/r/Permaculture

Photograph via snooOG

A community for like-minded individuals to discuss permaculture and sustainable living. Permaculture (Permanent Culture) is an ecological design system coined 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:

/r/Permaculture

292,344 Subscribers

0

Anyone Need A Member Of Their Community? lol

Looking to learn more about and possibly join a active community if that's a thing. New Yorker here.

3 Comments
2024/07/21
23:17 UTC

1

Audible version of the Design Manual?

Hi everyone, I’ll be starting my PDC this coming Fall, and I can hardly wait!

As we all know, Mollison’s Design Manual is pretty thick. I like to listen to books; I find it more relaxing, and it helps me avoid eye strain.

Unfortunately my iOS won’t do Voiceover for the chapters of the PDM that I’ve downloaded to my kindle. The newer iOS has another “speak screen” function and that doesn’t work either.

I can’t find any YouTube videos of it being read aloud either.

Would anyone happen to have any resources? I’d love to relax on my porch and just listen to the text.

Thank you in advance!

2 Comments
2024/07/21
21:02 UTC

1

Gopher issues

Gophers here on the farm in Oregon are a major issue, causing damage to fruit trees. What are some methods y’all are using to limit & manage your gopher population? Thanks in advance for any help!:)

1 Comment
2024/07/21
18:58 UTC

7

Banana Circle for grey water - can i use other plants?

bananas get too big, and spiders love them. i dont want banana plants so close (20 meters) from the house

faitly low volume of grey water, around 60 litres of grey water daily, twice a week when using the washing machine it goes up to 100~110, and on some weekends (family visiting) the daily gray water use can go up to 300 for two or three days

so as the idea is to use plants to filter the water,

so instead of using bananas can i simply use other broad leaf plants like Xanthosoma sagittifolium, yam, philodendron undulatum, colocasia esculenta etc.

yes i understand bananas soak tons of water, but as there isnt really that much, these other plants ought to be enough?

5 Comments
2024/07/21
18:14 UTC

78

Screw yards, I want a food forest. Help me out? (Massachusetts)

Having grown fruit and veggies in homemade raised beds and being thrilled about the results, I'm now looking to eliminate all non-edibles from my yard if possible.

I have a small place (~1/10 acre including the house) so it's like...a fairly brief area. Enough for a few raised beds, and a strip along the front of the house that I'm putting herbs in because while ground cover flowers are pretty, I'm hooked on functionality (and couldn't find creeping thyme at the store lol). I think now that growing zones shifted, I'm technically in 7, but I'm along the Mass east coast, not far from the shore. Not right on it, so we're not getting ocean spray, but near.

My yard is an unholy abomination of weeds. Grass has been half-outcompeted, and what remains is scraggly and mixed. I tried to overseed with clover to keep the weeds down, and that did exactly nothing. I get that dandelions are edible, but a lot of what's out there isn't, and want to rip the whole thing out and replace with things we can eat. I'd rather something that doesn't spoil immediately, so while I do have some raspberries, I don't want everything to be so ephemeral. Right now I have: beets, potatoes, tomatoes, raspberries we have to fight to keep under control, a couple blueberry bushes, and some mint I'm trying to wrangle (mint was a mistake, wow).

I have prolific rabbit compost from when we kept rabbits in years past, and I've used that in my yard. So the soil is pretty fertile despite being an utter travesty above ground.

So I have questions, as a total amateur.

  1. What else can I plant? I've tried onion. They never, ever come up. I tried celeriac, nothing grew. I don't understand why they won't cooperate...

1a. Why are onions such a failure? The one time they did come up, they were tiny.

  1. I'm trying to avoid my yard becoming a hellhole of mosquitoes. When the grass grows long, we can't walk outside without getting eaten. I know a lot of "pest repellant" crops aren't actually effective and are just urban legend. Does permaculture tend to allow mosquitoes too many hiding places? We've painstakingly eliminated standing water, but I can't control my neighbors next door if they leave out a bucket or something. We also have wild bunnies and slugs that love cabbage.

  2. I don't eat greens much. It's cabbage and really nothing else. Most are too bitter for me. My husband will eat some, but I'd rather not have an entire plot of spinach. Root veggies rule, though, and tomatoes and such. What is good to plant that isn't just "salad leaves"?

  3. I'm hoping for perennials, though I know most crops are annuals. Is that reasonable? What things will actually reseed for next year?

  4. How to keep the damn weeds out? The instant I clear an area, they're already sprouting. I'm dead set against using herbicides, even though I've heard glyphosate breaks down fast in soil. Picking every single weed seedling will eat up every moment of time I have.

  5. How to make raspberries not suck so much to harvest? Right now I feel like I have to wear kevlar to get in there. I keep wanting to prune them back but the berries are so far out on the canes that it feels impossible without sacrificing the harvest. Should I just tear them out and replace with a thornless variety?

