• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Permaculture Planning for adults and children  RSS feed

 
Elia Charalambides
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
6
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My name is Elia,

I have been studying and experimenting in Permaculture for about a year now. So I decided to get my hands dirty but without any land to use(I live in a studio apartment in NYC) I asked my parents if I could remodel their backyard. I had drawn many ideas and presented them to my parents but was left unsatisfied by their level of involvement. They seemed a little too disinterested considering I was totally remodeling their back yard. I knew they had specific desires for plants and designs but the sketches I made, no matter how detailed, where missing something.

I realized it was their actual physical involvement.

So as a graphic designer I decided to start making a set of circular planning cards. These cards could be used to dynamically arrange landscape designs. On one side would be an illustration of a plant, structure or animal(s) while on the other would be a little information. I also wanted to make it approachable and accessible for children to use. I wanted designing a permaculture landscape to be a fun game for kids too.

Let me know what you think. You can see more images and details of the design kit on my website http://legendofthegreek.com/permaculture-planning-pack/
I'd love to get some feedback, comments, critiques from the permaculture community so I can further refine the kit.

Thanks


 
Aschwin Wesselius
Posts: 7
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think it looks great and I also think it is very usable. Do you have multiple cards per plant so you can have them in several places?

I bet if you continue to extend these sets, they become a very great asset in developing gardens in general and in permaculture in particular. You should produce them and sell them. Honest.

Aschwin
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
artistically they are beautiful, and I'm sure that they would be good teaching tools for children
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9696
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
176
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like them very much!

 
Ben Stallings
Posts: 159
Location: Emporia, KS
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I posted on one of your pages, Elia -- I think these are a great tool not only for teaching but for designing, and I'd love to help you test them at a multigenerational camp I'll be attending in August. Let me (us) know how to get a set!
 
Kylie Harper
Posts: 28
Location: Zone 6, Kentucky, high water table
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think it's wonderful!! It shows a wide variety, too. It's like an interactive encyclopedia because of the information on the back. And you can quickly replace cards as fast as you can think of a new idea.

You're good, Elia!
 
Elia Charalambides
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow, thanks everyone! I'd really like to make these the best tool they can be. As I just recently had a daughter I would love it if when she gets older I could expose her to Permaculture in a fun and engaging way and I think that has become my new driving force to expand these cards.

Here is a list of the cards I've made so far:
1.5 Inch Cards
Bush Cherries
Compost(Small)
Currants
Elderberry
Gooseberry
Goumi
Hawthorne
Hazelnut
Herb Spiral
honey bees
Mushroom Farm
Raspberries
Sea Buckthorn
Vitex Agnus-Castus
Rose
Wildflower Field(Small)


3 Inch Cards
Almond
Apple
Apricot
Balsam Fir
Bamboo
Cherry
chicken run
Dogwood(Cornus Kousa)
Forest Garden
Greenhouse
Grain Field
Stone Pine
Mimosa
Mulberry
PawPaw
Peach
Pear
Persimmon
Plum
Pond
raised bed Vegetable Garden
Rowan
Wildflower Field
Willow

5 Inch Cards:
Chestnut
Oak
Walnut

The scale is roughly 1 inch = 10 feet.
The sizes are rough approximations of climax canopy sizes for trees/bushes and structures. The back of the cards of some plants have multiple canopy sizes to illustrate dwarf, semi dwarf and seedling.

I also have preliminary sketches done for:
Dovecote
Geese
Ducks
Chickens
Goats
Pigs
Cow
Sheep
Llamas
Rabbit Hutch
Horse
Donkey
but they need coloring and its a slow process (always hard to find the time!).

Let me know what other plants, structures or animals I should add. The set is mainly for the temperate zones but really any suggestions would be very welcome as I would love to expand it into all climatic regions in the future.

Thanks,
Elia
 
Varina Lakewood
Posts: 116
Location: Colorado
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fantastic.
With these, maybe it would be easier to show my mother things I'm visualizing, was my first thought. So keep up the good work.
You've come up with a great tool for kids and adults alike.

