Permaculture In Humid Landscapes

This is the second in a series of 15 pamphlets based on the 1981 Permaculture Design Course given by Bill Mollison at The Rural Education Center, Wilton, New Hampshire, USA. Elizabeth Beyor, without compensation, transcribed the tape recordings of the course and subsequently edited the transcripts into 15 pamphlets. Later, Thelma Snell produced the typescript for all pamphlets. Lisa Barnes laid out and made mechanicals of the original editions in additon to producing the artwork retained in this edition. More recently, Meara Culligan entered all 15 pamphlets onto computer disk, permitting use of easier-to-read typefaces. From time to time, e have added some further light editing to increase the readability of the pamphlets.

In deference to the monumental task of love represented by Bill's assembly of the Permaculture Design Course, and by the subsequent volunteer efforts leading to these pamphlets, Yankee Permaculture has placed them in the public domain. Their reproduction is free to all and highly encouraged.

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For Mother Earth

Dan & Cynthia Hemenway, Sparr, Florida, June, 2001.

Third edition

Permaculture Design Course Pamphlet Series

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Complete Set of 15 Pamphlets. Bill Mollison. $35




Complete Set on Disk




I An Introduction to Permaculture. (Updated resources.)




II Permaculture in Humid Landscapes.




III Permaculture in Arid Landscapes,




IV Permaculture on Low Islands. (See V for combined price.)


V Permaculture on High Islands. (IV, V, & VI offered as one pamphlet.)




VI Permaculture on Granitic Landscapes. (See V for combined price.)


VII Permaculture for Fire Control. (See XV for combined price.)


VIII Designing for Permaculture.




IX Permaculture Techniques.(New material added, new edition)




X Forests in Permaculture.




XI Water in Permaculture.




XII Permaculture for Urban Areas & Urban-Rural Linkages.With New Resource List




XIII The Permaculture Community.




XIV The Permaculture Alternative.




XV Permaculture for Millionaires.




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Having found the keypoint, we can now treat the whole landscape as if it were a roof and a tank.

The category we are in now is humid landscapes, which means a rainfall of more than 30 inches. Our thesis is the storage of this water on the landscape. The important part is that America is not doing it.

The humid landscape is water controlled, and unless it is an extremely new landscape- volcanic or newly faulted--it has softly rounded outlines. When you are walking up the valley, or walking on the ridge, observe that there is a rounded 'S' shaped profile to the hills.

Where the landscape turns from convex to concave occurs a critical point that we call a keypoint.*

The main valley is the main flow, with many little creeks entering. At the valley head where these creeks start, we locate the major keypoint. From there on, the keyline starts to fall from one in 1,000 to one in 2,000 below contour. The dams we make in the lower valleys will be slightly lower at each point. They will not be at the keypoint.

Rain falling on the hilltop runs off. The paths described by single raindrops, wherever they fall, are similar in that they cross contours at right angles, because that is the shortest drop between two contours. Water takes the shortest path across the landscape from where it falls to where it hits the river line. It is along this path that raindrops are doing their thing. As soon as they are in the river valley, they are off to the sea.

It is possible to locate the keypoint from a contour map. Find where the contours start to spread. That is the keypoint.

Having found the keypoint, we can now treat the whole landscape as if it were a roof and a tank. In a fairly descending line, falling gently away

*Bill's treatment of keyline differs significantly from that of P. A. Yeomans, originator of the keyline plan. For a more detailed and more accurate treatment of keyline, see Water for Every Farm--Yeomans Keyline Plan, an updated version of Yeomans' work available from Yankee Permaculture at the address on the cover.

from the horizontal, we put in a groove around the hill. This is the highest point at which we can work with mechanical tools. Above that, it is too steep. We make a little shelf around the hill leading to the keypoint. No matter where this water was going, we have now started to divert it, bringing it right around the hill to the keypoint. In effect, we have put a gutter around our roof, a very gently falling gutter. We started at the keypoint and extended a line that we lifted one foot at every 2,000 feet. We want to create a very, very gentle fall. Water just moves along it, and that is all. We have directed the water to our keypoint.

