Photograph via snooOG

A community for likeminded individuals to discuss permaculture and sustainable living. Permaculture. (Permanent Culture). An ecological design system developed in Australia by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison.

Permaculture (Permanent-Culture): A practical design philosophy intended to help us live and prosper in an environment, while working with nature in a positive way, using solutions based on careful observation of natural ecosystems and common sense. This can include food and energy production, shelter, resource management, nature conservation and community living.

You can find our wiki here

Please Read Before Posting:

It's pretty often that we see questions along the lines of, "I want to do X--what are the species/structures to get it done?" This isn't a bad question but there's not enough information to give a decent answer. When submitting a question, there is some information that ought to be included, such as:

  • Climate/Latitude/Elevation
  • What's already growing on the land in question
  • Topography--mountain, rolling hills, plains...
  • Water features--average rainfall, streams/ponds, etc.
  • Legal restrictions
  • Solar orientation
  • Soil conditions
  • Site history

This is the kind of stuff a permaculture consultant wants to know before doing a site visit/design/recommendation. And while no one is going to get a professional job done over reddit, better questions will lead to better answers.

Related Subreddits:


276,759 Subscribers


Rotate Sorghum & Winter Rye in 15'x30' plot?

I have a 15'x30' plot that I am wanting to put something useful in, and sustainable. I live in zone 7b surburban area of NC. I was thinking of putting Dale Sorghum in for making molasses and for feeding seed to my laying hens. Then I was thinking of planting Winter Rye & Crimson Clover after harvest as a cover crop to replenish the soil by crimping it down, just before planting the Dale Sorghum again. To do this yearly.

Is this method plausible without tilling?

12:08 UTC


How to Tell when Broccoli and Cauliflower are Ready for Harvest! 🥦

21:06 UTC


Hardwood vs Conifer Mulch?

When do you use hardwood vs coniferous mulch?

For example, I’d guess hardwood creates better conditions for fungi for garden beds, while conifers might be better for paths and trails?

Are there acidity concerns with soft wood mulch like with their needles?

19:49 UTC


Great Podcast with David Holmgren


New to this community so hope you enjoy this as much as I did !

17:24 UTC


Outdoor cat

I have an outdoor cat. When I first got her I kept her indoors but I lived with my parents at the time and she got kicked out because she kept going to the restroom on our beds?? Well she became an outdoor cat, coming in only in rough weather.. now that she’s a senior cat there’s no way I can make her be a full time indoor cat. I haven’t planted any food yet but I’ve prepared the ground for this.. but she’s used any open spot as her personal rr at some point now. Moving forward what are some concerns and how do I go about growing food in my yard?

15:53 UTC


Permaculture & Farming/Botany in Laos

Hi everyone,

I've just started farming in Laos, and have noticed a few greenhouses around. I'm in Luang Prabang, which is in northern Laos. The climate is quite hot and humid. I'm currently growing lemongrass and chilli in two hectares of fields, but I'm looking to grow some plants and potential rare species. I'm open to growing in a greenhouse or in the fields.

Any suggestions? Ideally, I'd like to make some money out of it but it's not essential. Happy to grow exotic or common. There's demand locally for spring onions and lettuce but I'm more keen on doing something interesting.


03:42 UTC


A real life cold temperate edible cactus, Maihuenia poeppigii

This week, I revisit edible cactus after discovering possibly the most wet tolerant Cactaceae of them all, Maihuenia poeppigii. Native to the Andean highlands, M. peoppigii is adapted to relative cold and high humidity. Read more about this cactus, why I think it might suit a particular niche in your food forest or permaculature crop setup, and my thoughts on why this could be a better target for domestication than the Prickly Pear (Opuntia sp.): https://urbanfoodforest.substack.com/p/real-life-cold-temperate-cacti


20:29 UTC


Regenerating a 30 acre clear cut

Hello there! Me and a few of my close relatives bought a 30 acre piece of land that’s probably about 50% cut. We spent some time there in the fall and I’m trying to learn ways of bringing the land back to good health. The land that has been cut is covered in wood debris and the soil is quite damaged. I built a little wood shed with posts in the ground and when I dug the holes it was basically about half a meter of slash, another half meter of duff and then clay and rock. Where do you think a good place to start is? We discussed making burn piles of the wood debris as well as saving some for hugel kultur. However, is there a benefit to just letting the wood rot into the ground? Should we be outsourcing some manure or soil? Planting trees and other plants that might help it recover? I believe it’s been through multiple clear cuts and I do think it’s quite damaged but we are so excited to help it recover and to see it grow back into a beautiful little ecosystem. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

19:22 UTC


Fungi Insulation vs Fiberglass: Mycelium Rules!

