new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

PEP1: gardening  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22170
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
(I plan on editing this a lot - but here is what I have so far)

white belt:

- grow 30 pounds of tomatoes (without transplanting)
- grow 20 pounds of peas (without transplanting)
- grow 50 pounds of potatoes
- grow 20 pounds of onions
- grow 20 garlic bulbs
- grow 5 pounds of raspberries
- grow 5 pounds of rhubarb
- grow 5 pounds of green beans (without transplanting)
- grow 5 pounds of summer squash (without transplanting)
- grow 20 pounds of winter squash (without transplanting)
- grow 10 pounds of broccoli (without transplanting)
- grow 10 pounds of cabbage (without transplanting)
- grow 10 pounds of carrots
- grow 3 pounds of sweet peppers (without transplanting)
- grow 1 pound of hot peppers (without transplanting)
- grow 5 pounds of lettuce (without transplanting)
- grow 2 pounds of kale
- grow 5 pounds of cucumbers (without transplanting)
- grow 20 pounds of daikon radish
- grow 10 pounds of strawberries
- grow 20 ears of corn
- grow 3 pounds of basil (without transplanting)
- grow 20 pounds of sunchokes
- grow 3 pounds of celery
- grow 1 pound of grain
- grow 4 pounds of stinging nettles
- grow 2 pounds of sunflower seeds
- grow parsley
- grow chives
- grow cilantro
- grow rosemary
- grow sage
- grow thyme
- grow daffodils
- grow crocus
- grow comfrey
- grow buckwheat
- grow caraway
- grow a grape vine
- grow horseradish
- grow marigolds
- grow nasturtiums
- grow sweet alyssum
- grow sweet clover

- plant apple seeds and have 50 seedlings at least four inches tall
- plant black locust seeds and have 50 seedlings at least four inches tall
- plant nut tree seeds and have 50 seedlings at least four inches tall
- plant mulberry seeds and have 50 seedlings at least four inches tall
- plant seaberry seeds and have 50 seedlings at least four inches tall

- mulch
- polyculture
- zero irrigation, although a watering can is allowed to help seeds to germinate in a timely fashion
- hugelkultur
- mitigating deer/vole/pest problems

green belt

- grow double what was grown for the white belt, in one year
- grow enough (in one year) to feed one person for a full year (one million calories)
- grow melon
- seed saving
- encouraging volunteer plants
- chop and drop
- using rock mulch
- using sticks/branches mulch
- using straw as mulch
- using hay as mulch
- use rhubarb leaves as mulch
- using sawdust/woodchips as mulch
- sell at least $200 in food
- ruth stout composting
- zero irrigation - not even a watering can to help germination in the beginning
- grow at least two pounds of edible mushrooms

brown belt

- grow double, in one year, what was grown for the green belt
- grow enough, in one year, to feed four people for a full year (four million calories)
- sell at least $1000 in food


black belt (note that black belt is not required for PEP1 - this is put here for those that wish to pursue a black belt beyond PEP1)

- grow enough to feed 20 people for a full year
- sell at least $10,000 in food



Note: The average person needs about one million calories per year. A pound of sunchokes has about 300 calories. A pound of sunflower seeds has about 2500 calories. A pound of potatoes: 300. Tomatoes: 80. Peas: 350. Daikon: 100. Apples: 200 Nettles: 300. If a person was going to eat only sunchokes for a year, they would need over 3000 pounds.

(fyi: a pound of beef has about 1100 calories)


 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1351
Location: Cascades of Oregon
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I haven't achieved zero irrigation yet. I'm hoping for something to appear on my grape vine this year.
I have yet to grow trees from seeds but am getting quite proficient in establishing new plants from cuttings.
I have had melons in the greenhouse and had near success with them outside in a sunwell this year.
I guess I would call myself a near white belt PEP1.
 
D. Logan
gardener
Posts: 584
Location: Soutwest Ohio
99
books food preservation forest garden rabbit tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am sure I am becoming a bit of a thorn, but it is good to explore potential snag points early in the process.

Is the poundage 'in addition to' or 'including' the amounts grown for the previous belt level? Also, in the case of allergies or local conditions of some sort making a specific plant a bad choice for that area, is there going to be a substitution method? Aren't there a few areas where the planting of any form of Locust tree is illegal?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
174
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In keeping with D Logan's question - is this a gardening PE"P" - should people be able to do this anywhere or only on land of similar size and climate to your own.

Because:

1. On my urban lot, some of those things wouldn't grow AND it would be irresponsible for me to grow them (given our water limitations) even if I could.
2. If you are asking me to grow on "no irrigation", I'm going to be left with native edibles as the "exotics" you mention need 60" of water per year even in a sunken, heavily mulched situation. We get 7".

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that we are not homogeneous. We are diverse. Which is good because we practice permaculture.

Can I do a PE"J" Gardening certification that is tailored to urban hot-n-arid regions or is PEP the only accreditation that would be accepted. I'm still confused.
 
D. Logan
gardener
Posts: 584
Location: Soutwest Ohio
99
books food preservation forest garden rabbit tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:In keeping with D Logan's question - is this a gardening PE"P" - should people be able to do this anywhere or only on land of similar size and climate to your own.

Because:

1. On my urban lot, some of those things wouldn't grow AND it would be irresponsible for me to grow them (given our water limitations) even if I could.
2. If you are asking me to grow on "no irrigation", I'm going to be left with native edibles as the "exotics" you mention need 60" of water per year even in a sunken, heavily mulched situation. We get 7".