At the keypoint, we put a little dam; for it is the highest point in the profile of the valley that we can eco-

nomically store water. It is a rather deep little dam, and we need a fair amount of Earth to build it. It is not the most economical dam that we will have, but it gathers all the water from the top of the hill to that point. We can make that keypoint dam as large as we can afford. It will enable us at any time of the year to run water right around this contour and let it fall on any area that we want. We lead the water out through the wall of the dam, either by siphon or a lock-pipe, allowing it to enter a contour drain. We control the flow in the drain by a sheet of canvas or plastic, fastening it like a flag to a very light plastic pipe. A chain attaches to the other end of the flag, serving as a weight. We may peg that flag down within the drain, holding back the flow until the

Bunyip Level Yeomans

All runnoff fror above the diversio drain is collected a the keypoint. Thi can be directed from an irrigation channe to any other poin below. Slopes o these channels rang from 1:200 t 1:200(

drain has filled behind the flag. Then the water spills over, sheeting down across the hillside. About twice a year, in summer, this will usually be enough to keep the countryside very green.

If you want to put out a bush fire you just walk backwards with the flag, and you douse the whole hillside. One person can water hundreds of acres this way with no effort at all. It is very light work. No pumps.

For very large dams, holding five or six million gallons, you merely put a sliding gate or lock-pipe in the dam wall, generally about 18 inches square. This water will flow out about as fast as you can walk, walking fairly slowly. The drain being filled will follow you along. The most restful way to irrigate a large area in this way is to have two people and two flags. We peg here, and our friend goes 100 feet ahead and pegs. When we have soaked our part of the field, we just pull our flag, and our water flows on to his flag.

The depth of your ditch depends on the size of your dam. If you have a 5,000 gallon dam and a little garden, a small market garden, you can have a small ditch, and you can control the flow just by putting a spade in it.

Alternately, you can have something as big as a lake, for which you will need a large lock pipe with a big wheel on it, and the ditch itself may be half the size of this room. This will require a fair size flag. In this situation, we may be trying to irrigate 2,000 or 3,000 acres a day.

On large property, taking in a whole watershed, we may go on constructing further dams on a descending contour. Away we go, dam to dam to dam, falling all the way on this one to two thousand keyline. As long as your main dam is the highest, you can come down to all the little valleys, taking in both sides of the watershed. The keypoint should fall to both sides of the watershed. In the next valley, the dam is a little lower, and the next one a little lower. As for the river, it will flow quite continuously. The more storage you have on the hills, the longer that river will flow in summer.

You can also find situations in which one side of the valley is very, very steep, and the other side very gentle. In this case, it is possible to put storages on the gentler slope.

Sometimes, again, the keypoint is well up-slope on very gentle, low sloping country.

What we are up to is taking water off non-agricultural land, and preferably forested land, collecting the water and the snow melt that has filtered through this forest. We don't want to cultivate those upper slopes. They are too steep, and they shouldn't be cultivated. Depending on your soil, don't cultivate beyond a 19 degree slope. You can get guidance on this from your local soils people. Generally, the sandier it gets, the less slope you will cultivate. With clay, you might get away with cultivating at 20 degrees probably once or twice.

The keypoint decides not only the most economical place to start to catch the water; it also defines the point above which you should probably consider forestry, while using the land below for irrigated pasture, croplands, orchards, or even irrigated forest. If you are dealing with a fairly wild forest of walnut and other nuts, it is very useful to be able to pour water on just about the time you are going to harvest. Then all your husks split and the nuts drop out. Below the keypoint lies the potential for cultivation.

All this that I have been giving you is just a model. I don't expect the

countryside to be like that, for here we may have rocks and falls and trees, and maybe a small pasture-but just as a model, that is the way we would do it.

