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PERMACULTURE...more than just gardening
9 years ago
| aspects of community

because many intentional communities...not just the ecovillages...aspire toward sustainability, living lightly off the land, permaculture is something most of us will have an interest in learning more about.


there are communities like stelle, il. and others that have workshops and training in permaculture.

This post was modified from its original form on 04 Jul, 16:13
9 years ago

this is a 3 part video that i really like...i think glenn posted this originally.

8 years ago

it seems like the concepts of permaculture would fit in very well with many intentional communities. does anyone have any real life experience with permaculture?

8 years ago
3 days ago

Here is a site worth checking out.

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8 years ago

i've been wanting to find my material for this topic. there is information on the alternative gardening thread, but permaculture is more inclusive with gardening only one part of the whole philosophy.

8 years ago

oh, i meant "more", not "my" in the last post. one usually thinks of growing things when permaculture is mentioned and there are a lot of permaculture links on the gardening thread here: this thread should explore the broader aspects of permaculture.

8 years ago

craig's link looks like a really good one...i apologize for not looking at it sooner. i will gradually work,my way through it and hope other's have time to do so. we can have better discussion's, i think, once we know more about it.

this is a long but good video

This post was modified from its original form on 06 Nov, 8:51
8 years ago

after watching that long video, i'm ready to start on craig's link. we tried doing something like a book club thing with a long article on consensus from a few years ago, but not too many people participated in it. if anyone would be interested in doing this with permaculture, from the link craig posted, i'd love to do that with you. it looks a little daunting to tackle all by my lonesome...i'm not very academically oriented and i admit to being a bit lazy and needing some nudges now and then to get things done. i think watching the video would be a good start and then do a section at a time, maybe each week.


actually more people than i remember participated in that consensus thread...i guess it is all relative. i wouldn't mind doing that one again. my printer is operating now, and it is helpful for me to have a real copy that i can underline, etc.

 if anyone is interested, i'll start a new thread for the reading and if i forget to post a new section each week, maybe the cohosts or really anyone could go ahead and do that or would someone like to volunteer?



8 years ago

so far, no one wants to discuss permaculture, i guess. i live alone, so i am used to talking to myself.


i like mollison's definition that humans try to mimic natural ecosystems where there is great diversity and everything is interdependent. it's a bit overwhelming though for a mere little human like myself to wrap my mind around that to actually create such an environment.


it's a bit overwhelming. i don't really understand half of what they are doing...keyhole what?! the more i hear the less i think i would be capable of doing this myself and the more i would love to take a good course...with bill mollison. he is cool and i love his drole sense of humor.

8 years ago

keyline...oh! it is all so complicated! and complex! like nature, but it seems to work...

8 years ago

australia seems to be really into permaculture.

8 years ago

Permaculture started in Australia with Mollison, and Holmgren who is younger than him. In my green building design and techniques course I have sometimes had students read the first half of of Holmgren's book Permaculture. I also monitor a fairly local listserve to where I live (the westernpermaculture listserve) that is in western MA, sometimes going on workshops -- the last one about stalking insects, another one about the medicnal properties of many things that often grow wild. They are developing a seed sharing seed bank, and help solve each other's problems.


One excellent author, and permaculturist, Dave Jackie, author of the award winning Forest Gardens notified the listserve that he is working on a book about using biomass, and among other things would welcome some contributions to his reserach.


I thought of an 1871 painting I wrote a poem about by Corot, named "Washerwomen" where I could see willow trees that had wood harvested form them repeatidly, but had not been cut all the way down the way this is often done these days, letting the roots generate more growth to be harvested, and so on.


Here are a few links I found for your enterainment, if you care to look, that I found one evening when looking for examples of biomas "copicing." Obviously this is an ancient technique of more sustainable harvesting biomass from trees. I would just suggest checking out a couple of the following links.


The following three paintings of Corot come from this web site
maybe an example in this one...I think so
wow, look at this one
apple pruned a lot?
The painting is called "Willows and White Poplars," and it only looks like the willows were coppiced
The next two are from the Cleveland Museum of Art. The painting at the end of the set of paintings is the one to look at.
don't miss this. these trees are old and still productive. Unlike coppicing at the ground, much more may be grown around the trees, with more control over the moisture and so much more. Dave found beautiful examples by Van Gogh.   Glenn
a tiny bit more about permaculture
8 years ago

I like permacutlure, and things like the Transition Town Movement are helpful. But right now I am swamped with teachign four different courses, and finishing up some carpentry for people who live on postage stamp sized lot on a lake and have about 7 fruit trees, and you name it in terms of food they grow. I also have a bit of the flu, or a very bad cold with some fever, and will not have time to respond to things here, though I like to read your posts when I can.


