Category: Water Harvesting

Contour Beds Peru

The ancient Inca also utilised contour patterning in their agriculture. This article will describe the process we took to create kitchen garden contour beds in the Sacred Valley Peru. Contour beds are annual and/or perennial vegetable garden beds that conform to the natural pattern of the landscape. Being on contour means that the paths and beds themselves are level and follow the lay of the land. Not only does this […]

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Drought-Proofing California…not in the news

Digging our well-surveyed swales. I woke up this morning, put on my gum-boots and went out for a walk around our family farm in the rain. This in itself might not seem to be anything special to many folks, yet this was a 2”/5cm rainfall after several intense years of drought here in Southern California. I cannot express how exciting this morning has been for me as I was thinking […]

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Bulldozer Digging Swales

Bulldozer Digging Swales from Midwest Permaculture. The Design We had been invited by a family in Southern Missouri to assist with the design of a 320-acre farm. They want to transition the land into a Permaculture landscape capable of producing a wide range of perennial foods (nuts, vegetables, herbs, fruit, etc.) as well as livestock (beef and goats). Over generations, rain has slowly degraded this sloping landscape with a loss […]

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Finding Water in the Desert

We were recently filming in Nevada, USA, visiting interesting high dry and cold climate systems. We went out in search of a salt pan to film as a specific landscape feature. Whilst on our journey we came across a large sand dune. It was a mighty Erg, an Erg is a wind blown mountain of sand that resembles a sand dune and they have a classic ability to hold moisture […]

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Swales (Continuous Contour Trenches) Bring Water and Life Back to Maharashtra, India

This (unfortunately low-res) video shares the clear, practical benefits of bringing sensible low-tech Permaculture water harvesting techniques such as swales to our landscapes. In Maharashtra, India, swales are restoring the hydrological cycle, bringing dried up wells and springs back to life, and stopping erosion of the precious soils that subsistence farmers depend on.

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Experimenting with Overflowing Circles and Slow-Flow Swales (Panama)

The jungle garden I am not Bill Mollison or Geoff Lawton, they will both happily report; rather, I am but a humble novice when it comes to permaculture, experimenting my way through ideas, mimicking when I can, improvising when research falls short. And, it was somewhere in between mimicry and improvisation that I came up with what I’m calling overflowing circles and slow-flow swales. I wanted to catch water, of […]

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Permaculture for Pastoralists in the Jordan Valley – Part I

Awassi sheep ready to go to market (and random standards inspector) I’ve been to the Greening the Desert “Sequel” site three times now. Once was in 2011 when we were at the IPC in Jordan. Once was in 2012 when I went there to take an internship with Geoff and Nadia. This year I was able to go back there to teach a PDC myself. So I’ve seen some of […]

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The Fish Ponds of Molokai

Geoff Lawton visits the Hawaiian Island of Molokai where an 800-year-old traditional fish farming system is being restored. Fish farming has been practiced for centuries in many cultures. The Hawaiians built a sustainable system that worked from the top of the mountain range and ran right down to the base and out to sea. The Hawaiians built a network of terraced gardens – small spring systems in the upper slope […]

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Guerilla Gardening in Rural Panama

A gnome (the author) in the Communal Garden Make no mistake, the war is on. The commodity is food, the source needs to be sustainable, and the community needs to know about it. If you are already into permaculture, or just gaining an interest, then congratulations and welcome to the peace-loving yet active front lines. We call it guerilla gardening.

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Tiger Hill Permaculture: Phase 1, Water Harvesting Earthworks

In February 2011 I took over the farm, ‘Tiger Hill’, in Tasmania, Australia. The planets aligned at that time in my life as I had a deep desire to find a property that I could develop to get all of my experience and ideas toward Permaculture on the ground and create my long term vision of an educational community and demonstration site based on Permaculture design.

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More Thinking Out Loud About Earth Repair Tools: The Agricultural Specification Unimog

Continuing with the theme of my last piece, another ideal potential equipment platform is the agricultural spec’d Unimog, manufactured by Mercedes-Benz. These are highly versatile and very reliable vehicles equipped with capabilities typically associated with tractors — namely 3-point linkages, PTOs (Power Take Offs), and hydraulics. Just as with the tractor, a broad array of implements may be used for the purpose of repairing degraded landscapes.

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Oh, The Beds I’ve Made: No-Till Gardening in Tropical Panama

One of the most exciting parts of taking the reins to a hectare of lakeside land in Panama was planning just exactly what kind of experimenting was going to be on order. We knew there would be a food forest. We knew there’d be a vegetable garden, fresh herbs, and lots of very dense clay soil with which to contend. Much of the space was steep hillsides, but at the […]

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