|Chico, California, United States|
(projects i'm involved in)
(projects i'm following)
Posted by Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper over 8 years ago
My husband and I have been actively working on an urban 2/3 acre permaculture project for 2 years this month. We began the design and subsequent installation at a residence in October of 2009 and it continues in multiple phases today. As we complete the swimming pool to aquaculture pond conversion and reflect upon our progress thus far we would like to share our experiences -the trials, corrections and successes made along the way and to basically let more people know about this Mediterranean climate permaculture project.
One thing to note about our ability to share this project: we will not be able to give tours to the local public. Respecting our Clients wish for privacy is very important to us so we will not be naming our Clients or where it is located. We could look at this as an unfortunate situation, having restrictions placed on the sharing of resources and information (especially when when we feel a project is important to local food security). Instead we chose to turn a potential problem into a solution... we will write photo essays of the project and post them online so the global community can share in this information. So, with our fair share in mind I've been very busy getting all of our photos and notes together...
|Mind map showing the connections between project elements/systems.|
Below is a short list of what the project entails (including the mind map above), a tiny synopsis of what we've done so far as well as a few photos of the pool to pond conversion. More posts will be coming soon and please feel free to contact us if you have questions or comments! This is an incredible project to work on and we'd love to connect with more people about it.
Project completion will include an integration of the following elements and systems:
A Permaculture Property Guidebook is being compiled for our Clients so they have detailed records of what has been completed and how as well as what to expect in the future -including budget history and projections. The Guidebook also contains concept maps, final designs and overlays and (the vital component) comprehensive management plans for forest garden succession, rainwater harvesting systems, pond and biofilters, chicken pasturing, crop harvesting, insectary calendars and more.
We began the project with our Clients in
2009 by setting goals during many design meetings. It is their first
desire to ensure a sustainable source of irrigation water for their
property should municipal water sources ever become a problem. Growing diverse crops and ensuring a surplus for family, neighbors, friends and community is also very important to them.
Utilizing Water, Access, Structures as our guide for the design process we began by designing extensive water harvest systems and raised pathways which weave throughout the entire property. We then installed the complete rooftop rainwater harvesting system and integrated the system with the overall forest garden design. We also planted ~25 canopy and sub canopy fruit and nut trees for the forest garden and began planting the first succession of initial plant species (to help out-compete the existing legacy of 'weeds'). Later in 2010 we branched off to convert the unused swimming pool into a habitat, plant and fish producing pond system. The conversion of the pool took over one year to complete and now, today, we are back to working with forest garden succession and solar station design.
FYI: My husband has performed 90% of the manual labor for this project himself, about 3 days a week -off and on- as he worked other landscaping jobs. He was meticulous to video and photograph every stage of the pool to pond conversion and we now have over 500 images to sort through for this phase of the project alone. Picking and choosing which images to publish is going to pose a real challenge but we hope you'll enjoy the ones we chose to begin this ongoing project article...
POOL to POND CONVERSION -a sample of photos
and unchlorinated swimming pool before pond conversion 2009 showing 55
gallon drum 'filtering' 300 gallons per day. The pool had been refilled
regularly with freshwater for years as well as stocked with a few
Pond after Biofilter installation 2011 with tomatoes and juncus growing in the first chamber.
Steps after...the steps create a diverse habitat for floating, marginal and bog plant species.
Swim step after... habitat for
floating, marginal and bog plant species here too. Note the water lily
floating nearby; the roots are at the very bottom here which is well
over 10 feet deep.
Pond eco-infrastructure -creating as much edge for habitat as possible. The more edge that is created in
the water and surrounding the pond the more diverse the system will
become. The amount and size of available edge effects the overall
sustainability of the pond too -particularly a swimming pool conversion
as most pools intentionally lack surface area for living things to grow
September 2011 pond water is clear; animals and plants all seem quite happy.
2 adult catfish swimming among the submerged Anacharis.
The catfish were removed while the pool was emptied and the
eco-infastructure built. At this point there are only catfish and
mosquito fish living in the pond -and all are breeding very well!
Forage fish will be stocked soon building up to add predator fish next
year. Small, slow solutions...
Catfish feeding off Anacharis. Besides the submerged plant, Anacharis, there are floating plants like water lilies of various flower color, yellow flowering water fringe and parrots feather. Marginal and bog plants are planted in the shallow steps -juncus,
horsetail and pickeral rush to start. Many more plants (edibles like
water chestnuts) will be planted in and along side the pond overtime.
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