The slope with which we are working varies between sand and clay. Even with sand, if the drop is one foot in 2,000, we hardly shift a grain of sand in these ditches. We ran an eight mile ditch recently in northeast Tasmania. We got five or six miles along with one of these ditches--it was in the summertime and it hadn't rained for months--and there came a light, misty rain. We walked back a couple of miles and the ditch was running in the sand. It had been a guess, sort of a bet. We were doing it with a back-hoe. It was just in sand, and it worked. We filled the first dam on the first day of light rain.

Here you are saying, you have rocks all over the place. Yet, it is very easy to go around outside them, or to bank up on outside of them. If they are as big as this room, run the ditch to the rock, let it drop down the side of the rock, pick it up at the bottom and go on. It is easy to go around a rock, just go around it and backhoe it. It may only need to be a little ditch, maybe just six inches deep.

Permaculture Swale Reservoir System
very high water storages. These are the highest water storages you can get on any property.

The best way to answer your questions of how big this ditch needs to be is perhaps this way: The aboriginal people put mutton bird in casks. These people have an extraordinary dry sense of humor. They had a man from Sydney come down from a television team. He was interviewing an old friend of mine, a man named Devo-ny Brown, and he was treating him as a simple-minded idiot, which Mr. Brown is not. He said, "Mr. Brown, you cut your birds, and you split your birds, and you put them in a barrel." And he said, "How many birds do you get in a barrel?"

"Well, oh, well, now," he says, "a small barrel, we don't get many, but you get me a big barrel and I'll get you a bloody lot of bird in it."

So does this answer your questions at all?

Look, if we are opening a valve on a 5,000,000 gallon dam, and we are getting rid of two and a half million gallons of water that day, we want a very big ditch--right? If we are opening a valve in a 2,000 gallon Earth tank at the top of somebody's back yard, we just want a trickle through the garden.

There is another way to construct a ditch that makes a fantastic landscape. That is to make the ditch a lake. Just go along and make a very broad ditch, and widen it wherever it is easy, and let the whole ditch fill with water, and your ditch is also a storage lake. I have seen it done once. It really makes something of the landscape.

There is a point, perhaps beyond five or six million gallons, that you are out of agricultural storages and into civil work. That will be valley dams. They will be subject to floods. We do not worry about floods with these little storages. While they may impound much water, they are very low dams. If they break, a six inch flood rushes out for two hundred feet. We design only with the sort of dams that you would feel quite confident about constructing. You are not about to put in a dam that is going to flood the next five or six villages down the stream, that will require concrete spillways and chutes and all that.

Here on these wooded slopes, though you encounter rocks, bracken, and trees, you look and you can see that there are ditches out there right now in operation. It is up to you to find those ditches and determine how they are made, and who made them, and where they go. There are storages out there. I want you to find those storages and determine what they will do. This is early springtime. There are little ditches flowing all day long out there, carrying off snow melt. You call them roads. Just look and see how far those roads are diverting water around the landscape. You know, the driving of a vehicle around the keyline will bring the water to the dam. We should use the keyline system as our road system.

Just go and have a look at the roads right here. See where this road collects the water and where it drops it, and see where it takes it from.

You are asking me why people didn't think of this keyline system earlier? Common sense is an uncommon quality.

Now we go back to the top profile. This time we will be dealing with the hill profile itself. What we have been discussing so far is the valley profile.

Any dams worth making in valleys are keypoint dams. The other dams, which we will now discuss, won't be in valleys.

Here is a typical profile of ridge tops, a sky-line profile. What I consider now is the little saddles in the ridges. Some of them are not so little.

These saddles often mark points of weakness in the landscape, which may be massive, solid rock. The saddles mark those places where the rivers start coming down on both sides of the ridge. These rivers, obviously, have above them very large catchments. By making walls on either side, or perhaps on but one side of the saddle, we can obviously get very large and very high water storages. These are the highest water storages you can get on any property. These are real power storages. You may get one, or you might be able to get a whole series of these high storages on a single property.

