I came home the other day to find a catalogue in the mail: a catalogue for Yeomans Plows. I had to laugh at myself. How many inner city chics are receiving mail on plows being towed by tractors?
PA Yeomans, way back in 1954, began espousing the virtues of keyline design to hydrate the dry landscape of Australia and create soil. Yes, create soil by converting subsoil into topsoil. Quicker than creating topsoil from above. One of his famous writings was the 1964 book, "Water For Every Farm".
PA Yeomans designed a plow and a keyline design to help hydrate the land: you rip the soil (it looks like a nice clean cut, not turning the earth) parallel to one contour on the landscape. This contour will be on the keyline, where the slope in the valley goes from a steeper slope to a more gradual, longer slope. This point of change in the valley is the keypoint. The rip lines will help aeration and the rain will soak into the earth rather than running off. The water will eventually end up at the bottom of the valley, in the creek. It just will have taken a slower, more productive course to get there.
These are the things I, along with 75 other farmers, learnt when I went to the Keyline Design Course with Darren J Doherty back in January 2010. Darren had a great rapport with both the broadacre farmers, small acreage farmers and permaculturalists (and the various combinations of these). He presented permaculture principles and keyline design in scenarios the farmers could relate to.
The course was organised by Milkwood Permaculture.
Now I'm on the Yeomans Plow Co mailing list and my breakfast reading is The Red Book of plows, shank attachments and crumble rollers.
Well, it is now my breakfast reading, as I have finished devouring The Digger's Club seed catalogue, cover to cover. The Digger's Club have a great range of heirloom and organic fruit, vegetable and flower seeds.