You might include animals that are commonly around people on a non-permaculture basis, too. Such as cats and dogs.
Smaller animals: Ants, Frogs, Bees, Wasps, Earthworms, Crickets, Grasshoppers, Preying Mantis, Ladybirds, Lacewings, Rabbits
Wild animals: Deer, Bear, Foxes, Birds, Raccoons, Squirrels, Chipmunks (All of which, except deer and bear, I've seen in my middle of the city garden inside a 6ft fence, by the way!)

Somewhat random plant suggestions:
Golden Alyssum, Sweet William, Candytuft, Bachelor's Button, Baby's Breath, Columbine, Lupine, Hyacinth, Orchids (terrestial, epiphytes)
Perennial poppies, Annual poppies
Horseradish, Wasabi, Mustard
Blackberries, Thimbleberries, Strawberries
Garlic, Onion, Leek, Shallots, Perennial bunching onions, Walking onions, Potato onions, Nodding onions (or wild onion types), Chives
Ash, Aspen, Birch, Ponderosa Pine, Blue Spruce, Pinon (said Pin-yone) Pine, Cottonwood, Maple, Redwood (normal, sequoia, dawn), Dogwood
Wine Grape, Table Grape (seeded), Table Grape (seedless)
Mint, Thyme, Oregano, Sorrel, Cress, Tarragon, Savory, Rosemary, Cumin, Dill, Pepper, Peppercorn,Lemonbalm, Valerian
Dandelion, Purslane, Plantain, Lambsquarter, Pigweed, Amaranth, Shepherd's Purse
Burdock, Mullien, Comfrey, Thistles
Butternut, Pecan
Citrus (lemon, lime, quince, grapefruit, tangerine), Avocado, Olive, Fig, Asian Pear
Tart Cherries, Bitter cherry
Kiwi, Serviceberry, Blueberry, Cranberry, Kinnickinnick, Mountain Ash, Jujube
Honeysuckle, Carnation, Wisteria, Perennial Sweetpeas, Verbena, Periwinkle, Geranium (flowering, scented)
Peony (herbacious, tree), Daylily, Tigerlily, Turk's Cap, other lilies, Lotus, Holly
Potato, Masha, Sweetpotato, Jerusalem Artichoke, Asparagus, Artichoke

Swale, Sunken bed, Hugulkulture-bed, Raised bed, Slope, Prevailing wind/sun direction

Have you thought of adding a Noxious Weeds section?
Maybe say what sort of conditions they become potentially noxious in, or how to deal with them if they exist already?
Bindweed, Quackgrass, Johnsongrass, Japanese Knotweed, Kudzu, Lotus, Pampas Grass, Gorse, Loosestrife

<laugh> Okay, so plants are an interest, and I've been studying up on permaculture for the last week, since becoming curious about the term.
I'll stop now.

Varina
 
Aschwin Wesselius
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Since you already made the effort to visualize the concept of permaculture and it's 'building blocks', you could take it one step further.

Because each plant, tree, animal and other object/element belongs to one or more category, it's maybe useful to add little colored dots on the cards.

With a good chart of the colors, it's easier to spot clusters of the same category or to make visable which category is missing in a certain area.

Knowing which plant, tree, animal or object/element belongs to which categor(y/ies) takes a steep learning curve. While using colored dots can make it fun to know which color belongs to which category. This way picking up the knowledge about the divisions is much easier and quicker.

Especially children like colors, numbers and other sorting methods to learn and play with.

Aschwin
 
Elia Charalambides
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Varina,

Thanks for the comments and suggestions.
You might include animals that are commonly around people on a non-permaculture basis, too. Such as cats and dogs.
Smaller animals: Ants, Frogs, Bees, Wasps, Earthworms, Crickets, Grasshoppers, Preying Mantis, Ladybirds, Lacewings, Rabbits
Wild animals: Deer, Bear, Foxes, Birds, Raccoons, Squirrels, Chipmunks (All of which, except deer and bear, I've seen in my middle of the city garden inside a 6ft fence, by the way!)

