in h eigh t between th e location o f th e paren t plan t and th e place th e seeds will be sown: a i,ooom h eigh t differen ce will m ean th at th e vegetation is so differen t th at th e plan ts i,ooom lower sh ould be sown th ree to four weeks later. This is to com pen sate for t h e fact th at th e frosts com e later at lower altitudes. Man y oth er plan ts can be propagated successfully usin g th is tech n ique. A large n um ber o f people wh o have atten ded m y sem in ars and visited th e Kr am eter h of have used m y m eth od successfully. After four to five years th e gen tian roots will reach a sufficien t size for h arvestin g (over h a lf a kilo fresh weigh t). Th en th ey can be d ug up and eith er used to m ake spirits (as a m ain in gredien t or as a secon dary in gredien t) or dried for h ealth or ph arm aceutical purposes. Naturally I also harvest th e plan t seeds: as soon as th e first seed pods begin to burst open, I cu t th e plan ts d own and place th em in paper bags. Wh en th e plan ts are d ry th e bags just need to be hit. Th e seeds fall to th e bottom o f the bag and th e stem s can th en be pu lled out. Man y an im al an d plan t species are n ow en dan gered and gen tian s are on e o f them . Th e usual practice o f n ature con servation ists is to pu t th ese anim als and plan ts un der pr otection , bu t th ey fail to take m easures to preserve th e h abitat before it is too late. I wou ld like to describe m y own experien ces in this area: for ty years ago we had a large n um ber o f gen tian roots in th e m ou n tain pasture. We even dug th e old gen tian roots up to a depth o f h a lf a m etre with a root d igger - a 30 -cm -lon g poin ted shovel. Wh en d oin g this th e sm all secon dary roots usually rem ain ed un dam aged. Th e h ole was filled back in with earth and stones so th at th e followin g year gen tian seeds wou ld be able to fall on to th e churn ed, loosen ed soil an d a th ick growth o f you n g plan ts could grow usin g th e rem ain in g secon dary roots. Th e gen tian s grew very rapidly. Usin g this m eth od th ey were rejuvenated. For m an y years n ow it has been illegal for us n ot on ly to dig up gen tian roots, bu t also to rem ove th e plan ts or parts o f th em from our own land. It sh ould be p erfectly com prehen sible th at if th e gen tian roots are n ot dug up t h ey get worn out from age (aroun d 30 to 40 years), so th e soil m ats and com pacts an d the roots die out. However, I have worked with th ese plants, so I have th e experien ce to kn ow wh ere an d un der wh ich con dition s gen tian s will grow h ealth ily and propagate, h ow to get th e seeds to germ in ate an d I also kn ow th at th ey do well at lower altitu d es with th e h elp o f sym biotic fungi. In m y opin ion it would m ake m ore sense if th e protectors o f alpin e plan ts (park rangers and, in Austria, th e m ou n tain rescue service) were train ed to cultivate an d propagate them , so th at farm ers wou ld n ot have to be fined, just because t h ey wan t to profit from th ese h ealth -givin g an d valuable roots on th eir own m ou n tain pastures. This wou ld be a m uch m ore effective way to p r otect alpin e flora.

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Alternative Ways to Keep Livestock


Livestock play a large role in a perm aculture system , they do not just provide h igh -quality produce, th ey are also in dustrious and pleasant workers. Poultry, pigs, horses, cattle, sheep, goats and m any oth er an im als can be used in a perm aculture system . However, 1only breed robust, hardy anim als that are suited to th e terrain. Old, som etim es rare d om estic breeds as well as wild anim als fulfil th ese requirem en ts th e best. I have successfully bred m ouflon , cham ois, ibexes an d red, roe an d fallow deer as well as various species o f wild cattle such as yaks, water buffalo an d Am er ican an d European bison. Most dom estic an im al breeds have becom e very rare. I con sider it our d uty to propagate th em . In a tim e wh en th e focus is always on h igh perform an ce and th is un h ealth y drive for profit has affected th e breed in g an d keepin g o f livestock, it is especially im portan t to preserve diversity, wh ich represen ts a sign ifican t cultural heritage. Old dom estic breeds are n ot on ly sign ifican tly hardier, th ey are also m ore in telligen t an d adaptable th an th eir over-bred an d degen erate cousins. Th eir natural in stin cts are good en ou gh for th em n ot to fall over their own feet an d th eir produce is o f a far higher quality. Th ese old breeds can be kept un der n ear-n atural con dition s, wh ich for m e is th e m ain requirem en t for keepin g livestock. In tensive livestock farm ing, on th e oth er hand, am oun ts to torture o f large n um bers o f anim als. People should really ask them selves if th ey would wan t to be treated in such a way. In m y opin ion , th e pain o f an im als is also felt by people. An yon e wh o has seen th e inside o f a battery farm will kn ow wh at I m ean. Th e fact th at food produced in th is way is n ot real food, bu t o f ver y low n utrition al value m ust be well kn own to a reason able n um ber o f people by now. Th e use o f growth h orm on es, an tibiotics an d sedatives in m odern meat prod u ction is ver y com m on . Since th e BSE crisis th e wh ole world has foun d out th at there is n oth in g people will refrain from feedin g to livestock. Also th e en orm ous am oun ts o f stress th e poor creatures are subjected to wh en t h ey are tran sported for days at a tim e is passed on as stress h orm on es in th e m eat. We are th e ones th at are bein g dam aged m ost by all o f th ese crim es com m itted again st our fellow creatures. Fortunately, m ore an d m ore people are begin n in g to question th eir own con sum er behaviour. If th ere were no lon ger a m arket for th ese cheap products, th e cru el treatm en t o f an im als in m eat factories wou ld soon com e to an end. Keepin g livestock hum anely, on th e oth er han d, provides us with highquality an d d eliciou s food, gives th e anim als as natural a life as possible and brin gs farm ers joy every day! On th e Kram eterhof, livestock are always kept outside in fam ilies an d great care is taken to m eet th e n eeds o f differen t an im al species. As th e livestock are always kept in fam ily groups, th e pr oportion o f m ale and fem ale anim als also has to be adjusted appropriately. Th e size o f th e area available to th em depen ds on th e space n aturally required by each species. W it h a little un derstan din g and in sigh t it is quite straightforward to have h appy livestock on th e farm.
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K e e p in g liv e s to c k o u ts id e gives th e m a h a p p y life.

Pigs in a Permaculture System


Pigs are an in separable part o f H olzer perm aculture. By allowin g m y livestock to be free-ran ge an d u sin g a system o f paddocks, I reduce th e wor k an d th e am ou n t o f feed required to a m in im um . I also receive high qu ality food in the form o f m eat an d bacon an d I can sell on th e you n g pigs t h at I breed. Finally, th e an im als actu ally wor k for m e by loosen in g th e soil and t illin g m y terraces. For m e th ere is no m ore versatile or m ore h elpfu l an anim al, I on ly n eed to give t h em th e righ t opportun ity. If I were to close th em away in a pen , however, I wou ld have to wor k for m y pigs instead. W h en keep in g livestock, it sh ould be th e first pr ior ity o f every farm er to give his an im als a good life. In th e end, t h ey are th e on es th at provide th e produce. Every farm er sh ould be able to say wh en lookin g at th eir livestock t h at if th ey were to swap places th ey wou ld also be happy. Like all d om esticated an im als, pigs have lost m an y o f th eir old ch aracter istics over years o f selective breedin g. Th ese high per for m an ce breeds are no lon ger suited to bein g kept un der n atural con dition s. Th ey wou ld trip over th eir own feet on rough terrain an d t h ey wou ld scarcely survive th e winter. In addition , t h ey no lon ger have th e n atural in stin cts th at th ey n eed to be good workers. For th is reason I on ly keep old pig breeds on m y farm. Th ey fulfil all o f th e n ecessary criteria an d are m u ch m ore valuable, becau se t h ey are on ly bred on a sm all scale.
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Characteristics of a Few Old Pig Breeds


M angalitza
Man galitza wooly pigs are m edium - to large-fram ed wit h stron g bon es, power ful m uscles and large lop ears. Their th ick curly coat (wool) is blon de, red or black-brown (swallow-bellied) and protects th e pigs from th e cold and rain very well. Th e brown and wh ite stripes o f th e piglets m akes th em look sim ilar to wild pigs. Man galitzas were bred all over Europe for th eir excellen t bacon up un til the m iddle o f th e 19th century. Th ey were gradually superseded as th e prod u ction o f m eat becam e m ore in ten sive and tod ay th ey are an en dan gered breed. Th ey are very un d em an din g an d are well suited to bein g free-ran ge as lon g as their paddocks are large en ough to satisfy th eir n eed to m ove around. Th e t h ick un dercoat th at protects th e pigs so well again st th e cold is m oulted in spring. If th ey have th e opportu n ity to wallow, th ey can cope in credibly well with high tem peratures. Th e m ater nal in stin cts o f th e fem ales are par ticularly good. Th e anim als are well kn own as bacon pigs with a th ick layer o f fat and h igh -qu ality m eat.

Swabian-Hall Swine
Swabian -H all swin e are large-fram ed anim als with a lon g bod y and lop ears. Th eir black an d wh ite colourin g
M a n g a litz a pigs: th e ir th ic k w o o l p ro te c ts th e m a g a in s t th e c o ld in w in te r ve ry w e ll.

m akes th em difficult to con fuse with oth er pig breeds. Th e anim als are d is tin guish ed by their in credible gooclnaturedness. Th ey are also extrem ely h ardy and their m eat is o f a very high quality. Despite their excellen t br eed in g qualities th ey are n ow en dangered.

Duroc

Th e duroc pig breed em erged in the n orth -eastern Un ited States in th e m iddle o f th e 19th cen tur y from cross in g Span ish pig breeds. Th e anim als have a reddish coat, are m edium - to large-fram ed with an arched back
A S w a b ia n -H a ll p ig le t ta ke s a b re a k fro m w o r k .

and sm all lop ears. Th ey are d istin guish ed by th eir calm n ess and docility

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an d th eir stron g resistance to stress. Duroc pigs are also very h ardy and sure-footed, wh ich m akes th em good on difficult terrain. Th e fact th at th e quality o f th eir m eat is very h igh is also wid ely known .

Turopoije
Th e tur opoije p ig breed com es from wh at are, today, th e pastures o f th e river Sava in Croatia. In th e riverside woods o f th e Sava th e an im als were kept outsid e all year roun d. In order to adapt to th is en viron m en t th ey becam e excellen t swim m ers. This allowed th em to su ccessfu lly find food in th e large flood ed m eadows. Turopoije pigs are black an d wh ite spotted, m edium -fram ed anim als with large h alf-d roopin g ears. Th ey are well suited to pastures an d a high prop or tion o f th eir diet com es from foraging. Th eir m eat is also o f a very h igh quality, however, like m an galitzas, t h ey have a r elatively large layer o f fat. Th e tur opoije is a cr itically en dan gered pig breed. Free-roam ing pigs are still a rarity in Austria and raise a great deal o f public interest. Th e strikin gly coloured and less well-kn own old breeds with th eir piglets especially fascin ate visitors and passers-by. This positive im pression en courages acceptan ce o f and in terest in en dan gered dom estic breeds and m akes it easier to directly m arket th e products m ade from them .
D u ro c w ith p ig le ts in a ro u n d w o o d shelter,

TuroPo|i e

a re also a ve ry h a rd y b re e d .

Pigs as Helpers
Pigs m ake pleasan t an d helpful workers in m an y respects. Th e soil can be greatly im proved b y th e pigs d iggin g activity. Wh en th ey search for food th ey plough th rough th e top layers o f earth and loosen and aerate th e soil. It is easy to precisely direct th e pigs by scatterin g loose feed (e.g. peas, grain or m aize) in th e appropriate places. Com pacted soil can be loosen ed with m in im al effort an d well prepared for sowin g afterwards. W ith this m eth od I can direct th e anim als for sm all- to large-scale tilling. Th e pigs perform ph ysically

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Sepp Holzers Permaculture

S ta ff m e e tin g

d em an din g wor k with ease. On th e Kram eterhof, wh ere th ere is a great deal o f rough terrain an d th e soil is so ston y in som e places th at it can n ot be plough ed, t h e pigs are in dispen sable as livin g ploughs. Wh en bu ild in g paddocks I take n ote o f h ow th e pigs can help m e best. Orchards an d seedlin g nurseries m ake ideal places for th em to work. In contrast to goats an d sheep, th ey do n ot dam age th e fruit trees. Th ere are often large am oun ts o f win dfall fruit in orchards, wh ich can lead to th e spread o f fun gus and m ould. If pigs are pu t out in th ese areas to pasture at th e right tim e, this dan ger can be averted to a great extent. As previously m en tion ed, properly directed pigs can be a great help wh en regulatin g rapidly-growin g wild plants. An agricultural research project in Germ an y has in vestigated th e effect o f large n um bers o f pigs (duroc and m an galitza breeds am on g others) on th e plan t kin gdom wh en th ey were allowed to roam freely. Th e vegetation ch artin g showed th at th e plan t diversity in th e areas grazed by th e pigs doubled. Th e reason suggested is th at plan ts growin g in very overgrown areas t h at wou ld otherwise n ot have th e opportu n ity to develop su d den ly had th e chan ce to germ in ate and grow wh en th e t u r f was broken. Pigs m ake a large con tr ibution to th e regulation o f snails. Movable pen s can be used to place th e pigs exactly wh ere t h ey are n eeded. Between th e fields, wh ich have a large pop u lation o f snails, a narrow strip as lon g as th e cultivated area can be en closed. A fen ce o f wire m esh is en ou gh for sh ort term use. Mobile shelters like horse trailers, transporters or an yth in g sim ilar m ake suitable open h ousing. Th e pigs m ust first get u sed to snails as a food source. To do this I m ix

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Pig p lo u g h s ' o f all a g e s w o rk in g .

snails I have collected in with their norm al feed. Th e anim als soon acquire a taste for them , start lookin g for snails them selves and eat all n ewcom ers to th e p ad d ock straight away. Pigs n eed a great deal o f water to digest snails. This m ust never be forgotten wh en regulatin g th e snail population ! Insects, wh ich go th rough th e early part o f th eir life-cycle in th e soil, eg cockchafers, chafers etc, are con trolled by th e pigs rootin g activity. Pigs also serve as a good exam ple o f th e cyclical n ature o f perm aculture systems: th e soil is prepared and fertilised by th e pigs, plan ts grow lush and h ealth ily in it, win dfall fruit and roots rem ain in g in th e soil serve as feed - at th e sam e tim e snails and un wan ted in sects like cockch afer larvae are eaten - and last o f all I have th e fin est bacon from h u m an ely kept anim als.

Keeping Pigs Using a Paddock System


On th e Kram eterhof, all o f th e lan d is m an aged as part o f a padd ock system . This m eans th at all o f th e livestock are kept outsid e th e wh ole year round. An im als th at have their natural n eeds fulfilled rem ain h ealth y an d happy, grow well and provide good offspring. Havin g en ou gh space to m ove an d dig around in is as im portan t for th e an im als welfare as givin g th em th e ch an ce to wallow and bu ild n ests so th at t h ey can br in g th eir you n g safely into th e world. Pigs do n ot have sweat glands, so t h ey have to rely on bodies o f water an d wallowin g to regulate th eir bod y tem perature in h ot weather. Wh en th ey wallow, th e pigs cover th em selves in a layer o f m ud, wh ich protects th e ligh t-skin n ed breeds

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M u d d y p o o ls a re p a rtic u la rly im p o r ta n t fo r pigs.

an d th ose with less hair from sun burn and m akes a sign ifican t con tr ibution to preven tin g parasitic in festation . Wet areas and flowin g water are best for th e pigs to m ake in to th eir own m u dd y pools. Th e am ou n t o f wor k for th e farm er is m in im ised by keepin g pigs in this way. Wh en keepin g pigs outdoors it is vital to take soil con d ition s and any h illy areas in to accoun t. Th e land m ust n ot becom e overused. It is im portan t to en sure a correct stockin g rate an d th at th e pigs do n ot graze for too long. Con tin ually observin g th e d evelopm en t o f th e pig p opu lation and th e pasture areas will m ake it easy to preven t any dam age from bein g caused. Th e stockin g rate o f th e pigs should be adapted to fit th e am ou n t o f food n aturally available in th e paddocks. Depen d in g on soil con d ition s and vegetation , I keep between th ree and twelve pigs per h ectare in a paddock. Sim ple open structures m ade o f rough tim ber logs or stones are bu ilt for shelter. Wh en ch oosin g th e right place to pu t on e o f th ese shelters, you n eed to observe and un derstan d th e pigs. Soon after th ey have been m oved to a n ew padd ock th eir favourite places to lie can be clearly ascertain ed. From wh at I have been able to observe, pigs are very sensitive to earth energies. In th e places wh ere th e anim als particularly like to rest I build on e or m ore shelters - d epen din g on th e n um ber o f an im als and th eir requirem en ts. Extra feedin g is rarely necessary, becau se in a padd ock system th ere is en ough vegetation th r ou gh ou t th e year and th e pigs are kept outside all year round. Even in win ter t h ey fin d en ou gh food ben eath th e sn ow - th e pigs like to d ig up Jerusalem artichokes, wh ich taste like sweet potato. W h en th e pigs m ove from one p ad d ock to th e next, th e ch urn ed up soil is sown wit h a m ixture o f differen t crops (turnips, potatoes, cabbages, peas etc.). In th e n ext p ad d ock I th en use th e pigs to do oth er thin gs, such as reducin g t h e n um ber o f stin gin g nettles between th e fruit trees. Th is p ad d ock will also be sown wit h a m ixture o f seeds after it has been grazed. Th en th ere are further p add ocks an d th e cycle con tin ues. On ce en ou gh tim e has passed, th e

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M ix e d h e rd o f p ig le ts in fro n t o f a ro u n d w o o d shelter.

pigs can return to th e first paddock. Th e system m oves in a circle, wh ich m akes addition al feedin g unnecessary, becau se th e an im als work for them selves. I always try to m ake sure th at en ou gh tubers and root crops rem ain in th e soil despite th e grazin g, so th at th e plan ts can propagate them selves. W ith J erusalem artich okes th e pigs d iggin g behaviour is particularly helpful, becau se th e soil is n ot on ly loosen ed; it also spreads th e tubers. On ce th e area has been grazed, th e con d ition s are even better for propagation , regen eration and growth th an in u n tilled soil. Naturally, th e padd ocks are sim ultan eously wor kin g as arable land in a perm aculture system , because after th e pigs have d on e th eir work, th e areas are used to cultivate crops. Therefore, paddocks are n ot a waste o f land, bu t are in fact th e m ost productive way o f u sin g it.

Wild Cattle and Old Domestic Cattle Breeds


For m an y years I have successfully bred old dom estic and wild cattle breeds on th e Kram eterhof. Over th e course o f th e years th e com position and n um ber o f th e m ost com m on breeds here have changed. I did m ost o f m y cattle breedin g at th e begin n in g o f th e 90s, wh en I kept a m ixed herd o f aroun d 50 wild cattle in a 25-hectare paddock. Th e cattle I have bred over th e years are European bison (Bison bonasus), Am er ican bison (Bison bison), yaks (Bos Poephagus mutus), water buffalo (Bubalus Bubalus arnee), and also dom estic breeds such as Scottish H ighlan d cattle, H un garian steppe cattle and Dah om ey m in iature cattle. Th ey con tin ue to be a part o f m y breed in g program m e today.

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A m e ric a n bison a n d H ig h la n d c o w in a p a d d o c k to g e th e r.

A y a k 's th ic k h a ir m ake s it v e ry w e ll su ite d to c o ld c o n d itio n s .

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For m e keepin g wild cattle is, above all, abou t propagatin g and m ain tain in g th e breed. To th is en d I am wor kin g in cooperation with a couple o f zoos to breed European bison , also called wisen t, wh ich are cr itically en dangered. Wild cattle also provide excellen t h igh qu ality food. For exam ple, yak and water buffalo m ilk an d m eat are a rare delicacy. All o f th ese an im als are particularly h ardy an d un dem an din g, wh ich m akes th e wor k required to keep th em ver y low. H appy livestock, h igh -qu ality produce an d n ot focu sin g on h igh yield s are both th e results o f and th e key to success.

Keeping Bovine Species


I always keep m y cattle u sin g a system o f paddocks. W it h th is m eth od th e lan d is never overused and th e soil and vegetation always have en ou gh tim e to recover. A p ad d ock system is particularly im portan t wh en keepin g cattle, because th eir weigh t can cause th e soil to becom e perm an en tly com pacted. On th e Kram eterhof, bovin e species form sm all herds and an im als o f differen t species can develop a bond. On ly th e water buffalo isolate th em selves from th e group and ten d to stay close to th e water. Th ey prefer on e particular pon d. I th in k th at it is very im portan t to pay particular atten tion to th e social relation ships between th e anim als. If you get th e com position o f th e group wr on g it can, as wit h all livestock, lead to altercations. Th e an im als develop a natural hierarchy, wh ich is wh y you sh ould m ake sure th at th ere is a d om in an t bull in th e group. Th e bu lls rivals should all be sign ifican tly weaker. Organ isin g a herd like this will help to preven t an y serious figh tin g between rivals. I also arrange it so th at t h e en closures are large en ou gh to provide th em with plen ty o f space to avoid each other. Creatin g places to rest and hide is vital. Visual barriers in th e form o f wooded areas an d h edges play a large part in this. Th e an im als should n ot be pu t on display so th at th ey can be seen from all sides as t h ey are in m an y zoos. It is ver y im portan t for th e an im als to have p len ty o f places to escape to an d for th em to be disturbed by people as little as possible. Wild an im als can be kept in an en closure wit h ou t an y problem s as lon g as th ey are kept as n aturally as possible an d retain th eir wild an im al character. In order for th is to h appen you m ust, o f course, fam iliarise you r self with th e way th ey live. In con trast to th eir overbred cousins, wild cattle kn ow th eir own abilities very well, so th e fen cin g aroun d th e p ad d ock m u st be as well th ou gh t ou t as possible. Wh eth er th e an im als are gen erally h appy or not, a norm al fen ce will n ot keep th em in. Curiosity an d their in stin ct to play alon e will allow th em to overcom e th ese barriers ver y quickly. I have had th e best results with two-m etr e-h igh electrified gam e fences.

Feed
I lim it addition al feedin g to durin g th e winter, becau se I use a p ad d ock system . Like th e pigs, th e wild cattle also have lush forage fields at th eir disposal, in wh ich t h ey can fin d th eir win ter food in th e form o f turn ips, fodder kale, J erusalem

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D ahom ey m in ia tu re c a ttle a n d H ig h la n d c o w w ith c a lf.

artich okes and m an y oth er plants. Th ey also get hay, grain an d apple an d pear pom ace, wh ich is left over from m akin g juice and cider on th e farm. I have always foun d it in terestin g to observe wh ich plan ts th e anim als prefer wh en t h ey ch an ge paddocks. Th rough len gth y observation I have determ in ed th at an im als wit h diarrhoea caused by parasites in th eir stom ach s or intestin es eat poison ous plan ts su ch as lupins, m on ksh ood, m ale fern, buttercups and even poison ous m ushroom s. By obser vin g th rou gh ou t th e year I have been able to establish th at anim als wh ich have a lush flora wit h a variety o f poison ou s m ushroom s available to t h em stay healthy. Th ey also no lon ger n eed to be worm ed. Th e district vet from Murau, Dr. Fritz Rossian, has been exam in in g our livestock an d issuin g th e n ecessary h ealth certificates for th e Tam sweg district cou n cil for decades. Dr Rossian was ver y en th usiastic about th is system . I have had th e sam e success with oth er livestock. You on ly have to m ake sure th at th ese plan ts are presen t in large en ou gh n um bers an d are richly diverse. Th e an im als can use th eir in stin cts to decide for th em selves wh en and wh ich plan ts th ey require. Obviously, th ey should n ot be pu t in a position wh er e t h ey have to eat th ese plan ts out o f hunger, because t h ey can n ot fin d an yth in g else. For th is reason you sh ould u n der no circum stan ces m ix herbs or poison ou s plan ts into th e feed yourself. On ly th e an im als kn ow wh at th ey need. Unfortunately, I have never foun d t h e tim e to wor k out th e dosages t h at wou ld be required. Th is wou ld be an im por tan t area for scien tific research. Th at wh ich is applicable to an im als is also applicable to hum an s. Food is also m edicin e! It m ust be varied, n u tritious an d healthy, wh ich m ean s it m u st be free from artificial additives an d n ot con tam in ated by fertilisers or pesticides. Finally, I wou ld also like to say som eth in g abou t m y m eth od o f keepin g cattle in general: to be m ore specific, dehorn in g. It is un believably pain ful for th e an im als an d also has an effect on th eir behaviour. Accor d in g to m y observation s t h ey act in a com pletely differen t an d disturbed way. Th ey bu tt each oth er in

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t h e stom ach, wh ich can lead to prem ature or stillbirth s in pregn an t cows. In add ition to this, I am o f th e opin ion th at d eh or n in g cattle also affects th em in oth er ways. I th in k it is possible th at anim als also store and dispose o f harm ful substan ces in th eir claws an d horns. Deh or n in g as well as d ockin g tails and croppin g ears is n oth in g m ore th an m u tilation as far as I am con cern ed. I am con vin ced t h at we sh ould be h eld to accoun t for th e way we treat anim als. I f we keep th is in m in d an d treat our fellow creatures with con sideration , keepin g livestock will brin g us joy and success.

Poultry
Bird Conservation
Before I m ove on to keepin g and breed in g poultry, I wou ld like to poin t out th e value and im portan ce o f local bird species. Num erous bird species are n ow en dan gered as a result o f th e loss o f th eir natural habitats. Th e drain in g o f m eadows and wetlan d, river regulation , lan d levelling, u n h ealth y agricultural m eth od s an d th e in creasin g use o f pesticides are causin g th e red list o f th reaten ed an d en dan gered species to grow each year. Urban sprawl and an ever den ser traffic n etwork con tin u e to con tribute to th e loss o f natural habitats. I see it as m y duty to help to chan ge th is sad situation with m y own farm in g practices. Birds play a valuable role in con trollin g th e in sect popu lation and h elp to propagate an d seed n um erous plants. Birds are in credibly useful and ben eficial creatures and sh ould be supported by every m eans available. Even th ose with sm all gardens can m ake a valuable con tr ibution to bird con servation . Well-structured garden s as opposed to n eat lawns and h edges o f fruit bush es instead o f m on ocultu res offer birds a h abitat and a source o f food. Th e use o f ch em icals m ust be aban don ed, so t h at th e birds natural source o f food is n ot poison ed! Th e greater th e diversity o f plan t varieties with in th e hedges, in th e m eadows or forests, th e greater th e diversity o f th e yield o f fruits and berries. Th en a greater var iety o f in sects will also start to appear. Th is will ensure a balan ced diet. In sectivorous birds like robin s (Erithacus rubecula) and wren s ( Troglodytes troglodytes) will fin d a gen erous buffet an d th e population o f beetles, butterflies, green flies an d wh iteflies will n ever becom e large en ough to cause an y dam age. Good forage plan ts for local bird species are th e elderberry (Sambucus nigra), Guelder rose ( Viburnum opulus), wayfarin g tree ( Viburnum lantana), wild ch erry (Prunus avium), bird ch er r y (Prunuspadus), fly h on eysuckle (.Lonicera xylosteum ), bar ber ry (Berberis vulgaris), bram ble (Rubus fruticosus), d og rose (Rosa canina), wild privet (Ligustrum vulgare), yew ( Taxus baccata), ivy (Hedera helix), spin dle tree (Euonymus europaeus), d ogwood (Cornus sanguinea), sn owy m espilus (Am elanchier ovalis), wh itebeam (Sorbus aria), rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) an d m an y others. Th ese trees and shrubs provide th e birds wit h a varied diet o f berries, fruit an d seeds. On ce an adequate range o f
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food has been en sured, it is tim e to create n estin g sites. Op en n estin g birds p articularly like to n est in den se th or n y hedges. H olzer perm aculture provides cavity n esters wit h m an y h ollow old trees. Next, a n um ber o f differen t nest boxes are prepared. Th e sizes o f th e boxes an d o f th e en tran ce h oles sh ould be varied, so t h at n ot on ly a sm all n um ber o f m ore com petitive species like th e great tit (Parus major) are en couraged. Th e birds do n ot n eed to be fed over th e winter, because th ey will find en ou gh food am on gst th e diverse plan t life o f a perm aculture system even in winter. However, I have still plan ted a few forage plan ts for th e birds close to th e house. Th is m akes it possible to watch th e birds closer up and learn m ore abou t their behaviour an d food preferen ces. Th e forage plan ts m u st be properly selected and m ain tain ed. Th ey should be plan ted in sheltered places, such as n ext to trees. Th e food sh ould con tain seeds o f differen t sizes (sunflower seeds, flax seeds, m illet and h em p seeds), so th at m ore th an just a few types o f bird are attracted. It is particularly im portan t to m ake sure th at th e feed does not becom e wet an d is n ot con tam in ated by droppings. Un suitable win ter feed can lead to th e spread o f diseases and parasites! In order to observe woodpeckers (Picidae), treecreepers (Certhiidae) an d n u th atch es (Sitta europaea) a m ixture o f fat and feed can be spread on to trees (in cracks in th e bark) in winter. An oth er possibility for win ter feedin g is cu ttin g off th e dried seed h eads o f in digen ous shrubs an d bush es in autum n . Th e seed heads can be h u n g up in win ter an d will provide th e birds with am ple food. Durin g winter, birds should on ly be fed wh en th e groun d is com pletely covered wit h snow. However, th e best th in g th at you can do for th e birds in you r garden, is to provide th em with good food by n ot h arvestin g everyth in g in you r perm aculture system . Supposedly u n tid y th in gs like piles o f brush wood and th ick hedges are well-valued by birds: in win ter th ey can also fin d in sects and oth er sm all creatures there!

Keeping Poultry Humanely


We keep birds exten sively on th e Kr am eter h of an d we are m ostly self-sufficient. It is, o f course, possible to use p ou ltr y breed in g as a source o f in com e for a farm with ou t resortin g to in h um an e m ethods. W h en keepin g p ou ltr y I t r y to un derstan d th e birds natural h abitat an d to reduce th e n eed for addition al feedin g by in tr od u cin g selected forage plants. Th e birds should be able to live as in d epen den tly as possible an d provide high quality produce un der th e best con dition s. Birds wh ich have h atch ed n aturally are th e m ost suitable for breeding. In cubator h atch ed birds do n ot have th e m atern al in stin cts n eeded to be able to raise a brood in d ep en d en tly Often th ey do n ot brood for lon g en ough, leave th e n est too early or do n ot look after their you n g properly. Acqu ir in g n aturally h atch ed birds is n ot always easy, bu t it is wor th it. Man y rare bird en th usiasts an d breeders still believe birds th at are n aturally h atch ed and kept free range should n ot be left to h atch their own eggs. Th ey ch eck regularly for eggs an d if an y are foun d th ey catch th e hen,
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d u ck or goose and rem ove th e eggs. Th e eggs are kept warm for a day an d th en return ed. I am con vin ced th at th is beh aviour h urts th e birds n atural breed in g an d broodin g in stin ct m ore th an it h elps it. O f course, som etim es a m oth er bird will n ot h atch her eggs even un der optim al con dition s. However, I accept th is as gen etic selection . Th e successful m oth ers balan ce out th e losses. In th e course o f tim e, t h e desired n um ber o f reliable br eed in g pairs will establish itself. I have had particularly good results with m allards and Indian run n er an d crested ducks as well as Styrian chicken s. Th ese breeds are h ardy an d adaptable an d h elp to keep th e snail p opu lation down. To p r otect m y p ou ltr y from predators I plan t hedges. For th ese protective hedges, wh ich I m igh t for in stan ce pu t in a ch icken en closure, I use a n um ber o f varieties o f very th or n y plan ts. Th orn h edges m ade o f differen t varieties o f rose are particularly suitable. For on e thin g, th ey fulfil th eir fu n ction as a place for th e birds to take shelter, t h ey are popular with th e birds and, furtherm ore, th e fruits o f th e differen t roses provide th em wit h a tasty food source. In add ition to that, I en joy th e beautiful flowers and th e h eady perfum e o f th e rose h edges every day. Th e followin g wild roses are recom m en ded: th e m ultiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), a stron g climber, has abu n d an t flowers an d an in ten se perfum e, it is also ver y popular with bees; th e d og rose (Rosa canina), an easy to cultivate wild rose an d also an excellen t m edicin al plant, its fruit is rich in vitam in C and also m akes d eliciou s jam or fruit tea; an d th e J apanese rose (Rosa rugosa) is also very suitable for a rose h edge o f th is kind. In Austria it is called th e apple rose , wh ich probably com es from th e plan ts large red shin y fruit (rose hips), wh ich are very tasty. It is also kn own as th e potato rose , wh ich com es from its corrugated leaves. I con str u ct m obile n estin g sites for th e poultry. Th ey con sist o f two pieces o f rough tim ber position ed in th e th or n y un dergrowth in such a way th at there is still en ou gh space for a h en and her clu tch between th e pieces o f wood. Th e

M u s c o v y d u cks o n th e K ra m e te rh o f.

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A c a p e rc a illie o n c e even p e rfo rm e d a c o u rts h ip d isp la y o n m y a rm .

advan tage o f th is kin d o f n estin g site is th at th ey can be pu t togeth er in differen t en closures if n eeded. In m y experience, m obile n est sites are hardly ever attacked by predators. Movin g th e sites seem s to repel th e distrustful predators. Th e th or n s presen t an addition al barrier. Over th e years, bu ild in g pon ds for breedin g ducks and geese has proven to be particularly worthwhile. For th is purpose, I have created islands o f differin g sizes wh ich can on ly be reached from th e ban k usin g r ickety wooden con struction s (usually a sin gle p lan k is en ough). Predators like foxes and m arten s shy away from th e water and sh rin k back from th e u n stable en tran ce to th e island over a bridge. On th e islan d th ere are sheltered n estin g sites and th e area is plan ted wit h differen t varieties o f willow. Th is will also provide protection from birds o f prey. Th ere sh ould be twice as m an y n estin g sites as th ere are d ucks capable o f

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broodin g, to en sure good breed in g results. Th e n estin g sites sh ould be d ry and well ven tilated (but n ot draughty). In m y experience, th e birds prefer partially dark, secluded places to nest. It is especially im portan t at th e begin n in g o f a n ew br eed in g season th at th ese sites can be closed off. Th e birds n eed to get used to th eir n ew h abitat slowly. Th e ducks an d geese m u st have access to stretches o f open water all year roun d. If th e pon d freezes over com pletely in winter, th ey will be left defen celess again st predators. For th is reason th e in flow to th e pon d should be at as steep an an gle as possible. Th e water pressure will th en keep th e area o f water aroun d th e in flow free o f ice. Ducks are om n ivores, their diet ranges from you n g leaves, roots, aquatic plan ts an d grain to worm s, am phibian s and even sm all fish. Th ey also really like to eat snails! Geese live exclusively on plants. Th ey particularly like to eat grass and m eadow plants. Th ey graze and fertilise sm all areas o f m eadow and are also th e best alarm system on th e farm. As a result o f th eir stron g territorial behaviour t h ey an n ou n ce visitors with th eir loud hon kin g. As t h ey are un errin g in this respect, th ey have lon g been used as guard anim als worldwide. Over th e years I have also had experien ce breed in g quail, pheasan ts and oth er wild poultry. If th e n eeds o f th ese wild birds are successfully m et it is even possible to breed very dem an din g native grouse like th e capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and h azel grouse (Bonasa bonasia). W it h en ough sym path y and un derstan din g alm ost an yth in g is possible.

Earth Cellars a n d O pen Shelters


As th e anim als on th e Kr am eter h of live outside all year roun d, bu ild in g sim ple and reliable shelters is especially im portan t. Th e anim als n eed d ry places to retreat to th at are sheltered from th e win d. I t r y to use as econ om ical a buildin g m eth od as I can. As I have said, th e win ters in Lun gau are ver y harsh with tem peratures som etim es droppin g below -25-C, so I decided to pu t th e shelters un dergroun d. I m ake use o f th e soils ability to in sulate and store heat. By doin g this, I can bu ild th e shelters m u ch m ore sim ply an d ch eaply and, because th ey are earth sheltered, create a draught-free and warm shelter, in wh ich all livestock can be com fortable. Th ese shelters can be built differen tly to suit differen t types o f an im al an d th e len gth o f tim e th ey will be kept there. Over th e years, I have developed som e very sim ple an d efficien t m eth ods o f bu ild in g shelters, wh ich I will n ow explain in greater detail.

Earth Shelters as Pigsties


Buildin g sim ple earth shelters to h ouse pigs is ver y straight forward. Th ese buildin gs are put togeth er with th e sm allest effort an d fulfil all o f th e im portan t requirem en ts for pigs. First o f all, a two- to th ree-m etre-wid e an d on e- to twom etre-deep d itch is d ug at th e foot o f a slope. Th e location m ust, o f course, be

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Earth sh e lte r w ith m a n g a litz a pigs.

selected so th at th e d itch rem ains dry. Next, tree trun ks are laid over th e d itch to form a roof. Th e r oof should be gen tly sloped so th at an y water will drain straight off it. To in sulate th e roof, sh eetin g or bitum en shin gles are placed on top o f it and th e wh ole th in g is covered with a little soil or brushwood. Th e len gth as well as th e wid th o f th e bu ild in g can be increased, bu t th e logs for th e r oof will have to be thicker. Th e wid th , however, should n ot be m ore th an four m etres for statistical reasons. As th e trun ks are on ly lyin g on th e soil an d th e pigs ten d to dig a little aroun d them , th ey m ust have an excess len gth o f at least on e m etre. Th e d itch m ust have low side walls for th e sam e reason. This will en sure stability. Th e buildin g on ly has on e side open, so t h at th e pigs can go in and out. Now all you n eed to do is th row straw or h ay in to th e en tran ce and th e pigs luxury accom m odation is com plete. Th ese earth shelters do n ot have to be easily accessible as far as I am con cerned, becau se th e pigs do n ot n eed m e. I on ly n eed to th row th e straw into th e en tran ce an d th e an im als will distribute it them selves. Clean in g ou t dun g is also unnecessary, because pigs are ver y clean anim als. Th ey go outside to relieve th em selves an d keep th eir hom e clean. Th e reputation pigs have for bein g d ir ty on ly com es from th e fact th at th ey can n ot m ove about in cram ped pens, wh ich forces th em to live in th eir own m uck. If th ey have th e option to move, however, th eir sleepin g places are won d er fu lly clean. Man y people m arvel at this fact again an d again wh en t h ey are sh own around. Th ey say th at t h ey wou ld have n o reservation s about sleepin g in a pigsty after that.

Roundwood Shelters and Earth Cellars


W ith larger bu ild in g projects, I th in k it is particularly im portan t th at I keep as m an y altern ative uses available for m y buildin gs an d structures as possible. I try to build th em in a way t h at can be u sed for very differen t purposes wit h very little or no alterations. This way I preven t th e n eed for large-scale bu ild in g alteration s
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R oundw ood s h e lte r m a d e o f s p ru c e a n d la rc h .

an d th e an n oyan ce th at com es with th em right from th e start. Now I also build m ost r oun dwood shelters larger and I m ake th em accessible to vehicles. This is so I can keep oth er livestock like cattle or horses in th em with no difficulty. I can also use th ese buildin gs as storage room s with on ly m in or alterations. Th e shelter is design ed so th at it is closed on three sides and th at th e en tran ce faces east. Th is way th e shelter faces th e rising sun an d th e first rays o f sun ligh t will wake th e anim als. If it is too hot for th e anim als at m idday durin g th e summer, t h ey are sheltered from th e sun inside and have a pleasan t cool livin g tem perature. To build th e shelter I begin by d iggin g in to a terrace. Th at way I do n ot have to dig down, bu t just dig into th e slope. Using th is tech n iqu e saves a great deal o f diggin g. On ce th e area for th e shelter has been d ug out, th e excavator digs a narrow ditch at th e back and to th e sides approxim ately one m etre deep. Th e logs for th e walls will be placed in this ditch. Durin g th is stage in th e con struction th e d itch rem ain s open. To m ake each wall even, it is n ecessary to place all th e logs and fill aroun d th em in one go. Th e logs can be lean t again st th e inside o f th e slope in th e m ean tim e. This wor k is easily carried out with an excavator. Th e m ajority o f excavators have grappler arm s as addition al attach m en ts, wh ich are very well suited to this work. If one is n ot available, th e logs can sim ply be attach ed to th e excavator wit h a belt or ch ain and lifted into th e ditch. Wh en ch oosin g tim ber you sh ould m ake sure th at th e dim en sion s are large en ough, because th e th icker th e logs, th e lon ger th ey will last. Th e type o f wood also plays a large role in this. Larch and robinia last th e lon gest. Th e qu ality o f th e timber, in oth er words factors such as h ow kn otty it is or wh eth er it is in fested with bark beetles, is, however, o f m in or im portan ce. Th is allows you to m ake good use o f low-quality and th erefore low-priced tim ber. I have con structed m an y o f m y r oun dwood shelters out o f tim ber from win dbr eak as I described in th e ch apter Lan dscape Design . On ce a wall has been pu t up th e d itch is filled in an d th e

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excavator is used to arrange th e logs. W it h a two-m etr e-h igh r oun dwood shelter th e logs have to reach one m etre in to th e soil. So you m u st use tim ber th at is at least three m etres long. W h en all th ree walls are com pleted, th e logs are all cut to th e sam e height. Th is is necessary, becau se it is n ot always possible to pu t in all o f th e trun ks evenly, so you should allow a little leeway in th e len gth o f the tim ber. Th e back wall sh ould be som ewh at higher, so th at it can fit closely with th e top o f th e roof. This will increase stability even m ore. After a wall has been cu t to th e sam e height, th e in dividual logs are h eld togeth er with a cap log. To do this, a log is cu t in two lengthways, laid on top o f th e wall an d n ailed on. On ce this is d on e for both th e side walls, wor k on th e r oof can begin. Logs are lifted on to th e sh elter with an excavator. Th ese are th en n otch ed with a ch ain saw and n ailed to th e walls. Th e n otch es im prove th e fit between th e r oof and walls and preven t th e shelter from givin g way at th e sides as well as im provin g general stability. Finally, th e r oof is covered with sheetin g or roofing m em bran e and earth is heaped over it. Th e best way to do this is th e following: first o f all, I place the m em bran e on th e logs. Next, a little earth can be put on the m em brane. This is to fill in th e spaces between the logs a little. Makin g th e r oof m ore even also helps to direct surface run-off. Now the sheetin g goes on top. At this poin t it is im portan t to m ake sure th e sheetin g is n ot dam aged, so th e earth un dern eath th e sheetin g m ust un der no circum stan ces con tain any stones. Pond liner makes the m ost suitable sheeting, because it is by far th e m ost hard-wearing. Finally, an additional layer o f m em bran e is placed on top o f th e sheetin g for security. Neither

Scottish H ig h la n d c o w a n d D a h o m e y m in ia tu re c o w in a ro u n d w o o d shelter.

