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Roman Eisenkoelbl
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A 5day Practical Seminar with Sepp Holzer in Germany

Posted by Roman Eisenkoelbl about 1 year ago

Last week I had the privilege to participate in a practical workshop with Sepp Holzer in the Mandala Garten in Gruegelborn, Germany. It was a 5 day Seminar with lots of practical time in the field.

We started with a short tour of what was already established in the Mandalagarten and went through a few areas we want to work on together during the seminar. The Mandalagarten in Gruegleborn is a diverse garden surrounded by forest patches and mainly Agriculture deserts as Sepp like to call it.

The surrounding agriculture landscape for which the European Union is giving subventions!

The water retention pond that was established during the seminar with Sepp Holzer the year before 2016.

Sepp explained to us that we will create a deep zone for the water retention pond to be able to hold more water in the landscape but also to provide a space for fish to retreat during drier and hotter month. The excavator driver started to dig a small test hole to see if the soil underneath the top layer is use able for sealing the new retention pond area.

                                   Sepp observing the test hole being excavated
After making the test hole we realized that the material in this area is challenging as it had a very high sand content so there was a need to make a ¨Sperrschicht¨, a so called sealing layer with clay and compacted by the excavator to be able to hold the water on spot.

                               The deep zone being excavated


                               the deep zone filled with water
After finishing the deep zone immediately got filled with the water from the retention space that was build the year before and it was exiting to see how it all worked out. The excavator continue afterwards also to establish a ¨hoch beet¨ which is a 1,5m high earthen garden bed with 70% slope to be able to work on it without the need for bending down. It also fulfilled the function of windbreak,creation of micro-climates and protects from noise or views from the street nearby.

                              Sepp shows how to mulch and use the hochbeet
We planted the hochbeet with a big diversity of fruit trees and berry bushes plus also a very diverse cover crop mixture has been sown in by the participants and Sepp.

          Sepp and participants discussing the different options for cover crop diversity

                               The finished cover crop mixture ready to be sown
The next step was to create another smaller water retention pond at a lower part of the land where a diversity of plants could be planted on the edges plus fish kept in the pond.The pond would act as a security for water,as a wildlife attracting feature and as a aquaculture space.

  Sepp explaining the smaller water retention pond at a lower part of the land.
Again a diverse mixture of groundcover got sown and on the edges some Jostaberries got transplanted too.Now it was time to talk a little bit about Mushroom growing. 
Sepp showed us how to maintain mushroom logs properly and how to make them fruit.

Sepp showing and explaining the details about the inoculated Shitake mushroom logs.

We also inoculated a tree stump together with shitake mycelium which is to be expected to fruit for many many years to come!

       Sepp cutting open the tree stump to be inoculated with Shitake mycelium.
There was also the amazing opportunity for some of the participants who had a project and had some plans with them to have a short consultation with Sepp.This was very interesting to watch for all participants and a great learning opportunity.

 Sepp looking at maps of a participants property to give some recommendations and advice

The last big project we started was a crater garten.The sunken shape of a crater garden protects it from wind,there is usually a water body at the button and stones are used as additional thermal mass features so a special micro climate is created.

                           The crater garden in the establishing phase is taking shape
Overall it was a very exiting and informational 5 day seminar and we did a lot of work in the field,learning through doing and experiencing first hand.
We are hosting Sepp Holzer for a 5 day Seminar in Spain this September. 2017 You can find more information here:
Sepp Holzers website:

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Water Retention Landscapes
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Food Forest Design & Care for cities and suburbs
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Retrofit Suburbia in Mullumbimby
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Practical Seminar with Sepp Holzer
Type: Other
Teacher: Sepp Holzer
Location: Mandala Garten - Auf den Schwarzenbacher Gaerten - Gruegelborn,Germany
Date: Apr 2017
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Introduction to Ecological Beekeeping
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Verifying teacher: David Mérino-Rigaill
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Date: Apr 2017
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Roman Eisenkoelbl has permaculture experience in:
Warm Temperate
Sub tropical
Wet/Dry Tropical
Wet Tropical
Dry Tropical

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