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 Post subject: All Things Permaculture.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:08 am 
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Not sure how I've missed this thread but now I have all winter to study up. Permaculture fascinates me but for a relative noob at gardening in general it's a lot to wrap my head around. What advice do you have for someone with only a small plot (10' x 20' guessing) to work with? I'm also hoping to plant a few dwarf fruit trees and maybe a raised bed or two in the next few years.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:07 am 
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Silent Kube wrote:
Not sure how I've missed this thread but now I have all winter to study up. Permaculture fascinates me but for a relative noob at gardening in general it's a lot to wrap my head around. What advice do you have for someone with only a small plot (10' x 20' guessing) to work with? I'm also hoping to plant a few dwarf fruit trees and maybe a raised bed or two in the next few years.


Preparing for Spring!
Get your sun angles.
Chart prevailing winds. (both winter and then summer when it comes)
Chart and/or stake grade and slope.
Start your compost pile, like, YESTERDAY! :P
Determine soil quality/pH/composition.
Determine Hardiness Zone. (use local charts if you can find them)
Construct Earthworks once your design is complete.
Decide what you want/can grow, buy seed, and establish guilds and companion planting layout.

Try not to think about 'feet squared' in your bioscape. Remember that one of the greatest benefits in Permaculture is 'stacking' Both in Time AND in Space.

Also by using contour and edges (edges being the most productive areas that occur in nature) you can further maximize yield and diversity by recreating the patterns found in nature. Keyhole gardens, and terraced rows on contour are simple useful examples of these patterns.

Raised beds are great for the novice, and they certainly have their place in some designs/areas, but raised beds alone limit many of the benefits of Permaculture if it is the sole element in your design. Just a thought.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:36 pm 
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Here's my situation. This is my basic allotment.

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I own half the house and my mom owns the other half. I live in the basement and she rents the top to people on vacation. Because of this I have to keep the property looking as nice as possible. To be honest, if I had my way I'd till the whole back yard and turn it into a farm but I can't at this point. The raised beds are a compromise so that I can expand my food production but still keep the yard looking neat. I know I can't go full on permaculture until I can afford a nice piece of land all my own but I would like to start employing some of the principles such as companion planting.

I am actually starting a compost bin today.

Another concept I've heard of is basically beating out the weeds by planting your own, something beneficial such as clover or alfalfa in the spaces between your main plants. Does this work well without choking out your plants?

Since I'm limited on growing space I'm also experimenting with hanging plants with lettuce on top. I built this but it was too late to plant it this year.

Image

I'm also hoping to plant a few dwarf fruit trees in the elevated area bordered by the cinderblocks.

As I said, I'd love to be able to do more permaculture wise because it just makes sense but it's just not in the cards right now. I'm hoping with the raised beds I can at least play with different plant combinations.

ETA: I'm in zone 5.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:04 pm 
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Ok, a few things to start with, Kube...

First, what looks like the back yard photo. Can you give me rough cardinal directions in relation to the picture? Is the property on top of the wall yours as well? The trees behind those walls also yours? Plot of grass to the right?

Second, the pic that looks like a front yard photo. General direction in relation to the photo? The mass of brush/trees useable? The secon to the right of the blocks that you wanted for trees, can you use the entire length of it?

I would wager that you can do a lot more than your are thinking, while actually IMPROVING the look and curb appeal of the property.

Lets start with those questions and go from there.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:53 pm 
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Both pics are in the back yard with a southern exposure. The rock walls are at the northeast corner of the back yard. The area above is my property but I'm pretty limited on what I can do up there although I might be able to get away with planting something at the top of the wall on the southern side of the fence. The pine trees separate my place from the neighbors. The area to the right is lilacs. I would like to clear them and plant something more useful. That's also the general area I'm thinking about putting the raised beds.

In the second pic I was facing south when I took it. The raised area is mine to do with as I please all the way up to the front of the house if I want but the closer you get to the front of the house the less sun it gets. Also my windows are there so I don't want to block them too much. The mass of brush/trees are a plum that was supposed to be fruitless but has recently started producing small fruit. Behind that is a juniper. Other than that it's all some sort of tree that would take over my entire property if I let it. None of them were there when I moved in five years ago.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:54 pm 
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Silent Kube wrote:
Both pics are in the back yard with a southern exposure. The rock walls are at the northeast corner of the back yard. The area above is my property but I'm pretty limited on what I can do up there although I might be able to get away with planting something at the top of the wall on the southern side of the fence. The pine trees separate my place from the neighbors. The area to the right is lilacs. I would like to clear them and plant something more useful. That's also the general area I'm thinking about putting the raised beds.

