One ticket to his Seattle PDC and one ticket to his Portland PDC.
Toby's book Gaia's Garden is well known as the premier book on permaculture. I, for one, really appreciate the details of the species lists and what they can be used for. And I like the focus on very practical things that folks can do explained in a way that makes it all so easy to understand.
Back to the tickets ....
[li]I have a little program that will collect all of the posts to this forum for a date range. It will then mix them all up and show me ten posts at random. From those ten, I'll pick out the best two posts. I'll then pass on the email address of those two people to Toby, and leave it between the three of you on who gets what.
[li]I'll do this on May 3rd (or shortly after). The more you post in this forum, the better your chances of getting a ticket.
[li]A "good post" is a post that asks a great question, an answer to a question or even just an offering of some interesting information. Posts that just say "thanks" or "hi" don't count as good posts.
And, of course, the best part is that Toby will be hanging out with us, answering questions and the like.
I've already registered and I've been steadily pimping it to all my classmates as well as friend who'd be interested. I think I've gotten two or three other folks registered for it, with a couple more on the fence. It's a pretty easy sell with the program I'm in (studying Restoration Horticulture) so a lot of my classmates are very interested in permaculture for it's restoration applications.
out of curiousity, do you touch on fungi use at all in the class? I ask because I just finished reading Stamets' book Mycelium Running and, well, my heads been in a bit of a whirl thinking about both the permacultural applications of stamets' research as well as the ecological restoration applications.
I've read about your trials and tribulations (and epiphanies) during your time in So. Oregon, and must say that I agree with your conclusions (and am witnessing here some of the same situations you observed). Are your PDCs going to be aligned towards the urban end of Permaculture and community building you espouse? (all within the overall PDC curriculum I'm assuming)
Have you made contact with Pam and Jim at the Portland Permaculture Institute? During my first PDC, we did group projects aimed at turning their five acres into an ecovillage/intentional community and from what I read, they're well on their way to realizing their dreams. One day I'd like to visit and see their results.
I've worked with Joe and Pam very often. Their Columbia Ecovillage, a green conversion of a 37-unit 1970s apartment complex on 4 acres, is a staggering and successful achievement. We nearly moved there. I believe all the units are sold and occupied now. They and their community are inspiring.
and thanks to Paul for making this opportunity available.
Related to tentamus's question about the mycological aspect of the PDC, I'm curious what role the prokaryotes play in the course. I've seen a growing interest in EM ("effective microorganisms" and a few posts about these in the forums here, but it seems that there is a heavy reliance on commercial EM preps. Given that nitrogen fixation is of primary interest to so much of us, I'm curious if you (Toby) have had any interest in your course (either from the student side or from your own research) in cultivating indigenous nitrogen fixing bacteria from the soil.
I've seen a growing interest in EM ("effective microorganisms" and a few posts about these in the forums here, but it seems that there is a heavy reliance on commercial EM preps. Given that nitrogen fixation is of primary interest to so much of us, I'm curious if you (Toby) have had any interest in your course (either from the student side or from your own research) in cultivating indigenous nitrogen fixing bacteria from the soil.
I simply build the conditions for happy soil organisms in general. I've never seen any benefit from EM in my soils; I suppose in really bad soil miles from a source of bacteria, they might help. When there are 5000 species of bacteria in one teaspoon of soil, I don't focus on growing only one of them. From the little I've researched it, most indigenous N-fixers are associated with particular plants, so you'd need to grow those plants, and thus first you'd have to have use for the hosts. And I have a feeling that the main way you'd get native N-fixing bacteria to grow is to create N-poor soil to activate them, which is not what a gardener wants. But it's an area I haven't studied much. I just create a soil rich in organic matter, and the microbes all seem to come and thrive, and the plants grow well. This sounds like yet another subject I should take another look at, though.
Ernie and I have been PDC guest instructors (appropriate building, alternative energy), but we haven't got a fancy certificate. Someday, someday....