17:16 UTC


Winterizing the Forest Garden: Fall Mulching Strategies in Cold Climate Agroecology

12:37 UTC


Anybody here growing Oyster Mushrooms in the tropics in SE Asia?

Today I happened to see a PBS news story about a foundation in Thailand that is attempting to educate farming families about agriculture options beyond rice (to boost their earning potential and help lift them out of poverty) and they had a brief section about growing mushrooms. After doing a bit of additional digging it appears they are growing Oyster Mushrooms at these experimental farm research centers.

So I watched a couple of vides about mushroom cultivation and it appears that Pink Oysters are best adapted to the heat in the tropics -- does this align with the experiences of any folks here?

The next thing I want to research is which of the spent agricultural waste that is often burned here (sugarcane, etc) can instead be used as a growing medium for the mushrooms -- as a way of reducing how much material is burned here (spent crop burning is a big problem in SE Asia that causes a lot of air pollution).

To tie this in to the permaculture scene, what would be some good permaculture practices for growing Oyster Mushrooms in the tropics?

05:43 UTC


Have You Guys Ever Grown Lettuce Like this?

00:11 UTC


Looking into changing Chicken breeds,

21:16 UTC


Permaculture in City Apartments?

  1. I wanted to ask if it is possible to make permaculture in potted plants on the balcony or windowsill.
  2. Where canIi find a list of plants that grow great together?
12:04 UTC


Invasive species disposal after removal

I'm purchasing a couple acres in the new year and there are some invasives (himilayan blackberry, scots broom, and gorse predominantly) on the lot. I'm going to start removal when I take possession but I'm wondering about options for disposal. I know the CRD suggests bagging and taking to Hartland, but would a burn barrel destroy seedpods and allow the ashes to be added into compost for the garden?

05:23 UTC


I want a job that involves permaculture but don't feel qualified for anything.

I have an urban farming certification from a trade school. I also have about 6 months experience volunteering at an urban farm from years ago. I've also made a career for myself as a freelance writer with a lot of bylines in my portfolio about plants, gardening, etc.

I'm sick of working from home and writing articles. I really want to work on a farm or at a garden. However, I'm struggling to find any work that involves permaculture. Horticulture positions in my area all require longer experience working on a farm as well as a college degree, which I don't have. Am I a lost cause?

I'm in Arizona if that helps. I'd appreciate any insight.

02:51 UTC


Soil building on grade

I promise, I have read all about why not to build hugel-swales and I’m not trying to capture the rain.

My property: about 1/4 acre on a steep hill in a major US city. The main body of the yard is terraced flat-ish with 25-50% grade slopes at the front and rear and several 6’+ retaining walls - all circa 1905. Soil is hard packed clay full of large rocks, bricks, pottery, tree roots. Bedrock is 3-24” down, literally. It is nearly impossible to dig.

The steeper slopes have little to no top soil and years of cover cropping hasn’t helped. Sheet mulch washes right off. This slope doesn’t have enough soil right now for wildflower mix to take.

My question: I’m thinking about building hugel-like structures to try to hold organics in place long enough to actually integrate. I’m also hoping to reduce the grade on some of these slopes a bit by filling in with good, stable soil.

I built a small-scale test yesterday into a slope where erosion has made cliff-like sections. Contents: 1 layer of rotting logs on contour/filling in the hollow of the slope, half-baked kitchen compost, leaf mulch filled in, twigs and other garden scrap, more leaf mulch for fill, top soil, more leaf mulch. I planted some hairy vetch and winter oats because they were on hand and watered the whole thing in well. The wood isn’t completely covered on the ends because it’s still too steep to hold and I didn’t have enough soil.

Does this seem like a disaster waiting to happen? If it does collapse, it will only impact an empty part of my driveway.

22:17 UTC


Food Forest in Louisiana. Looking for advice.

