Irene Mouthaan

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since Jun 30, 2014
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Recent posts by Irene Mouthaan

Wow! I posted this almost 2 years ago and totally forgot about it, which is why I never replied to the comments... Oops, sorry about that. Nice to hear that there's still an interest in this. My work on GreenDragons the game was a part of an internship for Aardwerk Academy, my internship there ended in 2014 so that's why the questionnaire is no longer available. At the moment I'm writing my thesis (which is also about Permaculture education, but unrelated to GreenDragons). After I graduate from university I will hopefully be able to continue with GreenDragons and other projects, but for now the project is back in the hands of Leo Bakx and a new group of interns.

There's no specific website with the progress on the game unfortunately, but if you guys are seriously interested I can ask if there's a way to make the game available to you. I made a character sheet with permaculture skills and I wrote a few encounters (adventures), I played a few rounds at the European Permaculture Convergence in Bulgaria, it was great fun and the very open roleplaying aspect of D&D worked so well for all the different permies and really gave people a chance to solve the challenges in the encounter in their own way. For example, one of the challenges in the game is an anthill with vicious fireants who destroy your crop. Some players opted to destruct the anthill and battle the ants, but there was one player who stated that it was part of their ethics not to hurt living beings, so he used song and dance to calm the ants down and make peace with them. This was not what I had in mind when I wrote the challenge, so it was fantastic to see the players come up with such creative solutions I would never have thought of. It's by far the most fun project I ever worked on.
4 years ago

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
My growing season is very short, so one purpose for my greenhouse is to get a head-start on the season. That allows me to grow plants like fava beans, tomatoes, okra, and peppers that don't do very well here if direct seeded.

Another purpose of my greenhouse is to get earlier harvests, because the best prices of the year at the farmer's market are for first-to-market crops.

Space in my 10 foot by 12 foot greenhouse is limited. Therefore, the plants that go into the greenhouse are primarily oriented towards crops that can pay for themselves...

I currently have fava beans germinating in the greenhouse. Favas are a crop that is not yet very locally-adapted to my climate, so I am using the greenhouse as a way to get older plants into the ground in cooler weather, so that they can set seed while the weather is still cool. I may eventually develop a variety of favas that do well here when direct seeded. In the meantime, the greenhouse allows me to season-shift the favas by a few weeks. And they will be out of the greenhouse before I need the space for tomato transplants.

I also have a crop of my earliest shelling pea germinating in the greenhouse. The plan is to plant out peas that are a month old, at the same time as I normally direct seed peas. Perhaps I can be first to market with shelling peas.

I devote most of the space in the greenhouse to tomatoes in early spring. I aim to have 6 week old transplants to go into the field on about June 5th.

After June 5th, I intend to grow sweet potatoes and teosinte in the greenhouse this summer. I think they might benefit from the warmer temperatures and longer growing season. I think that potted plants are more valuable than growing food crops out of season, so even though I might plant spinach or bok-choi in the floor of the greenhouse, it gets chopped out when I need the space for a flat of potted plants, or for a breeding project.

Also, around here, the greenhouse is more humid than outside, so I might store the mushroom logs in it, or root cuttings.

Wow, love the mushrooms! Sweet potatoes are also a good idea. So many options, so little space....

leila hamaya wrote:

Irene Mouthaan wrote:

Leila: What climate do you live in? Do the citrus/avocado trees give fruit? Growing citrus or avocados in the Netherlands would be kickass.

well thats the idea! we will see how it goes. most of the citrus are very young, but some of the older ones should produce fruit this year.
i live in USDA zone 8. i dont know how that corresponds, you said you were in zone 7? is it similar?

here i am zone pushing to try to keep the lemons and avocado happy, but so far i have managed to keep them alive...the young mandarins and lemons have been through a couple of winters now...with the help of the cover. it doesnt make it that much warmer than outside, but our temperatures rarely fall below 25 F...and usually only for short periods of time if they do get into the 20's...

It does get a bit colder here, and our summers aren't that great either. After some Googling I learned that it's possible to grow citrus in an unheated greenhouse in the Netherlands, I never knew! Now, where to fit that orange tree....
4 years ago
In the Netherlands they're called 'earthpears', which is nice because we call potatoes 'earthapples'
4 years ago
Olga: Thanks for the input! I'm adding sorrel, leeks and perennial onions to the list, I have them in my front garden and usually they die off in the winter but with the pussy winters the past few years I've been able to harvest the leaves the whole winter... One question though, what's the benefit of growing beetroots in the polytunnel? I'm planning to grow them outside.

R Ranson: Unfortunately we have too much rain to grow tomatoes and cucumbers outside, I try every year but they suffer from phytophtera and the fruits don't ripen or they just die. I'm jealous! The luffa sponge plant sound great, I read about it last year but completely forgot about it. It's going on the list
What do you do with the cotton? Do you get enough to make fabric or do you use it for something else?