I can vouch for Toby's teaching and speaking skills - a thoughtful, experienced, and effective course leader. He's got that quiet charisma that brings out people's best learning abilities.
I'd love to audit or assist with this workshop.
Toby, please let us know if you are interested in a skills-trade. We could teach a section in our field, in exchange for taking a section or two of new material, until we've earned our certificates. We can't take the whole course in Portland unless our main fall workshop falls through - but that means you have us in your pocket for at least two PDC's.
Is there a web link I should put on our "friends and allies" list that specifically links to your workshop schedule?
I have long pondered the no-till food production methods of my Native American ancestors, as well as their use of what Permaculture calls "Guilds" in planting. Chief Joseph asked the question, "Why do you want me to break the back of my mother with plowing?" Ever since I first read that quote it has haunted me. What did he mean? The Sehaptin practice of planting camas and kous in favored areas, and then nurturing them year after year, speaks to me of a developed agriculture, so why the stricture against plowing? Toby's book illustrated in simple science exactly what Joseph was trying to teach.
I have ten acres of Oak, Hickory and Black Walnut, forest in southern Missouri and I had thought of removing many of the Oaks because the Missouri Dept. of Conservation taught me to believe that too many acidify the soil. I want to grow food, and too much acidity, I thought, would make that difficult. I didn't want to be liming my property all the time, which is the deadly practice here. Now I have learned to see the trees as my most valuable asset. They are my Farmers and the soil beneath them is filled with my herds!
I know now that the claptrap put out by the so-called experts is not worth listening to. I have designed my annual garden as a series of Huguls under dappled shade. The plants are growing miraculously! How is that possible in the shade? All my neighbors just shook their heads when I started planting under the canopy. They assured me that NOTHING would grow, this country is just to wet and hot, and how do you expect them plants to grow without sunlight? Well, Toby is absolutely right, when the soil is vibrant and fertile, and when the herds are well fed, and when the fungi are vigorously competing with each other, the plants don't have to get all their energy from direct sunlight and they don't "mold right up" as the oldtimers here predicted they would. In fact, most of the plants in my garden are growing faster in the shade than they did stressing it out under full sun! It's the last week of April and I have potato plants that are over a foot high and setting tubers. There's not an Amish farm anywhere around whose spuds are any more than just showing through the beaten earth! My Three Sisters Guild is prospering. We are eating our lettuce already!
Beginning where my lane enters the property and makes a little cul-de-sac around the greenhouse site and garden, I count 22 mature Oaks, Hickories, and Walnuts. I plan three Apple, Cherry, Plum, Peachor Almond trees on the sun side of the tree, and three Pawpaw, Persimmon, or Mulberry trees on the shaded side, for a total of 132 trees. All told, that will account for the Understory Layer on about two and a half acres of my ten. With the berries and nuts I plan for the shrub layer, medicinal herbs I plan for the Herb Layer, and the berries I plan for the Ground Cover Layer, I calculate that this part of my property will produce over 1500 pounds of perennial food each season!
This is what Chief Joseph meant. This is what he was talking about. Why should we break the back of our Mother by plowing when we can partner with her and produce food surplus?
I need to be able to design, and re-design, what we've started here - for a sustainable future of farming for myself. I will not be able sustain the losses much longer and will have to quit the very aspects that add the greatest potential - the pigs - because of the high volume and cost of feed they require to raise conventionally.
I'd also like to be able to work with others to that end. There are hundreds of us here locally [I also work very part time at a typical feed store], all struggling with how to "survive" very small scale farming, with all the costs of conventional feed/feeding systems.
How will the course help me toward that end?
Toby, please let us know if you are interested in a skills-trade.
You bet. Email me (you should still have it, or do it thru my website.)
Is there a web link I should put on our "friends and allies" list that specifically links to your workshop schedule?
