Permaculture is the best thing I’ve ever practiced. A hands off, nature based way of growing food and healing the plant. What could be wrong with that? Well, I’m bored. I’ve been on this property seven years and things pretty much run on autopilot. I occasionally spy a new place to build a small garden or tweak an established one. Since spring is on the way I’ll have more things to do but until then, I’m permabored.
Good thought Connor. I never noticed anyone replied to my post. Glad you did though. I have very large tree guilds and make hugelcultures that extend out from the trees. Most of it is fungal but I like the thought of bringing new and potentially different stuff in from greener pastures.
Hello again John. I found his video series on YouTube and have some thoughts. He said compost or other amendments could be added to the permabed. The area I live is world famous for pottery. Your thoughts on adding wood to the base are spot on for me. I don’t think I would try it any other way. So I guess it’s dependent on your native soil composition.
Great idea Leigh! I’m sure there are many more than I grow but here’s my few.
1. I only look at my sun chokes when I’m ready to eat them.
3. Any and all sage.
6. St John’s wort
7. Agastache. My favorite herb!
8. Shiso. It self seeds at a rapid pace.
10. Bee balm
11. Egyptian walking onions.
12. Strawberries 🍓
13. Goji berries
That’s all I can think of. Look forward to other responses. Great topic!
I’m definitely trying this! I’ve discovered the pure, soothing joy of marshmallow root. I never wanted to grow medicinal herbs but my wife talked me into it. I’m so glad she did! I too have eczema and have never felt instant relief like I have with these roots.
I’m not sure about the stove part but the thermal siphon part starts around the nine minute mark. I’ve watched this video a few times over the years. I find it peaceful and enjoyable.
When you do get your outdoor kitchen made please update all of us.
I noticed this is your first post. I would like to extend a formal welcome to you! We’re glad you’re here!
When you say “permabed” do you mean hugelkultur or some other kind of traditional raised bed? For me it wouldn’t matter. I’ve found everything is better on contour. There are others here that are way more experienced than me when it comes to hugel construction. Maybe they’ll notice this and give us some advice.
I may need a bit wider path than 12” but it sounds awesome. I need to look up the book. I love the steadiness of gravel but I’ve most often used wood chips for my paths. Most of my gardens are big tree guilds and I like to keep the fungi happy. You mentioned laying down small limbs at the base of the bed. I’m not exactly clear on that one.
Anyway, it’s always great to see someone new around. The more people catch the Permie-bug the better for everyone!
I have great sympathy and respect for those who do it without chemicals. I was really questioning my permaculture methods a few years ago. Others knew well before me that growing landrace seeds is a can’t miss. It just takes more time than people are willing to give it. As you said, monocultures are a big problem and convincing folks to change is difficult. I’m reminded of a story about Masanobu Fukuoka. He would loose a small amount of his rice crop to aphids. He considered this a beneficial form of pruning as they always attacked the weakest plants. Aphid predators were there to take care of the problem and life returned to normal.
I hadn’t seen an aphid here in years until last summer. They were all over my poly culture of corn, marigolds, tomatoes and cowpeas. I started seeing paper wasp, ladybugs, and yellow jackets all over the garden. I couldn’t figure out where the yellow jackets were coming from. As I walked around looking I realized I was standing directly on top of the nest! They didn’t even notice. Once the aphids were gone they packed up and left. Probably onto their next feast.
For the past two years I’ve made hugelkultur’s right through the coldest part of the winter. The ones I finish in late fall get a hefty amount of rye or winter pea seed. But now and going forward I don’t plant anything. I simply cover with shredded leaves and wait until spring.
The reason I’ve started doing this is the clay on my property. When dry, it turns to power and fills any cracks I may have left during construction. I also have exhausted my compost supply both years so clay and wood are my only two ingredients. Last spring I planted lettuce that did very well. Summer gets a good amount of cowpeas and fall gets winter peas for biomass and nitrogen.
I realize this is not best practice but I am curious as to what the community thinks.
I cut some nice oak awhile back and never used it. This whole time it’s been laying in an lush woodland patch picking up native fungi. Now I’m using it along with fresh hardwoods in a new hugelculture I’m building. It seems like a lazy IMO to me. What do you guys say?
I love the monthly above all else. When I saw the master gardeners class I got pretty excited. For a moment I thought It was all online. I would love to come to Montana but it’s not in the cards at the moment. The ones I’ve looked at here all require a good amount of volunteer time to graduate. I know it’s for community building and such but I’m still not interested. The fact that this one is toxic-gick free is extremely cool!
Thanks Greg and Anne. I think the potato berries contain lots of seeds, maybe hundreds. I’ve never seen one close up or maybe this would make more sense to me.
@Greg. Maybe it’s possible that I’m not growing the correct potatoes for my climate. I’m going to have to look into this.
@Anne. My single plant that flowered could have possibly had berries but I’m unsure. I have lots of horse nettle, a nasty plant that I cannot get rid of fast enough. They produce a small berry that resembles that of a potato. Hmm, now I have more questions 😁.
Yes, exactly Anne. The berry-type fruit. Sorry for the confusion. I grow tubers from the same plants year after year but they never flower. Since I’ve never seen the berries except online am I thinking about this correctly? I’m guessing they cross pollinate by flowers like most things.
My depth of knowledge here is shallow as I’m new to food preservation. I started using a cheap food dehydrator last fall and loved it. I began by drying seasoned tomatoes and marshmallow root and was thrilled with the results!
