The big day is coming! Shaun will be heading off to Heal the Planet Farm to learn Permaculture in action. While there he will tent camp for seven days. He will be part of a team getting their hands dirty digging swales, attending classes and walking away with his Permaculture Certification! This learning, which we have already begun, will enable us to design our farm in a way that will give more yield than work.
One of the first things Permaculture teaches is to observe your land. Assess the slopes, water usage, wind and sun patterns. Walk your property. Notice the trees. Are there any deformities from wind? What’s growing throughout your property? How does the sun shine throughout the year? Do you have pools of water after the rain? Any problems of erosion from water run off? Write these issues in a notebook.
Living on a ridge brings a lot, and I mean A LOT, of wind! We have those deformed trees…trees twisted from the constant wind beating. Our land has a gradual slope, no erosion, but we could benefit from swales. The purpose of swales is keeping water on our property. Plant on the swale.
So, what do you do with these observations?
Now you’re getting into permaculture. Your next step is to get as many maps of your property as possible…topographical, geographical, land plot, and draw your own.
What goes on your map?
Sketch everything that is on your property. Later, these will be marked into zones.
What do you want from your property? For us, we want to raise as much of our food as possible. Shaun and I sat down and made a list of all the food we enjoy. We found the local university’s site gives a breakdown of how much we will need to plant per person to give us enough food for a year.
One side of our property we have started a food forest. I love the food forest because you plant once, companion planting, and it yields year after year.
Knowing what we want out of our property, we map these wants/needs paying attention to challenges in the zones. The wind challenge is being thwarted with a succession of Hazelnuts. Hazelnuts act as a windbreak, helping protect our vegetable garden from damaging winds. Not to mention, we get yummy hazelnuts each year with a one time planting.
Get Your Hands Dirty
Making your own compost is a biggie in permaculture. You want to create as little waste as possible. Use your kitchen scraps, chicken manure, and dried leaves from the fall to compost, resulting in microbe rich soil. Don’t forget to map the compost pile! Now that you have mapped out your plan, it’s planting time.
First, plant your permanent trees and bushes. Fill in underneath with companions. Companion planting will assist with nutrients in the soil and aid in deterring pests. For example, irises will be planted underneath our plum tree. They bloom in early spring attracting pollinators to the tree. As their leaves die off, the iris leaves feed nutrients into the soil, which will ultimately feed the plum tree.
Start your seedlings indoors to plant in your guild. Kye planted spinach, chard, and lavender in the picture. We’ll place these starts with the fruit and nut trees and in the vegetable garden.
Are you considering or already implementing Permaculture techniques? Leave us a comment and let us know what you’re up to. I’ve provided some resource links to people we have found helpful in our gardening and permaculture journey.
The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book: Secrets of the Famous Year-Round Mulch Method
If you’re interested in learning more about this farming style check out permaculturenews.org. Best wishes on your Permaculture ventures!
Before you go, check out our FREE SEED SWAP.
Thanks for stopping by!
Have a blessed day,