Saturday, May 31, 2014

Speech for March Against Monsanto

Good Morning folks! 

I'm Jonathan Hansen, I'm an Eagle Scout and the Senior Patrol Leader for a National Youth Leadership Training course, taking place this July.
I've been studying Permaculture for about two and a half years, and am now studying under Geoff Lawton in his online PDC. Now, I’m here to talk to you about Positive Solutions and Permaculture. 

So what is Permaculture? 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Method for Growing Potatoes

Let's dig in shall we?

After growing potatoes the tradition way, (burying them and then digging them all up to harvest them),
I found that this method was a pain in the butt! All the digging and picking and more digging, got quite tiresome.

So I set out to find a better way. Along the way, as they tend to do, things got more complex.

My first discovery was the cool idea of growing the taters in straw.

The main premise of this idea is that the potatoes are planted in the bottom of a 6" trench.
Like so...

Then you fill the trench with straw. The potatoes grow normally and have no trouble with the straw.

Harvesting is by far much easier. All you must do is peel back the straw and your potatoes are sitting there all pretty as you please. No blemishes from rocks, or cuts from your shovel.

The reasons that this is a better way are as follows:
  • You only have to dig once. 
  • You can harvest whenever you want by gently pulling back the straw and taking the available potatoes and the plant will continue growing!
  • The watering requirements are drastically reduced. The straw absorbs and keeps a lot of moisture.
  • It seems to me that they have it easier, what with the straw being easier to put out their tubers out into.
I experimented with this last year. It was a partial success. 
I made a crucial mistake though, I planted squash in the raised mound directly around the trench. Which effectively shaded out the potatoes out. They grew fairly well until they eventually were cut off from the sunlight and then they stopped. The yield reflected that with small potatoes.

This year I'm gonna plant beans in the mounds surrounding these trenches. (Remember, beans are legumes and legumes fix nitrogen into the soil. Which is good!)

I said earlier that things got complicated, and now I shall explain. So I had this genius idea to put the trenches on contour. I thought that this would increase the amount of moisture being held in the ditches and reduce the amount of needed irrigation. Which is true I guess, I haven't seen much of an effect in this application. Mainly because I can't tell if the extra moisture is to be attributed to the straw or the passive water harvesting powers of a swale. 

Now there's a new concept! A Swale! Lemme explain.

A swale is a ditch on contour with the excess material from the digging piled up on the downhill side.
Now as we all know, Water flows downhill at right angle to contour. This is a constant.
Armed with this knowledge I can now better explain while swales are awesome.

As the water flows downhill, like it does, if it runs into a completely level ditch, the water is pacified and slowed to the point it soaks into the landscape instead of running off the surface creating erosion.

These elements are usually added to a system to increase the overall moisture level in the soil. Its ideal for growing trees. Im really not sure if I did the right thing in combing it with the potato trench element.

In a later post I will show how I found my contour lines and how to dig a swale.

For now, that's all folks!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Regrowing Food.

Today I present to you yet another neat trick!
Regrowing food! That is correct, you heard me right. You can regrow some of the food you take out of your garden or the store!
I'm not certain where I learned this nifty trick, but I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Recycled "Weed" Control

Now everyone needs a way to access their plants, and most of the time (read "all of the time") that requires paths in between the garden beds. A huge problem that most folks have is that "weeds" tend to grow in these relatively empty spaces. 

Like so...

So using a technique I learned from Jack Spirko, I have put cardboard under the mulch in some paths and garden beds, that'll really discourage unwanted stuff from growing!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An "AHA" moment.

As I'm going through Geoff Lawton's PDC course, I'm learning all sorts of new and exciting things.
One of these things is the concept that weeds are actually what nature uses to heal the land.

For example: when the soil is compacted, weeds with long taproots are most abundant. These long taproots dig down and de compact the soil and eventually create compost pathways when the plant itself dies. In so doing, it repairs the landscape.

I have also learned a bit about grey water and and other biological filtration systems. I've learned that reeds are used to filter the water and clean it of nutrient and toxins.

So, combining these to pieces of info leads to this "AHA" moment.

I've heard folks complain about how Utah Lake is being "overrun" by the reeds. I've also heard that this same lake has been heavily polluted over the last few decades.


The system is repairing itself by having reeds clean the lake! Wow...

But instead of helping to speed up the cleaning process, we as humans are fighting the symptom. (the reeds)
The Utah government in their infinite wisdom has started to spray a RoundUp like poison directly on the reeds. WHICH WILL inevitably lead to POISONING our largest body of fresh water in Utah!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Beginning.

As much fun as it is to start something and already know how to do it, its not always possible.
For me, this will be a complete learning process. I don't know how to blog, I can barely type more than a "chicken peck". But as with most of my projects, I'm just gonna dive in headfirst and learn along the way.

This blog will be my way of: 

  • Documenting my journey
  • Sharing my successes
  • Lamenting and sharing the inevitable failures
  • And ultimately be a resource for those who, like me, want to learn.