[permaculture] Updating my PC Compost & Soils Presentations andHand-outs - your insights, updated sources appreciat

steveread steveread at free.fr
Mon Jun 2 03:23:50 EDT 2008

R.W. Widdowson
Towards holistic agriculture
Pergamon Press  0-08-034211-6

This has a really easy to use explanation of not only the ethylene cycle but also cation exchange capacity and some interesting stuff on allelopathy, bulk density and a chapter on keyline. A most excellent book that I use as a key core text for PDC's. I certainly hope that its taught on PDC's everywhere as the ethylene cycle and in particular its destruction can be used so readily to demonstrate the "because I did something I've then got to do loads of other things" consequences of chemical farming, compared to (modern) natural farming. 

The PDC syllabus is really something that need urgently addressing worldwide, the Designers manual is of course the course text/syllabus but from what I am given to understand there is something of a pick and mix approach leading to aspects of PmC design being either not taught or glossed over. Here in France we are redeveloping the old design course syllabus (http://steveread.free.fr/downloads/Design%20Course%20Syllabus.pdf), updating it, adding in to use this as a course syllabus with of course the manual as the main course text, the idea being that all courses in France will be based on the core that is in the syllabus, aspects will be covered and developed through use of the Manual and other texts.

Another point is that any book that becomes or has a tendency to become a countries key PdC text should contain everything ++ that is in the Manual, the Hebrew version is a good example of this whereas in the UK Patrick Whitefields  book is very popular as the course text and he has in the main concentrated on, and done a nice job,  gardening/farming aspects and as the subtitle says its cool-temperate oriented.

A problem in general is that the Designers Manual doesn't exist in some languages eg French and is also quite expensive for some people. 



Directeur de     l  'Université Populaire de Permaculture
Biographie     (SteveR) http://permacultureinstitute.pbwiki.com/


[permaculture] Updating my PC Compost & Soils Presentations andHand-outs - your insights, updated sources appreciat
Hello, folks. I'm getting ready for 2 Courses and researching the
oxygen-ethylene cycle - a concept that seems logical, favors
undisturbed/un-tilled land, is yet another cycle that modern ag ignores,
allows humus creation (carbon sequestering) and anaerobic activity. It
appears to be un-mentioned, but yet a part of, biodynamic composting,
possibly the reason one lets a regular compost file "finish itself off" for
6 months after it no longer heats up on turning (aeration), and a major
component of/argument for no-till/leave crop residues on field.

Anaerobic and the O-E cycle appear [sort of tangentially] in PC outlines,
discussions, and one handout on soils (Lea Harrison, PC Activist #26) - I
find very little mention anywhere else. Perhaps this is because it is a
non-subject or closet item with modern ag? Is it still a valid view? Still
good PC and PC-ag-science? Are there other/newer articles or champions these
days?  Does you have any more recent articles or references? Thanks in
advance for info if you do.

I look at the NRCS and the Elaine Ingam literature and seem to get no real
talk of anaerobic or that aerobic = good guy, anaerobic = bad guy; slight
reference to anaerobic role in creating humus (then a chart shows humus to
be 50% of organic material, as stable material, the 50% being actively
broken down). On pathogens - confusing on plant pathogens - human vs. plant
- alluded to that human are anaerobic and another place that plant pathogens
are aerobic - I doubt both.

My real question and quest is whether Oxygen-Ethylene cycle  and
Aerobic-Anaerobic cycling is an real and current and agreed-to subject, or
is it a firm belief in PC circles and not elsewhere, or is it a topic that's
passé' in both soil science and PC camps? Should it be championed or should
it be let to fade?

Great PC minds and data bases out there - would appreciate your posting your
insights and references to recent sources. Many thanks.

Thank you very much for your help.


Dick Pierce

DickPierceDesigns at gmail.com
Austin, TX & SE-NE cell- 512-992-8858

Please check out www.permie.us for courses:

-Greenfield, NH in June,
-Martha's Vineyard, S'Dartmouth, MA in Sept., and
-Austin, TX from Sept.27 - Nov 22.

-Dick's PC-Bio. on www.permie.us
Also check: Utube Dick Pierce
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