Permaculture Insights


It Began With The Bees

October 25, 2016

   My own journey began with my concern with the plight of our honeybees. A friend of mine gave a seminar about the decline of the world bee populations which caught my attention. When we asked what could be done, he mentioned organic beekeeping, organic gardening and discontinuing the use of certain pesticides.  During his presentation, we asked how to become beekeepers and he agreed to teach us.  He began giving beekeeping lessons, which we took, and became Hobbyist Beekeepers (non-commercial beekeepers). 

   Bees are in distress for a number of reasons but neonicotinoids (pesticides) were what caught my attention.  This insecticide is found in some of the popular pesticides currently used in much of the world.  I wanted to be part of the solution and help bees.  Organic gardening was one of my personal solutions.  I created my own organic garden so the bees would have some clean flowers from which to harvest their pollen (it was healthier for my own family, too).  Realizing one organic garden will not the world's bees save, I continued to look for ways to help them.  This journey led me to the regenerative design science known as Permaculture Design.

  Permaculture Design was not only organic gardening, it also included comprehensive regenerative practices that are scalable and applicable to many areas.  It includes elements for an entire system or can be broken down into individual, stand-alone components.  An entirely new world opened up for me!  I could help the bees, feed my family healthy and nutritious food plus, create a healthy and clean ecosystem which would help clean the air and soil.  In addition, I could help others do the same thing thereby gaining an immense amount of personal satisfaction from knowing I am part of several ecological solutions.

   I realize beekeeping isn't for everyone but, we can all contribute to greening the world by doing something with our own space.  It doesn't matter how big or how small...doing anything is better than doing nothing.  At the end of the day, it feels good to know you have contributed to a better world in some way.


Written by Tina L. Wolf, Permaculture Design Consultant, webpermaculture.com

Pitchforks, Plutocrats and Greening Our World

October 30, 2016

    A couple years ago, there was an article and a TED Talk about the top .01% called “The Pitchforks Are Coming…For Us Plutocrats”. It was from one Plutocrat, Nick Hanauer, to other Plutocrats about increasing the minimum wage to support the middle class. This idea stuck with me, as well as, other remedies. At that time, I was already a hobbyist beekeeper, gardener and new to Permaculture Design.

   Permaculture is the process of greening a space using sustainable components. This could be a water catch system, edible plants either in the ground or in containers or maybe composting. The scale can go from the smallest studio apartment to the largest piece of rural land. Permaculture may sound like a “hippy dippy back-to-nature” concept but it has much to offer to everyone, including the Plutocrats. Make no mistake, I am finding that I like a slower paced lifestyle and get some sideways glances…as if I am “Hippyish”. No matter, I can live with that.

    I just reread the article after coming to the conclusion that Permaculture can, and will, help the Plutocrats…and everyone else. How? By “Greening Our World”. Many of us are waking up to the realization that we cannot sustain our current level of consumerism. The Earth has a finite amount of resources which will run out at our current rate of consumption. Our bodies can no longer handle the constant bombardment of toxins from every direction: Food; Air; Water; Soil. We are dying slow, painful deaths. But, we don’t have to.

    Plutocrats can help us all (including themselves…on so many levels) by beginning the massive process of “Greening Our World”. How? By getting the process started on a grand scale. As many of us know, the Law of Motion states that an object in motion will stay in motion.  Plutocrats can monumentally contribute by greening their businesses, greening our airports and greening their properties.

    An increasing number of people are looking for ways to live a more Earth-Friendly life. What better way than to work at a company who does everything it can to be green? Solar panels, windmills, rainwater catchment are all easily recognizable and commendable. But, what about swales and berms to catch rainwater in the soil for edible landscaping such as fruit tree guilds (a fruit tree surrounded by groupings of edible berries, vegetables and flowers) on the premises? What about a roof garden utilizing the rainwater and pumping the rainwater back up to the roof by using Max Meyer’s Speed Bump Pump? How about solar water heaters or passive solar windows facing the sun side of the buildings?

    Travelling is a necessary task for many of us. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to pick an apple from a tree at the airport? Talk about fresh food! There are microbes in soil that make us happy…that is certainly needed at the airport. There could be, in addition to all the already mentioned improvements, a gardeneing area where we could each grab a trowel and put a small plant into the soil…say something started in a pot? It could be a small piece of heaven in a hectic travel atmosphere.

