Drought Proofing

“It’s not how much rainfall,…….it’s how much water you keep, and how many times you use it”.
With climate change perhaps the single most important Permaculture design feature is Water collection. Did you know that only two out of every one hundred drops of water actually reach the roots of a plant? 98% is wasted through runoff and evaporation by the sun and wind. (every farm needs as many as five sources of water designed into there property – rain, well, pond, surface run off, roof collection, swales ) and earth works -enhancing water store techniques. These methods can store water, but soil preparation can make soil hold up to “three times” as much water as conventional farming. By using Permaculture design techniques, 300% more water can be absorbed, held and made available to plants. Drought proofing, makes farms more resilient and able to withstand hotter temperature and drier weather it makes the soil able soak up larger amounts of rainfall in the rainy season. Water retention berms and Huglekulture means less water runaway and less water loss — the magic is in design and planing your farm,

  • soil preparation, water planing, grey water management, aquifer recharge planing- using swales and earth works, black water treatment, local residue identification and processing, compost planing all add to farm resilience, crop productivity, crop resiliency and more income for farmers and families and communities.
  • These are low/no cost, local resources that just need to be organized.SOIL
    How to build soil’s natural capacity to retain moisture and discourage weeds and pests, and nurture crops? Most soil in Thailand is light brown to red from the ancient bedrock, modern chemical fertilizers have made it lifeless, the result of years of chemicals and tilling the soil. Over a short period, it can be regenerated back to aerated, rich, dark brown, humus laden black organically alive water soakage soil, teeming with micro-organisms, earthworms, nematodes, flagellates, beneficial fungi. This change back to alive natural soil can gain and keep much moisture.
    Methods as cover cropping, limited-tilling and rainy season deep soil soaking plus the use of microorganism enhancing practices, mitigate drought and dry years with little or no rain.Every farmer needs to create healthy, nutrient-rich soil, they can do it by planting after harvesting rice sunflower, vetch, corn, clover, buckwheat, Savannah grass, peas, beans and other crops these are soil-enhancing permaculture techniques which allow the soil to hold up to three times as much water as conventional present farming. This makes farms more able to withstand hot, dry weather and soak up heavy rainfall. This means less water is wasted — as the costs of climate change, drives more droughts, flooding and extreme weather, this and other Permaculture techniques will mitigate and reduce the effects of these changes.

    No till farming means that instead of plowing-under the rich soil ecosystem every planting season, We plant directly onto the stubble of last year’s crops. The stubble acts like mulch and shields the bare soil from the sun and retains moisture, enhances microorganism growth and benefits the moisture in soils.

    Cover cropping a deep-green, deep rooted cover-cropped field, builds healthier soil. Cover crops aren’t grown for market. They’re chosen for their ability to protect and enhance soil health. Planting a mix of cover crops, like winter wheat and hairy vetch, increases soil nutrients and water retention, and prepares the soil for the next planting rather than depleting it.

    Soil Using techniques that protect and improve soil health provides a built-in buffer against weather extremes, and makes farming a considerably less-risky business. Our current system encourages profits for risky planting — such as repeatedly planting rice, or growing crops on marginal land that requires heavy use of chemical fertilizers — that depletes soil health.

    Efficient, low cost irrigation systems
    Capturing and utilizing any rain that falls is necessary in Wet/Dry Tropics as Thailand and Asia. We must make use of catchments and hard surfaces to collect rainwater. Then save as much water on and in the land as possible with micro water catching methods as swales, pits, ponds and imprinting etc. Mulching helps alot and covering all bare soil is a must over the dry season November to June.
    Deep Pipe irrigation uses an open vertical pipe or plastic bottle to save irrigation water at root. Deep pipe irrigation can be used with low or no water pressure and low water quality. It can be used with simple free materials and unskilled labor without extensive pressure water systems.

    Asia can’t afford to put its farmland, or it’s farmers at risk by not protecting farms from the extreme weather of climate change, especially those that are coming. Farming is hard enough, farmers are poor yet the country is the largest exporter of rice and the merchants are rich. When can the people get the free knowledge and techniques that increase their incomes.

    Yields, as well as prices can vary as much as 30 percent or more from year to year. Few other businesses need to confront such variability. Farmers need techniques that help such as using drought proofing.

    Drought Proofing This is one of many Permaculture sustainable farming techniques. Drought proofing makes agricultural more resilient, healthier, reduces costs and becomes much more sustainable. It helps improves farmers incomes and transitions to less costly and lower risk farming by becoming a true risk-management practice. It teaches water-smart practices, like cover cropping, lower-till farming and much more efficient water collection and irrigation techniques. It teaches soil-protection from the sun, climate-proofing that make farms more resilient and food farmers more secure, easing the burden on them and protecting the lifestyle and community as well as the environment they live in.

    Drip Irrigation A Simple method for drip irrigation: This is a simple bucket drip system and it costs very little to set it up and works very effectively. What you need is a bucket or drum, either raised off the ground with some bricks or suspended 1 -2 meters above ground. Place close to the plant area and place a drip tube down the middle of the bed area. Attach fittings to the bucket to connect a line of plastic pipe with holes in the piping made with a sharp knife every 15-30 cm thread about 100cm of natural fiber as baling twine through each hole, lay the twine across the length of the bed, running next to each planting line and then cover with mulch. Plant vegetables in rows along each dripper line at the spacing of the twine. Fill the bucket twice a day. The soil can be tested with you finger it should be damp and cool. this methods reduces weeds as well as it only waters your plants. There are seven more methods of low cost irrigation we cover in the course, Inquire about the next course date and put your name on the list by sending an email to:   PermiesThai@gmail.com