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Permaculture playing cards!?!  RSS feed

 
                                
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada. USDA Zone 5
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Hey all

I was listening to one of Paul's podcasts and he mentioned that it would be fun if there were permaculture playing cards.

Paul was talking about black locust trees and about how some people call certain plants kings or queens of permaculture. He stated that Black Locust trees would probably be the jacks of permaculture.

Anyway I'm an art director and fancy design quite a bit and thought I'd try my hand at designing a suit of permaculture plants, maybe even an entire deck.

To begin I'd love to pose this question to you all:
If you had to rank 13 permaculture plants as all round powerhouse species, what would they be?
By powerhouse species I suppose I mean diversity of applications and production; fruit, wood, accumulation, shade, taproot, etc.

Certainly black locust has been mentioned. As it was Paul's suggestion I think Black Locust should remain as the Jack. I dare say Honey locust may make the list, Mulberry, etc but thought it would be fun to try and come to a consensus on this forum.

I have a suggestion for either the joker or ace:
Mycelium

Pretty good that.

Some may say "Hey, that's not a plant!" and this really may open up a can of worms and a heck of a lot of semantics but all in good fun I think we should try.

I'll try to get something started soon to share and hopefully inspire.

Also if this blows up we may need to rank 52 species.

Thanks

 
Tyler Ludens
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I like it!  Jerusalem Artichokes should probably be in there somewhere; seems like we talk about them a lot! 
 
paul wheaton
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I like the idea of 52.  It should be easy to do 52.

Did you want to draw them all?

Can we mention on the card some info about them?

Mullein!

Dandelion
comfrey
sweet clover
penny cress
chickweed
pigweed
cattail
plantain (not the banana-like thing)
lambs quarters
rhubarb
seaberry
stinging nettle
cottonwood tree
sunchokes
serviceberry


Maybe some cards can have non-plant stuff:

rocket mass heater
rocket stove
wofati
hugelkultur
cast iron
cob
aquaculture
rumford fireplace
solar food dehydrator
double chamber cob oven
12 steps to better bee care
wwoofing
scythe
slug control
polyculture
community
food forest

people and their stuff:
jean pain and compost for heat
mike oehler's structures
geoff lawton's greening the desert
willie smits in borneo


 
Joshua Msika
Posts: 66
Location: Nova Scotia
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sweet chestnuts: great, tall majestic trees that produce a staple food equivalent to corn in nutrition and yield. I've got two in the ground at my parents' place. They might feed me when I'm 50...

Come on Paul, more trees! Trees are awesome!
 
                                
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada. USDA Zone 5
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Aha
Well I see we have a challenge ahead.


I think I'd like to try my hand at drawing them along with computer illustrations and designs. My only concern is making them look consistent and kick ass!


Here's an idea:
Perhaps we categorize by suit.

One suit devoted to plants and animals
One suit to structures
One suit to people
One suit to techniques

Does this sound good?

I like this as I can design an appropriate look to each suit so the whole deck doesn't end up looking like a dog's breakfast.

I agree that some more trees would be good but if there are only 13 open spots, which would they be. Red Alder, the mighty apple, lots to decide.

The chicken or goat may need to make the pile too.

 
                                
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada. USDA Zone 5
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and yes I think some info per item is a good idea.

Also for the sake of being diplomatic if we are going to be ranking people we will only be doing so for their overall contribution to permaculture... Fair?
 
paul wheaton
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I think if you try to mash them into a suit, you are gonna be scraping the barrel on some things, and leaving out stuff in other things. 

I think you should mix them all up.

And how might you show "suicide king" and "one eyed jacks"?
 
                                
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada. USDA Zone 5
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maybe, I sort of thought it would make sense of the deck a little more. A reason for the suits as opposed to an arbitrary designation.

Things will be left out no matter what and bottom of the barrel probably isn't a scenario.
There are plenty of people, dozens of techniques and a whack of objects and structures along with hundreds of potential species to choose from.

Do you know any one-eyed permaculturists?
 
                                
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada. USDA Zone 5
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also maybe one whole suit devoted to holmgren's 12 design principles...
just a thought
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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joshthewhistler wrote:
sweet chestnuts: great, tall majestic trees that produce a staple food equivalent to corn in nutrition and yield.


Yup, first tree that popped into my mind.  Avocados and moringa definitely also on the A-list for me. 

Almost seems you would need a different deck for different climates.
 
paul wheaton
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Matthew Brittain
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I would definately vote dandelion as Ace. The position as highest and lowest valued card seems to perfectly suit the plant that is one of the most useful to sustainable systems and simulantiously most despised by so many people.
I would also suggest that maybe instead of 52 seperate plants, that the suits show the different role the plant has.
Heart for its edible or medicinal role.
Diamond for a valuable harvest we could get from it.
Spade for what it does to strengthen our gardens.
Club for...some...other...thing (maybe a surprising fact / way to encourage it / relatively unknown benefit or harvest).
 
                                
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada. USDA Zone 5
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Moringa!
That's gonna be one of the top ones I feel.

I think if each climate zone gets a deck then kickstarter is a great idea. I see yours was successful Paul, congrats!

