Conserving the water catchment areas

Conserving the water catchment areasThe main water catchment areas are the wetlands. These are areas where rivers and other natural water sources originate. It is in the best interest of everyone to protect these lands along with the ecological environment around the area.

Environmental experts such as the Open Permaculture School and Regenerative Leadership Institute  advise people to undertake hands-off approach when maintaining the wetlands. The hands-off approach means that the maintenance efforts do not by any chance alter the hydrological and ecological environment in which the wetlands sits. If the environment is changed, there are chances that there shall be negative effects on the water cycle. It also means that there are minimal activities that take place in the land except those that are meant to enhance the wetland. Here are some common activities that you can undertake a part of enhancing the wetland environment.

Creating greenbelts and buffers
Creating vegetative buffers and greenbelts help in protecting the wetlands against human encroachment. A greenbelt is a strip of land surrounding a wetland and occupied by natural vegetation. If the natural vegetation was removed, the rehabilitation of such an area involves planting native shrubs, trees, and ground cover while cutting down on the use of pesticides and the fertilizers.


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Components of a Permaculture Guild

Components of a Permaculture Guild
Components of a Permaculture GuildA permaculture guild mimics natural ecosystems that feature multiple layers of vegetation and utilize different species of animals and microorganisms to support and benefit the entire whole. In a forest or other natural system, different layers of vegetation, as well as multiple species of plants and animals exist together in a symbiotic relationship that helps the entire system to survive and thrive. A permaculture guild simply uses the design principles that work for these natural systems in order to provide for human needs for shelter, food, fuel and other material and non material needs. In order for these guilds to be effective however, they must constitute several important components;

1. Human Food
The ultimate function of a permaculture guild is to produce diverse plants that can supply food for humans. Growing your own food in a guild ensures that you get all your nutritional needs met at a cost of the fraction of modern agriculture and with little to no detrimental effects on the environment.

2. Nutrient Accumulation for the soil
Even as humans benefit from permaculture needs, they need to consider putting back into the soil nutrients that will help it continue to produce at optimal levels. One of the best ways to do this is by planting nitrogen fixing species such as legumes and also by adding organic composts to enrich the soil for even better food production.

3. Dynamic Accumulators
An effective permaculture guild employ the use of plants with long taproots in order to extract nutrients that are placed deep in the soil and bring them up to the surface where they can be used by the plants in the system. Deep rooted plants also break up the soil and allow for better absorption of water and air.

4. Climbers
Nature makes use of climbing plants that reach for sunlight to facilitate photosynthesis and ensure that plants make enough chlorophyll and other resources needed for optimal food production.

5. Supporters
Supporters are sturdy plants like trees, shrubs and bushes that provide surfaces for climbers and their products such as fruits and seed pods. Supporters need to be quite strong otherwise the weight of climbers will bring them down or overwhelm them.

6. Groundcover
Groundcover protects the soil, helps it to retain moisture, keep weeds down and decomposes into compost that increases the fertility of soil.

7. Protectors
Protectors repel insects and even larger animals such as squirrels, moles and other harmful animals. They include strong smelling plants such as onions, chives and lemongrass, as well as deterrents such as thorns and sticks with sharp points.

Integrating all the various components of a permaculture guild will ensure that the system performs optimally and provides you with as much food and other products as you need to meet your material needs. Courses are available at the Open Permaculture School and Regenerative Leadership Institute to help you learn more about the components of permaculture guilds and how to put them together in an effective and workable system.

Areas Of Application Of Mulch

Areas Of Application Of MulchMulch has very many uses in very many different areas. The greatest determinant of where it is applied or used is what it is made of. Mulch can be made from organic and inorganic compounds or what other people call biodegradable and non-boodegradable materials. Each of this materials has different qualities and while some functions may overlap, others remain specific to specific materials.

Gardens or farms
The first area of application for just about all types of mulch, organic and inorganic and with very few exceptions, is in the farm or for gardening. Mulch provides certain qualities that are essential and beneficial to the growth of crops or plants in general. Such properties are evenly divided across the board between organic and inorganic mulch. The functions provided by mulch in farming or gardening include, but are not limited to water or moisture retention, weed suppression, pest control among others. For specificity, organic mulch provides nutrient value to the soil while inorganic mulch does not since it does not decompose. Similarly rubber mulch, an inorganic mulch, provides better water retention and weed suppression in comparison to organic mulches.

Another very important area of application of mulches is in landscaping. The mulches used mostly in this area of application are inorganic. However, in instances where plants such as fruit plants and flower plants are involved, organic mulches can also be used. The main function of mulch here is to provide aesthetic value or beautify a place. Gravel and rubber mulches are common. Mulch dye also comes in handy in this area.

Play grounds
Children are vigorous when it comes to outdoor activities and the amount of injuries received as a result are many. Most of those injuries can however be prevented by the use of mulch. Originally, mulch made from straw and barks was thought to be better at breaking falls in play grounds. However, rubber mulch has been found to be much better and safer due to its elastic properties. The safety application of rubber mulch in play grounds has received a lot of support from concerned parties due to its effectiveness. At the same time, it is also considerably cleaner and with increased health benefits. Bark and straw mulches for instance, could decompose and the resultant humus could be harmful to asthmatic children.

Experts at the Open Permaculture School and Regenerative Leadership Institute can give better and more concrete information complete with facts and statistics on the same. This is a professional institute that can handle and all mulch questions.

Constructing wetlands

Constructing a wetlandThere are several types of constructed wetlands. The first system is the reedbed or subsurface flow system. This is a system where plants grow in soil or gravel. In a pond system, also called the surface-flow, plants float on the water.