Let us consider what these storages would be useful for. They are marvelous places for your house water supply. It might be possible to generate electricity with them. If we had a very broad saddle, maybe 300 feet wide, we would just have to make two wide semi-circular bowls on the side of the saddle. We would have a sheet of water running across the saddle, and could run a hydro-electric stream off that. With this perched 400 feet above one friend's garden beds-- a 400 foot fall is the maximum that you can get thick walled plastic pipe to hold at that--when the tap is opened at the bottom, you should see the sprinklers! You can stage the pressure down. You need not bring it down at 400 foot pressure. You can bring it down 200 feet, put a stop valve on a tiny tank, maybe a 100 gallon tank that you carry up on your back, and start again from that little tank and bring it down the last 200 feet.

These are excellent storages for intermittent mechanical power, for operating a turbine, supplying mechanical power for grinding or for a sawmill. You can operate a washing machine. In Australia, we have a washing machine, one of our best. It looks like a concrete mixer and runs off a very simple little gizmo. There is also a spin dryer that works on a little water jet. When you have 100 feet of fall and a little jet and a small turbine, it is simply your tap adjustment that becomes your speed adjustment.

There are other reasons for these high dams. Up there where it may be a fairly arid landscape in summer, you will find that the complexity of wildlife and the number of species, the number of seed-eating birds like grouse and quail rise sharply once you have these small storages up high. Wild chicks of seed eating birds need water daily, within 24 hours. These little storages are very enriching. These little saddle dams, which sometimes occur naturally, are great places for wild life.

Another important use for these high storages is to run sprinklers in a fire protection system. Two sprinklers will cover your two precious acres. When fire comes, if you have a single tap to twist and the thing runs for half an hour, you are out of trouble. So all you need, really, is 1,200 gallons up there.

Those saddle dams are pretty per-

manent. Even the natural ones are there for thousands of years. What's more, these are often filling when you have very little water down below. They fill faster that the lower dams. We are going to get a lot of energy back out of them, for, remember, you will not be pumping water anymore. The energy required to set up this system is what I call restitutional mechanics; we use it just once.

Now we will go to the subject of contour dams .

For this, we choose the least sloping site. We build an Earth wall, and we run our diversion drains as usual. These contour dams can perch on the knoll of a hill, where it dwindles out.

You know, when it rains heavily, our storages fill first. So we have buffered the erosion by taking the first shock of water. After that, these dams continue to give to the water table as the water table dries out, so they are moderating systems. That's why throughout Australia the authorities encourage you to build as many of these small dams as you can build. It means that down in the large storages, the power storages, there will be far more constant flow of water and the chances of flooding mitigate.

These dams will stand up to any amount of rainfall, because they simply overflow. You put in a normal spillway, and when you put a spillway in, you always contour it away from the dam and grade it out so what you get is a sheet flow over it. Now you bring it out as a broad ditch and runs it along on contour, gradually letting the ditch taper out to nothing. We often plant the spilldown area with shrubs.

From the skyline of the landscape, we have observed the natural path of water. We diverted it to cheap storage points. With very cheap, extraordinarily cheap earthworks, we have stored that contour dam is a shallow dam with a large surface area." water permanently, and we have stored it for different

Simple Contour Maps

The contour dam is a shallow dam with a large surface area. It will be a very, very cheap dam. For the amount of Earth moved, we are going to get a lot more water. So if there is any flattish area up high, even if we have to hand-cut out diversion drains for a hundred yards with shovels--you don't need a big diversion drain--we will get water way up there.

These dams have two or three effects. There is significant increase in the water table in the surrounding area because these dams all leak a little bit, and because you are running the water around those diversion drains, you get a better absorption. What we are doing is giving the water far more time on the landscape. We have decreased the rush-off of water.

uses at different levels. It should be obvious to you that the high water should be water for cleanest use, and that as water comes downhill we can afford to let it become contaminated more and more with manurial pollutants for crops and with humic acid from forests.

We have set many priorities for our client. First, we get his domestic water supply for the house. We ought to do that before he ever starts mixing his concrete. We then look after the garden, the intensive garden; and then, lastly, we look after the extensive agricultural system.