Leila: What climate do you live in? Do the citrus/avocado trees give fruit? Growing citrus or avocados in the Netherlands would be kickass.
4 years ago
I love my Jerusalem Artichokes! Such grateful plants, they grow in the worst place in my garden and provide a good privacy/sunscreen in the summer. I'm never able to harvest all of them so I don't need to re-plant them since the tubers I missed will sprout again in the spring.

Anyway, I like to throw them in the tajine with lamb meat, the nutty flavor goes very well with the lamb. They're also nice when you roughly chop them and cover them a bit with oil and rosemary and roast them in the oven (especially with roasted pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc). They also make a nice soup. I've never heard of eating them raw, great idea though.
4 years ago
I was working on my plans for the garden this year, and I mentioned I wanted a polytunnel for tomatoes and cucumbers. As I expected my boyfriend (aka my worldbuilder) thought plastic wrap and PVC pipes are blasphemy and have no place in our garden, so this polytunnel plan has escalated into a full blown wood frame greenhouse. This of course caused my garden planning to escalate, and now I'm making a plan for year-round growing in my greenhouse.

I live in zone 7/8 (Europe), so the winters get below freezing here. The greenhouse (6.8 m2) is attached to the house so it will get some warmth from there in the winter, I also have some old car tires and lava stones to use as heat storage and I'm planning to build raised beds which I'll fill with the contents of the compost pile (which is mostly straw and rabbitshit) topped off with finished soil in the fall so I have some hotbeds to use in the winter. I hope all of this will keep the temperature in the greenhouse above freezing (the past few years there has barely been any frost anyway). I'm really exited about growing tomatoes, cucumbers and melons in the summer and mostly salad greens in the winter. But I'd like to grow some more stuff that I can harvest in Jan/Feb/March.

What do you grow in your greenhouse in the summer, spring, fall and winter? What zone do you live in? What is the high/low temperature in your greenhouse? How much sunlight do you get?
4 years ago
Hi everybody,

My name is Irene, I'm 24 years old and I'm a 4th year Applied Biology student from The Netherlands. I'm currently doing a permaculture-related internship at the Aardwerk Academy, I'm working on a permaculture-role playing game called GreenDragons!
I was introduced to permaculture by my former roommate, but since we lived in an apartment building there was only so much vegetable growing we could do. About a year ago I moved to a community housing project with a big joint vegetable garden, it's a tiny eco-village in the middle of a city. I started applying permaculture-elements in the garden over here, and since then I've been learning more and more about permaculture design and living. The whole permaculture design philosophy fits really well with everything I learn at my university. I specialized in nature conservation, in The Netherlands nature conservation is really different from the rest of the world: it's more design than conservation. I found that a lot of the stuff I learned about plant guilds and designing an ecosystem is essentially permaculture design.

Besides permaculture I have many other interests: I used to be a lighting technician in several clubs and venues, every once in a while I still work a show. I really love music and enjoy going to ska, punk, metal, psytrance, blues, trip hop, ambient, reggae and various other concerts and festivals. I also love history, mythology, reading, writing, painting, playing games....

I hope I can learn a lot from you guys and maybe even generate some useful posts myself
6 years ago
Hi everyone!

After posting my questionaire to the Permaculture subreddit, somebody replied that you lot would be really interested in this permaculture role playing game!
My name is Irene, I’m a 4th year Applied Biology student and I’m currently doing my internship at the Aardwerk Academy. I’m working with Leo Bakx on an educational game, called GreenDragons. The objective of the game is to become a permaculture teacher, through the game the player will learn about permaculture, teaching and about life. The game is based on the Dungeons & Dragons gameplay.

For those of you not familiar with Dungeons & Dragons, I will explain it briefly: D&D is a fantasy tabletop roleplaying game. Each player controls a character, these characters embark on imaginary adventures led by another player: the Dungeon Master. The DM is the referee and storyteller and controls the inhabitants of the imaginary world. The characters form a party, and together they solve dilemmas, engage in battles and gather treasure and knowledge. In the process the characters earn experience points to become increasingly powerful over a series of sessions.

GreenDragons works in more or less the same way as Dungeons and Dragons, only it's used as a teaching tool. I’m working on the very beginning of the game: building your character. All the skills, abilities, statistics, powers and equipment are written on a character sheet. I want to create a new character sheet for GreenDragons with skills, abilities, equipment and powers that a permaculture teacher needs to have.

That’s where you come in: by answering some questions you can help me gain insight in the things that make a great permaculture teacher. So, if you could all head over to and answer my questions I will be very grateful! Comments, ideas, inspiration and general ramblings are also greatly appreciated

- Irene
6 years ago