For the Seattle PDC:
For the Portland PDC:
For all my workshops:
How will the course help me toward that end?
If you end up like most of the other course grads, you'll be brimming over with ideas. You'll have a tool kit for solving problems related to sustainability. I've finally realized that that's what the PDC is: A set of problem solving tools that can be applied virtually everywhere, because it teaches how to think in whole systems. I've already written a great deal about what the design course gives people, and a chunk of it is at
A major focus of the course is how to work within communities; another is identifying and solving the places where losses are occurring.
I will look at the link.
I want to start up a farming sustainability and permaculture group in my area. I've been watching my most recent video - PolyFace Farm - over and over - and keep thinking - I need to have video night with some local farmers! Same thing when I watched Food, Inc., Capitalism, and on and on...
I also recently got your book, but have only used it as a reference so far, not a cover to cover read yet. But I'm getting motivated, ha!
This thread is for discussion of this event only. Actual discussion about permaculture needs to be directed to the permaculture forum.
I bring this up because I've had to delete a few posts from this thread.
paul wheaton wrote:
Just a reminder that posts to this thread don't count toward our giveaway. Posts to this forum do.
I'm sorry - never been on a forum exactly like this. I can't tell the difference between the forums - when I click on "this forum" link above - it takes me to the main topic list - and then I pick Welcome Toby and come right back?
Also, not sure what to talk about for the class, if not permaculture. I mean I know I'm not asking for personal solutions here. Not trying to be difficult, just trying to understand, it's my literal self.
One of those forums is called "permaculture" which can be found at http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/2.0
Each forum contains hundreds of threads. This forum contains a thread called "Welcome toby hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden!" This thread. In this thread you can talk about the workshops, getting a ticket, "Hi Toby!" and stuff like that. It's all good. But that stuff doesn't help get a person a ticket. Oh well.
Let's say you want a good raspberry guild. Then you can start a new thread in this forum to talk about that. The post that starts that thread would be a really good contender for the tickets. And then let's suppose a lot of really good discussion comes in that thread - each of your posts in that thread would be a good contender.
Or, suppose you find and existing thread in this forum (other than this one) and comment on that. That's good ticket fodder too.
So! My point now is that, yes, I can see how a person could get confused. I'll do my best to try to help.
Wish I could see your PDC, but for me with kidding season, milking, planting and sharing much that are started on the grow table, teaching people to help each other, and the many efforts going on with small farm to turn its former brown state into verdant green, its not possible.
Will say, having kept your 2nd edition of Gaia's Garden way too long from the local library (good thing the librarian is a friend-only got chewed out! ) it's an awesome read. Was already doing many of the things you suggested there, but you showed end results in my very dry climate-that was HUGE.
There is little support here in central NM in the Estancia Valley with the exception of Chris Meulli and a few ranchers that see first hand the greening happening here. Could be they like the cherries or the Asian pears though! )
Please don't lose heart when people don't get it. We need people like you for those of that do.
Sounds great right, but without the knowledge on what to do I feel crippled by the fear of not wanting to waste time, energy and money on making "bad" permaculture decisions.
I have been planting blueberries lately, but I am chomping on the bit to just go full bore with permaculture. I have a few friends on another forum who have gone to a permaculture design course, and they said it transformed their lives.
On another note, I just realized my goof from two years ago. The reason I am not getting any plums is that Satsuna plums won't pollinate each other. I am off to get a good pollinator. Learning more every day. Thanks again for your contribution to my ongoing education.
Five posts were superior.
But then I couldn't really tell which of these five were the two best.
So I wrote the five names down and then flipped a coin five times - once for each name. Three of the names got tails and two got heads.
The tickets go to:
I'll forward the emails for these two to toby.
My understanding is that there are still tickets available for these two PDC's. One in seattle and one in portland.
I'm just going to post a link to my Amazon booklist on gardening in Portugal - guess who's top of the list?