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th e roofing m em bran e nor th e sheetin g should be taut, otherwise th ey could tear un der th e weigh t o f th e very h eavy load. Now th e shelter is covered. Th e depth it is covered to will vary depen din g on th e soil. It should n ot m easure m ore than h a lf a m etre. Loam soil is particularly heavy, so less should be used. Wh ilst cover in g th e shelter with earth, soil should, o f course, be packed around th e side walls as well. Th e best way to round out th e wh ole buildin g is to pu t buttresses against th e sides. Th ey provide th e soil on each side with additional stability. Th e size an d design o f th ese shelters can o f course vary, bu t th e wid th should n ot go beyon d four m etres, because o f th e load on th e roof. However, there are few lim its on th e depth. I use rough tim ber logs, becau se th ey reduce th e wor k load, guaran tee greater stability and en sure th at th e structure will last longer. Naturally, th e con str u ction can also be m ade from fin ished tim ber, but I con sider m y m eth od to be m uch easier an d cheaper. It is possible to build a roun dwood shelter o f this kin d with a wid th o f th ree m etres, a len gth o f six m etres an d a h eigh t o f two m etres with an excavator and on e addition al person with in a day. Th at makes this on e o f th e fastest and ch eapest m eth od s o f bu ild in g an in sulated shelter or earth cellar. Th e cost o f ren tin g th e excavator com es to aroun d 400 to 500 euros a day in Austria (aroun d 10 work hours). If you allow for th e cost o f th e sheetin g, nails and you r own labour, th e total will be between 700 and 800 euros, if you have th e tim ber already. Th e lifespan o f a bu ild in g like this, o f course, varies d epen din g on th e type o f wood used and th e dim en sions. If you use larch or robin ia wood with a diam eter o f 30 to 40 cm, it will last for aroun d 30 years. For a bu ild in g con structed in a sin gle day th at is a rem arkably lon g tim e. A sh elter o f this kin d is very well suited to cattle because o f its height. As cattle are n ot as clean as pigs, th e shelter m ust be easily accessible. I have solved this problem by bu ild in g it three m etres high so th at I can easily m u ck it out with a tractor. Th e costs are low, less wor k is required an d th e livestock are happy. Th at is th e perfect com bin ation for me.

Use as a Storage Room


Earth is th e ch eapest an d best in sulation . Th e tem perature o f th e soil balan ces out fluctuation s and provides a steady room tem perature, wh ich is n ot just good for livestock, it m eans th e shelters can also be used to store fruit and crops. As m y padd ocks are also used to grow crops at th e sam e tim e and th e anim als chan ge paddocks regularly, som e o f th e shelters can be used as storage room s durin g th e win ter - and t h ey are exactly wh ere th e crops are. So if I wan t to store turn ips or potatoes, for exam ple, I on ly have to rem ove th e straw or hay with th e tractor fork and, if necessary, pour in a tractor bu cket o f sand. After this sm all am ou n t o f wor k I just n eed to tip th e crops in wit h th e tractor. To in sulate th e bu ild in g for storage th rough win ter I block th e en tran ce with straw. Th e in sulation coupled wit h th e tem perature o f th e soil will stop th e bu ild in g from freezin g in even th e h arsh est o f win ters. If I on ly n eed th e bu ild in g for storage, it is easy to bu ild a d oor and create an easily accessible storage room .
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BUILDING A ROUNDWOOD SHELTER OR EARTH CELLAR


N o tc h e d tree trunks for constructing th e roof. Rough tim b e r logs are p la c e d a t least one m etre d e e p and then c u t lo th e sam e height.

Front view: C onstructing the ro of w ith n o tc h e d tree trunks. Side view : In order to im prove stability the b a c k w all should fit closely w ith th e to p e d g e o f th e roof. (The b a c k w all c a n also h ave a c a p log.)

Soil, v e g e ta tio n M e m bra n e Sheeting Fine soil M e m bra n e

The root is built up in layers.

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S to ra g e ro o m m a d e fro m ro b in ia logs.

In addition to balan cin g out th e tem perature, th e high levels o f hum idity are an im portan t advan tage o f th ese storage room s. These days m an y houses have cellars with h eatin g system s bu ilt into them . Con crete floors also replaced th e com pacted earth floors in cellars a lon g tim e ago. However, this is disastrous for storin g fruit and vegetables. Th e h eatin g m eans th at th e h u m id ity is usually so low th at apples pu t into storage with er an d wrin kle in th e shortest am oun t o f tim e. However, th e high hum idity, aroun d 80 to 90 percen t in earth cellars, and th eir fairly steady tem perature between 8 an d io5C is ideal for storin g th e m ajority o f crops.

Stone Cellars
I have also con structed a few stone cellars specially for storin g fruit an d vegeables on th e Kram eterhof. Th ey have th e sam e basic characteristics as a cellar m ade from wood, on ly stone cellars are m ean t to last for ever. This m eans th at bu ild in g on e requires a great deal m ore work. Wh en bu ild in g a storage room just for fruit and vegetables, it is a good idea to take a n um ber o f details in to accoun t. Good air circulation is im portan t. Gravel is laid on th e floor for drainage. Th e ven tilation pipes m ust be large en ough to provide th e room with th e required am ou n t o f oxygen. Th e air goes th rough a ten -m etr e-lon g u n dergroun d pipe in to m y stone cellar. Th e pipe reaches to a d epth o f aroun d on e m etre. On its way th rough th e pipe th e air is br ou gh t to th e sam e tem perature as th e soil. If th e tem perature o f th e air com in g in was

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S tone c e lla r o n th e K ra m e te rh o f.

S to n e c e lla r fo r sto rin g fruit.

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STONE CELLAR
An o p tim a l storage room for all types o f crops: th e hum idity stays b e tw e e n 80 a n d 90 p e rc e n t a n d th e te m p e ra tu re remains b e tw e e n 8 a n d 10 C using just th e w a rm th o f the soil a n d no oth e r a d d itio n a l energy. The air o u tle t p ip e is p la c e d a t the highest p o in t in th e cellar.

G ravel is used for d rain a ge .

Air inlet pipe: The p ip e must b e a t least te n m etres lon g so th a t th e inco m ing air has tim e to adjust to the te m p e ra tu re o f th e soil.

n ot th e sam e as th e air inside, th ere could be an un wan ted tem perature drop in th e cellar. Th e result wou ld be a build-up o f con den sation . Th e drippin g water could m ake th e crops begin to rot or m oulder. Even th e diam eter o f th e air in let and ou tlet pipes m ust be adjusted accordin g to th e size o f th e room . For a loom 3 earth cellar, for exam ple, I use ven tilation pipes wit h a diam eter o f at least 15cm. If th e air in let pipe is sloped sligh tly downwards, it can also be used as a drain pipe wh en th e cellar is bein g cleaned. Th e air ou tlet pipe sh ould be pu t in at th e h igh est poin t in th e room . Th is also h elps to preven t con d en sation from bu ild in g up. Naturally, roun dwood shelters an d storage room s m ust be ch ecked r e gu la r ly like an y oth er buildin g. Th is is n ecessary in order to repair an y dam age prom ptly and to be able to guaran tee safety. Buildin g roun dwood shelters and earth cellars is both possible and practical all over th e world. I have had good results with all o f m y projects. I f you m ake use o f th e balan cin g effect o f th e soil, you can create a pleasan t, cool retreat in h ot places an d a warm on e in cold places. You just have to un derstan d h ow to m ake use o f n ature s resources properly.

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Possible Uses
Fruit trees and bu sh es fulfil a n um ber o f fu n ction s with in m y perm aculture system . Th ey provide vitam in -rich , h ealth y food, wh ich can be processed to create m an y differen t prod u cts such as jams, preserves, juices, vinegar, win e, spirits etc. Fruit trees are also very well suited to growin g in paddocks wh ere livestock is kept, because th ey are an excellen t source o f food. Th e win dfall fruit m ake an especially good source o f high quality feed for pigs. Th e fruit blossom s provide a great n um ber o f in sects with a rich source o f food. Bees, wh ich play a substan tial role in pollin atin g fruit trees, particularly ben efit from th e fruit blossom s. If th ere are en ou gh bee colon ies nearby, th e n um ber o f pollin ated flowers will in crease dram atically alon g with th e size o f th e yield. Wood from fruit trees (m ostly wild fruit trees), an d especially from pear and ch erry trees, is h igh ly valu ed as top qu ality join ery an d in dustrial timber. Th e roots are very popular with artists, becau se th e burl wood can be used to m ake u n ique and beau tifully shaped objects such as wood carvin gs or oth er works o f art. Th e aesth etic valu e o f th e trees should also be con sidered. From sprin g to winter, a blossom in g, fragrant orchard in fruit brin gs joy to th e heart and soul every tim e you walk th rou gh it. Plan tin g fruit trees costs m e no m ore th an p lan tin g any oth er kin d o f tree. Th e costs are n ot higher wh en I plan t an orchard, because I just sow th e trees an d th en graft th e varieties I wan t to gr ow If you use th is m ethod, you will n eed to have a great deal o f patien ce, becau se it will take a lon g tim e for th e trees to give th eir first yield. As fruit trees have so m an y advantages, I try to grow as m an y o f th em on m y lan d as possible. I can use all o f m y terraces for growin g fruit trees, crops and for keepin g livestock at th e sam e tim e. I also plan t cultivated an d wild fruit trees in th e forest to increase th e diversity o f species th ere an d to in crease th e range o f fu n ction s available for m y woodlan d plots. From m y poin t o f view, th ere is no reason n ot to sim ply plan t fruit trees (cultivated an d wild) togeth er in a m ixed culture in th e forest. In th e state o f Tirol, at least, th e auth orities agree wit h m e on th is poin t: a you n g farm er told m e about a busin ess con su ltation in wh ich th e in tr od u ction o f wild fruit trees was bein g actively en couraged n ear th e town o f Kufstein u sin g th e strikin g tag lin e jewels o f th e forest . I f all auth orities were o f th e sam e opin ion , I could have saved m yself m an y disputes an d a great deal o f tim e an d frustration . On th e Kram eterh of th ere are several th ou san d fruit trees o f different varieties an d sizes. Sellin g fruit trees and bush es has been on e o f th e farm s

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Fruit tree s in blossom a re n o t just p le a s in g to th e e y e ; th e y also m a k e e x c e lle n t h o n e y pla n ts.

m ost im portan t sources o f in com e for som e tim e. I have overseen th e design and plan tin g o f m an y gardens, recreation al areas an d pu blic groun ds (from parks an d playgroun ds to cem eteries). As m y trees are n ot sprayed with pesticides, fertilised, watered or prun ed, th ey m ust develop in to h ardy and in d epen den t trees in order to grow an d thrive u n der th ese conditions. Over th e course o f tim e, t h ey have also adapted th em selves well to th e clim atic con dition s in Lun gau wh er e there are large tem perature differen ces durin g th e day an d at n igh t an d a greater dan ger o f frost. Th is is wh y I have been able to guaran tee th at m y trees wou ld grow well th e year th ey were plan ted an d th e next with ou t takin g an y great risk. I kn ew th at failure wou ld be u n likely as lon g as I plan ted th e trees m yself and th e own er followed m y in struction s: leave th e trees alon e as m uch as possible an d do n ot tend th em excessively. Th is guaran tee has given m e a large com m ercial advan tage, because I was th e on ly on e wh o was able to give a guaran tee o f th is kin d and th e on ly on e to agree to replace an y trees th at did n ot grow. Th ese days I do n ot have th e tim e to sell trees in dividually or to take on sm all p lan tin g jobs, despite th e dem an d still bein g ver y high. Tim e constraints m ean th at I can on ly oversee a few o f th e larger an d m ore in terestin g projects, wh ich m y plan ts are best suited for. Man y fruit trees have been plan ted th rough out th e Krameterhof. Th ey have also been plan ted on steep and rocky terrain, because th ey help to stabilise the slope with their deep roots, wh ich provides valuable security. Naturally, these trees are n ot for sale, instead th ey stay where th ey have been planted. Th e fruit

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T e rra ce w ith p e a r tree s th a t is also used to g ro w c e re a l cro p s ( a n c ie n t rye).

P f,(
C h e rry trees n e xt to ro w a n trees, spruces, la rch e s a n d Swiss pines.

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here is either harvested, if th e land is easily accessible, we have th e tim e or there is dem an d for it, or it falls from th e tree and provides th e anim als with food. On these areas o f land old and rare fruit varieties, wh ich generate a lot o f interest from distilleries, are generally grown. My Subira pears, for example, are m uch sought after in th e production o f schnapps. Wh en I sell th em I arrange th at th e buyer harvests th e pears them selves. This m eans th at I only have to give th e distilleries th e correct harvesting tim e. Th en th ey send people to harvest th e fruit and still pay a good price for this hard-to-fin d pear variety. At this altitude th ey develop a very inten se flavour, wh ich en han ces th e quality and taste o f th e schnapps. A health y m ixture o f cultivated and wild fruit trees grow th rough out the Krameterhof. Wild fruit trees can pollinate m an y cultivated fruit trees. Wild fruit trees are very good for m akin g schnapps and vinegar. Th ey can also be used for m akin g jam s and juices and for m edicin al purposes. I particularly like to plant: Crab apple (Malus sylvestris)

W ild pear (Pyrus pyraster) Wild ch er r y (Prunus avium ) Blackth orn (Prunus spinosa) Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Wild service (Sorbus torminalis) Service tree (Sorbus domestica) Corn elian ch erry ( Cornus mas) Sn owy m espilus (Am elanchier ovalis)

V ie w o f fru it tre e te rra c e s o n th e K ra m e te rh o f. The d iffe re n t flo w e rin g tim es p re v e n ts a c o m p le te c r o p fa ilu re fro m la te frosts.

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As th e trees grow in a m ixed culture, t h ey blossom at differen t tim es, wh ich m eans th at a com plete crop failure is preven ted if th e clim atic con d ition s are un favourable (late frost). Th is diversity an d th e differen t flowerin g tim es en sures t h at there is p len ty o f pollen available for th e blossom s to be pollin ated, wh ich will en sure a good yield o f fruit.

The Wrong Way to C ultivate Fruit Trees


From m y ch ildh ood to th is day I have sown, plan ted and ten d ed th ou san ds o f trees. Even as a child I was sorry for every twig I had to cut. Th is m ean t th at I was always a little n egligen t wh en it cam e to pr u n in g m y trees. As a result, a sort o f wildern ess developed in m y first garden, th e Beifiwurmboanling, over a period o f tim e. Durin g m y train in g to becom e an arborist at agricultural school, I learn t th at fruit trees sh ould supposedly be prun ed, fertilised and sprayed with pesticides in order for them to grow well. We were also sh own h ow to catch, poison an d gas voles to preven t th em from dam agin g th e fruit trees. It is sh ockin g th at th ese practices are still described in alm ost all textbooks today. Durin g m y train in g I also learn t abou t th e con ven tion al view o f h ow fruit trees sh ould be plan ted: for in stan ce, we d ug a h ole for a fruit tree m easurin g on e m etre across and 40-50 cm deep. Th en we pu t in galvan ised wire m esh, wh ich was ben t at th e edges to keep th e voles away from th e roots, and filled in earth aroun d th e tree. Th e earth was first m ixed wit h a sh ovels wor th o f ch em ical fertiliser an d a great deal o f water. After that, we h am m ered in a stake an d tied th e tree to it wit h a leath er strap in a figure o f eight. Th en bran ch es at an an gle o f less th an 45 d egrees from th e tru n k for apple trees and a 60 -degree an gle for pear trees were rem oved. We cu t each bran ch back to an outwardfacin g bud. Th is is in ten ded to m ake th e bran ch es grow outwards from th e tree. Most o f t h e in n er bran ch es were also rem oved, so t h at m ore su n ligh t could reach th e crown. Th is is m ean t to h elp t h e fruit to develop better. Th e bran ch es o f pear trees are at an an gle o f 60 degrees, becau se t h ey have d eep roots, wh ich m ean s t h at th e tree can support bran ch es at a steeper angle. Th e sturdy stake is m ean t to stabilise th e tree so th at it is kept upr igh t an d grows better. Win d and sn ow will n ot brin g it down so easily. Th is soun ds quite plausible. Poison in g and gassin g voles also m akes sense - th ey eat th e tree roots. Th ey will, however, do th is in spite o f th e wire m esh, becau se t h ey often d ig straight d own from above. It is also possible t h at in tim e th e m esh will rust and no lon ger be capable o f pr otectin g th e roots. Th e in ten sive use o f fertiliser wh en th e tree is plan ted is supposed to help it grow. Th e pesticides to p r otect th e tree from fun gal diseases an d m an y different kin ds o f p ests are, accordin g to experts, also justified. Th e econ om ical argum en t sh ould be clear to an y layperson. Th e m easures described here to ten d fruit trees require a great deal o f en ergy an d en sure th at th e trees will con tin ue to n eed con stan t care. Trees cultivated in th is way are depen den t on h um an care
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from th e first day. Th ey are add icted to regular fertilisin g an d water in g an d th ey are susceptible to scab, fun gus an d frost. Th ey are easily dam aged by th e win d or sn ow an d t h ey are vuln erable to p ests o f every kind. Accor d in g to th e rules o f th ese con ven tion al m ethods, cu ltivatin g fruit trees at h igh altitu d es should n ot be possible at all. W h en I fin ished m y training, I received a certificate to allow m e to purch ase th e stron gest poison s like parathion . We used th ese poison s d urin g training. On ce I had in tern alised th e con ven tion al m ethods, I becam e alm ost asham ed th at I had a wildern ess garden at h om e. So I practised wh at I had been tau gh t im m ed iately an d tid ied it u p . Th e trees were prun ed, sprayed wit h pesticides an d fertilised. I bou gh t ch em ical fertiliser and I bou gh t m ouse poison an d gas from th e ch em ists by th e kilogram . I rem oved th e t u r f in a radius o f on e m eter aroun d each tree, h am m ered in stakes an d tied th e trees to th em tightly. I cut t h e espalier trees on th e wall o f th e h ouse back vigorously an d bou n d th em t igh tly to th e frame. I con tin u ed to r em ove an y grass th at grew with in on e m eter o f each tree. Th e voles th at I could n ot reach wit h poison or gas, I gassed with m y m op ed by dir ectin g th e fum es from th e exhaust pipe th rou gh a tube in to th e en tran ce o f th e voles burrows. Th is was also a recom m en dation given by m y school. I carried out th ese tasks for a wh ole year wit h great energy. I also used th ese m eth od s on m y cu stom ers fruit trees, o f wh ich th ere were many. Th e followin g year, I discovered th at all o f m y espalier trees were in a pitiful state. Alth ou gh a few o f th em had pu t ou t n ew sh oots at th e sides or close to th e ground, th e apricot and peach trees were n o lon ger sh owin g an y sign s o f life. I despaired, because I could n ot wor k ou t wh at th e cause o f all o f th is dam age was. I had don e everyth in g accordin g to th e textbook! W h en I visited m y custom ers in th e sprin g to sell to th em an d to prune, fertilise an d spray th e fruit trees with

pesticides, it suddenly occurred to


m e. At th e Schuster-Bartls farm in Ram in gstein, wit h wh om I have had
H e a lth y tre e in m y w ild e rn e ss g a rd e n '.

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good busin ess for m an y years an d wh o have always welcom ed me, su d den ly th e reception was very cold. Mrs Schuster-Bartl - she was well kn own for bein g a very stron g-willed farm er - greeted m e wit h th e words: Ah a, here he com es! Youre th e on e wh o ruin ed everyth in g wit h your ch em ical fertiliser and prun in g everyth in g back. Well, have a look at wh at you ve don e: th e espalier tree is dead, on e apple trees had all its bran ch es broken by sn ow an d th e you n g trees have all been killed o ff by th e frost! Youll be th e one payin g for all o f th is dam age! It cam e as a real sh ock to me. O f course, I could n ot say th at m ost o f m y plan ts at h om e were also dead, oth erwise I wou ld have had to pay for th e dam age in flicted everywhere. Th an k heaven s th ere were custom ers I had n ot visited th at year an d so were spared m y expert advice . Th ese custom ers were com pletely fine. On ce I saw this I breathed a sigh o f r elief and decided to clear m y h ead and forget wh at I had learn t. Th is pu t m e back on th e right track. Mrs Schuster-Bartl was com pletely right: th e harsh prun in g an d th e large am oun ts o f fertiliser m ade th e trees grow quickly. However, th e bran ch es could n ot lign ify properly, so th at th ey could n ot grow in th e extrem e tem peratures we have in Lungau. I turn ed in depen den t an d h ealth y trees into depen den t addicts an d m y harsh prun in g on ly m utilated them . It was a great piece o f luck th at m y practical experien ces h elped m e to find m y way back to th e right and natural path.

M y M e th o d
Accor d in g to m y m eth od o f plan tin g fruit trees you should leave all o f the bran ch es below th e graft in tact. Th is m ean s th at you should n ot cut th em off! Also you do n ot d ig a m etre-deep hole, attach a tree guard, ham m er in a stake or use ch em ical fertiliser. W h en I plan t trees I just dig th em in well an d cover the area with m u lch or with n earby stones. Th e layer o f m ulch h olds in m oisture, rots down an d serves as fertiliser. Th e ston es stabilise th e tree by weigh in g down th e roots. Th e ston es sweat , in oth er words con den sation collects un d ern eath them , wh ich is h elpful for th e n ewly plan ted tree. Th e stones also balan ce out th e tem perature. Finally, large n um bers o f worm s can be foun d un der th em and th ese provide th e tree wit h valuable and n utrien t-rich worm casts. Man y oth er im portan t h elpers like lizards, slow worm s and groun d beetles fin d a suitable h abitat between th e stones. On ce I have plan ted th e tree, I sow th e seeds o f soil-im provin g plan ts aroun d it. Deep-rooted pion eer plan ts like lupins, sweet clover, lucern e an d broom are particularly suitable. Their deep roots h elp to aerate th e soil an d preven t water from bu ild in g up in th e topsoil. Fruit trees are particularly sensitive to a build up o f water. Th ey becom e stun ted, th ey no lon ger give th e desired yield an d are m ore susceptible to disease an d pests. I am often asked wh y a particular tree does n ot grow properly. Th e reason is usually eith er th at th e location is wr on g for th e tree, wh eth er it is too windy, warm , cold, wet or dry, or th at th e soil con d ition s are unfavourable. Com pacted soil,

Fruit Trees

FRUIT TREES

CONVENTIONAL METHOD:
A n e t is required to stabilise th e ro ot ball. C utting causes th e tree unnecessary stress a n d also requires w ork from p e o p le . The resilience o f th e tree is lost a n d th e d a n g e r o f d a m a g e from snowfall is higher!

MY METHOD:
A ro ot ball d u g o u t in a square p la te shape: th e root ball is well ro o te d a n d strengthened b y th e p la n t c o m m un ity. The tree c a n simply b e re p la n te d and will g ro w w ell. It should n ot b e p runed b a c k! The tree remains resilient, it c a n stabilise itself on slopes a n d th e d a n g e r from snowfall is minimised.

above all, m akes fruit trees difficult to m an age. To im prove th e local conditions, I create m icroclim ates such as suntraps, win dbreaks or raised beds to give th e

tree th e protection from th e elements it needs. To improve th e con d ition o f th e


soil, I sow plan t com m un ities like th ose m en tion ed above. You m ust always observe trees closely, so th at you get a feelin g for wh en th ey are happy. In th e
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course o f tim e, you will get a good eye for it an d recogn ise straight away by th e colour o f th e leaves an d th e bark wh eth er a tree is in th e righ t h abitat or not. W h en I replan t a tree, I dig th e oth er plan ts up wit h it. This way I save m yself th e wor k o f sowin g an oth er area. I d ig th e root ball up in a square plate shape, wh ich is easy to pu t down on th e groun d or replant. Th e accom pan yin g plan ts stren gth en th e root ball an d p r otect th e tree from d ryin g out wh ile it is bein g stored, tran sported an d wh en it is r e establish in g itself. As I do n ot require a n et or m esh, I save m yself th e work t h at would oth erwise be required wh en securin g th e root ball. As I do n ot prun e th e trees, the bran ch es retain th eir resilience. This
The b ra n c h e s sink d o w n u n d e r th e w e ig h t o f fru it - this a llo w s su n lig h t to re a c h th e c ro w n .

m eans th at th ey can support t h em selves on th e groun d wh en th ey are weigh ed d own by fruit or snow. Th e

trees can stabilise them selves an d th ey are less likely to grow at an angle. Th ey can adapt th em selves to th e terrain. W h en th e bran ches are weigh ed down by fruit it allows sun ligh t to reach th e crown. However, if I were to prun e and fer ti lise th e trees in th e way th at experts recom m en d, t h en th ey wou ld pu t th e excess en ergy in to growin g water sprouts, wh ich results in a vicious circle. If I prun e th e fruit trees, th ey lose th eir resilience. Th e bran ches can n ot sin k wh en t h ey are weigh ed down; in stead t h ey stick up r igidly in th e air. At our kin d o f altitudes (up to 1,500m above sea level) th ese bran ch es wou ld n ot be able to with stan d th e weigh t o f sn ow an d would break. Too great a load o f fruit wou ld have th e sam e result. Prun in g th e trees also creates woun ds, wh ich increase th e risk o f disease (fungal diseases, fire blight). It also causes un n ecessary stress to th e tree and requires a great deal o f wor k from people. It is a sham e th at I did n ot plan t fruit trees on th e m ou n tain pasture as a sch ool boy. Twen ty years ago, I began to go up to th e m ou n tain pasture an d sow an d plan t it with a variety o f differen t fruit trees. Today th is fruit is particularly valuable, because th e cherries ripen there in September. By th is poin t th e harvest is lon g over at lower altitudes wh ere m ost cherries are grown , because th e early varieties ripen at th e end o f J une. At this altitude plum s, pears an d apples develop a very in ten se flavour, because o f th e harsh nights, so I can get a m u ch high er price for th em th an fruit grown at lower altitudes. Distillery and vin egar specialists are ver y aware o f th ese advan tages, as

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well as th ose wh o are h ealth conscious. It goes wit h ou t saying t h at a culture o f th is kin d con tradicts all o f th e rules o f con ven tion al fruit-growing. Th e side shoots an d bran ches between th e graft an d th e groun d fulfil an other im portan t fun ction . Th ey provide pr otection again st browsin g. Th e twigs wh ich are just above th e groun d are eaten b y hares, th e on es above are eaten by roe deer and th e on es above th ose by red deer. Th e anim als fin d food at th e right h eigh t for them , so th ey do n ot dam age th e trun k. As th e deer have free access to m ost o f m y polycultures on th e Kr am eter h of an d th ere are m an y tasty th in gs for th em to eat, a great deal o f th em do wan der through, especially as th e farm backs on to a large wild area. Th is m eans th at m y fruit trees require addition al protection again st browsing.

Fruit trees a re p la n te d o n a n e w ly c r e a te d te rra c e . I so w v a riou s s u p p o rtin g p la n ts a ro u n d th e trees, w h ic h im p ro v e th e g ro w in g c o n d itio n s fo r th e tre e as g re e n m a n u re c ro p s a n d also p ro v id e g ra zin g o p p o rtu n itie s fo r d e e r as d is tra c tio n pla n ts. In th e p ic tu re , a n a p r ic o t tre e g ro w s s u rro u n d e d b y sunflow ers, J e ru sa le m a rtic h o k e s , b u c k w h e a t, o ilse e d r a p e a n d s c o rp io n w e e d , a m o n g others.

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Protection Against Browsing


In general, th e n eed for browsin g drops wh en wild an im als find en ough food. For this reason, I always sow an d plan t everyth in g I grow in large en ou gh quan tities so th at th e deer, birds, hares and m ice all have som eth in g to eat. Nature is fertile en ough to provide som eth in g for everyone. Wh en hum an s becom e too m iserly and wan t everyth in g for them selves, a great battle again st our m an y fellow creatures begins. To preven t large-scale dam age from browsin g, I in troduce a large n um ber o f distraction plants, wh ich th e anim als prefer to m y valuable cultivated crops. Man y plan ts like J erusalem artichokes, various kin ds o f clover and bu ckwh eat m ake good d istraction plan ts and I also use th em con curren tly as green m an ure crops. A var iety o f types o f fruit bush work well to distract deer and keep th em away from th e polycultures. To preven t stripping, I plan t extra willow trees in th e area and especially in fron t o f slopes. Th e deer m uch prefer to strip th ese th an th e fruit trees, because th ey are softer an d m ore elastic. I f th ere is a particularly high dan ger o f browsin g an d strippin g or th e area available for cu ltivation is quite sm all, it is a good idea to provide addition al protection for fruit trees. To do this I use a h om em ade remedy, wh ich I pain t on th e trees or sim ply sprinkle over them . It is m ade o f bon e salve (the in struction s to m ake this are in th e Garden s chapter), lin seed oil, slaked lim e, fine quartz sand an d fresh cow dung. Th ese in gredien ts are m ixed to a spreadable consistency. If I wan t to sprin kle th e salve on th e plan ts, I add m ore lin seed oil and use less sand. It is sprin kled th e sam e way as h oly water is in a church. Th e salve can also be applied with a brush or broom . Th e bon e salve has an in ten se an d lon glastin g odour, wh ich repels th e deer. Th e sm ell gets in to th e bark and lasts for m an y years, in a way th at is sim ilar to m ineral n aph th a or beech wood tar, wh ich can also be used in stead o f th e bon e salve. As n eith er n aph th a nor beech wood tar have su ch an in ten se odour, it is a good idea to m ix in sin ged hair, either pig bristles or cattle hair. To sin ge th e hair, pu t it in a m etal con tain er an d ligh t a fire ben eath it, so th at th e hair is sin ged by th e heat. This produces a floury mass, wh ich is t h en m ixed into th e salve. Th e sm ell o f sin ged hair is on ly n oticeable to h um an s for a short tim e, bu t it con tin u es to be repellen t to wild anim als and t h ey stay well away from th e salve. Th e lin seed oil is m ade from flax seeds and can also be bou gh t in wh olefood shops. Th e oil h elps to bin d th e differen t in gredien ts o f th e salve togeth er an d m akes sure th at th e salve adheres to th e bark. Th e slaked lim e is ben eficial to th e tree, because it em its heat. It also h elps to com bin e th e bon e salve an d oth er ingredien ts. Th e cow d un g h elps to bu lk th e salve out. It absorbs th e oth er in gredien ts well, h elps to repel anim als and gives th e salve a good consistency. If an an im al n ow tries to eat an ythin g, th e obn oxious odour will keep it away. If th e sm ell o f th e salve begin s to fade an d th e tree is un der th reat o f bein g browsed, th e quartz san d rem ains an d causes an u n pleasan t sen sation between th e teeth. On ce I observed a deer an d h er fawn from a raised h ide as t h ey tried

Fruit Trees

to eat som e o f m y you n g fruit trees. I had already sprin kled th ese trees wit h th e salve. For th e first couple o f bites I could see no reaction . Th en in th e n ext bite th ere m ust have been a drop o f m y salve. Th e result: all o f a sudden th e deer began to act as if it were crazy. It gagged, th rew its h ead from side to side, ran forward wild ly and tried wit h all its m igh t to wip e th e taste from its m ou th on th e grass. Th e fawn reacted in th e sam e way soon afterwards. I was in fits o f laugh ter an d had to get d own from th e raised h ide quickly, becau se I could not hold m yself up any longer. I was extrem ely en couraged by th e effect o f m y salve. Obviously th e deer did n ot like th e taste o f it at all. Th e salve has n ot let me d own to th is day. Oth er possible ways to preven t dam age from browsin g an d strippin g are protective plan ts like wild roses, barberries, blackth or n or oth er sim ilar th or n y or prickly plan ts. Th e you n g shoots o f th ese plan ts are grazed th e m ost heavily, so th ey will becom e bu sh y and protect th e fruit trees beh in d them .

Fruit Varieties
From m y experim en ts, I have discovered th at supposedly very dem an din g varieties - wh ich , accordin g to th e experts, on ly thrive in warm clim ates an d at low altitudes - can also adjust to high altitudes an d give satisfactory yields. For exam ple, Golden Delicious thrives here at 1,400m above sea level an d produces large fruit, wh ich store well. You should, therefore, n ot let you r self be dissuaded from cu ltivatin g so-called dem an din g varieties at high altitudes. Naturally, th ey m ust be sheltered from th e win d and it is im portan t th at th ey grow in clim atically advan tageous location s. Microclim ates, wh ich reflect h eat from th e sun u sin g stones or bodies o f water, for exam ple, an d protect th e plan ts from weath er extrem es by u sin g th e effect o f structures like hollows or win dbreaks, are n ecessary for this. Under no circum stan ces sh ould you turn to ch em ical fertilisers, because this will put th e tree out o f balan ce and it will n ot survive th e winter. Fertilised trees grow faster and do n ot lign ify as well as un fertilised ones. This m eans th at t h ey are n ot as frost resistant. Accor din g to expert opin ion and literature, fruit growin g ends at 1,000m above sea level in Lungau. Despite this, I cultivate a large var iety o f cultivated an d wild fruit trees up to a h eigh t o f 1,500m above sea level. It is particularly im portan t to investigate th e differen t local varieties th at grow in your area if you wish to grow fruit. Th ese will pr obably be th e best suited to your location . H ardy varieties I have had good experien ces with can be foun d in th e followin g lists. Th e ripen in g tim es given are th e average for an altitude from 1,000m above sea level. Th ey depen d a great deal on th e altitude an d clim ate. Th e Wh ite Tran sparent apple ripens in th e m iddle o f Au gu st on th e Kram eterh of at 1,100m above sea level an d can on ly be stored for a few days. As th is var iety ripens aroun d St Barth olom ews Day on 24th Au gu st, it is kn own as Barth olom ews apple . Th e fruit qu ickly becom es floury and, wh en harvested

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late, is barely suitable for pressing. At an altitu d e o f 1,500m, on th e oth er hand, W h ite Tran sparent apples ripen in September, are m u ch firm er an d juicier, can be stored for over a m on th an d are still excellen t for pressing. Th e location s given are on ly general guidelin es an d sh ould show wh ere th e best con d ition s for each variety can be found. Th e con d ition o f poor soils can, however, be im proved to a degree with green m an ure, by sowin g su pportin g plan ts and creatin g m icroclim ates. This can allow th e m ajority o f varieties to thrive on soils, wh ich first appear to be quite un suitable. So do n ot let you r self be discouraged from experim en tin g an d gath er in g your own experien ces wit h th ese fruit varieties.

Recommended Old Apple Varieties


I V ariety
Alk m e n e

Lo cation a n d C haracteristics
Gr ows w e ll o n s h a d y slop es, n o t s u s ce p t ib le t o sca b , m ild e w or fr ost , a u t u m n a p p le D e m a n d in g, s m a ll yie ld a n d gr e a t e r ch a n ce o f ca n k e r on w e t so il, flo w er s ear ly, w in t e r a p p le P a r t icu la r ly su it e d t o go od , lo o s e soils, w o o d a n d flo wer s n o t vu ln e r a b le t o la t e fr osts, r e co m m e n d e d fo r h igh a lt it u d e s , go o d p ollin a t or , flo w er s e a r ly an d lo n g, a u t u m n a p p le P r efer s w e ll-a e r a t e d soil, e sp a lie r t r ee, q u it e sen sit ive t o fr o st , flo w er s ear ly, w in t e r a p p le

R ip e n in g T im e
M id - Se p t e m b e r

F ru it C haracteristics
D e s s e r t a p p le, ca n o n ly b e st or ed fo r a s h o r t t im e F la vo u r s im ila r to cu r r a n t s, d e sse r t a p p le

An a n a s R ein et t e

M id -O ct o b e r , go o d t o e a t u n t il M a r ch

Tr a n sp a r en t e d e Cr o n ce ls

Be gin n in g o f Se p t e m b e r

H igh ly ar o m a t ic d e s s e r t a p p le , ea sily b r u ise d , d o e s n o t st o r e fo r lo n g (u n t il O ct o b e r )

Ba u m a n n s R ein et t e

O ct o b e r

Yie ld is a m p le a n d ear ly, fir m fr u it , d e s s e r t a p p le , go o d fo r d r yin g, ca n b e st or ed u n t il Ap r il Sligh t ly a cid , b e co m e s ju icy s o o n a ft er h a r ve st , go o d for p r e s sin g a n d cid er , go o d st or er Sw eet a n d fr u it y, given fa vo u r a b le co n d it io n s ca n b e st o r e d u n t il May

Bo h n a p fel

U n d e m a n d in g, p r efer s sligh t ly d a m p so il, s u it e d t o h a r sh co n d it io n s ( n o t se n sit ive t o fr o st or w in d ) , flo w er s la t e a n d lo n g, w in t e r a p p le Ve r y u n d e m a n d in g in t er m s o f s o il a n d lo ca t io n , flo wer s a n d w o o d fr o s t h ar d y, s u it e d t o h a r s h co n d it io n s , fr u it is w in d fir m , w in t e r a p p le U n d e m a n d in g, w e a t h e r r esist a n t , s u it e d t o h igh a lt it u d e s , go o d p ollin a t or , flo w er s m o d e r a t e ly e a r ly an d lo n g, n o t vu ln e r a b le t o sca b , w in t e r a p p le

En d o f O ct o b er , ca n b e ea t en fr o m F eb r u a r y to th e en d o f May M id d le t o e n d o f O ct o b e r

Boiken

D a n zige r Ka n t a p fel

Be gin n in g o f O ct o b e r (ca n b e e a t e n o ff t h e tr ee)

J u icy a n d a r o m a t ic fr u it , go o d for ju icin g, ca n b e s t o r e d u n t il t h e en d o f J an u ary

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Fruit Trees

V ariety
Gr a ven st ein

Location an d C haracteristics
P a r t icu la r ly go o d o n lo a m y soil, e a r ly va r ie t y (sen sit ive t o fr o st ), w in d fa ll, so s h o u ld b e s h e lt e r e d fr o m t h e w in d , a u t u m n a p p le U n d e m a n d in g va r iet y, flower s fr o s t h ar d y, flo w er s m o d e r a t e ly ea r ly a n d lo n g, go o d for h a r sh co n d it io n s , b u t p a y a t t e n t io n to w in d - s h e lt e r in g, w in t e r a p p le

R ip e n in g T im e
M id -Se p t e m b e r

F ru it C haracteristics
H igh - q u a lit y d esser t a n d ju icin g a p p le, st o r es w e ll (u n t il D e ce m b e r )

J a cqu es Leb el

En d o f Se p t e m b e r u n t il m id - O ct o b e r

J uicy, a r o m a t ic fr u it , d o e s n o t b r u ise easily, d e s s e r t a p p le, a lso w e ll su it e d t o d r yin g a n d m a k in g cid er , st o r es w e ll (u n t il D e ce m b e r ) Ar o m a t ic a n d ju icy, d e s s e r t a p p le , h igh yie ld

J am es Gr ieve

W e ll-a e r a t e d so il, a lso su it ed t o co o le r clim a t e s, flo wer s vu ln e r a b le t o fr ost , a u t u m n a p p le Su it e d t o b e t t e r q u a lit y soils, flo w er s m o d e r a t e ly la t e, go od p ollin a t o r , ve r y s u s ce p t ib le t o s ca b a n d m ild ew , w in t e r a p p le U n d e m a n d in g, flo wer s a n d w o o d fr o s t h a r d y, w e ll su it e d t o h igh a lt it u d e s , fr u it is w in d fir m , so it ca n b e gr o w n in w in d y a r ea s, vigo r o u s gr o wt h , flow er s m o d e r a t e ly ea r ly a n d lo n g, w in t e r a p p le Pr efer s w e t soil, a lso su it e d to h igh a lt it u d e s , flo wer s lo n g, n o t se n s it ive to t h e e le m e n t s , s u it e d to w in d y ar eas, w in t e r a p p le

Be gin n in g o f Se p t e m b e r

J on a t h a n

Be gin n in g o f O ct o b e r , go o d to e a t u n t il Ap r il

R ich in vit a m in C, go o d d e sse r t a p p le, st o r es w e ll

Ka iser W ilh e lm

En d o f Se p t e m b e r u n t il m id - O ct o b e r

D e sse r t , ju icin g a n d cid e r a p p le

La n d sb er ger R ein et t e

En d o f Se p t e m b e r u n t il m id - O ct o b e r

Go o d d e s s e r t a p p le, go o d for d r yin g, ca n b e s t o r e d u n t il J a n u ar y

Boiken a p p le s : th e y c o n tin u e to p ro d u c e e x c e lle n t fruit a t h ig h a ltitu d e s .

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Sepp Holzers Permaculture

V ariety
M a u n ze n

Location an d C haracteristics
U n d e m a n d in g, t h r ive s in h a r s h co n d it io n s a n d a t h igh a lt it u d e s , e xt r e m e ly fr o st h ar d y, flo w e r s la t e, w in t e r a p p le U n d e m a n d in g, ve r y h ar d y, su it e d t o h igh a lt it u d e s , ve r y fr o st a n d w o o d h ar d y, w in t e r a p p le

R ip e n in g T im e
En d o f O ct o b e r

F ru it C haracteristics
J uicy, a cid fr u it , ca n b e st o r e d u n t il M a r ch

O d e n w a ld e r

Be gin n in g o f O ct o b e r

Ar o m a t ic a n d ju icy, ca n b e s t o r e d u n t il D e ce m b e r

O n t a r io

P r efer s s u n n y ar eas, flo w er s m o d e r a t e ly e a r ly an d lo n g, w o o d se n sit ive t o fr ost , w e ll su it e d t o b e in g a n e s p a lie r tr ee, r e s is t a n t t o d is e a s e a n d p est s, w in t e r a p p le P r efer s go o d soil, a void e xt r e m e w e t (d a n ger o f ca n k e r ), flo w er s la t e, w o o d a n d flower s ve r y fr o st h ar d y, s u it e d t o h a r s h co n d it io n s a n d h igh a lt it u d e s , w in t e r a p p le P r efer s w e t , h e a vy so il, ca n b e gr o w n in s u n n y a r ea s a s well as in h a r s h co n d it io n s a n d a t h igh a lt it u d e s , s e n sit ive t o o ver fer t ilisin g, w in t e r a p p le Vigo r o u s gr o w t h , fa ir ly r e s is t a n t t o s ca b a n d ca n ker ; flower s ea r ly (s en sit ive t o fr ost ), w in t e r a p p le

En d o f O ct o b er , ca n b e e a t e n in J an u ar y

Refr esh in g, ju icy, a cid , h igh in vit a m in C, st o r es for a lo n g t im e (u n t il J un e)

Sh e e p s N ose

En d o f Se p t e m b e r u n t il m id -O ct o b e r , go o d t o e a t u n t il t h e e n d o f F eb r u a r y G o o d r e gu la r yie ld eve r y o t h e r ye a r in Se p t e m b e r

M ild ly a r o m a t ic, ver y go o d cid e r a p p le

Sch m id t b e r ge r s Rote

J uicy, a cid fr u it

Belle d e Bo sko o p

H a r ve s t fr o m th e e n d o f Se p t e m b e r t o m id - O ct o b e r , ca n b e ea t en fr o m D e ce m b e r u n t il F eb r u a r y Au gu s t (gen er a lly b efor e t h e W h it e Tr a n sp a r en t ) Au gu s t

Acid fla vou r , d e s s e r t a n d co o k in g a p p le, go o d fo r p r e ssin g

St a r k E a r liest

H a r d y a n d u n d e m a n d in g va r iet y, a lso r ip e n s a t h igh a lt it u d e s , ea r ly va r ie t y

Ar o m a t ic, p o o r soil co n d it io n s le a d t o sm a ll fr u it

W h it e Tr a n sp a r en t

Ea r ly va r iet y, fr o st h a r d y (su it e d t o h a r s h co n d it io n s a n d gr o w in g a s a n esp a lier ), s u m m e r a p p le Pr efer s fr esh so il, flower s m o d e r a t e ly la t e a n d lo n g, flower s a r e r e s is t a n t t o la t e fr ost , ve r y r e s is t a n t t o sca b , w in t e r a p p le M o d e r a t e ly se n sit ive t o fr ost, will gr o w o n d r y soil, lo w

R e fr esh in g a n d ju icy, ca n o n ly b e s t o r e d for a s h o r t t im e (a r ou n d 14 d a ys), d e s s e r t a p p le Co o k in g a n d d e sse r t a p p le , ca n b e st or ed u n t il J a n u a r y

W in t e r R a m b o

Be gin n in g o f O ct o b e r

Za b er ga u R ein et t e

M id d le t o en d o f O ct o b e r

Sw e e t a n d a r om a t ic, d e s s e r t a p p le , la r ge cr op , ca n b e st o r e d u n t il M a r ch

susceptibility to scab, flowers


la t e a n d lo n g, w in t e r a p p le

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A lk m e n e in full b lo o m ; this a p p le v a rie ty is w e ll su ite d to s h a d y c o n d itio n s . In th e p ic tu re it is b e in g g ro w n as a n e sp a lie r o n th e w e s te rn side o f th e K ra m e te rh o f.

