Holzer Sepp - Sepp Holzer's permaculture

Author : Holzer Sepp
Title : Sepp Holzer's permaculture A practical guide to small-scale, integrative farming and gardening
Year : 2004

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Foreword. In the film Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture there’s an image that really says it all. Taken from the air, it shows steep mountainsides covered in seemingly endless monocultures o f spruce trees, broken only by the mountainside that is Sepp Holzer’s farm, the Krameterhof. In contrast to the dark trees on either side, it’s an intricate network o f terraces, raised beds, ponds, waterways and tracks, well covered with fruit trees and other productive vegetation and with the farmhouse neatly nestling amongst them. There, at an altitude which everyone else has abandoned to low-value forestry, what is probably the best example of a permaculture farm in Europe stands out like a beacon. It stands as witness to both the contrariness and the skill o f the Rebel Farmer. He has always gone against the grain o f modern farming: he cultivates rich mixtures o f plants and animals in place o f monocultures; he has no need for chemicals because the dynamic interactions between the plants and animals in his polycultures provide all the services which conventional farmers find in the fertiliser bag and the crop sprayer. But it takes more than a contrary nature to be a rebel farmer. It also takes skill and knowledge, and these don’t come easily. Right from his childhood, when his mother gave him a small plot for his first garden, he has observed, questioned, experimented, observed again and experimented again. He knows the natural world like few other people do today, and treats his farm as an integrated part o f that natural world - which is exactly what it is. In this book he shares the skill and knowledge which he has acquired over his lifetime. He covers every aspect o f his farming, not just how he creates a holistic system on the farm itself but also how he makes a living from it. He writes about everything from the overall concepts which guide him down to the details, such as which fruit varieties he has found best for permaculture growing. Farming at such a high altitude is a challenge in itself, and as well as his knowledge o f plant and animal interactions he has had to learn much about how heat and water pass through the ecosystem, and how they can be stored and made to work for the system. An important part o f permaculture is getting to know your own individual place. Every patch o f the Earth has its unique personality and character, just as each person has. Nevertheless Sepp Holzer has taken his skill and applied it on sites all over the world and in urban gardens too. It takes a great deal o f experience to be able to look at a site in a different part o f the world and understand how it works well enough to be able to give advice on it. ...

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