  6. What can I overwinter?

  7. What's good for a walking path among all this, that won't become a weed pit? Gravel?

  8. What's the easiest way to rip up grass?

30 Comments
2024/07/21
17:50 UTC

23

Japanese Knotweed problem

Hello, recently I've gotten into gardening with sustainable and permaculture ideas in mind. However, on the land where I'm farming there is a japanese knotweed infestation. I live in Poland, zone 6b. Since I started battling with it, I've managed to
a. cut it down using massive scissors and mow over it, which blended everything ground up
b. educate myself about how hard is it to get rid of it
c. strain my back pulling out roots
Meanwhile, a month later it regrew to knee height . So, I've came up with 3 options

  1. Get some men to help and dig it all out, making sure to get rid of the rhizomes and feel the soil back in
  2. Test it for heavy metals and, if low, give up on eradicating it and start eating. I've heard the stalks taste like rhubarb, and I've made a tea out of the leaves before cutting it a month ago, I'd say it was quite tasty with a caramel-like flavor, the only drawback seems to be the fact that it tends to accumulate heavy metals, so perhaps I should try to work with it, instead of against it? And considering that it grows like crazy I could be having like 5 harvests a year.
  3. Keep collecting it in a barrel with water and molasses and fermenting it into DIY fertilizer with other weeds (don't know if it won't spread it tho..)

While looking up for solutions I've heard someone suggest planting sunchokes near it, since they spread like crazy (that's also true for Poland) and may outcompete it. Someone else said to do squash to shade the ground, but I don't know if squash is "aggressive" enough. I think mulching it won't help either since the stalks will pierce the mulch layer and won't be choked out by it.

I wouldn't like to do glyphosate since I'm afraid it will hurt local plants, polinators and perhaps even myself (I already have gut problems from ASD)

So, could anyone give me some feedback on these ideas?

37 Comments
2024/07/21
14:22 UTC

3

Is it ok to plant red twig dogwoods near foundations or pipes?

I want to do some planting around my city, but I’m hesitant to mess up anything. I know willow is off the table. I notice some kinship between willows and the dogwood. Do their roots have the same invasive tendencies?

0 Comments
2024/07/21
08:32 UTC

6

coffee sacks for weed matting

As per the topic, has anyone tried using used coffee sacks for weed matting, and have views about how effective or non-effective it was? I've got a reasonably good supply of them, and I'm pretty sure theyre just jute, arent they?

4 Comments
2024/07/21
06:40 UTC

1

Looking for Zines! or other informational resources to distribute

0 Comments
2024/07/21
02:40 UTC

4

Are my haskap berry bushes stunted?

I bought two small haskaps (bare root plugs) in a late spring sale and planted them around June 1. After six weeks, they are still less than a foot tall. Should I be worried? Or is this just a lost year and they will explode with growth next spring?

11 Comments
2024/07/20
18:26 UTC

5

No Till Beds

I’m working on a couple beds for primarily planting lavender next year—possibly a couple other herbs. I’ve kept it simple by aerating the ground (clay soil), layer of cardboard, regular dirt and brown leaves. Is there anything I can do to improve here? I figured I would at least layer up the beds with more dirt and dead leaves to slowly break down for next season.

3 Comments
2024/07/20
16:28 UTC

4

Best time to air layer ?

I am in zone 9B. There is a lemon and kumquat I am hoping to try air layering on.

When is the best time to do this? Currently temps are in the low hundreds.

3 Comments
2024/07/20
14:28 UTC

5

Best way to stop chickens scratching up all the grass?

Got 7 chickens in a big run (40m x 10m), used to be wild grass, now its mostly dirt and moss. Whats the best way to keep the soil from drying out and turning to dirt? I've planted some blackberries, blueberry bushes, some comfrey, and made a moveable 2m gitter frame with some barley oats growing under it. Any tips to make a scratch proof chicken run garden so they can forage fresh food / leaves every day?

21 Comments
2024/07/20
13:51 UTC

2

Transplanting Sunflowers

Can you successfully transplant stunted (lack of sunshine) sunflowers from the ground to a brighter location?

5 Comments
2024/07/20
07:01 UTC

4

Small scale rotation of pigs with food corridors?

Hello!

I'm soon going to a biodynamic/permaculture farm raising pigs with some rotation involved. An idea was brought up to rearrange the fenced areas to include a food corridor next to the pigs where some of their feed might be planted. It would be well protected from them, but I was wondering if anyone has any experience or ideas with something similar to this?

The farm is in NSW Australia, so we could plant squash/pumpkins, sweet potatoes, bananas etc with the idea of chopping them and feeding them directly to the pigs right next to the spot. It's in the hopes of just having feed right next to them and supplementing their diet with fresh vegetables.

Thanks in advance!

