We are brand-new to the permaculture concept, and to growing things in general. We are planning to start a small hop farm in Colorado and would like to use permaculture practices, including how to farm with low or no irrigation. We are just starting our land-search process. What do you think we should keep in mind when we're looking at land in relation to permaculture design? Thank you!
PS to forum leader - I would love to have a copy of Aranya's book!
That said, it's always useful to visit other permaculture sites in the locality you are going to if there are any. I'm only a little familiar with the area around Denver & Boulder, having visited a few years ago. Are you aware of the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute? http://www.crmpi.org/CRMPI/Home.html They have some great bioshelters that show what can be achieved by modifying microclimates in challenging conditions.
Hops are challenged here by the wet climate and suffer a lot from from mildew being grown in large monocultures, so chemical treatments are regularly used. I've only seen them do well here organically when grown as part of a food forest system. I don't know anything about growing them in drier conditions, but I guess that conserving water use by using drip irrigation would still be a good idea and building soil of course.