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that we are not homogeneous. We are diverse. Which is good because we practice permaculture.

Can I do a PE"J" Gardening certification that is tailored to urban hot-n-arid regions or is PEP the only accreditation that would be accepted. I'm still confused.


I think I can answer this one. According to the post explaining the lettering, anyone is free to set up their own standards (funny enough he used J as the example letter) based on their own criteria and the PEP are his own. So yes, you can create a PEJ system for your arid systems development.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
174
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks D - I guess I missed that thread! (That "J" was probably for me! LOL)
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
40
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That is, in some ways, a pretty intimidating list. I believe in the idea that these badges shoudl be interdependent, and I think there might be some benefit in pointing out in the process some of the places where these interdependencies occur. For example, in this list, "zero irrigation" to me immediately suggests a cross link to water management strategies, which also cross link to earthworks. I think it migt be beneficial to highlight that aspect. Like college courses where something is a prerequisite for another course.

Also, a clarification question - how is zero irrigation defined here? Could I capture roof runoff and use it with drip line for watering in a dry spell, or would that be irrigation?

I am interpreting "grow double" the prior level as meaning grow an additional quantity twice as large as for the previous level. I may be wrong, but it seems obvious to me. Where I am confused is in the next line, about grow for x number of people for a year. Going from feeding one to feeding four would seem to mean growing four times as much food. Freely admitting I have no clue whether the production numbers listed represent enough to feed one or ten Just the jump from one to four, directly following the requirement to grow double... that confuses me.

Initially this was presented as being something that was intended to be somewhat analagous to a bachelor's degree. Looking at the income generation requirement for the black belt level, and thinking about a bachelor's degree, I am seeing a gap.

A bachelor's degree is the education required for an entry level position in a vast array of jobs/career paths these days. A gardener who is selling $10,000 in food is already a small business operator in their own right, an accomplishment that a very small percentage of new college graduates will pull off. In other words, I am seeing this as looking for a level of functional achievement well above and beyond a bachelor's.

And Paul, you are talking about putting a collection of these badges together to be equivalent to a bachelor's, right? Not a bachelor's in Gardening when you get your black belt?

Not objecting, but sort of trying to find the scale for this thing. I could pay my money and put in 72 course hours for a PDC certificate that would qualify me to go peddle my services as a permaculture designer. That time would not get the white belt garden planted
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22170
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Is the poundage 'in addition to' or 'including' the amounts grown for the previous belt level?


Good point! I need to make that clear!


should people be able to do this anywhere or only on land of similar size and climate to your own.


For PEP1 certification, these are the plants that I am most familiar with and wish to emphasize. For other climates or places or laws, then they would need certification other than PEP1.

Some people have no interest in the merit badges or certification - so they might use this as a template for their own stuff.

I think it is plausible that somebody (maybe you) could create another thread in this forum called "PEJ1: gardening" and it is what that somebody would think would be the approximate equivalent.

Eventually, there could be a dozen and somebody might make "PEX: gardening" and in that they could show a grid of all the different things.


how is zero irrigation defined here? Could I capture roof runoff and use it with drip line for watering in a dry spell, or would that be irrigation?


That is irrigation.


Initially this was presented as being something that was intended to be somewhat analagous to a bachelor's degree. Looking at the income generation requirement for the black belt level, and thinking about a bachelor's degree, I am seeing a gap.


PEP1 will all be brown belt or lower.


 
Ludger Merkens
Posts: 171
Location: Deutschland (germany)
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Regarding the financial aspect,
are mushrooms as non plant cache crops ok?
--- Ludger
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22170
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hmmm .... mushrooms .... part of me wants to make them a separate badge. But I do think it would be best to include it here.

Adding it.
 
Penny Dumelie
gardener
Posts: 323
Location: AB, Canada (Zone 4a - Canadian Badlands)
52
bee chicken forest garden fungi rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Since PEP1 is about the basics, possibly PEP2 could have branches in some categories.
Using mushrooms as an example, PEP1 would list it in gardening and include the basics.
In PEP2 mushrooms could branch off from gardening into its own group, with its own badge, covering more advanced techniques and experiments.
 
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
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
white belt is for beginners, right? That starting list is daunting. I'd call it a huge victory for someone if in their first year of gardening if they:

-grew something in 10 different plant families from seed
-grew edible roots, leaves, seeds, fruits, and flowers
-propagated trees through seeds and one other method
-grew and incorporated soil improving crops (mulch, green manure, nitrogen fixers, etc.)
-saved some seed
-grew an entire meal and shared it with others

most lifelong traditional gardeners I know haven't done all that!

then start adding the poundage in more advanced belts/badges
I'm all about encouraging the beginner with immediate wins, achievable targets and reasons to celebrate progress.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22170
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
White belt is the goal for the first year. You don't even have to accomplish it in the first year. In fact, I think most people won't accomplish it until the second year.

There are people that will do gardening for the first time. But if you go to a school to learn gardening, then in the first year, you should be able to put out a bit of a crop.

The biggest one is 50 pounds of potatoes. So you cut up a dozen potatoes and stick them in the soil of a hugelkultur bed. Then you dig the potatoes out later in the year.

------

But! This is why there would be, say, PEA1 and PEP1. PEP1 is what I'm defining and PEA1 would be what you would define.

For me, I want PEP1 to have some real meat and substance.

I remember talking to an MBA about how the choice for MBA program is very important. You can leave some MBA programs and then spend years trying to find a job - and you might take some job that has nothing to do with your MBA. Then there are other schools where the lowest pay for a graduate starting immediately after graduation is $400,000.

