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inspiring Bill Mollison Permaculture Pamphlet

 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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I am reading Bill Mollisons Pamphlet IX, Permaculture Techniques for THE THIRD TIME.

It takes me a while to ‘get it’ sometimes. Now I am really getting it. Starting when I get home tomorrow I will immediately start implementing every single thing that is on the first four pages.

I have gone through and highlighted areas that I think are important points; I will upload this document later. These pamphlets are all available for sharing and reproduction is encouraged.

I am just so excited about it because I have read this stuff before and the light didn’t really come on until now. So starting at daylight it will be sleeves rolled up and get moving!
 
William James
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I checked that out too.
I was thinking of copy/pasting into a file the stuff I thought was really important.

Maybe we could use this thread as for highlighting, because one person's important things might be different from someone else's, plus people could add ideas to the original text or add some plants or techniques here and there that do the same things.
best,
W
 
Fred Morgan
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I am very interested in seeing your highlights. The light really turned on for me when I was looking at a problem and thought "what would nature do?". For a short time, I had an agronomist working for me and you wouldn't believe how often I didn't do what he wanted. The reason is, that sure, it would give me quick results, but then I was going to be addicted to chemicals. (organic, inorganic, it still is an addiction).

Unless it is a waste I produce, I don't want it - or that I can trade for.

When I am looking at building roads, it is water that I consider first, i.e. what will happen during storms. When I am planting forest, it is what is the soil like, what is around it, what is the slope, what is the altitude, etc.

All this is to say is that nature ALWAYS bats last (i.e. she has the last say). Better learn to work with her.
 
Brenda Groth
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maybe you could copy and paste links on this thread to lead people to the articles you are discussing.
 
William James
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William James
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I'm getting all excited about the "Keeping the Annuals Perennial" section. I have a base of a celery now in a glass, growing roots and shoots. Thinking of cloching it with a biggish plastic bottle over winter.

I knew about carrots tops (although I had heard differently, I now have a few successfully planted).

I thought leeks would work but never thought of buying some from the organic food shop. That's now on my list of things to do.
(Side note, perennial Babington's Leek: http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+ampeloprasum+babingtonii )

This is of major importance for me because I'm spending far too much on everything agricultural as is.

Mollison talks about a perennial squash, but I don't know what that is. I have excess of squash seeds so not too worried about that.

I'm also eating head lettuce from the sides (plucking off leaves). I want them to go to seed if they can.

William
 
John Polk
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The entire series of (15) pamphlets are available HERE.

It downloads as a 6,700 kb PDF. (155 pages)

 
C Quint
Posts: 19
Location: Northeast Tennessee
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I can see why it took three times reading this for the light to come on for you! I have only made it to page four and I am still stuck on the issue of not composting. I have heard people mentioning this and read some of the threads on here, but I still don't know about mulching gardens with fresh animal manure. He mentions putting hay in the chicken pen for them to eat the seeds, and then mulching with it. Isn't that going to burn the plants? I would love to just toss my kitchen scraps onto my plants, but my entire garden is, by necessity, in our front yard. My neighbors (and husband) are rather tolerant of my living mulch of "weeds", but I am not so certain they would appreciate banana peels and rotten fruit strewn about. Also, when using waste as mulch, it seems more difficult to keep track of the carbon:nitrogen ratio. I guess I need to think about this more.
 
William James
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Hi Carrie,
Remember that these are just suggestions, not laws that we have to follow to make our systems better. Every design has limits, and you have to be creative about working around stuff the best you can, not following dogmatically the commandments of Bill Mollison.

For instance, although toby hemenway says all the things that are being reported here, he also realizes that in certain situations (your urban situation specifically), even if composting is not the greatest solution, it is an acceptable solution given the constraints. Your neighbors and family, for example. You can balance the desire to have a beautiful traditionally landscaped yard with the desire to have an awesome, productive system.

Personally I compost on one urban site and cover crop on another, non-urban site.

That being said, we should be looking for ways to make urban permacultural systems more "beautiful", even within this society's eye. Something can be natural and productive AND visually appealing at the same time. You just need the right plants, or arrange "weed-looking plants" in a better, more socially acceptable way.

Best,
William
 
Allan Babb
Posts: 63
Location: Greater New Orleans, LA, USA
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William James wrote:Hi Carrie,
Remember that these are just suggestions, not laws that we have to follow to make our systems better. Every design has limits, and you have to be creative about working around stuff the best you can, not following dogmatically the commandments of Bill Mollison.

