Belly is better today.
Last site visit before heading back to Tosontsengel to prepare for Mongolia’s first Permaculture Design Course [PDC].
This site sits just above fertile river flats, nestled in the elbow of two nearby hills which take the edge off the winds. There are trees on the flats here instead of in the hilltops, a sign that fertility and moisture levels in the hills are not sufficient to support tree growth.
Instead, the forest clings to the seepage zone around the flowing river. There are also signs that there may be too much water here at a certain depth: once the trees reach a certain height they start dying, most likely because their roots hit the waterflowing underground and canot cope with the surplus of water.
Disease is ruled out as a factor because there are not entire swaths of forest affected, nor are there different-sized trees suffering from the dieback.
It seems to be uniformly the same size [age] trees, dying back in the middle of a cluster of perfectly healthy trees. This means an abundance readily available and easily harvested wood for Bayanday Co-Operative
Their cashmere goats are penned in the middle of the plain because compared the the last 4 Co-Ops, this group has a comparitively small space to work in.
Their herd cannot graze within eyesight 5kms away on the other side of the basin because they would be out of sight on the other side of those protective hills:
’Everything works both ways.’
One of their challenges is keeping the tiny goats out of the nearby vegge plot, something that could be fixed by adjusting their existing fence design. Tree trunks have been laid horizontally across the fence posts, leaving space enough for the small goats to leap through.
Designing vertical pickets spaced closely enough would eliminate this problem and could have the added benefit of using less timber to create their fencing. Poles could be cut into planks to maximize efficient use of this resource.
The other huge challenge this group faces is the cost of petrol to pump their water 6 meters up from the river to the growing plot – their single biggest expense, which is severly hampering their sustainability.
Two solutions are immediately apparent here:
- Switch to a renewable-energy pump such as a wind or RAM pump.
- Consider using the fertile pad on the river flats where the existing pump sits as another growing area. The locals confirm that the river has not flooded in living memory, so flood risk would appear to be low.
BAYANDAY CO-OP – NOTES FROM PERMACULTURE CLASS IN A GER:
- CABBAGE MOTHS FIND CROPS 2 WAYS:
I) SIGHT (LIKE EAGLE HUNTING RABBIT ON PLAINS)
II) SMELL (MASK W/ OTHER CROPS SUCH AS CHIVES)
- INTERCROP TO CONFUSE CABBAGE MOTH
- ALSO SOUTHERNWOOD WEEDS …LEAVE IN ROWS WHEN THEY COME UP, CRUSH THESE UNDERFOOT TO RELEASE SMELL
- CHECK FOR GRUB EGGS UNDER CABBAGE LEAVES AND CRUCH THESE
- PLANT PRICKLY BUSH AS PERIMETER TO PROVIDE SHELTER FOR SMALL BIRDS WHICH LOVE TO EAT THESE GRUBS; ALSO CREATES BARRIER TO LIVESTOCK (SOLVES GOAT PROBLEM)
- 1 BIRD CAN EAT APPROX 50 GRUBS/DAY
PERIMETER HEDGE --> 200 BIRDS = 5,000 GRUBS/DAY
- OBSERVE & USE NATURAL RESOURCES AROUND TO WORK FOR YOU
- BE CAREFUL USING DUNG BURNING SMOKESCREENS; IT IS SAME AS SMOKING CIGARETTES …CONSIDER USING JUNIPER BERRY BRANCHES INSTEAD
- USE UMBRELLIFEROUS FLOWERS TO ATTRACT PREDATORY INSECTS; PLANT CLOSE TO CROP.
- CHIVES, DILL & CARROT TOPS HAVE THIS SHAPE, ALSO MANY WILD FLOWERS HAVE THIS SHAPE
- DAISY FLOWERS ALSO DO THIS JOB
- PLANTS ARE JUST LIKE YOUR HORSES – THE STRONG ONES DON’T GET SICK OFTEN
PEST INSECTS ARE JUST LIKE VULTURES – THEY TAKE THE WEAKEST
- NEXT THING IS, PROVIDE GOOD SHELTER, GOOD HEALTHY SOIL (FOOD), MOISTURE LEVELS CONSTANT (WATER) FOR YOUR PLANTS AS YOU WOULD YOUR HORSES
- TREE WITH THE WHITE TRUNK [NAARS TREE] GROWING BY THE RIVER WOULD MAKE A GOOD WINDBREAK
- RAM PUMP USES FLOWING WATER’S ENERGY TO DRAW WATER UP SLOPE, REPLACE PETROL PUMP WITH SIMILAR DEVICE TO ELIMINATE EXPENSIVE PETROL DEPENDANCE AND INCREASE PROFITABILITY
- CROPPING ACROSS SLOPE IS GOOD PRACTICE AND CATCHES ALL AVAILABLE WATER
- WHILE YOU PLAN & SAVE FOR RAM PUMP, LOOK AT OTHER STRATEGIES TO INCREASE WATER USE; MAKE IS WORK TWICE AS HARD
- QUESTION: 2 BUCKETS THAT HAVE HOLES IN THE BOTTOM, ONE WITH SAND, ONE WITH DUNG, WHICH ONE HOLDS MORE WATER?
