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Getting Started

Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:58 pm
by Julian
I have 20 acres in Woodend and have recently come across peter Andrews book, which has inspired me to introduce his methods. How can I get started? I cant imagine Peter is going to be able to visit every Tom Dick and Harry who wants to give it a go, so what is going to be the method of getting us who want to get going educated?
I have an unusual problem that I dont have many weeds, I have pasture which isnt that good yet, I have added Lime and some organic Fertiliser so it is starting to improve. I have cattle that keep the organic matter to a minimum, so where should I start?

Posted: Fri May 07, 2010 9:53 pm
by Penny
Julian where are you. We have 106 acres near Beverley in WA. i have invertigated Permaculture and Keyline farming and want to make the property self sufficient. I have established marron and silver perch and will be building a straw bale home soon. I also really believe we all have to improve the environment as it has been so dammaged in the past.

Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 8:09 am
by duane

Where to start?

Peter's advice would be this.

Everyday you get the energy from the Sun for nothing.

"If you have permanent, green, vegetative cover as a farmer you are producing a product. This is what farmers do for a living. They produce a product from PLANTS that they can then turn into another product they can sell.".....Peter Andrews

Then you need to capture and hold or slow down the movement of surficial water across your farm. Again, plants will do this.

Then you need to gather fertility at the high side of the property to feed down to the land below (ie plant some shade trees here so the cattle can camp here and defaecate.

And try to capture the short water cycle from this by not baring your paddocks or letting stock eat down all the pasture.

Encourage plant biodiversity.

Use gravity to run water and fertility.

Understand how the hydrology works across your land by looking and watching.

Learn by doing!!!

Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 12:06 pm
by Penny
I am planning to follow Peter's advice about trees and fertility. I have a great spot right at the top of the block which is just below a large granite outcrop and I have noticed that it is green sooner and remains green longer so I thought the trees would have a good chance of suvival and they are close to a tank I can use to keep them going through their first summer if needed.
About 25-30% of the property is natural bushland and our place is between two other properties that are owned by like minded people. Both sides are having more trees planted each year so the three blocks will have at least a third covered with many different trees.

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 2:29 pm
by Julian
Thanks Duane, Since asking those questions back in 2008 I have done all that you and Peter have advised. I have been adding as much mulch as I can get my hands on. It is like magic. Wherever I add Mulch up comes the grass a week later. And where it has been for more than a year I can hardly get the slasher thru it. Now I am getting stable Mulch for free and it is even better. Dont tell all those horse people about NSF, they love putting the best part of their horse in little bags out on the Nature strip for me. :D

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 8:35 pm
by duane

Peter reckons you need to aim to get 45 tonnes per acre of mulch and manure onto the highest parts of your paddocks to do the following:

*maintain fertility and counter the leaching and oxidation processes
* retain greater soil moisture
*increase Cation Exchange Capacity CEC which is a fancy way of saying make more minerals available to plants inc P.
*high OM means higher soil C, longer residual time for nutrients and water

You can start with say 5 tonnes per acre and build it up over time. At 15 tonnes per acre you are just balancing the natural losses. At 45 tonnes you are winning the race.

Great to hear you are getting these's not rocket science but common sense....we waste so much and dont value the benefits of Nature's recycling processes.