I am in zone 8b. South Louisiana.
I have around 3 acres of land. Mostly cleared but outlined completely with yellow pine trees.
At the back of the property there is a pretty large section of uncleared woods. Mostly immature pines.
There area doesn't get much sun due to the trees.

I'm just getting around to learning about food forests and permaculture. I would like to incorporate that area of our land but I am unsure of how to do it. I've read pine makes the soil very acidic. I'm assuming I can't just go in there and start putting things in the ground and I can't afford to dump and shovel loads of new soil back there.

Can someone just help me to understand how this food forest would work given there isn't much daylight that gets there with all the tree coverage? Any suggestions on what to do with that land that won't necessarily involve me taking the trees down? I'd like to preserve it.

16:58 UTC


How to easily make Biochar for your garden

16:49 UTC


Do dwarf mangoes work well potted with other plants?

I have a very young glenn mango I plan to transfer to a very big pot, and i'm considering planting it with tumeric and ginger, maybe strawberries if the other two take well. Thoughts?

Note: im very new to gardening, sorry if this is like silly

07:47 UTC


Pine cones

I have some pine cones I picked up from the ground. I am using them to make incense and I have the centers left over. Is there anything I can use them for? I’m thinking I’ll just boil them and use the water for the incense but I was wondering if there is anything else I can do with them.

20:56 UTC


A Vision for a Holistic Restored North American Ecology

Hey friends!

I've been thinking a lot about permaculture, ecological restoration, and environmentalism as a whole. I've taught permaculture courses and I currently work in river restoration professionally.

Something that really been on my mind lately is that the American environmental movement doesn't really have a cohesive ecological narrative to point to as a holistic goal for our future. I've had the privilege of working and learning from amazing people incredibly knowledgeable about their fields, but everyone seems siloed in their own worlds (which does have its pros) and I don't see anyone presenting a narrative weaving together all disciplines.

I'm going to try and outline a few pressure points that I see for ecological restoration, permaculture, and just generally a path towards a vibrant living world. There are some things in this brief outline I can speak to better than others but I don't think someone needs a Ph.D. to understand holistic ecology.

I would really love people's feedback and insights. I'm trying to figure out if this is worth fleshing out more into a more polished piece of writing. This is specific to North America, maybe even just the continental US as that's what I'm familiar with. I'd love other people in other parts of the world to expand this dialogue into their regions.


Beaver restoration, dam removal, oyster restoration, urine diversion, silvopasture, rotational grazing, lawn to meadow, and prescribed fire are the foundation of a resilient and abundant America. It is imperative we bring these fields together and start championing a cohesive ecological narrative. Our lands are too big and the problem is too severe to leave to the government and NGOs. We all need to be champions of our ecology, get our communities involved, and start healing lands for the benefit of all life on Earth.

Envision our home in 1491, pre-European contact. Beaver wetlands neighbor broad oak savannahs where bison, small game, innumerable nuts, ribes, and medicinals carpet the deep healthy soil. Rivers teeming with fish, bivalves, and flocks of birds that block out the sun. The smell of smoke in early spring as the cycle begins again. Now picture the world we can make by 2100. Every piece that I just named is scalable and cheap. Nothing can compare to the biodiversity, resilience, and abundance that these cohesive ecological holons can create. Humans have an immense capacity for destruction and an immense capacity for abundance and diversity. We have more power at our disposal than ever before. We can create a more beautiful world today.

The Myth of Disparate Issues

As long as we treat the chronic health crisis, depletion of arable soil, over-use of fertilizer, the biodiversity crisis, oceanic dead zones, climate change, and the hollowing out of rural America as disparate issues, we will never mount an ample response.

