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permaculture system for the less wealthy.  RSS feed

 
rose macaskie
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  One thing that strikes me about permaculture is that it is desisgned to help those who have less money.
  Instead of buying in manure you plant leguminous or fagneous trees and plants that have nodules on the roots that fix nitrogen for the plants reducing the necessity for the gardener to buy fertilisers, trees like the decorative cercis siliquastrum, or locust trees and acacias, peas and beans and bushes like like broom and gorse. It might be a bit expensive buying trees but in the long run it is cheaper than buying endless quantities of manure and such additives to the soil. I have been buying manure this year, it gets expensive trying to aliment your plants more expensive thaqn buying trees.

  Also, if you plant plants of several sizes, if you have deep rooted plants then what you don't have on that part of your soil you can reach the top layers, maybe exist at some lower level chalk and iron maybe at lower layers will be taken up by the deeper rooted plants and end up in its leaves that will drop leaving the chalk iron of their make up on top of the soil for the shallower rooted plants to take up thus reducing the necessity to bring in additives to your soil from outside.
      These parts of bill mollisons plan reduce the out goings of the gardener farmer and contribute to his sucess in growing things without having plants with deficienties, his design of a cheap system  would be a piece with what seems to be normal in Bill Mollisons teaching, a predisposition to think for those who have less. agri rose macaskie.
 
Jami McBride
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Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
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Yes Rose, it is a rich and amazing system that works - enriching our lives no matter where we are coming from financially.  Now that is appealing  What a blessing God's creation is! 
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
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When I first started into permaculture I didn't even know it was called that.  I sure have come a long way since then.

I started by stopping my monthly exterminator's visit, I purchased two ducks and one rabbit.  I know I needed fertilization, but I didn't know a thing about soil, weather or erosion.  More animals followed and my pest problems were all but gone.  Those animals cost me less than the exterminator did.  The ducks free ranged the back yard and the rabbits were loose too in their very own paddock, so the work and costs were low.

I wonder how others got started in permaculture..... and what benefits they achieved to their soils and lives?
 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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For me, it was the strong desire to grow food for us.  Part of the drive was not enough income, you can only tread water for so long!  I always knew that there were cheaper ways to do things, stuff more natural, too.  My mother gave my then 6th grade son a natural gardening book that was written in the '60's and I was hooked!

The internet has bought forth tons of information for doing things like nature does.  The big plus to that is that it's usually the cheapest way to go, too - I don't have to buy a rototiller as I do no-till gardening, I can save seed, etc, etc.

Now I have to go check out Bill Mollison....
 
rose macaskie
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I got started by a mother who knew, I don't know how much, about organic farming, gardening, a lot of it was in the air i grew up in as were conversaitons about deserrtification and such. Permaculture adds things organic ideas did not have as far as i know, like water harvesting or stretching, earth works, and planting trees with vegetables and planting trees only seemed important when i came to live in Spain and started to value shade, shade is not exactly a sort after good in cloudy England. rose.
 
rose macaskie
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  I wonder if I should have planted quick growing trees like popplars and  plain tre4es at first as they will produce a lot of leaf to build up soils quicker than fruit trees have done. agri rose macaskie.
 
                    
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Rose, maybe in time our garden will be able to answer your last question about planting 'plain' trees.

My parents put in native* and non-native trees in our back yard: 3 River birches (Betula nigra*), 1 Willow Oak (Quercus phellos*), 1 Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera) and one 1 Red Maple (Acer rubum*). They also planted two willows; 1 Ram's Horn (Salix babylonica crispa) and 1 Weeping (Salix sepulcralis). The neighborhood developers lined our street with ornamental Bradford Pears (Pyrus calleryana) and planted some kind of pines on a hard berm in back in 1995.

Most of the trees we planted are about 6-8 years old. Now that we are designing a food forest, we have to account for the fact that our canopy layer is dominated by non-fruiting trees. Although the Cherry Plum is supposed to make some fruit, it was planted as an ornamental, leaving only the Red Maple for any sort of worthwhile food production. That said, the leaf litter from our trees will be quite useful. And it doesn't hurt that the birches will allow for dappled shade and not a very dense, inhibiting shade. The oak, on the other hand, could very easily turn into a huge problem: 30+ meters in height with deep shade.

We are going to keep our trees, but only time will tell whether or not my parents will have them removed so that we can plant fruit crops. So it will be interesting to compare our results with yours.
 
rose macaskie
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FInch,  i meant plane trees not plain trees, i am bad at spelling. I have not planted any such trees,  I do have some poplars but they were just there. My garden is a bit of steep ravine and my popalars and oaks ecxept the evergreen ones are at the foot and sides of a precipice and my  reflection on the big amount of leaves that big trees can drop is a consequence of collecting leaves from under these trees last week and noticing what a lot of leaf they dropped now they are a bit big. They had been cut when i got the garden and have grown from their roots. They are not on any bit of the garden in which I planed to grow vegetables though, so they are not bettering soils where i want them very good.

