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Urban Permaculture  RSS feed

 
Lee Morgan
Posts: 35
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Is there a specific feed on Permies for Urban Permaculture? I have a small lot and I was curious what people do in a restrictive (bylaw heavy) environment with their available space.
 
Kris Minto
Posts: 137
Location: Ottawa, Canada -- Zone 4b/5a
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I am currently in the process of creating a forest garden in my urban back yard. I dont have to many bylaws in my city which have restricted me from doing permaculture with the exception of not being able to own "farm" aninal like ducks and chickens.
 
chrissy bauman
Posts: 132
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
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A few thoughts on Urban Permaculture

-while many areas do not allow fowl, they usually do not have an issue with some well-tended rabbits or quail in attractive, clean enclosures.

-if you have bylaws about rain barrels due to unsightliness, consider burying them.

-several people in the US have gotten into trouble with their cities due to front yard gardens. the workaround there is using attractive containers, or you can do what i do which is plant the vegetables in with ornamental plants. Most people do not know what vegetables plants look like and won't complain when there's bush-type bean plants growing around a tree in an attractive circle, for example. they'll just think you really like annuals.

-be mindful of where your lines are on your property. it does not do to plant trees on top of your water or sewer, for example.

-my area has rules about plantings and structures on the easement, which is a 10 foot ribbon around my allotment. the county services have the right to drive over/tear up the easement at any time for any reason, so plantings and things maybe should not be there. you might have that issue too.

-ponds of any size may have to be fenced.

-keep your place clean and well-tended. then no one should complain no matter what you do, as your house will be nicer than the other places around you.

 
Justin Hitt
Posts: 35
Location: Martinsville, VA (Zone 7)
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You also want to maintain an open ticket with miss-utility so you can work without restriction and know what areas you'll need to cover with lawn. I have several areas with buried drainage, electric/gas/water, and city right of way that remains uncultivated (I mean, has lawn.)

I'd like to second that most people can't identify vegetables.

Had a large garden bed in front yard of townhouse and would have people complement the beautiful "yellow flowers in the bushes with big leaves" -- which were squash and zucchini plants. My six feet high tomatoes were described at "Tiny flowers on the large green trees."

While permaculture areas can look messy, you can give them structure with how they are laid out. This means on contour beds with edging, use of circles, and mulch/lawn paths. I got fewer questions when adding clusters of bulb flowers near ends of beds, intermixed with onion and chives.

You also want to be generous with production and plant starts. Giving away herbs, peppers, and surplus involves neighbors. With street appeal and have happy neighbors you'll never have any trouble -- you might also end up with a few converts who may start gardens of their own.

Best,

Justin
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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The bulb flowers mixed with the onion/garlic/chives/shallots is a good idea.
Chose flower bulbs that bloom at different times of the season. That way, they'll be used to seeing periodic flowering of some of the bulbs all season, and never think twice if your 'others' bulbs don't flower.

Asparagus is another good one for front yards...looks a lot like an...asparagus fern.

Many herbs also look ornamental in the front yard. Good candidates for meandering rock gardens.

Few people get harassed as long as the yard looks neat, organized and intentional.
The haphazard jungle will draw criticism.



 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
182
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For more ideas search the internet for "Edible Landscaping." Here are a couple links:

http://www.rosalindcreasy.com/

http://www.edible-landscape-design.com/
 
Lee Morgan
Posts: 35
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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I am more concerned about solutions people have found for designing using permaculture rather than the bylaws themselves. What works well in a tight urban space?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
182
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Here's an example of a biggish suburban lot, but it might help with ideas for a smaller space: http://www.happyearth.com.au/garden-design/

 
Justin Hitt
Posts: 35
Location: Martinsville, VA (Zone 7)
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Lee,

I had 64 sq. ft. of garden. As far as design, use interplanting of edible flowers like Viola. Shorter plants around the outside, taller plants in back towards house, and medium plants around taller plants. Mix in swiss chard, mums, and other edibles that are also used as ornamentals.



Flowers draw the eye away from the green. You want to guide the visitor towards the front door of your house, or path, the garden should be background rather than a main feature. You could even include a water feature near ends.

Use a raised bed, edging, clean boarder, with mulch or grass paths. I had an "L" shaped bed and grass would get mushed around inner corner. Would have been better to put a stone steps around the bed -- something you can mow right up over.

You'll want your grass cut weekly in the growing season, seed it with the four or so best seed in your area. Polyculture your grass so you'll have greenish yard all year around since most people don't understand the grass goes dormant.

If you chop and drop vegetables as you harvest then mulch over it in bare areas. Or collect cuttings to compost and return as uniform compost. My HOA had rule about "no bare soil" wasn't an issue with plants year around with good mulch.

In my backyard I have 6 foot tall trellis with long beans, can't do that in the front yard. You likely don't want any structures in the front yard outside the beds. Lots a good books on landscaping, just substitute edible plants that look similar.

My lot at the townhouse was under 800 sq. ft. front and back. Some of my Spring 2012 photos are on my Flickr account at http://www.flickr.com/photos/hittjw/sets/72157630192372960/ plus what is linked above. Don't mind the powdery mildew on squash in the middle.

Best,

Justin
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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My place is pretty small, but it's not as small as I say in my old thread ; I got my conversion wrong and it's closer to 4000 square foot.
I seem to be incapable of resizing photos at the mo, so nothing recent, but just envision everything bigger and more out of control!
Oh, and there's the world's tiniest hugelkultur bed squeezed in there too
Basically, I go up as much as I can.
 
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