In the second pic I was facing south when I took it. The raised area is mine to do with as I please all the way up to the front of the house if I want but the closer you get to the front of the house the less sun it gets. Also my windows are there so I don't want to block them too much. The mass of brush/trees are a plum that was supposed to be fruitless but has recently started producing small fruit. Behind that is a juniper. Other than that it's all some sort of tree that would take over my entire property if I let it. None of them were there when I moved in five years ago.


Ok, now we are getting somewhere. Any chance you could stand in the middle of the back yard and take a photo at each of the cardinal and ordinal direcitons in sucession starting from South?

Reason being, is that is would be near impossible to determine how much sun you would get and where over the internet without a complete picture. I don't want to give you bad advice based on an incomplete understanding of the sight.

I can tell right now though that you will get quite a bit more production out of your area than you think. Watch and see. ;)

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 Post subject: All Things Permaculture.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:07 am 
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I'll do it tomorrow afternoon. Thanks again for all your help.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:42 pm 
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Silent Kube wrote:
I'll do it tomorrow afternoon. Thanks again for all your help.


Roger that. No problem at all. I will do what I can to help you over the mighty interwebz. :rofl:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:01 pm 
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Shaper wrote:
Are you a ZS Permie? If so, I'm calling you out!

I am! And brand new to permaculture so I'm ready to listen and learn! I will now read on.


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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 8:00 pm 
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HI CHAT! I would like to pick your brains and hear your opinions on this:
http://www.geofflawton.com/sp/13753-sales-page
Permaculture Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture

What is Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC)? Permaculture Design Course was developed by Bill Mollison to teach principles and foundations of sustainable design. All PDC courses offered throughout the world must follow the same format to assure that the integrity of certification process is upheld. Permaculture Institute is among many other organizations that offer PDC.

Certification? Formally known as the Permaculture Design Consultant’s Certificate, this document is awarded to those who attend all sessions of the design course and who successfully complete the design project. The certificate gives the holder the right to use the word “permaculture” in a business or other professional practice, and signifies successful completion of the permaculture design course. Holders of the certificate join a growing community of many thousands of design-course graduates who share a common body of knowledge. Certificates from the Permaculture Institute are particularly highly regarded due to the high standards of instruction set by the institute. The certificate does not mean that you are a “certified” permaculture designer, as the design course covers roughly the same amount of material as two college courses, which is not enough to make you a certified practitioner, just as two courses in chemistry would not make one a certified chemist! The design course is the first step in becoming a permaculture practitioner, whether in design, education, construction, or any one of many other fields.

Now, in American Dollars the class is listed for $1,028. includes email correspondence with Geoff, 72 hours of classroom, 6 DVDs and the whole course on more DVDs and if you also submit a design plan you will receive a PDC Certificate. I can get the class and everything for $874. I'm very eager to learn as much as I can about permaculture and design priciples and possibly turn it into a future business for myself designing, building, and teaching. But...
IS THIS CLASS WORTH IT?

Thoughts? Thank you very much for reading this lengthy post, and please don't hold back.

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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 9:40 pm 
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I would not pay that much. I got my Master Gardener certificate for free. The local community college has a horticulture certification program that is actually something one could start a career with.

There are also places on the Internet where you can read about and learn about permaculture for free. So no I don't think it is worth the money.


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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 9:46 pm 
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If you were a Master Gardener, and then later got a PDC and perhaps some sort of landscape design certificate, then you might be able to turn that into a pretty cool business. The LEED certification thing is starting to get hot, and you could jump on that bandwagon. Bear in mind that I don't know anything about professional gardening, so check to see what folks in other markets are doing.


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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 6:51 pm 
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Ryder358 wrote:
HI CHAT! I would like to pick your brains and hear your opinions on this:
http://www.geofflawton.com/sp/13753-sales-page
Permaculture Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture

What is Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC)? Permaculture Design Course was developed by Bill Mollison to teach principles and foundations of sustainable design. All PDC courses offered throughout the world must follow the same format to assure that the integrity of certification process is upheld. Permaculture Institute is among many other organizations that offer PDC.