This is something I have been wrestling with and trying to incorporate somehow. I believe all animals both wild and domestic are intrinsically part of a Permacultural system if you take into account all zones.
I would love to somehow include the smaller creatures in some sort of illustrative way but here's my issue: while they would be fun, especially for kids, I don't see how, by themselves, they are representative enough of a concept or system to be a gooding teaching aid. So take earthworms for example. They are an intrinsic part of a healthy soil system but on their own they feel too separated. Why make a card of ONLY earthworms ? or ONLY Wasps? or ONLY Frogs? etc. All these creatures I see as an inter-related web representing a healthy result of good permaculture design. In short, I see them as a result and not an input to the system.
What do you think?

As for the larger wild animals on the other hand I think they could be a great addition! I didn't even consider it before but now I'm picturing all sorts of ways they could be used. Say perhaps you want to indicate where the Deer usually enter the property from... or a place you know where foxes have a den etc. As these are elements that could really effect how you design a landscape and need to be taken into account I think I should definitely make cards of the large animals.

Swale, Sunken bed, Hugulkulture-bed, Raised bed, Slope, Prevailing wind/sun direction

As for swales I have been trying to think of the best way to include them but they are something that can be really any shape and size you want. So in the end I figured that the designer should just take out a large piece of paper and draw the basic boundaries of the property and then draw the swales by hand, and just place the cards on top.
The wind and sun directions though are a great idea I'll add those to the pipeline as well. Thanks!
 
Elia Charalambides
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Aschwin,

Any way that I could make the designs more accessible for kids, I'd love to work on. What do you mean exactly by:
Because each plant, tree, animal and other object/element belongs to one or more category, it's maybe useful to add little colored dots on the cards.

What "categories" do you mean? Like fodder plants? Nitrogen Fixers? Edible plants etc? Or something else entirely?

With a good chart of the colors, it's easier to spot clusters of the same category or to make visable which category is missing in a certain area.

I am working on a legend for all the symbols on the backs of the cards and I'd like to make them as information rich as possible. What do you mean by "categories"?


Thanks again for all the input and comments!
-Elia
 
C Quint
Posts: 19
Location: Northeast Tennessee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
These are wonderful! My daughter, age six, would play with these for hours and hours. She is always finding pictures of homesteads and pretending with them for lengths of time. She's been doing that since she was three or four, so I would guess your daughter will eventually appreciate these. I hope you start selling these when you are done!
 
Aschwin Wesselius
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Elia,

I'm sorry, I didn't see those symbols yet. That's exactly what I thought of. Symbols, colors, numbers are way more readable than text if you have to sort things out in your head.

I'm new to permaculture myself, so 'categories', 'groups', 'divisions', 'kinds' anyway how people name it to distinct one from another. I've no idea how that's called in permaculture.

These symbols are very clear to me.

Aschwin
 
Susan Noyes
Posts: 50
Location: Dallas TX
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

With a good chart of the colors, it's easier to spot clusters of the same category or to make visable which category is missing in a certain area.


Guilds!
The drawing/painting/design is beautiful, Elia; a perfect on-site income for a permaculture artist/mother!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9696
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
176
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Elia Charalambides wrote:So in the end I figured that the designer should just take out a large piece of paper and draw the basic boundaries of the property and then draw the swales by hand, and just place the cards on top.
The wind and sun directions though are a great idea I'll add those to the pipeline as well. Thanks!


I really like this.

 
Janet Dowell
Posts: 32
Location: Kennewick, WA
10
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I so want these....please do announce if/when they are available for purchase.

You might even think about different versions - a 'home use' version, that is perhaps paper-based only (more affordable, much lower usage) and a 'professional' one (very sturdy, designed for many, many uses, I'm assuming it would be more expensive). Just a thought.
 
Elia Charalambides
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I thought it would be fun to show a bit of my process.

First I draw the card by hand with good ol' pencil on paper:


Then I scan it into the computer and color it in Photoshop. Viola instant Apples!
 