I also find students that want to be challenged. And I think this isn't all that challenging.
 
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
paul wheaton wrote:But if you go to a school to learn gardening, then in the first year, you should be able to put out a bit of a crop.

absolutely agree

paul wheaton wrote:PEP1 is what I'm defining and PEA1 would be what you would define.

thankfully I do not intend to do any such thing. If I did, I would organize the awarding of belts in sort of a fibonacci sequence of difficulty, where if surpassing 100x amount of skills is the ultimate goal, the first belt is 1, second is 2x as much skill, third is 3x as much skill, fourth is 5x and only then does it really ramp up to 8x, 13x etc. But that's my peculiar bent on leadership...success early and often gives new learners confidence to try harder later, or so I believe.

paul wheaton wrote:And I think this isn't all that challenging.

I don't either, if you have a mentor available and it is a core focus of your time, like it would be for a gapper. Rereading the intro thread, I guess PEP1 is evolving into more of a committed apprenticeship program. That's great, not a criticism of anything other than my initial read. To learn to do all that at your own pace on your own initiative seems pretty challenging to me! I'll keep your PEP1 3 year concept in the forefront if I have any other comments...
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
40
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The thing with challenge is that it is all about perspective. When you have no experience everything looks hard. When you have extensive experience many things look easy.
Trying to look back from accomplishment and remember what things looked like as a beginner is very hard indeed.

In terms of perspective and to work the college analogy some more, I can readily see where the PE curriculum is college level. Students entering college are expected to have completed grade school and high school. College professors should not have to teach students to read.
So Paul is, perhaps, designing an Ivy League PE curriculum and you need a really good prep school background or a whole Lotta guts if you're going to tackle it.
On one hand I am cool with that, on the other, vermin chomped off all my beautiful potatoes this year and left me with nuttin'. It is only easy when it's easy
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 375
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
11
duck food preservation solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How about a roll call of anyone who has already completed more than half of the white belt items plus the requirements for brown or black belt -- anyone??

I have just over half of the white belt items done, but my production goals are more in the space of cows, apples, and pears...
 
Ashley Reyson
Posts: 43
Location: North Texas
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Clarification request:

Grow X pounds of Y without transplanting:
  • Means starting seeds in the ground.
  • Does not mean planting transplants, even if you started them from seed yourself.


  • Correct?
     
    Ashley Reyson
    Posts: 43
    Location: North Texas
    6
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    And, I'm curious why some plants got the distinction of a required yield (30 lbs tomatoes, 20 lbs peas, ...) and some got not such requirement (I can grow a grape vine but don't need an oz. of yield).

    Was this merely a shortcut as the list lengthened?
    Or are these others somehow less important to Paul?
     
    paul wheaton
    master steward
    Posts: 22170
    Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Ashley Reyson wrote:Clarification request:

    Grow X pounds of Y without transplanting:
  • Means starting seeds in the ground.
  • Does not mean planting transplants, even if you started them from seed yourself.


  • Correct?


    Correct.
     
    paul wheaton
    master steward
    Posts: 22170
    Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Ashley Reyson wrote:And, I'm curious why some plants got the distinction of a required yield (30 lbs tomatoes, 20 lbs peas, ...) and some got not such requirement (I can grow a grape vine but don't need an oz. of yield).

    Was this merely a shortcut as the list lengthened?
    Or are these others somehow less important to Paul?


    I think that it is important to have a certain amount of experience with certain plants.

     
    Rob Read
    Posts: 88
    Location: Poplar Hill, Ontario (near London) - Zone 6a
    8
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I think Ann Torrence raises really good points.

    When I review the initial list, I see a lot of focus on particular crops, and potential yields, and less focus on procedures that are allowed or disallowed.

    As someone who has been gardening for five years, I have yet to see anywhere near the production for some plants mentioned, but greatly higher for others (only 20 garlic! Ha! Child's play! Even one sizable squash of good quality - true confession - really hard with my site so far. )

    Procedurally, I'm a bit of a purist, so have imported very little, besides mulch, to my gardens. Without manure, or balancing of nutrients, I'm subject to my soil's deficiencies (though my most recent research is about adding elements (eg. calcium from lime etc - not synthetics) in correct ratios so that plants can uptake them more easily (this is based on reading Steve Solomon's book The Intelligent Gardener). Some people will be starting with soils that produce all the above crops well, others (like me) may have to find the place where there are not black walnut roots - or just might not be able to grow nightshades due to black walnut roots running under all areas they can garden, or have serious nutrient imbalances (or deficiencies) that could take many many years for nature to heal, even while being romanced by a permaculturist.

    What I suggest is a longer list of procedures that must be adhered to, and more of a selection process for the crops.

    For instance, you could say "grow at least this much of 5 out of the following 9 crops". You could have categories (eg. Grow at least 5 of these 9 herbs, 5 of these 9 root veg, etc). This would cover people with reasons they couldn't grow a certain crop - either because of site conditions, or allergies, etc.

    I seem to recall some of the Cub Scout badges worked this way. There would be mandatory parts (in this case, the restrictions to HOW you can grow stuff - such as seedlings only), and parts where you selected from a list (in this case, what the crops are, and how much of each is required.)

    Another point and PEP1, a more general one, is that most college courses have mandatory reading. PEP1 could have listening to all the podcasts, and perhaps reading the books you feel are most important to have read (Gaea's Garden, Sepp's books, Mollison's big black book).




