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(note:  this document is still under construction - feel free to comment!)

sand badge

build a hugelkultur
   - 7 feet tall, 7 feet wide, 6 feet long
   - mulch it with at least 4 different kinds of mulch
   - seed/plant at least a dozen different species
   - mostly nitrogen fixers
   - at least three comfrey plants
   - at least three sunchokes
   - at least a dozen sepp holzer grains

chop and drop (50 square feet)

ruth stout style composting (2 spots)


straw badge

seed saving
encouraging volunteer or wild plants (probably mulching or chop and drop)
grow, harvest and preserve 100,000 calories
   - from at least 12 species
   - note (fyi): there are 10,000 calories is in:  
          o 35 pounds of potatoes
          o 10 pounds of prunes
          o 40 quarts of salsa
          o 6 pounds of dried strawberries
          o 55 pounds of onions
          o 50 pounds of winter squash
          o 30 pounds of sunchokes
          o 7 pounds of field corn or rye or most grains
          o 7 pounds of dried black beans
          o 4 pounds of sunflower seeds
   - note (fyi): an average person eats one million calories per year
build a hugelkultur 7 feet tall and 12 feet long
all systems are polyculture systems
direct seed perennials
   - no transplanting
   - the seed is planted outdoors
   - plant 50 of each and verify that at least 1 has sprouted
           o fruit trees
           o black locust
           o nut trees

all of this is completed without imports (except seeds) from more than 500 feet away


wood badge

grow, harvest and preserve 1 million calories
   - from at least 30 species
   - half the food is grown without irrigation
   - all systems are polyculture systems
build a hugelkultur 7 feet tall and 24 feet long
build a ΒΌ acre food forest
grow perennials from seed
   - no transplanting
   - the seed is planted outdoors
   - verify that each of these have at least 12 that have sprouted
       - apple
       - plum
       - peach
       - cherry
       - apricot
       - pear
       - mulberry
       - seaberry
       - walnut
       - hazelnut
grow: raspberries, rhubarb, melon, summer squash, 3 sisters, tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, garlic, peas, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, daikon radish, sunchokes, strawberries, rye, stinging nettles, sunflower seeds,  horseradish, sweet clover, comfrey, crocus, daffodils, grape, chives, parsley

all of this is completed without imports (except seeds) from more than 500 feet away


iron badge

grow, harvest and preserve 4 million calories in one year
   - from at least 30 species
   - half the food is grown without irrigation
   - all systems are polyculture systems

build hugelkultur 7 feet tall
   - total of 150 feet long
   - at least six beds
   - no straight lines
   - no frost pockets
   - designed to keep wind out
   - mulched and planted

Harvest fruit from 12 trees that you started from seed

food forest
   - sun scoop shape
   - no frost pocket
   - covers at least an acre
   - full seven layers

landrace seed saving and use for at least 12 species for at least 3 generations
save the seeds for particular traits, encourage those traits for 3 generations

all of this is completed without imports (except seeds) from more than 500 feet away







COMMENTS:
 
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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what have i left out?
 
gardener
Posts: 3725
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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It would be helpful to me if PEP was defined.
 
paul wheaton
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:It would be helpful to me if PEP was defined.



How about this:

https://permies.com/t/96687/PEP-PEX

??
 
pollinator
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Okay I love this!

I don't need to be certified in my situation but it is like merit badges for permaculture where you have created challenging but doable achievements. I am looking foreword to seeing the details as you nail them down and adding some of them to my checklist . And I can definitely see the value for the reasons you described.
 
pollinator
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I have mixed feelings about this sort of ranking, I'll admit, but I do see a sort of usefulness.

I would feel more sanguine about it if there was a spreadsheet checklist that would quantify individual achievements outside of a completely finished larger project.

For instance, I would love a metric that would allow me to use my 7 foot wide, 7 foot tall (including 3 feet dug down, so 4 feet above ground level), 18 foot long hugelbeet. This was a feat for an urban backyard, and except for the composted organic manures I had to bring in, all the biomass was either composted kitchen scraps or chop-and-drop from the whole backyard.