Subira - a ra re d e lic a c y h ig h ly s o u g h t a fte r in th e p ro d u c tio n o f sch n a p p s .

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Recommended Old Pear Varieties


As a rule, pears should n ot be harvested late, becau se t h ey have a ten d en cy to qu ickly becom e overripe an d t h ey can n ot be stored an y m ore. It is im portan t to d eterm in e th e right tim e to harvest.

V ariety

Location an d C haracteristics
U n d e m a n d in g, d e a ls w e ll w it h fr ost , su it ed t o h igh a lt it u d e s , go o d e s p a lie r tr ee, e a r ly w in t e r p ea r U n d e m a n d in g, s u it e d t o h igh a lt it u d e s , r ip e n s v e r y ea r ly U n d e m a n d in g, m u s t b e sh e lt e r e d fr o m w in d , n o t t o o dry, e s p a lie r tr ee, a ls o gr o w s in p a r t ia l sh a d e , s u m m e r p ea r U n d e m a n d in g, ve r y vigo r o u s gr o w t h , p a r t icu la r ly go od in w in d - s h e lt e r e d a r ea s (p r e m a t u r e w in d fa ll), flow er s h ar d y, a ls o su it ed t o h igh a lt it u d e s , a u t u m n p ea r P r efer s d e e p soil, w o o d is fr o s t h ar d y, flo w er s s e n sit ive t o la t e fr o st , m u s t b e s h e lt e r e d fr o m w in d , ve r y go o d e s p a lie r t r ee U n d e m a n d in g, ca n b e gr o w n in d r y a n d w in d y ar eas, r e la t ive ly s m a ll fr u it , fr ost h ardy Su it e d t o w e ll- a e r a t e d soil, flo w er s a n d w o o d s e n sit ive t o fr o st , w in d fir m , n o t in co ld o r w e t a r ea s, d a n ge r o f sca b , go o d e s p a lie r t r ee, a u t u m n p ear U n d e m a n d in g, n o t sen sit ive t o co ld , a vo id o ve r ly w e t soil, a u t u m n p ear U n d e m a n d in g, m u s t b e s h e lt e r e d fr o m w in d , p a r t icu la r ly s u it e d t o h a r sh co n d it io n s , e sp a lie r tr ee, flo w er s m o d e r a t e ly ea r ly

R ip e n in g T im e
O ct o b e r

Fru it C haracteristics
Sw eet , fr u it y, r e fr e s h in g d esser t p ear , st o r e s w e ll (u n t il D e ce m b e r ) Ca n n o t b e st or ed , s m a ll, s w e e t fr u it La r ge a n d ju icy

Beu r r e Ale xa n d r e Lu ca s

Co lo r e e d e J u illet

Au gu s t

Cla p p s Fa vou r ite

En d o f Au gu s t

Beu r r e H a r d y

M id d le t o e n d o f Se p t e m b e r

H igh - q u a lit y au t u m n p ea r

Co m t e s s e d e P a r is

O ct o b e r

Ta r t a n d a r o m a t ic

Beu r r e Gr is

Se p t e m b e r

Ve r y go o d for d r yin g

Lo u ise Bo n n e

Se p t e m b e r

Ar o m a t ic, s w e e t d e s s e r t p ear , st o r es w e ll (u n t il N o ve m b e r ), ve r y go o d fo r d r yin g

Co n fe r e n ce P ea r

Se p t e m b e r to m id - O ct o b e r

Ve r y a r o m a t ic, go o d yie ld

So u ve n ir d u Co n gr e s

M id Se p t e m b e r u n t il t h e b e gin n in g o f O ct o b e r

Ve r y la r ge fr u it

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V a rie ty

Lo cation and C haracteristics


Ve r y u n d e m a n d in g, h a r d y flower s, h a r d y va r iet y, su it e d t o h a r s h co n d it io n s , s u m m e r p ea r

R ip e n in g T im e
En d o f J uly

F ru it C haracteristics
Co a r s e -gr a in e d , a r o m a t ic, s w e e t d e s s e r t p ear , a lso w e ll s u it e d t o co o k in g Ta r t, ca n o n ly b e s t o r e d fo r a lim it e d t im e

Gr o s Bla n q u et

D o ye n n e Bou sso ch

U n d e m a n d in g, h ar d y, su it ed t o h igh a lt it u d e s , flo w e r s an d w o o d ve r y r e s is t a n t t o fr ost , e sp a lie r t r ee, a u t u m n p ea r P a r t icu la r ly go o d o n d eep , w e t so il, se n s it ive t o fr ost , a u t u m n p ea r Su it ed t o w e ll- a e r a t e d soil, vu ln e r a b le t o s ca b u n d e r u n fa vo u r a b le co n d it io n s , s u m m e r p ea r Su it e d t o d r y soil, flo w er s ear ly, s e n sit ive t o fr o st

M id Se p t e m b e r

R ote P ich e lb ir n e

O ct o b e r

J u icy a n d sweet , go o d fo r cid e r a n d d r yin g Ve r y ar o m a t ic d e s s e r t p ea r

Sa lzb u r ge r P ea r

En d o f Au gu s t

Sp e ck b ir n e

O cto b e r to D e ce m b e r

P a r t icu la r ly go o d for cid er , a ls o w e ll su it e d to d r yin g E xce p t io n a lly go o d fo r s ch n a p p s

Su b ir a

U n d e m a n d in g, t h r ive s a t h igh a lt it u d e s a n d in h a r sh clim a t e s D o e s n o t n e e d m u ch su n , vu ln e r a b le t o w in d (w in d fa ll), st ill gives go o d yie ld s in p a r t ia l sh a d e a n d a t h igh a lt it u d e s , e sp a lie r tr ee, la t e s u m m e r p ea r

Se p t e m b e r

W illia m s Bon Ch r e t ie n

En d o f Au gu s t

P a r t icu la r ly go o d fla vou r , ve r y a r o m a t ic

Recommended Old Damson and Plum Varieties


V ariety Lo cation an d C haracteristics
U n d e m a n d in g, q u it e r e sist a n t t o fr o st , d ise a se a n d p est s, r ip e n s ea r ly U n d e m a n d in g, a lso gr o w s on p o o r s o il, w o o d a n d flo w e r s q u it e se n s it ive t o fr ost , gr o w s in sh e lt e r e d a r ea s Su it e d t o d a m p , w a r m a r ea s a n d go o d s o il ( if it is t o o d r y t h e yie ld a n d fr u it w ill b e sm a ll), se n s it ive t o fr ost , b u t ve r y go o d a s a w in d b r e a k t r ee, se lf- p o llin a t in g

R ip e n in g T im e
Au gu s t

F ru it C haracteristics
J uicy, b u t n o t ver y a r o m a t ic

Biih ler F r iih zw e t s ch e

Gr e e n ga ge

Se p t e m b e r

J uicy, s w e e t fr u it , ca n n o t selfp o llin a t e , ve r y good for co m p o t e a n d ja m Ve r y s w e e t a n d a r o m a t ic, ca n b e p r o ce s s e d in m a n y d iffe r e n t w a ys

Q u e t s ch e

En d o f Se p t e m b e r t o m id - O ct o b e r

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V ariety

Lo cation and C haracteristics


U n d e m a n d in g, r e s is t a n t to co ld , w e ll su it e d t o h a r s h co n d it io n s a n d h igh a lt it u d e s P r efer s go o d w e t s o il in s h e lt e r e d a r ea s a t h igh a lt it u d e s - r ip e n s p r o p e r ly u p t o 1,40 0 m a b ove sea level; h a r d y, b u t a lit t le s e n sit ive t o fr o st

R ip e n in g T im e
Se p t e m b e r

F ru it C haracteristics
La r ge, sweet , ju icy d e s s e r t p lu m , ca n n o t s e lf-p ollin a t e J u icy a n d m ild ly a r o m a t ic

Kir kes

Cza r

Au gu s t

W a n ge n h e im s Early P lu m

U n d e m a n d in g, su it ed t o h igh a lt it u d e s , r e s is t a n t t o fr ost , r ip e n s fu lly in h a r sh co n d it io n s , se lf- p o llin a t in g

M id d le t o e n d o f Au g u s t (at lo w a lt it u d e s ), m id Se p t e m b e r (at h igh a lt it u d e s )

J u icy

Wild and Sour Cherries


V ariety Location an d C haracteristics
R ela t ively u n d e m a n d in g, it s co lo u r m e a n s t h a t it is r a r ely t a r ge t e d b y ch e r r y fr u it flies o r b ir d s P r efer s go od , d e e p soil, keep s h e lt e r e d fr o m t h e win d , r e s is t a n t t o co ld , flo w er s m o d e r a t e ly ea r ly a n d lo n g P r efer s w e ll-a e r a t e d , lo a m y a n d s a n d y soil, o n ly sligh t ly r e s is t a n t t o fr ost , go o d yie ld s in w in d y co n d it io n s a n d a t h igh a lt it u d e s Ad a p t a b le , r e la t ive ly r e s is t a n t t o fr o st R ela t ively r e s is t a n t t o fr ost , flo w er s ea r ly

R ip e n in g T im e
E n d o f J uly

Fruit C haracteristics
Fir m , p le a s a n t ly a r o m a t ic yellow go ld fr u it w it h cle a r ju ice Ar o m a t ic, b r igh t r ed w it h ligh t co lo u r e d fle sh

D o n n ise n s Gelb e Kn o r p e lk ir sch e

Gr o fie P r in ze ssin

M id -J u ly

Biga r r ea u N oir

Mid -J u ly

Ve r y sweet , r ed b r o w n fr u it

H e d e lfin ge r R ie se n k ir sch e Ka ssin s Fr iih e

J uly

J uicy, d a r k b r o w n r ed fr u it Sw eet t o m ild , r ed b r o w n fr u it , w e ll s u it e d t o ju icin g Acid a n d t a r t, r e d d is h - b r o w n fr u it , w e ll su it e d t o t h e p r o d u ct io n o f ju ice , w in e , co m p o t e a n d ja m

J u n e t o J u ly

M o r e llo Ch e r r y

Ve r y a d a p t a b le , r e la t ive ly u n d e m a n d in g, n e e d s lit t le su n , w ill t h r ive in w e t p la ce s in p a r t ia l sh a d e (n o r t h - fa cin g slo p es, w in d y ar ea s), w o o d is fr o s t h ar d y, go o d p ollin a t o r , flo w e r s v e r y la t e U n d e m a n d in g in t e r m s o f so il, q u it e se n sit ive t o fr o st , flo w er s la t e

Be gin n in g o f Au gu s t

Sch n e id e r s Sp a t e Kn o r p e lk ir sch e

En d o f J u ly to t h e b e gin n in g o f Au gu s t

M ild , r ed d ish co lo u r e d fr u it

122

Fruit Trees

Apricot and Peach Varieties


I particularly recom m en d un grafted local varieties like th e ungrafited vin eyard peach, as it is less susceptible to lea f curl, a disease dreaded b y p each growers.
R ip e n in g T im e
En d o f J uly to Au gu s t

V ariety

Lo cation an d C haracteristics

F ru it C haracteristics
E xcellen t fo r t h e p r o d u ct io n o f ja m a n d co m p o t e

H u n ga r ia n Best (Ap r ico t )

U n d e m a n d in g, w ill gr o w o n p o o r soil, r e la t ive ly r e s is t a n t t o co ld , b u t vu ln e r a b le t o la t e fr ost, flo w e r s ear ly, se lf- p o llin a t in g R e la t ive ly u n d e m a n d in g, lives lon g, q u it e r e s is t a n t t o t h e e le m e n t s

Ke r n e ch t e r vo m Vor geb ir ge (P ea ch )

M id Se p t e m b e r

Sw eet t o t a r t fla vo u r

W a n g e n h e im s Early Plum

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Sepp Holzers Permaculture

Propagating a n d G rafting
Cultivated fruit trees are n ot usually propagated u sin g seeds, becau se th e ch ara cteristics o f th e desired var iety will n ot be passed on true th rou gh th e seeds. Th is quality has been en couraged to th e exten t th at m an y fruit cultivars can n ow on ly be pollin ated by differen t varieties. Th is m ean s th at every flower, and therefore every fruit, can produce differen t seeds an d con sequ en tly differen t characteristics. So, if you wan t to preserve th e qualities o f a certain variety, you m ust propagate it vegetatively. Graftin g is fu n dam en tally vegetative propagation . Th e sh oot or scion is n ot d irectly rooted, bu t in stead join ed to a rootstock. Th e practice o f graftin g was developed, becau se a tree wit h beau tiful and arom atic fruit does n ot n ecessarily grow well. A grafted tree con sists o f at least two differen t plan ts wit h qualities wh ich com plem en t each other. Th is m akes it possible to com bin e th e positive growin g characteristics o f th e r ootstock with th e qualities o f th e cultivated fruit to create a tree wh ich grows h ealth ily and produces good fruit.

Rootstock
For graftin g to be successful both partn ers m ust get alon g wit h each other. Th is m ean s th at on ly certain plan ts can be used as a rootstock. Th ese are m ostly m em bers o f th e sam e species, alth ough related species can also som etim es be used. As previously m en tion ed, th e r ootstock gen erally determ in es th e growin g characteristics o f th e grafted plan t. It also has an effect on characteristics such as t h e plan ts resistance to disease or frost. Th is m eans th at for every variety o f fruit th ere is a m u ltitu d e o f differen t r ootstocks th at can be ch osen to m atch different criteria. Today, d warf r ootstocks are used for m ost fruit trees, becau se th ey keep th e tree sm all and m ake it fruit earlier. An exam ple o f th is would be th e practice o f graftin g m an y pear varieties on quin ce as a rootstock, becau se it does not grow as vigorously and th is slows d own th e growth o f th e pear. For m y m eth od o f grafting, however, I prefer r ootstocks from vigorous growin g seedlin gs (from fruit grown from seeds) an d wild varieties. Dwar f varieties used as rootstocks do n ot grow as vigorously. Th ey do n ot develop stron g root system s, wh ich is on e o f th e m ost im portan t con d ition s for an in d epen den t tree. Th e weak roots m ean th at th e trees frequen tly have to be tied to stakes so th at th ey will n ot be kn ocked over by th e win d or snow. Th ey also can n ot supply th em selves as well wit h n utrien ts, wh ich m ean s th at t h ey have to rely on good soil or even fertiliser. Th ey are m ore sensitive to d rough t an d th ey are u sually m u ch m ore susceptible to disease an d frost. For m y requirem en ts I n eed h ardy an d in d epen den t trees wh ich can thrive on poor soil and in un favourable location s. Th ese n eeds are best fulfilled by r ootstocks from vigorous and h ardy seedlings. Th eir stron g growth m ean s th at th ey will fruit a few years later an d also grow taller, wh ich m akes h arvestin g th e fruit a little m ore difficult. But I accept all o f th is happily. On th e on e hand, d war f rootstocks wou ld n ot grow so well on th e farm. On

124

Fruit Trees

C h e rry tree s in full b lo o m o n th e site o f a n o ld sp ru c e forest.

th e oth er hand, th e characteristics o f th ese r ootstocks and th e cu ltivation th ey m ake possible wou ld save m e a great deal o f work. If I take in to con sideration th e am ou n t o f wor k I save in term s o f m ain ten an ce by graftin g on to vigorous rootstocks, th e greater am ou n t o f wor k required to harvest th em is p u t into perspective. A further poin t wh ich speaks for u sin g vigorous growin g r ootstocks is th e fact t h at t h ey live for m u ch longer. So I can plan t a fruit forest t h at will con tin ue to provide food for th e n ext generation.

Scion
You sh ould use stron g an d sturdy peren n ial sh oots for scions. Water sprouts are n ot suitable. Th e m idd le part o f th e sh oot is used for grafting, wh ich sh ould have th ree to five bu d s on it. Scion s should be cu t durin g th e dorm an t m on th s
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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

in win ter (J anuary is best) an d stored un til th ey are grafted in th e spring. It is best to store th em in a cellar in wet sand. Scions can also be cu t an d used fresh for grafting. If you do this, it is best to use th e sh oots straight after th ey are cut. I f I find a n ice tree som ewh ere th at I wan t to take a scion from and take h om e with m e to en rich m y orchard with, I have to stop th e scion from dryin g ou t with a dam p cloth . If th e scion s are cu t in sprin g or summer, cut th e leaves o ff and leave about 1cm on each lea f stalk.

Grafting
Th e aim o f graftin g is to bind th e r ootstock and th e scion so th at th ey grow together. It is n ecessary to achieve a good con tact between th e cam bium layers o f th e r ootstock an d scion . Th e cam bium is th e cell layer between th e bark and wood, wh ich is respon sible for growth by cell division. On ly wh en th ese layers are well join ed will th e graft be successful. Th ere are m an y differen t graftin g techn iques, wh ich can be used on differen t parts o f th e tree and at different tim es. W it h a little skill and practice you can learn and carry out th ese tech n iqu es for you r self very easily. Neat work is particularly im portan t. All cuts m ust be clean and you m ust n ot tou ch them , becau se th is will con tam in ate th e surface o f th e woun d. For cu ttin g you n eed a very sharp bu d d in g kn ife , wh ich is on ly used for th is purpose.

The a u th o r d e m o n s tra te s th e te c h n iq u e o f c le ft g ra ftin g .

126

Fruit Trees

Whip a nd Tongue G rafting


For this m eth od o f graftin g th e r ootstock an d scion m ust be o f th e sam e thickn ess. I usually wh ip an d ton gu e graft m y you n g plan ts after th e first or secon d year o f growth in spring. I graft th em at th e root collar, wh ich m eans th at I cu t th e r ootstock to around 10cm above th e groun d at an angle. Th e cut m ust be th ree to four cen tim etres lon g so th at th e rootstock and th e scion m ake con tact over a large area. It m ust be don e in a sin gle stroke, so th at an y u n even n ess is avoided. If th e cut is n ot successful, it m ust be don e all over again. I th en cut a ton gu e in th e r ootstock (see th e diagram W h ip an d Tongue Graftin g). Th e scion is also cu t at an an gle and cu t with a ton gu e to fit th e on e in th e rootstock. It is im portan t to en sure th at th ere is a bud on th e opposite side o f th e cut. Both cu t areas m ust fit togeth er flush so th at th e cam bium layers join togeth er properly. Now th e scion is slotted in to th e rootstock. Th e graft is t h en wrapped with raffia. Th e buds m ust rem ain un covered so th at th ey can still sprout. This bin din g is to im prove th e con tact between th e r ootstock and th e scion . To stop th e graft from dryin g out or gettin g infected, it and any open cuts are pain ted with graftin g wax. Th e buds m ust n aturally n ot be covered.

Cleft G rafting
A cleft graft is used wh en th e rootstock is th icker th an th e scion . Th ere are m an y differen t types o f cleft graft, bu t th e sim plest is th e bark graft. I gen erally carry out this type o f graftin g in May wh en th e bark can easily be peeled back. The m eth od is very sim ple. Th e stem o f th e rootstock is cu t straight at th e desired h eigh t and m ost o f th e twigs are rem oved. Wh en d oin g this rem em ber to leave on e or two sm all twigs as nurse branches. Th ey are im portan t for supplyin g n utrien ts an d also help to preven t sap from bu ild in g up in th e tree. Th e surface o f th e cu t is th en n eaten ed wit h a specialist kn ife called a prun in g knife, because clean cuts heal faster. A slit is n ow m ade in th e r ootstock with ou t dam agin g the cam bium an d th e bark is peeled back. Th e slit sh ould be around 4cm long. Th e scion is cut at an an gle as before. This cut should also be 4cm long. Again there should be a bud on th e opposite side to th e cut. To help im prove th e success o f a graft, I also sm ooth o ff th e edges o f th e area aroun d th e cu t sligh tly (by rough ly im m ). Be sure to on ly sm ooth off th e bark and n ot th e cam bium wh en doin g this. This tech n iqu e uncovers m ore cam bium , wh ich in tur n m akes it easier for th e scion an d rootstock to grow together. Now I push th e scion into th e gap un dern eath th e bark. Th e bud level with th e cu t on th e scion should be aroun d th e m iddle o f th e graft. Finally, th e graft is boun d with raffia an d all cuts are pain ted with graftin g wax. Th e buds should again rem ain uncovered. Depen d in g on th e th ickn ess o f th e rootstock addition al scion s can be grafted. If th e rootstock has a diam eter o f r ough ly 4cm or m ore a secon d scion should d efin itely be used. If th e graft is successful, th e n urse bran ches can be rem oved th e n ext year.

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WHIP AND TONGUE GRAFTING


Scion

The scion a n d ro otsto ck are c u t a t a n a n g le a n d a c u t is m a d e in e a c h to m ake a to n g u e . They must fit to g e th e r p e rfe c tly to ensure a g o o d c o n ta c t b e tw e e n the c a m b iu m layers.

The g ra ft is b o u n d w ith raffia a n d p a in te d w ith g raftin g w ax. The buds must rem ain u n co ve re d .

CLEFT GRAFTING

Vertical slits are m a d e in th e rootstock. The bark is carefully p e e le d b a c k so th a t th e scions c a n b e inserted. The g ra ft is b o u n d w ith raffia a n d p a in te d w ith g raftin g w ax. The buds must rem ain u n co ve re d .

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BUD GRAFTING
A T-shaped slit is m a d e in th e rootstock. The b ark is ca refu lly p e e le d ba c k .

The b u d is re m ove d from th e scion w ith a straight c u t. W hen d o in g this b e ca refu l n o t to in clu d e any w o o d in th e c u t. If this happens, th e w o o d should b e carefully re m o ve d w ith o u t d a m a g in g th e ca m b iu m . The b u d is n o w pushed into th e slit a n d th e b ark sticking o u t o v e r th e bud should b e trim m ed flush w ith th e T-cut. The g ra ft should b e b o u n d w ith raffia a n d p a in te d w ith g raftin g w a x whilst keeping th e b u d u n co ve re d .

BRIDGE GRAFTING

N ow th e scions are inserted into th e cuts. They should b e p la c e d evenly a round the d a m a g e d trunk for stability. save a d a m a g e d tree first th e d a m a g e d a rea is trim m ed to m a ke it sm ooth. Scions are c u t to size a n d a n g le d a t th e ends (as w ith c le ft graftin g). Then th e g ra ft is b ou n d w ith raffia a n d p a in te d w ith g raftin g w ax; th e buds, as always, rem ain u nco ve re d.

T-shaped slits are m a d e in th e ro otsto ck a b o v e a n d b e lo w th e d a m a g e d a rea a n d th e bark is p e e le d b a c k slightly.

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Bud G rafting
An oth er m eth od o f graftin g is bud grafting. In this case, on ly a sin gle bud and n ot th e en tire scion is join ed with th e rootstock. A T-shaped cu t is m ade in a sm ooth area o f bark on th e rootstock. Next th e bar k is peeled ba ck sligh tly at th e sides o f th e vertical cut. Th en a well-grown bu d is rem oved from a scion with a straight upward slice startin g from th e bottom (from th e base in th e direction o f th e tip o f th e shoot) in th e shape o f a shield. Be sure n ot to in clude any wood in th e cut. Now in sert th e bud in th e slit and push it in with th e back o f your knife. Th e bark overlappin g th e bud sh ould be trim m ed flush wit h th e top o f th e T-shaped cut. Finally, th e graft is bou n d with raffia an d pain ted wit h grafting wax. Th e bu d should rem ain uncovered. You can use an active bu d as well as a dorm an t one. An active bud sh ould be bu d ded in sprin g (May), and th en it will sprout with in th e year. W it h a dorm an t bud you sh ould bud in th e sum m er (J uly or August). Dorm an t buds sprout th e n ext year, h en ce their nam e. Wh en graftin g active buds you sh ould use fresh scions. Th e leaves on th ese twigs are cu t to short stalks. You will kn ow wh eth er th e graftin g has been successful if th e lea f stalks fall off after around three weeks. On ce th e buds have join ed with th e rootstock properly and have sprouted, I cut th e rootstock just above th e graft an d pain t th e cuts wit h graftin g wax. Wh en bud graftin g it is also a good idea to use m ore th an on e bud. Th is increases th e chan ce o f success, because n ot every bud will n ecessarily sprout.

Bridge G rafting
W it h th e help o f grafting I can n ot on ly propagate fruit trees, bu t I can also save dam aged trees. If a tree is heavily dam aged, th e flow o f sap is in terrupted or destroyed an d th e tree begin s to d ry ou t an d die. If it survives, soon er or later th e tru n k will give way, because th e dam aged area begin s to rot an d th e tree is destabilised. However, a tree in this situation can be saved relatively easily. I on ly have to join th e area above and below with scion s (preferably from th e sam e tree), so that, in tim e, th ey can take over th e tran sport an d support fun ction s for t h e trun k, in oth er words, th e dam aged area is bypassed. I begin by clean in g th e wou n d an d trim m in g all o f th e frayed areas. Now I graft scion s above an d below th e woun d un dern eath th e bark. You sh ould always use at least th ree scions. This m eth od can even help to save h eavily dam aged trees. Trees treated in this way are better protected from sources o f dam age (like browsin g) in th e future, because t h ey are no lon ger easily accessible. Th e tree also has th e resources to repair itself if it is dam aged. W ith graftin g th ere are no lim its to you r fantasy: it is perfectly possible to graft a n um ber of varieties onto a sin gle tree. This is a great advan tage wh en I on ly have space for one tree. As I have already m en tion ed, m an y fruit trees, especially apples and pears, can n ot self-pollin ate, so t h ey m ust have pollin atin g varieties available. I can solve th is problem by graftin g on a bran ch from a pollin atin g variety. H avin g a n um ber o f varieties on one tree in a sm all garden h elps to

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In a fruit fo re st e v e ry o n e is h a p p y .

m in im ise th e risk o f crop failure. Differen t ripen in g tim es an d differen t varieties o f fruit m ake it possible n ot on ly to have a m ore varied harvest, bu t also creates a u n ique collection an d in creases th e h appin ess gain ed from a sin gle fruit tree. I believe th at an yth in g th at is fun sh ould be allowed in th e garden. Th ere are en dless possibilities for experim en tation . All you n eed is a little im agin ation .

Sowing a Fruit Forest


Usin g seedlin gs as rootstocks for m y fruit trees is a very sim ple, econ om ical and practically risk-free m eth od o f cu ltivatin g a lush fruit forest or orchard. I will n ow describe th is m eth od in greater detail. Fruit trees gen erally prefer h igh -qu ality soil. I begin b y preparin g th e area u sin g soil-im provin g plan ts, so th at m y fruit trees will thrive. Th e role o f green m an ure in th e creation o f h um us is covered in Soil Fertility . Th e am ou n t o f tim e th is takes depen ds on th e properties o f th e soil. Th e m ajority o f acid soil on th e Kram eterhof, wh er e spruce forests on ce grew, took aroun d two years to im prove to th e poin t wh er e I could grow fruit trees an d oth er d em an din g plan ts wit h ou t addition al support. Green m an ure is n ot a on e-off m easure: it m ust play a con tin u ous role in cultivation , becau se a fertile and h ealth y soil is th e key to success. On ce I have prepared th e soil, it is n ecessary to loosen it for sowin g. I graze m y reliable workers, th e pigs, th ere an d th ey dig over an d loosen th e soil for m e. Th is prepares th e area for fruit trees an d I can begin to sow th e plants. Th e best an d m ost econ om ical source o f seeds I have is in th e form o f pom ace (the pulp left over from pressin g fruit for juice or cider), alth ough th e m aterial left over from th e m ust wh en d istillin g schn apps will also wor k well if
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t h e seeds can be separated after t h ey have been heated. I leave this pom ace to ferm en t for aroun d four to five weeks and distribute it over th e area. Durin g th e ferm en tation process th e layers wh ich n aturally delay germ in ation are broken down. This stratification greatly in creases th e seeds ch an ce for success. As t h e trees grow in their in ten ded location from th e start, th ey can best adapt them selves to th e soil and clim atic conditions. Th e diversity o f plan ts lessens t h e chan ce o f browsin g from deer. Fencin g th e area o ff is never a bad idea, as this m ean s it can also be used as a paddock. On ce th e trees have been growin g for one to two years, th ey can be grafted. I on ly select th e best trees for grafting, so I get th e optim al plan ts for th e location . Trees growin g too close togeth er can be replan ted. This m eth od is n ot on ly sim ple and econ om ical, it is also particularly well suited to un favourable areas , becau se m y trees have had tim e to adjust to
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th e local con d ition s from wh en th ey were seedlings. This m eth od sh ould also en courage you to experim en t, becau se it requires ver y little effort an d practically no risk. It wou ld be sim ple to turn a spruce forest in to a fruit forest u sin g this tech n ique. I do n ot graft all o f th e seedlin gs in th e area, because t h ey can also produce in terestin g fruit. I have often received ver y sweet fruit ideally suited to schn apps from ch erry seedlings. Th er e is a m arket for a great var iety o f kin ds o f wild fruit, as I have already m en tion ed, an d t h ey should therefore n ot be n eglected. I also like to grow wild fruit in th e form o f fruit hedges, wh ich can serve as win dbreaks to protect m ore sensitive cultivated fruit trees. In this way th ey fulfil m an y differen t fun ction s. Th e fact t h at th e h edges provide an en viron m en t for large n um bers o f useful anim als an d in sects is obviously also an advantage.

The Shock Method


As a child, m y route to sch ool was ver y lon g and exh austin g and t ook about two hours even if I walked quickly. It was a sim ple cart path and wen t th rough th e forest an d past fields. I wou ld fin d no en d o f in terestin g th in gs there; a root or a n ice pebble, an d n ow an d again a sm all tree wh ich I wou ld plan t in m y little garden. Shortly before th e en d o f J une, th e en d o f school, I foun d a few sm all wild apple trees on a pile o f stones on m y way back hom e. I could n ot resist an d took th em back with me. Alth ou gh t h ey were a good two m etres tall, I could sim ply pull th em up with ou t diggin g, because their roots had foun d little purch ase on th e stones. Full o f joy, I carried th em back h om e and wan ted to show th em to m y m oth er before I plan ted them . Instead o f th e praise I had h oped for, she scolded m e an d said th at it was a sham e for th e beautiful trees, because wit h fully-grown leaves th ey wou ld n ot take root at this tim e o f year. Despite this, I took th e trees to m y little garden (Beifewurmboanling), dug th em in as well as I could and, as always, covered th e soil wit h leaves. I could n ot water them , because th e garden was too far away from th e nearest source o f water. I did n ot have an y great h opes o f th e trees growing. My m oth er had explain ed to m e th at I was replan tin g th e trees wh en it was already far too late and th ey were already in full leaf. For this reason, I cam e u pon th e naive idea o f rem ovin g all o f th e leaves, because t h ey seem ed to be stoppin g th e trees from takin g root. Th en th ey stood bare in m y little garden. I wen t to look at th em every day in th e hope th at I m igh t see som e sign o f life. Several weeks passed un til on e o f th e trees suddenly, an d to m y com plete surprise, pr oduced n ew shoots. On ce I discovered there was no stoppin g m e and, pu llin g her by th e apron, I br ou gh t m y m oth er to look at th e garden. She wou ld n ot believe m y story, so I had to br in g her, so th at she could see for herself. Even she was surprised an d she asked me: W h at did you do to m ake th e trees grow? W h a t luck! Later on th is experien ce inspired m e to develop m y sh ock m eth od . It is an em ergen cy tech n iqu e to allow badly rooted trees with ou t root balls to be replan ted, even wh en th ey are already fu lly in leaf, in flower, or bearin g fruit.
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Fruit tree s p la n te d b e tw e e n raised b e d s using th e sh o c k m e th o d .

I begin by layin g th e trees in th e sun, so th at th e leaves dry out. Naturally, the roots should be covered, becau se th ey can n ot tolerate sun. I use a wet jute sack to cover th e roots. To m ake sure th e leaves d ry quickly, th e trees m ust n ot be watered. Th e wet sacks will en sure th at th e roots do n ot dry out, but th ey will n ot provide en ough water to supply th e leaves. After about a day, th e leaves will have dried out and th e trees can be replan ted. I do n ot soak th e soil before plan tin g or water th e trees afterwards. Th e only pr otection th ey receive is a layer o f m u lch to keep th e soil m oist. I would never be able to water all o f th e trees on th e Kram eterhof, becau se it would take far too m uch tim e and energy. Trees plan ted u sin g m y m eth od qu ickly develop new, fibrous roots, wh ich supply the trees with n utrien ts and water again. Th ey can survive th e in itial lean period, because th ey no lon ger have any leaves or fruit to support. If I were to plan t a tree in full lea f an d fruit in stead and n ot water it, th en all o f its en ergy wou ld be used to m ain tain th e leaves. Th e roots would n ot get en ough atten tion an d th e tree wou ld grow badly, if at all. This tree could be com pared to a cut flower: it is given p len ty o f water, yet it can barely support itself. Trees treated usin g m y sh ock m eth od con cen trate on takin g root and do n ot produce shoots un til th ey have th e en ergy to do so. Th e trees are raised to be in depen den t. I have cultivated th ousan ds o f trees over th e years u sin g th is m eth od. I have bou gh t rem ain der stock, wh ich are often just ch opped up or burnt, from tree nurseries at a very good price and plan ted th em u sin g m y sh ock m eth od . In m y experience, trees plan ted u sin g this m eth od grow best between raised beds. A large am oun t o f m oisture collects between th e beds an d th e trees recover quickly. After two to th ree years th e trees have developed so well th at I can dig around th e root ball an d replan t or sell them . In this way m y ch ildh ood experien ces have provided m e with a very good business.

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Processing, M arketing a n d Selling


Th e diversity o f an orchard provides a large range o f processin g an d m arketin g opportun ities. Th e dessert an d cookin g fruit is h arvested an d stored in a fruit or earth cellar. Th e fruit for juice, cider and vin egar as well as for m akin g schn apps or for d ryin g is sorted an d processed. Fruit can also be m ade into jam or com pote if there is a dem an d for it. Oil (from nuts) can also be pressed. As graftin g an d processin g fruit takes a great deal o f energy, th e m arket situation sh ould be carefully exam in ed in advance. It is im portan t to fin d ou t if th ere is a large en ou gh m arket for th e pr od u ct and if you will get an adequate price for your efforts. Th e success o f your busin ess also depen ds on th e stren gth o f its m arketing. With a large farm like th e Kram eterhof, wh ere we grow approxim ately 14,000 fruit trees o f differen t varieties over an area o f 45 hectares, it wou ld be im possible to harvest all o f th e fruit we grow an d process it. Th is is n ot on ly becau se th e wor k required wou ld be too extensive, bu t also becau se th ere are difhcult-toaccess areas, wh ich m ake h arvestin g ver y difficult. In our case, th e best use o f th ese steep slopes is as a source o f food for th e pigs. Th e fruit trees grow just like an y alder or spruce - th e on ly difference is th at every year th ey produce beautiful flowers an d in autum n th ey yield fruit. Th ey do n ot take an y m ore or less tim e to m ain tain th an an y oth er tree. Th e fruit trees feed m y livestock every year for a very lon g period o f tim e with ou t m e havin g to do an y work. Th eir flexibility is on e further reason to tr y growin g them . Ch an gin g from com m ercial fruit growin g to a perm aculture system is really quite difficult. Usually com m ercial orchards are grafted on d warf rootstocks and tied to espaliers. Th ese d warf rootstocks do n ot develop prim ary roots, because th ey no lon ger require th em for support. A n aturally growin g tree on a seedlin g rootstock wh ich is n ot supported by a stake n aturally develops stron g prim ary roots. It braces itself again st th e win d and develops into an in d epen den t tree th at requires no further main ten an ce. In th e espalier garden s o f com m ercial fruit growin g it is a good idea to m ake use o f pigs. Th is m ean s th at you can leave all o f th e trees standing. Th ey should no lon ger be fertilised or sprayed with pesticides and th e yield should be used as a natural source o f food for th e pigs. For larger livestock like cattle an d horses th is is n ot advisable, because th e m an y wires and narrow path s wou ld presen t too m an y hazards. If th e wires an d stakes were rem oved, however, th e orchard would be left in a sorry state. In th is case, you m ust d ecide if you wan t to m ake a low-quality product, wh ich for th e m ost part will n ot be profitable. Ch an gin g to a perm aculture system is n ot on ly difficult because o f add icted trees, but freein g you r self o f th e m in d-set o f com m ercial fruit growin g also requires you to radically chan ge th e way you thin k. Wh ilst I was providin g a con sultation on ch an gin g a farm over to u sin g per m aculture tech n iqu es in South Tyrol, an elderly farm er told m e th at h e had been asked by th e m arketin g cooperative to harvest his apples with in a set period o f

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Fruit g re a tly e n rich e s th e d ie t o f p e o p le a n d a n im a ls.

tim e. Wh en I replied th at th e apples wou ld still be green, he explain ed th at th e apples had to be green, oth erwise t h ey wou ld be discarded as cheap pressing apples. He was n ot happy with th e rates: th e farm er said th at he had on ly just received th e invoice for th e previous year an d had to pay m on ey back, because th e storage costs were h igh er th an th e proceeds. I was surprised an d asked him wh y he was still h arvestin g apples an d deliverin g them . Well, yes, h e said, but m aybe th in gs will go better th is year. I told h im th at if I were h im I wou ld th in k o f alternatives. No, we can t do th at here, we have con tracts and we can t just get ou t o f them . Also, wh at wou ld people say? On ce h e had adm itted th at h e was m akin g a loss and all th at h e was left wit h was wor k and th e expen se o f ch em ical fertilisers and pesticides, h e said, Well, th eres n oth in g you can do about that, t h at s just th e way farm in g is. I can t do an yth in g about it, you sh ould explain t h at to m y son. We n eed creativity an d courage to forge n ew paths. Th ere are m an y ways to be a successful farmer. Th e h igh er yield o f in ten sive farm ing, as th e exam ple shows, is no lon ger a guaran tee o f pr ofitability - quite th e contrary. Th e larger am ou n t o f wor k and th e fin an cial aid required often eat up th e profits. H ow lon g will it take for farm ers to free th em selves o f th e sh ackles o f cooperatives and m ake th eir way to in depen den ce?

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Cultivating Mushrooms

Mushroom cu ltivation is, alon g with keepin g livestock an d growin g plants, an im portan t bran ch o f our pr od u ction on th e Kram eterhof. I began to work wit h m ush room s som e tim e ago. Mushroom s were on e o f m y m ost im portan t sources o f in com e in th e 80s. In Lun gau an d th e n eigh bou rin g areas I sold button , oyster, shiitake, and kin g stropharia m ushroom s and m an y oth er kin ds wit h great success. However, th e atom ic disaster in Ch ern obyl in 1986 sudden ly ch an ged th e situation . Despite th e fact th at our m ushroom s were obviously n ot con tam in ated, overn ight it becam e im possible to sell them . This hard econ om ical blow caused m e a n um ber o f sleepless nights. In hin dsigh t, it does, however, m ake clear wh at th e con sequen ces o f extrem e specialisation for a busin ess can be. Th ere will always be un foreseeable events, with un expected outcom es, to wh ich on ly th e few wit h en ough flexibility an d versatility can adapt. Specialisation, on th e oth er hand, creates on ly risk and depen den ce.

G eneral
Fungi are n ot plan ts; instead th ey belon g to a separate kingdom . Th ey are one o f th e m ost im portan t decom posers (saprotrophs) in th e soil. Th ey convert accum ulated biom ass in to n utrien ts th at plan ts can absorb. W ith ou t th em th e cycle o f n ature could n ot fun ction . An yon e wh o wan ts to un derstan d th e way th at fun gi live an d fu n ction m ust first un derstan d th eir structure. Th e widespread opin ion is th at fun gi on ly con sist o f th e parts th at can be seen above ground, in oth er words th e cap an d stem . In reality, a m ush room is n oth in g oth er th an th e fruitin g bod y o f a fun gus and can be liken ed to an apple on an apple tree. Th e fun gus con sists o f th e m u ch larger an d m ostly h idd en m ycelium , wh ich is com posed o f th read-like cells (hyphae). If you com pare th e fun gus to an apple tree, th e m ycelium correspon ds to th e trun k, bran ch es an d roots. Fungi, un like plants, can n ot produce organ ic m aterial from in organ ic m aterial (m ineral n utritive salts) for them selves. Th ey do n ot con tain ch loroph yll and therefore can n ot ph otosyn th esise. Th is m ean s that, like anim als, th ey n eed n utrien ts from organ ic m aterial (from th e substrate), wh ich are absorbed by th e m ycelium . Man y fun gi also develop m ycorrhizae an d form sym biotic associa tion s wit h plants. Th e fu n gu s h yphae colon ise th e en ds o f th e p lan ts roots, take over a part o f th e plan ts nu trition and help th e plan t to absorb water and m ineral n utrien ts. Nitrogen an d ph osph ates are also m ade m ore easily accessible to th e

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plan t by th e d ecom posin g activity o f th e fungus. Th e fun gus also profits from th e sym biosis, because th e plan t supplies it with th e prod u cts o f ph otosyn th esis (prin cipally carbohydrates). Man y plan ts form sym biotic association s becau se o f th eir in h eren t advan tages. If a plan t does n ot have access to its specific sym biotic partner, it will grow poorly. Frequen tly poor soil or unfavourable clim atic con d ition s are blam ed, wh ereas it is usually en ou gh just to in corporate a little soil from th e plan ts natural en viron m en t. Th e previously stun ted plan t will n ow thrive, because it has access to its sym biotic partner. Th ese basic con cepts are n eeded to un derstan d th e way m ush room s are cultivated. Th e m ajority o f cultivated m ushroom s require a substrate o f eith er wood, com post or straw. Mushroom s th at live in sym biosis, such as ceps (Boletus edulis) or ch an terelles (Cantharellus cibarius), require th eir sym biotic partn er in th e form o f forest trees in add ition to a forest floor as a substrate. If you un derstan d wh at m ushroom s n eed and th e best ways in wh ich to fulfil th ese needs, you will qu ickly ach ieve success in growin g m ushroom s. Mushroom cu ltivation does n ot require a large am ou n t o f space. It is possible to grow en ou gh m ushroom s for you r own con sum ption on just a 2m 2 balcony. For farmers, m ush room cu ltivation can also m ake for a lucrative source o f in com e with m in im al costs and work. Before growin g m ushroom s on a large scale, however, it is im portan t to gather experien ce and cultivate differen t kin ds o f m ushroom s on differen t substrates. After som e tim e spen t experim en tin g, you will be able to use you r experien ces profitably.

