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When is the right time for a PDC course (if ever)?

 
pollinator
Posts: 159
Location: Charlotte, Tennessee
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Happy New Year!

I'm trying to decide whether to sign up for an online PDC course. We're not living in the state where our eventual-homestead will be (we move in 18 months). I wonder if it would be better to hold off and spend that tuition $ when we're on the actual land, and I can apply what I'm learning. OR would an online PDC course be a good use of this somewhat stagnant waiting time?

If it helps in the advice-giving process, I'm signed up to do some hands on stuff here in Washington State (our land is in Tennessee). I'm doing an Edible Forest Gardening Design Course from Feb-Oct with Dave Boehnlein, and the inaugural residential 2019 PEP1 gathering. :-) I also volunteer at a local farm.

I know that there is no correct answer. And I've never done a PDC course, so it's hard for me to decide if the time is right. So I appreciate any input. Thanks in advance.
 
gardener
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I'm not certified. I've watched most of the course materials at Wheaton labs and I have read many books on different subjects.

Which gets to my point. When i read books my mind starts wandering on how the specifics apply to my land, my geography, my weather,  etc.

Since i have no plans to move this may a good thing "for me". I dont know the answer though. I get specifics for my application but may miss the more broad lesson. Does that make sense? I am unsure which way is better. There's a good argument for both sides.
 
Erica Colmenares
pollinator
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wayne fajkus wrote:

Since i have no plans to move this may a good thing "for me". I dont know the answer though. I get specifics for my application but may miss the more broad lesson. Does that make sense? I am unsure which way is better. There's a good argument for both sides.



OK, that's a good context. Are we learning for broad application, or for a specific application. And that's going to depend on the user, eh? Thanks, Wayne!
 
pollinator
Posts: 2409
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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You don't need a PDC unless, you plan on being an educator or design consultant and need the paper.

In terms of a 2acre food forest.
You already have Bio-Intensive/Square Foot Gardening for vegetables/herbs/annuals
You already know how to grow oyster mushroom+wine cap
For soil you already know Compost Tea (water kefir + milk kefir + worm compost + native soil with mycelium)
For carbon farming we have two sets of 60day corn (12ft) that is dried and turned to bio-char or chipped +woodchip imports
There there is swales/subsoil ripping.
We also have cover crop (dutch clover+daikon radish+herbs)

Then we have planting fruit trees and nuts in late fall to give the roots max time for growth before leafing out.
There is also spacing between plants I just do a blanket 15ft for 3ft gooseberry and also 15ft apple and  18ft pawpaw.
And aiming for 25% N-fixer coverage at maturity but 80% N-fixer coverage at establishment (sun is always hitting dutch clover)

Throw in some honey bee + chickens for meat and egg, you are golden. (Which PDC don't really teach much about or plant/animal cultivar selection).

What you can do now is work on getting some dehydration skills + fermentation skills other food preservation skills.

Then I would work on time management skills and building your body's endurance and strength.

As for the layout of your plants in regards to wind/sun/water/fire/etc)  
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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I did Geoff's online PDC in 2014, while doing a farm internship; I was very much trying to maximize what I got out the time before I found a place to settle.

I wouldn't do it that way again. Maybe if there was nothing local to engage with, and I was stuck at a desk job... but probably not even then. I think an in person PDC with a first rate instructor who is local to your chosen biome is far better value for money. If money is tight, I would probably do without this, and seek education by volunteering/worktrading/experimenting/reading.

I'd spend a portion of the saved PDC cost on buying the designers manual and additional books to suit your interests; Ben Falk and Mark Shepard would probably top my list. Read, think, discuss here, read again...

Combined with the other meatspace stuff you mention that's a lot of learning for a little money.
 
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I've never taken a PDC but it seems to me like all of this information is readily available on the internet or from books. I may be wrong but I'd spend my money on seeds or plants instead.
 
