Resource Overhaul!!

The Open Permaculture School has completely redone their course. I didn’t mention it at first as it generally takes me a few days  to recover from my disgust over sudden and unexpected change. Yes, this is the same person who decided to drop everything to move to the farm on a few weeks notice. But that was unusual expedition and the moving process took a couple months after the decision was made.

Anyway, the changes made to The Open Permaculture School have made it much more useful in my opinion. I actually all taking notes now and have to pause the videos frequently to extract all the information. No longer is it the rambling teacher. Now they are short clips making concise and well thought out points on a single topic. Sometimes they seem a bit simplistic as they are rendered as brief as possible and the animation style does not help to disperse this sense. However, the impression is misleading. There is a great deal of information in each video.

The videos also seem to intentionally step back from specific application into the realm of general practices. Given that the audience is the internet, I approve. Each student has to learn well enough to adapt the principles to their environment. However that is a much more logical approach than trying to touch on every microclimate in the world.

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Learning Resources

Given the impending deadline of the planting season. I’ve been revisiting/finding a bunch of new study material. We are using Permaculture on our farm as much as possible.

What is Permaculture? It is the study and nourishment of natural cycles to include human habitation. If you want to put it in Biblical terms, it is the loving dominion of the earth to bring forth a multiplying fruit. Leastwise that is my definition, there are several and each farmer seems to have a personal definition of the same concept. The basic principle is to create a permanent rejuvenating agriculture. Most land desperately needs nourishment because of the conventional agricultural systems which strip the ground of its nutrients and frequently compound the problem by poisoning the land to discourage insects drawn by mono cropping.

Anyway, I’ve been doing a bunch of research. Given that our budget is pretty low, I’ve been looking for as much free information as I can find. I started with Geoff Lawton’s site. From there I revisited the Duck Chronicles on YouTube, admittedly because the ducks are adorable. Then I discovered that YouTube has an incredible abundance of seminar videos if you search for Permaculture. Frankly, I got overwhelmed and went looking for something more organized. Like maybe a permaculture seminar.

What I found was the Open Permaculture School: Regenerative Leadership Institute. You have to subscribe and the teacher rambles a bit. However, I’ve found the amount of information in each course to be rather staggering and there are 41 courses. Oh, did I mention it is entirely free? You can pay to take extra courses to get certified. But, as I learned from college, paying for a piece of paper that says you can do something doesn’t make sense. So this will keep me occupied for a bit.

Garden Rethought

On my post regarding the garden layout I received a comment from UrbanHomesteadNZ suggesting I look into Mandala Gardens. Given that my Mom has been following this blogger for ages and has a huge respect for their experience. I hopped right into research and found that it made a lot of sense. Particularly since we want a design that older or younger people can work with and that can be expanded as necessary.

So after some revision, I came up with this.

gardenplain.jpegIt is plotted to be 33 feet across and broken into cells as this year is the year of experimentation. Oh boy, are we experimenting.

gardenguilds.jpegI’m going to convert it using Adobe Illustrator, funny how useful a graphic design background can be for farming. Here we have a combination of 17 plant mixed and matched in groups of 3 to allow for that highest combination of mixes as possible. Why? Because we want to find the plants that optimally nourish each other so that we can grow those next year.

I’m leaning vey heavily upon a companion growth chart my mom found on PermacultureNews. Which I copied out into the card you see in the lower right for the 17 species we are working with.

The downside of doing it this way is that we will have high yields of some thing that may be harder for our family to eat. Things like Brussel Sprouts, which 3 out of 6 people like. It also means we will have to can. Particularly the tomatoes since we have 2 kinds.

Garden Planning

One of our weekend projects was laying out the garden. We have a basic layout marked out by the stakes.

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We will be building up the ground with a layer of compost into ridges along the outside of the stakes. You may have noticed that the stakes are not straight. We are following the slope of the hill to keep the water in the garden as long as possible. We do have a good amount of water and silt runoff.

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Which we want to catch and keep in our land as long as possible. We plan on doing this long term by use of mounds and channels to get the water to places where it can seep into the soil. Keeping soil is really important because we are well blessed with rocks.

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Behold a very well aerated soil. But one that tends to wash away and should be encouraged to stay.

Break Out The Skirts/Shorts

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One bonus of having a job outside the farm is that I don’t feel utterly stupid wearing my dresses. I have a lot of dresses from eShakti.com that aren’t really suitable for farm work. But they are fine for commuting, easy to change out of, and super feminine. Fortunately I get my girly kick from dresses/skirts not shoes. Can you imagine if I were a stiletto girl? I would loose so many shoes in the mud.

Not that much happening on the farm. I’m boiling down my sap to concentrated syrup. But I have a ways to go before it is worth measuring the density. Teddy is taking to his confinement about as well as he ever does. He plays with and shreds almost anything when he gets bored so we have to clean out the room pretty thoroughly before giving him a few things he is allowed to destroy.

Since there isn’t too much happening this week, I’m brushing up on my permaculture by revisiting Geoff Lawton’s Videos. This is today’s. There is a fair amount of repetition, however there is so much useful information that I don’t mind that.