Health Benefits
Mushroom s have lon g been recogn ised as n ot on ly a h ealth y food, bu t also as a form o f m edicin e. Th is is wh y in digen ous m ushroom s like th e h on ey fun gus (Armillaria mellea) have been used as a laxative for cen turies. Th e gian t puffball (Calvatia gigantea) and agarikon (Laricifomes officinalis) m ushroom s were also used to stau n ch bleedin g. However, th is old kn owledge has m ostly been lost. Now th at Asian m ed icin e with its natural r em edies has becom e so popular, m ushroom s are on ce again bein g con sidered as a m edicin e. On e o f th e m ost in terestin g East Asian m edicin al m ush room s is th e shiitake m ush room (Lentinula edodes). Th is m ush room is n ot on ly a very popular d elicacy because o f its excellen t flavour, bu t its h ealin g effect is aston ishing. Its ability to lower ch olesterol has already been dem on strated in m edical studies; it is also effective again st colds and stren gth en s th e im m un e system . Moreover, it has been scien tifically con firm ed t h at th e shiitake m ush room has a positive effect in th e treatm en t o f cancer. Alth ou gh probably th e m ost in terestin g th in g about this m edicin al m ush room is th at it can be cultivated alm ost an ywh ere an d with very little effort. Shiitake cultures grow on sycam ore logs on th e Kr am eter h of up to a h eigh t o f 1,500m above sea level.
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SYMBIOSIS BETWEEN A TREE AND FUNGUS


using th e e xam p le o f a birch b o le te (Leccinum scabrum )

A d v a n ta g e for th e fungus: the tre e supplies its sym biotic partner, the fungus, w ith ca rbo h yd rates.

Birch - p ro d u c e r/ photosynthesiser

A d v a n ta g e for th e tree: de co m p o sitio n a n d m ineralsthe fungus provides w a te r a n d mineral nutrients. The breaking d o w n o f humus g re a tly enriches th e soil w ith nitrogen a nd phosphates.

Birch b o le te - sa pro tro p h / d e co m p o s e r

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Th ere are also a n um ber o f oth er m edicin al m ushroom s, wh ich can easily be grown on th e Kram eterhof. For exam ple, th e J udas ear fun gus (Auricularia auricula-judae), wh ich can be used to treat n ausea or to lower blood pressure, or th e lin gzh i m ush room (Ganoderma lucidum), wh ich is used to treat sleepin g disorders and stren gth en th e im m u n e system . Mushroom s are also a h ealth y food. Th eir h igh fibre con ten t is kn own to aid digestion. Th ey are also low in calories an d rich in vitam in s an d m inerals, wh ich m ean s th ey are often used in diets. Mushroom s are best eaten fresh, bu t th ey retain m u ch o f th eir flavour an d n utrien ts wh en th ey are dried. Th ey also m ake ver y good tea. Mushroom tea is ver y good at preven tin g and treatin g illn esses and for detoxification .

The Basics o f Mushroom Cultivation


Most m ush room s n eed wood, straw or com post as a substrate. Mushroom s th at grow on wood or straw are by far th e easiest to cultivate, becau se wood and straw are already com plete substrates. Com post m ush room s like bu tton and field m ush room s (Agaricus spp.) or sh aggy in k caps (Coprinus com atus) are, conversely, m u ch m ore d ifficult to cultivate, becau se th ey n eed a specific m ixture o f com post m ade from straw or d u n g (usually horse m an ure). Producin g th e substrate requires specialist kn owledge and is u sually too laborious to be used on a sm all scale. This is wh y I lim it m yself to cu ltivatin g m ushroom s th at can be grown on wood or straw. Most o f th e particularly tasty and h ealth y m ushroom s belon g to th is group anyway. You will n ot n eed an y specialist kn owledge to be able to cultivate th ese m ush room s successfully. On ly un con tam in ated raw m aterials should be used to grow cu lin ary and m edicin al m ushroom s. Mushroom s can absorb h arm ful substan ces and retain them . For th is reason you should be especially careful wh en u sin g straw or com post as a substrate. If th e straw or m an ure has been pr oduced con ven tion ally it is, in m y opin ion , un suitable for cu ltivatin g organ ic m ushroom s. Even wood can con tain harm ful substan ces. Trees n ear bu sy roads, m otorways or in dustrial areas usually con tain large am oun ts o f h eavy m etals. Th ese h arm ful substan ces accum ulate in th e bark an d m ake th e logs un usable for m ush room cultivation .

G rowing Mushrooms on W ood


Th e fact th at m ost m ushroom s th at grow on wood are cultivated in alm ost exactly t h e sam e way m akes growin g th em m u ch easier. An y differen ces are usually just lim ited to sligh t preferen ces in term s o f log size, type o f wood, tem perature and hum idity. I f possible th e m u sh room culture sh ould be started in spring, because th is gives th e m ycelium en ough tim e to colon ise th e wood an d rem ain safe from frost dam age. Th e m ycelium can still grow at low tem peratures, bu t qu ick

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colon isation occurs best at tem peratures aroun d 20C. If th e fun gus has th e ch an ce to grow deep in to th e wood th rou gh th e sum m er, th en low tem peratures an d frost will n ot be able to h arm it. Th ere are, however, differen t tem perature preferen ces for pr od u cin g fru itin g bodies. For instance, shiitake m ushroom s prefer tem peratures between aroun d +ioC an d +25C. En oki m ushroom s (Flammulina velutipes), on th e oth er hand, produce fruit at low tem peratures in late autum n . Th is is wh y it is always im por tan t to cultivate differen t kin d s o f m ushroom , so th at you will have a yield over an exten ded period o f tim e. Man y differen t kin ds o f m ush room are suited to bein g grown on logs. Som e o f th e m ost com m on on es are listed below.

Mushrooms for Growing on Wood


All o f th e m ush room s listed grow on th e Kr am eter h of on hardwood. Th e oyster m ush room varieties listed (Pleurotus sp.) can also be cultivated on straw. Fruit in g bod y pr od u ction occurs in m ost o f th ese varieties from a tem perature o f at least ioC. On ly th e en oki m ush room fruits from tem peratures o f 2C. Th e black poplar m ushroom , on th e oth er hand, grows fru itin g bodies from aroun d i5C. All o f th e oyster varieties, especially th e kin g oyster m ushroom , grow best wh en th e h u m id ity is high.

Shiitake
Th e shiitake m ush room (Lentinula edodes) is on e o f th e m ost in terestin g o f th e culin ary an d m edicin al m ush room s with its excellen t flavour an d m an y proven h ealin g properties (cf. H ealth Ben efits). It can also be cultivated on narrow logs or branches. Shiitake m ushroom s can be eaten raw, or th ey can be used to m ake tea.

Oyster Mushroom
Oyster m ushroom s (Pleurotus ostreatus) are excellen t cu lin ary m ush room s and are very easy to cultivate. Alth ou gh t h ey are n ot particular about the kin d o f wood th ey are cultivated on, th ey grow especially well on beach , m aple an d elm .

King Oyster Mushroom


Kin g oyster m ush room s (Pleurotus eryngii) are very popular becau se o f th eir excellen t flavour. Th eir t h ick flesh y stem s are ver y versatile. Th ey can be grown like oyster m ushroom s.

G olden Oyster Mushroom


Golden oyster m ush room s (Pleurotus citrinopileatus) can be recogn ised by th e way t h ey grow in large yellow clusters. Th ey are excellen t cu lin ary m ushroom s. Th ey can also be cultivated in a sim ilar way to oth er oyster m ushroom s.

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S heathed W oodtuft
Th ese sm all m ushroom s (Kuehneromyces mutabilis) grow in clusters. Th ey have a very in ten se flavour wh ich m eans th ey are used pred om in an tly as culin ary m ush room s in sauces and soups. Sh eath ed wood tu ft mush room s are particularly un d em an din g in term s o f cultivation .

Nam eko
Th is excellen t cu lin ary m ush room (Pholiota nameko) is also kn own as th e J apanese sh eath ed woodtu ft. Its requirem en ts are sim ilar to th e sheathed woodtuft.

Enoki
Th e en oki m ush room (Flammulina velutipes) is also kn own as th e win ter m ushroom , because it bears fruit in autu m n and winter. It is used as a culin ary m ush room an d for flavourin g sauces and soups.

Black Poplar Mushroom


Like th e sh eath ed woodtuft, it is very arom atic and is m ostly used for addin g flavour to dishes. Th e black poplar m ush room (Agrocybe aegerita) requires m u ch higher tem peratures. It prefers softwood (poplar and willow).

Judas Ear
Th e J udas ear fun gus (Auricularia auricula-judae) is popularly used in Asian cuisine. It is also a popular m edicin al fungus. J udas ear prefers to be cultivated on elder, bu t it also grows well on oth er kin ds o f wood.

Substrate
For wood cultures I gen erally use wh ole logs as a substrate. It is also possible to use a substrate m ixture o f sawdust an d oth er plan t m aterial, alth ough u sin g a m ixed substrate involves a little m ore wor k and is a bit m ore risky. For this rea son, growin g cultures on natural wood is m uch better for begin n ers. In addition, th e wood is used in its natural form, wh ich saves th e wor k o f processin g it, wh ich can be con siderable. Logs have th e addition al advan tage th at t h ey take up far less space th an oth er substrates. Th ey also im prove th e look o f an y garden. It is im portan t th at on ly hardwood is used for th e m ushroom species specified above, alth ough in m y experien ce ou t o f all th e hardwoods, wood from ston e fruit is th e least suitable for m ush room cultivation . Th e duration and yield o f th e crop differs greatly d epen din g on wh eth er h ardwood (beech, oak etc.) or softwood (poplar, willow, alder, bir ch etc.) is used. Mush room s colon ise softwood m uch m ore quickly, wh ich leads to an earlier yield. However, softwood logs also decom pose m ore quickly, so th e yield is m u ch m ore short-lived. Cultures on softwood can
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grow th rou gh an d give a yield in just six to twelve m on ths. H ardwood usually requires twice th at tim e, bu t th e yield lasts substan tially longer. Naturally, th e duration an d size o f th e yield also depen ds on th e size o f th e log an d th e len gth o f th e growin g season. For in stan ce, I have cultures growin g on h ardwood at a h eigh t o f 1,500m th at have been croppin g for over ten years. As a rule, un der good con d ition s you can expect a total yield o f 20 to 30 percen t o f th e weigh t o f th e wood. Th is can be very profitable, because fin an cially low quality wood like firewood can be used for m ush room cultivation . In th e lon g run, hardwood gen erally gives higher yields th an softwood. On e o f th e m ost im portan t factors for success wh en growin g m ushroom s in th is way is usin g fresh an d h ealth y wood. It m ust un der no circum stan ces have been previously colon ised by oth er fungi. Th ey will displace th e cultivated m ushroom s and th e crop will fail. This is wh y I use freshly cu t wood wh en ever possible. It is also advisable to cut o ff a slice o f wood from each en d o f th e log before in oculation . This will reduce th e dan ger o f colon isation by oth er fungi. Wood th at has been stored for m ore th an h a lf a year is pr obably no lon ger suitable. Tree stum ps are an exception: th ey should be in ocu lated on ce th ey have stopped sproutin g. Th ese stum ps can still reject m ycelia. You can recogn ise h ealth y wood by it n ot havin g an y dark or rotten areas. Th e cu t surface m ust be ligh t in colour an d firm. Th e wood m ust con tain en ough m oisture for the m ycelium to grow th rough properly. Freshly cu t logs have th e best levels o f m oisture; if you use older logs, you will n eed to soak th em for a wh ile to reach th e required m oisture levels. As h ardwood can be used in practically an y form , there is alm ost no lim it to th e types o f culture you can try. Th is m eans that, for instance, logs used as short term slope supports can also be used to grow m ushroom s on at th e sam e tim e. Tree stum ps in th e garden can easily be broken down with th e help o f m ushroom s. Th e m ushroom s will m ake th e garden look m ore pleasant, as well as givin g a good crop. As shorter logs are m uch easier to m anage, I gen erally use logs wit h a len gth from h a lf a m etre to a m etre an d a diam eter o f at least 20 cm for growin g m ushroom s. Th ese logs also take less tim e to colon ise an d therefore give an earlier yield.

Mushroom Spawn
In order to in oculate th e log, in oth er words to in troduce th e fun gus in to the log, you will n eed h ealth y m ush room spawn. Mush room spawn is n oth in g oth er th an m ycelium , becau se m ushroom s r eproduce vegetatively (asexually) as a rule. In oculation usin g spores (sexual reproduction ) is rare, becau se th e probability o f failure is too great. Alth ou gh th e sh eath ed wood tu ft m ush room (Kuehneromyces mutabilis) and en oki m ush room (Flammulina velutipes) are an exception to this; th ey are easy to propagate by p lacin g ripe caps on th e ends o f m oist logs an d tree stum ps (th ey prefer softwood: poplar and willow). If th e spores find th e right con dition s, th ey will germ in ate an d th e fun gus will colon ise
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th e wh ole log. This m eth od does, however, take m u ch lon ger th an vegetative propagation . Naturally, all m ush room s can be propagated u sin g spores. As it does n ot take m u ch tim e or cost m u ch m oney, you sh ould d efin itely t r y it. However, if you on ly have a few logs available, in ocu lation is a m u ch safer choice. Mushroom spawn is usually available from specialist m ush room shops as spawn plugs or grain spawn. Spawn plugs con sist o f wood en plugs or dowels t h at are in ocu lated wit h th e appropriate m ycelium , whereas grain spawn consists o f m ycelium growin g on grain. It is im portan t for th e spawn to be healthy. The m ycelium o f cultivated m ush room s is white. If th ere is a ch an ge in colour, t h en this is a sign o f m ould. Also, a m u sty sm ell m eans th at th e spawn is eith er con tam in ated or has expired. Th e spawn should be used as soon as possible, because it can on ly be stored for a lim ited tim e.

P ropagating Spawn Yourself


You can create an d propagate m ush room spawn you r self wit h a little practice. O f course, propagatin g with spawn is a learn in g process, so you m igh t n ot get th e results you wan t on you r first attem pt. Th e m ajority o f failures stem from careless wor k an d th e m ould associated with it. Spawn plugs are n ot as susceptible to m ould as grain spawn or substrate spawn, wh ich m akes th em a suitable m eth od o f propagation for beginn ers. If you wan t to m ake m ore spawn plugs, all you n eed are plugs or dowels. Th ey m ust be soaked an d boiled to reach th e required m oisture levels and to rule ou t con tam in ation by rival fungi. Th e boiled plugs th en go in to a clean plastic bag. On ce th ey have cooled, add a few in ocu lated spawn plugs or som e grain spawn. Th e bag is t h en turn ed over so th at th e open in g is at th e bottom . This way th e right am ou n t o f air can get in with ou t th e dan ger o f con tam in ation becom in g too great. After about a m on th, th e plugs will be fully colon ised and ready for in oculation . It is also possible to wrap boiled dowels in a piece o f clean cotton cloth with som e m ush room spawn. Th e wrapped up dowels can th en be placed in a flowerpot to keep th em m oist; storin g th e substrate on soil keeps it wet, wh ile excess water can drain away. This preven ts water from bu ild in g up and th e dowels sh ould be fully colon ised in r ough ly on e m on th.

Creating and Maintaining the Culture


To in ocu late a log with m u sh room spawn, you will n eed eith er to drill a h ole or cu t a section out o f it. Th e m eth od used will depen d on th e type o f spawn available. W it h spawn plugs, a hole is drilled in to th e log an d th e plu g is inserted. It is im portan t to ach ieve good con tact between th e plu g and th e wood, so th e holes sh ould be on ly a little larger th an th e plugs. W h en you are in ocu latin g you should use plen ty o f spawn. Th e plugs sh ould be distributed even ly aroun d th e log to en sure th at it is colon ised quickly. It is also a good idea to seal th e h oles again after in oculation ; you can do this by pu sh in g a fresh piece o f bran ch

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into th e h ole and cu ttin g th e excess off. Now th e fun gus is protected and it can colon ise th e log quickly. An oth er m eth od is notch ed in ocu lation . Th is is wh ere a saw is used to m ake n otch es in th e log in either one or two places d epen din g on its len gth. Th e n otch es sh ould have a depth o f over h a lf th e diam eter o f th e log, however, it m ust retain its structural integrity, wh ich is wh y I m ake th e n otch es usin g a ch ain saw (see photo). Th ese n otch es are th en filled with grain or substrate spawn. Next, I cover th e n otch es wit h plastic sh eetin g or adhesive tape. This is n ecessary to preven t th e m ycelium from dryin g ou t or from bein g con tam in ated by m ould. Coverin g th e n otch es also prevents th e fun gus from bein g eaten. This is a good idea, becau se slugs, snails, birds and m ice like to eat m ush room spawn as well as cereal grain. To reiterate, as m ushroom s require a steady tem perature and m oisture level for good growth, I place th e culture in an area with plen ty o f shade. Th e in ocu lated logs are stored closely together. To help preven t th em from dryin g out I cover th em wit h leaves and jute bags. Th e best tem perature for m ycelial growth for these m ushroom s is aroun d 2oC; at lower tem peratures th e m ycelium takes lon ger to colon ise th e log. However, tem peratures o f over 30 C should be avoided, because th ey can kill off th e m ycelium . It is best to start th e m ush room culture

N o tc h in g th e logs

N o tc h e d logs

C o v e re d in o c u la tio n a re a

In th e in o c u la tio n a re a th e m y c e liu m is g ro w in g w e ll th ro u g h th e w o o d .

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in spring or early summer, because th e m ycelium n eeds two to th ree m on th s to work its way far en ough into th e wood. After th is tim e, th e fun gus is safe from frosts. Th e duration o f th e colon isation phase depen ds on th e tem perature, m oisture and th e size and type o f wood (hardwood or softwood). Alth ou gh , as a rule, it takes between six and twelve m on ths. After just a few weeks, you can find ou t if th e in ocu lation has been a success. If th e wh ite m ycelium is establishin g it self in th e in ocu lated area, th en th e m ush room culture is healthy. As soon as th e m ycelium can be seen in th e n otch , th e fun gus has colon ised th e log. On ce th e log is colon ised, I sin k it into th e groun d by a third o f its len gth in its direction o f growth (the th icker end should be at th e bottom ). Th e space between th e logs m ust be large en ough so th at th e m ushroom s growin g on the outsides o f th e logs can be harvested properly. Sin kin g th e log into th e groun d is very im portan t for th e success o f th e culture and m eans th at it will n eed little m ain ten an ce. Th is also allows th e fun gus to obtain m oisture and n utrien ts from th e soil; h elpin g to preven t th e log from dryin g out and reducin g th e am oun t of

O yste r m u sh ro o m
(P le u ro tu s o s tre a tu s )

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Fruit tree provides shade

Storage: A layer of t e a and jute bags provides optim a l conditions during the sensitive colonisation phase. The logs ca n , however, b e sunk into the g rou n d in their final in te n d e d lo c a tio n im m ed iate ly a fte r they h ave b ee n in o cu la te d (as w ith logs th a t have a lre a d y b een colonised], b ut th e colonisation phase m ay take longer.

Culture: The logs are n ow p la c e d further apa rt, w hich gives th e fruiting bodies m ore sp ace to grow . The colonised logs are sunk into the g round b y a third of their length. This allows the fungus to ta ke a dd itio n a l nutrients and moisture from the soil.

"WH Ilf

'

L o g sd u r i n g 't h e
colonisation phase

W y c e l i y n r g F p w i n gt h r o u g hI n t o m e 'S o i V

- w

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Sepp Holzers Permaculture

wor k required to m ain tain th e culture to a m in im um . If you pull on e o f th ese logs ou t o f th e soil after a few weeks, you will discover th at th e m ycelium has already grown th rou gh in to th e soil. Fruiting bodies have even been kn own to sprin g up aroun d th e log. However, th e m ain source o f n utrien ts will still com e from th e log itself. If h u m id ity levels are h igh en ough an d th e tem perature is correct, I can soon expect a yield. Th e culture usually crops a n um ber o f tim es a year. Mushroom s gen erally appear n ear th e in ocu lation area an d on th e outside o f th e log. I f th e m ush room culture is in th e correct en viron m en t, it will n eed practically no further care apart from m ain ten an ce o f m oisture levels. It can rem ain in th e sam e place and will n ot require an y special pr otection over th e winter.

Tips
If, after a few years, th ere has still n ot been a crop an d th e m ycelium has n ot grown th rou gh well, this m eans th at th e con d ition s for fruitin g bod y growth are n ot optim al. Dor m an t logs can, however, be activated by soakin g th em for a few hours and strikin g th em wit h a m allet or rock. Th e m oisture an d th e sh akin g stim ulate fruitin g bod y growth. This m eth od gen erally has th e desired effect. I discovered th is p h en om en on wh en I first began to cultivate m ushroom s and som e o f m y cultures were n ot successful. After waitin g for a wh ile I decided to dispose o f th em . I t ook wh at I supposed to be useless logs on m y tractor to on e o f th e wetlan ds an d tip ped th em all in th e sh allow water n ear th e bank. I wan ted th e logs to at least provide h idin g places for you n g fish an d crayfish. Th ey also m ade th e shallows o f th e wetlan d m ore attractive. Wh en I cam e back to th e m icroclim ate after a few weeks, alm ost all o f th e logs were covered in oyster m ushroom s. I could scarcely believe m y eyes an d tried to fin d th e reason for th e resurrection o f m y cultures. W h a t h appen ed? Th e logs were m ost likely dorm an t from lack o f m oisture. Th e bu m py ride on th e tractor an d bein g tipped in to th e pon d n ot on ly sh ook th em thoroughly, bu t also saturated th em with water. In addition , th e h ollow aroun d th e wetlan d is n aturally m u ch m ore h um id as a result o f evaporation . All o f th ese factors worked togeth er and led to th is u n expected success. An oth er com m on p roblem is browsin g. H um ans are n ot th e on ly creatures wh o like to eat m ushroom s; anim als do as well. On th e Kr am eter h of th e non in digen ous Span ish slug (Arion vulgaris) particularly likes to eat m ushroom s. Slugs and snails can do a great deal o f dam age. Th is dam age often rem ains u n n oticed, becau se th ere are n ever an y m ush room s left. On th e Kram eterh of we do n ot have an y problem s with th ese pests, becau se we have p len ty o f help from pigs, ducks and toads. Th ese helpers reduce th e n um ber o f slugs and snails to a h arm less num ber. I f you do n ot have su ch helpers available, there are always lon g-establish ed h ouseh old rem edies. On e o f th ese rem edies is to pu t d own a protective rin g aroun d th e culture. Make th e rin g from a m ixture o f wood ash, sawdust an d slaked lim e. It is im portan t to keep it d r y at all tim es,
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so that it form s an un surpassable barrier. A further possibility is a line o f fresh grass cuttin gs. Th is line m ust be kept wet. It will attract slugs and snails and th ey will lay their eggs in this in vitin g en viron m en t. After a few days, turn the line over and leave th e eggs in the sun. Th is m eth od can drastically reduce th e n um ber o f offspring, becau se th e eggs d ry out an d are sensitive to UV light. Further in form ation on slugs an d snails can be fou n d in th e section H elpers in th e Garden an d Regulatin g Pests.

G rowing Mushrooms on Straw


Th ese days straw is often a waste product. In areas wh er e cereals are grown you can all too often see it bein g left to rot in en orm ous piles in fields. However, this surplus biom ass can be m ade good use of. Straw can, for exam ple, be u sed as a bu ild in g m aterial for m u d br ick buildin gs. It can also be used as m u lch an d it is an ideal substrate for m ush room cultivation . Man y kilogram s o f m ushroom s can be grown on one sm all straw bale wit h very little effort. Th e m ush room s also h elp to tur n th e slowly r ottin g straw in to valuable h u m u s in just a short period o f tim e. So m an y o f th ese so-called waste products are un tapped resources, wh ich could be m ade use o f in th e future. In a fu n ction in g agricultural system th ere is no waste, everyth in g can be brough t back in to th e cycle o f nature. Sustain ability is th e h igh est priority here. W ith m in im al work, growin g m ushroom s on straw can be m ade in to a lucrative addition al source o f in com e for farmers. Th ey can also be grown easily in an y sm all garden for sm all-scale con sum ption .

Mushrooms for Growing on Straw


All o f th e previously m en tion ed oyster m ushroom s (Pleurotus sp.) are suitable for growin g on straw. An oth er var iety o f m ush room t h at can be cultivated very well on straw is th e kin g stropharia m ush room (Stropharia rugosoannulata). From a distan ce this m ush room looks sim ilar to a cep. It is an excellen t cu lin ary m ush room and can be grown wit h ou t an y difficulty. It requires tem peratures o f over 10 C for growin g fru itin g bodies. Its requirem en ts for h u m id ity are, h ow ever, m u ch lower th an th ose o f oyster m ushroom s, wh ich m akes kin g stropharia m ushroom s a little less wor k to m ain tain.

Substrate
In prin ciple, any kin d o f straw can be used for cultivation . Th er e are, however, a few basic requirem en ts th at th e substrate m u st fulfil. It is particularly im portan t th at th e substrate is h ealth y an d in good con dition . As I have previously m en tion ed wit h regard to growin g on wood, cultivated m ushroom s are very sensitive to com petition . Straw th at has already been con tam in ated b y oth er fun gi is u n suitable an d can n ot be used for cultivation . H ealth y straw can be recogn ised im m ediately with ou t an y specialist kn owledge; it should be a natural golden
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THE CYCLE OF GROWING MUSHROOMS ON STRAW AN EXAMPLE O f SUSTAINABLE FARMING

Freshly in o c u la te d straw bale. The m ycelium begins to spread. Straw bales or sheaves c a n b e in o c u la te d aga in . Healthy m ycelium to in o c u la te n ew bales.

M a i z ew i t ham i x t u r eo f b e a n s / p e a s , t h i sc o m b i n a t i o n w e l ls u i t e dt o c u l t i v a t i o n .

S t r a wb a l ew i t h m u s h r o o m s .

E x h a u s te d b a le s

Produce for th e kitchen

S t r a w c a nb e u s e da sm u l c h ,

Seeds h ave no co m p e titio n , b eca u se th e o th e r seedlings rot u n d e rn e a th the layer o f m ulch.

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yellow colour, m ust n ot have any spots o f m ould or dark areas and m u st n ot sm ell musty. Sm all com pressed straw bales are th e easiest to wor k with , becau se t h ey can still be tran sported easily wh en th ey are wet. For m e it is essen tial t h at th e straw com es from organ ic farms. Con ven tion ally grown straw is n ot suitable as far as I am con cern ed, because it m igh t have been treated wit h or con tam in ated with herbicides, in secticides, fun gicides, ch em ical fertilisers and oth er ch em icals such as growth regulators. For this reason, you should use straw t h at has been organ ically grown. In addition , straw provides th e m ain source o f n utrien ts for th e fungus, wh ich will absorb and retain any harm ful substan ces present. This is yet an oth er reason wh y con ven tion ally grown straw is n ot suitable for producin g food. Finally, the chan ces for success for a culture o f this kind are m uch lower with n on -organ ic straw, becau se it is usually treated with fun gicides. Fungicides are used to fight fungi. Logically, a substrate treated in this way is n ot ideal for m ushroom cu ltiva tion. Th e sligh tly higher price for organ ically grown straw is worth it in any case. Since th ese m ushroom s, as I have already m en tion ed, break down organic m aterials (saprotrophs), straw is n ot th e on ly available option . Th ey can be grown just as well on reeds, shredded garden waste or m an y oth er substrates. However, th ese altren ative substrates are n ot as easy to work wit h an d it will require a little experim en tation from tim e to tim e to get th e correct com position for a successful crop.

Mushroom Spawn
Straw cultures can also be inoculated usin g either substrate spawn or plug spawn. Th e one you choose is, in th e end, a m atter o f personal preference. Th e require m ents in term s o f spawn quality are th e sam e as th ose for m ushroom s bein g grown on wood. Spawn propagation also works in th e same way. There is, h ow ever, an other m eth od to prolon g the life o f a straw culture. To do this I remove som e m ycelium from a health y bale th at has been well perm eated and introduce it into a n ew bale. Th e m ycelium will usually spread from a perm eated to a fresh bale with only a br ief period o f contact. This way I save m yself n ot on ly th e effort o f buyin g n ew m ushroom spawn every year, but also th e task o f inoculation .

Creating and Maintaining the Culture


On e o f th e m ost im portan t criteria for th e success o f a culture is for th e substrate to have h igh en ough m oisture levels, so th e in itially d ry straw m ust be th or ou gh ly soaked. To do this I leave th e bales for a n um ber o f days in a con tain er filled wit h water. Subm ergin g th e bales fu lly n ot on ly h elps m e to ach ieve th e required level o f m oisture, bu t un der th ese con d ition s th e bales also begin to ferm en t slightly. Th is m akes it easier for th e m ycelia to colon ise them . Th en I pu t th e bales ou t for a day or so to allow th e excess water to drain away. On ce th is is

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don e, th e straw fulfils all th e requirem en ts for in oculation . Next th e bales are br ou gh t to th eir fin al location . As wit h log cultures, th is sh ould be a place with p len ty o f shade. On th e Kr am eter h of I use m y wetlan d s to soak straw bales. I th en place th e m ush room cultures on th e banks. Th is saves lon g journ eys an d th e h igh level o f evaporation from th e n earby water en sures an optim u m level o f hum idity. In addition , th is m akes it easy to water th e culture d urin g d ry spells. W h en position in g th e bales, you should m ake sure th at th ere is en ough space between them , becau se m ush room s will grow over th e en tire bale. Next it is tim e to in ocu late th e bales. I f you are u sin g substrate spawn, you should m ake a n um ber o f h oles in th e bales wit h a stick. Th ese h oles sh ould reach at least as far as th e m iddle o f th e bale. Now fill th e h oles with spawn an d close th em again by pu sh in g th e straw together. If you are usin g plu g or dowel spawn, you should pu sh th em in to th e bales in an even distribution . Th e plugs should also be push ed in as far as th e m iddle o f th e bale. W ith both m eth od s it is im portan t to use plen ty o f spawn, because a large am ou n t o f even ly distributed spawn is n eeded for qu ick colon isation . Th e m ore rapidly th e bales are colon ised, th e less likely it is th at oth er fun gi will con tam in ate th e culture. In a sin gle straw bale, I in ocu late in approxim ately eigh t to ten places. As I have already m en tion ed, th e len gth o f tim e it takes for colon isation depen ds a great deal on th e tem perature. Th e optim al tem perature for m ycelial growth for m ush room s growin g on straw is a little over 2oC. If th e cultures are in ocu lated in sprin g or early sum m er, you can expect a yield in rou gh ly th ree m on ths. Cultures in ocu lated in autum n , on th e oth er hand, will n ot produce a crop un til th e n ext spring. Well-perm eated straw bales are n ot n orm ally sensitive to frost. You can easily recogn ise a well-perm eated bale by th e wh ite pleasan t-sm ellin g m ycelium o f th e cultivated m u sh room th at has grown th rou gh th e straw. You sh ould also m ake sure to leave cultures th at are in oculated in autum n en ou gh tim e to colonise. Straw cu ltu r es require little addition al m ain ten an ce. You on ly need to ch eck th e bales regularly to m ake sure th at t h ey are m oist en ough. It is n ot a problem if th e straw dries out for a few cen tim etres around th e outside o f th e bale as lon g as th e m idd le is still wet. Often people well-m ean in gly overwater m ushroom s. Alth ou gh th e m ycelium requires m oisture, it is still susceptible to on goin g dam pness. I f th e bales are goin g to be left outside exposed to th e elem en ts, th ey can be covered d urin g h eavy or lon g periods o f rain. I leave all m y straw cultures outside th rou gh ou t th e year, however, wit h ou t an y addition al pr otection again st t h e weather. Th e bales can, o f course, be covered with br ush wood to offer p r o t ection over th e win ter m on ths. Th e yield s usually occur in phases, provided th at th e h u m id ity an d tem pera ture levels are h igh en ou gh for th e typ e o f m ush room in question . For this reason, th e cu ltu r es yield depen ds n ot on ly on th e size o f th e substrate, but also on en viron m en tal factors. Straw cultures have a life span o f between one

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M ush ro o m s

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

King s tro p h a ria m ush ro o m s o n a stra w b a le in th e s e c o n d year.

and two years. Afterwards, th e bales are worn out and can be used as fertiliser or m ulch.

Tips
Worn out bales m ake excellen t m ulch. Th ey can also be used in th e garden as organic fertiliser. W h en d oin g th is it is n ot u n com m on for m ushroom s to su d den ly appear in th e vegetable patches.

C ultivating Wild Mushrooms


Over th e years, I have m ade n um erous attem pts to propagate and create cultures o f ceps (Boletus edulis), chan terelles (Cantharellus cibarius), birch boletes (Leccinum scabrum) and a n um ber o f oth er m ushroom varieties with great success. These m ushroom s live in sym biosis with forest trees. In order to cultivate them , you m ust provide th em with th e correct location and sym biotic partner. On th e Kram eterh of this always occurs in a m ixed culture, because the various tree species com plem en t each other n ot on ly from an ecological poin t o f view, but also in term s o f m ushroom cultivation . Spruce trees (Picea abies) are, in fact, an im portan t sym biotic partn er for ceps and chan terelles on the Kram eterhof, however there are usually very few m ushroom s to be foun d in spruce m on ocultures. A m ixed forest is n ot only m ore stable; th e h um us com position is also better. Pine n eedles rot very slowly on their own and, in th e lon g run, con tribute to th e acidification o f th e soil. Even th e balan ce o f water in m ixed forests is better and this, in turn, plays a large role in good m ushroom growth. Th ere are m an y factors th at are respon sible for a successful culture. Fulfil lin g th em requires a very close observation o f natural cycles. Th is m ean s th at

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cu ltivatin g th ese m ush room s is still n ot com m ercially viable to th is day. I wou ld like to explain m y m eth od o f cu ltivatin g wild m ush room s u sin g bir ch boletes as an exam ple. First I create th e correct growin g en viron m en t. To do this I m igh t plan t you n g birch trees on a terrace. Afterwards, I in troduce th e m ycelium into th e soil between th e you n g trees. Obtain in g th e m ycelium in th e first place is som ewh at m ore difficult. To do th is I n eed an area wh ere birch boletes are already growing. To obtain fresh m ycelium , I use a substrate m ixture o f m y own an d spread it aroun d th e growin g fruitin g bodies. Th is substrate consists o f forest soil an d sawdust soaked in liquid m an ure m ade from different sym biotic plants. I spread th e substrate wh en th e first m ush room s appear an d leave it there for th e len gth o f th e growin g season. I ch eck to see if th e m ycelium has grown th rough by carefully exam in in g th e substrate for fin e white m ycelial threads. Th e substrate can th en be in troduced at differen t depth s in th e soil aroun d th e birch trees th at were plan ted in th e sprin g or around birch stum ps th at are still livin g and pr od u cin g shoots. It is also possible to carefully place th e substrate directly in th e h ole wh en plan tin g trees. If th is is don e correctly and th e con d ition s are favourable, fruitin g bodies can grow as soon as th e n ext year. An oth er very good and sim ple way to propagate m ushroom s is to collect ripe fruitin g bodies (with ripe spores) an d to pu t th em in a loose-weave bag (jute or on ion bag). Th e bag can th en be h u n g up to dry. It is im portan t th at it han gs in a well-ven tilated area, so th at it can d ry out properly. On ce th e m ushroom s have dried out, I walk aroun d th e area strikin g th e bag ligh tly wit h a stick. Th is distributes spores th r ou gh ou t th e area. Wh erever th ey find a suitable place to germ inate, n ew m ush room s will develop. W h en doin g th is you should pay atten tion to th e d irection o f th e win d, oth erwise you will very qu ickly find you r self stan din g in a fin e cloud o f m ush room spores. You can also h an g th e bag on a tree branch, wh er e it will be protected from th e rain. A spruce with wide, overarchin g branches, wh ich is growin g in an elevated location , is best for this. Th e wid e-reach in g bran ches protect th e bag o f m ush room s from th e rain effectively and th e h igh elevation allows th e spores to be well distributed by th e win d. If you m ake a sim ple device to hit th e bag, th en th ere is practically no wor k left for you to do. A piece o f m etal to catch th e win d, wit h a strip o f wood n ailed to it to hit th e bag, will perform th e job well. Th e wood will be push ed by th e win d an d will con tin ue to strike th e m ush room bag, wh ich will release spores th at will in tur n be carried by th e win d. W ith th is m eth od I can easily in crease th e n um ber o f m ushroom s on m y lan d. It also m ean s th at we find m ush room s in th e m ost un likely places on th e Kram eterhof. Man y th in gs are possible with wild m ush room cultivation , and th ere are m an y areas th at have n ot yet been investigated. Experim en tation is, as always, th e m ost im portan t thin g. As soon as you begin to wor k in th is area and attem pt som eth in g new, you will start to un derstan d th e causal relation ships. In m y experience, you will n ot have to wait lon g for your first successes.

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Birch b o le te s (Leccinum s c a b r u m ) in tro d u c e d on a n island w ith b irc h trees

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STRIBUTING SPOI

from th e rain.

The slightly e le va te d lo c a tio n allows for a g o o d distribution.

The n um b e r of mushrooms in th e area ca n -b e increased easily, w ith this m e th o d .

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In th e m edia a m eth od o f h arvestin g m ush room s is bein g recom m en ded that, in m y opin ion , is com pletely wron g. Accor d in g to this m eth od, th e m u sh room s sh ould be cut (the stem is rem oved), clean ed an d th e rem ain in g parts o f th e m ush room should be left beh in d. On m y tours and at m y lectures people regularly ask m e if this is th e best m eth od. In respon se I m ust explain som e basic facts abou t h arvestin g m ushroom s: we gath er an d eat th e un ripe fruitin g bodies o f fungi, becau se th e ripe on es are in edible. So, because o f th is false in form ation from th e m edia, th e un ripe m ush room s are cut an d th e rest o f th e m ush room is left there to rot. Th e m ould spreads ver y easily in th e areas o f th e fun gus dam aged by harvesting. W ith in on e to two years th e en tire m ycelium is con tam in ated an d dam aged, and th e m ush room s disappear. I observed this effect for th e first tim e in m y you th wh en I grew a variety o f cultivated m ush room s such as sh aggy in k caps an d bu tton m ushroom s. It would be m uch th e sam e if I peeled an apple and th rew th e p eel back in th e apple bar rel wh en it was full. Th e m ould would spread and all o f th e apples would begin to rot. Alth ou gh alm ost everyon e kn ows this, m an y people do n ot stop to th in k wh en th ey are pickin g m ush room s and t h ey destroy m an y good m ush room sites wit h ou t realising. It would be acceptable sim ply to p ick th e m ush room s and clean th em at hom e. If it is absolutely n ecessary an d th e m ushroom s can n ot be gath ered so easily, th ey should at least be cut close to th e ground. Th en the dam aged area should be covered with forest soil, so th at th e fun gus can repair itself. Th e m ycelium will recede and, u n der good con dition s, it will qu ickly grow n ew fru itin g bodies. As false in form ation abou t h arvestin g m ush room s is bein g spread wit h such insistence, I get th e im pression th at th e in ten tion is to con tin ue to suppress wild m ushroom s, so th at im ported cultivated m ushroom s can replace them .

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Kitchen Gardens
Th e nicest areas around houses were on ce reserved for kitch en gardens. There, farm ers cultivated valuable fruit, vegetables an d m edicin al an d cu lin ary herbs, wh ich m ean t th at th ey were available right on th e doorstep. Th e purpose o f a kitch en garden was n ot on ly to grow food; it also served as a ph arm acy just outside th e house, wh ich was very im por tan t for th e h ealth o f th e family. Even as you n g ch ildren we cam e to see th e garden as an im portan t part o f our lives. We watch ed our paren ts as th ey worked and we could experien ce th e way th e m an y colourful, sweet-sm ellin g and delicious plan ts grew. I can still rem em ber th e joy I felt wh en I pu lled up m y first baby carrots and radishes in th e garden. My m oth er scolded m e, because th e vegetables were too sm all to be harvested, bu t I sim ply could n ot resist. Th ey tasted so good th at I pilfered a few from th e garden every n ow and th en anyway. As ch ildren we were always happy gardening, because there was so m uch to see: all m an n er o f insects, from earwigs an d ladybirds to bum ble bees an d butterflies could be foun d there. Th e garden was full o f bu zzin g creatures flyin g around, th e plan ts sm elt won d erfu l and we could always find som eth in g to eat. We foun d it so in terestin g th at we always wen t th ere in th e h ope o f discoverin g som eth in g n ew In hin dsight, th e m ost im portan t th in g was th at we, in a m an n er o f speaking, grew up aroun d th e plan ts and th at we could experien ce th e way everyth in g lived an d thrived for ourselves. Th e days were usually too sh ort and it was often dark before we had fin ished in vestigatin g th e garden. On th ese expedition s th rough our Gachtl, wh ich is wh at garden s are called in Lungau, we also learn ed h ow each o f th e plan ts were cultivated an d wh ere t h ey grew best. We grew up with n ature aroun d us an d we learn t th rou gh play. We could see th e way th at everyth in g grew, flowered and sm elt so won d er fu lly an d also th e way it could be prepared in to good food. Th ey were gardens for th e heart an d soul an d for th e h ealth an d well-bein g o f th e wh ole family. Th ese days a kitch en garden like th at is u sually described as a th erapeu tic garden . As a result o f in creasin g m ech an isation , m an y farm ers turn th e areas aroun d th eir farm houses into parkin g places an d garages or th ey build roads aroun d them . By th e 50s and 60s this t en d en cy had developed to su ch an exten t th at m an y farm ers were even rippin g out th eir old grain silos an d existin g storage buildin gs. Old bread bakin g ovens, wh ich were on ce bu ilt outside, gave way to asph alt parkin g places. Sadly, m an y kitch en gardens also disappeared. Very few people were willin g to take on an y o f th e wor k involved in keepin g a garden o f th eir own. Fortunately, people

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The g a rd e n w a s rig h t b y th e w a ll o n th e e a s t side o f th e K ra m e te rh o f.

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Gardens

are n ow begin n in g to t h in k differently. Man y people are on ce m ore becom in g aware o f th e fact th at th e qu ality an d flavour o f h om e grown organ ic produce is far superior to th e food bou gh t from a superm arket. In th ese fast-paced tim es wh en so m an y people an xiously rush th eir way th rou gh life, m ore and m ore will discover garden in g to be a relaxin g balan ce to th eir wor kin g lives. For m an y people th eir own sm all garden is th eir only opportu n ity to com e in to d irect con tact with nature. Happily, m edicin al and cu lin ary herbs are also return in g to th e garden. Th e h ealin g properties o f m an y m edicin al plan ts have been scien tifically proven and are used in m odern com plem en tar y m edicin e. Th is developm en t with in th e last few years gives me th e h ope th at even m ore people will soon take an in terest in n ature and feel a part o f it again, in stead o f believin g th at th ey can con trol it. Creatin g you r own garden is exactly th e righ t way to begin .