A school about permacutlure, and a convention place in Rheinback NY that I forget the name of uses keyline plows. They cut very deep with a minimum of disruption to the soil (not totally turing everyting over and under). The advantages are I believe less energy for tilling, and the deep cut being great for roots to go deep and draw up nutrients.


If you ever have a chance, and have not done so, try to go to NOFA conference (the National Oganization Farming Association, and Coops) -- I forget the proper abbreivation.



I described one link incorrectly
8 years ago
Out of all the links I provided above when I mentioned looking at the last painting among a group of them, this was the link I thought I was referring to from the Cleveland Art Museum. It is a beautiful painting and coincidentally of coppicing.
8 years ago

I've got a couple books on permaculture, still not really sure what it is. I have lots of fruit and nut trees, grapes, and berry shrubs, much more than gets eaten by us. The squirrels get all the walnuts and filberts, we used to get onion bags full before they moved in, I warn them that if times get really bad they are tree livestock. They have lots of acorns to eat but that only happens after the nuts. I have basket willows and sweetgrass, I only use the sweetgrass, saving the willows to weave for when I lose my marbles. The hedges surrounding my little patch of paradise shelters lots of quail which in turn brings in raptors. My emergency firewood supply is constantly being added to with wood from the property. I planted alfalfa this summer to add to the compost material coming from the property. I collect water from the roof which flows into a 3,600 gallon cistern under the house. Not sure if any of this is permaculture, I consider all this as part of being more resilient in hard times.

A long video here on new farming in the UK that has something about forest permaculture in the last part.
Maybe the transition Cuba went through during their Special Period might have some permaculture components, I found it inspirational to see how a county could pull it's self back from the brink of collapse. A good video about this that I got from the library.
You can watch the video online.

Latest here on the estate is starting a sun space attached to the house, just something small and tall to add free solar heat to the house in the winter and start plants in the early spring. I hope to get it closed in soon, winter isn't far away.

8 years ago

THANK YOU for the wonderful imput!


i'll have to see what more i can find on coppicing. it probably is more successful with trees that send up a lot of sapplings like a gigantic mulberry i had cut down in my chicago front matter how much i cut them back, i couldn't keep up with them! there are so many alternatives i am hearing about that question "conventional wisdom" and are based on nature's way of having a healthy, prosperous environment.


permaculture, or whatever one calls it, is an exciting topic and give one hope for our future. i have so far only watched the first link marti gave us...well worth spending the time watching it. it is just beautiful! i will look mat the other links this evening...i have to go out and work on my sad little garden. it's an unseasonably warm, beautiful day and i am feeling inspired!

8 years ago

marti, is that like a greenhouse on the side of a house. glenn visited a place, i think in delaware, that did this...i forget what thread.


glen, here is a link i found on copicing:   this evidently is not a new thing at all, but the permaculture people are experimenting with all sorts of things.


i'm too old to learn a lot about permaculture. i hope the younger generations will study this in school and put it to use to save us from our messed up world and i hope there efforts will be supported.


thank you for taking time to post...i know you all have very busy schedules...i do appreciate hearing from you.

8 years ago

8 years ago

Rosemary asked, "marti, is that like a greenhouse on the side of a house."

Not really a greenhouse, it's just a 4X6X10' tall structure mostly to capture some solar heat but I did want it big enough to walk inside and put temporary shelves for starting plants in the spring. Nearly all of the 8' high front wall will be windows, next spring I will add an insulated shutter to keep out summer heat and also to hold heat in when needed. It is a low mass insulated structure, the intent is to put heat into the house rather than have it sucked up by the structure, but I built the floor strong enough to handle any kind of load should I desire to add thermal mass. It won't be open to the house though there will be a narrow door to the house and there is a small existing window inside the sunspace, if it puts out enough heat I will add a vent in the upper part to let heat flow upstairs. I'm using some left over material and I have so many salvaged windows around my place, all purchased materials are on hand, this will cost under $300. The walls are all up and exterior sheathed, the ceiling is in with insulation and the exterior roof sheathing, today I put the metal roofing on.