    Ann Torrence wrote:white belt is for beginners, right? That starting list is daunting. I'd call it a huge victory for someone if in their first year of gardening if they:

    -grew something in 10 different plant families from seed
    -grew edible roots, leaves, seeds, fruits, and flowers
    -propagated trees through seeds and one other method
    -grew and incorporated soil improving crops (mulch, green manure, nitrogen fixers, etc.)
    -saved some seed
    -grew an entire meal and shared it with others

    most lifelong traditional gardeners I know haven't done all that!

    then start adding the poundage in more advanced belts/badges
    I'm all about encouraging the beginner with immediate wins, achievable targets and reasons to celebrate progress.
     
    paul wheaton
    master steward
    Posts: 22170
    Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I remember when I took my PDC there was "required reading". It turns out that just me and one other student actually did the required reading. And then everything was taught not to the two of us that did the required reading, but to the level of all of those that read nothing.

    I think it will be wise to eventually have "suggested reading". And somehow I think at some point there could be a test on certain topics.


    Ann Torrence raises really good points.


    She usually does. That's why she has so many apples.


    What I suggest is a longer list of procedures that must be adhered to, and more of a selection process for the crops.


    Hmmmm ..... at this time, I like the idea of being very specific. It's kinda like when an english teacher asks you to write a paper on anything vs. "write three pages about pickles."

    I think the first year is going to be extra painful for the PEP1 students, and there will be a lot of polish needed for the teachers.

    At the same time, I think a lot of your concerns are going to be addressed by other teachers offering alternatives to PEP1.


     
    Kevin Murphy
    Posts: 41
    Location: New Jersey Shore
    5
    chicken forest garden urban
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Hello,
    I know that I am probably late to the game here but how many gardeners and more specifically beginning gardeners do think are going to try growing the white belt list of vegetables without using irrigation? I understand that the goal is to get the person to grow things without irrigation but I am afraid that most beginners will just scratch their heads when they see zero irrigation.
    One option might be to make using zero irrigation a different level within the belt system. Also, is there any time limit on achieving the goals? If it takes me ten years to get my white belt, does that matter?
    I am not looking to be overly critical but I think if you are looking to expand how many people attempt to accomplish the PEP certification, then maybe lowering the bar for a beginner would be a good way to go.

    If the answer to this is to create my own PE say K system, then I think it will take away from the certification process as a whole because anyone can create any standard they want and we will not be comparing apples to apples(no pun intended).

    Ok, just figured I would chime in.

    -Kevin in NJ


     
    Michael Cox
    Posts: 1659
    Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
    54
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Paul - I really like your idea of PEP1 etc... but as in the other thread on chickens I see a fundamental issue with the way this is being setup. That is "Paul's list/ Paul's method etc...". How will a permaculturist in the tropics approach your PEP 1 in gardening? You have specified crops that won't grow there and precluded the obvious candidates that will.

    A broader, more inclusive approach would be to consider your objectives rather than the products... the objective of growing your own fruits/vegetables etc is to feed people. If you convert your weights of potatoes into "people meal portions" you could extend the scope of the whole project beyond being limited to your climate zones and pave the way for greater creativity.


    I would probably phrase your PEP1 Gardening objectives as...

    Provide 100 nutritionally balanced meal portions using between 15 and 30 crops grown without pesticides or artificial fertilisers.


    I thought about restricting watering... but again that is something that is climate dependent... how would someone in the tropics with traditional rice paddy flood irrigation and integrated fish rearing respond to being told their traditional systems are not good enough for permaculture?
     
    Daniel Morse
    Posts: 264
    Location: SW Michigan
    8
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I will think on all of this while I pound out papers for school. This is finals weeks. After the 15th I am all yours sir.
     
    paul wheaton
    master steward
    Posts: 22170
    Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
     
    Nina Jay
    Posts: 85
    Location: Southern Finland, mean annual temp +4 C, rainfall 700 mm, growing season 180 days, clay soil.
    4
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I think this is great because it gives an idea what is possible using permaculture techniques. At first glance the numbers seemed to me a bit daunting but on the other hand they might really help someone to set goals and get better.
    It really depends on the person. For me maybe not the best way, but for someone else exactly what they need.

    I was just thinking, could there be an alternative way of measuring success, in addition to the one suggested by Paul?

    For example: Measuring how big a percentage of - initially - your own consumption (in calories and/ or pounds) you are able to produce? Adding more people as experience level increases?
    I don't mean that one would necessarily need to be 100 % self sufficient before attempting to feed others. One could decide to be satisfied with being say 50 % self-sufficient and then start to sell to others.

    If the focus is on calories or pounds produced compared to those required by one's family and customers' families, then it wouldn't matter so much which species you grew. And we wouldn't have to worry about the different climate zones.
    You grow the species that grow best in your soil and climate. As long as it's a polyculture, the species don't matter.

    This alternative path is more forgiving for a beginner. If one crop fails, you can still achieve your goal if you manage to grow more of something else, as long as you get the same pounds/ calories.



     
    Peter Ellis
    Posts: 1432
    Location: Central New Jersey
    40
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    It might be worth remembering that this is not a beginner's program. Paul is talking about something on a par with a Bachelor's degree. It is advanced study.

    As has been noted, potentially the greatest benefit of this entire discussion is that it might produce somethig resembling a curriculum for permaculture.

    Sure, there is already a curriculum, all seventy two hours of it. Not really. That is just the introduction to a different mindset, a new way of looking at the world.
    The tools needed for actually acting upon at new vision? Those do not come in seventy two hours. Those come in pieces over a lifetime and no one ever gets all of them.