Memories of our G achtl


Ou r Gachtl directly bordered th e eastern side o f th e house, wh ere it rem ain s to th is day. It was en closed with a p icket fen ce an d had a variety o f fruit bushes. I rem em ber th e redcurrants, blackcurran ts and wh ite currants by th e fen ce and th e strawberries th at reached all th e way to th e wall o f th e house. A gooseberry bush and an in ten sely sweet-sm ellin g double-flowered rose bush grew in th e sun n iest part o f th e garden. Th is was th e best place for them , because th ese bushes are very susceptible to m ildew; th e reason in g bein g th at dam p, wh ich lasts lon ger in th e shade, en courages mildew. In th e dry an d ston y places we grew th ym e, lavender an d sage. In th e n utrien t-rich places we plan ted m int, lem on balm , sun bon n et, m oth er wort an d lovage, all o f wh ich can also cope with ligh t shade. Between th ese herbs grew poison ous m edicin al herbs like m on ks h ood an d foxgloves, wh ich catch th e eye with th eir very beautiful flowers. Ou r m oth er told us again an d again: You m ust n ot tou ch or eat th ese herbs, t h ey are poison ou s. Poison ous plan ts are rarely foun d in garden s today. Possibly because people are afraid that, if left u n atten ded, ch ildren m igh t eat th em and poison them selves. W h en I was older, I discovered th rough m y various experim en ts th at poison ous plan ts play an im portan t role in th e in teraction s with in nature. Now I am con vin ced th at t h ey m ake a sign ifican t con tr ibution to a h ealth y soil life. A varied diet is, in m y opin ion , in credibly im portan t for th e d evelopm en t o f soil organism s. After all, an earthworm can n ot go to see a vet. Th e n orm al and m edicin al plan ts available to an im als - however sm all th ey m igh t be - should be as diverse as possible. I also th in k it is very im portan t for ch ildren to learn som eth in g abou t th e m edicin al and poison ous properties o f plants, th e th in gs th at th ey h ear and learn m akes an im pression on th em and in fluen ces th e way t h ey deal wit h n ature in later life. To th e left and right o f th e garden gate grew th e edible plan ts th at m y m other used th e m ost: lovage, chives, leeks, on ion s an d garlic. Th ey were plan ted here so th at th ey were ver y qu ick to reach, as she did n ot have m u ch tim e to cook.
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Naturally, she had to wor k in th e fields an d wit h th e livestock too. She would frequen tly pass th e job o f qu ickly go in g in to th e garden to collect chives or oth er herbs to us ch ildren - th e soup was often already on th e table and everyon e had arrived to eat. On th e sun n y side o f th e garden were beds for vegetables like bean s or peas. If th e soil was warm en ough, we plan ted th e run n er bean s in th e m id dle o f May because o f th e altitu d e (the garden in th e Kr am eter h of is 1,300m above sea level). Moth er plan ted let tuce between th em to protect th e beans, because th ey are sensitive to th e cold. Lettuce does n ot present an y com petition to beans. As a catch crop radishes and carrots are also very suitable. In th e oth er sun n y and n u tr i
Lovage (Le v is tic u m o ffic in a le ) thrives in p a rtia l shade a n d in d e e p soils. A single p la n t will c o v e r th e needs o f a fam ily o f four. This p o p u la r m e d icin a l a n d culinary herb hinders th e g ro w th o f ne ig h bo u rin g plants a n d spreads vigorously, so it is best to p la n t it a lo n e in its o w n c o rn e r o f th e g a rd e n .

en t-rich beds we grew kohlrabi, cab bages, turn ips, radishes an d broccoli.

Salad plan ts could always be fou n d as a catch crop: butterh ead lettuce, ice berg lettuce, loose-leaf lettuce and en dive. However, m y m oth er always kept parsley away from th e salad plan ts: It doesn t go with th e rest, she said. By th e wall o f th e h ouse stood a dam son seedlin g (Prunus domestica subsp. insititia), wh ich we did n ot prune. Th e fruit was ungrafted, wh ich m ean s th at

Various typ e s o f le ttu c e p ro v id e a fresh so u rce o f v ita m in s fro m spring to w in te r.

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Gardens

L e m o n th y m e
(T h ym us c itr io d o r u s )

d e v e lo p s a n in te n se fla v o u r in dry, sto n y or s a n d y a reas.

th e suckers wen t on to grow into n ew trees th at produce th e sam e fruit as th e paren t tree. Th e quality o f this fruit was excellen t, it was very arom atic and ripen ed from th e en d o f Septem ber to th e begin n in g o f October. Th e areas aroun d th e fence an d in th e garden (sunny, shady, d ry or wet soils) were given to th e plan ts th at were suited to them . This is, with ou t doubt, th e recipe for success in an y garden, because plan ts th at are in the right places will thrive an d are n ot as susceptible to disease. Th ey also develop th e high est n utrien t con ten t (essential oils, bitter substan ces) in th e location s th at th ey are naturally suited to. For instance, if you plan t th ym e appropriately to its natural en viron m en t in a warm , dry place (sandy or stony), th en n aturally it will not grow as high as it would on good garden soil, bu t it will develop a m ore inten se flavour, wh ich m eans th at its n utrien t con ten t will increase. Alth ou gh th ym e cultivated on good garden soil will grow up to 30 cm high, it will grow spin dly and will have little flavour. Th e spin dly th ym e will also n ot possess th e healin g properties th at m an y people expect from it. Next to th e th ym e we grew both sage an d lavender. It was certain ly an im pressive array o f scents for such a sm all area!

The Pharm acy on the Doorstep


Th e wid e selection o f m edicin al herbs turn ed kitch en gardens in to an in d is pen sable source o f valuable m edicin es for every farm. This was useful, because doctors an d m idwives were often d ifficult to reach an d also t ook a lon g tim e to arrive. Farmers ten d ed to ask them selves very carefully if th ey n eeded a d octor at all, because th ey could n ot easily afford this lu xu r y . So in every kitch en garden th ere was an even mixture o f m edicin al herbs t h at m igh t be n eeded. Every farm er had th eir own recipes for m edicin al creams, tin ctures, com presses, pou ltices and teas. Th e farm ers passed th ese recipes d own th rou gh th e generations, m ain ly with in th e family, an d t h ey con stan tly im proved them . Th is is wh y rem edies

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var y so m u ch from farm to farm. If people with specific ailm en ts lived on th e farm - su ch as th ose in n eed o f perm an en t care - th en th e farm ers wou ld take th ese particular n eeds in to accoun t wh en ch oosin g th e m edicin al herbs. I f som eon e in our fam ily fell ill, th e first th in g m y m oth er did, was to go in to th e garden. For every ailm en t she kn ew a herb, wh ich she used in various differen t ways. She m ade a tea from m in t, lem on balm an d m arsh m allow and coughs wou ld disappear. Since th en th e sooth in g effect o f m arsh m allow (Althaea officinalis) on sore throats, hoarsen ess an d dry coughs has been th or ough ly in vestigated an d scien tifically recogn ised. Th e herbs were not on ly used for acute com plaints and as m edicin e, th ey were also used for cookin g. My m oth er used m ore or fewer m edicin al herbs (lovage, thym e, garlic etc.) accordin g to taste and th e h ealth o f th e family, in a variety o f dishes. Man y o f these herbs are on ly kn own as culin ary herbs today. Th ese plants, wh ich are m ostly used th ese days with ou t realising, are very im portan t m edicin al herbs. Lovage, for instance, en courages th e appetite, stim ulates digestion and has a diuretic effect. Wh en th ym e is freshly cu t it has an antibacterial effect an d its ability to regulate m eans th at it m akes dishes, especially m eat and sausage based ones, easier to digest. Perhaps this is wh y th e flavour o f th ym e com plem en ts these dishes so well? Freshly cut garlic has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Eating garlic regularly can even lower cholesterol levels. Finally, it is also an excellent m edicin al plan t for preven tin g throm bosis, because it helps to prevent blood clots. Th e antifungal properties o f garlic can also help to protect plants: garlic tea (brew a few cloves o f crushed garlic for a short period o f tim e and leave th em for a day) can be very effective against all kinds o f fun gal diseases (e.g. m ildew), and lice are discouraged by th e pun gen t smell. Medicin al herbs were also used to treat sick livestock on farms. For instance, th e farm ers on pr actically every farm m ade th eir own calen dula cream . It alleviates every kin d o f in ju ry by en cou ragin g wou n d s to h eal an d brin gin g down in flam m ation . Th e farm ers often successfully used it to treat udder in flam m ation . Calen dula was m ade in to a tea an d t h en used to clean wounds. Since th en I have foun d th at calen dula also has a ben eficial effect on th e soil: th e plan ts secrete substan ces from their roots wh ich discourage nem atodes, wh ich (when th ere are large n um bers) can be very h arm ful to crops plants. For this reason I con tin u e to sow th ese effective an d also beau tiful m edicin al plan ts in differen t areas - preferably on deep, wet soil - an d collect th e curled seeds in autum n for sowin g th e followin g year. Valerian is an oth er exam ple. Its relaxin g properties are well kn own . Valerian tea was used in veter in ar y m ed icin e for th e treatm en t o f colic an d cram ps. Cats are an exception to this, becau se t h ey react ver y sen sitively to valerian. Also ch am om ile, wh ich is calm in g an d works again st cram ps an d flatulen ce, does n ot on ly help people wit h digestive problem s, bu t also horses, dogs and chicken s. Man y m edicin al herbs th at were used grew outsid e th e garden on th e edges o f paths an d fields and on slopes. Mugwort, m ullein , comfrey, greater celan din e,

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P urple c o n e fio w e r (E c h in a c e a p u r p u r e a ) is n o t o n ly w o n d e rfu l t o lo o k a t, b u t it is also a m e d ic in a l p la n t o f c o n s id e ra b le v a lu e . It s tre n g th e n s th e im m u n e system a n d is th e re fo re used fo r c o ld s a n d to h e a l w o u n d s .

stin gin g n ettles, lad ys m an tle, coltsfoot, dan delion s, torm en til, cran esbill and ch icory are just a few exam ples. Because o f th eir in con spicuous appearan ce th ey are n ot seen to be wh at t h ey are: som eth in g special. Now th eir m edicin al properties have been alm ost forgotten! Preparations m ade from m edicin al and wild herbs were still widespread in th e 40s an d 50s. In th e followin g years fast-actin g an d at first glan ce effective tablets began to be accepted on even th e rem ote farm s an d t h ey replaced m ed i cin al herbs. Fortun ately - after m an y people have had to struggle with th e sideeffects o f m ed ication an d som e have had to take tablets in order to overcom e th e side-effects o f oth er tablets - we are n ow begin n in g to rem em ber th is old kn owledge, wh ich has been h an d ed d own for generations. Unfortunately, over th e years m an y recipes have been irrevocably lost. W h en I was growin g up I got to kn ow m an y practition ers o f natural m edicin e. W h en we ch ildren had a cou gh or stom ach pain s m y m oth er often collected pou ltices an d salves from our grandm other, wh o lived in Sauerfeld near Tam sweg. A pou ltice is a m ixture m ade o f n atural products th at is spread on bakin g paper (or sim ilar) an d placed on th e ch est or back o f th e person wh o is ill. Th e mon tan a salve was particularly effective. It was used to qu ickly alleviate wh oop in g cou gh and colds. Th e farm ers m ade it from th e flower petals o f differen t m edicin al herbs, o f wh ich th e peon y or mon tan a rose (red flowered) m ade up th e greatest part. Th is salve had

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such an in ten se and pleasan t scen t th at we ch ildren n ever resisted wh en we were sm eared wit h it or had it applied as a poultice. However, we behaved very differen tly to an oth er very effective m eth od: applyin g roasted on ion slices, garlic and horseradish. We m ade th is wit h lard and applied it with h ot cloths. Th e m edicin al properties o f th ese m eth ods were aston ishing. Man y farm ers also m ade drawin g salves. To m ake this th ey used tree resin, in oth er words, liquid larch pitch. Th ey m ixed this with differen t m edicin al herbs and m ade it in to a poultice. I rem em ber th at th e effect o f th e drawin g salve was often so in ten se th at th e paper had to be rem oved, because th e sen sation becam e unbearable. Th e effect was so powerful th at it could treat in flam m ation an d festerin g woun ds in a very short tim e. Finally, th e farm ers also m ade a bon e salve from actual bon es. For this th ey saved th e bon es from cattle and pigs th r ou gh ou t th e year in a specially prepared chest. In th e ch est there was a ven tilation grate to allow plen ty o f air to circulate so th e bon es could d ry out; this grate kept th e ch est from bein g invaded by m ice. Th e bon es were sm oked, because for storage reasons m ost m eat was sm oked. In late autum n th e bon e salve m an (Beinsalbenbrennermandl, literally bon e salve burn in g m an ) cam e. This was usually a retired farmer, a woodcu tter or h erdsm an wh o earn ed a few schillin gs as addition al in com e for his autum n years by m akin g bon e salve. We ch ildren were always happy wh en this m an arrived, because he told us so m an y stories from his life. We h elped to crush th e bon es so th at th ey wou ld fit into th e cast iron pots. Two ten -litre cast iron pots were used. Th e crushed bon es were pu t in one o f th ese pots and a wire grate was placed on top. In th e secon d pot, wh ich was th e sam e size, we em ptied a m ug o f water (a quarter o f a litre). We buried this pot in th e wet, m ossy soil at a distan ce from th e house. Th e pot was flush with th e soil and upright. We placed th e first pot with th e bon es inside it upside down wit h th e grate facin g down , on top o f th e secon d one, wh ich was buried in th e ground. Th e grate was on ly th ere to keep th e bon es in. We sealed th e space aroun d th e two p ots with clay an d wet earth. Th en th e Brennermandl (bu r n in g m an ) laid wood over th e covered pots and started a fire. Experience was n eeded to do this, because th ere could n ot be too m u ch or too little heat: it had to be exactly right. Naturally, we children wan ted to p u t m ore wood on th e fire to m ake it as big as possible. I f we tried this h e wou ld rap us on th e finger with a piece o f firewood an d tell us wh y we were n ot allowed. As I have already m en tion ed, a specific tem perature had to be m ain tain ed for th e fat to be drain ed from th e bon es an d for it n ot to be burn t by too m u ch heat. It required great care to en sure th at th e seal stayed in tact and wet. If it were to becom e dam aged, sparks could have reached th e steam in g oil inside th e p ots an d caused an explosion . At th e en d o f th e process, there would be a glutin ous brown m ass in th e bottom pot an d in th e top p ot on ly light grey flakes o f used up bone. We used this bon e salve to treat wou n d ed livestock. Th e m en wh o cam e to castrate th e pigs, for instance, usually had a salve o f th is kind. Because o f th e

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MAKING BONE SALV

The fire must b e carefully re g u la te d to re nd e r th e b on e fragm ents in th e u p p e r pot.

Mossy loa m is ke p t w e t a n d used to seal the join b e tw e e n th e tw o pots to p ro te c t them from th e h e a t o f the fire.

A glutinous salve collects in th e b o tto m pot.

pun gen t sm ell, wh ich is sim ilar to m ineral n aph th a or wood tar, it was rarely used on people. Durin g th e sum m er we spread a watered d own form o f it on th e draught an im als wit h a rag at h aym akin g and harvest tim es, to protect th em from flies an d horseflies. Th is provided th e an im als wit h ver y good protection , so th at our wor k could be carried ou t with ou t in terruption . Th rough experim en tation I have discovered further possible uses for this product, e.g. as a deterren t again st bark strippin g in forest cultures, or to protect fruit trees from bein g gn awed by roden ts. This rem edy provides excellen t pr o tection for m an y years. Th e bon e salve can be m ixed with lin seed oil, fresh cow dung, slaked lim e an d ver y fin e qu artz san d un til it is o f a pain table consistency. You can still m ake th is salve for yourself, bu t you will n eed to obtain th e requisite bon es from a slaughterhouse. Th ese m ust be placed on a grill and sm oked. (We used sm oked bones, becau se we sm oked m ost o f th e m eat to m ake it last longer. Naturally, we did n ot have fridges and freezers back th en .) Wh eth er

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th e salve wou ld be as effective m ed ically with u n sm oked bones, I can n ot say. We used th e rest o f th e bu rn t bon es in th e garden as fertiliser. I wou ld n ow like to describe a few ver y sim ple recipes for rem edies, wh ich can be also be m ade b y people with sm all garden s wit h ou t an y great difficulty. Th ere was a tim e wh en th ese rem edies could be foun d in alm ost every hom e p h arm acy . As th e p oten cy o f m edicin al plan ts can var y from place to place, t h e recipes sh ould be adapted. W ith a little experien ce th e correct stren gth can easily be determ in ed.

Calendula Salve
W h en m akin g th is salve th e wh ole plan t in clu din g th e stem, leaves and flowers is used. First, two h eaped d ou ble han dfuls o f calen dula (Calendula officinalis) are cut finely. H eat rough ly h a lf a litre o f lard (available from a butcher) and carefully fry th e calen dula wh ilst keepin g it m oving. Oth er fats or vegetable oils can also be used (e.g. olive oil). Th e m ixture is covered an d left to stand for a day. Th en it is ligh tly warm ed, filtered th rou gh a cloth an d poured in to a container. If you m ake it wit h vegetable oil, you m ust first in corporate a t h icken in g agen t such as beeswax. For on e litre o f oil you sh ould use between 2oog and 250g wax, wh ich has already been warm ed and m elted. Mix th e m elted wax into th e filtered calen dula oil well, and th en leave it to cool. Th e m ore wax you use, th e stiffer th e salve will be; so, if you prefer a ver y cream y salve you should use less wax. Calen dula salve can be used to treat all kin ds o f injuries, because it en courages woun ds to heal and keeps in flam m ation down.

S a g e (S a lv ia o ffic in a lis ) just b e fo re flo w e rin g . Its n u trie n t c o n te n l is g re a te s t w h e n it g ro w s in a sunny p la c e a n d w ith o u t fertiliser. S a g e te a is a w e ll-e s ta b lis h e d r e m e d y fo r a sore m o u th or th ro a t a n d helps w ith d ig e s tio n p ro b le m s.

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Lemon Thyme and Thyme Oil


Sprigs o f th ym e sh ould be picked d urin g d ry weath er at midday, becau se th at is wh en th e scen t is m ost inten se. Th ey sh ould th en be placed in a bottle with cold pressed sun flower or olive oil. Th e oil should be about two fin gers above t h e sprigs o f thym e. Th e bottle is n ow left in a sun n y place such as a win dowsill for 14 days. Th en th e flowers are sieved ou t wit h a cloth . To m ake th e oil m ore poten t, th e process can be repeated wit h n ew flowers. Th e oil sh ould on ly be used on ch ildren wit h caution . Keep an eye ou t for possible r eaction s on sen sitive skin. Th is old rem edy is r ecom m en ded for sprains an d rheum atism ; it sh ould be rubbed in regularly to th e affected area. It is also recom m en ded for people wh o have suffered strokes.

Chicory Tea for Diabetics


Steep equal am oun ts o f ch icory root (Cichorium intybus), d an delion root, stin g in g nettles, French lilac an d bilber ry leaves in h ot water. For th ree tablespoon s o f th e plan ts you will n eed on e litre o f water. Th e tea should on ly br ew for a short period o f tim e an d can be taken every day. Ch icory was on ce used b y diabetics. Th e farm ers also used to m ake fresh juice from it, on ly a teaspoon ful o f wh ich was taken to lower blood sugar levels.

Tormentil
A powder can be m ade from dried torm en til roots (Potentilla erecta) and stored in a jar. Th ey can, for instance, be groun d up in a coffee mill; th e finer th e powder th e better. As a result o f its ability to stop bleedin g, it is used to treat heavily bleed in g wounds. Th e powder is used directly. Th e woun ds heal very well with ou t leavin g large scars.

V ege table Patch


In add ition to a kitch en garden, m an y farm ers also had a large vegetable patch th at was fen ced off and, like th e garden, was replan ted each year. In th e vegetable patch we grew wh ite cabbage, wh ich was used to m ake sauerkraut, an d provided us wit h th e vitam in s we n eeded in winter. Farmers also plan ted turn ips, chard, beetroot, swede, stock feed carrots an d black radish. Turnips, chard an d stock feed carrots were used to feed th e cattle. We could hardly wait un til m oth er fin ally pu t th e first Krautspeck (bacon cooked an d sm oked wit h sauerkraut) on th e table. Th e wh ole h ouse an d surroun din g area sm elled o f freshly cooked Krautspeck an d sauerkraut. W h en th e postm an cam e to th e door h e wou ld cry loudly, Ah , it s Krautspeck today! Naturally, m oth er could do n oth in g less th an to in vite h im to have a good portion .

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The Most Im portant Work in Our G a ch tl


W h en I was a child, we always broke up th e soil in th e garden in spring. This was particularly tir in g wor k for us. Afterwards, we divided up th e beds with straight paths. We th en position ed th e you n g plan ts in th ese beds. Th e plan ts had to be plan ted early to give th em a head start in harsh Lungau. Th ey could also go in a con tain er on th e win dowsill or in a cold fram e to start th em off. A cold fram e con sists o f a sim ple wood en box th at is covered with a win dow or clear sheetin g. In th e spring, we would place a 30 -cm -th ick layer o f straw and dun g at th e bottom o f th e cold fram e an d cover it with garden soil. Th e dun g warm s up th rou gh th e process o f d ecom position and fun ction s like un derfloor h eatin g for th e bed. Th e cover o f glass or sh eetin g has th e sam e effect as a green h ouse. W h en creatin g a bed like this, you should ch oose a location th at is sheltered from th e win d and as sun n y as possible, in order to m ake th e best use o f th e sprin g sun. Th e plan ts selected m ust, o f course, be m ade hardier before th ey are plan ted out. Doin g th is in stages is particularly im portan t so th at any dam age to th e plan ts growth is avoided. Th e plan ts m u st get used to th e harsh tem peratures outside gradually. Th e easiest way to h arden th e plan ts up is by in creasin g th e periods o f tim e th e cover is rem oved. Towards th e en d o f th e process, th e cover can even be left open by a crack overnight. My m oth er would begin to h arden off th e first plan ts aroun d Saint J osephs Day (19th March). As soon as th e plan ts were large en ou gh and th e overn ight frosts were over, she plan ted th em ou t in th e garden. She push ed dry bran ch es into th e soil for th e peas and bean s to climb. She m ain tain ed th e garden borders, wh ere different bushes, m edicin al herbs an d flowerin g shrubs grew. She rem oved dead flowers and stems, spreadin g th em over th e soil aroun d th e plants. She th en covered th e m aterial with a few spades wor th o f soil. From tim e to tim e, she th in n ed out th e plan ts by d iggin g up th ose th at were growin g too close togeth er and eith er p lan tin g th em elsewhere or givin g th em to th e n eighbours. Ou r garden was very large and th e vegetable patch was even larger, wh ich naturally m ade it a great deal o f work. As m y m oth er could n ot look after the vegetable patch on her own, us children had to help with th e rakin g and weeding. Raking was certain ly n ot our favourite job, alth ough I enjoyed weedin g. Som e tim es m oth er would just pull up th e larger weeds and leave th em am on gst the plan ts - usually on a sun n y day so th at th e roots dried out quickly. In this respect, m y sm all garden was som ewhat un tidier th an m y m oth er would have liked, wh ich m ade her won der h ow everythin g grew on m y d ry Beifewurmboanling (a steep and stony slope, a Boanling is th e edge o f a m eadow). She said th at she could save a great deal o f work with m y m ethod, because th e plan ts would grow just as well or even better, but she could n ot use it, because th e n eighbours an d her friends would say th at th e garden was u n tid y . So we raked and weeded it industriously. In autum n we h arvested th e win ter vegetables. We pu lled th em up and pu t th em in to piles. Th en we took a wood en chair an d a ch op p in g b lock to use

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as a wor k surface. We cut off th e roots an d leaves wit h a knife. Th is was don e carefully, becau se th e crops m u st n ot be dam aged, oth erwise th ey wou ld start to rot in th e cellar. Th e storage cellar was a frost-free earth cellar u n der th e house. It was separated into room s with larch posts. Each crop, such as potatoes, turn ips or chard, wen t in a differen t room . In autum n th e cabbages wen t in to th e large ferm en tation barrel in th e cellar - a large wood en barrel wh ich was sun k in to th e earth. On th e fron t wall o f th e cellar was a large pile o f sand. We placed th e best cabbages from th e garden, com plete wit h their roots, in here. We obtain ed th e seeds for th e n ext year from th ese plan ts. On special occasions, su ch as Christm as, we would cook on e o f th e heads o f cabbage. We were very happy wh en there was a fresh cabbage salad with th e Christm as roast (usually pork, prepared in th e oven with potatoes and flavoured with garlic, caraway, th ym e and m arjoram ). Wh en we cam e back from ch urch we could sm ell th e roast som e m etres away before we reached th e h ouse and we wou ld run h appily in to th e kitch en shoutin g, W er e havin g roast today! H avin g th is roast and fresh cabbage salad was ver y un usual back then; there were no fridges or freezers, an d people certain ly did n ot have m eat every day. After th e cabbages were rem oved, th e stalks wou ld begin to sprout again Th ey would turn com pletely yellow from th e lack o f light in th e cellar. As children, alth ough we were strictly forbidden, we always wan ted to get hold o f th em becau se th ey were so delicious. Mother n eeded th e roots and stalks for replan tin g th e garden in spring. From th e roots and stalks stron g sh oots would grow, wh ich t h en grew flowers and seeds. On ce th e seeds had ripen ed m oth er cu t th e wh ole plan t in clu din g th e stem , pu t it in a bag and h u n g it up in th e loft. This way th e seeds could ripen and d ry out. W h en th e pods open ed, th e seeds would collect in th e bag. All she had to do to sow th e plan ts in sprin g was to beat th e bag a few tim es again st a tree or rock. Th e rest o f th e seeds would fall out an d t h en she rem oved th e dry stems. As well as salad and vegetables, th e garden provided us wit h m an y m edicin al herbs, wh ich we used fresh or we dried or pickled th em for winter. We also preserved fruit and berries: we dried them , m ade jam , juice, an d schn apps from th em or pu t th em in vinegar. Then , as previously m en tion ed, we h arvested an d dried th e seeds in th e garden. We dried th e strawflowers for floral arran gem en ts th rou gh ou t th e year, for instance for ch urch festivities. In win ter th ere were few opportun ities to get fresh flowers. We were also very careful with our money. So we m ade full use o f th e garden; and apart from th e tools for wor kin g it, we did n ot have to bu y anythin g. Seeds, you n g plants, dun g and liquid fertiliser were already on th e farm, we did not n eed an yth in g else. Alth ou gh I wan t to preserve an d rein troduce old farm in g techn iques, n ot all th e on es th at we used were actually necessary. Today I m ain tain th e garden with m u ch less effort. My ch ildlike m eth od s o f d ealin g with un wan ted plan ts have foun d th eir place in th e m ain garden. I m ake sure t h at n on e o f th e soil is left

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I c o n tro l riva l p la n ts a n d k e e p th e soil m oist w ith m u lc h a n d full p la n t c o v e r. This m e a n s th a t I d o n o t h a v e to w a te r th e p la n ts o r d o a n y w e e d in g . Fresh m a te ria l sh o u ld n o t b e a p p lie d to o th ic k ly . The m u lc h la y e r th a t c a n b e seen h e re is b e in g s p re a d o u t.

bare. I ach ieve th is with m ulch , by weed in g an d t h en leavin g th e weeds on th e soil as well as en surin g full plan t cover. My wor k in th e garden is lim ited to ligh tly an d carefully wor kin g an d loo sen in g th e soil in th e sprin g and repairin g raised beds wh en required. It is n ot n ecessary to d ig over th e soil to in troduce m an ure, becau se a n utrien t-rich layer o f h um us develops from th e plan ts th at have been pu lled up an d left. Diggin g soil over is a particularly bad idea in autum n , becau se it leaves th e loosen ed soil u n protected again st win ter frosts. Th is m ean s th at th e soil life will n ot have th e n ecessary protection , so it m u st eith er leave or freeze to death. However, I t r y to protect th e soil from th e frosts in winter, so I leave th e plan t cover in place. Th is pr otection provides as m u ch war m th for th e soil and soil life in win ter as a win ter coat does for m e. Also, th e soil does n ot freeze as quickly, wh ich

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m ean s t h at m y helpers can work for longer. In n ature this works in exactly th e sam e way. In autum n th e trees shed th eir leaves and th ey collect on th e groun d like a blan ket. Even if th e leaves fell for an oth er reason at first, I am con vin ced th at this protective effect o f n ature is in ten tion al an d im portan t. In addition, th e biom ass rem ains wh ere it has fallen and turn s into valuable hum us there, exactly wh ere it is needed. I th in k th at th e fam iliar m eth od o f diggin g soil over to in troduce m an ure is a bad idea, because cow dun g does n ot work its way 30 cm u n der th e groun d in nature. Du n g always belon gs on th e surface where th ere is m ore air and there are plen ty o f organism s. On ly there can it be properly converted into valuable hum us by th e soil life. If I in troduce m anure, I place at m ost one spades worth of soil over it, or cover it with a little m ulch. Th ere is often too m u ch tim e invested in wor kin g in th e garden. So th e backach es suffered by th ose wh o like d iggin g soil over, sh ould cause th em to stop an d thin k. Too m uch wor k in th e garden does n ot always brin g th e success th at people hope for and it is n ot good for their health. I do n ot th in k water in g is n ecessary in th e garden either; except durin g extrem ely d ry weather. W ith perm an en t plan t cover or m ulch, th e soil can be protected from d ryin g out. Th is saves me not on ly havin g to water anythin g, but it also gives m e an in depen den t system with in d epen den t plants. Excess

T o d a y a fa ir d e g re e o f u n tid in e ss p re va ils in m y g a rd e n . H o w e ve r, th e soil is c o v e re d b y lush v e g e ta tio n a n d is th e re fo re p r o te c te d fro m d ry in g o u t a n d fro m th e e ffe c ts o f th e w e a th e r. The soil life is h a p p y a n d p ro d u c tiv e .

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waterin g also wash es away n utrien ts, wh ich m akes addition al m an ure n eces sary. We n eed to escape from th is viciou s circle and, especially in gardens; we n eed to free ourselves o f th is obsession with tidin ess, because bare areas o f soil are left defen celess again st en viron m en tal effects.

Natural Fertiliser
Alternative Composting Methods
Com postin g is a way o f pr od u cin g h igh -qu ality fertiliser from organ ic waste. It is by no m ean s n ecessary for a high -yield garden to have a com post heap. Mulch in g th r ou gh ou t th e year and th e skilful use o f polycultures m ean th at addition al organ ic fertiliser is n ot necessary. However, anyon e wh o wan ts to com post anyway, can easily create an u n con ven tion al and easy-to-m ain tain com post heap. To do this, two raised beds run n in g parallel to each oth er should be position ed so closely to each oth er th at you can on ly just walk between them . Th e beds should be bu ilt at as steep an an gle as possible wh ilst still h oldin g togeth er (60 to 70 degrees). Organ ic waste is left between th e two beds each day. Each tim e you do this, cover th e waste with a spades wor th o f earth, straw, leaves or sim ilar m aterial. Gradually, th e organ ic m aterial will com e up to 60 percen t o f th e h eigh t o f th e raised beds. Th e top layer should be covered with earth an d plan ted or sown with vigorous growin g vegetables (pum pkin s, cucum bers,

Strong a n d h e a lth y p la n ts - e v e n w ith o u t using m a n u re .

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turn ips etc.). Start at th e furth est en d o f th e bed an d keep goin g un til th e gap is filled up. Th e best situation is wh en th e dim en sion s o f th e com post heap en sure th at th e gap can be filled an d will rot down with in a year. Th e n ext year you can begin on th e opposite side an d th row th e h igh -qu ality com post th at was m ade th e previous year on th e beds to th e left an d right wit h a spade. As m an y earthworm s will be livin g in there, you sh ould be careful wh en diggin g. Afterwards, you can walk th rough th e furrow th at is left or clim b over on e o f th e raised beds to th e side. Planks or large stones can be used to walk on. Using this m eth od you can cultivate vegetables an d com post an d breed earthworm s in a very sm all space. An y con ceivable type o f m aterial can be used for com postin g: grass clip pings, ch ipped m aterial, leaves, hay, straw, algae or m ud from a pon d, kitch en waste, cardboard etc. - an y organ ic m aterial th at decom poses is suitable. Th e sm aller th e m aterial and th e m ore active th e soil life is, th e faster th e com post will becom e hum us. Th e space between th e raised beds is protected from dryin g out and retains heat, wh ich helps th e d ecom position process. Th e plan ts growin g on t h e raised beds should be ch osen so th at th e com post still gets en ou gh light, but is also protected from th e sun. In partial shade th e optim al con d ition s for th e d ecom position process develop an d th e com post qu ickly turn s into th e high est quality m anure.

EDS

C u ltiv a tin g v e g e ta b le s , b re e d in g e a rth w o rm s a n d c o m p o s tin g in a v e ry sm all s p a c e .

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Mulch
Mulch in g also supplies th e soil with valuable nutrients. It is n oth in g oth er th an surface com postin g; it involves spreading a layer o f organic m aterial over th e soil to serve as groun d cover. Th e soil receives a protective cover from this, wh ich pr e ven ts it from dryin g out, becom in g eroded or sufferin g from th e extrem e effects o f weather. Leaves, straw, cardboard and plan ts th at have been pulled up whilst weedin g are well suited to this. Green m an ure plan ts (clover, lupin s and m ustard) are particularly good. In th e m ulch layer a con stan t process o f decom position takes place, th rough wh ich th e m u lch is turn ed into high quality fertiliser. For th e m aterial to rot down oxygen is required and th e soil also n eeds it to breath e . W h en m ulch in g you should also m ake sure th at th e m aterial is spread as loosely as possible. If th e soil pores becom e saturated th e soil life will suffer.

A lo o se ly s p re a d la y e r o f m u lc h p ro te c ts m y v e g e ta b le p la n ts in th e ro c k g a rd e n .

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Th e th ickn ess o f th e m u lch layer depen ds on th e m aterial t h at I use. I on ly spread m oist or wet m aterial t h in ly so th at it can rot down slowly an d will not begin to m oulder. Dr y m aterial (such as straw or hay), on th e oth er hand, can be spread m u ch m ore t h ickly (20cm or m ore), because it is looser and has better air circulation . Naturally, it m ust n ot be packed d own tightly. In addition , dry m aterial does n ot com pact as m uch as oth er kin ds o f biom ass, wh en it rains. In con trast to expert opin ion , I do n ot th in k th at m u lch m aterial sh ould be shredded. Experts are pr obably o f this opinion , becau se th e m aterial will rot down m ore quickly, can wor k as fertiliser and also is easier to spread around plants. I do n ot shred th e m aterial, becau se I th in k it is better th at th e n utrien ts are released slowly and th at th e m u lch layer is less likely to com pact. Workin g with m u lch is really very sim ple: in sprin g you on ly n eed to scoop th e m u lch a little to th e side and you can th en sow or plan t again. Th e areas wh ere you sow and plan t rem ain free o f rival plants, wh ile th e oth er areas are still protected by m ulch. Th is way un wan ted plan ts can be preven ted from growing, wh ile th ose th at have been sown or plan ted can develop unhin dered. W it h a good m u lch cover there is hardly an yth in g left to weed. I f you m ulch all year roun d, you m ust regularly in troduce n ew m aterial. In accordan ce with t h e prin ciple o f mixed cultures, it is im portan t to vary th e plan ts and m aterials you use for m ulchin g, oth erwise plan ts will on ly receive th e sam e nutrients. Variety keeps th e soil and plan ts healthy. As with com post heaps, th ere are a great num ber o f creatures th at live u n d er n eath m u lch - am on g th em th e m u ch loved earthworm . This is one o f th e reasons th at on ce you have been m u lch in g an area for a while, diggin g over or loosen in g th e soil in spring will n ot be necessary. Mulch is also very effective un der shrubs, trees an d hedges, wh ich is n ot surprising, becau se it m irrors wh at happen s in n ature already. It was people wh o first decided th at leaves un der trees were un tid y or un attractive .

Liquid Fertiliser
W h en I was youn g, th e farm ers un d erstood th e effect an d preparation o f liquid fertiliser well. Depen din g on th e effect th ey wan ted and wh ich plan ts were available, th ey prepared differen t m ixtures. In this way everyon e developed their own recipe . W it h th e appearance o f ch em ical fertilisers and syn th etic pesti cides, th e kn owledge o f h ow to use liquid fertiliser has died out in m an y places. Instead o f this m an y people learn h ow to spray an d fertilise corr ectly with ou t p oison in g them selves. Th e lon g-term dam age th at is caused to our en viron m en t by th e use o f pesticides an d ch em ical fertilisers is n ot obvious to th e m ajority o f people. Unfortunately, m an y people are willin g to accept a short-term increase in yield usin g th ese m ethods. An yon e wh o wan ts to treat n ature respon sibly should say goodbye to th e use o f ch em icals in fields and in gardens. Nature provides plen ty o f plan ts that, as a result o f th e substan ces th ey are com posed of, are well suited to th e pr od u ction o f effective plan t feed an d liquid fertilisers. To m ake som e plan t feed you n eed to place either freshly cu t or dried plan ts in
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cold water for on e day. Th en th e feed can be sprayed on you r plants. Th e effect o f this can var y greatly. Plan t feed m ade from stin gin g n ettles is particularly popular and can be used universally: th e large am oun ts o f n itrogen gives it th e effect o f good fertiliser an d it stren gthen s th e plants. Plant feeds o f this kin d can be very h elpful with vigorous growin g vegetables like courgettes, cucum bers and cabbage, however t h ey should n ot be used wit h plan ts with low n utrien t requirem en ts like peas an d beans, becau se o f th e dan ger o f overfertilisin g. Plant feed m ade from fresh stin gin g n ettle is also very good again st aphids. Th e aphids seem n ot to like th e sm ell an d th e burn in g effect o f th e n ettles poison th at is retain ed by th e fresh feed is an addition al factor. I th in k th at it m akes m ore sense to m ake cold water plan t feed rather th an tea, becau se tea n eeds to be boiled, wh ich requires a large am ou n t o f energy, especially if you wan t to produce large am oun ts. I con sider boilin g unnecessary. If I n eed stron ger plan t feed, th en I can just leave th e plan ts in th e water for lon ger and stir it regularly. Th e feed will begin to ferm en t and tur n in to liquid fertiliser. Liquid fertilisers are so rich in n utrien ts th at th ey should always be diluted before th ey are used. Th ey have - just like cold water plan t feed - a good fertilisin g effect, t h ey stren gth en the plan ts and, therefore, also wor k n aturally to preven t plan t diseases, stun ted growth an d even th e prevalen ce o f a sin gle organism . Stron g and h ealth y plan ts are m ore resistan t to disease; also in sects usually prefer weaken ed plants. These natural plan t-based pesticides are very easy to m ake at h om e and cost nothin g! It is really quite surprisin g th at th ey have faded into th e backgrou n d so m uch.

My Method
It is best if locally growin g plan ts are used. It m akes no sense to brin g plan ts from a lon g way away or to im port products for this purpose, even if it is recom m en ded in specialist journals. Alm ost all plan ts are suitable for m akin g liquid fertiliser. Roots, stem s and leaves should on ly be left in a con tain er lon g en ough for th e n utrien ts to be released, an d th e liquid fertiliser will develop from th ese nutrients. Th e pr od u ction o f liquid fertiliser for regulatin g pests m ust be observed closely over a lon g period o f tim e. For m y plan t feed and liquid fertilisers I select plan ts with th at con tain certain substan ces - such as essen tial oils, bitter substan ces an d poisons. Wh en ch oosin g th e plants, I am guided by th e in stin cts an d experien ces th at I have accum ulated over th e years. Therefore, I con tin ue to t r y n ew plan ts an d m ixtures, because th ere is still so m uch to experim en t with an d learn about in this area. If I have n ot used a plan t m ixture before, I start by m akin g a test tea. For plan t feed I use fresh sprin g water. Tap water is usually artificially processed an d sterilised. Also filtration, irradiation, and ch lorin ation can be n ecessary to com ply with d rin kin g water regulation s. This water is d ead and no lon ger has an y value for m e as drin kin g water. I am, o f course, very used to th e fresh springs on our farm and I always avoid drin kin g th e water wh en I com e in to th e vicin ity o f a town. Th e taste alon e horrifies me. If you have d run k
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A w e ll o n th e d o o rs te p : ru n n in g spring w a te r is p ra c tic a lly a luxury to d a y !

this water for lon g en ough, you probably no lon ger n otice th e taste. This works in a sim ilar way to th e taste o f ripe strawberries an d tom atoes th at have n ot been sprayed with pesticides, wh ich people often do n ot n otice an y m ore. If th ere is no sprin g water available, you can also use collected rainwater. It is better than treated tap water in an y case. You can use an y con tain er with a lid; it can be m ade o f wood or even plastic. I do n ot use m etal contain ers, however, because m y plan t feed could react with th e m etal durin g th e ferm en tation process and produce un wan ted by-products. At sh ort intervals (every few days) I test th e tea on th in gs like areas o f m ould, aphids or scale in sects and see wh eth er it has the appropriate effect. If th e effect is satisfactory th e liquid fertiliser is ready and I can use it. If, however, th e effect if still too weak I m ust con tin ue to experim ent. So I add m ore o f one plan t or an oth er or I leave th e tea to ferm en t for longer. This way m ore substan ces will be released and th eir effect will be inten sified. After observin g for a lon g tim e and experim en tin g in this way you can create your own recipe for an effective liquid fertiliser, th at is th e m ost appropriate to you r local conditions. W h ile th e m ixture is ferm en tin g it is im portan t th at th ere is en ough oxygen in th e container. This is wh y I leave th e lid open a little d urin g th is tim e and stir th e plan t feed regularly with a len gth o f wood. In warm er areas with stron g sun ligh t th e ferm en tation process is m uch quicker. On th e wh ole, ferm en tation is com plete in a m on th at th e latest in areas th at are n ot particularly sunny. I can
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tell th e liquid fertiliser is ready becau se it is n ot foam y an y m ore an d it has a dark colour. I do n ot th in k it is n ecessary to give an exact d escription o f th e plan t m ix ture, tem perature, qu an tity o f water and plan ts or th e am ou n t to use. Th e safest an d sim plest way is to experim en t and fin d out th e suitable m ixture in th e con cen tration th at is n ecessary for you r area for yourself. For in stan ce, a m ixture o f plan ts th at I often like to use con sists m ain ly of: n ettles ( Urtica dioica, Urtica urens; t h ey provide nitrogen), and com frey (Sym phytum officinale an d Symphytum x uplandicum; provides potash). I also like to add tan sy ( Tanacetum vulgare), h orsetail (Equisetum arvense) an d worm wood (Artemisia absinthium). Th is liquid fertiliser is effective an d im proves th e hardi ness o f th e plants. It also works again st aphid or scale in sect in festation s and again st red spider mites, wh ich is m ostly a result o f th e worm wood. If I have too m an y o f th ese pests on m y plants, I just increase th e am ou n t o f worm wood un til it has th e desired effect.