Andru Vallance
Posts: 27
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Elia,
What a wonderful project! Your artwork is beautiful. I was referred here from a comment to a thread I started about the new permaculture-oriented plants wiki I just helped launch: Practical Plants. We were faced with the iconography challenge recently too and came up with some similar symbology to you (attached) - yours is much cuter, though! Perhaps our wiki can be of some assistance? There's still an awful lot to be done and cleaned up, but who knows
ui-sprite.png
[Thumbnail for ui-sprite.png]
 
Kristine Walker
Posts: 32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i think these along with some sort of instruction/guidance would really help a newbie like me get started easier, especially with instructions on layering plants and things that should be added like a good nitrogen fixer, pest deterants, ect. good idea!
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3725
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
86
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The trick is really to show the connections.

The apple tree for example. You need to show it's relationship to the other elements by some connector or maybe little pictures of that get put around the disc. Little pictures of people, pigs, chickens....

Then of course you need to show what the apple tree needs. Protection from pigs, chickens. Water. Sunlight.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
k, havent finished reading through the thread yet but....
i LOVE it!
i too ma having trouble getting the current property owner of the land im working on to get too involved or enthusiastic and honestly they'd probably be reluctant to sit down for too long and o this with me either but the thing is that i plant to make a career of travelling and creating permaculture landscapes for market and personal food production, being that i have two future clients already and plan to pick up many more along the way, so this coupled with a drawn up map of their current property makes for a WONDERFUL tool!! absolutely amazing idea!

ok, now i have finished it and i must say i am extremely impressed with the whole idea, and would also be interested in buying a set when or if they are available, i would go for a professional set that can handle quite a lot of use
i will return if i have any ideas for you or anything, do you have a list of all the components in the "deck" as of right now?

i suppose each deck may have to be somewhat formulated for different agricultural zones
what usda zone are you designing your for?
 
Elia Charalambides
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the comments everyone.

Andru,

I love the sprite with all the graphics. Your site looks like a fantastic database and invaluable to the permaculture community as a whole.
By trade I am a UI/UX Designer Developer and as I have been creating these permaculture design cards I kept thinking about how useful it would be to somehow create the same on a computer. One could not replace the other but they would be sort of a complement to each other. Some sort of web app. Something that would be very versatile, kind of a cross between a landscape design tool and a permaculture simulation game.
Databases like your site, pfaf and http://www.apiosinstitute.org/ all seem to strive for a very similar goal though the UI/UX designer in me can't help but think there needs to be a very accessible way to reach this vast depth of knowledge that I'm sure will only increase with time. Something really user friendly. Something that a person with no clue what permaculture is could see it and get permaculture in an instant and really want to start practicing it. In my mind it would have the hook and depth of a game but at any time the user could use the design they created as a basis for an actual property. This way I think it could achieve what no game ever could. A truly satisfying ending: User gets up goes outside and plants, digs, builds, creates until they have what they designed in the game and see it come to life right in front of them.
I have been sketching and mocking up some designs for what this tool could look like and would love to share them if you are curious.
Also I'd love to collaborate with any general design or iconography challenges if you are interested.



Kristine, Cj, Devon,
Since I started this thread I have been working with Ben Stallings of http://interdependentweb.com/ and will be in cooperation with the UMASS Amherst new Permaculture Program this fall on revising the iconography and the cards overall. I have been toying with the idea of posting a few downloadable pdfs so other users can "print and play" with the cards so I can get more feedback. Though I've been reticent because I would like them to be at a good polished state. Call it the obsessive compulsive artist in me . That, and compiling the pdfs to a nice printable set takes a bit of time and I may be persuaded to if there's enough interest.
 
