Episode-1504- Geoff Lawton on New Ideas in Permaculture — 29 Comments

  1. Jack – awesome!
    Hey, what are you thinking is the easiest way to do the duck pond soil thing? Seems like it could involve lots of moving poor soil around than good soil out of the pools… lots of material handling… Would love to do it more though. Do that in the paddies now.

    • @Ben

      Well the truth is any soil here is going to have to be brought in anyway. I don’t have dirt in surplus how sad is that?

      This means I could get cheap sandy soil mix like this, note the sandy stuff that is 15 bucks a yard! I also get 20% off that price as prior military so it literally is dirt cheap. Pun intended.

      So I’d get a truck load, fill up 10-15 pools. I would do that ONCE a year. I would distribute said pools evenly though out my food forest. Fill as ready to plant and ducks go in, no work there. Fence out ducks, plant. Wait. Short crops I might get a few a season, if so I might let ducks in for a day between some harvest and planting.

      Chuffa, water chestnut, rice, etc are full season crops. So ducks in, plant, harvest at season end. At end of season let ducks in for a week, drain pond, dump into pile.

      The kiddie pools can go into the shed for the winter, 15 would stack in not much more space than one occupies. Pile is given a few weeks to become aerobic. I could even run a chicken tractor on each pile and let them do the work. Then spread on the swale mounds and interswale planted areas. The dirt would be right there and at that time not all heavy and nasty any more.

      It really isn’t a lot of work at all. No more so than bringing in a truck load of compost twice. The quality should be insane though.

      Fall would also be a great time for me to tractor a annual run of broilers across everything. Still designing out the kinks in my head. Just sent Geoff a text about mosquitoes. I just don’t think gold fish could live in those pools during the summer with no air pumps. So I guess BT dunks are the best I could do. Unlike swales or fish ponds those things would breed lots of mosquitoes.

    • I’m wondering about this too. But also, what if you don’t even use a kiddy pool at all? Just modify the swale by adding impermeable clay basins that act as permanent kiddy pools. When it rains, they fill with the swale, and as the swale seeps in, the “clay pool” areas would remain wet much longer. This is a very interesting idea overall. Your point about mosquitoes is good though, those buggers ruin outdoor time pretty quick around here…

      Great interview BTW!

      • So you are saying dig a hole in the bottom of the swale and line it?

        Tons of issues there like floating everything out of it during a rain for one. Not to mention how complicated fencing would be.

        Even if I solved those issues the bottom of my swales are layered limestone.

        • Yea, the limestone isn’t going to help much. lol! Locally we have a vast surplus of red clay. My idea might not work for you – just trying to see if there is a 100% sustainable solution that might work for those who don’t already have a bunch of kiddy pools lying around. 😉

          But yes, you would dig about 2 feet 4 inches below the swale line, pack in about 4 inches of clay, and then line the “walls” with clay. This way you would be cutting in 6X6 mini ponds in your actual swale. After the clay is set, you would fill a foot of good soil in there, and then – fill the remaining foot with water which would hopefully not soak through the clay too quickly.

          I only have 0.18 acre, so not much to work with, but my swale empties into a small pond, along with all the run off from the roof of my house though a series of french drains under the deck. I did not pack the pond with clay, but that stays filled all the time with at least 4 inches of water, until middle of hot summer when it dries to thick mud. I had never thought of growing rice or watercress in that thing, but it would be perfect for it…

          The float out issue shouldn’t be a problem as (ideally) the soil would be almost permanently submerged… I guess that depends on how fast water moves through your flooded swales though.

          Anyway, just an idea!

        • What would work MUCH better would be pounds NOT in the swale that are connected to said swales which fill up from said swales and back fill said swales when full. You know like conventional swale pond design just smaller ponds.

          Frankly if you are going to do that you might as well just make paddies like Ben does.

  2. Just listened, sent message on YouTube channel being a subscriber. PLEASE expand and do many videos on the Duck Ideas. Quite amazing, really changing though processes!

  3. I like that challenge… The smallest chicken tractor on steroids possible. It is interesting to contemplate how small a tractor can go especially in a close urban setting where tractoring chickens isn’t normally practiced.

  4. “It’s boring being scared.” This off-hand quote by Geoff at the end hit me where I live….

  5. Listened to this one twice. Mr. Lawton is an amazing guy doing some great work. You can tell he is a master at this stuff. Great interview Jack.

