Dec 312010

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Continuing our discussion on yields by focusing on annuals, niches, companion planting, and plant guilds, intermixed with various examples from my own life. Again we return to my blueberries and revisit the Three Sisters guild of corn, squash, and beans/peas. As Permaculture is a holistic system, I do run back and forth a bit, as you have probably come to expect.

Resources for this episode include:

Gene Logsdon: Small-Scale Grain Raising

Companion Planting:
Companion Planting
Companion Planting – Secrets of Organic Gardening
Companion Planting: Basic Concepts and Resources

Plant Guilds:
Plant guilds – plant communities with a purpose
A Few Simple Effective Plant Guilds for Vegetable Production

Three Sisters:
Creating a Three Sisters Garden
The Earliest Guild: Corn, Squash, and Beans

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 Posted by at 05:36
Dec 292010

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Now that the holidays are behind us, there is one thing left to take care of: the Christmas Tree.  Since the last several shows have been about yields I wanted to take a few minutes and look at how we can reuse our tree.  I look at:

  • Chipping it to use as mulch
  • Branches as ground cover
  • Outdoor fire
  • Decorations and crafts
  • Bird habitat and feeder
  • Fish Habitat
  • Hugelkultur
  • Stakes
  • Recycle it

If you are not familiar with Hugelkultur, here are links for more information:

Is This Permaculture?
Hugelkultur Compared

The whittling books by Chris Lubkemann are:
Whittling Twigs & Branches
The Little Book of Whittling

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 Posted by at 20:38
Dec 242010

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Expanding on the concepts of Episode 16 by looking at ways to expand our concept of yields while also giving examples from my own experiences on how to create them.  I started with 4 ideas and will continue to work through the list I have until they are done and will then return to examining Holmgren’s 12 Principles individually.

Specifically I touch on:

  • Knowledge
  • Unique Features, including Microclimates
  • Using What We Have
  • Perennials

When talking about Microclimates, I mention the Heat Island Effect and muse about how this could impact urban agriculture.  Here are two links to more information on this. The first is a quick read, the second, from the U.S. EPA and has a number of resources.

How Stuff Works “What is the Urban Heat Island Effect?”
U.S. EPA Heat Island Effect

When it comes to Perennials it is easy to come up with a list of trees and shrubs that will fill our needs but vegetables can be harder to think of.  Here are some links to help you sort them out. The last is for Eric Toensmeier’s book mentioned in the episode.

Perennial Vegetables
Leaves to Live by: Perennial Leaf Vegetables (Requires a PDF Reader)
Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener’s Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles

Questions?  Comments?  Send me an email:  show (at)

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 Posted by at 05:43
Dec 182010

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This episode continues looking at each of David Holmgren’s 12 Principles of Permaculture in individual detail.  This show is about principle 3, Obtain a Yield and some ideas to consider when looking for a yield.  Episode 17 will contain examples of actions we can take to get them.

There are 7 ideas I keep in mind when thinking about yields.  They are:

  • Build Soil Fertility
  • Maintain Balance
  • Increase Functions
  • Consider the Intangible
  • Use What We Produce
  • Enjoy our Labors and Their Results
  • Track Your Efforts
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 Posted by at 02:49
Dec 142010

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Lori from Texas wrote in to ask if using an empty McMansion, a term used to describe large, indistinct homes often located on several acres of land, would be a good basis for an intentional community. My answer turned into a broader one of “What do we do with the Suburbs?”.

Here are links for more information on:

  • Gardening When It Counts by Steve Solomon. This book gives details on how to grow your food with minimal inputs or tools, regardless of the conditions at hand, in less space than I ever imagined. Though there is a good bit that I wouldn’t do from a Permaculture standpoint, I find his methods as a good place to start if one has never gardened.
  • The Dervaes Family.  They are growing 350 different vegetables, herbs, and fruits, nearly 6000lbs a year, organically on 1/10th of an acre,
  • The Farm in Tennessee.  A place to receive training in a variety of intentional and ecovillage related topics.
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 Posted by at 06:00