Also, is there food you can grow that doesn’t need preservation? In zone 7b I only harvest sun chokes and walking onions when I’m ready to eat.
Good morning! I have great success growing potatoes from super market varieties. I grow them in leaves, wood chips, and new compost piles.
Years ago I read that seed potatoes couldn’t be grown in the south. Something about it was to hot for them to flower. Just in case I’ve always planted two varieties together but flowers never happened. Last season one of my plants did flower but it was alone.
My question: Has anyone from zone 7b and further south ever grown seed potatoes?
I went WAY back on Instagram to find these biochar pictures. This was the simple way. I dug a ditch and burned wood and weeds. After it got going I tossed all the clay back on top. A few weeks later some compost went on top and kale seedlings went in. I’m sure there are other ways to go about it so I’ll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion!
That’s a great thought Keith, thanks! I haven’t messed with biochar in awhile but will look into if for this situation. I cut the roses and broomsedge two weeks ago as a form of chop and drop. Broomsedge is possibly the worst chop and drop on the planet but maybe better than nothing.
There’s one narrow bed in the field that I did a quick biochar thing once. It was quickly productive so I’ll give it some thought. Thanks!
Wow, brutal stories here that I wasn’t expecting to see! I’m sorry about your family situations. Especially in John’s case. Sad to read brother. Family dynamics can be a very difficult for weird reasons occasionally. I guess I’m lucky to have found permaculture and will always be thankful to a YouTube video Paul made a decade ago.
My family marvels at the stuff I do. They continue on with the gardening techniques from their childhood but not out of ignorance; I’ve offered to help. It’s just tradition and marks the changing of the seasons. It’s a habit, and like most habits it’s comforting. They always ask why my produce is so much better than theirs. I invite them to the gardens to talk because I don’t know how to answer their questions. I never had an interest in growing food until I saw Paul’s video. Permaculture is all I know and my people seem to appreciate it. God, I’ve learned so much here.
I knew I was blessed to have more than we need but never thought of the family blessings until now.
I’m working on a field that I haven’t planted in five years. It’s very acidic and covered in broomsedge, wild rose and blackberries. I’ll work around the blackberries but the rest needs to go. I’ve been hitting it every few weeks with wood ash to bring the PH up but I wanted to try adding humic acid as well.
This is where the stacking functions part of the post comes in. I built a compost pile on top of a small hill. To the right is a peach tree and herb guild. I feel like there will be some fertility working it’s way down to it.
In the middle I’ve installed twelve inches of metal half round (I don’t know what it actually is) to collect some humic acid for the field. From there I will dilute and spread.
On the left is a small ditch. It will be funneling rainwater with compost goodness down to two separate hugelcultures. The one closest to the camera is offset twelve inches to the right. I did this in hopes that any goodness that works it’s way out of the top bed will be caught and not go onto the path. I like to build smallish hugelcultures separated by a couple feet. I like to anchor both ends with perennials.
Coming down the hill towards the camera are several more beds. They contain various herbs, berries and greens. I let dead nettle self seed every year as a free winter cover.
I put together the compost to be passive. I want it to be there until spring of 2022. The hard clay where I put the pile is not a good place to grow anything. I plan to use the compost as a vertical growing space for the next three seasons. When I use the final result the soil underneath will be in great shape to plant as I wish.
I love swales and hugelcultures! Those would definitely be my first step. I love looking a massive permaculture earthworks but they don’t have to be big. Most of mine are six feet long and four foot wide.
Good article Brian. I grow a lot of tomatoes but am not a real fan myself. A few months ago I stuck slices in my dehydrator and my tomato world view changed. A fresh basil leaf in the middle and a touch of salt was all I needed. I feel like they would have kept quite awhile but they didn’t last that long.
Hey Tas, I found my old notes. I put several leaves together and folded them a couple times before placing in the bag. The bag shouldn’t be completely sealed to keep mold at bay. Ideally, place the bag somewhere from 90-125F for five days or so. It may take more time if that temp isn’t achievable. Once it starts to cook it smells like hot urine until the ammonia burns off. Once it starts to smell like a fine tobacco shop take out and dry. Once dry shred, roll and smoke.
I had the same question years ago Nathaniel. I made a coral eight feet wide and eighteen inches deep. I piled all of my shredded leaves in the fall and waited. The next May I made three inch wide holes, stuck sweet potato slips in and filled with compost. The potatoes grew large and healthy while the leaves broke down. By the next spring I had a wonderful new garden spot.
If the back to eden title is historically accurate Adam must’ve had one hell of a chipper! I like using chips in conjunction with grass clippings and shredded leaves. To start some gardens I simply piled them together in fall and planted in spring. That combo attracted so many worms I stopped vermicomposting. Like others, I watched several of his videos. It all looked terrific. Planting straight into chips seemed like a revolution similar to permaculture. Upon closer inspection I realized he was actually planting into well broken down soil-like chips below the fresh stuff. Everyone I know personally gave up on his system pretty quickly. For me, there was a decent amount of good that came out of trying it. Potatoes don’t grow well in clay but do in wood chips! Go figure. I also had an out of the way pile that started growing Elegant Stinkhorn mushrooms. The pile broke down so fast that I started inoculating all fresh wood chips with them. I’m sure many folks had great success with his system so I’m not trying to discourage anyone from trying.