This applies to people with larger properties. At present, we are doing the grand scale. We will put 13% to 15% of his landscape under water, if we can get it, and more if he chooses an aquatic crop.

You are asking how I define the "grand scale?" It depends upon whether you are an Australian, a Texan, or a New Hampshire man. In New Hampshire, 140 acres is a grand scale; in Texas, or in the Northern Territory of Australia, 5,000 square miles is reasonably modest property. In large, dry areas you are dealing with total catchments, total river systems. On an area up there in Northern Australia, there are five mountain ranges and five rivers, starting way up in the hills and ending with crocodiles down in the estuary. There we have gobs of landscape to play around on. Usually we are dealing with areas larger than fifty acres. In this highly dissected country, little catchments may lie within modest properties.

In setting the water in the landscape, we also establish the placement of a number of other elements. If the first decision that we make is to control the water in the landscape, then the functions that it serves, the uses to which we put it, decide the subsequent placements, and the thing really does start to become harmonious.

We have talked a lot about Type One Errors, which a designer must avoid. One of those is the house on the hill, which I call the Berchtesgarten syndrome. You have heard of Adolph Schickelgruber, the famous paper hanger of the 1930's? He later became reasonably well off, and built a great concrete blockhouse on top of a crag, where, as far as I know, he could have perished of thirst. I don't know what his eventual fate was. Anyway, there is this urge among some people to get as high as you can, and look out upon things. Many clients



"Within this thermal belt, just below the keypoint, is where we site our clients."


"Within this thermal belt, just below the keypoint, is where we site our clients."

have this syndrome, and you have to fight these illnesses.

Your forest, properly, starts at the ridge top and comes down to the key point. This forested area has another factor going for it. It is your thermal belt. Let us look at the pattern of frost. If you can look at it from the air on a foggy day, you will see how it works, for the fog will imitate the frost. Here are your frosts moving across the ridge top. Occasionally a glob of it detaches and rolls downhill. Frost is not water; frost is treacle. Pour treacle on the landscape, and very stiff treacle at that. That is how frost and cold air behave. Frost does not behave like a stream flow; it behaves like fog. Frost moves out over the tree tops, pushing the warm air down. There is a warm thermal belt between the frost above the key point and the valley floor below.

As these gobs of frost move into the upper area of the forest that, even when it is a deciduous forest, still holds a lot of insulated water. It pushes the warm air out at the bottom. That air is several degrees warmer than the air entering at the top of the forest. Within this thermal belt, just below the key point, is where we tend to site our client. In that way, he has a racing start on thermal efficiency. It is the area where the first buds of spring break out, where the phenomenological calendar says that if you race up and down the hills, this is the best place to get started early in the spring. This is also the last area of autumn, where productivity disappears. So, it is a long season area. If you walk from there any night up to the crags above, you will go through a zone of decreasing temperature. With an evergreen forest above the keyline, even in snow, you will experience a warm down draft within the thermal belt.

If we put in a high meadow up there, it will probably frost, and so will the trees up at that level. You will see the rime on them there. We won't get that degree of frost down here in the thermal belt. We will be several degrees warmer.

There are several thousand reasons for avoiding the temptation to site a dwelling way up on the ridge top. Down below the key point, the clean water is above us, and the house is below that water. Another thing, fire sweeps with fantastic rapidity uphill, and good-bye Berchtesgarten, because you have two fronts hitting you from both sides at once. You have nowhere to go. Fire moves quickly through the forest above us. Yet, we very easily controlled it at as this lower site.

Once we have set the water system, even if we never fully construct it, we retain the potential for its construction. The rest of the system is set, too.

Let us come down now to another area for water storage. This is where we start to really store the great bulk of the water we are going to store, and we don't store it in the dams, we store it in the soils.

We hop on a little light tractor attached to our Wallace soil conditioner and we start to comb parallel to the keyline. We comb the soils out. Of course, if you have forest below the keyline, this treatment won't be necessary, because the forest will be doing all that. The forest is driving down roots and they are rotting; it is putting little sticks on the landscape, and it is holding water up, and it is laying down duff. Let us say this is going to be agricultural land, so this is how we will proceed. If it is now agricultural and we are going to make it orchard or mixed forest, then we still proceed like this.