    So it is not just ok, but appropriate, for the curriculum to be advanced, challenging, even daunting.

    I do not see it as being measured in so many pounds of this and that, but Paul has a point, different teachers have different teaching methods and different focus in their teaching. So Paul wants everything direct seeded and no irrigation, not even collected rainwater. And I have no problems with transplanting and want to encourage capturing rainwater, so using rainwater for irrigation is fine with me.

    Paul's program is going to carry some credibility within the permaculture world, whereas mine, not so much. And so it is with colleges and universities. Go to the Ivy League school and you have better job prospects than the county community college.

    I also think that the curriculum that may shake out in the course of this discussion is not going to be a list of plants to grow. It will be a more abstract thing, along the lines of how to learn to recognize what plants are appropriate to a situation. Being able to grow fifty pounds of tomatoes is less useful overall than being able to recognize that this is not the place to grow tomatoes, this is where you grow kale. Growing without irrigation may be a useful skill, but what exactly is that skill?
    Being able to manage water in the landscape is probably a big piece of that skill, and a good curriculum might say so, to get the student looking at the elements that go beyond the plants.
    What are the characteristics of healthy soil? How do you recognize the imbalances, deficiencies or other problems that a given area of land may have?
    What is the plant life on the land telling you about the soil and the rest of the environment? Can you see prevailing winds in their growth? Animal pressures?
    Are there ph indicators? What about pollinators?

    All of those seem like pretty useful tools to me. Things that a person might want to be able to do in order to make a permaculture design for a growies site.
    How to learn these things? That is where a syllabus and a reading list come into action, especially since most of us are not going to have the opportunity to go train under a master. We have no choice but to pick it up, more or less on our own. (which, by the way, is the cue for Permies.com to take a bow, for providing us all a place to come and share our experiences, our knowledge and our hunger to learn more)
     
    Nina Jay
    Posts: 85
    Location: Southern Finland, mean annual temp +4 C, rainfall 700 mm, growing season 180 days, clay soil.
    4
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Peter Ellis wrote: It might be worth remembering that this is not a beginner's program. Paul is talking about something on a par with a Bachelor's degree. It is advanced study.[...}
    So it is not just ok, but appropriate, for the curriculum to be advanced, challenging, even daunting.


    Good point! I got sidetracked a bit, thinking about world domination All those millions of people new to permaculture and how this might also serve the purpose of luring them in.

    Peter Ellis wrote: The tools needed for actually acting upon at new vision? Those do not come in seventy two hours. Those come in pieces over a lifetime and no one ever gets all of them.


    That is very true. And natural systems are so complex. If the focus is on pounds of kale, tomatoes and peppers, it does not reflect the reality of the natural world. Which is that every year some species do great and some others struggle to stay alive.
    I think it would be great if these natural cycles were taken into account also in the curriculum. In other words I'm hoping for more flexibility. After all, in nature it does not matter if there are few lingonberries some year. It there's lots of blueberries and mushrooms instead the bears will do just fine. To give an example from Finland



    Peter Ellis wrote: I also think that the curriculum that may shake out in the course of this discussion is not going to be a list of plants to grow. It will be a more abstract thing, along the lines of how to learn to recognize what plants are appropriate to a situation. Being able to grow fifty pounds of tomatoes is less useful overall than being able to recognize that this is not the place to grow tomatoes, this is where you grow kale. Growing without irrigation may be a useful skill, but what exactly is that skill?
    Being able to manage water in the landscape is probably a big piece of that skill, and a good curriculum might say so, to get the student looking at the elements that go beyond the plants.
    What are the characteristics of healthy soil? How do you recognize the imbalances, deficiencies or other problems that a given area of land may have?
    What is the plant life on the land telling you about the soil and the rest of the environment? Can you see prevailing winds in their growth? Animal pressures?
    Are there ph indicators? What about pollinators?


    I think that the greatest strength of Paul's program is exactly that it's tangible, not abstract. If one manages to grow all those things on the list then I think it's pretty certain that they have excellent knowledge of all the things you mentioned.
     
    Deb Rebel
    garden master
    Posts: 1439
    Location: Zone 6b
    161
    books cat fish food preservation greening the desert solar trees urban woodworking
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I am setting up for what would be considered the commercial area I guess... I have two urban acres; and plan on (with grants) to build various structures to assist someone in growing more food and adapting to our microclimate; and teaching others how, (workshops and classes), propagating trees and plants to get others started with, actively supporting our farmer's market; and aiding the state ag dept in plant trials and supporting truck farming for local growing and local market. So if I start 1000 locust trees and give them away, grow enough for 50 people and take it to the market; and otherwise would blow the black belt away (using recycle water, I have to in our arid climate) I don't qualify.... (and yes, my two hugels are shaping up)
     
    paul wheaton
    master steward
    Posts: 22170
    Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Deb,

    To get PEP1, the locust trees would have to be started in the ground. Not in pots. The exercise is direct seeding.

    To meet PEP1 in an arid climate, you would have to do it with zero irrigation. That would be challenging in your area. Not impossible, but challenging.

    Of course, eventually, somebody might come up with, say, PEJ1 which might be more aligned with desert stuff and your values. You would then have a black belt in PEJ1 gardening.

    At this point, I think it is good to flesh out PEP1 according to my standards on my property, and then it would be easy for somebody to modify it a bit for PEJ1.