Our Waters

  • Beaver Restoration

There used to be somewhere between 300-600 million beavers in the US. There are now about 15 million. Estimates vary but beaver meadows used to occupy around 225,000 square miles 0 about the size of Nevada and Arizona combined. Considering that the biodiversity of beaver ponds is comparable to rainforests and coral reefs, their importance is clear immediately. Their near extirpation from our rivers has had devastating consequences on erosion, loss of fish, mammal, and insect habitat, flood and drought mitigation, and fire resilience. Most rivers are now too incised for beavers to move back in. Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs) are man-made structures that mimic beaver dams. They are made by pounding posts across a stream and making a dam out of mid and brushy material. This starts ponding water, recharging groundwater, aggrading sediment to reconnect floodplains, and creating conditions for riparian vegetation. Beavers can now move in. Beavers's ability to sink, spread, and slow water should set off alarm bells in any permaculturists mind. In the arid west, beaver restoration is especially important. There is also an incredible amount of non-lethal methods to co-exist with beavers around human infrastructure More info on beavers and BDAs here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63ji0XFPwBQ) (https://www.beaverinstitute.org/learn-about-beavers/whybeavers/) (https://www.beaverinstitute.org/get-beaver-help/blocked-road-culverts-and-drains/) (https://www.beaverinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/The-Beaver-Restoration-Guidebook-v2.01-1.pdf)

  • Removing Dams

This should need less explanation. The majority of large bodies of water in the US are dammed, most of them many times. This has disastrous effects on fish populations, riparian vegetation, migratory birds, and upstream and downstream sediment movement. There's a reason estuaries are one of the most biodiverse ecotones in the world. Dams restrict the ability for nutrients to flow freely up and down rivers. The majority of water impounded by dams goes to subsidize highly destructive monoculture agriculture. I'm going to assume most people here are familiar with that so I won't expound on the disaster of monocultures, fertilizer, and pesticides. Removing dams will restore the life flow from the seas to the inlands. There are some incredible results coming from the Elwha Dam removal and the Klamath Dams are coming down as we speak. It is remarkably exciting.

  • Oyster Restoration

Oysters are the keystone species of most brackish shallow water areas. Before it was dredged for commerce, New York's Hudson Bay was about 350 square miles of shallow estuaries, supporting millions (if not billions) of oysters, fish, birds, and crustaceans. Oysters filter a remarkable amount of water (up to 50 gallons per day PER OYSTER); here is a quick time-lapse of that (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N39nPt7k3p0). Now imagine that times 100 million in the Hudson Bay alone. The same fate has befallen the Chesapeake, San Francisco Bay, and many other remarkable estuaries around the US. As they grow on each other, they create dynamic three-dimensional structure which creates niches for many aquatic species. The role oysters are, and will continue to play, in cleaning our waters cannot be understated. There are some amazing projects restoring oysters as we speak (https://www.billionoysterproject.org/). Just like BDAs, oyster restoration is cheap and scalable.

  • Mass Scale Urine Diversion

Human urine is a near-perfect fertilizer for plants. While this might sound strange to some, this should really not be a surprise. Almost all of us here garden with some sort of animal manure as fertilizers and we are no different. Our coevolution with trees should make this rather clear. Urine belongs on plants, not in our waters. Many city's infrastructures are outdated and pump millions of gallons of raw sewage into our waterways. Instead, we need to divert urine (and probably eventually poop) from the waste stream. High nutrient loads in water are what lead to dead zones and algae blooms. This perfect and ubiquitous 'waste stream' dovetails perfectly into a silvopasture perennial future. Check out the Rich Earth Institute for more information: https://richearthinstitute.org/

Our Lands

  • Silvopasture and Rotational Grazing

Silvopasture is the intentional integration of trees and grazing animals (silv-tree, pasture-pasture). Rotational grazing is the process of managing ruminants like buffalo and bison would naturally behave. Large herds would come to a grassland, eat it down, poop, pee, and sometimes die, and then move on and let the grass recover. This process was why the American prairies had topsoil 200+ feet deep in some areas. Trees sequester carbon, add a layer of structural diversity, add organic matter to the soil, provide shade for happier and healthier animals, and ideally are of high value for forage and fruit. Trees like Honey Locusts, Hickories, Chestnuts, Mulberries, Persimmons, and Oaks to name a few, present incredible opportunities for perennial carbs, fats, and oils. Improved cultivars easily outperform yields of corn and grain (replaced by chestnut) and rapeseed (replaced by Bitternut Hickory), not to mention finishing animals on an incredible diet of grass, Persimmons, Honey Locusts, Chestnuts, Mulberries, and Hazelnuts. The future is tasty! Most people know that good soils high in organic matter hold incredible amounts of water. I want you to reimagine what the West might look like with healthy grazing lands as a huge sponge of water combined with large beaver populations as another huge sponge. The continental US used to be a much wetter and more resilient place. (https://treesforgraziers.com/)