Helpers in the G arden a n d Regulating Fellow Creatures


I would like to state that, in prin ciple, th ere is n oth in g to fight in a h ealth y en viron m en t, because n ature is perfect. Therefore, I m ust th in k about wh at effects m y system has on nature. If I tr y to fam iliarise m yself wit h natural cycles, th en a great deal o f th ou gh tlessly carried out action s becom e un n ecessary or even wron g. Every creature has a purpose. Th e system will on ly becom e un balan ced if it is in correctly m an aged by h um an bein gs. Before you begin to figh t pests , you sh ould th in k about th e causes o f th is d am agin g presen ce and ch an ge th e con dition s. Problem s m ust be solved at th e source. It is n ot en ough just to treat th e sym ptom s. Here is an exam ple: if I have too m an y aphids on m y fruit trees, th at m eans there are n ot en ou gh natural predators (am on g th ese are ladybirds, earwigs, hoverflies, lacewings, various spiders, beetles an d birds) and frequen tly there is n ot en ou gh shelter or suitable h abitat for them . If, on th e oth er hand, I have a good h abitat un dern eath th e trees th at are in fested with aphids, an d th e groun d is rich ly structured with stones, bran ches an d leaves, th e n um ber o f creatures wh ich prey on aphids will increase. Th ey will find an open bu ffet and th e overpopulation o f aph ids is qu ickly cu t back. It is n ot n ecessary to take addition al m easures. Th ere was hardly ever an overpopulation o f pests in our garden. This was m ostly a result o f th e diversity an d good structurin g o f old kitch en gardens. Th e m ore diverse a system is, th e m ore stable it will be. Mon ocultures are favourable en viron m en ts for th e sudden large-scale appearan ce o f a sin gle kin d o f creature, because t h ey fin d a surplus o f food. Th e pests jum p from on e feed plan t to
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A c r a b s p id e r
(T h o m is id a e )

o n a d a isy (w ell c a m o u fla g e d ) first lies in w a it fo r its p re y, a n d th e n co n su m e s it. In a w o rk in g fo o d c y c le th e re a re no useful o r h a rm fu l o rganism s, just fe llo w c re a tu re s - so m e , such as in this p ic tu re , a re p a rtic u la rly b e a u tifu l.

another, so to speak, becau se th eir natural predators do n ot find th e right con dition s in this wastelan d. In a polyculture th ese problem s can n ever arise, because th ere is always a wid e variety o f plan ts available. Th e spread o f disease is also ch ecked by this diversity. Th e valuable, h elpful and ben eficial creatures n eed suitable en viron m en ts and places to hide and hibern ate o f th eir own. Th ese factors en sured th at th e Gachtl o f m y ch ildh ood was protected from large-scale dam age resultin g from pests. I can on ly rem em ber a few tim es wh en th e cabbage wh ite pop u lation was m u ch greater and descen ded on our vegetable patch. Th is overpopulation can be explain ed by con tin uous natural fluctuation s in th e p opu lation o f pests an d useful creatures. Nature works u sin g th e system o f supply and dem an d. An increase in useful creatures balan ces ou t th e increase in pests again after a while. If you resort to u sin g ch em icals in th ese situations, it will have th e opposite effect, because m an y pests are m ore resistan t to pesticides th an th eir natural predators. So som e o f th e pests will survive th e attack and all th e useful creatures will die, wh ich can m ake th e followin g wave o f dam age far greater. We ch ecked th e overpopulation o f cabbage wh ites on th e vegetable patch quite sim ply by sprayin g a liquid fertiliser com posed o f worm wood, stin g in g nettles, gen tian root and horsetail on th e cabbages. Som e o f th e m ost im portan t creatures in th e garden are: slow worm s, lizards, hed geh ogs, birds, am phibian s, spiders an d pr ed atory m ites. Th er e are also m an y in sects such as ladybirds, groun d beetles, hoverflies, lacewin gs, earwigs, ich n eum on flies an d dragon flies. On ly a sm all am ou n t o f en ergy is required to provide all o f th ese helpers wit h a suitable habitat. Th e m ost im portan t th in g is for th e garden to be r ich ly structured and to resist m akin g everyth in g straight lin es an d tid ily swept. Th e creatures n eed places to hide, n est an d hibern ate and a wid e range o f food to be happy. Th is is exactly wh at you n eed to provide th em with. Th e edges o f th e garden are particularly well suited to this. Here you can, for instance, grow wild fruit and flowerin g h edges or even a var iety o f differen t

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The s a n d lizard (L a c e r ta a g ilis ) likes sunny p la c e s , e .g . piles o f w o o d o r stones o n unsur fa c e d g ro u n d . Thick v e g e ta tio n in th e im m e d ia te v ic in ity (flo w e rin g m e a d o w , h e d g e ) is p re fe ra b le . Its d ie t consists o f insects, spiders, w o o d lic e a n d slugs, a m o n g s t o th e r things.

wild flowers. It is a particularly good idea to put in tree stum ps or gn arled h ollow tree trunks. Th ese can provide good areas for th ese creatures to breed and th ey are also very attractive to look at. Piles o f wood, bran ches or brush wood can also fulfil this purpose. Birds and bats can be en couraged with n estin g boxes and th e berries and fruit growin g in a wild fruit hedge. Stones or piles o f stones can also offer varied habitats, wh ich can even be com bin ed with a herb spiral if used carefully. Areas o f water and wetlan ds en rich a garden greatly, becau se a popu lation o f am phibian s and dragon flies can develop there. On ly a sm all am oun t o f work is required to create sheltered areas o f this kin d and, with a little creativity, th ey can m ake th e garden even m ore pleasan t to look at.

Voles
Voles rarely appear in large en ough n um bers in our garden to cause dam age. Th e reason for th is is th e followin g: in th e con fusion an d diversity o f plan ts th e voles find en ough to eat. Th ey ch ew th e roots o f m an y differen t plan ts and shrubs; th ere is, however, no com plete crop failure, becau se th ere is en ou gh food for everyone. In th e areas th at have been gn awed on, th e in dividual shrubs can repair th em selves qu ickly an d m an y n ew fibrous roots will grow aroun d them .

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Th e voles also take m an y pieces o f root away and store th em for th e winter, or feed th em to th eir youn g. However, t h ey regularly lose in dividual pieces o f root in th eir extensive n etworks o f tun n els. Th ese tun n els are collapsed by| rain or are colon ised by oth er anim als, an d th e voles m ust rebuild them . Th e jlost salsify, black salsify, J erusalem artich oke an d carrot roots, to nam e a few, begin to sprout in th e tun n els an d n ew plan ts develop in th e m ost u n likely places and in th e m ost in h ospitable areas. Th ese are frequen tly places wh ere you would never have th ou gh t to plan t anythin g. Th e tun n els them selves drain o ff excess water and aerate th e soil. Man y insects, plan ts and an im als are territorial: th ey claim certain areas as th eir ter ritor y an d defen d them . Accor d in g to m y observation s an d experien ce it does n ot m ake any sense to figh t voles, because on ce th e territory becom es em pty it will be used by n ew voles com in g to th e area. If I figh t th em (with poison, gas or by catch in g them ), th e territory will on ly becom e free for others. Th e lower p opu lation d en sity will be balan ced out by m ore an d m ore em pty territories. Voles will produce m ore offsprin g or even just produce m ore males. Instead o f catchin g, poison in g or gassin g pests, it is better to con sider th e cycles o f nature. If I let th e voles wor k for me, I will have aerated, loose and welldrained soil and also lush, diverse vegetation . Th e vole will no lon ger appear as a cause o f dam age. Moreover, p oison in g and gassin g will con tam in ate th e soil. If th e voles are exterm in ated on a large scale, th e soil will no lon ger be welldrained or aerated; it will h arden an d becom e m ore acid an d mossy. Th is will lead to m an y plan ts losin g th eir habitat. Th e en ergy required to repair dam age to th e soil is m u ch greater th an th e supposed dam age caused by th e voles eatin g crops. It is im portan t to m ake sure th at there are always en ough decoy plan ts available to them . Decoy plan ts are particularly tasty plants, wh ich th e an im als prefer to eat. J erusalem artich oke and black salsify m ake very good decoy plants. If there are en ough available, th e voles will leave th e fruit trees alone. It is n ot a question o f wh at can I do to figh t th e pests , but wh at can I do for them , so th at th ey will n ot cause dam age an d even wor k to m y ben efit.

Slugs and Snails


Th e situation is differen t with th e n on -in digen ous Span ish slug (Arion vulgaris). Wh er e we live th e slugs breed on an en orm ous scale; in m an y places people have little idea o f h ow to deal with th is m en ace. Wh ilst givin g con sultation s in Southern Styria and Lower Au str ia I discovered th at on farm s and in places where vegetables were bein g grown th ere were up to 15 slugs per square m etre. Man y farm ers com plain ed t h at th e cattle wou ld no lon ger graze, because th e grass was so full o f them . Growin g vegetables wit h ou t u sin g slug pellets is no lon ger an option , was th e opin ion o f th e trou bled lan down ers. Th e owners o f gardens in town told m e th at th e slugs wou ld crawl up th e h ouses all th e way up to th e balcon ies. In m an y cases, espalier trees an d clim bin g plan ts had to be r em oved from h ouse walls to discourage this.

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A lush g ro w th o f d e c o y p la n ts (h e re m ostly Je ru sa le m a rtic h o k e s ) p r o te c t a n e w ly p la n te d o rc h a rd . Also to b e seen a re fo x g lo v e s (D ig ita lis p u r p u r e a ), a h ig h ly p o iso n ou s m e d ic in a l p la n t (n o t to b e u se d fo r s e lf-m e d ic a tio n ), w h ic h I p la n t to im p ro v e th e h e a lth o f th e soil a m o n g o th e r reasons.

In sm aller garden s th e followin g m eth od is very effective in m y experience: take a water in g can, cu t th e spout to h a lf its origin al len gth so th at it is m uch wider. Fill th e water in g can with a m ixture o f ver y dr y fin e sawdust, ideally col lected from a carpen ter or join er s workshop. Th e sawdust m ust, o f course, com e from un treated natural wood and n ot be varn ished or con tain an y oth er harm ful substan ces. I take th e sawdust from a car pen ter s workshop, becau se th e wood th ere is com pletely d ry an d th e sawdust is m u ch fin er th an you would find in a sawm ill. Moreover, sawm ills m ostly wor k wit h fresh wood. I m ix th e sawdust with one part wood ash to ten parts sawdust, or with qu icklim e powder (aroun d 1:20). Altern atively, you cou ld use both, th e on ly im portan t th in g is th at all o f th e in gredien ts are bon e dry. I fill th e water in g can with th ese m aterials and pour a fin gers wid th border o f th e m ixture around th e outside o f th e lettu ce or vegetable patch. Make sure to free th e border area o f vegetation first. Th is border o f sawdust m ixture sh ould rem ain as dry as possible. Th is m eans th at from tim e to tim e, especially after is has rained, you will have to replace it. Th e fin e dry sawdust m ixture adheres to th e foot o f a slug or sn ail th e m om en t it tries to get to th e lettu ce or vegetable patch. Th e ash and quicklim e extract m oisture, wh ich preven ts th em from gettin g in to th e crop. If you sit in th e garden in th e evening, you will be able to see h ow th e slugs an d snails tur n aroun d wh en t h ey reach th is barrier an d go back th e way t h ey cam e. Successes like th ese will qu ickly take th e fear ou t o f a slug or snail invasion.
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Th ere are m an y ways to regulate th ese pests n atu rally Here is one more. Slugs and sn ails lay th eir eggs in dark, m oist places. If you provide th em with an ideal h abitat to lay th eir eggs, you can regulate their population . To do this I m ake rows o f freshly cu t grass and leaves in th e garden. Th ey should be piled h igh er an d com pacted m ore th an m ulch , and should be kept as m oist as possible, so th at t h ey provide th e best con d ition s for egg laying. Slugs an d snails will travel great distan ces to use places like these. On a particularly sun n y day I th en go in to th e garden an d turn over th e rows o f grass with a garden in g fork. Wh ole clusters o f eggs will have adh ered to th e r ottin g grass. If you turn th e rows o f grass over at m idd ay wh en it is at its sun niest, th e eggs will rapidly be destroyed by th e h eat o f th e sun and th e UV rays. Th e overpopulation o f slugs an d snails can qu ickly be coun teracted wit h th is m eth od. I f you r n eigh bours also use it, th e effect will be even greater. Th is m eth od also d em on strates h ow m uch dam age th e im proper use o f m u lch (using fresh m aterial, p ilin g it too h igh and n ot loosely en ough) can cause. Ap art from th ese m easures it is, as already m en tion ed, im portan t to have th e natural predators o f slugs an d snails as helpers in th e garden. Excellent exam ples o f th ese are h edgeh ogs, shrews, lizards, toads an d m an y kin ds o f groun d beetle. Th e well-kn own edible snail (Helix pomatia) also h elps to regulate th e fre qu en tly large popu lation s o f slugs by eatin g th eir eggs. So n ot all snails are harm ful!

Earthworms - Natures Ploughs


Earthworm s are am on g th e m ost im portan t h elpers in every garden. We have m an y local varieties on th e Kram eterhof. Th e bran dlin g worm (Eisenia foetida ), com m on earth worm (Lumbricus terrestris) an d red earthworm (Lumbricus rubellus) ten d to appear in large n um bers in h ealth y soils. You can easily recog nise th e bran dlin g worm by its dark red colour and its distin ctive yellow bands. Com m on and red earthworm s do n ot have this distin ctive banding. Brandling worm s are epigeal, i.e. th ey live on th e soil surface. Red earthworm s, on th e oth er hand, on ly spen d th eir you th on th e surface an d later th ey burrow into th e deeper soil layers. Finally, com m on earthworm s, wh ich m an y th in k o f as typical earthworm s, create burrows to live in an d search for food at d epth s o f up to th ree metres. Th ese th ree kin ds o f worm com plem en t each oth er won derfully in their work for gardeners: th e bran dlin g worm processes large am oun ts o f organ ic m aterial an d provides th e best com post. Th e com m on and red earthworm s reach deeper layers o f soil wit h th eir tun n els an d aerate th e soil well. Th e tun n els also work like an in gen ious drainage system . Th e soil can retain m ore m oisture; it does n ot d ry ou t as qu ickly an d is better protected from surface erosion . Plan t roots can exten d th rou gh earthworm tun n els better. Naturally, both o f th ese types o f worm also produce n utrien t-rich com post for th e garden. Earthworm casts con tain m u ch m ore o f th e plan t n utrien ts nitrogen, potassium , ph osph orus

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and calcium th an can be foun d in th e best garden soil. W it h th eir crum bly con sisten cy th ey also provide a good soil structure. As a result o f th ese factors, th e vegetation develops m u ch better wit h th e help o f earthworm s. Th e plan ts are h ealth y an d therefore m ore resistan t to disease. Th is is wh y it is im portan t to provide th e best possible livin g con d ition s for th ese valuable helpers. As earthworm s are sensitive to UV rays, it is a good idea to m ake sure th at th e garden has per m an en t soil cover. Th is can be achieved with a m ixed crop th at is selected so as to avoid large areas bein g harvested all at once. Mulch also provides soil cover and attracts earthworm s. If you find very few earthworm s in you r garden, you sh ould by all m ean s attem pt to breed th em yourself, particularly sin ce th is is easily acheivable in very sm all areas. Breeding earthworm s is in expen sive an d requires very little tim e. You can also dispose o f your organ ic waste. As an en d pr od u ct you will receive h igh quality com post for flower p ots an d th e garden, and m an y en ergetic helpers. If you begin breed in g earthworm s on a large scale, you can even develop an addition al source o f in com e th rough th e sale o f wor m com post an d worm s. In Europe and th e United States th ere are a n um ber o f com pan ies en tirely dedicated to th e breedin g o f earthworm s.

Breeding Earthworms
In order to breed earthworm s successfully you m ust research their natural h abi tat. Your own system will be design ed accordingly. On a sm all scale, a wooden box with a capacity o f on e cu bic m etre is en ough. Earthworm s require a soil substrate o f a m ixture o f straw, cardboard, soil and a little dung. In m y oth er attem pts I have also used differen t m aterials like natural fabrics (cotton, hem p etc.). Th e soil should be loose and well aerated. To en sure this, it is a good idea to in corporate layers o f branches, leaves an d roots into th e substrate. An y cookin g waste can be used as food for th e worm s. On ion s and garlic are th e on ly th in gs I do n ot give to m y earthworm s, becau se I get th e im pression th at th ey do not like it very m uch. Th e worm s particularly like used coffee filters com plete with coffee grounds. It is im portan t to provide a regular supply o f organ ic matter, so th at th e worm s con tin ue to get fresh food. Th e am ou n t o f food sh ould be adjusted to th e am ou n t o f earthworm s. If th e worm s can break d own their food as qu ickly as n ew food accum ulates, th e rate is optim al and h arm ful build-ups o f m ould will be prevented. Room tem perature is ideal for th e worm s. A steady balan ce o f m oisture an d a good supply o f oxygen are also necessary. To avoid a bu ild -up o f water, h oles should be drilled in th e bottom o f th e worm box. Th e soil sh ould be n eith er com pletely d r y or com pletely wet; too m u ch water will m ake th e worm s pale. You should observe th e worm s regularly. You will qu ickly recogn ise wh eth er or n ot t h ey are com fortable in th eir en viron m en t. In tuition is an im portan t factor in creatin g th e optim al con dition s. In m y green h ouses I no lon ger breed earthworm s in boxes, bu t d irectly in th e soil. To do th is I use th e soil substrate

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P lenty o f w o rm s c a n a lw a y s b e fo u n d in g o o d g a rd e n soil.

already m en tion ed, cover it with earth an d put som e worm s in th e pile. In th e m iddle o f this pile o f earth I m ake a sh allow depression . I can pu t fresh organ ic waste th ere each day an d cover it wit h a few han dfuls o f soil. If wh en Im feedin g th e worm s th e pile seem s too dry, th e waste qu ickly m akes it m oist again. If the system is design ed so th at it is well ven tilated, feedin g th e worm s every secon d or third day will be en ough; this m ean s th at th ey can be left to th eir own devices over th e weeken d quite happily. Alon g with th e valuable h um us and th e n um erous earthworm s and worm eggs, breed in g th ese useful creatures has yet an oth er advantage: you will learn to observe an d put you r self in th e shoes o f oth er creatures. Your ecological un derstan din g and em path y will im prove. From tim e to tim e wh en th e weath er is wet, I place th e worm s I have bred alon g with som e soil an d worm eggs in a bu cket and scatter th em over n ew terraces and raised beds in th e evening. I use th e n utrien t-rich and fin e crum bly worm h u m u s for especially valuable and dem an din g plan ts and also for th e flowers on m y balcony.

Characteristics o f Town Gardens


How Children Experience Nature
In principle, a garden in town has th e sam e purpose as a kitch en garden. It is m y opin ion th at town garden s are m ore im portan t today th an ever. If you live in a town an d do n ot have th e opportu n ity to grow up aroun d an im als and plan ts in forests and fields, you can at least experien ce a little n ature in you r own garden. Th e size o f th e garden is o f little im portan ce. Th e th erapeutic effect o f experien cin g th e m arvel o f creation in your own garden is a m uch m ore im portan t factor.

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I th in k back to m y ch ild h ood wh en I p lan ted m y first horse ch estn ut, wh ich I used to play con kers with , in a win d ow box. My m oth er said to me, I f you plan t th at horse ch estn u t in th e soil a tree will grow ou t o f it. She preferred h er plan ts to be in win d ow boxes on th e sill in th e kitch en in stead o f in th e garden. My horse ch estn u t developed in to a splen did little tree. I can n ot d e scribe th e effect th is had on m e, becau se all o f m y later successes cam e back to th at on e experien ce. If ch ildren have th e ch an ce to grow up aroun d nature, t h en th ey will be able to learn from it. It is in credible h ow m u ch th ere is to discover. In tensive observation will inspire th em wit h ideas t h at t h ey will wan t to im plem en t straight away. Learn in g begin s an d success will follow. Children do n ot give up easily, t h ey are curious an d have special access to nature. Th eir urge to discover m otivates th em to tr y again an d again if th ey do n ot succeed th e first tim e - th at is th e m ost im portan t thin g: to never give u p an d to learn from you r m istakes. Ch ildren n eed praise an d to have successes, th is m akes th em stron g an d en courages creative and in d epen den t th ou gh t. Ch ildren still have room in th eir heads to retain th eir own observation s and experien ces o f natural cycles. Th ese m em ories will stay with th em for th eir wh ole lives. My ch ildh ood experien ces have h elped m e always to com e back from th e wr on g p ath an d fin d a natural life in h arm on y with nature. If you isolate ch ildren from nature, cut th em off from th eir roots in a m an n er o f speaking, th ey will n ot un derstan d causal relation sh ips and cycles with in nature. As th ey have no roots, th ey will fin d it harder to h an dle problem s. Th at is wh y if you live in town you sh ould still give your child th e ch an ce to sow radishes or carrots in th e garden or in a win d ow box, and to watch th em flourish. Th is will allow th em to m ake observation s abou t in sects an d experien ce th e colour and sm ell o f plants. Th e desire to discover n ature exists in every child, if th e paren ts do n ot ed u cate it out o f th em or forbid th em to go an y furth er in to its secrets. H ow often have I heard:

C h ild re n sh o u ld h a v e th e c h a n c e to g ro w u p a ro u n d n a tu re . These a re m y g ra n d c h ild re n : H e lm u t, Elias a n d A lin a .

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Don t get dirty, th e groun d is filth y , or Com e away, leave th at alone. Th e sam e goes for wh en ch ildren p oin t out a butterfly, a bu m blebee or a beetle to th eir parents. It is n ot un com m on to hear: Leave it alone, yuck, th at is horrible, com e away. Its poison ous, it ll bite you and, anyway, you ll get dirty. In m y opinion , th is is on e o f th e biggest m istakes a paren t can m ake. You sh ould give th e child you r atten tion and ask: Oh, wh at have you foun d th ere? . Try to fin d ou t wh at kin d o f worm , beetle or bu tterfly it is. You could look th rough a b ook on in sects wit h you r ch ild in th e even in g an d wor k out wh at t h ey found. Th is way your ch ildren could grow up havin g a relation ship wit h n ature even if you live in town.

Design Characteristics
On th e wh ole, everyth in g th at applies to a kitch en garden can also be applied to a town garden. If th ere is on ly a sm all area available, th en it is even m ore im portan t to design an d use it optim ally. In sm all town gardens, for exam ple, valuable space can be gain ed by creatin g raised beds and terraces. Th e sam e prin ciples apply in th is situation as th ose already described in th e ch apter Lan d scape Design . Th ese tech n iqu es will provide m icroclim ates, visual barriers, win dbreaks and protection from erosion . As a result, in com in g pollu tion will be m in im ised (especially fine dust) an d n oise pollu tion will be m itigated. All o f th ese factors are ben eficial for a town garden and sh ould not be un derestim ated. Before th e lan dscapin g begins, th e existin g soil m ust be exam in ed. Wh en doin g this all o f th e factors previously m en tion ed in th e section Soil Con d ition s are im portan t. It is possible for th e soil in town to be so heavily polluted, th at you will have to replace it with un con tam in ated soil from an organ ic farm before you can begin wor k on th e garden. Alth ou gh th is is costly, wit h som e soils it is sadly necessary. Over tim e, an active soil life sh ould develop in th is soil, wh ich will find th e best con d ition s and will be en couraged by th e use o f m ixed crops, an d th e lack o f ch em ical pesticides or ch em ical fertilisers. Th e regenerative power o f th e soil will be en orm ou sly im proved by this, to th e exten t th at you will be able to grow h igh -qu ality produce in town. If th e soil is h eavy loam , wh ich is water and air perm eable, it is possible to loosen and aerate it by m ixin g in sand, straw, leaves an d ch ipped m aterial (wood chip). I f you are u sin g an excavator for lan dscaping, you m ust first find ou t wh eth er th ere are an y teleph on e cables or gas, water or sewage pipes in th e groun d an d exactly wh ere th ey are. W h en sh apin g a sm all garden it is particularly im portan t to m ake th e m ost o f th e sun light. I f you do n ot select you r plan ts carefully, th e wh ole garden will qu ickly becom e shaded. Th is is wh y tall-growin g trees sh ould n ot be plan ted. If th ere is a h ouse or shed wall available, th e m ason ry stove effect o f th e bricks th at I have already described will be at your disposal. Th e heat r eten tion an d radiation qualities o f th e wall m akes it suitable for fruit trees t h at n eed a large am ou n t o f heat (peach an d apricot), and can be plan ted as espalier trees. A system o f tiered terraces - in oth er words, u sin g vertical surfaces in every possible way - is o f
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Fruit tre e as a c lim b in g a id ' fo r to m a to e s .

Lush a n d d ive rse p la n t life c a n e v e n d e v e lo p o n th e w e s t side o f th e K ra m e te rh o f, w h ic h is in sh a d e .

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great advan tage in sm all areas. On th e differen t terraces, shrubs an d fruit trees can be plan ted at staggered heights. Th e trees can th en be used by grapes, kiwi fruit, cucum bers, pum pkins, courgettes, peas and bean s as clim bin g aids. This way th e h eat r eten tion an d radiation aspects o f th e walls will be used effectively. Th e in teraction between th e n utrien ts released by th e in dividual plan ts in sym biotic com m un ities o f this kin d is sh own to best advan tage. You can create a real jun gle garden th at offers a place to recuperate and relax, in add ition to providin g delicious produce. Naturally, you m ust find out h ow h igh th e different shrubs an d trees will even tually grow before you plan t them . This way you will save you r self th e wor k o f con stan tly havin g to prun e an d trim everyth in g back. In garden s wh ere th e sun ligh t reaches areas abruptly becau se o f tower blocks or oth er buildin gs, you m ust m ake sure th at it does n ot hit any frostsensitive trees, wh ich are in full flower, too sudden ly (e.g. apricot, peach or early

PERMACtfi (IfKE IN A 'OWN GARDEN

T hrough skilled use o f th e s p a c e , fruit, v e g e ta b le s , herbs a n d m ush ro o m s fo r p e rs o n a l c o n s u m p tio n c a n also b e c u ltiv a te d in a sm all a re a .

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cherries). Alth ou gh th ese trees can with stan d ligh t overn ight frosts with ou t takin g dam age, abrupt su n ligh t can put th em in to shock, wh ich can lead to th e loss o f all th eir leaves an d flowers. In this situation you sh ould place trees in areas wh ere a sh ock o f this kin d can be avoided, in stead o f position in g th em by t h e sun n y h ouse wall, wh ich wou ld oth erwise be optim al. Over n igh t frost can th aw slowly in th e shade, wh ich has less serious con sequen ces for th e tree. Th e fruit will ripen a little later an d m igh t n ot be as sweet, bu t th is com prom ise is n ecessary for th ere to be a harvest at all. Th e con d ition s th at can be foun d in town garden s var y greatly. This is wh y it is im portan t always to rem em ber th e prin ciples o f perm aculture an d to treat you r own patch o f lan d with em path y and creativity. Th en you will find plen ty o f ways to grow vegetables, m edicin al and cu lin ary herbs, berries, fruit and m ush room s in on ly a few square m etres.

Terraces and Balcony Gardens


Perm aculture prin ciples can be m ade a pr iority and put in to practice on bal conies, terraces, sm all green areas an d even in houses. In fact, I even had a sm all p lan t tu b in m y first garden . I was sceptical at first, but you really can grow an ythin g, no m atter h ow big or small, in a con tain er like that. I have plan ted up balcon ies an d terraces in m an y differen t towns. To start with th ere are usually just orn am en tal trees or bushes like coton easters, jun ipers or d war f Alber ta spruces on th e terraces or balcon ies, m ain ly because th ey do n ot need m uch care and are green . Usually, everyth in g is very h om ogen eous; this is probably because it is stipulated by th e h ouse rules or th ere is too little flexibility. Balcony, terrace and even norm al garden s can be foun d with hardly an y variation in design or plan t selection th rou gh ou t all o f Europe. I con tin ue to hear from th e own ers o f garden s like this, th at n oth in g else would be able to grow on th e 10th or 20th floor anyway, and certain ly n ot fruit or vegetables in an y case! Th en th ey often com m en t th at th ey do n ot kn ow wh at th e n eigh bours wou ld say if th ey sudden ly saw radishes, peas or even beans growin g in a plan t tub. I en courage people to just break this taboo and m ake their own balcon y or terrace garden into an edible garden regardless. My m eth od s an d suggestion s have been put into practice successfully again an d again. Let us use th e exam ple o f a sm all terrace, two m etres by three, th at is facin g away from th e street. At this poin t I should m en tion th at you n eed to keep an eye on th e am ou n t o f p ollu tion com in g from roads or factories wh en cu ltivatin g food in town. On bu sy streets it is better n ot to use th e sides o f the h ouse th at face th e road to produce food. It is also a good idea use th e walls o f th e h ouse by plan tin g clim bin g plan ts like clem atis. This can also create a m icroclim ate by addin g an in sulatin g layer th at can cool th e h ouse in sum m er an d h elp retain h eat in winter. Areas th at are a little m ore sheltered and at th e back o f th e h ouse are, however, ver y well suited to th e pr od u ction o f food. At t h e fron t o f th e terrace you could place two con crete trough s with a com bin ed
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M e d ic in a l a n d c u lin a ry herbs a n d e v e n v e g e ta b le s c a n b e c u ltiv a te d o n a sm all b a lc o n y .

capacity o f aroun d on e an d a h a lf cu bic m etres o f soil. Drill on e or two h oles wit h a diam eter o f approxim ately 10cm in th e bottom o f each trough . Put som e bricks or wooden posts un der each trough so th at th ere is a space o f aroun d 15 to 20 cm between th em an d th e ground. In this space pu t a water p r oof tray. Now you can in sert a hardwood tru n k in th rough th e h ole in th e tub. Make sure th at th e tru n k is narrow en ou gh to fit th rou gh th e hole, wh ilst still leavin g space for water to trickle through. As lon g as th e tru n k fits in th e space available, it can be as tall as you like. This acts as a clim bin g aid for grapes, kiwi fruit, courgettes, cucum bers, pum pkins, beans, peas, roses an d various oth er clim bin g plan ts an d it can also be used for th e cu ltivation o f cu lin ary m ushroom s, as I have described in th e Mushroom Cultivation chapter. If you select a particularly attractive tru n k (with pleasin gly twistin g side bran ches), th e garden will look even m ore pleasant. Directly aroun d th e hole in th e trough (aroun d th e trun k) place en ou gh broken bricks or gravel to provide drainage and preven t a build-up o f water in th e trough. Th e tru n k in th e trou gh can n ow be drilled in a n um ber o f places and in ocu lated with m ush room m ycelium . Th en th e trough is filled up to around two thirds with h ealth y soil m ixed with broken bricks. You sh ould n ot use com m ercial pottin g soil for this, becau se it con tain s large am oun ts o f peat, wh ich is harvested at th e cost o f our m oors an d does n ot have an y kin d o f fertilisin g effect! Earthworm s are also in troduced in to th e trough. Th en th e plan tin g and sowin g can begin . Th e clim bin g plan ts are wrapped aroun d th e tru n k and various vegetables (lettuce, radishes, peas etc.) can be plan ted or sown n ext to them . Th e m ore you m an age to m ake use o f differen t levels, th e m ore green m aterial you will be able to fit in a sm all space. An arran gem en t o f plan ts at staggered h eigh ts achieves th is best. Plants th at grow to differen t h eights can be position ed so th at no com petition will arise. Fill th e tray wit h water. Th e hardwood tru n k (the criteria for selection can be foun d in th e ch apter Mush room Cultivation ) su cks th e water up from th e
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C o lo u rfu l c o m b in a tio n o f p la n ts b y th e w a ll o f th e house.

tray and balan ces out th e m oisture o f th e soil in th e trough. If th e trough is left outside in th e elem en ts, en ough rain water will collect in th e tray to keep the trough m oist. Oth erwise, it will n eed to be filled up by hand, or th e plan ts will have to be watered. If you have a gutter, you can keep th e plan ts supplied with water autom atically. Fix a section o f drain pipe into th e tray from th e gutter and pu t in an overflow th at leads back again (in clude a sieve, an d position th e overflow at least 10cm higher th an th e in let pipe). However, in cities you should be careful about u sin g this m eth od o f irrigation , because th e roofs th ere are often very dirty an d ash, soot and m an y h arm ful substan ces could accum ulate in t h e gutters. If, on th e oth er hand, your h ouse is in a less heavily populated area, you can use th is m eth od o f irrigation an d go on holiday with ou t havin g to worry th at you r balcon y garden will dry out. Organ ic waste from th e kitch en can also be in corporated into th e soil in th e trough s each day wit h a trowel. Th e waste sh ould always be used fresh and placed in a differen t area each day. It should be covered with leaves or m ulch wh ilst m akin g sure th at p len ty o f air can reach it. Th e organ ic waste provides th e worm s with food an d th e plan ts with h igh -qu ality fertiliser. Over tim e the trough will, o f course, fill up an d th e result will be a substrate with an en orm ous am oun t o f wor m eggs an d you n g worm s th at can th en be used in plan t tubs, flowerpots or in th e garden. Th e liquid fertiliser th at I have already described can also be used to protect t h e plan ts on a terrace or balcon y an d increase th eir resilien ce (again st aphids an d fun gal diseases like m ild ew am on g oth er th in gs). Th e m ixture you use will
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BALCONY GARDEN

A rich ly s tru c tu re d b a lc o n y used in m a n y d iffe re n t w a ys m ake s it possible to e x p e rie n c e n a tu re in a to w n .

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d epen d on th e n um ber o f plan ts an d th e available space. Th e plan ts required for th e liquid fertiliser can be obtain ed on a walk th rough th e coun tryside or th rou gh a forest. Som e liquid fertilisers develop a ver y in ten se odour. If th e sm ell bothers you, som eth in g can be d on e about th is easily: sim ply stir in som e ston em eal an d th e odour will be n eutralised, valerian can also be used. If you do n ot wan t to m ake liquid fertiliser you can use herbal tea instead. Ch am om ile tea, for instance, has an an tibacterial effect and can be used to preven t root diseases. Tansy is ver y effective again st root lice and can be u sed to treat rust. Th e tea can be used as soon as it has cooled. It is a m atter o f preferen ce wh ich m eth od you decide to use, becau se th e plan t m ixtures are just as poten t wh en th ey are prepared as a tea, an extract or as diluted liquid fertiliser. Your own experim en ts will, over tim e, lead you to th e best m ixture for you r balcony. W it h tim e th e clim bin g plan ts will stabilise an d becom e wood y (grapes, kiwi), so th at th ey will no lon ger n eed addition al support. Th is m eans t h at it is n ot a problem wh en th e trun ks in ocu lated with m ushroom s lose their loadbearin g capacity over tim e. In exposed areas th e plan ts should be protected over winter. On a balcon y th e flu ctuation between cold and warm tem peratures is often particularly extrem e. You could, for exam ple, p r otect th e con crete trough s in win ter wit h som e jute bags. Sensitive clim bin g plan ts should be protected from th e overly inten se win ter sun with th e help o f rush mats, because su n ligh t causes m ost o f th e frost dam age! In addition , th e soil in th e trough s should be covered wit h leaves or jute bags over win ter to stop it freezin g through. Th is way th e earthworm s will also survive th e colder m on ths. Th e yield o f m ushroom s, grapes, kiwifruit, fruit an d vegetables in this sm all area clearly shows th at th e plan ts are con stan tly supplied with addition al n utrien ts by th e in ten sive work o f th e earthworm s. Th e mason ry stove effect created by th e radiation o f h eat from th e h ouse wall also has a very positive

Kiwi p la n ts g ro w b e s t in s h e lte re d p la c e s , e s p e c ia lly b y th e w alls o f houses: th e p ic tu re shows a h a rd y kiwi (A c t in id ia a r g u t a , sm all fruit) th a t has a lre a d y g ro w n u p a n d o v e r th e ro o f o f th e K ra m e te rh o f. The m o re sensitive, la rg e -fru ite d kiwi (A c tin id ia d e lic io s a ) c a n also b e c u ltiv a te d easily.

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effect on th e growth o f th e plants. Th e plan ts can spread even further wit h th e help o f clim bin g aids, so th at a won d er fu l pergola o f leaves develops on the terrace, wh ich can provide shade an d serve as a visual barrier. Th e size o f th e system can be in creased accordin g to preferen ce, th ere are no lim its to your im agin ation ! A further positive effect is that, even if it is on th e 20th floor, this garden will give ch ildren th e opportu n ity to experien ce an d grow up around a piece o f nature. Various butterflies, bu m ble bees an d bees will qu ickly arrive in th ese m in i gardens. Birds can also m ake th eir n ests there. Th e fact th at a m ini garden like this can also produce a pleasan t clim ate in doors an d fill th e air with begu ilin g scen ts is just in ciden tal. Therefore, urban perm aculture does n ot just r epresen t a n utritious use o f space, it also in creases th e standard o f livin g and prom otes garden areas as recreation al spaces.

Bypass Technique
Neighbours u sually appreciate th e beau ty o f a flourish in g perm aculture system . I f your n eigh bours also becom e in terested in perm aculture, you could create a terrace system reachin g from storey to storey. Clim bers like grapes and kiwi plan ts can grow up th e front o f th e bu ild in g from on e flat to th e n ext u sin g a balcon y as a clim bin g aid. On th e balcon ies, trough s with soil can be prepared so th at th e plan ts can pu t d own n ew roots (lead th e plan t in to th e trough, heap soil over it and possibly weigh it d own wit h a stone). Th e plan ts will th en draw fresh stren gth an d n utrien ts from th e soil an d will grow from on e storey to th e next (in oth er words, th e bypass t ech n iqu e). Each storey can be overseen and harvested by th e people livin g there. In th is way a com m un al garden will begin to em erge. If one o f th e residents goes on h oliday or is goin g to be away for a lon ger period o f tim e, th ere is no dan ger o f th e system n ot bein g able to fun ction . Th e plan ts are rooted in con tain ers on differen t storeys, wh ere th ey are provided wit h water an d n utrien ts. A system o f this kin d is vertical as well as h orizon tal, as it can travel in an y direction . Creative th in kin g is, o f course, n eeded here, because th ere are so m an y possible ways to use, design and plan t a system like this. Naturally, atten tion m ust be given to th e structural in tegrity o f th e bu ild in g with th e addition al weigh t o f th e planters. W ith th e in creasin g access to nature, p eop les em path y for each oth er will grow. So urban perm aculture can im prove th e clim ate o f th e town literally as well as figuratively by pr om otin g in terperson al relation ships. Plants can be a bridge between people. If politician s an d busin esses p u t th e p h ilosoph y o f sustain ability in to pr ac tice, th en town s and cities could turn in to green oases. All courtyards, car parks, playgrounds, open spaces, walls and roofs could gleam wit h luxurian t green vegetation an d people could ben efit from positive side effects such as less con tam in ation by dust an d h arm ful substan ces. To do th is we n eed to chan ge th e way we th in k in a broader sense. Perm aculture system s do n ot fu n ction in isolation from outside influen ces, t h ey dem an d cooperation !
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BYPASS TECHNIQUE

C lim bing plants are led from o n e b a lc o n y to th e next. The plants will slowly spread o ver th e entire b lo c k o f flats.

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Plant List
Th e followin g list will give you an overview o f th e location s required by various plan ts an d in form ation on favourable plan t com m un ities. It is still im portan t to observe th e plan ts in order to fin d th e best com bin ation s for th e con dition s on your plot o f land.

Vegetables
1 P lant S u p p o rtin g P la n ts C h a rac te ristic s a n d R e q u ire m en ts
U n d e m a n d in g, b e lo n gs to t h e le gu m e s ( in cr e a se s t h e a m o u n t o f n it r o ge n in t h e so il), s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, p r efer s lo o s e soil, lo w n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s U n d e m a n d in g, b e lo n gs t o t h e le gu m e s (in cr e a se s t h e a m o u n t o f n it r o ge n in t h e so il), s u n n y to p a r t ia l sh a d e, p r efer s lo o s e soil, lo w n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s P r efer s go o d so il, sh e lt e r e d a r ea s (su n tr a p s), h igh n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s

Bea n

(Phaseolus sp.)

Sa vo r y (a cu lin a r y p la n t w it h a n in t e n s e fla vo u r a n d lig h t effect a ga in s t a p h id s), m a ize (ser ves a s a clim b in g aid ) a n d m a n y m or e

Pea

(Pisum sativum)

M a ize (ser ves a s a clim b in g aid ) an d m a n y oth er s

Cu cu m b e r

(Cucumis sativus)

Peas, b ea n s, ga r lic a n d b a sil (p r even t s m ild e w ), go o d Kin g H e n r y a n d J er u sa lem a r t ich o k e a r o u n d t h e ed ge s (w in d b r e a k ) G o o d a r o u n d t h e ed ge s o f p u m p k in s a n d cu cu m b e r s ; ser ves a s a w in d b r e a k O n io n s , leeks, p ea s, b ea n s, le t t u ce a n d b la ck sa vo r y

Go o d Kin g H en r y

(Chenopodium bonushenricus)
Ca r r o t

U n d e m a n d in g a n d h ar d y, b u t p r efer s go o d soils, su n n y to p a r t ia l s h a d e, fr o st h ar d y, w ild ve ge t a b le P r efer s go od , lo o s e soils; s u n n y to p a r t ia l sh a d e, m e d iu m n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s Pr efer s go o d s o il ( n o t t o o we t ), s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, h igh n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s P r efer s lo o se , ligh t soils; su n n y ar eas, m e d iu m n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s

(Daucus carota)

P ot a t o

(Solatium tuberosum)

M a r igo ld s (to d isco u r a ge n e m a t o d e s ) , p ea s, b e a n s a n d o n io n s I n clu d e d t o d isco u r a ge fu n ga l d isea ses in s u s ce p t ib le p la n t s ( cu cu m b e r ); is n o t p a r t icu la r ly ch o o s y it s e lf Pea s, b e a n s, b e e t r o o t a n d bla ck sa vo r y Peas, b e a n s (to im p r o ve t h e so il), m a r igo ld s (to d isco u r a ge n e m a t o d e s ) , so u t h e r n w o o d , b a sil a n d m in t (r ep els p e st s w it h it s sce n t a n d e s s e n t ia l oils), le t t u ce (gr o u n d cover ) Bea n s, p e a s (to im p r ove t h e soil), m a ize , t o m a t o e s , go o d Kin g H e n r y a n d J er u sa lem a r t ich o k e s a r o u n d t h e e d ge s (win d b r ea k )

Ga r lic

(Allium sativum)

Ch in e s e a r t ich o k e

(Stachys sieboldii)
Ca b b a ge

P r efer s go o d soil, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e , fr o st h ar d y, t u b e r Go o d , m o ist soil, h igh n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s

(Brassica oleracea)

P u m p k in , co u r ge t t e

(Cucurbita ssp.)

