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Permaculture beginner - where do I start?  RSS feed

 
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Hey guys!

I am pretty new to permaculture. I have cultivated some plants last summer, but didn’t really apply permaculture there.
Was also part of Building parts of permaculture based houses. But that’s about it.
Now I have the great opportunity to create a garden based on the principles of permaculture (which is my wish because I totally agree with the philosophy) in south Sweden. All I cans as for now is that the soil is very clay—y.

Still I’m a very beginner and have no experience apart from the above mentioned.

My question to you therefore is, if you could suggest me some helpful literature, online material, videos, courses, Magazins, Journals,...
I would be grateful for everything. Even if you have Tipps how to start, I’d be glad to know them.
There’s so much material in here. I kinda get lost. Please help me find a way through this jungle  😆

Im very free in theb design and there will also no financial limitations. I can do anything.
As long as it’s eco. I chose the permaculture option.

Thanks in advance
 
Posts: 89
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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Start at the beginning https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Mollison
Read his stuff and work your way up to Geoff Lawton his protégé.

Where to start? Zone 1

Figure out what zone 1 is and you'll be one your way.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 10711
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Lots of helpful and inspiring videos here:  Geoff Lawton: Permaculture Online    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL_r1ELEvAuN0peKUxI0Umw[/youtube]
 
master steward
Posts: 2432
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Carina, welcome to permies!  Here is a thread with a list of some permaculture blogs:  https://permies.com/t/73168/Favourite-permaculture-blog

This thread is about the Prime Goal of Permaculture:  https://permies.com/t/59524/Prime-Goal-Permaculture

This is a review of Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway which you might find at your local library:  https://permies.com/wiki/40202/Gaia-Garden-Toby-Hemenway

We also have a Book Review Grid where you might find some recommended books:  https://permies.com/w/book-reviews
 
garden master
Posts: 2783
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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I cannot agree more about Gaia's Garden! It was the first permaculture book I read, and I think it is a wonderful introduction!

Then, my favorite video, that also got me into permaculture, is Paul Wheaton's keynote presentation! This is an awesome broad overview of permaculture!


I also suggest reading Paul's articles and listening to the podcasts at Richsoil. They explain things very well for beginners and beyond!

I think Bill Mollison is a bit much for just starting off, because I found the book to be extremely dense. The Designer's Manual is well worth reading in its entirety, but I do not recommend it for beginners. This is also because I found that I had to repeatedly pick up the book, stop, pause for a while, and then pick it back up. He really packs a lot of thought and detail into every sentence, so it is worth taking your time on reading the book.

I would recommend getting the DVDs of Bill's lectures as a beginner, because Bill Mollison's storytelling and narrative way of teaching really help to make things understandable.

I also recommend Geoff Lawton's Inner Circle, because Geoff does an awesome job of keeping things easy to digest and understand.

I also found Permaculture Apprentice to be a good website for learning about permaculture, too.
 
garden master
Posts: 1008
Location: mountains of Tennessee
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Welcome to permies. Typical advice from the pros that has already been suggested ... start with zone 1 & spend a year observing before doing anything else too extensive. It falls under the category of measure twice, cut once.


Dr. Redhawk's epic soil series.

 
pollinator
Posts: 865
Location: Victoria BC
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I agree that the designers manual is dense... but I think it's the real starting point.

Geoff is great for inspiration, but if you want to really learn, read the manual, slowly. It's a foundation. Seek out additional books and resources from that point.


And if you have unlimited resources and heavy clay, I have a hard time seeing a downside to getting a bunch of organic matter brought in. Careful with anything that might have chemicals in it, but other than that...
 
gardener
Posts: 5625
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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The starting point for any permaculture site is observation, note taking and planning.
The second step is water shed control and the earth works that go along with it. (this is so you don't find out later that things have to be redone to get the water doing what you want it to do)
Bill's book is mandatory in your reference library, you will find yourself using it all the time.
Book mark William Horvaths web site "The Permaculture Apprentice", he has so much great information about actually building a permaculture farm since he is using his own as the model.

An optional but very worthy book is Mark Shepard's Restoration Agriculture, this is a guy that makes his living from his permaculture based farming methods.

For dealing with soil issues try my Soil series that is on this site, the link is posted by another in this thread or you can find it at the top of the Soil forum under the Growies Heading

Redhawk
 
Posts: 157
Location: NNSW Australia
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Good advice all round.

Some permaculture books are expensive, your local library may be able to get copies in.
After reading Mollison's tomes, I'd recommend every book with good scores on the Permies Book Review Grid

Carol Deppe's 'Resilient Gardener' is also a good entry-point and resource.

If you prefer blogs/videos, people who are in a similar climate to you will have especially useful info.

Geoff Lawton's online permaculture resources are fantastic for beginners - well-produced vids/animations that walk through the gamut of permaculture systems and explain the concepts really clearly.
Permaculture Circle

Youtube and Vimeo have endless permaculture videos and excerpts from Permaculture Design Courses.
 
Posts: 68
Location: Eastern Great Lakes lowlands, zone 4/5
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Lots of good advice already, but a lot of it is mostly reading. It is important to revisit the basics until they become intuitive though for sure, things like the permaculture design principles. Bryant's guidance on sequence of events seems really good, observing and planning, then designing for water and earth works, then doing the garden design.

Something nobody mentioned yet is, look for local permaculture organizations in your area. Is there anyone in your area hosting Permaculture Design Certification courses, or in the region? I recommend reaching out to local experts to recruit their help, or ask them if they know people doing permaculture design and garden stewardship closer to you, or just ask for general tips. Where I'm at, I had studied permaculture for a while through books and videos, but my education on permaculture changed a lot when I started seeing local examples and working side-by-side with practitioners.

Maybe ideally permaculture would have something like apprenticeships, which I figure is how farming was passed down more or less: there's so much to learn about woodworking, electric, etc. that to do a great job you need small tasks guided by an expert, and then build up over time to working on your own self-directed tasks with review and feedback from the expert, then eventually with lots of practice and feedback, you become the expert!

May the force of forest succession be with you! Best wishes and enjoy the adventure :)
 
pollinator
Posts: 562
Location: Southern Illinois
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Carina,

Lots of good advice so far.  I have learned especially to heed the word of RedHawk as he is an exceptionally knowledgeable man.  However, I am going to give you some input contradictory to his.  I say just start.  Start something, anything.  Gardening is pretty forgiving and you don't have to get it right the first time.  I often want feedback myself, crave it actually, but an important step in gardening in general is simply to start something.  If you are at all like myself, you are brimming with ambitious ideas.  Try something relatively simple.  Have you started a garden?  Think of crops you would like to grow.  Do you want to till or give no-till a try.  No-till will be a bit more challenging, but at least you have time to think of some ideas before spring gets here which it will before you (or I) realize.  Dream a little permaculture dream.  There are lots of videos on YouTube and countless informative threads on this site that are well worth while.  Read through them and get an idea of what you want to do with your own permaculture experience.

A personal note and a touch of my own philosophy:  Permaculture is less about a goal or an end and more about an evolving process.  I used to undertake very non-permie activities, but now I have stopped.  For example, I used to till my gardens.  The first time was to break heavy clay which some would see as necessary.  Now I make raised bed gardens and try to disturb the soil as minimally as possible.  I am not perfect, but I am learning and I try to pass some of that meager experience of my own on to others.  That brings me to another point.

Let us know your ideas.  Find forums that seem appropriate and start sharing information.  It helps you when you are starting out and later, some other future permie will eventually come along and find your old posts and learn vicariously.  The circle of Permie education.

Please let us know how your ideas progress,

Eric
 
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