Saturday, 13 December 2014

Urban Rainwater Harvesting - "Slow It, Spread It & Sink It!"

Hello!  Have you ever thought about harvesting rain water in your urban property instead of draining it out of your property? How about recycling your 'grey water' in the garden? 

  • "Why is it that we get rid of all this free - high quality, fresh rain water as quick as possible from our landscape and then we pull a distant water, with a decreased water quality, back to our use which comes with a high expense?" -Brad Lancaster

What can we do at home to harvest that high quality rain water?  How can we recycle a 'grey water' (water used in a kitchen, in a washing machine and in the shower) to save energy and the environment? 

                "Plant The Rain Before Planting Trees" - Brad Lancaster

There are ways to save and recycle water.  But there is also a way of re-hydrating the ground and keep our gardens hydrated longer.
  • By using earth works to slow down a flow of water and soak it into the landscape instead of draining it out of your property. 
  • When pruning your plants in the garden instead of dumping them, 'chop and drop' plant clippings in your garden creating a mulch which protects the soil from drying out, also recycles nutrients back in the ground and creates a 'heaven' for "happy micro-organisms".  Like it is in the natural forest. 
After doing a little bit of research I found this interesting and informative video from Permasolutions titled with Brad Lancaster: "Urban Water Harvesting Systems".

I especially liked triple S's - the way Brad talks about re-hydrating our landscapes - "Slowing, Spreading & Sinking the flow of water, instead of Pave It, Pipe It & Pollute It."

As he says "We all can choose our story - What is yours?"  Ours at the moment is 160 litres of water per day for two of us (the average water usage in our city 197 litres/person/day) and decreasing...

Enjoy the video! 

Hope you enjoyed this post.  Do you have any water saving ideas that would benefit all of us in our home and garden?  Let us know in the comment box below :-) 

Heli & Allan Iso-Aho

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

How To Mulch A Permaculture Food Forest With 'Chop & Drop'

Hello!  Are you planning to create a permaculture food forest garden?  Then you may have heard of this method called 'chop and drop'.  A way of mulching your food forest garden.

What is Chop & Drop?

It's about having a variety of so called 'support' trees (legumes and other fast growing trees)  in your food forest and when time is right you prune a whole or a part of the tree in the ground around your fruit trees.

The best 'chop and drop' trees and plants are legumes (nitrogen fixing) and the trees that have a large biomass and grow back quickly after  pruning. e.g Moringa , Comfrey (herbaceous plant)

Let's look at the benefits of Chop and Drop method:
  • In the early stages of your food forest some of your fruit trees are slow growing and need protection from elements such as the sun, wind and rain (hale).  Planting fast growing legumes you give needed protection and nutrients for your young fruit trees.
  • You are creating mulch (nutrition) that feeds the soil microbes which feed your fruit trees 
  • Easy and simple method - plants are already in place where the mulch is needed
  • You are building a soil with a good soil structure - a better water holding capacity and well draining soil
  • Mulch protects the soil from the elements (sun, rain, wind)
  • This way you save on other organic fertilizers
The chop and drop method is one of the important steps in caring for your food forest.  Here is a fantastic video on Chop & Drop, it comes from EcoOasis titled with How To Chop And Drop In A Food Forest "Living Permaculture" Episode 4


Hope you enjoyed this post.  Do you have experience in chop & drop? Let us know in the comment box below :-) 

Heli & Allan Iso-Aho