When I observe where and how Paw Paw trees thrive, I see some of the same natural patterns over and over again. They like rich soil, lots of mulch and being next to moister source. Paw Paw trees are mostly found in nature, on the high banks of creeks and rivers or next to low spots in the woods. Of course the creeks and rivers have water, but low spots hold on the water as well. How can we design the paw paw needs into a planting method. After a lot of thought, a fertility bed or a banana circle.
If you dig a bed that meets your area, shape I don’t think has to be a circle. Dig the bed 2 feet in depth and pile the soil you dug out and ring the bed to make a berm of soft soil. Plant your paw paw trees in the berm. Fill the fertility bed with all manners of organic matter. Lots of wood, brush, hay, leaves, grass clippings, etc. Fill up the bed to the top of the berm with all the organic material. I would say 70% woody material and only 30% green material will give you a great fungal growing medium for the Paw Paw trees.
One of my main missions at The Farmer’s Grove is to build better soil. Personally we grow soil, and the plants grow themselves. Plus it makes us smile on the farm, because we know the food we grow with taste better and have a high nutrition than plants grown in lack luster soil or chemically grown. One way we do this is to grow cover crops, these cover crops are the back bone of our Permaculture systems. Every time we sow the cover crop seeds, we have a choice. We can till, plow, use chemicals. These are not the best option for healthy soil, so we follow the example of Masanobu Fukuoka. In his book The One Straw revolution, he shows how to grow great crops and build soil fertility at the same time. This is not the norm today in industrial agriculture or even most certified large scale organic farms. We sow the seeds of buckwheat, soy beans, millet and corn the old way, by hand. Then we use two telephone poles chained behind a jeep to push over the biomass to the ground. The biomass of clover and vetch mulches and feeds the soil life once we lay it on the ground. This mulch keep the soil and seeds moist. It also nurses the germinating seeds to grow big and strong. Then the mulch will break down and feed the new plants over time. This is the natural way plants grow in nature. This is why we use this method on The Farmer’s Grove.
As a Permaculture principle, this way of farming and nurturing plants, uses less inputs and time on or part. So we can move on to the next project without wasting time and resources. I know this seem too simple to work, but look at nature. No one is plowing, tilling or adding chemical fertilizers to wild plants. These wild plants grow strong and get along with their life without any help from people.
I’m on a road trip up to PA to IN from Tennessee. I want to share with you a very neat and powerful tool I got from Permaculture Voices. I broke a few ribs two days before my wife and I where to get on the plane to go to the Permaculture PV2 conference. I did not think I could handle the plan ride without crying and whining, so I did not get to go. This was a real bummer for me, but looking forward to next year. What I got from Permaculture Voices was the total mp3 files from all the talks at PV2.
I think it was $99.00 or close to that. I payed and got the link to reach all the permaculture talks that I was hoping to hear in person. There has to be 70 to 80 hours of some really neat topics, concepts and permaculture inspiration.
I downloaded them all to my phone so I could listen to them in my vehicle or bluetooth. I have listened to many talks while playing out in the food forest, but on the road, these talks are pure gold. We all get bored while driving long distance. You can only listen to so much music or talk radio before boredom sets in. Now with all these cool topics, lessons and super cool people, Im wide awake and my brain is racing, thinking and soaking in the advice from people who live the permaculture lifestyle.
This afternoon, I was dragging and getting heavy eyes after several hours of driving. I started listening to Toby Hemenway explain Liberation Permaculture. What a awesome talk he gave. This talk alone was worth the price of all the talks that I paid for. If you home school, you will love this talk and will want you kids to have a grasp on the theme of this lecture.
If you think $99.00 is too much for your personal permaculture education, your not that serious about permaculture. I know that may sound harsh, but I do not say such things for shock value. I just see so many in permaculture worry so much about free or super cheap that they forget how valuable quality really is. Saving money is important, but sometimes spending money can save years and give one so much personal abundance that ….a cheaper is better mindset…… will never get to experience.
So if you want a high octane permaculture resource, check out www.permaculturevoices.com and trade some of your abundance for the great abundance you will receive from PV2.