     
    Deb Rebel
    garden master
    Posts: 1439
    Location: Zone 6b
    161
    books cat fish food preservation greening the desert solar trees urban woodworking
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Sounds like a winner then, Paul.

    Locust seeded in ground... what if my tree seeds itself? (and it DOES!)
     
    Erica Wisner
    gardener
    Posts: 1181
    Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
    199
    books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I think someone who can produce enough food for a family of 4 annually, especially following the constraints Paul wants to add, is well beyond bachelor-level permaculture.

    I've heard there's a transition between about 70% of one's calories, and 100%, where gardening turns from a hobby into a full-time job.

    A bachelors' can be completed while working full time at something else, as proven by Ernie and his dad. It's definitely not full-time work, as most of us realize after we leave school and start actually working full-time.
    Maybe producing 50 to 70% of your calories for 1 or 2 people would be comparable to a bachelors' program, in terms of serious effort and reward, but no guarantees of self-sufficiency using only the content of that experience.
    Even just filling a pantry or freezer, or propagating heirloom plants true for more than a few years, indicates a pretty serious gardener.

    Maybe 4 people would be a masters / black belt.

    I'd say a doctorate (or masters in some fields) and a 3rd-degree black belt would be roughly equal - that's when you're generally allowed to start teaching. Note that this is numerous hours of practice after one's first-degree black belt.

    In most cases the degree is just the starting point.
    A bachelor is like an older apprentice in the trades system: you are now allowed to make some of your own decisions, and considered an insider rather than a lay person in the field, but you are not a master yet. In most cases you will not be allowed to practice independently, unless your field depends more on experience/OJT than academics.
    The modern masters' degree in some fields indicates full mastery (you can become licensed to practice by your state) but in others it's comparable to a trades journeyman: you are qualified to work independently, but you are not yet considered an authority in the field who can train other craft masters.
    For many fields the doctorate, the bar, your residency, licensure, or some other final threshold must be reached before you're considered a fully-fledged practitioner of a profession.


    I think the idea of a 72-hour "designer" course being enough training to set yourself up as a design-services professional is kinda ludicrous, personally.
    I think Mollison's idea was that if we each think of ourselves as creatively empowered "designers" who are responsible for integrating the elements within our control, we can do a lot more than if we think of ourselves as "consumers", customers, owners, or some of those other roles that impoverish our relationship with landscape. His political ideals involve a lot of egalitarian creative control - almost anarchy, though he reviews other equitable systems like democracy or consensus for the record. Yet he positions himself as an authority in this design field. He probably is - but the idea that you can become a designer as your livelihood after a week or two learning from some of his students smacks of pyramid scheme.

    By comparison - trades apprenticeship in Europe was traditionally 5 to 7 years if started as a youth; for an adult mason to become a certified kachelofen builder is a 3-year course, and there's a similar 3-year course to become a tile-maker for the same type of tile ovens. To understand climate, weather, and other local factors well enough to make good permaculture designs seems like it would take at least as long as learning how to plumb a house, or make and install an effective tile stove.
    If you are already a landscape architect and you are adding some permaculture practice and polish to established organic gardening and drought-tolerant landscape design skills, or something, that's another story. I would imagine a good masonry heater builder could learn a new design in about 3 tries, or with a good table of references, where it might take a novice 10 or more projects to find all the gaps in their understanding.

    Bill says "you can hardly do worse" than what's currently out there, but I disagree. I think there is a lot of good local design going unrecognized because it wears some other name, like "rancher" or "unemployed" or "housewife" or "century farm."
    I'd love to see ag schools doing permaculture trainings where you did more than one year - a 3 or 4 year program where you iteratively build on what you did before.

    That's one thing I do like about the belts: the idea that you do one level the first year, and then your goal is to do better the following year, building on what you already learned.
    After you've done that 3 or 4 times (with some supervision and help), you are demonstrably qualified to teach yourself and continue with your own research, and that's what I see as the basic promise of the bachelor's degree.
    The content is often not that ambitious; it's the iterative improvements that are most important.

    Freshman Gardening:
    Establish a Zone 1 garden providing familiar herbs and plants that you will use regularly - even a window-box is a good start. You will be graded not on the percentage of plants that survive, but on the percentage of the window-box that contains healthy or usable plant matter by finals week. (Yes, a store of dried herbs can compensate for some plants dying back.)

    Breadth requirements: In your zone 1 or 2, grow some of each food group: a legume, a starch, annual fruit(s) and vegetable(s), an oil-producing plant. Consider including a members of every major food-producing families that are viable in your area (e.g. a grain, tuber, bulb, and seed crop, not just a single starch; a berry, melon/gourd, annual and perennial fruits.)
    Perennials: Start establishing both herbaceous (rhubarb, horseradish, parsnip) and woody perennial crops (nuts, fruits, and/or coppice trees). If you do not have any zone 4 or 5 timber areas, start establishing coppice or timber access now, off-property if necessary.
    Stacking Yields: Find at least 3 uses for the weeds you encounter while establishing your Zone 1 garden. (Class exercises may include harvest and preservation of edible weeds, basketry, mulch and tinder-bundle preparation, shade-mat, and hugel-bed construction)
    Other Core Work: gain a working knowledge of soils, weather, solar aspect, pest management, etc. Start a journal with lab work to identify soil types, soil microbes, weather patterns, and key limiting factors of your site or climate.
    Electives: a choice of ornamental flowers, wild-foraging, livestock/apiary management, fermented foods, or building a 'sit spot' feature such as a bench, sundial, or outdoor tea stove.