We now begin to create the greatest reservoir that we will have on the farm. This is the billion-gallon reservoir. It is the soil. You won't see any of this water, but it will be there. We just continue to comb the soil out, moving parallel to the keyline. As we do so, we provide greater soil storage of water closer to the ridges. This is just a technique to get the water out of the valley, back on to the high places.

The Wallace soil conditioner is a very simple farmer's machine, very rugged. It has a disc that runs along the soil and cuts it. It is very sharp, of excellent steel. This is followed by a shank that has a shoe at the base. You don't need to go more than 9 inches deep in the soil. The disc cuts through the soil, the shank follows the slit. The shoe widens the slit at its base. You shouldn't see more than a couple of teaspoonsful of Earth emerge along that opening. A very light tractor will do the job.

We are creating these thousands of grooves, running faintly across slope. Starting up on contour at one in two thousand, any water flowing on this landscape initially follows these million little drains. As heavy rain falls, these fill to capacity. Then, the water overflows and descends to also charge fully the grooves below. Water is very quickly absorbed. Just look at the amount of absorption surface in a conditioned soil as against the original soil. The original soil was sloping downhill, probably compacted by cattle, probably further compacted by

"We comb parallel to the keyline."

Keyline Flood Flow Model


"We start to create the greatest reservoir that we will have on the farm."

tractors, and the water was running off. Now your little holes are absorbing that water. When it gets down here, it starts moving out underground. So it can't evaporate--the sun can't get at it.

Now we are starting to get soils which contain water to at least 9 inches depth. Those soils will absorb water roughly at about one inch per foot as interstitial water. So we start to hold the majority of normal rainfall within the farm. Interstitial water will continue on down and gradually go out the streams, but that may be at a very, very slow rate. Somewhere, you know, it may move out there at a distance of less than 10 feet a day, or in some areas, 20 feet in a year.

The Wallace soil conditioner is unlike a subsoiler, which is a tool of cultivation, and brings an enormous amount of Earth up on top. In spite of its ruggedness, the Wallace soil conditioner is very sophisticated, and it is designed to do exactly what I have described. It is designed to store water within the soil. Your subsoilers are not designed for this, neither are your chisel plows. We have done football fields with these soil conditioners and the next day then went out and played football.

What we are after is storing water. Once we treat the soil in this way, we never have to repeat it, unless we restock heavily with cattle for a couple of years, or run it over to and fro with tractors. It is the ideal tool to rehabilitate eroded soils, soils that we never intend to put back under cattle, soils that we want to devote to new uses, those places we want to reforest as quickly as possible with the highest chance of success.

Now there are a few conditions (in which you don't use the soil conditioner. One is in very free sandy soils. Nor do you use it in forested landscapes, and of course you don't use it where maybe 90% of the soil is rock. Apart from that, in all other conditions, use it. Use your keyline as your base line to start your conditioning.

We will now describe how you start the keyline out. You use a Bunyip level, which is made up of about 80 feet of half inch hose. At either end it has clear, stiff plastic uprights inserted into it. These are rigidly fixed to two stakes. Fill the hose with water. Then bring these two stakes together and mark off a level point on them. Here they stand right together. We have the base of these stakes on a firm, level platform, and mark off the level. Drive a stake here at the keypoint. One now walks 80 feet around the hill and puts the stake up or down the hill until the water reaches that level, and drives in the marker. If we want a one in 2,000 contour drop, we bring it down in proportion to whatever distance we walked. Now all it takes is two kids to run keylines all over the landscape. They can do it in half an hour with this sophisticated bit of equipment invented by the ancient Chinese and originally made of pig's guts, but adaptable to modern materials. It is called the Bunyip level. You start at your knoll, or you descend across the landscape on your keyline. Or you strike a dead level thing for a swale, which we have not discussed yet.

