Howdy permies! I have some questions and I'm sure they've all been answered previously, but after some lurking and thread searches I still couldn't find what I was looking for...so please forgive me if these topics have been covered already.
About me: 22 years old, getting married in October, and about as suburban as they come--from a VERY trendy and well to do town outside of Dallas, TX. I'm currently refining my sewing skills, getting hands on lessons from my Master Gardener mother in law, and living as frugally as I can.
So I guess that's a lot of background to ask, now what?? FH and I are saving up to get some land and a salvaged materials cottage, but that may be several years out. I love the depth of knowledge everyone on this forum has and hope to one day be able to use a lot more of your tips...but right now it's extremely overwhelming! I'd love to hear how others got started or which changes you adopted first into your lifestyle. Maybe which topics I should study first or a good "beginners" book would be great. Future goals (garden, paddock system for chickens) are extremely easy for me to grasp and get excited about, but the small decisions and options while living in a downtown apartment have me stumped.
Welcome to permies Cj
I live in the 'burbs, so no homesteading advice from me!
Permaculture doesn't really to do 'beginner'; it's a straight-in-the-deep-end kind of thing
I think pretty much the most useful thing for me is thinking and planning in a holistic way, trying to avoid getting bogged down in details.
Eg: chickens. Where, how, when, why, etc...will drive you nuts , but if it's more "they need to be on the way to the garden so I can feed them the old Swiss chard and collect eggs on the way back', things start to find a natural home in the overall plan.
Big-picture design concepts like the permaculture principles are a good place to start.
Toby Hemenway's stuff is a good introduction.
Personally I wish I had known about permaculture site design before we bought our place and put in our structures. Things might have turned out a little better. So I suggest researching permaculture "zones" and site design. An excellent beginner's book is "Gaia's Garden" by Toby Hemenway.
LEARN PRINCIPLES!!! Don't get yourself too stuck in a particular setup until you get your land, as the land drives the design.
Enjoy the ride...
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi.
"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
Thanks everyone! I will definitely read up on the principles and be buying Gaia's Garden, I've seen that mentioned on several threads so it must be a good one.
I guess also a good question for Leila (or anyone else): what permaculture things do you do while living in the 'burbs? We're estimating our homestead to be about 5 years out and I guess I don't know what to do in the meantime? (I also appear to have a 'brown thumb' when it comes to potted plants so the patio garden was a massive flop. haha)
Cj Blanco wrote: what permaculture things do you do while living in the 'burbs?
This is my 'thing', I love talking about urban permaculture! I started a thread ages ago, which may be helpful.
I suggest reading as much as you can. Be warned though, permaculture's insanely complex... water, heating/cooling, building, growing plants, animal husbandry, food preservation...
First off though, it would be great if you add climate/geographical info like this.
You are much more likely to get relevant advice. Mine's pretty detailed, cos I like that sort of thing...
Do you hope to spend the five years or so years till you buy property in the same place? It's well worth thinking about your systems' portability/permanence/expense.
Do you have soil/ground, or is is it all paved? I'm rubbish with pots. Basically the only thing I have potted is a bay tree, which I'm sure would take over the world if it wasn't totally stressed all the time! Aside from my inability to keep things watered, from what I understand, pots can't maintain the beastie populations needed for soil health. Check out Teaming with Microbes for a great introduction to soil life.
I think an understanding of soil is an important place to start.
I try to think of everything that comes onto my place as a resource rather than potential waste, and respect the energy that goes into creating many things we generally take for granted.
Everything that I think will break down goes in the compost or as mulch on the garden. I use things that some people aren't comfortable with, like printed paper and cardboard.
You can see how easy it is to keep narrowing focus. I often have to remind myself to pull back and look at the 'big picture'.
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