Lead by one of our designers, surplus can oversee the initial stages of implementation on your site. This can range anywhere from the preliminary earthworks to planting out all species and the building of structures. We can even use our extensive network of permaculture graduates all over the world, to staff a volunteer workgroup to stay on your site for several months.
Earthworks are one of the first and most important tools in the restoration and revitalization of your land. Proper placement of swales, ponds, and dams creates abundant water, and thus potential on your property. Swales are designed to capture runoff and slowly facilitate infiltration into the soil. This spreads the water horizontally and stops it from creating damaging ravines or erosion. Water harvesting systems recharge underground aquifers and create mini on-site reservoirs keeping water in the landscape far into the dry season
Keyline Design was developed in Australia by P.A. Yeomans, who described a system of slightly "off" contour sub- soil ripping to control rainfall run off and enable fast flood irrigation of undulating land without the need for terracing. Water harvesting strategies employed by Keyline Design can provide drought-proofing for farms with very low maintenance using gravity fed irrigation systems, with a huge reduction in water lost to evaporation, as well as help to build soil.
Rain Water Harvesting
Harvesting the natural rain that falls on your site is of upmost importance. The correct balance of passive water harvesting strategies, such as swales and ponds, with rain water catchment can provide for all of your farms water needs. Fresh, living rain water can be stored in tanks and used for drinking water for either you, your family, or your animals.
Grey water is any water that has been used in your home, shower, or bathroom sink that is purified and re-used again to irrigate plants. Put simply, it is getting two uses out of a single volume of water (25 gallons to shower and then 25 gallon to water trees equals 50 gallons of use, but with only 25 gallons of water used!) Greywater systems do not need to be complex or expensive, as we will seek how to best use your grey water with the least amount of effort, materials, and energy.
Pollution is a huge threat to the health of our environment, community, and farm. Some properties may be exposed to hazardous chemicals from the runoff of neighbors or industry. In these cases careful design and selection of plants, bacteria, and fungi, proven to cleanup many forms of chemical can actually clean up these toxins before they go too far in the landscape. Bacteria and fungi generally work by breaking down contaminants such as petroleum into less harmful substances. Plants can be used to aerate polluted soil and stimulate microbial action. They can also absorb contaminants such as salts and metals into their tissues, which are then harvested and disposed of. Monitoring and testing is important in these projects to determine what chemicals are present and at what rate they are being broken down or sequestered by plants.
A landscape or farm is only as healthy as your soil. We will start with a set of soil tests to determine soil structure, composition, and biological activities. Once soil tests have been done and observations have been made, a soil-building plan will be created. We focus on increasing biologically diversity, organic matter content, and the structure of your soil. Plants growing in healthy, living soil have stronger immune systems, more prolific yields, grow faster, and need less water.
Not all compost is created equally; In-fact most composting is little more than anaerobic purification. We will implement and teach you proper composting practices utilizing on site resources, and specifically tailored to the crops you want to grow. In a compost pile, microbial life transforms organic material and waste products into soluble plant nutrients. By making high quality compost, it is possible to recycle nutrients, add life to the soil and increase the soil fertility.
Soil food web technology
Did you know that there exists a teaming food web underneath your soils? By properly restoring the balance of soil organisms within your soil, you can restart nutrient cycling, and grow healthy productive plants. Biological organisms (bacteria, fungi, macro-arthropods, worms, etc.) break down organic matter and minerals and make them accessible for plant uptake. The residues of this decomposition leave humic acids that help the soil retain and absorb water and air.
After a thorough soil test, we will utilize the powers of aerobic composting and Actively Aerated Compost Tea(AACT) to inoculate your soils with correct life you need depending on what you are growing (i.e. fungal dominated for perennials, bacterial dominated for annuals) .
Compost tea (AACT) is an aerated solution that is teeming with billions of beneficial microorganisms that can be applied directly to the leaf surface of a plant as a foliar spray or used as a soil drench to improve the soil health. The idea is that compost (full of beneficial microorganisms) is put into water and then nutrients or foods for the microorganisms are added to allow the bacteria and fungi to multiply rapidly. Air is sent through the water to keep the water oxygenated, as this favors the beneficial bacteria and fungi over the pathogens. At the end of the brewing cycle, what you have is a concentrated liquid full of billions of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes) that can then be sprayed directly onto the leaf surface. This puts the "good" biology where the plant needs it to protect itself. It keeps the plant healthier and helps it to fight off potential diseases by using compost tea to replace chemical-based fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides, you can garden safer and be more protective of the environment.
Why have a grass lawn? We can implement a perennial edible landscape that not only looks beautiful, but produces abundant food for years to come. A well-designed landscape requires few or no external nutrient inputs after the plantings are complete and have matured.
By mimicking the natural relationships found in a forest we can create a self-maintaining ecosystems providing food, animal fodder, building materials, fiber, fuel, and medicine. Not only will we plant fruit trees, but we will add in all relevant support species to minimize competition and plant stress.
There are differences between a typical orchard and a Food Forest. An orchard is usually just a monoculture of fruit or nut trees, without a ground cover or companion plants. A Food Forest is a whole system that incorporates food-producing, and supporting plants between and under the canopy of trees. The result is a mixed layer system creating abundant yields at all times of the year. Food forests can take a few years to mature, although harvesting will begin in the first year, starting to yield peak amounts of food in five to seven years. With proper maintenance this can last for generations.
Integrated Pest Management
When plants are grown out of balance of their environment, natural control methods set into effect; pests and diseases. Harmful pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and nematicides are routinely sprayed, which attempts to solve the symptom, not the underlying cause. Perennial, beneficial insect attracting companion plants and specially created habit nooks create the environment for biological control mechanisms to take place.
Animals bring vitality, happiness, and productivity to the land when properly integrated. Whither you want bees, chickens, ducks, pigs, goats or cows we can implement a holistic system that works for you. All animals can be put to work for you on the farm, such as goats clearing land, a chicken tractor preparing new planting areas, or cows rotationally grazing and increasing your fertility.
In today’s modern world we have access to almost unlimited fossil fuels, but this does not mean they must be used. Appropriate application of simple technology from around the world can improve your lifestyle, lower costs and lower your environmental footprint.
Onsite profit generation / Product development
Permaculture is not just about creating a hobby farm, but about meeting the needs of the people living on the land. We will work with you to set up a profit generating wing of your farm, utilizing existing resources.