Creating a permaculture minded homestead can be a challenge without a mentor. Go on a Journey into Permaculture every week with your guide, Vinson Corbo, permaculture enthusiast and entrepreneur, as he shares inspirational stories, books, tools, tactics, including interviews of permaculture authors, enthusiasts, influencers, and scholars. Explore in design, creation, & inspiration. Join the experience that will help you excel your endeavors in sustainability and permaculture.
This podcast is for all the homesteaders, DIYers, off grid, conservation minded, farming, gardening, teachers, and activists of sustainable movements. Those just beginning your homestead, a more independent and self-reliant life journey, or already going down the path of permaculture, this program has something for all walks of experience.
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The Hidden Life of Trees
The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohelleben Apple Audiobook (https://apple.co/3ffDJca) How do trees live? Do they feel pain or have awareness of their surroundings? Research is now suggesting trees are capable of much more than we have ever known.
In The Hidden Life of Trees, forester Peter Wohlleben puts groundbreaking scientific discoveries into a language everyone can relate to.
In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders, of which we are blissfully unaware.
Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.
Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown lives of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that ecofriendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.
After a walk through the woods with Wohlleben, you'll never look at trees the same way again.
TED Talk | How trees talk to each other | Suzanne Simard Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un2yBgIAxYs) "A forest is much more than what you see," says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery — trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes.
Intelligent Trees - The Documentary Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/341147972) Trees talk, know family ties and care for their young? Is this too fantastic to be true? German forester Peter Wohlleben ('The Hidden Life of Trees') and scientist Suzanne Simard (The University of British Columbia, Canada) have been observing and investigating the communication between trees over decades. And their findings are most astounding. 'Intelligent Trees' features the main observations that are covered in Peter Wohlleben's book such as the stump that has been kept alive by it's neighboring trees, the old tree-couple that looks after each other, the Mother Trees that suckle their offspring, etc... Special about this film is, however, that it goes beyond observations and claims, but match them with the latest underlying Forest Science Research.
The Secret Life Of Trees /Amazing Nature Documentary/ High-Quality /Unusual Animals, Birds, Plants Vimeo (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwigpNSewPXqAhWJlXIEHWXfAuEQtwIwBHoECAMQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fvimeo.com%2F64105157&usg=AOvVaw28WEwFc_mx5bNK9N95hMCx) Great mini-documentary about trees, and animals that interact with them.
My Spring Garden Failed!
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This is my first raised bed garden update from early-spring to mid-summer. I considered it a failure, but it would only be considered a failure if I give up, which I don't plan on doing. I will continue to sow seeds for the rest of the season and take this as a learning season.
I had a low germination rate, and a lot of seeds germinated, but didn't grow more than the cotyledons. They were stunted and some were yellowing as well. The leaf compost I bought from a local garden center may not be the best material as the yellowing and stunted growth point to nutrient deficiencies. The material may be composting still, which ties up nutrients, but next time I will get a different product my local garden center offers called "ori-grow". My garden only gets 5-6 hours of direct sunlight, so I expected some slow growth, but not this slow. This spring began perfectly, however, the over 90+ degree days for 37 days in a row have made the early-spring crops bolt.
Some plants did germinate and provide a harvest, which I'm still harvesting. Since most bolted, I don't have much to harvest, but now I will have more seeds to plant for next year. The plants will drop seed into the seed bank in my garden, and I will collect some to sow next year as well. A market gardener would rip out plants that have bolted as they won't make the leaf growth desired to harvest and sell at a market. I prefer the seeds so I have to work less in the future.
I also had volunteer plants in my garden, where I mostly kept. They help balance the ecosystem around the garden. In my case, the Japanese beetle was more attracted to plants that are considered weeds instead of the plants I wanted to harvest. They really liked the raspberries, but the beetles munched on amaranth and Virginia creeper instead.
