I am brand new to this forum but I have done some reading on permaculture over the past few years.
I live on a large property in the mid-Atlantic, mostly wooded. I have many years of homesteading and gardening experience and would like to put in some forest gardens and other permaculture features but don't know how or where to begin. My time is limited (I know, everyone's is) and I can't invest hours and hours of research and planning before getting started. Are there people that do perma design consultations for a reasonable fee? How would I find them? What are my options for getting something valuable going quickly?
Thanks so much.
There are most certainly people who do permaculture designs on a consultancy basis. If I wanted to find a good one in my area I'd look for someone as local as possible who has existing sites to show off, hopefully a few years old so it can be seen that their designs are maturing well. People calling themselves Permaculture Designers should have completed at least a 72-hour permaculture design course and have the certificate to prove it, but courses are by no means equal and there is obviously vast scope for advancing beyond this fairly basic level of training.
More info on your location and your goals might help people here suggest specific designers that might be able to help you.
You say you want to get 'something valuable' going quickly, but valuable is a malleable sort of word; what would you like the design to do for your property? Having a clear idea of goals as well as available resources (time, skills/abilities, money, water, infrastructure, markets, etc) will help you move forward more quickly once you find a designer that suits you.
Here's a link to Permaculture Global's website.
A lot of perennial seeds require a stratification period in order to germinate, so this year might be too late for some varieties. Some require no stratification period or only a short stratification period.
For example, in my limited experience apples only need a short stratification period before they start to sprout in the fridge. You can get hundreds of apple seeds that will be useful as root stock for a few bucks.
Sheffield's has a search tool that allows a person to search for plants that have no stratification requirement (just check the "Ready to Grow" box). There are also a lot of other handy search functions on their page so you could say search for drought tolerant perennial edibles that grow well in alkaline soil and need no stratification.
Sheffield's advanced search
This is something that you can do in addition to hiring a consultant to do a design and buying trees from a nursery. It won't be as helpful this year, but any large scale implementation is probably going to be established in chunks unless you're willing to spend a lot of money.
Next I would plant a bunch of nitrogen fixing plants, it would just be ground cover dutch clover.
Next, big thing to do is to plant in the fall vs spring.
My location is northwestern Virginia (near Warrenton). I don't necessarily want to implement a large design over my whole property; my idea for beginning was to plant several guilds/edible forest garden stands behind my house. They would be perhaps 20 X 30 feet and I could fit maybe 2-3 of them. It is a south-facing slope bordering a rocky, wet weather streambed. The house is to the North and a large wooded area to the south. The stands would provide some shade for the house (but must not get out of hand) and include edibles and perhaps medicinals. Aesthetically, they would block some of the view to the woods (lots of downed trees and brambles in there) and be pleasant to look at/sit in. They would receive only partial sun due to the large trees to their south. I don't have a ton of money to spend--maybe $2k and lots of sweat equity.
I can plant trees and shrubs pretty well but have little experience with groundcovers. Would I need to kill the grass/weeds in those areas before attempting to start groundcovers there?
S bengi, should I wait until next fall to plant? There tends to be a lot more motivation in spring around here.
I have a number of sad apple trees already. I can't imagine propagating more that will never produce. Obviously I'm doing something wrong but not sure what. I do have successfully bearing plums and peaches.
Thanks for any further advice,
Tyler Miller wrote:Permaculture Global seems like it could be a good resource for you. It has a map showing the locations of a lot of permaculture people. You can find your area and start looking at people's profiles. Their profiles usually have information on services they provide, their education and certifications, and projects they have worked on. I don't remember if you have to create an account in order to view that information, but it's free regardless.
Here's a link to Permaculture Global's website.
Thanks so much, I tried this site but it looks like there is only designer in my state and she is rather far from me? Not sure if I'm doing it correctly.
I am on Orange County, VA (near Lake of the Woods between Culpeper and Fredericksburg) so not too far from Warrenton. One place you might want to visit for some ideas is Edible Landscaping in Afton , VA - http://ediblelandscaping.com/
They don't have the cheapest prices but could certainly provide some good advice on Guilds for our area. They also occassionally host fruit tastings and other workshops which I have found helpful. I don't know any permaculture consultants in the area (yet) and could also probbaly use a bit of consulting to help me move on from my "analysis paralysis" I seem to be stuck in lately...
A few things:
I'm sure this isn't a complete listing, as I scrolled around wildly clicking on profiles instead of using any kind of system.
I'm only listing people who have taken PDCs and list themselves as consultants.
I'm only listing people who posted their websites/businesses. Since they also listed themselves as consultants I feel pretty safe that I'm not violating their privacy and that they'd appreciate the advertising.
Lastly, I don't know any of these people so don't take these as personal recommendations.
John Athayde - Sfumato Farm
Vail Dixon - Simple Soil Solutions
Rev. Marjani Dele - Nature's Friends
Timothy Ranck - Permaculture Abundance
Ben Capozzi - Ben Capozzi
Justin Hitt - Prosperity Homestead
Virginia Rockwell - Gentle Gardner Green Design
Joshua Deel - Abundant Valley Farm
Seneca Haynes - Allegheny Permaculture
Would you also be interested in consultants from West Virginia?
Tyler--that list will be very handy, thanks. I put "Virginia" in the search box and got only the one with that name!