Texastopia: A permaculture dream come true
Texastopia is located outside of Blanco, TX along the Blanco River. It is the property of Pete Van Dyke and his wife Elenor Goode. Pete owns Van Dyke Earthworks & Design, a permaculture consulting business. They started managing a 10 acre Bermuda grass pasture on the homestead in 2017. Prior to their arrival it had been used to propagate coastal hay for 30 plus years. The soil was very hard and compacted. It is their intention to regenerate this pasture using various permaculture strategies to decrease compaction, improve soil health, and increase above and below ground biodiversity. Additionally, they plan to incorporate silvopasture practices that includes livestock grazing.
In the fall of 2017 they used the subsoil ripper to help relieve the compaction, without disturbing too much of the ground cover. A subsoil ripper creates thin rips in the ground at various depth on contour to relieve compaction and allow moisture to penetrate the soil. The first time using the ripper they were only able to get down about 6 inches due to the heavy compaction from the disturbance caused by years of hay farming. They then broadcast cover crop seeds into the slightly disturbed soil. Their first year of cool season cover crops in 2017 did not do that well. The Bermuda grass was still thick so a lot of the cover crop seeds did not germinate. Also the deer pressure was high which further reduced germination. Two transects have been created in the field as described below.