The 2012 Regenerative Earthworks course here at Spiral Ridge Permaculture Homestead ended yesterday with the blessing of rain. For 5 days we studied how the design process, layout and implementation is applied to Earthworks. We started by getting our first impressions of the site, articulating the goals of the site, doing site assessment and analysis using the scale of permanence, learning how to make a base map of the site, as well as layout and implementation.
The Regenerative Earthworks toolkit was also a very important part of the course. Making biologically active compost and teas, soil food web and re-mineralization , nitrogen fixing trees/cover crops/shrubs, dynamic accumulators and earthworks construction.
The sites we designed and implemented were an existing swale and a perennial forage system for ducks, geese and chickens with a net and pan swale and pond system. The perennial forage system is an area that the pigs cleared this past summer at the top of the landscape with an already existing contoured earth dam. We had to fix the existing swale because it had been built incorrectly.
The tools we used to implement were a hand held transit and homemade story board, a homemade bunyip level (fancy word for water level), shovels, mattocks, rakes, and a medium sized mini excavator we rented at the local equipment rental store.
The point of the course was to show the students how to holistically heal the land and create abundance. We ended the course planting in the rain. We planted rye for a winter cover crop, Aronia, Bush Cherry, Hops, Comfrey, Nettle, Sea Buckthorn, Goumi, Groundcover bamboo (Indocalamus Longiaritus), lemon balm, apple mint, coreopsis, siberian pea shrub, mulberry and love. We are still waiting for the trees and shrubs we will be planting on the 300 foot swale. Figs, Korean Chestnut, European Chestnut, Hazlenut, Russian Hawthorn, Red and Black Willow, Asian pear, Asian Persimmon, Plum, and more.
We will be having another Regenerative Earthworks course in September 2013 at Spiral Ridge Permaculture Homestead. At next year’s course we will design, layout and build another net and pan system with several swales and ponds in our food forest. Please come to see our remarkable homestead and take a course that will leave you breathless.
Enjoy the pictures!