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Tools: A-frame and Bubble Level
The A-Frame Level is a common permaculture tool for a permaculture designer. This easy to make tool is intended for on-contour projects. Earthworks projects such as swales, ponds, hugelkultur mounds, and food forest planting, plus more are made on-contour. An A-Frame Level can be made out of leftover lumber or lumber can be bought. Straight pieces of debris from trees or shrubs on your property can be used to make the A for the A-Frame Level, which is the least costly option. The level needs a plumb-bob or an object tied to string at the top of the A to center itself into the center of the A to identify the contour line as you move across your property with a flag or another object as a market. I've seen A-Frame levels with bubble level at the center line of the A-frame to be extra certain of the calibration.
Watch this video (https://youtu.be/c90LEjR4Y3E) as an example on how to make your A-Frame Level out of tree or shrub materials from Oregon State University.
Formal bubble level pack (https://amzn.to/36qu6Va) )
The Johnson Level (https://amzn.to/3e0L3bk) - Hand Held Sight Bubble Level can be purchased online. It's small, but needs at least two people to properly mark the contour line on your land. An A-Frame Level is easier to use, as it only needs one person to mark contour lines. The Johnson level is much easier to transport, however.
Zone and Sector Analysis
Now that we've a few episodes posted and tons of listens around the world, tweet to us on Twitter @JPermaculture (https://www.twitter.com/jpermaculture) share your favorite episode. I'll give you a shout out in a future episode!
This episode covers zone and sector analysis in a permaculture planed design is based on the Permaculture Desingers' Manual (https://amzn.to/3ccb5Ic) by Bill Mollison. Every plan uses zone analysis. The purpose of considering zone and sector analysis, it is primarily every-preserving for the whole site. Each component that needs more time and energy should be placed closer to the home, or zone 0. Each zone considers management of how to capture energy that is passing through the site as well, including; water, sun, wind, or even fire.
Each zone is a circle, and each circle is larger from the center.
Zone 0 (the house or the village)
This zone considers good house design. A greenhouse or glasshouse can be incorporated on the south side. Other considerations include earth-building one's home with a thatch roof, sod roof, or roof garden. While this building method can outlast modern building, it is not legally allowed in most locations. Growing components will be made of natural material and will eventually degrade, like bamboo for trellises to guide vining plants. Don't let vining plants take onto the sides of the house, which will create premature degradation and expensive to replace. Companion animals will be found in the home, although avoiding the idea of having a pet, the animal should serve a purpose within the design plan.
This is the most frequently visited zone and located right outside of the home, and is within 20 feet. This space has complex techniques that most arranges nature to suit out needs. The space is fully mulched and frequently worked with annual plantings that are replaced frequently for consistent harvest to serve the kitchen. Culinary herbs are also grown nearest the home to best support use in the kitchen. Chicken laying boxes will be found in this zone, but their run could be found in zone 2. In the home garden, seedlings and young trees are prepared and grown for outer zones. Mother trees may also be tended and used for grafting and cloning methods. Other animals included in this zone include fish, rabbits, guinea pigs for food production. You'll have water catchment tanks that are collected from the home's roof to be preserved and used within this zone.
This is less intensively managed compared to zone 1. Growing spaces will still be present, but with a focus on perennial growth instead of annual growth. Trees within an orchard or food forest will be spot mulched. Larger animals will be found here, or their shelter is located in zone 2 while their range is in zone 3. The larger animals include cows, goats, pigs, and sheep. Smaller structures will be placed here such as ponds, hedges and terraces.
This is the 'farm zone' where commercial crops and animals are used for sale or trade. Soil conditioning comes from zone 2. Trees are naturally growing, or little pruned in inter-planted orchards.
This zone is managed for wild food gathering. Plants are selected based on their volunteer and natural habitat. Wild foraging include wood gathering for wood stove fuel. Extended pasture or range will be available to larger animals. Hedge rows are used to manage the microclimate, which impacts the inner zones. Wind energy may be used to life water out of dams to irrigate the inner zone 3.
This is an unmanaged zone, kept wild and use for observation and meditation on the natural space. This zone is used to continue to learn the rules of nature that are present relative to the site in this zone.
Permaculture Design Principles
This episode covers Permaculture Principles by David Holmgren's book " NC State University Permaculture Class/Lecture series (https://mediasite.online.ncsu.edu/online/Catalog/Full/f5a893e74b7c4b7980fd52dcd1ced71521) ). His Permaculture Principle version combines both David and Bill's principles.
Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren:
Observe & Interact
Catch & Store Energy
Obtain a yield
Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
Use & Value Renewable Resources & Services
Produce no waste
Design from patterns to details
Integrate rather than segregate
Use Small & Slow Solutions
Use & Value Diversity
Use Edges & Value the Marginal
Creatively use & Respond to change
Want more depth to the principles in this episode? This free download (https://files.holmgren.com.au/downloads/Essence_of_Pc_EN.pdf?_ga=2.59656494.228865561.1588715679-614725235.1588715679) further explains each principle, written by David Holmgren.
Permaculture Principles found within Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison:
Each element performs many functions
Each important function is supported by many elements
Efficient energy planning
Use biological resources
Small scale intensive systems
Accelerating succession & evolution
Work with nature, rather than against it
The problem is the solution
Make the least change for the greatest possible effect
The yield of a system is theoretically unlimited
Augmented Permaculture Principles by Will Hooker - combines both Mollison and Holmgren's principles.
Observe & interact
Relative & connections
Each element performs many functions
Each function is supported by man elements
Efficient energy planning
Small scale intensive systems
Use edges and value the marginal
Accelerate succession and evolution
Use & value diversity
Using biological resources
Care for the Earth
Care for the People
Share the Surplus:
Where Do I Start?
I want to cover the question "Where do I start?" I've seen this question frequently on social media outlets. I'm going to use quotes from Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, the founders of permaculture, to help answer this question.
Permaculture means 'permenant-culture'. It's much more than 'permenant-agriculture', as many would otherwise define the word. There's much more to this movement than agriculture, it's a multi-layered and conscious design on methodologies of sustainability.
"The conscious design and maintenance of cultivated ecosystems that have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems" - Bill Mollison
"Traditional agriculture was labor intensive, modern industrial agriculture is energy intensive, and permaculture-designed systems are information and design intensive" - David Holmgren
"People frequently ask how much land they need for self-sufficiency. The answer is 'As much as you can control'. Any more and you lose self-sufficiency. Let alone the ability to produce an excess. If people ask 'Where do I start?' Then the answer is always, 'At your front doorstep.'" - Bill Mollison
What purpose do you want your land to serve? What will you be able to contribute to your land?
You will need to create a permaculture plan that will give an overall view of what the land could look like in the end of your journey. However, this will likely change as it goes because permaculture is a dynamic system. Create goals that you wish your land to provide for you. Above all, before doing anything, observe the functions of your land and how it will be able to make way to reach those goals. Don't make any major changes in the land, especially things such as permanent buildings or features. As you learn more about your land, it may have not been placed in the right place.
As you build your permaculture plan for your property, you will need to learn as much as you can about permaculture, other alternative agriculture methods, and environmental sustainability. You may consider a Permaculture Design Certification, which is at minimum a 72 hour class. Many of the best permaculture teachers are talking at in a world-wide conversation that will better create a curriculum that all share, and standardize the PDC moving forward with the movement.
Don't rule out animals to help establish your permaculture plan at your property. Chickens naturally scratch and till grass to eat bugs and other vegetation. Over time, they will scratch and till the vegetation to bare ground. As you give them tomatoes and other seed bearing fruits or vegetables, they will spread the desirable volunteer seeds for you. When you move the animals, the seeds will germinate and start your first garden. You could plant additional seeds after moving the animals as well. Goats will eat away overgrowth, and virtually any plant is on the menu, including poison ivy. Don't pet your goat after they go into a poison ivy patch, however! Goats are great for clearing the overgrowth for other animals to succeed their place and change the land according to your plan. Pigs are great for rooting plants and bugs in the soil. They will get rid of pesky plants that you wish to get rid of from the roots. Pigs will also wallow in the ground naturally in a hole where a future pond will be. This will create a natural compaction to keep water in the pond instead of it slowly seeping out quickly. There are many ways to use animals to help do the work for you.
Once you have studied permaculture thoroughly, created a plan that you will work towards on your property that will ultimately meet goals you've created, as well as identified the time commitment involved, you are well underway to starting out right from your doorstep. Think of starting out as a tree growing, the growth starts in the soil then occurs upward and outward, from the inside out. The first ring