The Permaculture Podcast

    Episode 1313: Strategies for Cold Climate Permaculture (Permabyte)


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    While I work on this episode, snow falls outside forming a fresh winter blanket upon the earth. Grass sits dormant, hidden beneath. The tops of onions, overwintering in beds to produce seed in the spring, appear unruly and ready to awaken from their cold sleep. The Pine and Hemlock wear coats of white while the Oaks stand stark and nude against the gray sky.

    With this as the backdrop, I consider how to prepare for the coming Spring, but also how to use the principles of permaculture to design for locations where the climate is at least this cold or colder. For the sake of this discussion, I’m looking at areas that are in the Continental range of the Koppen Climate classification, and a coldest winter average month that drops below freezing, 32F or 0C. For those of you familiar with Hardiness zones, as initially developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this corresponds approximates to a 7a or b.

    The strategies for this conversation are:

    Build it and they will grow.
    Cover up, its cold out there.
    Climb the hills. Don’t rest in the valley.
    Know your natives.
    Read your seed and plant catalog.
    Mulch. Mulch. Mulch.

    Koppen Climate Classification
    Hardiness Zone (Wikipedia)
    Sepp Holzer: Farming with Nature (YouTube)
    Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute

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