    Freshman "finals": Produce a week's menu of varied meals from your produce (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks). Off site ingredients may be used if you can document how the garden produce was used to obtain these ingredients, but the main ingredients should be the direct produce of the garden. The meals can be produced and documented throughout the year; we strongly recommend not waiting until finals week as your selection may be seasonally limited.
    Will be scored on the likelihood of a new girlfriend or boyfriend being favorably impressed with the dining experience.

    Sophomore:
    Crops: Increase the diversity of your garden to provide better pest resistance. Double the number of crops, and rearrange them as needed based on last years' success or problems with certain aspects, soil types, water, etc.
    Landforms: Build 2 landforms or structures to improve the garden's performance (in-class work parties to include hugel bed(s), solar bowls, raised beds, cloches or solar-cones, frost-drainages, on and off-contour berms or beds, ditch cultivation, plants as structure).
    Materials: Visit established forage and timber systems such as coppice or pollard, harvest and renew a coppice area for future years' projects. Students may choose between de-budding withes in preparation for wickerwork, trimming stands for wattle production, or planting cuttings in preparation for hedge and fence work.
    Polyculture: Continue to develop your perrenial garden areas. Harvest the first crop of herbaceous perennials and propagate as appropriate. Tour 3 nearby garden or farm areas for ideas on climate-tolerant perennials to add, and aspects or landforms to suit them. Keep a journal of observations regarding garden visitors, interactions, and differences in microclimate or guild associations that may be affecting your garden choices next year.

    Sophomore finals: Produce 3 full week's menu of varied meals from your garden produce, one each from 3 different months of the year. Include the use of stored/hardy foods for your climate's winter or dormant season.
    Document 20 different visitors who have appeared in your garden without human intervention (insects, plants/weeds, animals, birds, debris, etc), and describe their potential associations with your efforts.
    Establish 2 goals for next year: one for personal-best calorie production, another for personal satisfaction or trade.

    Junior:
    Crops: Your crop palette should now include at least three examples of each category from freshman year. Demonstrate redundancy at least 3 varieties deep for: Major food groups, soil-building functions, insect functions; and seasonal rotation of functions.
    Emergency: Take 2 field trips to meet climate-tolerant native or naturalized species that can be used as emergency food and fodder. Inspect perennials and repair any damage; graduation next year depends on successful establishment of perrennials. (If all perennials are failing to thrive, consider an inventory of native or weedy perennials and researching their productive potential.)
    Animal Husbandry: Integrate livestock or apiaries into your garden. Build a fence or tether of site-grown materials capable of keeping a goat busy for over 24 hours. (Vegan alternative: build orchard-bee habitat capable of resisting mite and fungal infestation for all 4 seasons)
    Landforms II: Add 3 more landforms or structures to improve the garden's overall performance - either more of the same, or a new strategy. Class examples to include an outdoor kitchen capable of safe canning and dehydration, safe storage for tools and seeds, a pond and key-line system, contour and off-contour berms, wattle or wickerwork animal control systems.
    Observation: Track your own personal diet for a full month. Document the role your garden produce plays in your personal diet, favorite foods to target for production next year, and any exotics that could only be acquired by trade.

    Junior finals: Produce at least 50% of the adult caloric requirement, using at least 4 distinct families of plants/animals. Trade is permissible but calorie-for-calorie exchanges must be observed; the pig must eat sufficient pounds of squash to account for the weight of bacon claimed.
    For the plant or family that represents the biggest contributor/surplus, document how that plants' supporting requirements are being met, how you are insuring against pest congregation, and how this surplus is being used to serve the larger garden development.
    Your plan for next year should include bringing a different plant family into equivalent or better production with this year's winner.

    Senior:
    Crops: Your crop palette should now be capable of providing 70% of an adult daily caloric requirement, with some surplus for trade. Most of your senior work will consist of maintaining and improving production using everything learned so far.
    Networking: Contact gardeners from regions where your favorite exotics grow, and learn which of your local crops they would consider as possible trade goods. You may also consider renewable resources such as ice, wood, or textiles, but avoid non-renewable exports unless their removal will actively improve your garden. (e.g. swapping caliche/lime for peat or pine-needle amendments.)

    Senior Finals: Document that your garden produces 70% of the adult caloric requirement, and what type(s) of surplus it produces.
    Demonstrate what proportion of this food production is perennial, irrigation-independent, self-seeding, and generally capable of continued production without intervention.
    Senior project: Design your own signature project, graded based on whether it favorably impresses other gardeners in your climate. Examples might include cultivating a desirable exotic, improving production of an heirloom from last year, unusually beautiful polyculture gardening or landscape design, or producing a value-added delicacy such as honey, cheese, sauces/relishes, fruit butters, sausage or smoked foods, or fermented foods/beverages from your produce.


    That's if permaculture gardening was a college bachelors' degree... as I imagine it.

    My own personal self-designed permaculture learning curve is very different from this - it's a combination of social networking and climate adaptation, built around my situation as a freelance traveling teacher and family caregiver. I'm not expecting food self-sufficiency, yet I'm seeing my grocery bills go down and the food quality go up.

    I don't think I'd consider myself as having any particular gardening degree.
    So really, the question is what would master gardeners or subsitence farmers consider the basic requirements for a bachelors' of gardening?

