Episode-1236- Plans for the TSP Homestead and Upcoming Workshops

I am going to continue with some fun stuff that is informative and not so deep into the world of politics, economics, etc.  Today I am going to line out the planned projects for our 3 acre property and what they will be doing for us long term.

The first principle of permaculture in my mind is “observe and interact” and while interact is part of it, to me on a new property about a year of observation is really ideal for the planning process.  At this point I have been on my property for about 10 months.  I now know it intimately.  I know where the winds blow including when they don’t line up with the “official information” from the weather service.

I know where my soils are a foot deep and where they are only a few inches above the limestone reef that is under this part of north Texas.  I know where water flows and where it pools.  I know the species that do well here on their own in all seasons.  I  have seen the results of my work with my animals an I know it works.  Islands of deep green now exist in pastures that are tired and mostly brown.

I have had the great fortune to have my intern Josiah Wallingford of Bring of Freedom on property now for 3 months to aid in my planning.  We now have a much deeper understanding of many of our subtle contours.  Then we did an urban design workshop.  30 students received certification in Urban Design and we got amazing ideas for a small space design on the property.  Josiah and I have expanded these plans and it is all coming together.  Today I will do my best to explain our future plans and how this homestead is going to be transformed over the next year into a holistic system that is self supporting and will generate its own fertility.

Join Me Today As We Discuss…

  • The tactical greenhouse with a “climate battery”
  • 6000-7500 gallons of catchment tanks are going in, just for starters
  • Why we will use some pumps in our systems, yet we will not “need” them
  • Taking swales to an extreme level even on land anyone would call flat
  • Road catchment diversion, more water then we could ever need
  • Cell grazing of geese and chickens in our system, perhaps sheep next year
  • Building a 60,000 gallon pond where you can’t go below grade and making it self sustaining
  • Making hugul swales where we can only dig about 2 inches into the soil
  • Building top soil at a massive rate in the interswales
  • Berms, berms and more berms
  • A food forest going in this spring, 40 productive trees, 280 support trees
  • The contour beds are due to become a massive “micro food forest”
  • This is just the beginning!

Resources for today’s show…

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32 Responses to Episode-1236- Plans for the TSP Homestead and Upcoming Workshops

  1. Jack,
    What’s the chance you guys could duplicate the series of drawings we did with you “new” comprehensive design?

    Bubble, wind, solar, layout etc? this would be really cool to see how you integrated elements from the six designs and what you did on you on.



  2. Can we get some pictures of the land and plans?

  3. Tactical/tacticool greenhouse; that’s funny!
    Sorry, I’m 100 episodes behind, had some trouble with my mp3 player.
    I-Tunes really sucks, maybe I should hire a 10 year old to help me make it work 😉 Is there any way to import episodes (I am MSB) to an Apple player without dealing with I-Tunes?

    Thanks Jack for all you do.
    If it wasn’t for you and Dave Canterbury (who would make a great guest) I think I’d go nuts in this crazy world.

    • If you hate iTunes….. why have an Apple player??

      I won a nice iPod in a contest, I sold it and bought a Sony player.

      I pretty much hate all things Apple, there are many other fine MP3 players out there besides Apple products.

    • I use icatcher..best podcast app I have used. It’s not free but not expensive. Well worth the purchase.

    • Are you accessing podcasts through your device or through the computer?
      My iPhone only lets me download the last 30 or so episodes so if I want to download older ones, like 775, I go to iTunes on my computer, download it, and sync to phone.

  4. Looking forward to the next MSB video update to see that new tank platform; sounds like a winner!

    • Jim, I was thinking the exact same thing regarding the log cabin style platform.

      Also, I thought some type of visual of the greenhouse would be helpful, too…perhaps Jack could take us through a whiteboard drawing of what he envisions. It sounds pretty cool, but was a bit hard to follow just based on audio.

  5. Just an FYI your audio level is down…….

  6. Mind = Blown.

  7. Hi Jack,
    Great episode as per usual. I have a couple of questions, 1st how did you determine the amount of nitrogen fixing trees to the number of fruit bearing trees? Is there a general ratio that if followed? And 2nd what is the difference between a contour bed and a swale?

    Josh W

  8. Jack,

    Can you provide some more info on the laser level you use? I’m at the point where I need to understand the changes in elevation over about 4 acres and need something more than an A-frame level.


  9. Jack.

    I really appreciate this type of podcast right now. There is a raft of things wrong in the socioeconomic political system right now, but the alternative of here are some solution to implement today is very refreshing


  10. Ok, I’m a bit envious. 30″ of rain a year sounds like a garden of Eden! I’ve got 2.5 desert acres with annual rainfall of 4.5″. Of course, year-to-date so far is only 0.74″!! I think I need to make a roof rain catchment system a priority, so that when we do get rain I can start storing the roof run-off. It was fascinating listening to you describing your plans.