For instance, although Toby Hemenway says all the things that are being reported here, he also realizes that in certain situations (your urban situation specifically), even if composting is not the greatest solution, it is an acceptable solution given the constraints. Your neighbors and family, for example. You can balance the desire to have a beautiful traditionally landscaped yard with the desire to have an awesome, productive system.

Personally I compost on one urban site and cover crop on another, non-urban site.

That being said, we should be looking for ways to make urban permacultural systems more "beautiful", even within this society's eye. Something can be natural and productive AND visually appealing at the same time. You just need the right plants, or arrange "weed-looking plants" in a better, more socially acceptable way.

Best,
William


+1, permaculture has to be stripped down to some essentials for urban/suburban settings. While sheet mulching is okay in a community garden setting, it really isn't okay for your front yard(not that I'm against it personally, but you do have to worry about what your neighbors think sometimes..they live there too). Most of my vegetables are in a square foot garden. The soil(if you can call it that) would have taken me years(or tons of inputs) to get ready for any kind of food production. Even though I have been working on this soil, and will probably let the SFG garden get "absorbed" over time, I threw out a few corn seeds for a test. The corn in native "soil" with some amendment is 25-33% of the size of the corn in the SFG beds. The corn in native soil is 3 weeks behind the SFG corn in silking and tasseling.

William James wrote:

I knew about carrots tops (although I had heard differently, I now have a few successfully planted).

William


I had to try this myself. I munched on a carrot(danvers 126) one morning and planted the top with the leaves still attached. There was leaf dieback(obviously), but it seems to be doing fine even in 90 degree weather.
 
William James
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Allan Babb wrote:
I had to try this myself. I munched on a carrot(danvers 126) one morning and planted the top with the leaves still attached. There was leaf dieback(obviously), but it seems to be doing fine even in 90 degree weather.


I tried it too. I made a huge mistake of putting it at the same time as I covered with compost. The carrot tops got eaten, leaves and all.

I've also found it's a little harder if you have 0 leaves. Best to start with carrots with leaves probably. One reason it's a little more difficult is that soil organisms see that as food. I tried to mediate that by planting in potting soil (fewer soil enemies to worry about). It had a somewhat better result.

But a lot of the carrot tops died.
Unthwarted, I'm now trying to get the leaves to grow with the tops in water and planting them secondly. I think the limiting factor is green top growth and the amount of soil activity at the time of planting.

I do have about 4 or 5 carrot-tops growing happily in the garden, however. We'll see if they get big.
William
 
C Quint
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Location: Northeast Tennessee
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William,

Thanks for the reminder! Sometimes I get so caught up on the "best" way to do things that I forget some of my goals. One of my goals is to have our yard be a showcase to people so that they will be more tempted to make better use of their lawns than just growing grass. I want so badly to let the dandelions and plantain do their jobs as they keep creeping in on the baby fruit trees I have yet to plant guilds for, but I would appeal to my husband and neighbors more if I simply planted the guild, which has done a decent job of keeping out dandelions and purslane around another apple tree. I should just be very thankful that my husband tolerates all of the "weeds" in our lawn, abides by my rules against herbicides and synthetic fertilizers, and doesn't complain much about mowing around all of the planting beds I have been slowly expanding to take over our lawn! So far, I am probably very lucky that my neighbors, many of whom grow their own veggies in their front yards, have complimented our yard. Nor does anyone seem to be bothered when I plant huge areas of cover crops or use clover as a living mulch. One neighbor is a Master Gardener who is very involved in the program and mentioned that our veggie garden (a bunch of square foot gardens surrounded by a fence bordered with a tiny pond, toad habitats, and a bunch of insectary and edible perennials) would be a good demonstration garden for people who are trying to garden in small areas. When we actually complete it (right now the perennial border is only partly complete and many of the plants are immature), maybe it will serve to inspire other people in our area to change the landscape.

I have to remind myself that my husband and I made a conscious decision not to move to acreage for farming and instead make the best use of the suburban/semirural property that we do have (and can afford).

Carrie

 
Alex Ames
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I have had success with a number of the suggestions in this pamphlet. I am attaching a photo
made today of my 3 year old pepper plant. I think Bill is talking about growing them and then
potting them up and pruning them back to go inside for winter. I do that too but I re-plant them
in the garden. I have a window in my garage and that is where they stay in a wheel barrow so
I can roll them out on mild sunny days. We have been picking peppers for a week and my new
seedlings just are struggling to survive.

His ideas on parsley I use to some extent by shaking out seed heads where I want it. Including
flower beds. Same with cilantro and basil.

