A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

Fertigation at Earthaven Ecovillage

Transcript from video:

Courtney Brooke: Hey Uncle Zev. What are you doing?

Zev: Oh, hey! I’m  emptying out this liquid duck gold.

Courtney Brooke: Duck gold?

Zev: Yes.

Courtney Brooke: What does that mean?

Zev: An unspoken treasure. This is our duck water from the sweet ducks. The ancona ducks have been swimming in here the last week About once a week we empty this out and spread this water around to different plants that need it, with its beautiful phosphorus and all the nitrogen and nutrients in there and the duck oils which make this cool rainbow colored oily skim on the top and feed all the plants with it. It’s one of the amazing yields of the ducks. Along with the eggs, and their manure, and their beauty and companionship, and bug eating, we get fertigation water. So that’s what I’m doing. Fertigation…. fertilize your irrigation. It’s like saying wave irrigating in ways that are also fertilizing the plants because of everything i just said.

Courtney Brooke: So do you recommend having ducks?

Zev: Definitely yeah

Courtney Brooke: Who do you recommend having ducks? Why? who should have ducks?

Zev: Well probably people who have a few other companions, a few other crew to do it with. Once I had ducks by myself, when I lived in someone’s backyard in a salvaged metal and earthen building I built. That meant that if I ever went away for the night or was just really tired or something then it was always like “oh god, I gotta go deal with the ducks” or get someone to duck sit the ducks. But if you got a few compadres and comadres then somebody can take care of them when somebody else goes.

So, people who have a little crew, and who have a little diversified landscape. Especially where you can rotate them through different areas. Different paddocks, kind of mini paddocks and rotate them through the garden at the right time when they’re not going to trample teensy plants. Rotate them through the forest garden and around the mushroom logs when the mushrooms are coming out so that they eat the slugs before they damage the mushrooms and around the house to eat the termites. So a diversified landscape, home scale is one of the ways ducks fit really good.

Also, people in traditional Asian cultures use them in big large scale rice paddies. So they’re all manner of things. The trick is, that we didn’t do here yet, is to have the water they swim and be high in the landscape so you can use gravity to get fertigation water to other points. So, this is currently down here for convenience and that’s a little inconvenient.

Courtney Brooke: Hey ducks!

Zev: There’s six of them but there’s only five here because one of them’s in there right now sitting on eggs breeding. They’re hopefully going to hatch out into a new round little ducklings.

ducks, fertigation, fertilizer, Irrigation, mushrooms, zev friedman


Courtney Brooke

Courtney Brooke (she/her) is a Social Ecologist, Regenerative Designer, and educator whose work aims to reconnect people with a sense of belonging to place. Her work in the world aims to address the root cause of today’s overwhelming ecological challenges – that humans are starved of a sense of belonging to the places they live. Courtney Brooke was raised on a small farm in North Georgia, and has been guided by a lifetime of living close to the land. Her greatest teachers have been the Appalachian Mountains, the land of Aotearoa, and Selu, the Corn Mother. She holds a degree in Ecology from the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, and has 10 years of experience facilitating earth-based education, ecological landscape design, women’s rites of passage, and cultural healing. Courtney Brooke has taught and facilitated environmental education curriculum, Deep Ecology, Permaculture Design Courses, hands-on craft and farming workshops, and Holistic Management to a wide range of audiences in nine countries from toddlers to adults and everyone in between. Deeply committed to spreading the healing that comes from belonging to the places we live, Courtney Brooke is passionate about designing learning opportunities that celebrate life. She lives at Earthaven Ecovillage where she tends the land, raises food, participates in communal ritual agriculture, swims in wild water, enjoys the mysterious blessing of being alive, and tends her own wild Hearth. She loves cooking home-grown and wild foraged foods, playing her flute to the sunrise, running on mountain trails, making compost piles, crafting from natural materials, and bringing people together to create beauty that feeds the holy.

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