  6. Jack,
    Regarding using kiddie pools to grow plants after the ducks leave, would you drill holes in them for drainage? If you do though, you can’t reuse them in a rotation. Am I missing something?

    • No you wouldn’t the way we were discussing, if you listen again you will hear that all hte crops suggested were aquatic crops like chuffa, ipomea aquatica (water spinach), water chestnut, wild rice, kang kong, taro, etc.

      So I would just keep water in them, which means I’d not have to worry about them much during even the summer. Top em up once every 2-3 weeks. One thing I need to follow up with Geoff on though is mosquitos. Not sure gold fish could handle that water without a pump. So I guess I’d use BT dunks.

      • Jack, I’d like to hear a show dedicated to plants that grow underwater or boggy soils. Primarily those for food and fodder.

  7. Jack,
    What about those curvy water features in the spill-ways to aerate the water. The water travels down hill in figure eight fashion creating turbulence and collecting air. I saw it in one of Geoff’s desert videos. A solar panel would provide enough electricity for a weak water pump to create a small fountain too, or to pour water into a troump like aerator to keep evaporation low. You could also set up the tromp to compress just enough air to keep a small pump running. Bill Mollison posted his lecture on tromps on facebook about a week ago. I’m sure there is more to it than is posted but you have his book and it is in there, he flashes the page number in the posted lecture.


  8. Jack
    you mentioned you saw a video with Geoff from a proptery in Wisconsin. Do you know the name of the video or a link

  9. Geoff is so awesome and such a wealth of knowledge! I love hearing him talk and his life must be amazing going around the world and working with permaculture and all the awesome people involved with it.

    As one of the commenters posted above, I really took to heart Geoff’s quote of “Being scared is boring.” It really is. You get nothing done and it gets lonely being scared. Working with something you know is fighting back the current system and way of thinking and is also changing the world for the better is so NOT boring!

  10. I await clarification in some future episode on the ducks/aquaculture in kiddy pools as the conversation here seemed to gloss over alot of things or move kind of fast ..

    So Jack has ducks in little kiddy pools .. does he have a larger duck pond ?
    How does Ben Falk or people in northern areas have ducks if all the water freezes in the winter ? Just wondering, obviously I don’t know much about ducks ..

    Grow wild rice, water chestnut, water cress in kiddie pools or swales ?

    It seems like Geoff Lawton doesn’t have any books that he has written ? Just curious. I was not able to find any

  11. Great show. Have only listened to half so far. I have a challenging property with a backyard slope that goes to small river and a recessed pond-like area. Am looking to add dirt the pond area and have ducks go after. If there weren’t already large trees growing there I would opt for putting in fish.
    For the aquatic plants, some more that I’m looking into in addition to the ones mentioned are mayhaw (a small fruit tree) and Pacific crab apple. The name for the wild rice is zizania aquatica. When stored, the seed needs to stay in a container with water or it won’t germinate.

  12. As a 2nd generation vegetarian, happily eating the way I was raised, I have no problem with others who follow their own traditions. I do take exception with your example of meat eater and vegetarian cooking for each other. A meat eater can prepare and eat a vegetarian meal without violating their personal ethics, and without becoming ill. If you came to eat at my house, I would prepare a delicious meal that we could both enjoy, taking into account your dietary restrictions and mine. I would also refrain from bashing your dietary choices, politics, and religion. That is just good hospitality.
    I would prefer to focus on what we have in common and how we could learn from and benefit each other.

    • And you have proven my point! My needs are not important to you and you expect me to adapt to what you believe in.

      Look just because I would prepare vegan foods for you doesn’t mean I would eat them, or all of them.

    • I wonder if you are assuming that, as a vegetarian, I would be unable to accommodate your need for Paleo diet meals? That is not the case.
      Surely you don’t expect your hosts to violate their deeply held beliefs in order to make you a more comfortable guest? I suggest you contemplate a middle ground where everyone can be comfortable. Remember, the host/guest relationship is a two way street.

      • There is NO WAY you can accommodate my diet, none. Anyway you made my point, thanks for that.

        You don’t get it, it isn’t about what I don’t eat but what I do eat. Again I would be a good guest and appreciate the failed effort.

        You know my bigger problem with Vegans, they mostly would have a problem if I brought my own meat to their tables.