Photograph via snooOG

A community for likeminded individuals to discuss permaculture and sustainable living. Permaculture (Permanent Culture) is an ecological design system coined in Australia by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison and based on Aboriginal Tasmanian belief systems.

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:


282,531 Subscribers


Large water storage brainstorm.

I am planning on building some large water storage on our property. We have 3 roof surfaces (7125 sqft) that would produce 75,000-100,000 gal/year. Dry climate. 16in avg a year. Most of the water would be non potable use, garden, tree rows, livestock , fire. Zone 6 It freezes in winter here so everything would need to be underground/frost-proof. So I started looking at plastic tanks. Expensive. Around 2$/gallon. Then thought about building concrete cisterns. Something i could manage myself as i do construction for a living. Much cheaper about 0.12$ a gallon for the cement depending on the size. The bigger you go the less the price is per gallon. For instance a 20x20x12’ cement cistern would hold 35520 gallons. At 8” thick would be 34 yards @$130/yd is $4,420 for cement. I was thinking a wood framed roof to cover.
Then i thought why not just dig a hole and use pond liner. A 20x40x12’ hole would hold about 71,000 gallons and needs a 50x70 liner which is about $ 1,500 for. 30mil polyethylene liner. A few courses of block around the edge and a wood frame and tin roof. Probably another $1,500 in materials for the roof. $3000\71000gal = 0.041$/gal. Basically a glorified pond with a lid to keep water clean as possible. Has anyone here built something similar? Any ideas on design or implementation?

14:34 UTC


Farming without chemicals

I’m a beginning farmer and have worked as a hand on several land and cattle companies in my area. There aren’t many farms near me but the ones that are practice conventional farming. It is understood that conventional agriculture uses chemical intervention for fertilizer, and for pest management. Since conventional agriculture produces a majority of food for the world. Is it possible to still feed the world without the use of chemicals in our modern world. I understand that without fertilizer and pesticide our crop yield would drastically lower. However with sustainable agriculture and permaculture is it feasible that the world could wean itself off of this chemical input.

I have read things on “Organic farming” and the use of some “organic” sprays are just as harmful as conventional. I’m a beginning farmer and truth be told I want to try to farm without chemical intervention. From what I read and watch this is easier said then done. Our ancestors practiced pest management. Using sulfur or smoke, Chinese used ants for fruit trees. All very labor intensive, however if we went back to manual intervention wouldn’t we see an increase in jobs forming in agriculture. I am a BEGINNER so if anything I said that isn’t correct please inform me. I’m just looking to learn so I may implement the most sustainable and healthy practices to preserve the land I have the opportunity to work with. Thank you.

06:02 UTC


Post 2021 Geoff Lawton Online PDC reviews? VS OSU Online course?

Hello, I am new to permaculture and I have decided to take a course from one of these three options. I would appreciate your thoughts, especially from those who have taken any of them:

Oregon State University

Geoff Lawton Online PDC

Geoff Lawton Greening the Desert PDC

I watched Geoff Lawton's video on making compost in 18 days, and it was super easy to understand and full of rich content. Is the entire online PDC similar in quality?

22:18 UTC


So, hedgerow in zone 6a

I'm thinking about planting a hedgerow in Europe, zone 6a and yes, hedgerows are not really the thing here as in UK. Terrain is flat, a bit wet, partly meadow and now forest is taking over. I'm using the meadow part to plant some fruit trees and on north side I wish to do narrow hedgerow mostly for birds and animals (and a but of protection from northern winds). What selection of plants would you suggest. Thank you.

22:07 UTC


Kraft paper or other ideas to start a perma orcahard?

I'm about to plant our a little orchard, mix of fruit trees and berry shrubs etc. I will plant most of the perennials as time goes on. The area is currently just Wild prairie grasses. I am going to run drip tape lines the length of the rows. I feel like I need to put down a weed suppression layer to start and mulch over? I am thinking of using virgin Kraft paper probably double sheets and then mulch over the top. Is Kraft paper a good idea? Will it suppress enough to stop grass from re growing? I have also though about putting down landscape fabric for the first year and then pulling it up and mulching heavy next year? If I go the Kraft paper route will sufficient water get through the paper layer to the trees and shrubs? Drip line over the paper but under the mulch? If I go landscape fabric I'm guessing the tape goes under the fabric? Any input and ideas appreciated.