Certification? Formally known as the Permaculture Design Consultant’s Certificate, this document is awarded to those who attend all sessions of the design course and who successfully complete the design project. The certificate gives the holder the right to use the word “permaculture” in a business or other professional practice, and signifies successful completion of the permaculture design course. Holders of the certificate join a growing community of many thousands of design-course graduates who share a common body of knowledge. Certificates from the Permaculture Institute are particularly highly regarded due to the high standards of instruction set by the institute. The certificate does not mean that you are a “certified” permaculture designer, as the design course covers roughly the same amount of material as two college courses, which is not enough to make you a certified practitioner, just as two courses in chemistry would not make one a certified chemist! The design course is the first step in becoming a permaculture practitioner, whether in design, education, construction, or any one of many other fields.

Now, in American Dollars the class is listed for $1,028. includes email correspondence with Geoff, 72 hours of classroom, 6 DVDs and the whole course on more DVDs and if you also submit a design plan you will receive a PDC Certificate. I can get the class and everything for $874. I'm very eager to learn as much as I can about permaculture and design priciples and possibly turn it into a future business for myself designing, building, and teaching. But...
IS THIS CLASS WORTH IT?

Thoughts? Thank you very much for reading this lengthy post, and please don't hold back.


I saw this a few weeks back...I think it would be WELL worth that price for anyone who has no previous experience in Permaculture AND who wants to eventually make a business out of it. For someone with just a mild interest or who wants to do it as a hobby, not so much.

I have been studying Permaculture for quite a while now, and have all of the "bonus" DVD's he offers with the online course as well as an older full design course from Mollison and Lawton. I also have media from Sepp and other pioneers in the discipline. What little extra I could glean from the online design course wouldn't be worth $1k from an information perspective, but may well be worth it for the certificate since Lawton is really #2 in the world right now in terms of depth of knowledge, recognition, PLUS teaching ability.

The thing about Permaculture is that to truly understand it you have to get in and get your hands dirty. If you have an institute near you, then I would say it would be viable because most have weekend workshops/internships/etc. for a much smaller cost than a full design course. That way you would have the knowledge, the certificate, and a forum in which to apply it before you try to charge someone to be your guinea pig.

IF you don't have an institute nearby, and are serious about making a business of it...just find the nearest reputable institute and go all in with their own hands on course.

I will personally be going to the 2 week intensive Midwest Permaculture institute design course once I get out of the Army next year. A good value all the way around.

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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 10:14 pm 
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Another concept I've heard of is basically beating out the weeds by planting your own, something beneficial such as clover or alfalfa in the spaces between your main plants. Does this work well without choking out your plants?


I am trying that his year in certain areas with massive amounts of mixed greens. It actually seems to be working surprising enough. Best part the seeds were like $2 a pound as they were left over from last year.

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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 10:45 pm 
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Blacksmith wrote:
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Another concept I've heard of is basically beating out the weeds by planting your own, something beneficial such as clover or alfalfa in the spaces between your main plants. Does this work well without choking out your plants?


I am trying that his year in certain areas with massive amounts of mixed greens. It actually seems to be working surprising enough. Best part the seeds were like $2 a pound as they were left over from last year.


Does it work? Well, yes and no. It can work well in certain zones under certain conditions in certain climates.

Broad cast over cropping, over winter and n-fixing cover crops, and chop and drop green mulch in zones 2 and 3, are but a few ways.

The trick is to fill in the blank spaces both in time and space, remove less productive species for more productive species, and ensure that each particular plant is happiest in that aspect and/or micro climate.

When in doubt, just mulch heavily until you determine the best use of each space during the growth and progression of the overall design.

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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 9:27 am 
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When in doubt, just mulch heavily until you determine the best use of each space during the growth and progression of the overall design.


Maybe. Depends upon the type of mulch and what you plan on growing later.

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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 10:46 am 
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Blacksmith wrote:
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When in doubt, just mulch heavily until you determine the best use of each space during the growth and progression of the overall design.


Maybe. Depends upon the type of mulch and what you plan on growing later.


What?

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Shaper wrote:
Blacksmith wrote:
Quote:
When in doubt, just mulch heavily until you determine the best use of each space during the growth and progression of the overall design.


Maybe. Depends upon the type of mulch and what you plan on growing later.


What?


Different kinds of mulch release different things into the soil. Some mulches contain toxins that when released can kill other plants you may not want to kill. Oak leaf mulch increases acidity. Some kinds of mulch draw pests that you may not want such as termites (or maybe want), others like cedar repel them. Some mulch can lock the nitrogen in the soil, others help release it.

If you are going to throw down a lot of mulch you really need to give it some thought and plan it out.