We heat with electricity (though have wood back up for emergencies) and it's only $0.023/KWH here in the land of cheap hydro energy, highest total monthly bill was $70 last winter, solar hardly seems worth it, but it's what I like to do.

From what I've seen of small greenhouses here they often end up as storage unless the person is a very dedicated gardener which I'm not. I think for me a better option is temporary growing frames in the garden to get an earlier start on plants.

Cold and snow is predicted soon so after today I have to spend some time getting ready. Straw needs to be put on the garlic, which I'll be selling at farmers market next year, and I have to get the apples and potatoes into a storage where they won't freeze. I think a small root cellar might be a good project for next year. I have used buried garbage cans in the past, they worked very well but weren't handy.

8 years ago

i was just in the archives looking for that post glenn made when he visited a place in delaware that had something like lean=to greenhouses on the south side as passive solar heat. i looked in all the logical places; couldn't find it; came across posts from several years ago when this was a more active group...kinda sad...some of those people are still here and some have gone away somewhere...


I hope to get involved in Permaculture at my New home;
8 years ago


and some more Normal Organic Truck gardening;

they have tractor and? hopefully attachments besides the mower;

 I was already asked to do some mowing when they found all my expeience


and may then figure out some Ideas to Sell;

Different Plant instalations;


Including Fountain Gardens Where diferent Plant are in Dif "Splash zones" That feed thier water needs


Weeding Tools designed to do the least damadge to ajoining Plants;


I have an Oppertunity to Put in a Bid/portfolio;

 for a Glass and Plants exhibit at the Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati's Eden Park;


Now That's be some Fancy Permaculture;


they have totaly different Climate Zones and Plants from ALL Over;


 Since It's "Eden" Park I Wonder how Glass Snakes in the Fruit trees would Go over?

 Na Too many others will Offer that;


They plan to have a Fantasy area;

 Unicorns and Dragons would fit there;

and I don't care if someone else is doing them;)

8 years ago

so where is your New home? are you there yet?


there are lots of interesting permaculture videos on youtube. there are some really good ones in this thread and the alternative gardening thread: thread was started first and there is a lot of overlap. trying to make this thread as a broader concept of permaculture. there are also permaculture links on the bulletin board on the home page: sustainability/permaculture

8 years ago

Thanks for the postings on permaculture.


That is some sophisticated designing, Rod. I wish I could remember the arboretum I visited near Miami that has a bunch of blown glass mixed in that is beautiful.


I also plan to look at the links Marty shared, as well as the latest video Rosemary posted. I have just been too busy with teaching and construction -- though not with permaculture, though I do check a list-serve from western MA that for a while was having an interesting debate about what plants are really invasives, and how concerned should we be -- one woman calling autumn olives a cancer, when they are not to me, having been around since the 2840's and not taking over the woods near my house. In part of the debate I pointed out how many times things have gone both ways across the Berring land bridge called Berringia. It doesn't hurt in some contexts to take a long view of the history of earth and nature, in my opinion.


Not only Rod, but I am sure Marty does more that could be called permaculture than me, though I do a little. And an archeologist I know considered the book, "Permaculture" to be rather soft and not hard in terms of science, but I still like it. While it may be a little fuzzy around the edges, there are  plenty of people who are trying to practice it.


Again I am happy with peoples' comments here, and will follow up on them when I have a little more time, I hope when it is closer to Christmas.



8 years ago

i guess no matter how beautiful it is or how long it's been around, if it takes over and doesn't give room for native species to survive then the invasive species are not to be encouraged. how does this olive tree propagate itself. i have a few invasives in my garden according to an indiana website that i hadn't thought were problems. i guess birds or other animals must spread dames rocket seeds. it's very pretty in early summer and i've been trying to  remove the seeds as the flowers die off. i haven't the heart to just rip it up, but i guess i should.

Non native invaders
8 years ago

Since I planted a bunch of them on my property I did some research on Autumn Olives, interesting, I figured it wasn't a native plant but didn't know it's little berries had so many good things in them, or that the plant was considered invasive and noxious. I can see where most any non native plant would be invasive in a moist climate, my brother in NH curses the Rugosa Rose that is in expanding clumps on his farm. I love autumn olives added to the mix of my hedge plants, they grow in full sun and also as a lower story hedge under the shade of trees, birds eat the berries in winter and use the hedges for cover year round. I also have some rugosa rose in a few spots, figure it's always good to have some vitamin C growing.