3 Comments
2024/07/20
05:09 UTC

4

pruning huge first year blackberry canes

I've had some wild blackberries growing in my yard for about 3 years and I've never pruned them. it started with 2 canes and has grown to a huge bush with well over a hundred first and second year canes so far this year.

is it ok to cut back a giant first year cane that is over 10 feet tall?

11 Comments
2024/07/20
02:36 UTC

2

USDA seed bank connect?

Does anybody have any experience working with the USDA seed bank in any kind of capacity? I’m curious whether I can secure a partner there to move forward a research proposal. Im not a researcher but I do know someone who is. I’ve been working in urban agriculture and I’d like to get in on the important seed work of our generations! I farm in zone 10

2 Comments
2024/07/19
20:52 UTC

3

I’m interested in buying some land for permaculture but not sure where to look

I’d like to be self sustainable somewhere while respecting the land using permaculture methods, but I’d ideally like to plant a wide variety of plants, some crops, and I’m not sure which region or zone in the US would be suitable.

I’d like to eventually sell cacti and succulents, so this will be a huge consideration. I’m also going to plant a medicinal herb garden as well as fruit and nut trees (ideally) and a produce garden.

I might have free access to land in the midwest zone 6, but climate change projections might make it gradually shift towards a very moist zone 8 by 2060.

I also have a parent I’m worried about in zone 9, but all the cheap land around is in zone 8. I’d like to stay near this parent but this land is also absurdly expensive.

Also, what are your opinions on mountainous zone 7 and zone 8? Would this be possible?

According to climate change predictions, the safest region right now is basically the Canadian border, but I’m certain my cacti won’t like it there and I doubt I’d have many buyers.

Anyway, I’m very new to this and in the early stages of planning. Right now I only have a list of plants I’d like to grow, my encroaching 30s, and a dream! All the help I can get would be much appreciated.

Thank you!!

12 Comments
2024/07/19
18:43 UTC

18

Mint

I like mint, a lot. I have apple, strawberry, and blackcurrant mint at this time. I've kept it in pots until now, but I am tempted to plant it in the ground for the following reasons.

  1. My garden is turning into a sort of mini-orchard, and I think that mint will both attract pollinators and potentially repel pests like slugs.

  2. I have lots of existing plants that do their best to cover any bare ground. Potentilla reptans, bindweed, brambles, and English ivy. I am already in the position of needing to weed around any new plants, so I figure the worst that the mint could do is displace the mildly annoying potentilla with mint.

  3. As my trees grow, my garden will become more shaded and cool (I hope). Mint should do well in these conditions.

  4. I have a problem with the neighbours cats digging up beds and pooping in my garden. I hope that the smell of mint will deter them.

Has anyone had any experience with growing mint in the ground? My garden is already a bit of a battlefield between natives and the various vigorous plants I've introduced, so I view it as just adding another competitor.

30 Comments
2024/07/19
14:24 UTC

15

Will marigolds reseed themselves?

Trying to build a fruit tree guild. I bought 76 pints of marigolds to use as a border around my fruit tree.

Will they reseed themselves after winter or do I need to manually reseed them and replant them all myself? That’s a lot of work.

I’m in NJ.

25 Comments
2024/07/19
10:35 UTC

11

Protecting a wild apple tree from bears?

Our local bears are grade A assholes. There's 460 acres of wild land behind my property and naturally there are bears from there who wander onto my land and forage. And foraging would be fine. I could deal with a little loss, but these drunken frat bears from hell for whatever reason just pull the whole damn tree down or any branches small enough to rip off the trunk, pick all the fruit off, and move on. Why on earth an animal would pull down a reliable food source it could just as well grab the food from like some kind of Russian 19th century "scored earth" war campaign I do not know.

I have my planted trees protected. Electric fence and so on. But I found in my wanderings a small wild apple tree, and a lot of wild apples in my area are lost heirloom varieties that are actually quite good. I'd love to find out, but last week a bear ripped the top off the tree and left the unripe apples on the ground uneaten. There's still a few good branches and if it can survive till spring I'll take a cutting or three, graft it to some rootstock and stick it where the bears won't go. It's slow process to be sure.

My question is, for the future of this tree assuming it survives is there anything I can do to make the apples less appealing to the bears? Can I spray pure capsaicin and something massively bitter like quassia or gentian extract on them to convince the bears that the apples they found are the worst thing they've ever eaten? Of course, they may take one bite and pull the tree down out of spite, but it's a thought.

These bears aren't starving. There are wineberries, more wineberries, and even more wineberries. There are mature black walnuts, hickory, and white oak. There are blackberries. There's blackhaw viburnum. There are crabapples. There is a crapton of autumn olive. So why they feel the need to be so destructive in the pursuit of a few extra calories in their already abundant diet I have no idea, but I don't think I could fit all of them in my freezer if I tried.

8 Comments
2024/07/18
17:49 UTC

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