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Blacksmith wrote:
Shaper wrote:
Blacksmith wrote:
Quote:
When in doubt, just mulch heavily until you determine the best use of each space during the growth and progression of the overall design.


Maybe. Depends upon the type of mulch and what you plan on growing later.


What?


Different kinds of mulch release different things into the soil. Some mulches contain toxins that when released can kill other plants you may not want to kill. Oak leaf mulch increases acidity. Some kinds of mulch draw pests that you may not want such as termites (or maybe want), others like cedar repel them. Some mulch can lock the nitrogen in the soil, others help release it.

If you are going to throw down a lot of mulch you really need to give it some thought and plan it out.


Ah, I thought your were saying you shouldn't use mulch sometimes and leave bare soil and not fill in blank spaces with something, lol.

And yes, I totally agree about understanding relationships between elements such as mulch and production plants. :mrgreen: But that goes for anything you put on your ground I suppose.

Part of Permaculture is understanding the connections between the elements to increase stability of the bioscape or microscape you are creating. The more beneficial connections you can make and multiply by mimicking nature the more stable and productive the space will become.

Ignoring design planning and the connectivity of anything that is currently on, or about to be a part of, your space would not follow Permaculture principles in the slightest. In fact they lovingly call those types of errors "Type 1" errors.

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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 7:46 am 
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Ah, I thought your were saying you shouldn't use mulch sometimes and leave bare soil and not fill in blank spaces with something, lol.


Nature abhors a vacuum, something will grow there eventually if you don't put something down.

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Blacksmith wrote:
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Ah, I thought your were saying you shouldn't use mulch sometimes and leave bare soil and not fill in blank spaces with something, lol.


Nature abhors a vacuum, something will grow there eventually if you don't put something down.


Too right, good sir!

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I'd like to use Fukuoka's seed ball method to plant some winter wheat this year. When planting directly, you're supposed to put the seed out sometime in September or October. If I use the seed balls, do I put them out at the same time as I would plant nekked seed or do they need more time? I have Fukuoka's book around here somewhere, but I can't seemed to find it at the moment.

Related: Aren't these about the prettiest seed balls ever? I thought it was a cute idea to use them as wedding favors.

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http://permaculturetokyo.blogspot.com/2 ... balls.html
Once dried, the balls are ready to be spread over land that you want to plant. When the rains come, the seeds will germinate.
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http://www.etsy.com/listing/82097590/10 ... 4061933-11
Simple to use, just toss anywhere there is dirt. The clay may break, but will dissolve when it gets wet from rain. The seeds will sprout on their own. Recommended tossing during the wet Spring season. If tossed in the Fall season, the seeds should sprout in the Spring. KABLOOM!

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Anianna wrote:
My first steps toward permaculture were to plant some fruit trees.

Planted in March:
This is my Methley Plum tree purchased from the local Southern States:



My Redhaven Peach tree purchased from the local Southern States:


which is now showing some little baby peaches:




These next two images are of the Goldhaven Cherry twins purchased from the local Southern States:


Planted in April
The local nurseries did not have an Elberta Peach tree, so I ordered one online from Gurney's......it's a smidge less than what I expected (live and learn, I suppose):




Each of the trees was buried with a mix of 2 parts coir and 1 part aged chicken and rabbit poop. Local soil fills the remainder of the hole and we mulched with leaf debris from the woods. As they grow, they will create a nook providing shade for our beehives. As they get bigger, I intend to add Siberian Pea Shrub as the mid-layer in this section and I have not yet decided on the low level yet, but I think it will include clover.

The trees are planted in the northeast corner of the unwooded portion of my property. They are at the top of a gradual rise that moves down southward. The Methley Plum and Elberta Peach trees are along the northern edge of woods just west of the beehives. The Redhaven Peach tree is south of the Methley Plum and southwest of the beehives. The Goldhaven Cherry twins are along the eastern edge of the woods south of the beehives. I plan to start our permaculture at this corner and work out south and west until the entire property is complete. :mrgreen:

ETA: the little bands around the tree trunks are to keep the inchworms from over-infesting our trees before we can better establish the permaculture. The strips are a layer of thin foam (to keep the tape from directly adhering to the tree) wrapped with foil tape. The foil tape is then slathered with petroleum jelly to keep the caterpillars (inchworms) from climbing back up the tree after we picked them all off by hand.


I've never been able to grow peaches or sweet cherries without spraying, and I've never seen anyone here (Georgia) do it either. How are you managing this since you're still on the East Coast?


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