As the top layers included mostly-finished compost, I had six volunteer butternut squash plants that produced a total of 42 butternut squash, each around 18 inches long and about 8" diameter. All my 13 tomato plants that year were volunteers out of my compost, the basil and oregano I interplanted with them were from seed, and I couldn't get to the sides and back of my bed (it was up against a fence) because of the density of the sunchokes.

There was a lot more going on there, but that should illustrate my point. If it were possible to check off individual achievements and accumulate incremental progress towards full badges where it might otherwise not be possible to complete the stated project to every last detail for everyone who would like to, we would end up with a more inclusive metric.

That might be too complicated for the intended goal, but you asked, Paul.

-CK
 
pollinator
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Not sure hazelnut and rhubarb can be grown in my area. That's the only possible issue i see.

Give option for raspberry/blackberry instead of just raspberry
 
pollinator
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I could complete the Iron Badge next summer easily enough, the one exception would be starting the fruit trees from seed. I do not need too do that as my family has been here for 9 generations, my fruit trees are a foot in diameter.
 
paul wheaton
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Travis,

We currently have the badge stuff built into permies.  Maybe we need to get the badge images made for gardening, set up the threads for each BB (badge bit) and get started on knocking the bits out.    Then we can test to see that the badge system is working correctly.

 
gardener
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It's looking good to me.  I like the merit badge analogy, hopefully that's a correct analogy.

I'm wondering if the sepp holzer grains could be better suited to the Straw level?  It's hard enough to make a hugelbed and plant/find comfrey and sunchokes (for a newbie).  Especially since "most" planted species need to be nitrogen fixers and I believe you're spelling out three non-fixers.  Pretty much means the rest of the bed needs to be N fixers.  There's some food in N fixers but a beginning gardener may get some happiness from annual crops as they start this journey.

Maybe for Straw the Black Locust could be replaced with a few choices?  Black Locust isn't legal to plant in my state and isn't hardy at my end of the state.  How about "fence post species" including BL, cedar, larch or equivalent?  Nut trees are tricky at zone 4a.  I only have butternut that I know is hardy.  Not sure if that would work for zone 3.  Hazelnuts will work up there but they aren't really trees.

People can use excavators for the hugelbeds, right?

Hopefully we don't have to mention that the food is grown without fertilizer or -cides (organic or otherwise)

For Iron, do they really need to preserve all 4 million calories?  What if they eat or sell or give away the majority and preserve what they need for winter?  4,000 lbs of prunes or 1600 qts of salsa is a lot (I know it would be divided between many crops but I hope you get my point).

I'd think Iron would be fully without irrigation, or at least fully without imported water or groundwater.

Might there be a reason to deliberately have a frost pocket in a hugelbed?  Delay flowering on an apricot?  Maybe not...

Looking good, I'll keep my eyes out for other PEP/PEX merit badge posts.  

 
Mike Jay
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Just re-read the PEP/PEX post and discovered that this is oriented at your site in Montana.  Please ignore my geographically related comments above ^^^
 
paul wheaton
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Excellent questions Mike!


I'm wondering if the sepp holzer grains could be better suited to the Straw level?



It is a super tall grain that is freaky good at building soil.    I am open to the idea of an alternative.


Maybe for Straw the Black Locust could be replaced with a few choices?



I cannot think of anything that would be as good as black locust.  Do you have a suggestion?  You mention cedar and larch, but they are not nitrogen fixing.  Nor do they have the massive buffet of perks that black locust does.  


People can use excavators for the hugelbeds, right?



Yup!


For Iron, do they really need to preserve all 4 million calories?



First, there needs to be some sort of picture of all this.   Second, it isn't "food" if people cannot eat it because it rotted.  

I like the idea of the gert path a lot more than the idea of the market farmer path.  

Plus, sunchokes are "preserved" for several months by sitting in the ground.  That one will be super easy.  And a lot of food can be simply dried.  



I'd think Iron would be fully without irrigation, or at least fully without imported water or groundwater.



I think that most hugelkultur will need full irrigation the first year to build soil.   And will need a little irrigation the second year.   This is all part of a growing system.



Might there be a reason to deliberately have a frost pocket in a hugelbed?



Yes!   Growing food that loves the cold in the middle of winter!

