Permaculture and getting up to speed

May 13, 2008

Permaculture: Conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems – Bill Mollison (the guy who helped start this whole thing)

So, of course this definition is a blanket that swoops over the whole of this great thing called permaculture, and really, who knows what it means? Hopefully, you will figure it out after reading a couple of these blog posts.  :0)

So, let’s get up to speed.  HPUG started back in the winter o’ 2007.  We decided that we wanted to learn and teach each other permaculture.  I mean, there isn’t a much better way to learn than to teach. Well, except to DO what you are learning, too! So, that’s what we are doing, learning, teaching, doing.  We started by figuring out what permaculture is, what is the philosophy behind it, and why do we need it in this crazy world of ours.  We did some research (and we still are) to decide what we wanted to learn about through workshops, and we have had one on water and medicinal herbs.  From our water discussion, we have installed several rooftop water catchement systems on our homes (pictures will come), and man, we are really impressed with how fast 4 55 gallon barrels can fill up in the springtime! what an untapped resource! just imagine if every house had a cistern with a filter… well, public water would only be used in the summer during a severe drought in suburban areas! (Maybe a slight exaggeration)

We decided to make a local backyard our testing grounds for a seasonal garden, and boy has it been a learning experience! We installed a keyhole garden bed, designed with a keyhole path in the middle to control footsteps through the garden, thus limiting soil compaction.  The bed was covered through the winter to kill the grass, and in the spring, we sheet mulched (manure, cardboard, straw/wood chip mulch) which has brought hundreds of worms and other microorganisms to the beds. It has been really great at holding the moisture in the soil and we have hardly any weeds! We also have installed and are continuing to install a raised bed, due to black walnuts in the backyard.  So far we have planted kale, spinach, beets, carrots, tomatoes, basil, eggplant, cukerbits, peas, corn, garlic, onion, and more is to be seeded and planted.

We have already faced some challenges in the guild and in the garden too.  Once we plant all this stuff, who takes care of it? Being that we are largely college aged and beyond, many either have left for the summer or have their own gardens, or, they are busy people.  We are working on getting some people to commit to being garden caretakers, while anyone in the group can stop by, say hello, and plug in if needed.  Also, our kale and spinach have been visited by some slugs!!! We are working on drumming up a solution and coffee grounds seems to be in the forecast.  We’ll post on our trial!

So, that’s where we are now. If you have ideas, comments, want to be a part of this group, let us know!

The video posted gives a good overview of permaculture and shows some people doing stuff. The end is a little off the PC and for who ever put it up, but the beginning is good. enjoy


One Response to “Permaculture and getting up to speed”

  1. marilyn reish said

    Hello all,
    I returned last sunday from a permaculture design certification course that gave me a lot of gumption for growing in a bunch of ways. and on thursday i collected a lot of lumber from the jobsite to build a chicken coop/cold frame in one. i want to set up a date for a building party/potluck/planting herb spirals event. I am planning to build Sunday July 13 at around 3.30 in the afternoon. Stay for dinner and a fire circle. I’ll have all the tools and liquid refreshments. Bring some work gloves if you think you’ll need some and, something to grill or share. Let me know if you’ll be able to make it and I’ll get out directions and hopefully we’ll be able to carpool butit’s not a bad bike ride.

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