    If you look up my writting on oaks in the woodland care section of these forums I describe how they are prunnned in Spain, you talk of them getting big and cutting out all the ligth from other plants the Spanish method of growing them they cover a lot of land in the centre and west of Spain stops them castign to much shade on pastures. I put in photos of them and lots of information it is part of a old tradition that i long for everyone to know about.
      Here oaks are used to fatten the live stock, acorns and as fire wood, or the wood is cut from four to six main arms or coppiced which is to say the trees are  cut down everytime the trunks get to a diameter of nine centimetres, which makes good sized logs for stoves, these trees  grow back from the roots.
  THe oaks are often kept kept here in  a sylvo pastoral setting. That is they are not thickly planted and the grass at their feet is pastured and i imagine the reason that trees grown for firewood or building materials are grown in a  in very open way, like those of an old fashioned park, is to reduce the fire risk a forest presents, a big concern in the mediterranean.

      I have thought that one of the reasons for pollarding these trees was that then they caste less shade on the pasture land. the spanish tradition shows that you can cut them so they dont reduce the sunlight on other plants too much as they get older. Pollñaarding them is also meant to keep them healthy.
    Wanting to give publicity to theis usefull method of farming is one of the things that got me into writing about  this sort of topic. 
    I was going to collect leaves as mulch but ended up filling old bags that had contained manure with them to aislate the pipes that are in the garden and stop them freezing and i thought of makking a cushion of leaves in a plastic bag for my dog to sit on in the garden. agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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  I looked up the cercis siliquatrum, it seems the american name for it is a redbud,  as i have just bought one for idealogical reasons, it is called the buda tree as well as the tree of love and of judas, my reason for buying it is sometimes called budas tree, and I found up by looking it up that it is a fabaceae, which is to say has nodules on its roots that fix nitrogen and it is a very decorative tree, so we can have it all over the garden everywhere we want it to feed some fruit tree and be premaculture at the same time.

  In Geof llawtons greening the desert effort, he says, in his video about it, that they planted more trees that were not food trees than that were, acasias, mimosas are acacias  and they are decorative trees and guomi i dont know how to spell that, are the ones he mentions, that would put nitrogen in the soil.  The lebanese thought they were crazy to waste their efforts on trees that did not directly produce food but they sucessfully greened the desert so not so crazy. agri rose macaskie.
 
              
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Location: swampland virginia
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rose macaskie wrote:
  ...Geof llawtons greening the desert effort, he says, in his video about it, that they planted more trees that were not food trees than that were...

I have some of his dvds. What i remember him saying is that when you start, 90% of the plants are soil builders 10% food produces. In time, it switches and 90% of your plants are food producers and 10% soil builders. He also states that you can leave a system alone, and it will maintain itself. Come back years later and there will be food. It will naturally produce at a certain level. If you want to increase the yield, then you spend a day or two cutting and mulching to lift productivity. I can find the exact specifics of what he said in the video if necessary.

On permaculture, I see it as a system for the less simple minded . We celebrate different life forms and what they have to bring to the table. We celebrate the circle of life. We celebrate the multivariable equations and creative expressions it allows. Depending on how you define wealth, I think Permaculture could be for 'the wealthy.' I would assume that once you have a good permaculture system in place, you live better than 95% of the people in the industrialized nations. You may not have a million dollar mansion, but you have all the nutrient rich food you could ever eat, a comfortable house to live in, and less worries about tomorrow. Appears you can make more per acre than conventional farming, becoming monetarily wealthy if you choose.
 
Kirk Hutchison
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Jami McBride wrote:
I wonder how others got started in permaculture..... and what benefits they achieved to their soils and lives?


   My experience, due to my age, is probably somewhat different than that of others. Three years ago, when I was in the sixth grade, I attended a Science Academy at my middle school, which exposed me for the first time to concepts like global warming and soil erosion. Needless to say, I was rather disturbed. I put such thoughts to the back of my mind, but a vague feeling of unease was always lurking. Over the summer between the sixth and seventh grades, my Mom became interested in growing tomatoes. My job was to research how to build a raised garden bed. While searching for how-to videos on Youtube, I noticed a link in the sidebar entitled Forest Gardening with Robert Hart. Here's the link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7f8NCh3s8c
   I immediately thought "Oh my goodness, here's the solution to all of our problems!" I then spent a year in feverish research, which led me to discover sepp holzer, the Permaculture Research Institute, and this site. After accumulating enough information, I convinced my parents to let me transform our backyard into a small forest garden. It is coming along nicely despite a temporary setback caused by a new puppy.
 
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