  • Prescribed/Cultural burns

I like to half-joke that everything in the US used to be either on fire or underwater in a beaver meadow. While we tend to think of fires mostly in the west, the reality is that most of the US was regularly burned, all the way deep into Maine and down to Florida. Let us also not forget that fire played a huge role in prairie health as well. What a stroke of luck it is that most nut trees (oaks, hickories, chestnuts, hazelnuts, etc) are fire-resistant. Pretty quickly we can see how fire, silvopasture, and ruminants came together to create an incredible amount of biomass for insects, mammals, birds, and humans. The myth of the primeval old-growth forest of New England is dispelled by every early account of settlers describing the area as 'park-like' with overstories of nut trees. Do you want an actual food forest? Then burn it during the cool season. 40-60% canopy cover provides open structure and enough light getting to the ground to promote forbe and shrub growth. Want a low-maintenance medicinal herb garden? Check out how many prairie plants are medicinal and again you'll see how fire is key for human and ecological health. By the time most Europeans got to the US, disease and brutal colonialization had already destroyed 90-99% of most indigenous inhabitants, and fire had been absent for a hundred-plus years - most people saw an overgrown, overcrowded forest. The role that indigenous peoples played in actively creating their landscape makes me feel like we need a better term than 'hunter-gatherer'. I believe that term implies a passive luck of stumbling upon food, when in reality they were and are a crucial piece of a diverse and resilient landscape. The best I've come up with is 'hunter-cultivator' or 'hunter-landshaper'. I'd love to hear other suggestions. Here is an incredible in-depth article about the brilliance of regularly burning our landscapes: https://www.daviesand.com/Papers/Tree_Crops/Indian_Agroforestry/

  • Lawn to Meadow/Prairie

There are 40 million acres of lawn in the US alone. These tend to use insane amounts of water, fertilizer, and herbicide to create an ecological desert. And yet we can't figure out why insect populations are dropping... Converting even half of that acreage to annual and perennial plants would do an immense amount to support the insects and the food webs that rely on them. Lawn to meadow isn't explicitly different than the conversation on prescribed burns or silvopasture, but it occupies so much land that I wanted to name it explicitly.

Envision our home in 1491, pre-contact. Beaver wetlands neighbor broad oak savannahs where bison, small game, innumerable nuts, ribes, and medicinals carpet the deep healthy soil. Rivers teeming with fish, bivalves, and flocks of birds that block out the sun. The smell of smoke in early spring as the cycle begins again. Now picture the world we can make by 2100. Every piece that I just named is scalable and cheap. Nothing can compare to the biodiversity, resilience, and abundance that these cohesive ecological holons can create.

Beaver restoration, dam removal, oyster restoration, urine diversion, silvopasture, rotational grazing, lawn to meadow, and prescribed fire are the foundation of a resilient and abundant America. It is imperative we bring these fields together and start championing a cohesive ecological narrative. Our lands are too big and the problem is too severe to leave to the government and NGOs. We all need to be champions of our ecology, get our communities involved, and start healing lands for the benefit of all life on Earth.

19:27 UTC


Thinking about growing some wild cherry (Prunus avium) is there anything I should know before I start growing?

Located in England : )

18:18 UTC


when's the best time to transplant container-grown asparagus crowns?

A couple years ago I (zone 5b) started asparagus from seed, as well as got a couple young established male crowns from local sellers. The from-seed is mostly female I think, but I'm planning on keeping them anyway because they're a rare variety that no one sells established crowns of.

So right now I've got them in containers and they're going dormant if they aren't dormant already. I just finished a deep bed that I want to transplant them into at some point, but I don't know when to do it. If I leave them in the containers I'm afraid I'll kill the rootstock, but I'm afraid if I transplant them now they'll just rot in the bed -- or, if we have a warm or very inconsistent winter, they'll just rot in the bed anyway. I'm new to all of this, so I have no prior experience to fall back on. Before this I just grew annuals.

What would you do?

00:13 UTC


Looking for a consultant to do a 2d plan for my land

Located in western europe, done remotely, but advantage for someone who knows the local flor&fauna

I tried Fiverr, but there are not too many permaculture specialists there, any advice where to find people ?

17:50 UTC

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