    • Karen

      Search YouTube for simple, low tech PVC pipe devices which channel off the first rain water (to dump bird doo off the roof) and then allow water into your barrels. Lots of info available about that and for $50 you can catch a lot of clean water even in the desert.

      The first dirty runoff can be channeled into your garden, assuming it is downslope from the roofs. Also investigate “grey water” which comes from your shower and sink drains but not the toilet. With the right plumbing, a lot of usable water can be piped to your garden. Just have to be careful what kinds of soaps you use.

    • Gray water is the route to go in your situation. And don’t get too caught up on what types of soap to use. The simple rule is … if your plants start dying, change soaps.

    • Karen, I find myself in a similar situation. I have 5 acres of high desert land in Southern CA. The max annual rainfall over 20 years was ten inches. I do have a well which provides water. I would like to listen to a podcast discussing these issues for us who live in a dryer climate. Anyway, there is one perm-culture guy in the area and he is using palm tree “shavings” which seem to hold water longer. I reached into his worked soil and the dirt was rich and black and moist. He says he has techniques for the soil to hold the water longer.

  11. Sometimes life is like that…you get all excited for Geoff was come and design your new place only to realize, what he probably already knew….You could do it on your own and what a confidence builder that has to be even if you didn’t realize it at the time.

    Thanks for all you do Jack!

  12. Jack,

    On your orchard area (the one where your contour beds are now and where you plan to grow dwarf and semi-dwarf), how far apart are you planting them? I am planning to do the same in my 1/4 acre lot but on a smaller scale but can’t decide between planting the fruit trees 6 feet apart or spreading them out to the recommended 10′ or more.

    • Modern Survival

      Likely in the 10 foot range for trees anyway, but consider that it won’t be 5 apple trees in 50 feet. More like

      5 apples
      10 or so perennial vegetables
      A mix of herbs and dynamic accumulators
      At least one support tree or two
      Some smaller shrubs as well

      So a 10 foot spacing is more about what else is included, in some instances we might go a lot closer with certain things, like blackberry or hazles might be planted in some spots more as a hedge style.

  13. Hey Jack,

    Love these type of shows. I heard you mention on a previous podcast that you wanted to do massive Sepp Hozer style Hugel beds on the road frontage of your property, but didn’t hear it mentioned in your plans. I also recall that Nick was trying to talk you out of it. Still in the site plan.
    I was thinking of doing this myself and if you have changed you mind would love to know why? Also, lets say you build a 6ft. high mound, how large would you make the wood core? I was thinking 4 ft. high?

  14. Dave (TwoCor)

    Jack, as I was listening to your shower plans the first thought I had was put a water reservoir of the type Steve Harris talks about for heating water passively on top of the whole thing. Little extra plumbing and you’ve got a hot shower. Careful not to scald though!

  15. Finally getting back into TSP mode, and listening to this weeks episodes.
    Jack you just said “You’ll realize how smart people are”. This is why less and less I say things like “people are so stupid”, “everyone is a bunch of dumbasses”. Or anything of the sort. “The people are clueless sheepole”. Not everyone may know about or pay attention to certain things like finance and the sort, but I find myself calling individuals stupid, and saying “most people are actually pretty darn smart, and generally pretty ingenuity”.

    If anything I think many people (possibly including myself) have probably not be raised in an environment where we’ve been allowed to reach our full potential. But you know, I feel much better going through life looking at helping smart individuals, and just ignoring the “dumbasses” we come across.

  16. Hey, just a quick idea on the above grade pond. One thing you might consider is building thermal mass heaters into the berms to better control the temp of the water in winter. I’ve seen this done small scale and it works well, large scale I have no idea. 🙂

  17. How do you plan on getting road runoff onto the property, I mean I know how, but most of the roads around here are maintained by the county. I know my ditches are mowed every year, I don’t think they would like it if I built a dam to divert water. but I guess they have to work around peoples driveways, so maybe they can just work around them too.

    • Modern Survival

      Well several ways.

      1. You can put in some French Drain underground and pitch it down to your land. This hides it, if they find it you were venting water out and did it wrong.

      2. What we do is put a little mound and a simple diversion drain (drain on my land, mound on the easement) that flicks the water in, from there it hits a swale and done.

      Most not all but most of the guys doing the ditch work don’t give a shit as long as the ditch flows. Flicking water onto your land isn’t something they tend to even care about, look for or even compehend. Most people are doing the exact opposite and putting all their water onto the road ditches.