ANSWER: DUNG BUCKET …THE MORE ORGANIC MATTER IN YOUR SOIL, THE MORE WATER YOUR SOIL WILL HOLD
- COLLECT LEAVES FROM NAARS TREE WHEN IT DROPS THEM FOR WINTER, USE THIS AS A BLANKET IN YOUR GARDEN NEXT SEASON [MULCH]
- USE AS MUCH DUNG IN THE GARDEN AS YOU CAN AFFORD TO
- COLLECT 10 – 20 KG OF MONGOLIAN VETCH SEED FOUND GROWING WILD IN SURROUNDING PASTURES BEFORE WINTER.
NEXT YEAR, ALLOCATE A PORTION OF YOUR PLOT TO GROW ONLY THIS PLANT.
- THE ROOTS OF THIS PLANT MAKE ITS OWN NITROGEN, WHICH IS MAIN INGREDIENT FOR PLANT GROWTH. THIS PLANT MAKES SUGARS IN ITS ROOTS WHICH HOUSE A BACTERIA WHICH CAN TAKE THE NITROGEN FROM THE AIR AND CONVERT IT INTO A FORM PLANTS CAN USE.
- WINDBREAK WILL TAKE WIND OFF TO KEEP MOISTURE IN SOIL LONGER.
- INCREASING ORGANIC MATTER IN SOIL WILL ALSO INCREASE WATER RETENTION.
- LET THE WEEDS THEY PULL OUT DRY FOR 3 DAYS TO ENSURE THEY DO NOT SET ROOT AGAIN, THEN PLACE AROUND YOUR CABBAGES AS A BLANKET. THIS MULCH WILL ALSO KEEP SOIL MOISTURE LONGER.
- TEST THIS OUT NEXT TIME YOU WATER BY PLACING A BLANKET ON ONE CABBAGE & LEAVING ONE BARE …I BET THE FIRST CABBAGE IS WETTER FOR AT LEAST TWICE AS LONG.
KAT ON SEED SAVING:
- Q: WHAT SEEDS ARE YOU SAVING RIGHT NOW?
A: TURNIPS, REDBEET, SOME CABBAGE
- WHEN YOU SAVE SEEDS:
IT COSTS YOU NO MONEY YOU HAVE MANY SEEDS, WHICH YOU CAN ALSO SELL
1 CUCUMBER SEED = 400MNT
YOU CAN ALL BE CUCUMBER MILLIONAIRES!
- THIS WILL CHANGE AS MORE MONGOLIANS GROW VEGGES AND SAVE THEIR OWN SEED, BUT YOU CAN BE THE FIRST
- SAVING SEEDS GIVE YOU SECURITY BECAUSE ADRA MAY NOT ALWAYS BE ABLE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH SEED
- LIKE CHILDREN, WHO LOOK LIKE THEIR PARENTS, SO CAN YOU SAVE THE SEEDS WHOSE PARENTS YOU LOVE MOST
- CO-OP ALREADY CHOOSES BIGGEST POTATOES, CARROTS AND TURNIPS TO PLANT FROM NEXT SEASON
- PLANT MUST BE MATURE AND FINISHED WITH CROP PRODUCTION BEFORE SEED CAN BE SAVED
-->UNRIPE PLANTS AT END OF SEASON EG GREEN TOMATOES, CAN BE PICKLED LIKE THE ONES WE HAD TWO DAYS AGO
- LOOK FOR PLANTS WHICH ARE BIG, STRONG & RESISTANT TO COLD
- CHOOSE PLANTS WHICH SURVIVE WELL IN YOUR CONDITIONS
- E.G. SEED FROM RUSSIA BEFORE SEEDS FROM CHINA
- LOOK FOR PLANTS THAT HAVE BEST FLAVOUR & SELECT THESE FOR SEED SAVING
- OVER SEVERAL SEASONS, YOU WILL DEVELOP YOUR OWN VEGETABLES ADAPTED TO YOUR GROWING CONDITIONS
- IF YOU SAVE THE SEED FROM A FULLY MATURE POTATO PLANT, THE SEEDS WILL PRODUCE A POTATO THAT HAS BEEN CROSSED WITH OTHER PLANTS IN THE FIELD, AND SEEDS CAN BE SELECTED FROM THESE PLANTS.
- THIS WILL BE QUICKER THAN SELECTING FROM PLANTS GROWN FROM TUBERS.