P r efer go od , m o is t soils, p er va sive, s u n n y ar ea s, h igh n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s

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Plant

S u p p o rtin g P lan ts

C h a rac te ristic s a n d R e q u ire m en ts


P r efer s go o d , m o is t soils; h igh n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s

Le e k

(Allium ampeloprasum)
M a ize

Ca r r o t s, ga r lic, to m a t oes, r a d is h e s (to k e e p p e st s a wa y), p a r sn ip s a n d skir r et Bea n s, p ea s, t o m a t o e s a n d le t t u ce ( gr o u n d cover )

(Zea mays)

P r efer s n u t r ie n t - r ich , m o ist soils; s u n n y a r ea s, h igh n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s

Ch a r d

(Beta vulgaris)
P ep p er

Bea n s, p ea s, ca b b a ge , r a d ish es, le t t u ce a n d m in t To m a t o es, leek , le t t u ce a n d cu cu m b e r s Le t t u ce , b la ck sa lsify, o n io n s a n d le e k s Bea n s, p ea s, o n io n s , r a d ish es, le t t u ce , b o r a ge a n d ca b b a ge

Go o d , m o is t soil; go o d gr o u n d co ve r is p a r t icu la r ly b e n e ficia l G o o d , m o is t soil; s u n n y an d s h e lt e r e d a r ea s (su n tr a p ) Go od , lo o s e so il, fr o st h ar d y, t u b e r

(Capsicum ssp.)
P a r sn ip

(Pastinaca sativa)
Be e t r o o t

(Beta vulgaris)

U n d e m a n d in g, b u t p r e fe r s m o ist so il, go o d gr o u n d co ver is a la r ge a d va n t a ge ; m e d iu m n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s N o p a r t icu la r n eed s, m e d iu m n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s

Let t u ce

(Lactuca sativa)

Ra d ish es, ca b b a ge , ko h lr a b i, o n ion s , le e k s, b o r a ge , b ea n s, m in t , s p in a ch a n d m a n y m o r e W e ll s u it e d t o b e in g a ca t ch cr o p o r p la n t co ver O n io n s , ga r lic, le t t u ce , ca r r ot s; go o d a s a d e co y p la n t n e a r fr u it t r e e s fo r vo le s Ca b b a ge , p ea s, b ea n s, le e k s a n d cu cu m b e r s Bea n s, p ea s, r a d ish es, le t t u ce a n d cu cu m b e r s Ga r lic a n d b a sil (to p r e ve n t m ild e w ), s p in a ch , b ea n s, leek s, le t t u ce a n d p e p p e r s G o o d a r o u n d t h e e d ge s o f p u m p k in s a n d cu cu m b e r s ; s e r ve s a s a w in d b r e a k ; go o d a s a d is t r a ct io n p la n t n e a r fr u it t r ees fo r vo le s Le t t u ce a n d o t h e r lo w -gr o w in g p la n t cover O n io n s , leek s, le t t u ce , ca r r ots, p a r s n ip s a n d p ea s Ca r r o t s, p a r sn ip s, skir r et , le t t u ce , ch ico r y, b la ck sa lsify, r a d ish es an d beetroot

W ild r o ck e t

(Diplotaxis tenuifolia)
Bla ck sa lsify

U n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l s h a d e , a n n u a l, ve ge t a b le (sa la d ) P r efer s go od , lo o s e soil; lo w n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s

(Scorzonera hispanica)

Ce le r y

(Apium graveolens)
Sp in a ch

P r efer s go o d , m o is t soil; h igh n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s P r efer s go o d , m o ist soil; m e d iu m n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s P r efer s go o d , m o is t soil; su n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, h igh n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s Go od , lo o s e soil; fr o s t h ar d y, p e r va s ive (ver y co m p e t it ive ) , h igh n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s

(Spinacia oleracea)
To m a t o

(Lycopersicon esculentum)
J er u sa lem a r t ich o k e

(Helianthus tuberosus)

W ild a sp a r a gu s

(Asparagus officinalis)
Skir r et

U n d e m a n d in g, h ar d y, s u n n y ar eas, fr o s t r e sist a n t , w ild ve ge t a b le Go od , lo o s e soil; s u n n y ar eas, h ar d y, fr o st r e sist a n t , ve ge t a b le Go od , lo o s e soil; s u n n y ar eas, m e d iu m n u t r ie n t r e q u ir e m e n t s

(Sium sisarum)
O n io n

(Allium)

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Medicinal and Culinary Plants


1 P la n t N a r r o w -le a ve d in u la C h a r a c t e r is t ic s a n d R e q u ir e m e n t s G o o d so il, s u n n y to p a r t ia l sh a d e , fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Inula ensifolia)
Va ler ia n U n d e m a n d in g, b u t p r efer s m o ist soil, p a r t ia l sh a d e , fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t Als o t h r ive s o n p o o r soils, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e , fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t Go o d , lo o s e soil; s u n n y ar ea s, a n n u a l, cu lin a r y p la n t

(Valeriana officinalis)
Ba lsa m h e r b

(Tanacetum balsamita)
Sw eet b a sil

(Ocimum basilicum)
M u gw o r t Ve r y u n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y a r ea s, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t (go o d w it h p or k ) U n d e m a n d in g, b u t p r efer s go o d soils, su n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, m e d icin a l p la n t , liq u id fe r t ilise r M a r s h y soil, u n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y a r ea s, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Artemisia vulgaris)
Co r a fr e y

(Symphytum officinale)
M o u n t a in a r n ica

(Arnica montana)
W in t e r sa vo r y Go o d , lo o s e soil; s u n n y ar ea s, h a r d y a n d fr ost r e sist a n t , cu lin a r y p la n t , ke e p s a p h id s a w a y fr o m b e a n s U n d e m a n d in g, b u t p r efer s go o d soils, a n n u a l, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l s h a d e , go od fo r im p r o vin g h e a vy soils, m e d icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t M o is t t o w e t a r e a s (on b a n ks), p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o st h ar d y, ca n b e a d d e d t o sa la d s Go o d , m o ist soil; cu lin a r y p la n t , s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, a n n u a l

(Satureja montana)
Bor a ge (Borago officinalis) W a t e r cr e ss

(Nasturtium officinale)
D ill

(Anethum graveolens)
So u t h e r n w o o d Als o th r ives o n p o o r soils, s u n n y a r ea s, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t , t a s t e s o f le m o n U n d e m a n d in g, a n n u a l, s u n n y ar ea s, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Artemisia abrotanum)
Sce n t e d m a yw e e d

(Matricaria chamomilla)
H ea t h s p e e d w e ll U n d e m a n d in g, p o o r soils, s u n n y to p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t G o o d soil, s u n n y a r ea s, d o e s n o t ge t a lo n g w it h m a n y o t h e r p la n t s well, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t Go o d , d eep , m o is t soil; p a r t ia l sh a d e, b ie n n ia l, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t Als o t h r ive s o n p o o r soils, a n n u a l, s u n n y ar ea s, d ye p la n t - yellow / or a n ge flow er s U n d e m a n d in g, a lso t h r ive s o n p o o r a n d d r y soils; s u n n y ar eas, fr ost h ar d y, d ye p la n t - ye llo w flo w er s U n d e m a n d in g, b u t p r efer s go o d soils, s u n n y ar ea s, se n sit ive t o fr ost , cu lin a r y p la n t w it h a ve r y in t e n s e fla vo u r Ve r y u n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e , fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Veronica officinalis)
M a r sh m a llo w

(Althaea officinalis)
Ga r d en a n ge lica

(Angelica archangelica)
Sa fflower

(Carthamus tinctorius)
Ye llow ch a m o m ile

(Anthemis tinctoria)
Ta r r a gon

(Artemisia dracunculus)
La d ys m a n t le

(Alchemilla erythropoda)

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Ye llo w ge n t ia n

U n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y ar ea s, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Gentiana lutea)
F en n el G o o d soils, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o s t h ar d y, cu lin a r y a n d m e d icin a l p la n t Als o t h r ive s o n p o o r soils, s u n n y ar ea s, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t , ca n b e u se d t o m a k e t ea U n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y ar ea s, b ie n n ia l, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Foeniculum vulgare)
Ber ga m o t

(Monarda sp.)
D e n s e -flo w e r e d m u lle in

(Verbascum densiflorum)
M oth erwort U n d e m a n d in g a n d h a r d y, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o s t r esist a n t , m e d icin a l p la n t U n d e m a n d in g, p r efer s go od , m o is t soils; b ie n n ia l, s u n n y to p a r t ia l sh a d e, go o d d e co y p la n t for vo le s Als o t h r ive s o n p o o r soils, s u n n y ar eas, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Leonurus cardiaca)
H o u n d s t o n gu e

(Cynoglossum officinale)
St. J oh n s w o r t

(Hypericum perforatum)
Sw eet fla g M a r sh y ar eas, o n b a n k s, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t U n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, a n n u a l, ca n b e a d d e d to sa la d s, go o d d e co y p la n t for a p h id s U n d e m a n d in g, a n n u a l, s u n n y a r ea s, cu lin a r y a n d m e d icin a l p la n t

(Acorus calamus)
Ga r d en n a s t u r t iu m

(Tropaeolum majus)
Ch e r vil

(Anthriscus cerefolium)
Sm a ll-flo w e r e d w illo w h e r b Als o t h r ive s o n p o o r soils, su n n y a r ea s, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Epilobium parviflorum)
Ga r lic m u st a r d Ga r lic fla vou r , u n d e m a n d in g, p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o st h ar d y, m ed icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t Go o d , m o is t soil; a n n u a l, su n n y a r ea s, cu lin a r y p la n t (fr esh lea ves a n d seed s) U n d e m a n d in g, d r y soils, a n n u a l, s u n n y ar eas, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Alliaria petiolata)
Co r ia n d e r

(Coriandrum sativum)
Co r n flo w e r

(Centaurea cyanus)
Cu r ly m in t (Mentha spicata var. crispa) H or se r a d ish Go od soil, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t , ca n b e u s e d t o m a k e t ea U n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o st h ar d y, cu lin a r y p la n t

(Armoracia rusticana)
La ven d er W e ll- d r a in e d soils, s u n n y ar eas, fr o s t h ar d y, d isco u r a ge s a p h id s, m e d icin a l p la n t P r efer s go o d soils, h ar d y, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o st h ar d y, cu lin a r y a n d m e d icin a l p la n t Go o d , m o is t t o w e t so ils (on b a n ks), p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t G o o d so ils, s u n n y a r ea s, m e d icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t

(Lavandula angustifolia)
Lova ge

(Levisticum officinale)
M ea d owsweet

(Filipendula ulmaria)
M a r jor a m

(Origanum majorana)

202

Gardens

1 Plant
M ilk t h is t le

C h a rac te ristic s a n d R e q u ire m en ts


U n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y ar ea s, b ie n n ia l, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Silybum marianum)
M a st er w or t Go od , m o ist soils; p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Peucedanum ostruthium)
M u s k m a llo w Als o t h r ive s o n p o o r soils, s u n n y ar ea s, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Malva moschata)
F eve r few U n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y ar ea s, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Tanacetum parthenium)
E ven in g p r im r o se U n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y a r ea s, fr o s t h a r d y, m e d icin a l p la n t , flow er s o p e n a t n igh t - m o t h s W e ll- d r a in e d soil, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o s t h a r d y, m e d icin a l p la n t Go o d , m o ist soil; s u n n y a r ea s, fr o st h ar d y, cu lin a r y p la n t

(Oenothera biennis)
Agr im o n y

(Agrimonia eupatoria)
O r e ga n o

(Origanum vulgare)
P a r sley P r efer s go o d soil, p a r t ia l sh a d e, b ie n n ia l, cu lin a r y p la n t

(Petroselinum crispum)
P e p p e r m in t U n d e m a n d in g, b u t p r efer s go o d soil, s u n n y to p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr ost h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t , ca n b e u se d t o m a k e t ea U n d e m a n d in g, b u t p r efer s g o o d so il, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, se n sit ive to fr o st , m e d icin a l p la n t , ca n be u sed t o m a k e t e a U n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y a r ea s, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t (h a s a p a r t icu la r ly in t e n s e fla vo u r w h e n gr o w in g o n p oor , d r y soils) Als o t h r ive s o n p o o r soils, s u n n y ar ea s, fr o st h ar d y, ca n b e u se d in liq u id fe r t ilise r U n d e m a n d in g, b u t p r efer s go o d soil, a n n u a l, s u n n y a r ea s, go od p la n t t o d is co u r a ge n e m a t o d e s in a m ixed p la n t in g, m e d icin a l p la n t Go o d , w e ll-d r a in e d soil; su n n y a r ea s, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t (p a r t icu la r ly in h o m o e o p a t h y) U n d e m a n d in g, su n n y ar eas, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t (h a s a p a r t icu la r ly in t e n s e fla vo u r w h e n gr o w in g o n p oor , d r y soils) W o n d e r fu l fla vou r , u n d e m a n d in g, b u t p r efer s go o d soils, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e , fr o s t h ar d y, cu lin a r y p la n t G o o d soil, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e , fr o st h ar d y, cu lin a r y p la n t

(Mentha piperta)
P en n yr o ya l

(Mentha pulegium)
Br oa d -lea ved t h ym e

(Thymus pulegioides)

Ta n sy

(Tanacetum vulgare)
P ot m a r igold

(Calendula officinalis)
P u r p le co n e flo w e r

(Echinacea purpurea)
Sa ge

(Salvia officinalis)

Ga r lic ch ives

(Allium ramosum)
Ch ives

(Allium schoenoprasum)
Gr ea t er ce la n d in e U n d e m a n d in g, b u t p r efer s g o o d soils, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr ost h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t Be a u t ifu l h o llyh o ck , n u t r ie n t - r ich soils, s u n n y ar ea s, m e d icin a l p la n t , ca n b e u s e d t o m a k e t e a U n d e m a n d in g, h a r d y, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o s t h ar d y, t h e r o o t s ca n b e b o ile d t o m a k e su d s

(Chelidonium majus)
Bla ck h o llyh o ck

(Alcea rosea var. nigra)


So a p w or t

(Saponaria officinalis)

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P lant
Sw e e t cice ly

C h a rac te ristic s a n d R e q u ire m en ts


Go od , m o is t t o w e t soil; p a r t ia l sh a d e , fr o s t h ar d y, cu lin a r y p la n t

(Myrrhis odorata)
Ce n t a u r y P o o r so ils, s u n n y a r ea s, b ie n n ia l, fr o s t h a r d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Centaurium erythraea)
Th ym e U n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y ar ea s, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t ( h a s a p a r t icu la r ly in t e n s e fla vo u r w h e n gr o w in g o n p oor , d r y soils) Go o d , m o is t soil; p a r t ia l t o fa ll sh a d e, fr o s t h ar d y, cu lin a r y p la n t , ca n b e m a d e in t o s w e e t w o o d r u ff p u n ch Ve r y a r om a t ic, s u n n y a r ea s, fr o st h ar d y, cu lin a r y p la n t

(Thymus vulgaris)

Sw e e t w o o d r u ff

(Galium odoratum)
W ild ga r lic

(Allium vineale)
Ru e P r efer s lo o s e soil, s u n n y ar ea s, se n s it ive t o fr o st , d is co u r a ge s in sect s, m e d icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t Als o t h r ive s o n p o o r soils, s u n n y a r ea s, d o e s n o t ge t a lo n g w it h m a n y o t h e r p la n t s, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t U n d e m a n d in g, a ls o o n p o o r soils, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e, fr o st h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t : e ffe ct s im ila r t o m o u n t a in a r n ica U n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y ar ea s, b ie n n ia l, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Ruta graveolens)
W or m wood

(Artemisia absinthium)
Ar n ica (Arnica

chamissonis ssp. foliosa)


Gia n t silver m u lle in

(Verbascum bombyciferum)
H er b h yssop Als o t h r ive s o n p o o r soils, s u n n y a r ea s, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l a n d cu lin a r y p la n t U n d e m a n d in g, s u n n y t o p a r t ia l sh a d e , fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t

(Hyssopus officinalis)
Bet o n y

(Stachys officinalis)
Le m o n b a lm U n d e m a n d in g, b u t p r efer s go o d soils, s u n n y a r ea s, fr o s t h ar d y, m e d icin a l p la n t , ca n b e u s e d t o m a k e t e a

(Melissa officinalis)

204

Projects

Scotland
Th e prin ciples o f perm aculture wor k all over th e world. In m y first book The Rebel Farmer I have already described m y projects in Brazil, Colom bia and North Am er ica (Montana). Usin g strategies based on perm aculture it becom es possible to practice agricu ltu re successfully un der difficult con d ition s (soil con ditions, clim ate). Th e followin g accoun t sh ould give an yon e th at is in terested in p erm aculture th e courage to m ake th eir vision s an d plan s a reality even if th e location s t h ey are wor kin g in are n ot favourable . On m y project in Scotlan d I could see th e positive results th at were possible on acid soil wit h no real wor k to m ain tain th e area with in a short period o f tim e.

O n m y first survey o f th e p lo t w e s e le c te d te st a re a s a t d iffe re n t a ltitu d e s (a p p ro x i m a te ly 1 0 0 m -3 5 0m a b o v e sea le ve l) in w h ic h I c o u ld b e g in to e x p e rim e n t. The p h o to shows a discussion w ith G e rn o t Langes-S w arovski, M a g . C h ristian K oidl a n d m y w ife V e ro n ika o n site.

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S e p p H olzers P e rm a c u ltu re

T h e p e r m a cu lt u r e p r o je ct in t h e Sco t t is h H ig h la n d s w a s in co o p e r a t io n w it h t h e La n ge s - Sw a r o vs k i fa m ily. T h e go a l w a s t o cr e a t e a p e r m a cu lt u r e ga r d e n for t h e ir p r iva t e u s e d a y t o d ay. T h is s h a r e d p r o je ct ga ve m e t h e o p p o r t u n it y t o t r y o u t m y m e t h o d s o n t h e a cid p e a t s o il (t h e p H va lu e w a s b e t w e e n fo u r a n d five) o f t h e Sco t t is h h e a t h la n d .

2C6

Projects

Finally in May 2004 th e first raised bed was created with an excavator. I m ade sure to test th e effect o f th e raised bed on th e differen t soil types (peat to m arshy soil) an d at different altitudes in th e area.

FACING PAGE - LEFT TO RIGHT, TOP TO BOTTOM: In th e p h o to a n e ro d e d s e c tio n o f la n d th a t w e c h o s e as a test a re a c a n b e seen. It w a s f e n c e d o ff to m inim ise g ra z in g b y d e e r. The v e g e ta tio n in th e a re a m ostly consists o f s e d g e ( C y p e r a c e a e E rio p h o ru m a n d C a r e x ) a n d h e a th e r ( C a llu n a v u lg a ris ), w h ic h c o p e w e ll w ith th e p re v a ilin g a c id co n d itio n s . In M a y 2003 w e s o w e d th e se test a re a s w ith th e first se e d m ixtures. They c o n ta in e d c e re a ls (a n c ie n t ce re a ls: e m m e r, e in ko rn a n d a n c ie n t S iberian w h e a t) w ith a c a t c h c r o p o f v e g e ta b le s (radishes, le ttu c e e tc .) a n d soil im p ro v in g p la n ts (various le g u m e s). The in te n tio n w a s to fin d o u t if a n d h o w th e s e le c te d p la n ts w o u ld g ro w u n d e r th e p re v a ilin g c o n d itio n s o f th e a re a (c o n s ta n tly w in d y , a c id a n d m oist soil). In th e p h o to : p re p a rin g to so w seeds w ith P e te r Wemyss a n d a c o lle a g u e . A fte r so w in g , a la y e r o f s tra w w a s s p re a d loo se ly o v e r th e te st a re a as m u lc h . O n e y e a r later, in M a y 2004, this a re a is c o m p le te ly tra n s fo rm e d . The c e re a ls as w e ll as th e c a t c h c r o p h a v e g e rm in a te d a n d d e v e lo p e d v e ry w ell! The result fa r e x c e e d e d m y e x p e c ta tio n s . Even u n d e r th e s e d iffic u lt c o n d itio n s - n o t a c tu a lly su ite d to p la n ts a t all - th e c a t c h c ro p o f v e g e ta b le s g re w w o n d e rfu lly ! Even g e n tia n seeds ( G e n tia n a lu te a a n d G e n t ia n a p u n c t a t a ) g e rm in a te d in a s h e lte re d s p o t a n d d e v e lo p e d strong n e w p la n ts a fte r a ye a r. As a result o f this p ro m isin g o u tc o m e w e b e g a n to p la n a te st raised b e d system .

ABOVE, FROM TOP: N e w ly c r e a te d raised b e d o n th e h e a th . Bulky, c le a re d m a te ria l (trees, tre e stum ps, b ra n c h e s fro m p in e trees a n d sp ru ce s a m o n g others) a n d h e a th e r w a s in tro d u c e d . The raised b e d s w e re p o s itio n e d in th e s h a p e o f a w a v y line. The n e w raised b e d s w e re c o v e re d w ith straw . The m u lc h la y e r d id n o t o n ly h a v e th e p u rp o s e o f p ro te c tin g th e soil from th e e ffe c ts o f th e harsh w e a th e r, b u t also o f p ro te c tin g th e seeds fro m b e in g e a te n b y birds. As c a n b e seen in th e p h o to , th e raised b e d s a re in th e im m e d ia te v ic in ity o f a sm all ro a d . This w a y th e b e d s c a n b e k e p t a n e y e o n a n d a re easily a c c e s s ib le . Also, th e d a n g e r o f th e p la n ts b e in g e a te n is lo w e re d if th e c ro p is n e a r a ro a d .

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LEFT TO RIGHT, TOP TO BOTTOM: M y m ost re c e n t visit to S c o tla n d o n 23rd July 2 0 0 4 :1h a rv e s te d radishes w ith M a g . C hristian Koidl (a d v is o r to a n d p ro je c t le a d e r fo r th e Langes-S w arovski fa m ily ). The g ro w th w a s lusher th a n e x p e c te d ; th e a n c ie n t g ra in w a s a lre a d y tw o m e tre s tall! These yields w e re a c h ie v e d o n w h a t w a s p re vio u s ly a n e ro d e d a re a , th ro u g h th e use o f se e d m ixtures a n d m u lc h . W ith m y c o lle a g u e Erich A u e rn ig I also e re c te d a s to ra g e c e lla r in th e Scottish H ig h la n d s using m y trie d a n d te s te d system . The c e lla r is fo r sto rin g p ro d u c e , b u t c a n just as w e ll b e used as a n o p e n shelter. Berkshire pigs (an o ld p ig b re e d ) a n d g e e s e m o v e in to th e ir a c c o m m o d a tio n in th e n e w p e rm a c u ltu re system . P la n n in g fu rth e r w a ys to p r o c e e d w ith G e m o t Langes-S w arovski. Since th e m ost re c e n t tests h a v e b ro u g h t a sto nishing results, w e p la n to in tro d u c e w ild a n d c u ltiv a te d fru it tree s in to th e p e rm a c u ltu re system . O v e r th e c o u rs e o f tim e th e d e p le te d a n d e ro d e d a re a s will d e v e lo p in to e d ib le la n d s c a p e s w ith d iv e rse flo ra a n d fa u n a .

208

EK

Projects

f r
SWAROVSKI
Herm Sepp Holzer Krameterhof Keuschnig 13 5591 Ramingstein

Wattens, 22, Juli 2004

zu Deinem Geburtstag gratuliere ich Dir sehr herzlich und wiinsche D ir das Allerbeste, vor allem jedoch Gesundheit, Gluck und Erfolg. Ich habe es wiederum genossen, m it Dir in Schottland zu sein, meine Begeisterung iiber das Gedeihen des Projektes kann ich kaum in Worte fassen. Vielen, vielen Dank! Es ist eine Freude, mit Dir zusammenzuarbeiten, und ich hoffe, daB wir noch viel gemeinsam umsetzen konnen. Mit nochmaligen guten Wtinschen

D SWAROVSKI G CO 112 W ATTENS/AUSTR1A TEL +43(015224/SO O -O * FAX+43(0) 5224/ 52i 35 BAHNSTATION FRITZENSWATTENS. DVR-NR 0000302 INTERNET- hltp7/www swarovskl com

D e a rS e p p , M y m o st h e a rtfe lt c o n g ra tu la tio n s o n y o u r b irth d a y a n d I wish y o u a ll th e best. M ost o f all I wish y o u h e a lth , h a p p in e ss a n d success. I e n jo y e d s e e in g y o u a g a in in S c o tla n d , I c a n n o t express in w o rd s th e e n jo y m e n t th e success o f this p ro je c t has g iv e n m e . T hank y o u so m u c h ! It is a jo y to w o rk w ith y o u a n d I h o p e th a t w e c a n w o rk o n fu rth e r p ro je c ts to g e th e r in th e fu tu re . W ith m y b e s t w ishes o n c e m o re , C h ristian

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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

Thailand
At th e en d o f 2003 a request reach ed m e from a d octor couple in Thailand. Abou t 100 kilom etres n or th o f Ban gkok th ey run an orphanage, wh ich curren tly has 40 ch ildren in its care. Th e couple told m e th at t h ey would like to increase th e capacity o f th e orphan age to 100 children. Th e goal was for th e orphan age to be able to grow en ou gh food to m ake it self-sufficien t. So in January 2004 I flew to Th ailan d with m y own helpers an d trainees to take a look at th e situation in person an d to support th e fam ilys plans. W h en first surveyin g th e area, th e owners expressed th eir wish to in cor porate th e words LOVE ~ PEACE in to th e project durin g th e com in g excavation work. As th ere is a fligh tpath goin g over th e their lan d to Bangkok, th e words sh ould be large en ou gh so th at th e m essage can still be seen from an airplane. First I had to spen d an even in g takin g a look at th is proposal an d its pros pects. Th en th e idea occurred to m e th at we could m ake th e letters out o f raised beds and banks, th en create pon ds an d d itch es in th e hollows inside th e letters. On th e sou th ern side o f th e words LOVE ~ PEACE we plan to divert water in to th e first letter L an d divert it back out at th e fin al letter E . Th e letter E will be shaped in to th e deepest pond. W ith in th e in dividual pon ds deep an d shallow areas will be m ade to best fulfil th e differen t requirem en ts o f th e various types o f fish, crayfish, crabs an d m ussels. Differen t d epth s o f water m ean th at areas o f th e pon d wit h differen t tem peratures can be created. Th is way problem s such as a lack o f oxygen or th e pon d becom in g overgrown can be m inim ised. Th ese chan ges to th e shape o f th e land will n ot on ly in crease th e area o f workable land, bu t also p r otect it from flooding. At present, it is flooded durin g th e rainy season an d can n ot be worked. Th e aim is th at th e en tire area o f land will be protected from flood in g by a dam , wh ich will also m in im ise th e am oun t

The a re a o f la n d a v a ila b le fo r th e p e rm a c u ltu re p ro je c t d ire c tly b o rd e rs in te n sive ly fa rm e d p a d d y fields.

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P rojects

PERMACULTURE PROJECT IN THAILAND

Cross section of a letter. The w a te r level o f th e p ond varies a c c o rd in g to th e tim e o f ye a r and fhe rainfall.

Inset: O ne p a rt of the roughly 50 h e c ta re p lot o f land will be laid o ut in ponds in the form of writing. The result will be a w a te rg a rd e n w ith m a ny uses A lake w ith an island, on w hich an earth cellar will b e built, will c o m p le te the plan. The system will be e nclosed by a raised b e d .

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

o f h arm ful substan ces com in g in on th e side borderin g th e heavily fer ti lised padd y field. Th ese chan ges will also in clu de th e creation o f differen t m icroclim ates such as d ry areas and mini rain forests . Th e chan ges to th e
la n d sh o u ld n ot o n ly p r ovid e u sa b le

areas o f lan d th at can be farm ed th e wh ole year roun d, bu t also a recrea tion al an d experim en tal lan dscape as well as a garden for th e ch ildren at th e
The e d g e s o f th e le tte rs a re m a rk e d w ith poles, so th a t w o rk w ith th e e x c a v a to r c a n b e g in .

orphan age and th e people at th e n ear by un iversity hospital to relax in. Th e wh ole area can th en be used as a pickyou r-own area, a display garden an d to keep livestock on. It can also serve as a san ctuary for birds an d wild anim als. As h igh quality clay was available in such in exh austible am oun ts, th e possibility o f u tilisin g th is raw m a terial presen ted it self im m ediately. Mostly I th ou gh t o f u sin g it for bu ild ing. Storage room s an d even houses could, accordin g to m y proposal, be bu ilt sim ply and ver y inexpensively. Usin g an excavator it wou ld be possi ble to con str u ct a bu ild in g o f th is kin d very quicldy. I con sidered restorin g th e water supply, wh ich was p ollu ted wit h m an y harm ful substan ces, to its natural state to be particularly im portan t. So m y recom m en dation for th e orph an age was to create a reed bed to pu r ify its waste water and to regenerate and use th e surface an d groun d water. For th e water treatm en t it self I pictured treatm en t pon ds with th e appropriate plants, aeration an d filtering. I also recom m en ded th e con str u ction o f a d eep well. In order to save as m uch

The c h ild re n h e lp to p la n t fru it trees (m a n g o , p a p a y a a n d m a n y others) in a tre n c h fo r la te r use.

M y c o lle a g u e o f m a n y ye a rs Erich A u e rn ig p re p a re s a c a n o p y fo r th e tre n c h .

en ergy as possible, a pum p system powered by water, win d power or elec-

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Projects

t r icity from ph otovoltaic cells could be used. Th e com m itm en t o f th e couple r un n in g th is orphan age is really an exam ple to us all. Th e question o f th e exten t to wh ich m y ideas and suggestion s have been im plem en ted m ust be left un an swered at this point. As Th ailan d is too far away for me to be able to oversee th e system on a regular basis or to participate in th e on goin g work, it on ly rem ains to me at this poin t to wish for th e success o f th e project th at we began an d worked on togeth er wit h such joy.
TOP L o a m a n d c la y is a v a ila b le o n site in a b u n d a n c e a n d c a n b e m a d e g o o d use o f as a b u ild in g m a te ria l. RIGHT W a te r w a s a v a ila b le in la rg e a m o u n ts , u n fo rtu n a te ly it w a s h e a v ily p o llu te d fro m in te n s ive fa rm in g . The p h o to shows a p a d d y fie ld b e in g fa rm e d . BELOW P e rm a c u ltu re : a w a y fo r th e fu tu re .

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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

JDeRla aProject for Lebenshilfe Ausseerland


A u n iq u e p e r m a cu lt u r e p r o je ct is b e in g u n d e r t a k e n in t h e a r e a o f Ba d Au s s e e in St yr ia . T h e in t e n t io n is t o m a k e it p o s s ib le fo r d is a b le d p e o p le t o in t e gr a t e in a s p e cia l w a y w it h t h e h e lp o f p e r m a cu lt u r e . U s in g va r io u s t e ch n iq u e s t h e p r o je ct w ill m a k e a co n t r ib u t io n t o w a r d s g ivin g r e lie f t o t h e fa m ilie s o f d is a b le d p e o p le . I w o r k e d o n t h e co n ce p t fo r t h is p r o je ct w it h Le b e n s h ilfe Au s s e e r la n d ( u n d e r t h e le a d e r s h ip o f R o la n d Ka lft ) in J u n e 20 0 3. I a m h a p p y t h a t I ca n p la y a p a r t in m a k in g p e r m a cu lt u r e a cce s s ib le t o d is a b le d p e o p le a n d t h e ir fa m ilie s w it h m y w o r k o n t h is co m m u n it y p r o je ct . T h is is a lso w h y I a gr e e d t o give t h e Ber t a p r o je ct m y s u p p o r t . T h e p r o je ct in clu d e s t h e cr e a t io n o f ga r d e n s fo r gr o w in g m a n y d iffe r e n t ve ge t a b le a n d fr u it va r ie t ie s , va r io u s p le a s a n t a n d p e a ce fu l a r e a s fo r t r a in in g t h e s en s es , a n a ct ivit y ga r d e n t o t e a ch m o b ilit y, a w a t e r ga r d e n a n d r o ck y a r e a a s a m e e t in g p la ce fo r vis it o r s . T h e r e w ill a lso b e a n e a r t h ce lla r a n d a n e a r t h sh elt er . T h e p la n s fo r t h is p r o je ct ca n b e fo u n d in t h e La n d s ca p e D e s ig n ch a p t er . I w o u ld n o w lik e t o give a q u ick o ve r vie w o f t h e co n ce p t o f t h e p r o je ct .

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Mediterranean Garden
In t h e M e d it e r r a n e a n ga r d e n in d ige n o u s a s w e ll a s n o n - in d ige n o u s p la n t s a n d t r e e s w ill b e gr o w n in a s e r ie s o f d iffe r e n t e xp e r im e n t s . As a r e s u lt o f t h e u n u s u a l co n s t r u ct io n ( t e r r a ce d a n d p r o t e ct e d fr o m t h e e le m e n t s , t h e in t e n t io n o f t h e

C h ild re n e n th u s ia s tic a lly h e lp in g to p la n t a n d m a k e b rid g e s in th e M e d ite rra n e a n g a rd e n .

214

Projects

design is to store heat) th e average an n ual tem perature in th is area should be h igh er an d therefore m ake it possible to grow grapes, figs, kiwifru it and oth er fruits th at require sun n y conditions.

Water Garden
This area should brin g our disabled visitors closer to th e m edium o f water with all its plan t an d an im al inhabitan ts. Direct con tact should be th e focus. This can be achieved by creatin g a ford th at can also be crossed in a wheelchair, and therefore also m akes it possible to plan t from a wheelchair. As well as th e propagation o f aquatic plants, th e breedin g o f fish is also plan n ed in th e water garden.

Sensory Garden
Th e specially selected plan ts and bu ild in g m aterials in this garden will brin g pleasure to th e visitors senses. Th e garden will be plan ted wit h heavily scen ted and arom atic flowers and herbs, as well as d eliciou s berries and fruit. Th is will deligh t th e visitors sen ses o f sm ell and taste. Brightly coloured flowers and eye-catch ers will lead p eop le s eyes th rou gh th e labyrin th. Th e visitors sense o f tou ch will be inspired th rough th e selection o f differen t natural m aterials (stone, wood and water). Th e sen sory garden is curren tly un der con str u ction and has a view o f the Mediterran ean garden. Th e rocks in th e garden n eed to be placed m ore irregu larly and th e raised beds still n eed to be finished.

The stru c tu re o f th e sensory g a rd e n : th e re m a in in g w o rk m ostly n e e d s to b e c a rrie d o u t by hand.

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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

Activity Garden
In th is area th e visitors m obility will be stim ulated. Balance, coordin ation and fin e m otor fu n ction will be tau gh t in equal m easure u sin g natural aids (different rock form ation s an d wood en structures).

Rest Area and Rocky Area


Th is area should atten d to th e spiritual lives o f th e visitors and en courage th em to relax th rou gh th e careful selection o f n aturally available positive vibrations. W h ile th e rest area will be reserved for physical well-bein g (eatin g outdoors, picn ics) am on g oth er thin gs, th e rocky area will becom e a cultural m eetin g point. Music an d p oetry will fin d th eir place here.

Earth Cellar and Shelter


Th e earth cellar is for storin g produce from th e perm aculture area. Th e posi tion in g an d equ ipm en t o f th is bu ild in g m akes it ideally suited to storin g fruit and vegetables, th ese factors also m ake it possible to offer fresh produce on site un til late in th e winter. Th e sh elter should also be suitable as an open sh elter for livestock if n eeded (possibly pigs). Our disabled visitors will be in clu ded in th e project from th e outset. It is also plan n ed th at th ey will h elp with th e project in practical terms, such as by plan tin g differen t areas an d creatin g en viron m en ts wh ere th ey can be happy and com fortable. Th e en tire area will be plan n ed so th at as m an y aspects o f plan tin g an d h arvestin g as possible can be ach ieved from a wheelchair. An im portan t part o f th e in tegration process could be th e m arketin g o f produce grown on site to th e local p opu lation at a local weekly m arket or at a farm ers m arket. On 22nd Apr il 2004 th e groun dbreakin g wor k for th e Berta project t ook place. I n ow look forward to seein g th e fruition o f th is project.

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Concluding Thoughts
Workin g towards a natural life an d natural agriculture is difficult in a tim e wh en people in agriculture, scien ce and politics on ly have their eyes on progress wh ilst sh owin g no con sideration for nature. Grow or give way is th e m otto o f th e m odern age. In our com petitive econ om y th ere is little space left for natural thin king. Livestock are kept in in creasin gly cram ped con dition s, feedin g is autom ated and con trolled by com puters. So con tact with th e livestock is lost an d th e an i m als are seen as a com m od ity rather th an as livin g creatures. People sim ply refer to it as meat pr od u ction . You can on ly expect h ealth y produce from a h ealth y anim al. An im al sufferin g is passed on to people. My observation s con firm this again an d again. Treatin g our en viron m en t and fellow creatures with respect is th e on ly proper way. On e o f m y cen tral ideas is: Try p u ttin g you r self in th e position o f your fellow creatures, wh eth er th ey are plan ts or anim als, and you will qu ickly find ou t wh eth er th e en viron m en t th at you in ten d for th em is righ t or not. If you observe a plan t or an im al closely, you will qu ickly see if it is happy. However, if you wou ld n ot wan t to live in th at en viron m en t as a plan t or anim al, th en ch an ge th e livin g con d ition s th ere quickly! On ly an im als th at live happy lives will wor k for you day and n igh t an d you will be th e biggest win n er as th e own er o f a h ealth y plan t an d an im al kingdom . Th er e is still so m u ch for m e to say about m y experien ces wor kin g with plan ts and anim als. Unfortunately, a book can n ot con tain it all. Wh en we first m et n in e years ago, m y frien d Professor Bernd Lotsch - in m an y respects also m y role m odel - asked m e to d ocu m en t all o f m y practical experiences. I will try, as far as I can, to keep th e prom ise I m ade back th en by recordin g an d passin g on m y experien ces and observation s. I hope th at th is book con tributes to both n ature an d th e wor ld bein g treated with m ore respect. Nature is perfect in all o f its creation , on ly we h um an s m ake mistakes.

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The Authors
J o sef (Sep p ) H o lze r was born in th e provin ce o f Salzburg, Austria. He is a farmer, author, an d an in tern ation al con su ltan t for n atural agriculture. He t ook over his paren ts m ou n tain farm busin ess in 1962 an d pion eered th e use o f ecological farm in g techn iques, or perm aculture, at h igh altitu d es (roughly 5,000 feet above sea level) after bein g un successful with regular farm in g m ethods. He has been called th e rebel farm er becau se h e won t back down to con ven tion al agricultural system sdespite bein g fin ed and th reaten ed wit h prison for practices such as n ot pr u n in g his fruit trees. H olzer con d u cts perm aculture sem in ars at his farm an d worldwide, has written several books, an d is th e subject o f th e film The Agricultural Rebel. He works n ation ally as a perm aculture activist in th e establish ed agricultural industry, and works in tern ation ally as an adviser for ecological agriculture.

C O U R T E S Y O F P E R M AN E N T P U B LI CAT I O N S

218

The Co-Authors
Mag. Cla u d ia H o lze r received her secon dary sch ool ed u cation in Tam sweg and wen t on to stu d y biology (specialisin g in zoology) in Graz. For her dissertation she studied th e diversity o f species o f in sect in th e raised bed system s on th e Kram eterhof. From 2002 she has been wor kin g as an in d epen den t biologist in th e areas o f ecological ed u cation an d perm aculture. J o s e f An d r e a s H o lze r atten ded th e School o f Forestry in Bruck an der Mur. After com pletin g his final d iplom a exam, h e began stu d yin g ecology and b io diversity in Graz in 2002. In add ition to his studies h e also works in ten sively wit h perm aculture principles.