    Based on recent farm-hand adventures:

    "Harvest 4 to 10 different market crops for this week's meals, using the appropriate care and handling with each, so that they last in cool storage for 72 hours or until processed. T
    (Farmer: Triage crops and schedule available picking time based on current ripeness, storage life, market potential, likelihood of weather or insect damage, and the necessity to keep plants in their productive, vegetative state (over-ripe crops may need to be picked and discarded).
    Estimate the cost of all labor and materials in cultivating those crops, and a fair price per unit. Consider how processing time to bundle units before market, or lost sales time while weighing produce at the market, might affect your prices.)"

    "Make a meal for 4 farm hands using produce on hand, meeting their caloric needs, keeping the summer kitchen as cool as possible, and ensuring that nobody gets food or water-borne illness (rinsing salad with irrigation water is an automatic fail).
    One farm hand is allergic to wheat, one to nuts, one is sensitive to dairy but will eat it anyway if served, and one will vomit if served okra."

    "Create and use a method for ensuring that all 27 rabbits get fresh water twice daily during the heat wave, including the ones in the new hutches over the hill, while alternating shifts with your fellow farm hands."
    "List 4 items on your farm that could be used as substitute rabbit-food after the hay delivery is discovered to be moldy."

    "Pack enough produce into the station wagon by 1 pm on Thursday to pay your bills for the week, including tables, scales and equipment. Do you have room for your intern(s)? Did all flowers and produce arrive intact?"


    "Create a realistic time budget to complete all essential garden chores and inspections without shirking other duties or health requirements. This schedule should allow for:
    - 8 hours of sleep,
    - 8 hours of "day job" plus a half-hour for unpaid lunch,*
    - 2 hours of daily travel for errands or commuting,
    - 2 to 4 hours for family or personal obligations such as cooking, bathing, bills, housework, etc.
    X What time remains available for garden work?
    X What other daily activities, such as education, entertainment, or social life would you need to budget time for?

    Can any of the above activities be combined or share time slots? (Is it possible to do two things at once?)
    How might the schedule change with additional family members or teammates, either responsible or infantile?

    Explain how a 4-hour emergency involving farm equipment, transportation, or medical breakdowns would affect your proposed schedule.
    Describe the possible consequences of a health breakdown lasting more than 48 hours.
    Describe how your schedule and priorities would change if you received word of an approaching hail storm, wild fire, or other threat to your farm and family?

    Consider how you would use an additional 2 hours of help from a novice volunteer, assuming they have no prior knowledge of plants or animals?
    How much of your own time would you invest to recruit 41 minutes of reluctant 'help' from your teenaged offspring? Describe other considerations that might affect your decision besides the simple quantity of productive time gained or lost.

    Consider what level of income is needed to service your current debts, bills, or other obligations (such as medical and schooling costs for children).
    At what point could you afford to reduce your 'day job' hours because of garden productivity?
    At what point would a part-time job no longer carry a financial advantage due to commuting or other costs?
    Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of working from home."


    -Erica
     
    paul wheaton
    master steward
    Posts: 22170
    Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    First, I think a lot of people can grow enough food for four people for one year on the very first year of trying. After all, was that not the goal of the kingsolver book on the topic?

    Second, I think that if you plant a lot of sunchokes the first year, you will end up with double that the next year without really trying. And there are a lot of foods that way. If one were trying to grow enough food for four people on one acre - then that will take a lot of work. But if you have worked up to three or four acres, I think it gets much easier.

    Further, using permaculture techniques, each year you build more permaculture systems and the stuff you built last year continues to pump out food with very little assistance from you.

    And finally: one of the functions of PEP1 is the idea that once somebody has achieved it, then they are of value as a speaker/consultant/heir.
     
    Seth Peterson
    Posts: 94
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    28
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I like the idea that this pep has growing edible mushrooms. And that the there is another pep for mushroom cultivation that goes into all the other uses and cultivation techniques, etc.

    Seth
    Permaculture chef
     
    evan l pierce
    Lab Ant
    pollinator
    Posts: 743
    Location: ava, ant village
    618
    chicken duck forest garden greening the desert hugelkultur hunting solar wofati woodworking
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Is the first post in this thread the closest thing to the most up-to-date finalish officialish list available? I'm looking forward to trying my hand at the white badge this upcoming growing season and I'm looking at seed catalogs with this in mind.
     
    jesse markowitz
    Posts: 151
    Location: Hudson Valley, NY
    12
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Yes. Good luck!
     
    Alex Pine
    Posts: 15
    Location: Adelaide, Australia
    chicken food preservation trees
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Challenge accepted!
     
    Seth Peterson
    Posts: 94
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    28
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Post photos.

    In fact, anyone attempting peps at this early beta stage should post lots of photos to discuss the process, results and hammer out the inherent and unhelpful challenges.

    Like there should be whole teams of us, taking on pep challenges and posting our progress. Little communities of pep beta testers, just sayin...

    Seth Peterson
    Permie chef
     
    jesse markowitz
    Posts: 151
    Location: Hudson Valley, NY
    12
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Seth Peterson wrote:Post photos.

    In fact, anyone attempting peps at this early beta stage should post lots of photos to discuss the process, results and hammer out the inherent and unhelpful challenges.

    Like there should be whole teams of us, taking on pep challenges and posting our progress. Little communities of pep beta testers, just sayin...

    Seth Peterson
    Permie chef


    Yes, this is a HUGE part of the idea. People will see others doing these projects, which will motivate some to get started, and we will all learn from each other's mistakes.
     
    I will open the floodgates of his own worst nightmare! All in a tiny ad:
    Learn, Design, Teach, & Inspire with Permaculture games.
    FoodForestCardGame.com
    • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic
    Boost this thread!