Episode-730- Permaculture Solutions for Water Needs

A Mature Hugelkultur Bed - Photo Credit to RichSoil.com

Today we revisit a topic I covered with the awesome Paul Wheaton on a past episode of TSP.  Paul actually just put out one of the best compilations of photographs and illustrations I have ever seen on hugelkultur which inspired this episode.

We are going to go deeper than that today though.  We are going to talk about multiple concepts with water, I am going to tell those of you in states where they say you can’t capture and store rain water how to do it anyway.

I am going to discuss the water crisis we can’t see and how permaculture provides a solution for it.  I will tell you about millions of acres of lakes that you never see and how they can teach us exactly how to provide water to our plants even in the driest areas with little to no irrigation.

Join me today as we discuss…

  • If water is everywhere how can there be a shortage of it
  • What at the two largest types of lakes that we never see
  • Who waters the forest, who waters the prairies
  • My hugelkultur project so far
  • The rain garden
  • Swales and swale style barriers
  • Self watering gardens – irrigation with maximum efficiency
  • Terracing and how I feel they differ from swales
  • The role of poly culture
  • Selection of hardy varieties
  • Growing from seed, especially trees
  • The Groasis system

 Additional Resources for Today’s Show

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21 Responses to Episode-730- Permaculture Solutions for Water Needs

  1. Question for Jack,

    Hi Jack,
    I live in an area with a lot of fog, so much so that I struggle to grow my backyard food forest. Water is not an issue, but the lack of sunlight is. Any suggestions? I’ve had to give up on veggies, herbs do well, and I’ve just started with citrus and berries. I can’t really afford to move or to buy land yet.
    Thanks for all that you do! Great show!
    Chad

  2. Great show. I also enjoyed Paul’s recent podcast with you as a guest. As you and Paul discussed his amazement after his first appearance on your show. I am from permies.com and l learned of this site listen to Paul’s show. Your descriptions of “Forest gardening” were excellent. Thanks.

  3. great show, I thought I was going to do larrys self watering container garden but man this hugelkultur looks awesome.. Jack you need to see a show called the future of water was a great show and how different countries are doing huge undertaking to move water around there country.. Egypt for one and you should see the acufur that’s under Brazil its huge, I think they said it was the biggest..

  4. Good show. Presented me with some ideas. Now if only my area can get out of the drought and 100+ degree temps. That’s a problem that I see few solutions for except shading, hugels, and drip irrigation. Hopefully La Nina won’t be back next year.

  5. Great show. Was wondering if anyone had thoughts on scaling up the idea of using swales to help hydrate the land. I am raising cows in the south so obviously drought is a problem. I was thinking of using a single moldboard plow behind a tractor to create a ditch on the contour line throughout the pastures. The plow would probably make a ditch about 8″-10″ deep and would pile the dirt on the downhill side of the ditch. I would welcome any comments on this idea and any advice on how far apart the ditches should be.

  6. I really enjoyed this show- educational & lots of ideas to mull over. I’ll use this space plug some of my permaculture videos on my YouTube channel – MyOrganicTexas.com:

    Toby Hemenway Keynote Speech
    http://youtu.be/l_NZ5z2tB1w

    Bruce Deuley interviews Rick Wright
    http://youtu.be/VSolf5Rgjyw

    Another Intro in PermCul
    http://youtu.be/U2SAjCO2x-A

    Enjoy & subscribe!

  7. Another great show, Jack.

    Water Law here in Colorado is a flipping mess. Here’s a link to a summary of the situation, including information on graywater, too. Scroll down about 3/4, or search for Water Rights Issues Concerning Rainwater Harvesting.

    Small scale unobtrusive catchments, swales and basins are the straight forward methods.

    Rock on.

  8. Jack, I both love and hate these kinds of shows that you do.

    I love them because they always get my mind racing with ideas for some of the things that I can do on my own property.

    I hate them because I often listen to your podcast during my 1.5 hour commute to work, so after getting so pumped up to do gardening/homesteading things, I am hit over the head with the reality that I have to spend the next 8+ hours at my job as a construction engineer.

    Keep up the great work.

    One of the simplest things I did to save water was I ran all of my regular raised garden beds (unframed) across the slope of my garden with mulched pathways between. When it rains, the water flows into the uphill side of the garden beds and has to flow through the soil rather than around/over it. A small measure, but between that, allowing weeds to grow so long as they didn’t overtake my food crops and polyculture planting I made it through the hottest, driest stretch of the summer without having to water anything — and it all remained quite lush.

  9. Jack can you put up a faux box that just “lays/sits” on the hill that the dogs might respect still? Just a thought.

  10. Appreciate the hard work you do to research these topics.

    Does the kind of wood used in Hugel affect soil chemistry? I live where there are only pine and fir trees to be gathered. My concern is the acidity and natural herbicides in pines and firs.

    • Modern Survival

      @Jeff pine isn’t optimum but it works, this issue is it breaks down faster and doesn’t last as long, it won’t hurt anything. First pine needles are acidic, pine wood isn’t. The only issue is the allelopathic properties of pine but as it breaks down they dissipate quickly. So short answer use conifers ONLY if you have no other choice but it will still work and won’t damage the soil in any way.

  11. Jack, here’s something to think about.
    With the depleting of the fossil aquafur underground, we are also at the same time hydrating the above ground land. Is it possible that this could be causing a “change in the weather patterns”?
    It just seems to me that if you take the mass out from inside of a ball(the earth) and put it on the outside of that ball it would change the balance. Add to that our weather patterns with increased hydration of our land mass and I can forsee some problems.
    I’d check this out myself but I’m at work and I didn’t want this thought to dissipate into the atmosphere like so many others have.

    • Modern Survival

      @Capt Cook, personally to me the total amount of water from that is meaningless compared to the worlds oceans on such a large scale.

    • Yes Jack, your point is somewhat valid. But you have to take into account the redistribution of the water from below the surface to above the surface. When you combine the factors there could easily be an upset in the equilibrium of the Earth.
      I’m no scientist but basic physics would show us what the effects might be of removing such a large amount of mass, leaving behind a huge void, & moving that same mass on top of that now empty void.
      I can see several problems including the possibility of larger & more intense earthquakes now that the solid mass inside the earth can more easily collapse into what is now an empty void.

  12. In the Dakotas, the farms drilled deep wells to use for agriculture. After about 50 years, the aquifer began to decline and eventually the flow was too slow to support the agriculture. They built a water system to pipe water into the area and people stopped using their wells. Now the aquifer is coming back and the flow is increasing. The aquifer can recover fairly quickly if we can reduce our water needs and draw from the aquifer at a sustainable level.

    • Modern Survival

      @Ron, the key is what you call deep and what others call deep differs. You are talking about a shallow water aquifer not a fossil aquifer. Fossil aquifers can not recover.