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Permaculture Victories: tell your stories

 
gardener
Posts: 465
Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
154
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This thread is for anyone to share their successes, big or small, in convincing others to choose permaculture techniques. We all interact with people who have never heard of permaculture or Permies before, and maybe they never will, but we have opportunities to infect them with bits of permaculture information or techniques that can impact their decision making processes for the better.

The idea came to me when my new neighbour announced that he had built a new garden on his lawn using the sheet mulch method I had suggested long ago. This was a small victory for permaculture because he had initially asked me if I had a roto-tiller or knew where he could rent one. I'd forgotten about our conversation, but obviously he hadn't because he stated that his reason for not using a tiller was that I had explained that "tilling is killing" and that the soil biology is a necessary feature of a healthy garden.

Please share any similar stories you have as an encouragement to the rest of us that we can make a difference. A million tiny differences adds up to a large difference. A billion is even bigger.


 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8243
Location: SW Missouri
4080
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I also have a neighbor, a new one, who looks like he's going to be doing a no till garden after talking to me. And he is fascinated by my sunroots, I told him if he wants roots in the fall I'll give him some.

I think corrupting my neighbors to garden, especially to garden well, is one of the best things I do :D   And there are heirloom tomatoes by the road, for them to pick, so now they KNOW what they are missing... Mwhahaha!
 
steward
Posts: 6462
Location: Carnation, WA (Western Washington State / Cascadia / Pacific NW)
1864
3
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Edited to add: great thread idea!!

I *think* I've convinced a friend to compost her households kitchen scraps directly in her garden to improve the soil instead of buying commercial topsoil or commercial compost. Closing a loop!

Her garden has struggled this year. She has bought commercial topsoil in the past and in response, I explained how that can be tainted with broadleaf herbicides. Then she thought she needed a compost tumbler, or a compost bin, etc. to create her own compost to improve her soil. So I described how I improved the rock and sand soil in Montana just by (the Ruth Stout method of) putting kitchen scraps directly in the garden covered well with sawdust, straw, or leaves. And putting it in between plants, of course, not putting the scraps right on a plant, because that would rot the plant as things decompose. And how no compost turning, no tilling are both better because, hey, LESS WORK (!!), and also, less lost nutrients (especially nitrogen) to the air/atmosphere.

She said she understands and will try composting directly in the garden, but she just had knee surgery; and after a delay like this, and such an odd/unusual idea, I'm concerned she might be a bit daunted about actually doing it.

((Fingers crossed and will check in with her!))
 
gardener
Posts: 5091
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
1923
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I built a 30" tall raised bed about 4 years ago. A friend who had some 8" raised beds came to visit and thought it was wonderful, but she didn't have any way to fill that tall a bed, as she's got lots of rock at her place. I explained that the bottom 18" was punky dead wood that would help hold moisture. Last spring her husband built her one that was about 40" square, which is not big, but it still grew a lot of fresh veggies. This year, her husband built her a second one, and I'm working at talking him into building a third one this fall. Even if she only grows lettuce, tomatoes and beans, at least they're local and being grown without toxic gick and mostly with saved seeds.
Any progress is better than no progress!

Last spring I built two more, only mine were ~4' x 6 1/2'. I've got some HT skids in a pile to make two more. My knees aren't getting any younger, and the bunnies can't jump 30" high!
 
gardener
Posts: 3122
1289
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We got some new neighbors, early last fall. When they moved in, the very first thing they did was install a duck run, and their mature, mostly free-range geese and ducks. I was excited! When John drove past (they are on our way to the main road) one day, a few weeks later, he saw feathers EVERYWHERE, and nary a bird in sight, so we got worried, and decided it was high time we introduced ourselves and expressed our condolences, and offered assistance, about the loss of their beautiful birds. It was the right thing to do, but the birds were fine, lol. They'd just all hit a molt at the same time, and were hiding inside the run, since they were all pretty much naked! So, we all had a good laugh, and we've been fast friends, ever since.

They're already new (organic) homesteaders, and wanting to learn, but there are/were many things they hadn't done at all, and were avoiding, thinking it would just be too much, on top of homeschooling their 5 kids, her disabilities (rheumatoid arthritis & severe migraines), prepping, plus the ducks and their plans for wintering a couple pigs in their woods. But, the place they bought was previously owned by an elderly woman with a penchant for intensive flower gardening, and this spring, my new friend wanted me to tour her new yard, and help her identify whatever I could. The garden hadn't been weeded since last summer, and while I was able to identify most of the flowers, we both found the weeds to be much more interesting, with only a few notable exceptions. It got us on the topic of eating and healing with the weeds. She felt very intimidated, and didn't think she could learn enough to even begin - so, I pointed out the humble broadleaf plantain, and extolled its many virtues, as her eyes widened, and she started picking every perfect leaf she could find. A few days later, I invited her to go elderflower picking with me, and taught her it's benefits and explained some recipes to use them in, and how to identify it, and discern it from poke, and how to preserve and use it... And even though she was still not convinced that she could ever do much with herbs, to be an 'herbalist', she was/is like a sponge. I gave her some more tidbits, with each visit, always checking on whatever we talked about previously, to see how things were going, and if she had any questions.

