Permaculture Designers Manual
CHAPTER 8 – WATER IN PERMACULTURE
Section 8.22 –
Chapter 8 Designers’ Checklist Permaculture Designers Manual
It is a primary design strategy to prevent topsoil losses and to repair and rehabilitate areas of damaged and compacted soils.
Permanent crop, soil bunds, terraces, and low-tillage systems all reduce soil and mineral nutrient loss.
Soil rehabilitation and pioneer green crop should precede other plant system establishment.
Adequate soil tests, plus test strips of crop examined for deficiency or excess symptoms, leaf analysis, and livestock health should be assessed to guide soil treatments.
If soil types can be specified, fencing, cropping, and treatment should coincide with these specific soil assemblies, and specific crops for such type researched.
Soil life processes need to be encouraged by provision for green crop, humus, mulch, and the root associates (mycorrhiza) of plants. A useful earthworm may need to be introduced.
Drainage, hence pH and soil water capacity, need specific treatment or assessment, and will largely determine crop and tree types.
Minimal use of large livestock and heavy machinery is to be recommended on easily-compacted soils, as is burning and clearing.
Use pigeon and animal manure where major elements are scarce, as in third world areas (also use of greywater and sewage, or wastes).
Before draining waterlogged soils, recommend crops to suit this condition. Never drain wildlife habitats, fens, or bogs which are species-rich.
Choose the right soil-shaping or earthworks to suit crop, drainage, and salt threat.
Using an auger, check soils for house foundations. Using a (wetted) soak pit, time the absorption of greywater for sewage disposal at house sites.
Preserve natural (poor) sites for their special species assemblies; pay most attention to human nutrition in home gardens, and select species to cope with poor soil conditions on the broadscale.
Fertilise plants using foliar sprays containing small amounts of the key elements, or pellet seeds with the key elements which are deficient locally. Pelleted seed and foliar sprays are economical ways to add nutrients to plants.