I'd also like to thank Toby for writing the book - the info in it is perfect for Portugal, and it's beautifully written. I'd read a bit about permaculture and forest gardening when I was in the UK but what I'd read was too 'waffly' and I didn't really get it, but Gaia's Garden was a perfect mix of science and appropriate techniques and I lend it, along with Jackie French's book The Wilderness Garden, to any other expats I find who are struggling trying to get anything growing here after learning all their skills back in the UK.
As a content producer I'm not comfortable with this new world in the same way I'm sure many of you are not. I want to have the say over what I produce. But in the same way the birds eat my plumbs, my soil sucks, and it's too sunny in summer, I have to suck it up, observe, listen, and change to make it work. I don't get to tell the ecosystem how it should function. That's dealing with reality and the digital world is a different reality.
In a digital world the way to get yield is to have something copied as much as possible, seen by as many as people as possible, to spread virally as fast as possible, and then figure out creative ways to profit from that. Think of the the yield you are losing to this openness as the 20% the birds and other critters take, the idea being if you plant enough and are diverse enough, then this is just a cost of getting the benefit of services rendered. The idea is that from a much larger pool of potential customers it's possible to harvest larger profits. Instead of telling people get a job to buy my stuff, this is turned around on the content creator to get creative on how they profit form their creations.
Creators of works will no longer control their work in a digital world. Fight, scratch, claw, bring on the digital gestapo, that's just how digital works. Artificial scarcity in the for form of copyrights is being replaced with the economics of abundance. The only way to protect something in a digital world is to keep it private. Once you make it public you lose control. That's the reality of it now and we have figure out how to make it work. Taking material world thinking into the digital world is like monocropping. Observe how the digital works and work with its nature would be very permacultury.
If interested, Mike Masnick (http://www.techdirt.com/user/mmasnick) does the most innovative writing and thinking on this subject. In particular The Future Of Music Business Models (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091119/1634117011.shtml).
I enjoyed it immensely i first must say....
And i loved the part about when (Paul) you were saying that gardening
is all about innovation and that it's about experimentation which is
what i find the most enjoyable part of it besides the --> food production.
thank you so much for talking about the dreaded pharmaceutical industry
because it totally re affirms my belief that people are being duped into taking
medication that really can make matters worse in the long run. That being said,
I have noticed that some people put so much faith in the "pill" that it's almost religious. (
on to what i want to discuss....and this is a different way to mulch, conserve moisture
with the use of what i called "duck boards" . A little back ground first...i was living in
the southwest and i couldn't stand my back yard because the landlord had covered it in gray gravel.
the tall wooden fence that was leaning inward looked like hell so i decided to fix the fence and remove
the gravel by building a retaining wall three feet from the fence out of wood and back filling it with the gravel
until the fence leaned back to normal which worked flawlessly. Later, i installed a double stone sink in it.
Now that i had a garden spot, i decided to get a baby duck (peeper) to help clean up the nasty cockroaches
in an organic way without resorting to pesticides. I was acting as mamma duck and the little mallard female
would follow me around the garden having been raised on 50% garden bugs i hand collected. All i had to do
was flip over the duck board in between rows and "usty" the duck would come rapidly thru eating
every single potato bug , earwig , slug...whatever was there like a machine and then i would replace the board.
[glow=red,2,300]notice: if i did not flip the board quick enough it would say "come on" hurry up! by nibbling at my ankles.[/glow]
the board gave me a place to walk and wash clean of any duck poop and they were essentially a good bug trap.
This was a daily routine but my observations of the duck "working the garden" with it's prehensile
neck finding even the very hidden bugs was the ideal system because of it's reach from standing on the
duck board watching ever so carefully and then utilizing the 360 degree reach and range of sight it had.
Chickens have their place but they also are known for pecking holes in everything but for ducks you
just have to keep them out of the lettuce which they very much love to eat.
OK gotta go to work now,
Later on Permie Dudes