Books on Dryland Permaculture

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by mark anstice, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. mark anstice

    mark anstice Junior Member

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    Hi All

    Here I am in Morocco starting quite a large permaculture project involving several hundred, very dry hectares and the 30+ families living in them and I don't have a single book on permaculture. If I was to buy just one, which would you recommend?

    Of course I've devoured every video and lesson that our crappy internet connection allows - I have to travel 200kms to see any of Geoff's unfortunately - but it's so easy to be distracted using the net and I think we ought to have some books here. And naturally I would love to have Bill Mollinson's definitive guide but we're a start up charity and money is tight so for the moment €200 on a book is out of the question, especially when a lot of it will have only vague relevance to the problems here. Or am I wrong?

    Any advice on this will be acted on immediately!

    My thanks

    Mark
    Fertile Roots Foundation
     
  2. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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  3. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings Mark. Spent some time looking over your facebook page and blog site ... good stuff! Great job on your cistern. Will be waiting to see how the concrete 'roof' goes on.

    What sort of precipitation do you receive? I notice the treed hillsides, which tell me that perhaps evapo-transpiration does not exceed precipitation in your location. Will be interested to hear as we are working in an area where mitigating evaporation due to low humidity, wind, and sun are the primary approaches to establishing trees (and almost anything other than grass). Each bit of precipitation we receive is precious and shading/mulching/windbreaks are the primary methods to keeping moisture in the soil. Over time we expect that increasing numbers of trees and shrubs will help with all three of these moisture-retention approaches but for now we're applying them manually and copiously in a variety of forms.

    While we've found tidbits in many books, some of our most exciting revelations about dryland Pc have come from websites of those who deal with dry climates in Africa, Australia, and the US southwest.
     
  4. mark anstice

    mark anstice Junior Member

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    Thank you, Unmutual. I'll check those out.
     
  5. mark anstice

    mark anstice Junior Member

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    Hello 9andalf

    Thank you. I was making a short film on the making of that cistern - having not found a similar project (ie. ferrocement-lined deep hole) on the net - but appear to have deleted all the footage somehow...grrr. I'll be posting up some more pics though. Building the roof piecemeal and on solid ground now seems like such an obvious solution to the difficulties, and expense, of building then extracting formwork for several tons of concrete in such an awkward and irregularly shaped space, but it took me ages to come up with it.

    We get very little rain here and so little in 6 of the last 8 years that it's difficult to give an average, but I would say around 250mm. It's supposed to be around 480mm. I've started to keep my own records but not more than 1.1mm since April.

    The forest behind is largely very stubby juniper and continues for some 40kms inland. The hills you see are the only reason I am embarking on this project. When it does rain that's a useful catchment. Everything sweeps past the land in 5 small wadis and goes straight to the beach at the moment - it's the first thing to fix. But evapo-transpiration does indeed exceed rainfall.
    The major issue is wind. Essaouira, just 15kms down the beach, is known as the windy city. I'm trying to remember the stats but approx 250 days a year its a Force 4 or above and the dry summer is a relentless blast. Our beach is one of the world's best wave riding spots if you're an extreme windsurfer. I'm not.

    I'm about to start building our website proper and I hope we'll be having our first PDC here in June, which will double as the project consultancy. Prior to that I'm just a fundraiser but hope to plant a couple of hundred more trees in the garden. As far as the project goes, with my limited knowledge I am not, right now, looking much beyond building multiple gabions down those wadis and about 40kms of swale for them to back up into. I think it's going to be a mobile compressor and a jack-hammer job! Unless I can persuade someone to buy us a JCB, that is.

    On planting, the only things that have done well in our own garden in the last three years are the mimosas, so we'll be having some more of them and I'm trying to source some of the pioneer species listed in Geoff's Greening the Desert 1 project. Oddly, Amazon.co.uk couriered by various friends coming to stay from the UK seems my best bet for the moment! I have found no useful Moroccan suppliers yet.

    Sorry, that's enough. Thank you for your interest.

    Best

    Mark
     
  6. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    Hi Mark
    Article link below on the PRI home page that would be of interest to you , getting control of the water as you indicated will be the first step , wont grow anything without water , getting a design plan and planting support species to help with the wind .

