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Re: Permaculture market garden [PC class file under nutrient cycles, cr economic

In a message dated 1/25/97 11:28:31 PM, you wrote:

>>>Does anyone have any comments on this approach?
>>Yes, this works if you have the space.  Depending on climate, soils, the
>>value of eggs vs vegetables in your profit margins, etc., you can have
>>several plots and rotate them.  The trick then is to get your companion
>>planting to work while you plant gardens that will be harvested all about
>>same time, despite the fact that they are mixed crops.  More divisions also
>>allow for more space to veggies, which can be important to people on
>Dan, could you elaborate on this a little more?  Why am I harvesting
>everything at the same time?  Is there more to planting than simple
>broadcasting?  What do you mean by "more divisions"?
>This method is completely new to me, so any details are helpful.  Thank you!

Well, I was trying not to replicate my online permaculture course in this
mailing list, but I made myself fair game with that answer so here goes.

You harvest everything at about the same time so you can move chickens onto
the patch.  It won't do to harvest everything but the late cabbage.  Chickens
eat cabbage.  This takes some experience with your prefered varieties under
local conditions.

There can be more to planting than simple broadcasting.  You can start
seedlings in a separate bed.  I always have a very small bed just for
seedlings during the growing season so if I lose a late cabbage, I can pop
something else into that spot to use the space.  The seedling bed is not
fertilized much and the seedlings are planted a bit thickly (close together)
to keep them from growing fast.  When you move them to that empty spot with
all that room they show their gratitude.  It is a lot of work and major
disturbance to the Earth to keep an area in intensive cultivation and you'd
best make full use of the space.  I'm not going to get more into the answer
than that.  Get the John Jeavons book on gardening and the soils issue of our
journal and you have all you need on that part of gardening and more.

Well, more divisions means more divisions.  You can divide an acre into 2
half acre plots, 4 quarter acre plots, or 16 plots or, if you are a nut, a
million plots.
A million is divide more than 2.  Obviously there is a limit to the number of
divisions, probably one bed four feet wide and fifty feet long.  (People tend
to try to cross beds longer than 50 feet and invariably step on them or fall
on them trying to jump.  Give them a path.  Give yourself a path.)  If you
have little space, you want much of it in production for vegetables, etc.,
rather than as forage.  So you make more divisions.  Plant carefully and
cleverly so the beds follow one anouther in a more or less regular HARVEST
 succession, and move your chickens regularly.  If you fence every division
"permanently", this is more capital intensive. If you move fences every time
you move chickens, it is more labor intensive.  If you squeeze more
production out of land, you have to put in more of something.  It is just the
way the world works.  A good designer finds the optimum where the amount that
needs to be put in gets the most useful amount of gain.  (This is a nonlinear
response.)  A bad designer uses a formula or recipe and does not adapt the
number of divisions, schedule and other factors to specific circumstances
efficiently.  That's not permaculture its just bad design. 

This version of the chicken tractor is like anything else, you can do it well
and prosper or badly and end up with less than if you just kept the chickens
separate and did everything yourself.

I'm going to have to end my input on this theme here or there is no incentive
to read our journals and take our course.

For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since
1982), Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and now correspondence
permaculture training by email. Copyright, 1996, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway, P.O.
Box 2052, Ocala FL 34478 USA  YankeePerm@aol.com  

We don't have time to rush.