Here at my location in eastern WA we get 12" of precipitation a year, non native species tend not to move outside irrigated areas, though they can take over naturally moist areas and there are some horrible dryland evaders. Most everything growing on my place is non native to this spot other than some sage brush and serviceberry, the cherry and apple orchards that surround me are definitely non native. I'm non native to this valley just as were 3/4s of my ancestors to North America ,,, guess that shows the dangers of letting non natives get out of hand :-)

With the exception of a few farmed areas we tend to think of the Americas as being pristine wilderness before the European immigrants arrived, in fact the first peoples heavily modified their environment to encourage species that were advantageous to them, I suppose we might call what they did permaculture. An interesting article that includes information on this.

8 years ago

i think permaculture actually does the opposite by using native species and ones that fit in with the ecosystem that are natural because they require less maintenance and every ecosystem is a varied delicately balanced community. i hope they don't use invasive species that would throw the balance out of wack. that's the problem with those aliens, they want to get rid of the native competition and unbalance a nice litlle ecosystem.


your example of this continent being invaded by our european ancestor and practically distroying it's native cultures is perfect! well, after all, we humans are part of earth's ecosystems even though we like to think we are above it all.


i think if we want to have non natives growing in our gardens, we should only have the ones that make us a lot of work because they wouldn't survive on their own without us. garden escapes are not a good thing unless they were there before we were. it's hard to think of my lovely dames rocket as something's pretty and EASY to grow...that should be the clue:  a non-native plant that is easy to grow, especially one that is pretty and innocent looking. it sneaks out of gardens on the wind, bird poop, etc, and takes over destroying all those unsuspecting natives. then we don't have the natural variety that permaculture is trying to mimic.


i have sassafras that i try desperately to kill. i don't know if birds like their very pretty red and black seeds, but those underground runners are next to impossible to fight. they grow quickly, shading out many variety of the native species.


i can't think of the name of that horrible vine...i have some of it here that i'm fighting. it grows very quickly over everything and strangles it. it grows prolificallly farther south and i think it comes from korea where for some reason it is not a problem. when there is a very cold winter it dies off. some people like it because it has so many uses like food, making baskets, fertalizer, etc...KUDSO, that's it. that's nice if you want a mono-culture of kudso surrounding you. it's not the aliens from outer space we need to worry about!



8 years ago

oh damn! i've got it! i wondered what those pretty little trees were. now i know! not a lot of them like the sassafras, but controlling them sounds about the same. some websites claim that sassafras is not invasive, but i know better, so i don't believe everything i hear. people who sell plants ought to be required to identify plants as invasive and where they can be grown safely. if they are invasive where they are sold, there is something wrong with that.

garden web
8 years ago

this is a great website! here is a forum on permaculture and invasive species that i think you will enjoy:


i haven't finished reading, but a lot of good points have been made. there are forums on every plant topic imaginable. they also have a plant exchange and other useful things. if you aren't familiar with the site, go for an explore!



This post was modified from its original form on 01 Dec, 12:43
6 years ago

probably should have put this at the begining of this thread...well, i didn't!

6 years ago

  Permaculture Flower  

The permaculture journey begins with the Ethics and Design Principles and moves through the key domains required to create a sustainable culture.

The evolutionary spiral path connects these domains, initially at a personal and local level, and then proceeding to the collective and global level.

Some of the specific fields, design systems and solutions that have been associated with the wider view of permaculture can be seen by clicking on the petals.

Click here to hear David Holmgren talk about the permaculture flower (mp3 - 1.20MB).

Download a free poster of the flower to spread the word.

  Land & Nature Stewardship Building Land Tenure & Community Governance Tools & Technology Finances & Economics Education & Culture Health & Spiritual Well-Being      
Click on each petal to learn more

Adapted from: Permaculture Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability
5 years ago

i thought i had lost that wonderful bill mooisn video, but i found it again!

4 years ago

this video cheers me up and inspires me no matter how many times i've seen it. some things are like that. i am beginning to feel like doing some serendipidous web searching for permacukture and other ic related topics. i wish i could find some others to join me here to share  these things with.

3 years ago

i really need to get mor involved in permaculture.

3 years ago

well try this if cut and paste doesn't work:


oh well! i'll try later.

This post was modified from its original form on 25 Aug, 10:24

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