I have the small herb spiral which is closer to the door than my kitchen garden. Deer problems
limit some of what I can do along paths at this point.
IMG_1649.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_1649.JPG]
 
William James
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--SIDENOTE--

I'll go out and take a pic, but I think my carrot top is bolting. The stem is about 50 cm high.

Technically, when you cut a carrot top, it has finished it's first year of the 2-year process. It wants to go to seed. Do you just keep it from going to seed by cutting the stem back? Does that force it to produce root matter?

William
 
Alex Ames
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C Quint wrote:I can see why it took three times reading this for the light to come on for you! I have only made it to page four and I am still stuck on the issue of not composting. I have heard people mentioning this and read some of the threads on here, but I still don't know about mulching gardens with fresh animal manure. He mentions putting hay in the chicken pen for them to eat the seeds, and then mulching with it. Isn't that going to burn the plants? I would love to just toss my kitchen scraps onto my plants, but my entire garden is, by necessity, in our front yard. My neighbors (and husband) are rather tolerant of my living mulch of "weeds", but I am not so certain they would appreciate banana peels and rotten fruit strewn about. Also, when using waste as mulch, it seems more difficult to keep track of the carbon:nitrogen ratio. I guess I need to think about this more.



Mollison's protege geoff lawton is a big composter and brewer of manure tea. I think Mollison is more in tune with designing plans that can
be broken up into sustainable work loads. He is more like Fukuoka in his approach as he seems to look for things he can "not do" and still get the
desired outcome.

Kitchen scraps can be hidden from view by pulling back the mulch and then putting it over the scraps. They do not need to be noticeable. I have
been using this practice with success.
 
C Quint
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Location: Northeast Tennessee
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Alex Ames wrote:
C Quint wrote:Kitchen scraps can be hidden from view by pulling back the mulch and then putting it over the scraps. They do not need to be noticeable. I have
been using this practice with success.


If I were to do this, I am afraid I would not balance the carbon:nitrogen ratio well when adding kitchen scraps. Do you add some stored leaves or something to balance things, or are kitchen scraps alone fine? Thanks!
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Alex, I believe that is exactly what Mollison was talking about by just putting kitchen scraps here and there under mulch. Then he goes on to say that once the worm population is well established they very quickly turn the scraps into worm castings so you would have worm manure spread about all over the garden as they clean up the kitchen scraps.
 
Allan Babb
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William James wrote:--SIDENOTE--

I'll go out and take a pic, but I think my carrot top is bolting. The stem is about 50 cm high.

Technically, when you cut a carrot top, it has finished it's first year of the 2-year process. It wants to go to seed. Do you just keep it from going to seed by cutting the stem back? Does that force it to produce root matter?

William


My carrot top ended up just rotting in the ground after growing about 4" more root(which is not a bad thing), it didn't attempt to go to seed. I replanted a danvers 126 for the record, which is heat tolerant and grows well even in poor soils.
 
Alex Ames
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C Quint wrote:
Alex Ames wrote:
C Quint wrote:Kitchen scraps can be hidden from view by pulling back the mulch and then putting it over the scraps. They do not need to be noticeable. I have
been using this practice with success.


If I were to do this, I am afraid I would not balance the carbon:nitrogen ratio well when adding kitchen scraps. Do you add some stored leaves or something to balance things, or are kitchen scraps alone fine? Thanks!


I have just been putting vegetable and fruit scraps under the mulch. This is one of the areas where I am doing what
Bill Mollison says and not worrying about it. Worm activity seems to increase and when I see them it seems to me to
be doing alright. You can't be going too far wrong when your worm populations are on the increase. You can blindly trust
them even if you are reluctant to blindly trust Mollison. Mollison's background is from an entirely different climate than
what most of us have in the U.S. but he has worked all over the world. The great bulk of what he says does work.

In the youtube video "A couple of rough types" he made with Geoff Lawton, Lawton describes his early reluctance to adopt
fully Mollison's ideas. He thought of them as being too radical and later wished he had bought in earlier.
 
C Quint
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Thanks! I'll give it a try.
 
wayne stephen
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I have been reading this essay and it speaks to me . In trying to start up this farm and learn permaculture at the same time , I have been overwhelmed by the fight against unwantable grass and destructive chickens etc. What I am recieving from this pamphlet is not the details but the message that easy is better . Work with every square foot and find a way to plug in something that continues on. One of my favorite pieces of writing ever is William S. Burroughs " The discipline of DE { Do Easy }". Pamphlet IX reads like Burroughs got off his junkie ass and turned to permaculture for awhile. Read them both and see what I mean .
 
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