If you don't have anyone around, and don't have any levels, you hop on your tractor, back as hard as you can into the valley, and then start driving gently around the hill, and continue on parallel to that situation. There is no need to fuss about it at all. We are not talking about anything very complicated, because all you want is for that water to travel maximum distance.

You can make wet spots on ridges. Geoff Wallace does a little half moon right up in a very steep little valley. He gets his tractor up there, combs out to the ridges, and puts a clump of trees on the ridge, so the trees are irrigated on the ridge points.

The results of the conditioning of soil are, first, a fantastic amount of water storage within the landscape; second, a soil temperature in winter that may be as much as 25 degrees Fahrenheit above that of the surrounding soils. Wet soil is an enormous heat mass, but you also have much air space in those soils. Conditioned soils commonly average 19 degrees Fahrenheit above the surrounding soil temperatures. It is frequent to see a field that has been soil conditioned unfrosted in a series of frosted fields, because very often it is just that 15 degrees to 19 degrees difference. So soil conditioning sharply decreases frost. Therefore it increases your growing season at both ends of the growing year. Trees will make a faster growth. Olives, that would maybe bear in 17 or 18 years, will normally bear within three years in conditioned soil. It pays to wait even two years or three years until this happened before you plant trees. You are still further ahead than if you planted first in compacted soils. You get roots following those lines right down into those little triangles, and then off themselves and going on further down, again making channels for water for even further penetration. We are not interested in going beyond a depth of nine inches. We can create that within a year from sub-soil. Seeds wash into those little crevices and germinate along those little ridg-

es. The plow has an attachment, a little seed box that just drips seeds at pre-regulated rates into those crevices, and you can go from pasture into millet, or pasture into wheat right away. And you haven't cultivated. You can go from pasture into pumpkins, if you want to.

Before you do this, it is a good idea to mow or graze the area flat, then use your soil conditioner.

If it is a stubborn soil, really compacted, you only go down to four inches. Then you will see in these lines a very rigorous increased grass, which you let come out, and either take off as hay, or mow and lay flat, or graze off. Then you recondition down to about nine inches. After you proceed either directly into crop or into orchard, or you start normal grazing sequences, which you continue for two years, or until you dig down and find that the results of conditioning have disappeared and your pasture is starting to degrade. Then you recondition your pasture. In normally strong soil, you wouldn't need to do that more than once every three or four years under quite heavy grazing. On football fields, you only need to do it every two or three years, and that is heavy compaction. You can see it is not a frequent treatment. In orchards, you don't need to regraze your orchard, because you are getting root depth from trees and root channels deep down in the Earth.

In some soils, you get hard pan, mostly as the result of the application of superphosphate and a high evaporation rate. When you put superphosphate on top, the rain carries it down to certain depths; then summer comes and the moisture evaporates and an insoluble tri-calcium phosphate forms in a concrete block 15 inches down. It is all right to use phosphate rock on calcareous soils, but not superphosphate. Those soils should never have superphosphate applied to them. That is a no-no. We will get into that in the tropical section. Superphosphate is a no-no on tropical calcium soils. It is a type one error. Superphosphate your atoll and you will concrete it. We will try to point out these type one errors as we go along. We just did one. The Berchtesgarten syndrome is a type one error. Once you have made that error, everything else you attempt will remain difficult forever. You invite a high energy situation for your client in perpetuity. They are always going to be in trouble. A little camp in the woods is another type one error. You can feel those errors in your bones. You are asking, How about building a house on a valley floor? There is nothing wrong with it if you want to make a specialty of freezing things. If that is what you want, then just down the valley, put a big belt of pine trees across it, and you can live in a refrigerator all your life, summer and winter. It is Eskimo ideal. If you must adapt an Eskimo to southern Minnesota, that's where you put him. For us sunny people, that is not the place. There are valley sites, however, which we will get to later, which we deliberately choose.