13:31 UTC


Permaculture GPT4 Course + Ebook!

Ahoy! I am a game developer, futurist and Permaculture researcher who is studying permaculture for the purpose of researching "Terraforming" science. Aka, planetary scale permaculture and the installing of self-sustainable environments on say, Mars as an example. This would take permaculture on a massive industrialized scale, and in pursuing this knowledge, I've set upon a journey of understanding that led to the creation of a Permaculture 101 GPT that can assist with researching Permaculture & an Ebook that I built to train it on, and learn more about Permaculture in a way that we can start Terrafarming on Earth, expand our knowledge and eventually apply it to other worlds!

The Book Of Permaculture is now on Amazon - Reviews, Input on Future Updates and Thoughts Appreciated!Permaculture 101 is the name of the GPT4 I have created that can teach you, about my Ebook and Permaculture in an interactive and helpful way.

If you work with Permaculture, this GPT is for you!

Book of Permaculture

Highest Regards,- Star Captain Dread

19:56 UTC


Desert Landscape grew trees

Hey 👋

So where I live is like the surface of mars. Dusty dead land, volcanic mountains and barely any rain. When I moved here, I would walk from one town to the next across a patch of land that had nothing growing on it, and yet now, there's a patch of trees growing in the middle

Now after doing some reading and watching some YT, I've realised that a natural swale has formed and trapped enough water for these trees to survive and flourish

How can I expand this area? I don't own the land, but I don't care. If I can help make it green, I want to at least try it

01:33 UTC


Swales in a swampy area

Our new property is in a flood zone, close to the coast (in Mississippi), and I'm trying to figure out if I should do some swaling before planting my guilds. In the summer, it rains almost every day, and water collects in a few different places around the lawn before it drains in a few hours. Sometimes these rains are torrential. In the winter, it has been pretty dry both years I've been here. The house is up about 4-foot on stilts (thanks to hurricane Katrina flooding out the previous house), and the water loves to collect right next to it in the front and the side. Otherwise, it all drains to the back of the property into an overgrown area. Next to the house is a cleared plot about an eighth of an acre that is next to a creek. This is where I plan to grow my guilds. The water runs to the creek and to the back of the property. I've never worked with swales, and I'm just not sure how it would be beneficial for growing guilds here. I'm looking to support the growth of fruit trees, berry bushes, and your standard soil-growing plants. (Thanks to the abundance of sand and clay that needs an organic infusion.)

So I'd love some general recommendations, and I wouldn't mind direction to some swale resources (youtube, books, etc...) that might be targeted to a situation similar to mine. I'm having some trouble finding what I'm looking for.

Thank you so much! I've been studying and lightly practicing permaculture for about 10 years, and now is the time to finally jump in!


00:10 UTC


Offering a book on sustainable landscape design for the SE USA.

Howdy all. My name is Nate Miller and I am the author of Simply Sustainable Landscapes for the SE USA. In my book i cover native plants and my EONS landscape theory. If you want a book please let me know.

17:44 UTC


Converting large field of grass

I have several acres of fields I would like to convert over the next decade or so. It's mostly grasses etc, but the soil isn't great.

Would it be plausible to mow it and plant cover crops like clover or the classic Oat and Pea mix and just let it go for the next couple of years until I'm ready to create more swales and plant trees and shrubs? Is there a good cover crop pairing to passively take over grasses? Hairy Vetch does well around here as well, as does goldenrod. I also keep bees so anything that flowers and rebuilds the soil is great. Red/ white clover, alfalfa, etc.

Edit: I live in zone 5B Southern Ontario. This is a backyard hobby after work and on weekends with my wife and kids, and this is my forever home. I'd rather put the time and effort in rather than spend copious amounts of money on it, so cost-effective is definitely a factor. I also don't mind if it sets seeds as it'll be a progressive conversion over many years.

15:44 UTC


How to simply integrate swales and roadways

I like so many others have a tract of land that's about twice as deep as it is wide, and the east and west sides each have a stream bed. Unfortunately, the access roads also parallel the stream beds along the east and west sides of the property.

The roadways are perpendicular to contour, and the swales would ideally be on-contour.

What do you suggest we do to integrate swales, when we have nearby roadbeds?

11:30 UTC


Growing in a Wetter World

Does anyone have any resources for ideas for coping with too much water on the farm?