Elia Charalambides
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Devon,

This set is mainly geared towards the temperate northeast US but I would like to add more climatic zones down the line so everything is covered.
Though your comment gave me an idea. What if there was a kind of "universal set". Not in the sense of it has plants for every zone(which is something I would like to create) but that it is a set of basic components. Like:
Nut Tree
Fruit Tree
Nut Bush
Fruit Bush
Support Tree
Support Bush
Veg Garden
Pond
Greenhouse
etc etc

So something that would be more vague and versatile for any climate. Something useful for someone like you that would travel to different locations. This Universal Set could be in essence like a first stepping stone into the ideas of permaculture. A really straight forward way to introduce concepts without getting too muddled in the details of climatic zones, ph, water, sun etc etc. And once someone understands them, then move onto more detailed representations with the current set I am designing.

What do you think? Crazy or useful?
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think that is a great idea honestly, enabling a basic design to be set up and then looking at it with an individual and deciding individual species and guild lists but it would give a good visual idea of what would be where, GREAT idea imho.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5726
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
323
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is wonderful...I'm thinking christmas for a grand daughter.
 
Berry Buiten
Posts: 41
Location: Netherlands
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi there!

I am currently in this phase of my design process. Would it be possible to download these as a PDF? Did this project die by lack of water in the establishment phase?

I am very curious how this would work out! Seems almost like a tabletop game I used to play as a kid!

Regards,
Berry
 
Elia Charalambides
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I PMed you with the link to the pdfs.

Hope they are useful and I look forward to any comments/suggestions/advice you may have to improve them!
-Elia
 
Elia Charalambides
Posts: 78
Location: Boston
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just curious what's the game you used to play that this reminds you of?

One of the things I've been chewing on with this is to actually make it multi-purpose (in true Permaculture fashion ).
My ideal is to make the set a group of discs to design with AND a game that can be played by using the discs AND a teaching tool.
 
Ben Stallings
Posts: 159
Location: Emporia, KS
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Elia Charalambides wrote:Just curious what's the game you used to play that this reminds you of?


The game it reminds me of was marketed as "Psyche Paths" in the '70s and renamed Kaliko in later editions (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/4178/kaliko) ... basically there are hexagonal tiles (all of the same size), each with a unique pattern of paths in up to three colors: http://www.van-ness.com/Kurt/Serpentiles/Psyche-Paths/Psyche-Paths.htm. In each turn you must play one or more tiles so that at least one colored path in the pattern of tiles that have already been played is connected back into itself. You get a point for every tile in the path(s) you connected, plus three points for every time a path crosses itself, and double if the path completes in a loop. So the short term strategy would appear to be to complete as many loops as possible so that other players can't build on them, but the much more satisfying strategy is to collaborate with the other players to make the paths as long as possible so that everyone racks up increasingly monumental scores.

So if your game were similar, the scoring would be on the number of beneficial connections in a guild, and there would be some reward for satisfying all the needs of a given tile, but there would be even greater rewards for building a larger, redundant/resilient ecosystem.

Now that I think of it, Psyche Paths would make a great iPad app... there's a four-color version available for online play at http://www.tantrix.com, but it seems more oppositional and less cooperative.
 
Dayna Williams
Posts: 79
Location: Zone 8, Western Oregon
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
These are so beautiful, and I'm glad to see that you are still working on them, Elia.
It reminded me of a game too - are you familiar with Settlers of Catan and similar simple strategy games? You have to have several "resources" in order to build something and score a point. It made me think of how you might need "a nitrogen fixer, a biomass accumulator, an insectiary plant, and a grass-suppressor to build a guild" or something similar.
What are your future plans for these? Are you still hoping to produce them on a larger scale?
 
Ghislaine de Lessines
Posts: 202
Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Would puzzle piece style plug and socket shapes on the circles be a useful concept? Perhaps to convey the interconnected polyculture guilds? I'd love the PDF file too. Maybe my 5 year old could help with feedback.
 
Jeremy VanGelder
Posts: 14
Location: Proebstel, Washington, USDA Zone 6B
trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Elia, I would totally send you $20 for a set of the cards by themselves. I bet there are a bunch of other people who would do the same. Have you considered doing something on KickStarter? If you found a board game manufacturer who could give a quote on manufacturing the cards, you could probably get enough KickStarter pledges to meet the manufacturer's minimum order requirements. Just an idea.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!