219

Index
Achillea millefolium (yarrow), 60 acid soil, 13,15,17, 23-24, 71,131, 206, 207 Acorns calam us (sweet flag), 52, 202 Actinidia spp. (kiwi), 24,191,193,196,197, 198 activity gard en in Berta project, 216 Adonis aestivalis (ph easan ts eye), 15 aeration o f soil, 81, 83-84, 8 7,131,18 3,18 5 Agaricus spp. (button m ush room s), 137, 140 ,158 agarikon m ush room , 138 agriculture, altern ative, 53-103, 217 alpin e plan ts in, 77-79 ear th cellars an d shelters in, 95-103 green m an ure in, 56-64 livestock in, 80 -91 old varieties an d p lan t d iver sity in, 68 -74 p olycu ltu re tips in, 74-77 p ou ltr y in, 92-95 regu lation o f problem plan ts in, 65-68 soil fer tility in, 54-55 tran sition to, 10 ,135-36 agriculture, tradition al, 2-4, 53-54, 217 fruit cultivation in, 10 8-10 ,135-36 livestock in, 80, 217 p est p roblem s in, 3,18 0 -8 1 subsidy system in, 4, 53, 54 tran sition to p erm acu ltu re, 10 ,135-36 water use in, 45 Agrimonia eupatoria (agrim on y), 203 agroch em icals, 3 Agrocybe aegerita m ush room , 141,142 Alcea rosea var. nigra (black hollyh ock), 203 Alchem illa erythropoda (lady s m an tle), 165, 201 Alism a plantago-aquatica (water plan tain ), Alsike clover, 31, 63, 75 Althaea officinalis (m arsh m allow), 164, 201 altitude, n . See also h igh altitu d e areas am aran th, 5 Am elanchier ovalis (sn owy m espilus), 91, 107 Am er ican bison , 80, 87, 88 am ph ibian s, 181,182 An an as Reinette apple, 116 Anethum graveolens (dill), 201 Angelica archangelica (garden angelica), 201 an im als as livestock, 7, 80 -91. See also livestock p rotection o f plan ts from , 22-23, 24> u 3 > 114-15,167,18 3,18 4 Anodonta cygnea (swan m ussels), 51 Anthem is spp., 15,17, 60, 201 Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vern al grass), 15 Anthriscus cerefolium (ch ervil), 202 Anthriscus sylvestris (cow parsley), 15 Anthyllis vulneraria (kidn ey vetch), 63 aph ids, 178 ,179,18 0 ,194 Apium graveolens (celery), 41, 200 apple, 20 ,10 7,10 8 ,110 ,112,115-18 apple rose, 93 apricots, 24,113,123,18 9,191 aqu atic plan ts, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 52 arctic char, 51 Arion vulgaris (Spanish slug), 46,148 ,18 3 Armillaria mellea (h on ey fun gus m ush room ), 138 Armoracia rusticana (horseradish), 166, 202 Arnica spp. (arnica), 78, 201, 204 arrowhead, 52 Artem isia abrotanum (south ern wood), 201 Artem isia absinthium (worm wood), 180, 181, 204 Artem isia dracunculus (tarragon), 201 Artemisia vulgaris (m ugwort), 15,16,164, 201

52
alkalin e soil, 15,17 Alkm en e apple, 116,119 Alliaria petiolata (garlic m ustard), 202 Allium spp., 161,166,199, 200, 203, 204 alpin e plan ts, 77-79

Index
Asparagus officinalis (asparagus), 8, 200 asp ect o f land, 11-12 Astacus astacus (European crayfish), 51 Atriplex patula (orache), 14,15, 66 Auricularia auricula-judae, 140 ,142 Avena spp. (oats), 19, 72 Avenella flexuosa (wavy hair grass), 15 bacteria, 31, 55, 57-58 balcon y garden s, 192-98 balsam herb, 201 barberry, 91,115 bark beetles, 65 barley, 19, 72 Barth olom ew s apple, 115-16 basil, sweet, 201 bats, 182 Baum an n s Rein ette apple, 116 bean s, 41, 58, 63, 66, 75,162,170 ,178 ,191, 192,193,199 bees, 104 beetles, 65, 67,18 0 ,18 1,18 5 beetroot, 169, 200 Belle de Boskoop apple, n8 bellflowers, 60, 78 Berberis vulgaris (barberry), 91,115 bergam ot, 202 Berkshire pigs, 208 Berta project, 6 ,18 , 214-16 Beta vulgaris (beetroot, chard), 169,171, 200 betony, 15,17, 204 Beurre Alexan d r e Lucas pear, 120 Beurre Gris pear, 120 Beurre H ardy pear, 120 Bigarreau Noir cherry, 122 bilberry, 15, 78 ,169 biodiversity, th r eats to, 3 biom ass, 8, 29, 31 gr een m an u re crops as, 56-64 birch boletes, 139,154,155,156 bird cherry, 91 birds, 74, 91-95,18 1 ducks, 46, 93, 94-9 5,148 food sources for, 60, 74, 91-92 geese, 46, 94-95, 208 in in sect regu lation , 91,18 0 ,18 2 n estin g sites for, 92, 93-94, 95,18 2 bird sfoot trefoil, 63 Bison spp. (bison ), 80, 8 7,8 8 , 89 bitter oran ge, 23 b lack hollyh ock, 203 b lack m ed ick, 31, 63, 75, 76 black oats, 72 b lack p oplar m ush room , 141,142 b lack radish, 169 b lack salsify, 183, 200 blackth orn , 107,115 blu e m oor grass, 15 Bohn apfel apple, n 6 Boiken apple, 116,117 Boletus edulis (ceps), 138,154 Bonasa bonasia (h azel grouse), 95 bon e salve, 114-15,166-68 Borago officinalis (borage), 201 Bos m utus (yaks), 80, 87, 88, 89 bracken , 15 bram bles (Rubusfruticosus), 91 bran d lin g wor m , 185 brandroggen, 72-74 Brassica napus (oilseed rape), 58, 64,113 Brassica oleracea broccoli, 162 cabbage, 41, 58 ,162,16 9 ,171,178 ,19 9 kale, 64, 76, 89 Brassica rapa, 64. See also turn ip Brazil, 22, 205 breed in g o f earth worm s, 18 6-8 7 o f plan ts, 68 -70 bridge grafts, 129,130 -31 broad bean , 63 broccoli, 162 broom , 11, 23, n o brown trout, 51 Bubalus bubalus arnee (water buffalo), 80, 8 7,8 9 bu ckwh eat, 58, 64, 76,113,114 bu d grafts, 129,130 Bufo bufo (toads), 46,18 5 bugloss, 15 Biihler Friih zwetsch e plum , 121 bulrushes, 52 Burgenland, 18, 24, 29, 34 bu r n in g practices, 8, 72-73 in bon e salve preparation, 166,167 buttercup, 15,16, 90 bu tton m ush room s, 137,140 ,158 bypass tech n iqu e for balcon y garden s, 197, 198 cabbage, 41, 58 ,162,16 9 ,171,178 ,19 9 Calendula officinalis (calen dula), 60 ,164, 168, 203 Calluna vulgaris (heather), 15, 207

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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture


Calvatia gigantea (gian t puffball m ush room ), 138 Camelina sativa (gold-of-pleasure), 62, 64 Campanula spp. (bellflowers), 60, 78 Cannabis sativa (hem p), 38, 60, 66, 75, 92 Cantharellus cibarius (ch an terelles), 138, clem atis, 192 clim bin g plan ts, 192,193,196,197-98 clover, 23, 30, 31, 61, 63,110 ,114 as catch crop, 75, 76, 77 as gr een m an ure crop, 58, 63,176 cockchafers, 85 cold frames, 170 Colom bia, 22,72, 205 Coloree de J uillet pear, 120 coltsfoot, 15,165 com bin ation s o f plan ts, 199-20 0 comfrey, 23, 60 ,164,18 0 , 201 com pacted soil, 15,17, 25, 39, 83-84 com post, m ush room s grown on, 140 com postin g, 174-75, >85> 186 Com tesse de Paris pear, 120 con eflower, purple, 165, 203 Con fer en ce Pear, 120 con servation m easures, 79, 91-92 Consolida regalis (forkin g larkspur), 15 con tain er garden s, 192-98 Coprinus com atus m ush room , 140 ,158 Coriandrum sativum (corian der), 202 corn, 41, 66 corn ch am om ile, 15 corn m in t, 15 Corn elian cherry, 107 cornflower, 60, 67, 202 Cornus mas (Corn elian ch erry), 107 Cornus sanguinea (dogwood), 91 courgettes, 12, 41,178 ,191,193,199 cowberries, 78 cow parsley, 15 crab apple, 107 crab spider, 181 crayfish, 46, 47, 48, 51, 210 cr eepin g buttercup, 15,16 cr eepin g soft grass, 15 crim son clover, 63 cross-pollin ation , 69-70 Cucum is sativus (cu cum ber), 12, 41,174, 178 ,191,193,199 Cucurbita spp., 199 courgettes, 12, 41,178 ,191,193,199 pum pkin s, 12, 41, 70 ,174,191,193,199 cu lin ar y plan ts, 67, 20 1-4 in kitch en garden s, 159-63,170 -74 culverts for water m an agem en t, 27-28

154
capercaillie, 94, 95 Capsella bursa-pastoris (sh eph er d s purse),

1 5
Capsicum spp. (pepper), 200 Carex (sedge), 207 carp, 51 carrots, 4 1,162,169,18 3,18 8 ,199 Carthamus tinctorius (safflower), 201 Castanea sativa (sweet ch estn ut), 11, 24 castor-oil plan ts, 12 catch crops, 75-77, 207 cattle, 72, 87-91, 98, 9 9,169 celan din e, greater, 164, 203 celery, 41, 200 cellars earth, 96-10 1,10 3, 214, 216 ston e, 101-3 Centaurea cyanus (cornflower), 60, 67, 202 Centaurium erythraea (cen taury), 204 ceps, 138,154 cereal crops, 19, 60, 68, 70 -74, 75, 76, 207 Certhiidae (treecreepers), 92 ch am om ile, 164,196 corn, 15 yellow, 15,17, 60, 201 chan terelles, 138,154 chard, 169,171, 200 Chelidonium majus (greater celan din e), 164, 203 Chenopodium album (fat h en ), 15 Chenopodium bonus-henricus, 199 cherry, 20, 91,10 4,10 6,10 7,112,122,125,192 chervil, 202 ch estn ut, sweet, 11, 24 ch icken s, 74 ch ickweed , 15,16 chicory, 165,169 children , gard en areas for, 44,18 7-8 9 ,19 7, 210-13 Ch in ese artich oke, 199 chives, 161,162, 203

Cichorium intybus (chicory), 165,169


Clapps Favourite pear, 120 clay soil, p on d con str u ction in, 19 cleft grafts, 126,127,128

curly mint, 202


curran ts, 20 ,161 Cynoglossum officinale (h ou n ds ton gue), 202

222

Index
Cyperaceae (sedge), 207 Cyprinus carpio (carp), 51 Czar plum , 122 Dah om ey m in iatur e cattle, 87, 98 dam son plum , 121-22,162-63 dan delion , 15,165,169 Dan ziger Kan tapfel apple, 116 Daucus carota (carrot), 41,162,169,18 3, 188,199 decoy an d d istraction plan ts, 113,114,183, 184 deer, 80 ,113,114-15 deh or n in g o f cattle, 90 -91 diet o f cattle, 72, 8 9 -9 0 ,16 9 o f ducks an d geese, 95,148 m eat qu ality in, 80 o f pigs, 72, 83, 84-8 5, 86, 87,10 4,135 wh eat varieties in, 70 o f wild birds, 91-92 dill, 201 Diplotaxis tenuifolia (wild rocket), 200 disabled people, garden s for, 214-16 distraction an d decoy plan ts, 113,114,183, 184 ditch es as earth shelters for pigs, 95-96 for hu m us storage, 31-32 for water m an agem en t in terraces, 27-28, 31-32 dock, broad-leaved, 66, 67 d og rose, 91 dogwood, 91 Don n isen s Gelbe Kn orpelkir sch e cherry, 122 Doyen n e Boussoch pear, 121 dragon flies, 181,182 drain age, 2, 8 drawin g salves, 166 d r y soil, 5,15,17, 28, 39 ducks, 46, 93, 94-9 5,148 dur oc pigs, 82-83, 84 dwarfin g rootstocks, 124,135 ear th cellars an d shelters, 95, 96-10 1,10 3, 214, 216 earthworm s, 13, 55,175,177,18 5-8 7,193, 194,196 earwigs, 180,181 Echinacea purpurea (purple con eflower), 165, 203 eggs, h atch in g of, 92-93 Egyptian clover, 63 ein korn wh eat, 70, 207 Eiseniafoetida (bran dlin g wor m ), 185 elderberry, 15, 91 elevation o f land, 1 1 em ban km en t o f terraces, 26, 27, 28 ,30 ,31 em m er wh eat, 70, 207 en dan ger ed species, 79, 91 en oki m ush room s, 141,142,143 Epilobium parviflorum, 202 Equisetum arvense (field horsetail), 15,180, 181 Erithacus rubecula (robins), 91 erosion , 11,12, 22, 25, 29 Esox lucius (pike), 51 espalier trees, 10 9,110 ,135,18 3,18 9 Euorrymus europaeus (spin dle tree), 91 European bison , 80, 87, 89 European crayfish, 51 even in g prim rose, 203 excavators, 8. See also m ach in er y exp er im en tation in test areas, 19-21 faba bean , 63 Faboideae, 57-58 Fagopyrum esculentum, 58, 64, 76,113,114 fallow deer, 80 fat h en (Chenopodium album), 15 fen n el, 202 fer m en tation o f liquid fertilisers, 179-80 fertilisers, 55, 65, 66,174-8 0 for cereal crops, 72 en viron m en tal dam age from, 3, 45,177 for fru it trees, 10 8-10 ,112,115,135-36 liquid, 177-8 0 ,18 1,194-96 fer tility o f soil, 31, 41-42, 54-55 plan ts im provin g, 55, 56-64 Festuca ovina (sheeps fescue), 15,16 feverfew, 203 fiddlen eck, 62, 64 field bean , 63 Filipendula ulmaria (m eadowsweet), 202 fin ger test in soil assessm en t, 13-14 fire rye, 72-74 fish, p on d con str u ction for, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50 -51, 210 flail m owers, 62 Flammulina velutipes m ush room , 141,142,

143
flavor an d taste o f food, 69 flax, 19, 64, 76, 92

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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture


fly h on eysu ckle, 91 fodder kale, 89 fod d er vetch , 63 Foeniculum vulgare (fenn el), 202 forkin g larkspur, 15 foxgloves, 161 French lilac, 169 frin ged water lilies, 52 frosts affectin g fru it crops, 10 5,10 7,10 8, 191-92 fruits, 10 4-36 in Berta project, 214, 215 frosts affectin g, 10 5,10 7,10 8 ,191-92 in h igh -altitu d e areas, 20 ,10 9,112,115 in kitch en garden s, 159,161,171 in p ick-your -own areas, 44 p lan ts grown aroun d, 110 -12,113,114,190 propagation an d gr aftin g of, 10 4,124-33 p rotection o f trees again st browsing, 113, 114-15,167 in raised beds, 40, 42,111,134 seeds of, 124,131-33 sh ock m eth od in replan tin g, 133-34 storage room s for, 99-10 3 in terraces, 31,10 4,10 6,10 7,113 in Th ailan d project, 212 in town garden s, 18 9 ,191-92,196,197 tradition al cultivation of, 10 8-10 ,135-36 var ieties recom m en ded, 116-23 win dfall, as pig feed, 8 4,10 4,135 fun gi, 55, 78, 79,137-38 ,139.154 m ush room s, 137-58 plan t diseases from, 10 8 ,10 9,112,164,194 Gachtl, m em ories of, 159,161-63, x8i Galium aparine (goosegrass), 15,16 Galium odoratum (sweet wood r u ff), 204 Ganoderma lucidum (lin gzh i m ush room ), 140 garden s, 159-20 4 for disabled, in Berta project, 214-16 helpers an d fellow creatures in, 180 -87 kitch en , 159-63,170 -74 m edicin al plan ts in, 159,161,163-69,170 , 171, 20 1-4 n atural fertilisers in, 174-80 in town areas, 18 7-98 vegetables in, 159,162,169-74,199-20 0

geese, 46, 94-95, 208 gen etically m od ified seeds, 69 Gentiana spp. (gen tian s), 77-79,18 1, 202, 207 germ in ation o f seeds, 22, 29, 30, 77-79 gian t p u ffball m ush room , 138 gian t silver m ullein , 204 Gold en Delicious apples, 115 gold en m arguerite, 15,17, 60, 201 gold en oyster m ush room , 141 gold-of-pleasure, 62, 64 Good Kin g Henry, 199 gooseberry, 161 goosegrass, 15,16 gover n m en t regulation s, 9-10 , 79 gr ad ien t o f terraces, 25-26 gr aftin g o f fru it trees, 10 4,124-33 grapes, 24 ,19 1,19 3,19 6 ,19 7 grass pea, 63 Gravenstein apple, 117 great tit (Parus major), 92 greater celan din e, 164, 203 greater plan tain , 15 green d ock beetle, 67 green m an u re crops, 30-31, 56-64, 72, 75, 113,114,131,176 Green gage plum , 121 Grofie Prin zessin cherry, 122 Gros Blan quet pear, 121 gr ou n d beetles, 181,185 grouse, 24, 95 Gueld er rose, 91 h airy alpin e rose, 78 h arden in g o ff sprin g tran splan ts, 170 hares browsin g fru it trees, 113,114 h awkweed , m ouse-ear, 15 h azel grouse, 95 h eath speedwell, 201 heather, 15, 207 h eavy soil, 14, 27, 31, 39,18 9 H edelfin ger Riesen kirsch e cherry, 122 Hedera helix (ivy), 91 h edgeh ogs, 181,185 hedges, 6 ,14. 93- 1 33 Helianthus annuus (sun flowers), 12,14,19, 3 8 ,6 4 aroun d fru it trees, 113 as gr een m an u re crop, 58, 60, 61 in polycultures, 75 in regu lation o f p roblem plan ts, 66, 68 seeds as bird food, 92

garlic, 161,164,166,199,204
garlic chives, 203 garlic m ustard, 202 Gastroidea viridula (green d ock beetle), 67

224

Index
Helianthus tuberosus (J erusalem artich okes), 14,38 , 61, 64, 66, 67, 68, 75, 183, 200 as an im al feed, 76, 86, 87, 8 9-90 aroun d fru it trees, 113,114 Helixpom atia (edible snail), 185 h em p, 38, 60, 66, 75, 92 Heracleum sphondylium (h ogweed), 14,15 h erbs, 5, 58, 68, 75, 20 1-4 in balcon y garden s, 193 in kitch en garden s, 159,161,162,163 m edicin al, 163-69. See also m edicin al p lan ts in pick-your-own areas, 44 Hieracium pilosella (m ouse-ear h awkweed ), 15 high altitude areas, n - 12 ,19-21 alpin e plan ts in, 77-79 fruits in, 20 ,10 9,112,115-16 m ush room s in, 138 Hippuris vulgaris (m ares tail), 52 h ogweed, 14,15 Holcus mollis (creepin g soft grass), 15 h ollyh ock, black, 203 h om em ad e rem edies an d preparation s bon e salve, 114-15,166-68 liquid fertilisers, 177-80 m edicin al plan ts for, 163-69 for slug an d sn ail regulation , 184 h on ey fu n gu s m ush room , 138 h on ey plan ts, 58 h on eysuckle, fly, 91 Hordeum vulgare (barley), 19, 72 horse ch estn u t, 188 horseradish, 166, 202 horsetail, 15,180 ,181 hou n d s ton gue, 202 hoverflies, 180,181 h um us, 31-32, 65 Hun garian Best apricot, 123 Hun garian steppe cattle, 87 hybrid seeds, 68 -69 hydraulic ram, water-powered, 47 Hypericum perforatum (St. J ohn s wort), 202 Hyssopus officinalis (hyssop), 204 ich n eu m on flies, 181 in com e in ecological farm in g, 54 from fruits, 10 4 -5,107 > x35- 36 from m ush room s, 137,138 in subsidy system , 4, 53, 54 in d icator plan ts, 14-17, 66 in k cap m ush room s, shaggy, 140 ,158 in sect con trol, 91,18 0 -82 with liquid fertilisers, 178 ,179,18 0 ,18 1, 194 with pigs, 85 in sects ch ild h ood experien ces with , 189 in pollin ation , 70 ,10 4 Inula ensifolia (n arrow-leaved inula), 201 Iris sp., 52 irrigation o f balcon y garden s, 194 ivy, 91 J acques Lebel apple, 117 J ames Grieve apple, 117 J apanese rose, 93 J apanese sh eath ed wood tu ft m ush room , 142 J erusalem artichokes. See Helianthus tuberosus J on athan apple, 117 J udas ear fun gus, 140 ,142 Juncus spp. (rush), 15 Kaiser Wilh elm apple, 117 kale, 64, 76, 89 Kassins Friihe cherry, 122 Kern ech ter vom Vorgebirge peach, 123 kid n ey vetch , 63 kin g oyster m ush room , 141 kin g stropharia m ush room , 137,149,154 Kirkes plum , 122 kitch en garden s, 159-63,170 -74 helpers an d fellow creatures in, 180 -87 m edicin al plan ts in, 159,161,163-64,170 , 171 kitch en waste, 194 kiwi, 24,19 1,19 3,19 6 ,19 7,19 8 kohlrabi, 162 koi carp, 51 Kuehneromyces mutabilis m ush room , 142,
143

Lacerta agilis (sand lizard), 182 lacewin gs, 180,181 Lactuca spp. (lettuce), 162,193, 200, 207 ladybirds, 180,181 lad y s m an tle, 165, 201 Lan dsberger Reinette apple, 117 larch, 23, 97, 99,10 6

225

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture


Lariciformes officinalis (agarikon m ush room s), 138 larkspur, forkin g, 15 Lathyrus sativus (grass pea), 63 Lavandula angustifolia (lavender), 161, 202 Leccinum scabrum, 139,154,155,156 leeks, 161, 200 legum es, 57-58 , 63, 207 bean s, 41, 58, 63, 66, 75,162,170 ,178 ,191, 192,193,199 peas. See pea lem on balm , 161,164, 204 lem on thym e, 163,169 Lentinula edodes m ush room , 21,137,138, 141 Leonurus cardiaca (m otherwort), 161, 202 lettuce, 162,193, 200, 207 Levisticum officinale (lovage), 161,162,164, 202 ligh t soil, 14 Ligustrum vulgare (wild privet), 91 lilac, French, 169 lin gzh i m ush room , 140 Linum spp. (flax), 19, 64, 76, 92 liquid fertilisers, 177-8 0 ,18 1,194-96 livestock, 7, 66, 80 -91 cattle, 72, 87-91, 98, 9 9,169 feed for, 72, 76, 77, 8 9 -9 0 ,16 9 h om em ad e rem edies for, 16 4,166-67 in in tensive m od ern farm in g, 80, 217 pigs. See pigs shelters for, 36, 83, 84, 86, 87, 95-96,

in p on d con str uction , 18-19, 49, 5> 51 in raised bed con struction , 39 in shelter con str uction , 97-98 , 99 in terrace con str uction , 26-27 terrace design for, 5, 25 in town garden , 189 m aize, 75, 200 m ale fern, 90 mallow, 64, 203 Malus spp. (apple), 20 ,10 7,10 8 ,110 ,112, 115-18 Malva spp. (m allow), 64, 203 m an galitza pigs, 82, 84, 96 m ango, 22 m an ure in cold fram e for heat, 170 in kitch en garden s, 172,173 m are s tail, 52 marjoram , 5, 202 m arr owstem kale, 64 m arsh mallow, 164, 201 m asterwort, 203 m at grass, 15,17 Matricaria chamomilla, 60, 201 Mau n zen apple, 118 m ayweed, scen ted, 60, 201 m ead ow clary, 15,17 m eadowsweet, 202 Medicago lupulina (black m edick), 31, 63,
7 5 ,7 6

98. 99
lizards, 181,182,185 loam soil, 19, 26, 27, 50 ,18 9 Lonicera xylosteum (fly h on eysuckle), 91 Lotsch, Bernd, 217 Lotus corniculatus (birdsfoot trefoil), 63 Louise Bon n e pear, 120 lovage, 161,162,164, 202 low altitu d e areas, 1 1 lucern e, 61, 63,110 Lumbricus spp. (earthworm s), 185 Lupinus spp. (lupin), 23, 30, 57, 61, 63, 90 as green m an u re crop, 58, 63,176 as p ion eer plan t, 110 Lycopersicon (tom ato), 41,179,190 , 200 Lycopsis arvensis (bugloss), 15 m achin ery, 8 in d itch diggin g, 31-32 flail m owers, 62

Medicago sativa (lucerne), 61, 63, n o m edicin al plan ts, 67,163-69, 20 1-4 in balcon y garden s, 193 as catch crop, 75 in kitch en garden s, 159,161,163-64,170 , 171 for livestock problem s, 164,166 m u sh room s as, 138-40 Mediterran ean gard en in Berta project, 214-15 Melilotus spp. (sweet clover), 63 Melissa officinalis (lem on balm ), 161,164, 204 Mentha spp. (m in t), 15, 202, 203 m espilus, snowy, 91,10 7 m ice browsin g fruit trees, 114 m icroclim ates, 6,11,12, 21-24 for fru it trees, m , 115 o f pon ds, 4 6-47 o f raised beds, 22, 23-24, 33, 34 o f terraces, 22, 23,31 in Th ailan d project, 212

226

Index
in town garden s, 18 9,191-92,196 m icroorgan ism s in soil, 13, 31, 54-55 bacteria, 31, 55, 57-58 fun gi. See fun gi m ilk thistle, 203 m illet, 64, 92 m in n ows, 51 m in t, 15,161,164, 202, 203 Molinia caerulea (purple m oor grass), 15 Monarda spp. (bergam ot), 202 m on ksh ood, 90 ,161 m on oculture, 2-3, 45, 74,18 0 -8 1 m on tan a salve, 165-66 m oor grass, 15 Morello Cherry, 122 m oth erwort, 161, 202 m ou n tain arnica, 78, 201 m ou n tain p asque flowers, 78 m owers, flail, m istakes in use of, 62 m ugwort, 15,16,164, 201 m ulch in g, 66 -6 7, 6 8 ,176 -77,18 5,18 6 o f fruit trees, n o o f kitch en garden s, 172-73 m aterials used for, 6 6 ,176 ,177 o f raised beds, 39, 42 in Scottish highlan ds, 207, 208 o f slopes, 30 m ullein , 164, 202, 204 m ultiflora rose, 93 m u scovy ducks, 93 m ush room s, 21,137-58 on com post, 140 on straw, 140 ,149-54 in town garden s, 193-94, wild, 90 ,154-58 on wood, 138 ,140 -49 m u sk mallow, 203 m ussels, 46, 51, 210 m ustard, 176 garlic, 202 white, 64 Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely)', 204 n aked oats, 72 n am eko m ush room , 142 Nardus stricta (m at grass), 15,17 n asturtium , gard en (Tropaeolum majus), 202 Nasturtium officinale (watercress), 201 n em atod es, 164 n estin g sites, 92, 93-94, 95,18 2 n ettle ann ual, 15,180 in n itr ogen rich soil, 14,15, 66 stinging, 15, 66, 67,16 5,16 9 ,178 ,18 0 ,18 1 New Zealan d spin ach, 5 niches, m icr oclim ates of, 12, 22 n itrogen , 14,15,16, 31, 57, 66,18 0 n or th -facin g slopes, 12 n otch ed in ocu lation m eth od , 145 Nupharluteum (yellow water lily), 52 n uth atch es, 92 Nymphaea alba (white water lily), 52 Nymphoides peltata (frin ged water lily), 52 oats, 19, 72 Ocim um basilicum (sweet basil), 201 Od en wald er apple, 118 Oenothera biennis (even in g prim rose), 203 oilseed rape, 58, 64,113 old varieties, 69-74, 80 o f apples, 116-18 o f cattle, 8 7-8 9 o f pears, 120-21 o f pigs, 81, 82-83 o f plum s, 121-22 onion s, 161,166, 200 Onobrychis viciifolia (sainfoin), 63 On tario apple, 118 Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear cactus), 24 orache, 14,15, 66 orchards, 84. See also fruits orchids, 2, 5, 46 oregano, 203 Origanum majorana (m arjoram ), 5, 202 Origanum vulgare (oregan o), 203 Ornithopus sativus (serradella), 63 oyster m ush room s, 137,141,146,148 ,149 paddocks, 66, 72 cattle in, 89, 90 fruit trees in, 8 4,10 4,132,135 pigs in, 81, 84, 8 5-8 7,10 4,135 Panicum miliaceum (m illet), 64, 92 papaya, 22 parsley, 162, 203 parsnip, 200 Parus major (great tit), 92 pasque flowers, m oun tain , 78 Pastinaca sativa (parsnip), 200 pastures, p r oblem plan ts in, 65, 66

227

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture


paths, 5, 25, 4] pea, 41, 63, 66, 75, 8 6 ,178 ,19 9 as gr een m an u re crops, 58, 61, 63 in kitch en garden s, 162,170 in town garden s, 191,192,193 peaches, 123,189,191 pears, 20 ,10 4,10 6,10 7,10 8 ,112, n 9 ,120-21, 124 pen n yroyal, 203 peony, 165 pepper, 200 p epper m in t, 203 Persian clover, 63 p est p roblem s in tradition al agriculture, 3, 180-81 pesticides, 3, 45, 55,177 in fruit cultivation , 10 8-10 ,135-36 Petroselinum crispum (parsley), 162, 203 Peucedanum ostruthium (m asterwort), 203 pH o f soil, 13,15,17, 34 acid, 13,15,17, 23-24, 71,131, 206, 207 alkalin e, 15,17 Phacelia tanacetifolia (fiddlen eck), 62, 64 Phaseolus spp. (beans), 41, 58, 63, 66, 75, 162,170 ,178 ,191,192,193,199 pheasan ts, 95 ph easan ts eye, 15 Pholiota nameko (n am eko m ush room ), 142 Phoxinus phoxinus (m in n ows), 51 Picea spp. (spruce), 35,36, 97,10 6,125,131,
154

p lou gh in g deep, im p act on soil life, 55 with pigs, 81, 83-84, 85, 87,131 plum s, 112,121-22,162-63 p oison ous plan ts, 90 ,161 pollin ation , 69-70 ,10 4,130 p ollu tion , 3, 6,38 , 45,18 9,192, 212, 213 polycultures, 74-77,153,18 1 Poncirus trifoliata (bitter oran ge), 23 pon ds, 2, 4, 5, 46, 47-52 con str u ction of, 18-19, 4 7-51 for d ucks an d geese, 94-95 gover n m en t regu lation s on , 9, 48 in n or th -facin g slopes, 12 terraces of, 29 in Th ailan d project, 210, 211 for water buffalo, 89 poppies, 76 p ot m arigold (calen dula), 60 ,164,168 , 203 p otash in liquid fertiliser, 180 potato, 41, 68, 70, 8 6,171,199 p otato rose, 93 Potentilla anserina (silverweed), 15,17 Potentilla erecta (torm en til), 165,169 poultice preparation s an d salves, 114-15, 165-68 poultry, 74, 92-95 prickly pear cactus, 24 privet, wild, 91 propagation o f alpin e plan ts, 77-79 o f dom estic an im al breeds, 80 o f fru it trees, 124-33 o f m ush room s, 143-44,155,157 seed p r od u ction for, 69-70 ,171 prop er ty boun daries, 6, 7 p ru n in g o f fru it trees, 108-10,112 Prunus armeniaca (apricots), 24,113,123, 189,191 Prunus avium (wild ch erry), 91,10 7,122 Prunus domestica subsp. insititia (dam son plum ), 121-22,162-63 Prunuspadus (bird cherry), 91 Prunus spinosa (blackth or n ), 107,115 Pteridium aquilinum (bracken ), 15 p u ffball m ush room , gian t, 138 Pulsatilla montana (m ou n tain pasque flowers), 78 pum pkin s, 12, 41, 70 ,174,191,193,199 purple con eflower, 165, 203 purple m oor grass, 15 Pyrus pyraster (wild pear), 107

Picidae (woodpeckers), 92 pick-your-own areas, 42-44, 77 pigs, 81-87 castration of, 166 feed for, 72, 83, 8 4-8 5, 86, 8 7,10 4,135 gr azin g raised beds, 42 as helpers, 66, 81, 83-85, 8 7,131,148 in p ad d ock system , 81, 84, 8 5-8 7,10 4,135 in Scottish highlan ds, 208 shelters for, 36, 83, 84, 86, 87, 95-9 6 pike, 51 p ion eer plan ts, 22, 23, 72,110 Pisum sativum (garden pea), 63,199 plan t com bin ation s for vegetables, 199-20 0 Plantago major (greater plan tain ), 15 p lan tain greater, 15 water, 52 plan tin g m eth od for fruit: trees, 108, n o-12 Pleurotus oyster m ush room s, 141,146,148 , 149

228

Index
quail, 95 Qu etsch e plum , 121 quin ce rootstock, 124 radishes, 41, 64,162,16 9 ,18 8 ,19 2,19 3 as catch crop, 75, 76, 207 in Scottish H ighlan ds, 207, 208 raised beds, 6 ,8 ,2 2 ,3 3 -4 4 ,18 9 ,2 0 7 com p ostin g between , 174-75 fruits in, 40 ,42,111,134 m icr oclim ates of, 22, 23-24, 33, 34 vegetables in, 40 ,41, 42,174-75 Ranunculus repens (creepin g buttercup), 15,16 rape oilseed, 58, 64,113 winter, 75 Raphanus sativus, 64. See also radishes The Rebel Farmer (Holzer), 2, 47, 205 red clover, 63 red deer, 80,113 red earth worm s, 185 red spid er mites, 180 reed bed for water p urification , 212 Rhizobium bacteria, 57 Rhododendron hirsutum (h airy alpin e rose), 78 roach fish, 51 robin, 91 robin ia, 97, 99,10 1 rocket, wild , 200 roe deer, 80,113 r oot system s o f plan ts, 29-30 , 31, 57, 61 r ootstock in graftin g, 124-29,131-33,135 Rosa spp. (rose), 23, 91, 93,115,161,193 rose, Gueld er (Viburnum opulus), 91 rose, h airy alpin e (Rhododendron hirsutum), 78 Rossian, Fritz, 90 Rote Pich elbir n e pear, 121 rou n d wood shelters, 8, 36, 83, 87, 96-101, 103 rowan, 91,10 6,10 7,132 Rubusfruticosus (bram ble), 91 ru dd fish, 51 rue, 204 Rumex acetosella (sheeps sorrel), 15,17 Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock), 66, 67 ru n n er bean s, 162 rush, 15 Ruta graveolens (rue), 204 safflower, 201 sage, 5,161,168 , 203 Sagittaria sagittifolia (arrowhead), 52 sain foin, 63 Rutilus rutilus (roach fish), 51 rye, 19, 64, 72-74,10 6

St. John s wort, 202


salad bur n et, 15, 64 Salmo trutta (brown trout), 51 salsify, 183, 200 salve and p ou ltice preparations, 114-15, 165-68 Salvelinus alpinus (arctic char), 51 Salvia officinalis (sage), 5,161,168 , 203 Salvia pratensis (m ead ow clary), 15,17 Salzburger Pear, 121 Sam bucus nigra (elderberry), 15, 91 san d lizard, 182 Sander lucioperca (zan der), 51 san dy soil, 26, 28, 39 Sanguisorba minor (salad burn et), 15, 64 Sanicula europaea (sanicle), 15,17 Saponaria officinalis (soapwort), 203 Satureja montana (win ter savory), 201 savory, winter, 201 sawdust m ixture for slu g an d snail regulation , 184 scale in sects, 179,180 Scardinius erythrophthalmus (rudd fish), 51 scen ted m ayweed, 60, 201 Sch m idtber ger s Rote apple, 118 Sch n eid ers Spate Kn orpelkirsch e cherry, 122 scion in graftin g, 125-29 Scirpus sylvaticus (wood club rush), 15 scorpion weed, 113 Scorzonera hispanica (black salsify), 183, 200 Scotlan d, 23-24, 71, 20 5-9 Scottish H igh lan d cattle, 87, 88, 98 Secale spp. (rye), 64, 72 sedge, 207 seeds, 68 -70 ,171 o f alpin e plan ts, 77-79 for birds, 92 o f cabbages, 171 o f fruits, 124,131-33 germ in ation of, 2 2 ,2 9 ,3 0 ,77-79 sen sory gard en in Berta project, 215 serradella, 63 service tree, 107

229

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture


Sesleria varia (blue m oor grass), 15 sh aggy in k cap m ush room s, 140 ,158 sh eath ed wood tu ft m ush room s, 142,143 sheeps fescue, 15,16 Sheeps Nose apple, 118 sh eep s sorrel, 15,17 shelters, 95-103 earth shelters, 95-96, 214, 216 for livestock, 36, 83, 84, 86, 87, 95-96,
9 8 > 99

Sorbus spp., 91,10 6,10 7,132 Sorghum dochna (sorghum ), 64 sorrel, 14,15,17, 66 sour cherry, 122 South Africa, 22 south ern wood, 201 sou th -facin g slopes, 11-12 Souven ir du Con gres pear, 120 spagh etti squash, 22 Span ish slug, 46,148 ,18 3 spargel (white asparagus), 8 spawn, m ush room , 143-44,151 Speckbirn e pear, 121 speedwell, heath, 201 spider mites, red, 180 spiders, 180,181 Spinacia oleracea (spinach), 41, 200 spin dle tree, 91 spotted gen tians, 78, 207 spreadin g bellflowers, 60 spruce, 35, 36, 97,10 6,125,131,154 Stachys officinalis (beton y), 15,17, 204 Stachys sieboldii (Chin ese artich oke), 199 Stark Earliest apple, 118 Stellaria media (ch ickweed), 15,16 stin gin g n ettle, 15, 66, 67,16 5,16 9 ,178 ,18 0 , 181 ston e use, 1,12,14, 23,110 ,189 in pon ds an d water garden s, 50-51 for storage room con str uction , 101-3 ston y soil, terrace design for, 26, 28 storage room s, 99-10 3,171, 208, 216 Stratiotes aloides (water soldier), 52 straw, m ush room s grown on, 140 ,149-54 strawberries, 1, 41,161,179 strawflowers, 171 Stropharia sp. m ush room , 137,149,154 stubble drillin g, 75 Subira pears, 10 7,119,121 subsidy system , 4, 53, 54 subterran ean clover, 63 sun bon n et, 161 sun exposure o f town garden , 18 9,191-92 sun flowers. See Helianthus annuus sun traps, 12, 22, 23 Swabian -H all swin e, 82 swan m ussels, 51 sweet basil, 201 sweet ch estn u t, 11,24 sweet cicely, 204 sweet clover, 23, 30, 61, 63,110 sweet flag, 52, 202

roun dwood, 8, 36, 83, 87, 96-10 1,10 3 for storage, 99-10 3 sh eph er ds purse, 15 shiitake m ush room s, 21,137,138,141 sh ock m eth od in r eplan tin g fruit trees,
133-34

shrews, 185 Siberian grain, an cien t, 71, 72 Silurus glanis (wels catfish), 51 silver m ullein , gian t, 204 silverweed, 15,17 Silybum marianum (m ilk thistle), 203 Sinapis alba (white m ustard), 64 Sitta europaea (n uthatches), 92 Sium sisarum (skirret), 200 skirret, 200 slopes, 11-12, 37, 38-39, 61 r ou n dwood shelters bu ilt into, 8, 36, 83, 87, 96-101 terraces an d p ath s in, 24-31 slow worm s, 181 slugs, 4 6 ,148 -4 9,18 3-8 5 snails, 84-8 5, 95,148 -49,18 3-8 5 sn owy m espilus, 91,10 7 soapwort, 203 soil con dition s, 13-19 for cereals, 70, 71, 72 for fruits, 110 -12,116-18 ,120 -22,123,131 for germ in ation o f alpin e seeds, 78 -79 for m edicin al an d culin ar y plan ts, 20 1-4 plan ts appropriate for, 5 plan ts as in dicators of, 14-17, 66 in p on d con struction , 18-19, 48, 50 raised bed design s for, 39 terrace d esign for, 26, 27 in town garden , 189 for vegetables, 199-200 soil pH. See pH o f soil soil preparation , 8 ,170 ,172,173 soil tests, 13-14,18 Solanum tuberosum (potato), 41, 68, 70, 8 6,171,199 230

Index
sweet vern al grass, 15 sweet woodruff, 204 Swiss pine, 106 sycam ore logs as m u sh room substrate, 138 sym biotic association s, 31, 57-58 ,137-38 ,
139.154

Triticum spp. (wheat), 70, 72, 207 Troglodytes troglodytes (wrens), 91 Tropaeolum majus (garden n asturtium ), 202 trout, 47, 51 turnip, 64, 67, 68, 75,162,169,175 as an im al feed, 76, 89 as gr een m an ure crop, 58, 61,64 in pad d ock system , 86 storage of, 171 turopoije pigs, 83 Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot), 15,165 Typha latifolia (bulrushes), 52 urban garden s, 18 7-98 Urtica dioica (stin gin g n ettle), 15, 66, 67, 165,169,178 ,18 0 ,18 1 Urtica urens (an n ual n ettle), 15,180 Vaccinium spp., 15, 78 ,169 Valeriana officinalis (valerian), 164,196, 201 vegetables, 31,169-74,199-20 0 as catch crop, 75, 76, 207 in kitch en garden s, 159,162 old var ieties of, 68 in pick-your-own areas, 44 in polycultures, 75, 77 in raised beds, 40, 41, 42,174-75 storage room s for, 99-10 3,171 in town garden s, 191,192,193,196 weeds in gard en s for, 65,170 Verbascum spp. (m ullein ), 202, 204 Veronica officinalis (h eath speedwell), 201 vetch , 61, 63 vibr ation m eth od in pon d con struction ,

Symphytum officinale, 23, 60 ,164,18 0 , 201 Symphytum x uplandicum, 180 Tanacetum spp., 180 ,196, 201, 203 Taraxacum officinale (dan delion ), 15,165, 169 tarragon , 201 taste an d flavor o f food, 69 Taxus baccata (yew), 91 tem peratu re o f soil, 14 ten ch, 51 terraces, 1, 3, 4, 5-7, 24-31 fruits in, 31,10 4,10 6,10 7,113 m icr oclim ates of, 22, 23, 31 soil con d ition s affectin g con str uction of, 18 in town garden s, 189,191 test areas in lan dscape design, 19-21 Tetrao urogallus (capercaillie), 94, 95 Thailan d, 18, 210-13 Thomisdae (crab spider), 181 threshin g, 73-74 thym e, 5,15,16 ,16 1,16 3,16 4 ,16 9 , 203, 204 Tinea tinea (ten ch ), 51 toads, 46,18 5 tobacco, 12, 76 tom atoes, 41,179,190 , 200 topograph y in pon d con struction , 48 torm en til, 165,169 town garden s, 18 7-98 Tran sparen te de Cron cels apple, 116 tran splan tation o f fru it trees, sh ock m eth od in, 133-34 o f seedlings, h arden in g o ff in, 170 treecreepers, 92 trees fruit, 10 4-36 in corporated in to raised beds, 34-37,
3 9 ,4 i

50, 51
Viburnum spp., 91 Vicia spp., 63 visu al barriers, 6, 38, 8 9,18 9 voles, 10 8 ,10 9,18 2-8 3 Wan gen h eim s Early Plum , 122,123 water buffalo, 80, 87, 89 watercress, 201 water garden s, 5, 46, 47-52, 210, 211, 215. See also pon d s water lily, 52 water m an agem en t, 5, 9-10 , 44-52 in balcon y garden s, 194 ditch es for, 27-28, 31-32 in kitch en garden s, 173-74 in raised beds, 37, 38-39 231

as m u sh room substrate, 140 -49 pioneer, 22 rou n d wood shelters bu ilt with , 8, 36, 83, 87, 96-10 1,10 3 in terrace em ban km en ts, 31 tren ch es for soil assessm en t, 18 Trifolium spp. (clover), 31, 63, 75

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture


in terrace design , 27-28, 31-32 in Th ailan d project, 210-12, 213 water plan tain , 52 water power, 47 water quality for liquid fertiliser preparation, 178-79 p esticid es an d fertilisers affectin g, 3, 45 in Th ailan d, 212,213 water soldier, 52 water supply for cattle, 89 for d u cks an d geese, 94-95 for pigs, 8 5-8 6 wavy hair grass, 15 wayfar in g tree, 91 weeds, 3, 6 5-6 8 ,170 ,172,177 wels catfish, 51 wetlan d s an d wet soil, 4, 5, 9-10 , 46 drain age of, 2, 8 in dicator plan ts in, 15,16 raised bed s in, 39 wh eat, 19, 70, 72, 207 wh ip an d ton gu e grafts, 127,128 wh ite asparagus, 8 wh itebeam , 91 wh ite clover, 31, 63, 75, 76 wh ite lupin, 63 wh ite m ustard, 64 wh ite sweet clover, 63 W h ite Tran sparen t apple, 115-16,118 wh ite water lily, 52 wh itlow grass, 15 wild asparagus, 200 wild birds, 91-92, 95,181. See also birds wild cattle, 8 7-8 9 wildflowers, 60 wild fruit trees, 91,10 4,10 7,122,124,133 wild garlic, 204 wild life habitat, 46, 60, 91-92,18 1-8 2 wild m ush room s, 90 ,154-58 wild privet, 91 wild rocket, 200 wild rose, 23, n5 wild rye, 64, 72 wild service tree, 107 William s Bon Ch retien pear, 121 willow, 23,114 willowh erb, sm all-flowered, 202 win dbreaks, 11,14, 23,38 ,18 9 win d dir ection , prevailing, 37-38 win d pollin ation , 70 win d tun n els, 11, 22 win d ow boxes, 188 win ter an im al feed durin g, 76, 86, 8 9-90 an im al shelters for, 95 appearan ce o f Kr am eter h of in, 2, 41 balcon y gard en s during, 196 bird feed in g during, 92 cattle care durin g, 8 9-90 fru it tree dam age in, 112,115 green m an u re decom position in, 56 m icr oclim ates in, 24 p ig care during, 81, 82, 86 p on d fr eezin g in, 50, 95 soil con d ition s in, 55, 57 Win ter Ram bo apple, 118 win ter savory, 201 wood, m u sh room s grown on , 138 ,140 -49 wood ch ips in corporated in to raised beds,
3 4 ,4 i

wood clu b rush, 15 woodpeckers, 92 wood tu ft m ush room s, sh eath ed, 142,143 wor m wood, 180,181, 204 wrens, 91 yaks, 80, 87, 88, 89 yarrow, 60 yellow ch am om ile, 15,17, 60, 201 yellow gen tian s, 77-79, 202, 207 yellow iris, 52 yellow lupin , 63 yellow sweet clover, 63 yellow water lily, 52 yew, 91 Zabergau Rein ette apple, 118 zander, 51 Zea mays (corn, m aize), 41, 66, 75, 200

232