As this is a first attempt I think just trying to come to some consensus on the top 52 permaculture things is going to be challenging enough.

I'm still uncertain about whether to categorize by suit, whether to just mix randomly, have the face cards as people or what. My issue with not having the suits mean anything makes the deck feel haphazard.

If the suits did represent something I still like: heart for species, Spade for structures and tools, Diamonds for techniques, and clubs for people.

Alternately suits could represent 4 main climates zones. That way there are a few people as face cards who have done something notable in that zone and then top ten applicable things.

so it feels like the deck could live in a few different ways:

1) totally random (not really on board with this one)
2) top 52 ranked from Ace of spades to 2 of clubs
3) suits representing 4 categories, be it climate zones or classification of things
4) numbers for some things and face cards for others, maybe suit plays a role, maybe not

I'll put some more thought into this but would love any input.

Currently I'm just working on the card back design and front face template.

Although the deck needs to be figured out I've started compiling some lists.

For a people list I've got some of the obvious ones here:

Bill mollison
David holmgren
Robert Hart
sepp holzer
P.A. Yeomans
Masanobu Fukuoka
ruth stout
Esther Deans
Stuart Brand
George Lai Chan
Rudolph Steiner
Mike Oehler
Franklin Hiram King
Joseph Russell


 
                                
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada. USDA Zone 5
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You know what Mathew I think your post made me remember the original focus of the deck. I think having top rated plant/fungal/animal species just feels better to me.

Trying to fit in all sorts of things into one deck makes it seem overloaded.

I would rather not force fit.

If anything it makes it obvious what any follow up decks may look like and be about.

Also super idea about focusing on uses for suits. Initially I thought that by virtue of each of the top rated plants being a top permaculture plant, each species will be repeated in each of the suits. And I though that felt silly.

But on second thought I think that sounds great.
 
                                
Posts: 14
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada. USDA Zone 5
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Matthew mentioned 4 possible categories.
I maybe put a twist on a couple of them but how do these sound?

edible/nutritional/medicinal
harvest yeild
Altruism - how the species helps its environment
Misc. - wood for structures, make beer out of it, good toilet paper, etc

Also no reason to repeat species but it would be fun if a few of the really top tier species had a place in at least a few of the other suits simultaneously.
 
                                
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I think a card set like ccg's (collectable card games) like "magic the gathering" would be more suitable.

that way not only plants but animals and even prominent people could be added, many levels of powers ect.
so the number of cards to the set could be endless.

actually speaking of the black locus, in magic cards they have the black lotus card, it's an ultra rare card that gives great power in game play, this card sells for $2500 on it's own, very powerful card indeed.

 
Lolly Knowles
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My camping area is in a clearing spotlighted by cottonwood trees.  The cottonwoods are much larger than the 25 year old black walnuts and white pines, so I'm supposing that they were part of the old farmstead back when it was pasture land or such.

When the breeze rattles through the cottonwoods it can sound like the patter of rain.  The shade is a welcome respite from noonday sun.  There is a constant source of small twigs to use for kindling.

Perhaps it's simply that my cottonwoods are a marker at my heart home.
 
Alison Thomas
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What an interesting idea - and so much activity just overnight!!

I'm wondering how the cards would be played. Gourd all mighty suggested Collectables, but was it envisioned that they'd be used like standard playing cards to play 'rummy' or 'whist' or something. Or maybe like a Top Trumps sort of thing then it would be possible to have rankings in different categories for each (also a kind of teaching tool in a "Gosh I didn't know that" kind of way).
 
Charles Kelm
Posts: 171
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Or, what if someone made a board game called Guild! The object of the game was to build the perfect guild which was completely self sustaining.  Might be a little tough to find people to play it with once you bought it, but it sounds like fun to me.
 
Jeffrey Hodgins
Posts: 166
Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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I think it would have to be like one of thous Japanese card games with 10000 cards all with special powers.
 
paul wheaton
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Jahnavi Veronica
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Location: Vancouver, WA
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Charles Kelm wrote:
Permaholic wrote:

Lots of great plants there.  I had one questions about cottonwood trees though: besides their ability to grow in boggy conditions, and act as water pumps (and their being a good host for mushroom spawn, when cut down), what is the benefit to having cottonwoods on my property?  I've always thought that I could always think of much more useful trees to take that spot on my land.  What say you?


Cottonwood also has medicinal uses. their highly resinous, sweet, almost wintergreen-y smelling buds can be used to infuse oils. the infused oil can be used straight or made into a healing salve which is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, etc. etc. and is very good for minor cuts and scrapes... preventing infection. Also good for achey body parts, as it has pain-killing properties.

It smells amazing and works wonders
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22493
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I think this idea is an excellent idea.

And I suspect that this idea is currently gathering dust.

I have recently visited with a collection of people that could make this a reality, so I'm thinking that if the other parties are letting it go, then I'm going to pick it up and hand it off to these other people so that it will become real.

So, to the OP: if, in 48 hours you stand up and say you're on it, then I'll stay out of the way. Otherwise, I'm gonna figure it is okay for me to take steps to make it happen.



 
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