• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Greetings from China!  RSS feed

 
Joey Dodson
Posts: 8
Location: Hunan, China
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am currently living in Central/Southern China in Changsha, Hunan province. All the soil here is red clay and before really discovering permaculture recently had no idea that there was anything that could be done with it. I will actually be moving back to the US this summer. But for now, I have discovered an eroded plot of land on the mountain next to my apartment that looks like it has previously been farmed and abandoned. So I plan on just putting some concepts into practice while I'm here so I can get a bit of a foundation in permaculture.

I studied music in college, but in my last couple years there I rediscovered the wonders of nature and started gardening and growing some of my own vegetables. After graduation I moved to China and have been living here for the past three years or so. I have been limited to small containers for my gardening, even though I've been yearning for some actual dirt to get busy with. Now armed with a passion for permaculture, I'm even more hungry for it. Recently, a local friend told me that generally people just do their vegetable gardening where they like and I don't really need any kind of permission or ownership. So I've decided to start experimenting with a bit of land no one is likely to be using soon. So far, I've just started by collecting some wood and leaves nearby the site and moving my home compost onto the site. I'm planning to make it into a kind of makeshift hugelkulture mound so I will have something to work with other than the clay. Other than that, I've just thrown a few seeds around in case any of it is able to take hold. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with it and how far I can develop it in the 5 or 6 months I will be here. If nothing else, I hope to leave the land better off than it is now. Who knows, maybe if I'm lucky and put enough thought and work into it, I might be able to pant a few cognitive seeds in local minds and get someone here interested in permaculture.

There will be plenty of rain here until the summer kicks in, so I have that going for me.

My long term goals involve getting out of (student loan) debt and finding some land somewhere that I can really develop into a food forest. I am independently minded and hope to develop that into real world autonomy, where I can support myself and those I love and care about. I will be totally starting over again when I get back home, so I don't really *know* what I'm going to do, but I hope to either pursue music professionally & full-time (if I can support myself and my fiance doing it) or get deeply into permaculture and work my way up to having my own property that I can transform into a permaculture paradise, thus giving me the autonomy to develop my music without needing a day job to pay rent and eat. That's more or less the idea anyways, the general trajectory if you will.

I read through a few of the more recent introductions and I just want to say that I look forward to getting to know all of you! I know there are a growing number of us permies and that it may not be feasible to know everyone, but that just makes me more excited and hopeful for the future. ^_^
 
Bill Erickson
steward
Posts: 1132
Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
127
books chicken forest garden hugelkultur hunting wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Welcome, Joey. I am joining Miles in the welcome to new folks space - I always like to meet people, mostly.

I've spent some time in China myself, just short jaunts to Shanghai/Pudong and Beijing. An interesting place with interesting people, good friends who liked to share their home.

I really loved getting to eat real chinese food, and some of the peppers and such are pretty awesome for firepower. You are going to feel a bit weird when you come back to the Western Way, it is normal.
 
Joey Dodson
Posts: 8
Location: Hunan, China
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Bill!

Yeah, I have definitely learned a lot here. I am always amazed at the vegetable selection. It's far more diverse than I am used to seeing in supermarkets back home. I've also seen some farming here. It's definitely not permaculture, but at least the majority of what I've seen isn't industrial agriculture. I hope I am able to bring some seeds back home with me.

I don't plan on leaving China for good, but will likely try to maintain a dual presence to some extent. That's especially true since my fiancé is Chinese and will hopefully be going back with me.

I am sure things will feel weird at first. Things are different than I have gotten used to here, the situation will be totally different from before and I'm different as well. I guess that's to be expected. I'll manage though. I've dealt with being out of place here for nearly 4 years.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Joey! welcome to Permies...

Check out some of the local traditional building practices in timber framing. Learn what you can of it as this can serve you well in the future. There are some wonderful old builders (and buildings there.)

Regards,

j
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4028
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
172
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Howdy Joey, welcome to permies!
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4028
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
172
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bill Erickson wrote:Welcome, Joey. I am joining Miles in the welcome to new folks space - I always like to meet people, mostly.



Thanks Bill, I was getting plum worn out with all of these new permies coming on board!
 
Bill Erickson
steward
Posts: 1132
Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
127
books chicken forest garden hugelkultur hunting wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Miles Flansburg wrote:
Bill Erickson wrote:Welcome, Joey. I am joining Miles in the welcome to new folks space - I always like to meet people, mostly.



Thanks Bill, I was getting plum worn out with all of these new permies coming on board!


No problem brother, I got your back.
 
Joey Dodson
Posts: 8
Location: Hunan, China
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the warm welcome everyone!

Jay, I guess they would have to be pretty old as most of the buildings I've seen in the cities are all brick and concrete. I have only seen wooden buildings way out in the countryside. I'm sure there's a lot to learn, but unfortunately it's not necessarily going to be in the cards this time around. I am definitely interested in spending more time away from the cities in the future though and building is something I haven't thought of before. I'm sure it would be useful to acquire that knowledge before most of the rural population moves into cities, like they have in the states. China's down below 50% now from what I hear. That's still more than 40% above the us though.
 
Ann Torrence
steward
Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
111
bee books chicken duck goat trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Joey,

This idea of gardening in a strange land is intriguing. How are you going about finding seeds? Do your neighbors buy seeds or save them? Can yo bring them back when you repatriate?
 
Joey Dodson
Posts: 8
Location: Hunan, China
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Ann,

There are definitely some veggies that are totally new to me, but I've also found that a lot of them are very familiar. Chili peppers for example, have been here so long that Hunan people consider them to be a signature food for their region. Their whole regional cuisine is spicy and generally uses a lot of peppers.

Unfortunately I wasn't gardening the whole time I was here. I started really slow because I wasn't used to apartment windowsill gardens. I barely started composting again this past year or two. So, I haven't grown too much.

This plot of land I'm going to try to work with will be a new experiment. It's also a really hard red clay, so I will be experimenting in terms of the soil as well.

As far as plants go, I often just use seeds from the food I buy or just buy potted plants and continue with them. I have seen a seed shop though, so I will be going back there to see if they are still open to see what they have.

The cool thing here is that a larger percentage of the population is rural, so more people farm. That means there is more fresh produce (though not necessarily organic - there's no way to differentiate other than asking the seller and taking their word for it). So since I've been cooking at home more, I've discovered a lot of new veggies. I would definitely love to take some home with me and might mail some packets back before I go home.

If I am able to source them, I would also love to trade seeds as well! Hopefully I can sort that situation out soon. It has just gotten above freezing temperatures in the past week or two and I just got over a cold, so I think I can get around to it now.
 
I am going down to the lab. Do NOT let anyone in. Not even this tiny ad:
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!