Sometimes I think about making a picnic spot in a frost pocket - so you can be outside and it is deliciously cool!





 
paul wheaton
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Mike Jay wrote:Just re-read the PEP/PEX post and discovered that this is oriented at your site in Montana.  Please ignore my geographically related comments above ^^^



I think that some people will be able to do PEP in utah, colorado, south dakota, upstate new york, etc.   And, at the same time, there could evolve to be PED, PEM, PEL, PEK, PES, PET, PEH and mabye Erica will choose to develop PEE.  :)

 
Mike Jay
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paul wheaton wrote:

I'm wondering if the sepp holzer grains could be better suited to the Straw level?



It is a super tall grain that is freaky good at building soil.    I am open to the idea of an alternative.


Unfortunately I don't have an alternate.  I was just thinking of the PEP levels as steps up the eco scale and that maybe finding and procuring Sepp's grain would be too hard for a level 2-3 person.  If you have it available, then it's perfect for PEP.

Maybe for Straw the Black Locust could be replaced with a few choices?



I cannot think of anything that would be as good as black locust.  Do you have a suggestion?  You mention cedar and larch, but they are not nitrogen fixing.  Nor do they have the massive buffet of perks that black locust does.  


Black Locust is awesome and is great for Montana.  This kind of goes along with my realization that this badge is for Montana...  I mentioned cedar and larch for their fence post properties.  There would be other locally appropriate species for the other benefits of black locust but it very well may take more than one plant to do the work of locust.  When I do a PEM for Wisconsin I'll have to figure it out
 
paul wheaton
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I suspect that there will be some people in wisconsin that will get pep certified using BL and HG.  But I also support you setting up PEM!  :)

 
pollinator
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Badges would be beyond me.  

Sand Badge.......can't grow sunchokes
Straw Badge .......black locust won't grow here
Wood Badge...... these won't grow here: plum, cheery, apricot, walnut, hazelnut, rhubarb, sunchokes, stinging nettles, crocus, daffodil. And these die because of disease and pest pressure without taking non-permie action: apple, peach, pear, raspberry, melon, garlic, grape

And some of the requirements have no sense on a functioning homestead farm like mine. For example, I have multiple hugelkultur beds already, but all are within my normal working distance of 600' from the residence. Wood for making my hugelkultur comes from over 1000' beyond that, from the wooded area of the farm. Thus it makes no sense to construct a hugelkultur in the woods far away from the active working section of the farm. And in the working area, there are no trees suitable for hugelkultur.

I really like the idea of earning badges. I think its a great tool for getting people ingrained in permaculture or even simply gardening and woodcraft. But perhaps there needs to be some flexibility to tailor the requirements to the situation.
 
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My only issue with this is the emphasis on huge hugelbed. I understand that they work best if very large,  but for one man and a shovel I wouldn't find it practical to make any 7 feet tall.
 
paul wheaton
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Su,

PEP stuff is optimized for my property in montana.   I suspect that there will be people in the US, Canada and several other countries that will be able to do PEP stuff without a problem.

For hawaii, I think somebody might explore the idea of making a PES program (permaculture experience according to Su Ba).  
 
Su Ba
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Hey Paul, you've instilled an idea in my head! Maybe our little local "farm school" would like to start up a badge program.
 
paul wheaton
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Trace Oswald wrote:My only issue with this is the emphasis on huge hugelbed. I understand that they work best if very large,  but for one man and a shovel I wouldn't find it practical to make any 7 feet tall.



:)

I made a new thread just for this topic in a feeble attempt to address your concern:

https://permies.com/t/96953/making-quick-foot-tall-hugelkultur

 
paul wheaton
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Su Ba wrote:Hey Paul, you've instilled an idea in my head! Maybe our little local "farm school" would like to start up a badge program.



:)

If it smells a bit like PEP, then maybe yours and mine would be the first two in the "PEX" framework?

 
If you have a bad day in October, have a slice of banana cream pie. And this tiny ad:
Self-Sufficiency in MO -- 10 acres of Eden, looking for a renter who can utilize and appreciate it.
https://permies.com/t/95939/Sufficiency-MO-acres-Eden-renter
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