If you are installing a backyard wetland, plan for a reedbed system. The reedbed systems could be on bathtubs filled with gravel, mulched with woodchips and have wetland plants such as bulrushes, and cattails among others. The grey water in this system does not rise above the surface of the mulch, and people and animals do not come into contact with the grey water.
For a pond system, the greywater must be filtered by a reedbed first so that it reaches the pond without any odor or unsightly substances that may be unhealthy for animals and plants. Pond systems are not allowed in many state codes.

Bathtub and stock tank wetlands that originate from the washing machine systems and bathtubs, a surge tank, is installed and fitted with a one-inch outlet to allow the water flow slowly into the wetland. For larger wetlands an infiltration zone that is filled with two to four-inch cobble replaces the surge tank. A wood chip bio filter is important in reducing the flow rate of the water and removing the food particles.
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Advantages Of Compost

Advantages Of CompostComposting is the making of fertilizer using vegetable and plant refuse and relying on the natural process of decay. It is mostly carried out on a small scale but recent methods have been developed to accomodate a larger scale of composting. The Open Permaculture School and Regenerative Leadership Institute suggests a lot of advantages of composting including, but not limited to;

Composting is a fairly cheap process that relies on the principles of re-using and re-cycling. All you really need to make a compost is plant and vegetable waste and a place to heap it while it decays. The whole entire process is natural and as such is very cheap to institute and maintain. Expenses such as in cost, transport and manufacture are usually not necessary making it quite a cheap process of making fertilizer.

Eco friendly
Composting is reliant on waste. As such you get to play an eco friendly role in preserving the planet by avoiding the dumping of such waste. When dumped, this kind of waste products release a lot of methane gas while decaying. This gas is toxic to the environment, and that can be reduced in a compost heap or bin by gradually turning the compost. Research also shows that compost manure helps increase the fertility of soil that has been previously exposed to chemical fertilizers.


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Nine Things A Permaculture Gardener Needs To Provide For Chickens


When keeping chickens, a permaculture gardener needs to achieve a balance. In order to benefit from the variety of ‘products’ that chickens bring to a site – from eggs and manure to pest control and pleasure – the gardener must ensure that the chickens’ needs are met. These are the things that the permaculturist must provide so that the chickens can survive and thrive. They relate to the fundamental elements that an organism needs to live, but also to things the birds need to live a life in tune with their instincts and that allow them to exhibit natural behaviors.

Obviously chickens need food. Fortunately, in a permaculture system, many of their nutritional needs can be met without too many external inputs. Chickens will eat most of the food scraps from your kitchen. They are omnivorous, so will eat fruits, vegetables and some meat. (You should avoid giving your chickens citrus peel and onions, as this can taint the taste of the eggs, and also do not feed chickens the remains of their own kind.) This is supplemented by food the chickens will find for themselves foraging on your plot.

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World changing technology enables crops to take nitrogen from the air


A major new technology has been developed by The University of Nottingham, which enables all of the world’s crops to take nitrogen from the air rather than expensive and environmentally damaging fertilisers.

Nitrogen fixation, the process by which nitrogen is converted to ammonia, is vital for plants to survive and grow. However, only a very small number of plants, most notably legumes (such as peas, beans and lentils) have the ability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere with the help of nitrogen fixing bacteria. The vast majority of plants have to obtain nitrogen from the soil, and for most crops currently being grown across the world, this also means a reliance on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.

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Nine Goat Species For A Permaculture Plot


Keeping livestock is a big step for many permaculturists, but also an incredible rewarding challenge. Raising animals for meat, milk or simply as additions to the plot (although they will provide manure and companionship, so are not without their benefits should you choose not to consume their products) is a responsibility – you must ensure all the needs of the animals are met at all times – but with the right space and conditions, they can be an efficient and delightful part of your ecosystem.

Many permaculture gardeners start their journey with livestock with the smaller species, such as bees, chickens or ducks. And for many, that is more than enough. But there are other options for livestock rearing, either as a first animal or to add to an existing menagerie. One that is often overlooked is goats.

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Farming as rocket science


BEFORE growing up to become farmers, a startling number of America’s rural kids are taught how to build rockets. Every year rural skies fill with mini-missiles built by children. The largest fly hundreds of feet, carrying altimeters, parachutes and payloads of eggs. Baseball diamonds are popular launch sites, as are alfalfa fields: the latter tend to be large and, compared with other crops, alfalfa tolerates a fair bit of trampling. All this tinkering and swooshing explains a lot about American farms.

One youth organisation lies behind many thousands of rural rocket launches: the 4-H club (it’s an acronym, derived from a pledge involving head, heart, hands and health). Among city slickers, 4-H is not well known. Yet its existence and its history reveal a great deal about America’s distinctive views of farming and food. For many, the name conjures up a single image: a farmer’s child at a country fair, clad in best blue jeans and cowboy boots, gravely leading livestock round a show-ring. Lots of club members do rear and show animals, it is true: one of the sights of an American summer is watching an 11-year-old at a state fair, guiding a half-tonne steer past 4-H judges.

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Four Ways To Preserve Fruit And Vegetables


A permaculture design seeks to maximize the yield of food that grows in it. By promoting biodiversity, succession planting, stacking systems and the efficiency of use of space, a permaculture plot should be able, space permitting, provide a large proportion of the gardener’s required fruit, vegetables and herbs. And by treating the plants and soil with respect, making sure that there is a lot of organic matter in the soil so that plants can attain all the nutrients they need, the gardener should cultivate strong, healthy plants that give a large edible harvest.

One of the most appealing things about growing your own food is that you can go from earth to table in the minimum amount of time, ensuring your fruits and vegetables are at their freshest and most nutritious. But sometimes your productive plot will produce more harvest than you can eat fresh.

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