The Lazy Man’s organic permaculture

John Douglas, the Lazy Man — El Perezoso in Spanish — teaching Peace Corps volunteers on his old farm. Here the magic circle technique is applied on a hillside. A pit is dug, at the bottom of which a banana stem is planted. The rocks get lined up below the pit, parallel to the slope, to slow any runoff. Into the pit, and on the upside of the rocks, will go plant debris. Along the top of the pit, soil dug out of the hole will form a circle and along that circle other things will be planted. Things will be planted between the stones. The pit will gather and conserve water. The reinforced line of stones, plants and compost will, too. Archive photo by Eric Jackson.

Stopping erosion

by John A. Douglas

Controlling erosion automatically gives us more water to use.

Neat. Huh?

Running water wider goes together with running it slower so it can soak in more.

Slow. Wide. Penetration.

Permaculture says the problem is the solutions. How about those problem rocks bothering you and the scraps you and your neighbor are burning? Put them in horizontal barricades. Plant those rows with vetiver and…

Harvest bananas and lay the trunks horizontal.

Contrary to the rancheros crying on TV every year that their cows have no water…. Maybe we could plant a tree or two.

And then….

Horizontal ditches with that dirt below and planted with the same trees.

We ARE onto something.

Let’s Go guys and gals.

See you in Sonadora.

Don Perezoso


The new farm in La Sonadora, in Penonome district a few miles north of the town center. Plant close to your house and not only will you get privacy hedges of sorts, but the number of steps from harvest to your kitchen will be many fewer. Photo by Eric Jackson.

Small, intensive and close

Generally we do the opposite and don’t have the time and daily reminders and wind up weedy and unproductive. Neither really happy nor proud.

My workers always tell me that my single best advice is “close.” You will use less time, energy and resources. Weeds almost pull themselves while the goodies and favorite flavors happily fall into your kitchen pot.

Those are the gardens that please and grow.


End up happier.

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