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How much does a permaculture designer charge and where could I find one?

 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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How much would this cost, and where do I find someone?
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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If you want somebody to come in and design/build a system for you, it could get expensive.

Perhaps find a local group, and see if you can find somebody who will just come over and 'take a look'.
Such a person would give you a ton of ideas.

There is a website that can help find local groups. Just click on a state.

http://permaculture.meetup.com/cities/us/
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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maybe you could be more specific of what you are looking for?
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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I am an organizer for our local sustainable skills meetup group, I do wish there was someone there who could help me. I give more advice there than I get. I have a good friend who is a professor at the local university, but he is so busy with his work and his own land that I haven't gotten much help from him. Having been a busy person myself, I avoid bugging busy people. I have gotten in touch with one of his students who has a Permaculture Design Certificate, but he also is quite busy. The thing of it is, these people and others like them have worked hard for their knowledge and I hesitate to demand that they give me their time and input for free. I have asked once, then twice seasons later, and then I dropped it.

I have read extensively on Permaculture, biodynamics, natural farming etc. and I believe wholeheartedly that it is the way to go. In practice however, there are some things that continue to stump me.

I have about 3 acres, some field, some orchard, a tiny bit of woods. It is mostly flat-ish and there is good rainfall and decent soil.

The biggest obstacles I face are aggressive invasive allelopathic weeds and shortage of money. In the past our farm has been the home to a successful CSA program which used conventional organic practices, but running it takes more time than I have with twin babies, so the money coming in is minimal. Wothout the income, I have to figure out how much capital to put into fencing, animals, seeds, trees, mulch and other inputs. Some things can be found for free, and I do try.

I have asked a few questions on these forums and have gotten some good advice, but to understand what I have and what I am facing, it seems like being here is the best way.

There are a lot of people with PDCs, how many places are there that could afford "a lot" of money to both pay a designer and put systems into place. Even sepp holzer advocates using an excavator to set up a system. THis stuff costs money. All the answers to my weed issues involve either a lot of outside inputs or more work than I can do by myself. One of the flaws in the theories, it seems to me, is that initial start up labor and costs seem to be passed off too easily.

One thing I am doing is holding 3 week long workshops this summer on plant identification/edible and useful plants/Permaculture and natural farming in practice. I will be working with some wwoofers and others t implement some ideas, but really I can't afford to keep even wwoofers all summer. I do still have some room for attendees if anone is interested.

I wonder if there is someone out there who wants practical experience putting a PDA into action, who would like to solve real world problems by applying the theories. I could afford something, even if it is just room and board and a beach/hiking vacation. We have location in spades for that.

I can give more specifics about what I need if you have specific questions.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9420
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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3 acres is probably more than one person can manage, in my opinion. I'm also in the position of having too much land to manage and not much money, so I have to reduce my goals to fit my abilities and budget. Is there a way you might concentrate your efforts on a smaller area such as around the house? I've been posting maps of my place here and at the PRI messageboard and getting some helpful design advice. You might try posting a map of existing features and see if folks here can help with your plan.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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What do you do with the land you can't manage? I guess what I am looking for is a management plan to improve the land I can't get to while I am getting to the point where I can. I can't plant an entire forest garden, but I want to improve the soil and diversity in the field and not let the aggressive weeds take everything over. I have some ideas, some things work, some things don't. The forums are good for the details, it seems, but I am having trouble seeing the whole thing in a time-and-money priorities design sort of way. Zone 0 is good. Zone 1 is good. Beyond that, I need guidnace. Each detail is so connected to all the others that I feel like every time I want to ask a question I need to tell a long story.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9420
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Presently I'm mostly leaving the bulk of the land to itself. Every year we try to do a little improvement project such as put in some fencing, clear some brush, or have a pond dug. Very slow going. We're fortunate to not have any significant weed issues, though the native juniper acts like a weed, taking over more ground each year. We're not able to keep up with it, but then neither are most people around here unless they have $$.....

I empathize with the difficulty of asking questions. Maybe if you had a map or plan you could post, that might help because folks could see the relationship of the various features.

 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Without knowing where you are (climate?), and what equipment you have available, it is impossible to give precise suggestions.

Perhaps, for the areas you cannot get to yet, it might be a good idea to mow/brush-hog it before your weeds go to seed again.
Then broadcast a cover crop mixture. A common mixture is a clover + buckwheat. With that combo, you will help smother the weeds, add nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and, potash (K) and a lot of organic matter to incorporate into your soil. That combo will also attract many beneficial insects, including honey bees to your land.

While you are waiting for time and money to 'get right', you will be building soil...GOOD soil.
Even if you need to wait a couple of years, keeping the fallow lands covered with cover crops will benefit you and the land.

There is an old saying: Clover in the field is better than money in the bank.



 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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Ah John Polk, you put my mind at ease. I have been broadcasting clover for years and have a nice crop of red and white and a bit of yellow as well. I also have some areas where hairy vetch is thriving. All is not lost.

I have been trying to spend time carefully observing the field and what is happening where. I will try to come up with pictures/ maps and specific questions.

Our antique Ford tractor with mowing attachment is on the fritz again, so we borrow a big DR about twice a summer. The little push mower doesn't cut it in the field(haha, no pun intended) , too bumpy. I do use a hand swung weed whacker (I don't know the word for it, it isn't a scythe, I bought it at a yard sale. My 22 month old son who is into backhoes calls it my whack hoe) which I use for chop and drop when I can.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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That hairy vetch will also serve you well. It will help feed nitrogen into the soil.
Besides, those pretty blue flowers will warm your heart on a spring morning.

 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 92
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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Hi I too have too much land, fencing that is terrible etc etc.. I started at zone one next to the house, veggies and chickens. And I slash the rest, re seed and use it as a food source for bees. I am building up the soil. I have asked around and did a deal with a bee keeper, and they use my land. In return I bottle and label the honey. We share the profits. I could do beekeeping myself. But I would rather watch an expert. I'm in a wheelchair so I can't physically do much. This money, small as it is goes towards fencing with the help of woofers. The next step is goats to remove the gorse. They will be in a very strong large electric fenced area that can be moved. It can take up to 7 years to remove Gorse as it reseeds. After each area is cleared that will be hay. Which can be sold. I will have someone else cut it for me and share the profits.. Again. But I need to get the land right first.. At the same time I am taking free cuttings of local trees and shrubs, I find local parks great for this 😄and have made a mini tree nursery, these plants are the beginnings of my permaculture food forest edging my boundaries and fences.I hope this gives you ideas.. It is Small steps. But having a plan really helped me,
 
I think I'll just lie down here for a second. And ponder this tiny ad:
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http://richsoil.com/pdc
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