At this point, not only has she completely succumb to the herbalist/wildcrafting bug, so have both of her older girls, and they're all starting to learn how to nurture their wild environments, how to garden, and so much more - and they actually seem to enjoy coming down to our place, to help us, and keep learning. I'm not sure how much is actually winning someone over, that might not have anyway, but each time I see their eyes light up, over new information and skills, it FEELS like I've helped them win a new a victory.

 
pollinator
Posts: 371
Location: Appalachian Foothills-Zone 7
60
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My neighbor mows his 2 acre field every week.  After seeing my silvopasture trees I planted take off, he decided to plant some trees in his field.  He's still going to mow it every week, but at least it'll be a little more than an inch of grass.
 
Michael Helmersson
gardener
Posts: 465
Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
154
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Yesterday, we had friends visit with their two young children. The three year old boy got to pick his own raspberries from one side of a hugelbed while baby grouse were doing the same on the other side. I thought that would be the highlight of his visit but that novelty was surpassed when he realized he needed to poop. He had to overcome some panicky ambivalence, but eventually nature took its course and he became the first to inaugurate our guest pooper. Afterwards, he peppered me with questions about our toilet, asking what the sawdust was for, and why it doesn't have any water in it. He and I concurred that it was weird but I pointed out that pooping in water is weird too.
 
Posts: 37
Location: NE Wyoming Zone 4-ish
17
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I moved from 5 acres in a small town north of Sheridan, Wyoming to a half acre just south of Sheridan's city limits after my divorce in 2013.  My past neighbors all had animals and gardens and hunted and fished with me.  We were a fairly tight community.  This current neighborhood is different.  Approximately half of the folks on my 'street' are retired and keep pristine, heavily "weed-n-feed"- laden lawns, watered daily, usually tended to by Nitro-green and small landscaping companies.  My property is at the end of the dead end road and I'm the lowest-lying lot, topographically.  We are part of an 'unincorporated' subdivision that has its own ditch rights and most of the properties have flood irrigation setups.  The city eliminated ditches at my end of our street and instead installed a worthless 6 foot deep hand-dug pit that is supposed to be for me to irrigate with.  I've fixed it but don't use it - it smells of sewage and has an oily sheen on the water.  

I've been told that I do weird things on my property.  I suppose I do.  But after watching me gather yard weeds in a colander, chew out neighbors for flooding my front yard with foaming chemical runoff from their yards; allowing milkweed, burdock, dandelions, plantain etc. to grow large along my far fence line, and piling up twigs and logs and covering them with compost from my chickens (the only ones in the subdivision), they've all of the sudden asked why I am doing it instead of what am I thinking.  Now they ask what 'that' is for, nod their heads, and buy my extra chicken eggs.  

One neighbor was ticked that I planted 9 new fruit bushes and 3 fruit trees in my front yard.  She said it would just attract more birds.  They ask if I am watering with my "well" because theirs is dry and they would like to use that water.  I let them know that I am using city water for now, since my "well" is nasty.  And the power company is currently more expensive (to run a pump) than city water costs.  Only one neighbor knows that I also have a 200 foot deep well in back.  He was surprised when I told him it was my number 2 most important reason for buying the place.  

Lastly, the half acre behind me once belonged to my lot.  I asked the neighbor who owns it if I could buy it.  He asked my reasons, and I had a list of them, but when I got to "I need a zone 3 and 4" since I have been making it all happen within feet of the house.  His eyebrows raised up and he slowly asked "zones?"  I said, "permaculture zones 3 and 4".... He actually knew what I meant and said he would think about it.  I ran to the bank to get things rolling on my end.  
 
master gardener
Posts: 3459
Location: southern Illinois.
990
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I convinced an old coworker of mine to stop tilling his garden and go for raised beds.  The raised beds are going in now.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
Posts: 6462
Location: Carnation, WA (Western Washington State / Cascadia / Pacific NW)
1864
3
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
I *think* I've convinced a friend to compost her households kitchen scraps directly in her garden to improve the soil instead of buying commercial topsoil or commercial compost. Closing a loop!


Per my post above, my friend is doing it!! Despite knee surgery and all! I visited her today and snapped this picture.

She knows this isn't enough mulch yet, but she has been putting the bad apples from her tree and kitchen scraps in her garden already! Yes!!

She even told me she read an article about no till methods. Wow! I'm rather chuffed as the Brits might say.
Kitchen-scraps-in-the-garden.jpg
Kitchen scraps in my friend's garden bed
Kitchen scraps in my friend's garden bed
 
pollinator
Posts: 241
Location: N.E.Ohio 5b6a
138
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If your 17 year old son can be found about 8 pm after working all day laying in the grass between his chicken tractors watching a u-tube of his favorite farmer.

I have no room to complain if that's what he wants to do after working over 12 hours.


 
Christopher Shepherd
pollinator
Posts: 241
Location: N.E.Ohio 5b6a
138
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The other day some friends, a mother and her two daughter stopped by to help us grind sorghum.  They really helped us out quite a bit.  As we were stripping leaves and cutting the heads off of the canes we started to discuss the camaraderie of doing things like this togeather.  The mother said " I feel so much better if I come out here and work with you guys, I don't know what it is" and one of the daughter said " it's relaxing to come here and learn to make something, you guys are always doing something".  

I think the seeds are planted.
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