Now back to the subject of water in landscape. We store most of our water in our soil. We can get it there in two ways. If you have poor clients who can't afford this soil conditioner, we can get water in there with radishes. I mean large radishes, the dai-kon radish. We use the same system. We slash, and we broadcast our dai-kon. The Daikon radishes spike our soil to about two feet. We never need to pull them because they are biennial and rot. If the area is too steep to use the soil conditioner, we use Daikon radish. We accomplish it biologically. Or we can plant real pioneer species of trees like your western red cedar, and they spike the soil. They are very good soil spikes. They start this process. If we have a very large area compacted, and we want to get into some crop or other, we can use that mechanical method. We might have to make a hole and put in a handful of compost with our radish so that it can get a start. If we are dealing with a very small area, we might dig holes and put little logs in and plant our vegetables where the logs are rotting under the ground. We can do all sorts of things like that. We can get it done.

What we are up to is opening the soil again, bringing it back to its forest absorption capacity, and we do it. Our main aim is to store the water in the soil. You can see now what happens when we let water drain, that irrigation drain, out across conditioned soil. It encounters a series of ribbed systems that run it out and store it up.

Now let us move on down to the lower slopes. As the grade decreases, so the amount of water stored per Earth moved starts to increase. Any impoundments we make lower down are very cheap, and, as you now know, there is no need to go into the valleys to make them on any level area. We can make them on the point of a ridge, and that may be flatter than the valley floor. This has an advantage in that we don't have a flood-rush over our dam walls. It is an easy situation where we have a diversion drain running from higher up, pooling on the ridge, and maybe running back into the next valley.

There is only one rule about the efficiency of dams. That is, the flatter the floor that you are flooding, the more water you get for dollars spent. It doesn't matter where that is, on an open field, or on a ridge, or in a valley floor. So when you are looking to large storage, you walk the valley floor and find where it levels. At the point where it starts to level, you often find that it tightly constricts, and you will find the logical valley dam site. Again, you are the best tool in determining this.

It is a pleasant time of the year to do it now, because there is water trickling through the landscape.

Where it speeds up, that is where you are going to have to move a lot more dirt. Where it is moving slowly, that is the floor of your dam. Where it starts to speed up, that is where your dam wall will go. At this time of year, just when everything is melting, you can follow all the trickles across the landscape and work these little things out.

We will go now to your lower dams. They lie below your fields, below your animal houses, below your house, but maybe just below, because they are good for energy. They may be of very little use at all in this respect. Occasionally, though, they may be useful for turning mill wheels below. They may be useful in that with enough flow we can put a hydraulic pump, a hydraulic ram on, and lift domestic water up 10 feet for every foot of the fall. They may be useful for high volume, low flow energies, particularly if we are putting them across creeks. These are your old mill dams, mill ponds. They lie all around this district. There is one just up the road, and another one just down the road. They move big masses slowly by weight of water. However, for the most part, the energy low dams supply is not much good to us, so they are the last dams we install.

However, these are our production dams. Here we produce the highest amount of yield from water. They are the best dams for our fish and our wild life and water chestnuts, crayfish, all those little creatures. They do best down in these low dams because there is a nutrient flow into the dam of dissolved solids. Water that looks perfectly clear may carry a heavy weight of dissolved solids. You will find on analysis, more mass eroded from the hillside in clear water than you find in dirty water. Now the idea is to catch these nutrients in a biological net. We want to seize the nutrients, the dissolved solids in the water, the calcium, etc., without employing some high technology apparatus, and get these nutrients back on to the land.

You can do this by putting fodder plants in these ponds, algae, mussels, and snails. They will absorb that calcium and fix it, and you can get it back out again in the form of duck manure, fish, and wild rice. In this way, you are using very efficient little biological machines, working at the molecular level, straining out the nutrients before the nutrients leave your property.

The ideal situation is, starting with clean high dams, gradually dirty the water up with manurial nutrients-keep your ducks on a slowing flow into some of these ponds, wash your pig manure into some of them--then start putting this water through your wetland plant systems. You will be getting a high plant growth, which you take off. Then run the water on through other systems, and let it grow clean again. The water that you finally re

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