The Problem is the Solution
The permaculture motto is turn the problem into a solution. In this case a quadruple solution.
Lois M. in Oklahoma inherited several ducks this spring, and she’s worried that they won’t make it through the hot OK summer outdoors. There are very few trees on the property, so there isn’t much shade – and it gets very dry during the summer.
So the original problem here is that there isn’t enough shade and water for the ducks. That’s one problem. Now let’s apply permaculture to the problem.
A Permaculture Solution for Overheated Ducks
Ducks like water. And they turn that water into fertilizer soup. Well, vining melons and squash like water too – and they love fertilizer.
Ducks also like shade. Well, vining melons and squash love the sun – and they have big leaves that make lots of shade wherever they’re planted.
If you plant vining melons and squash in an open field, bugs and slugs may be drawn to the plants and the moisture. Well, ducks love to eat bugs and slugs.
And you love to eat melons and squash all summer long.
So, those Oklahoma ducks can be either one problem, or four solutions – depending on how you look at it.
The first principle of permaculture is observation: Getting to Know Your New Permaculture Site
You’ll Need a Trellis and an Enclosure
You may want to build a trellis to hold the vines, and an enclosure to hold the ducks. Let us combine those two things.
There is a type of fencing called a cattle panel. You can find many examples on the internet of these being formed into an arch and used to trellis vines. Simply put a fence across the open ends, and you have an enclosure.
Place a water trough on each side, so that it can easily be emptied onto the roots of the vines each morning. Let the ducks out to patrol for pests in the morning while you dump and refill their water troughs. They will return to the troughs for water, and you can shut them in for the heat of the day.
Repeat this in the evening, shutting them in to protect from predators.
Another option is to build your duck enclosure under a grape trellis. This was done a long time ago on this farm, but I can’t show it because a heavy winter snow collapsed the trellises – so it is a mess that I have to try to solve this year. There were two trellises – a long narrow one around the perimeter of the garden for the ducks, and a high square one for the chickens.
Thanks to Qberry Farm for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest.
We’re still getting the list of prizes lined up for the Spring 2016 Writing Contest. We awarded over $2,097 in prizes for the Fall Writing Contest, including all of the following:
– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $382 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $288 value
– 1 free 1 year membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $239 value
– A Worm Factory 360 vermicomposting system from Nature’s Footprint, a $128 value
– 2 large heirloom seed collections from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, valued at $103 each
– A Metro-Grower Elite sub-irrigation growing container from Nature’s Footprint, a $69 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $59 each
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $43 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $46 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $33 each
– 4 copies of the Greenhouse of the Future DVD and eBook, valued at $31 each
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