Posts: 125
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This is about half of an old PDC (I think?). I have seen one of the Mollison and Lawton PDC courses online and found it very useful. I would have paid for a similar course if it was cheap, but unless I see a need to get a 'piece of paper' probably wouldn't go out pay for it now. That said I did do a 2nd year university subject that was basically permaculture, while I didn't learn much directly from it, these things can help prod you into useful directions that you would not normally travel.

http://www.networkearth.org/perma/culture.html
 
pollinator
Posts: 206
Location: Sask, Canada - Zone 3b
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Since you are in North America, I would suggest getting a hold of Edible Forest Gardens Volumes 1&2. The Permaculture Design Manual is the best overall for all things Permaculture, but the Edible Forest Volumes are more like encyclopedias. Which bacterium are beneficial to which plants, all the technical details to planting a food forest, which plants are the best Dynamic Accumulators, etc - even something as simple as how to properly dig a hole is explained in great detail. Diagrams and Graphs galore! I've only just skimmed through bits of them, but because the information is so specific to USA/Canada, I would suggest this as a better alternative to a PDC.

I see books and experience to be like getting the needed hours before one takes a driving test, and the PDC is the actually test, but that's just me. Because of the way PDC certification works with who can teach it, there are some people in the prairie provinces I would classify as Advanced Gardeners (or garden masters), yet they hold PDC certificates and teach permaculture. I believe though if they were placed in a rural pasture with the goal of restoring 100 acres, they'd likely be overwhelmed and have little knowledge to share. The knowledge I see being advertised for such courses and workshops is stuff that can be found in many $20-$50 permaculture books. If I'm going in for a $800-$1200 PDC, I'm taking the course to learn how to work on large scale(>5 acres) or advanced projects, likely with big EarthWork machines involved and lots of teaching of how to calculate the 100's of variables properly.

With that said, I think you get to join alumni forums in some cases, which gives you access to a lot of smart people that can help you further. Also if one lacks self-confidence even after years of growing&practicing, maybe that's a reason to get a PDC.
 
gardener
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Interesting replies. Another option is the pep/pex program that is starting here at permies.
 
pollinator
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I wanted to put up this link for you  webpage  and I hope it displays properly.  I could go into how the actual course was so great (Geoff Lawton online 2014), and it changed my life, but we're not all created equal and this video seemed to do a good job on what to expect, etc. Especially since Geoff's course is getting ready to start.

The actual course helped me organize my existing knowledge into a more cohesive system.  And I would say (if you decide you want to do a PDC) the sooner the better.
 
Erica Colmenares
pollinator
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I somehow missed all these great responses. Off to read; will respond soon!
 
Erica Colmenares
pollinator
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bob day wrote:I wanted to put up this link for you  webpage  and I hope it displays properly.  I could go into how the actual course was so great (Geoff Lawton online 2014), and it changed my life, but we're not all created equal and this video seemed to do a good job on what to expect, etc. Especially since Geoff's course is getting ready to start.


Thanks! I've been getting his emails, and have almost committed a number of times over the past two months. Being honest with myself, though, I learn best doing, and in community, and I'm not the most disciplined of people. So I feared it would become yet another thing that I felt guilty about not doing enough.

Dillon Nichols wrote:
I think an in person PDC with a first rate instructor who is local to your chosen biome is far better value for money.


"Your chosen biome" is the kicker for me. I'm so tempted to do the Bullock Brothers PDC this summer, but it's here in the Pacific NW (Orcas Island - beautiful!) and our land is in Tennessee. Spiral Ridge Permaculture in TN is offering a PDC this spring - I'm waiting for the dates to be set to decide if I can swing it.


Mike Barkley wrote:Interesting replies. Another option is the pep/pex program that is starting here at permies.


Mike, I've signed up for the inaugural PEP1 course. I'm nervous as hell.

S Benji wrote:What you can do now is work on getting some dehydration skills + fermentation skills other food preservation skills.

Then I would work on time management skills and building your body's endurance and strength.


This is really good. Yes. Body strength, endurance ... less time sitting typing, more time outside doing projects.
 
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