    With regard to the design manual most of it will be applicable as it is to all areas it will help you to think laterally without being fixated on the dryland problems

    Rob

    https://permaculturenews.org/2013/1...tion-three-years-update-wadi-rum-consultancy/
     
  7. mark anstice

    mark anstice Junior Member

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    Hi Rob

    The 'Today's Articles & News' is my breakfast reading so I'd seen that. Although it's not clear where all the water to keep refilling the swales was coming from I want to show that report to the people here as another example of what's being done in climates with even less rain than we get here.

    Note what you say re the design manual. I really ought to have it and know it backwards so perhaps it's time just to bite the bullet and get it!

    Many thanks

    Mark
     
  8. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Mark, I would also seriously consider the twin volumes of Edible Forest Gardens by David Jacke. One volume has theory and the other have practical.

    Although this is aimed more at the Temperate Climate Permaculture. I still think some of the information in there is pretty bang on for anywhere. But I have read the Designers Manual too so It is difficult to judge books in isolation from all the other information you gather.

    200 Euro sounds ridiculously expensive! Do you have a library system in Morocco? With books I always like to try before I buy by borrowing them from the library...
     
  9. mark anstice

    mark anstice Junior Member

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    Hi again, Unmutual

    I'm loving those last two sites...quite a diversion, especially the DIY tractor with back hoe!

    Thanks again for the heads up.

    Mark
     
  10. mark anstice

    mark anstice Junior Member

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    Hi Grahame

    It is a bit steep, isn't it. That's the secondhand price, mind you. Bill must be enjoying his retirement. There's no library here that has any books in English and a book on permaculture is unlikely to exist here even in French or Arabic. I've looked at Edible Forest Gardens but thought it did indeed seem a bit temperate. But to save enough money to build my DIY tractor from Unmutual's helpful links I think the Manual's now out of the question in any case. I'll look at it again.

    Many thanks

    Mark
     
  11. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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  12. mark anstice

    mark anstice Junior Member

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    Oh brilliant, I hadn't even thought of that. Now I regret the quip about Bill must be enjoying his retirement. I wonder why the book itself is so expensive?

    Many thanks Pebble.

    Best

    Mark
     
  13. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    It's huge and hard cover? It's a limited print run of a book no longer in circulation so people recognise it's true value I guess. It's the best $200 I have invested though.
     
  14. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    You're welcome Mark.

    Kind of weird that the secondhand price on Amazon is the same as a new one.
     
  15. mark anstice

    mark anstice Junior Member

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    I would certainly love to have it, nor would it be the first time I've spent 200 on a book, but I've got to budget hard these days. Here in Morocco I find myself equating money with days of a man's labour. €200 equals Hafed for 20 days! If that sounds like we're running a slave camp, in fact we pay very well and have a loyal and very willing team when a helping hand is needed.
    We have volunteers here at the moment and they are a disaster. We've learnt a lot in the last month and I will now no longer accept anyone younger than thirty, no couples and nobody without substantial practical experience. They have to phone me first too, so I can cut through any truth economies in their profile. Having to feed a bunch of sullen, emotionally needy 'millennials' looking for a free holiday when I was itching to employ my hard up neighbours and get s solid 8 hours from a pair of calloused hands was, and still is, painful. But it makes me truly thankful I settled in morocco and not Europe, where I'd have no choice!

    Anyway, I digress. I'll get that book one day.

    Best

    Mark
     
  16. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Someone post him a flash drive already.
     
  17. mark anstice

    mark anstice Junior Member

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    I don't get this. In joke perhaps? If it's something to do with verbal diarrhoea, point taken.

    Very best

    Mark
     
  18. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    no, they mean, copy the large file to a USB stick and send that to you in the mail. :) sure won't cost 200eur
     
  19. mark anstice

    mark anstice Junior Member

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    Ah, simple as that...OK. Have now downloaded Bill's book. Slightly out of focus but it'll do for the moment and all the more reason to buy the original ASAP.

    With that and all the other stuff I've never before been faced with such a huge amount of information, all of which I'm hungry to devour. The only problem is time!

    Thanks to all.

    Mark
     
  20. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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