When I was living in the West, (US) I was pretty familiar with methods to deal with too little water but now that I’m in the Northeast, it seems like the opposite eventuality may be the case.

I was thinking of raised beds, hugelkultur, plants that prefer wet feet but I have concerns about nutrient leaching etc.

Anyone have any resources or ideas? Thanks

23:22 UTC


Sheet mulching advice

21:46 UTC


Oats as a cover crop

If I were to use oats for a cover crop this year instead of planting my garden in the ground, would they come back next year after winter if I let them grow completely or will they just completely die from the roots? I want to try and get my Sandy soil to grow better by planting oats or some kind of cover crop that dies in the winter completely, and doesn’t come back next spring. We get our spring frost June 4th and fall frost September 8th this year. Our winters get very cold and get a lot of snow as well and early spring tends to fluctuate a lot in temperature. They are regular oats not winter oats and I’m in zone 5.

Edit: Maybe I should use crimson clover instead? Or both? I’m still researching and really need help.

16:46 UTC


Easy rabbit proof fencing

I’m planning to upgrade my vegetable and permaculture gardens this spring. I currently have 2x4 inch wire 4 foot fencing with a 1 foot section of half inch mesh around the bottom. The bottom mesh was added to keep out the prolific rabbits. Plus I’ve got buried wire mesh for groundhogs. Ideally I’d like a non metal mesh fence 4+ feet tall with small enough holes for rabbits I can stretch out between posts. Does this exist?

13:50 UTC


Stalled out seedlings

So I've got a couple burr oaks on my property and was actually able to beat all the squirrels to a few acorns last year. And the even better news is, 3 acorns have sprouted and are growing some seedlings. I started them in my house about a month and a half ago and they were taking off like rockets. Now though, for the last several weeks they appear to have stopped growing. They're not showing any other signs of distress or anything though.

Any thoughts as to what I can do to get them growing again?

12:45 UTC


Searching for Organic Suppliers

Hello. We are creating a natural farming project on our land and are in a search of finding suppliers that sell organic hay and straw to ship us or to pick up. We are located in Temecula area (Riverside county) We thought to ask around to other permaculture farms like yourself. We hope to read any suggestions from you soon. Thank you

06:09 UTC


More cardboard over existing wood chips?

I laid cardboard and wood chips about three years ago for weed abatement. Now, small weeds are beginning to show up again. Should I lay more cardboard over the existing chips and then another layer of new chips, or remove chips then new cardboard then replace the wood chips? The latter seems like more work.

23:50 UTC


Can permaculture mitigate critical wet-bulb levels?

I recently inherited a little bit of land in south Texas. In the future climate change will raise the wet bulb temperate to be fatally high in this area, so I am wondering if it is worth investing into. Thank you.

17:59 UTC


Replacing yard on a time crunch

Hi y'all.

So I'm currently living in my family's old home and have been gradually working on replacing the lawn with a clover/native grass and flower mix using tarp, leaf litter, cardboard, etc. - both to increase edible species for wildlife, and to reduce required maintenance (mowing).

I understand working gradually in guilds is better, but my income has been very limited.

However, I've been invited down to a commune-style setup and will be moving in the next 3-6 months. As soon as I'm out, my family will need to find a renter ASAP, so it looks like I need to get this conversion done before I leave and no longer have the benefit of time.

I don't wish to use tarps any more because of both the material expense and leaching micro plastics.

I understand tilling is harmful, but if I'm just doing it once, and only once, to replace the surface vegetation, could it be a workable solution?

Would surface burning with a propane tank when it gets dry in spring work?

Lay down a heavy layer of straw and seed directly into the straw layer?

Try to get a few truckloads of cardboard from the local grocery store or pizza places and use it as tarp, and accept I'll have to figure out how to dispose of it after?

Should I bite the bullet and tarp?

Thanks y'all.

16:23 UTC


Permaculture books - Which to read first?

Hey there,

I really need some help. During the last months and years I collected quite a library of books regarding permaculture, food forests or organic gardening in general.

However, and that is a real problem, in what order should I read those books to build a solid understanding of permaculture? I often only read parts that seem interesting to me or answer a specific question I have in mind...

My guess for the most common answer would be: Read "Permaculture: A Designers Manual" by good ol' Bill first.

Any other suggestions on what to read? Maybe the "Introduction to Permaculture" by Mollison or "Gaia's Garden"?

Any help is appreciated! Thanks in advance.

15:00 UTC

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