    Apartment buildings, rental houses and other commercial properties could be fitted with green tech adding another competitive edge. Many of us are moving towards the greenest methods possible in our urban, suburban and rural living spaces. Being surrounded by nature, having living organic food available everywhere for everyone, knowing we are contributing to a better world by working for a “Green Company”, living in a “Green Neighborhood” or flying out of a "Green Airport"…in fact living in a “Green City” would give all residents and visitors cause for celebration. The air would be cleaner, the atmospehere would be friendlier (it has to be with so many people with their “hands in the soil”), and we would all be contributing to a better future for us and our progeny.

    Now, many of us are not yet accustomed to a green lifestyle so these improvements to our everyday locations will help many of us “ease into greening”. Living a more eco-friendly lifestyle need not cause us pain. In fact, it could bring us pleasure on many levels. How? The mere presence of more trees is welcoming. Eating fruit right off a tree is insanely utopian. Imagine getting used to that! How could we not improve our outlook if we lived in a space where we were not only used to eating fruit off the tree but also came to expect it in our environment. If there were spaces all over our cities, suburbs and towns, there would be enough for everyone.

    As more and more green tech comes along it could be added. Green jobs are already on the rise and this endeavor would only stimulate that trend. Our health could improve which would help us all work better, with fewer sick days. New technology could be used to clean up all types of pollution. You get the picture, right? We already have so many methods of greening so many places that once we gather momentum…it can snowball and benefit us all now and in the future.

 

Written by Tina L. Wolf, Permaculture Design Consultant, webpermaculture.com

Regenerative Elements Included in a Permaculture Design

February 20, 2017

   Applying Permaculture, or Permanent Agriculture to a site to “green” the property and make it more regenerative sounds great but, what is added to the property? What are some of the elements of a permaculture site? We throw around the term “Permaculture” but what does it involve? It is the thoughtful and protracted design of an area mimicking nature to make a site more regenerative. What does that mean? These are just some of the questions asked when we prepare to make our site more regenerative. 

Permaculture Design begins with evaluating a site by studying it. Designers look for the weather patterns, which direction they come from, severity, if the site needs to be protected from them and how to do that. They check the soil to see what type it is, if it needs fixing, what plants are currently supported by it, how it is contoured and how it is affected by the climate and water. We study the water available on a site. Looking specifically for existing water sources and rainfall.

When these basics have been discovered, we can look at adding elements to a property based upon what the owner’s wishes are for the site. Do they want animals? Do they wish for an annual garden? A perennial garden? Fruits, nuts, an herb spiral? Is water conservation or catchment on the agenda? Do they wish to integrate many elements or just a few? On a large or small scale?

Water catch systems can be as small as a rain barrel catching the rain from a roof to a large dam running off into smaller dams along the hillside. There are numerous techniques available for both large and small scale water catchment. Leach fields are good for running grey water through to clean on the way to watering a vegetable garden, for example.

Perennial Gardening includes many perennial plants that return each year. In a permaculture setting, they are arranged in a more natural way than the standard straight row gardens we are accustomed to. We have tree guilds that have a fruit tree at the center which is surrounded by perennial and annual plants, including herbs. An Herb Spiral is a fantastic element placed near the kitchen so the herbs are handy and therefore more likely to be harvested fresh.

Composting, keeping small animals (such as chickens, rabbits or goats), mulching, keeping bees, attracting beneficial insects, forest gardening and creating microclimates are some additional elements available to use while applying permaculture techniques to your property. So much is available to create a renewable living space that it has become much easier for anyone to green their space. If time is an issue…call your local Permaculture Designer for help.


Written by Tina L. Wolf, Permaculture Design Consultant, webpermaculture.com

Food Programmed to Heal?

July 2, 2017

Yes, we can program our food to heal us. I realize this is a strange concept. It’s definitely far removed from anything we have been taught but, it is true. Pesticide companies know this. They have found they can cause pesticides to grow within an entire plant by soaking the seed in the pesticide. While we can rinse off topical pesticides and herbicides, the pesticides grown within the plant cannot be removed. This same technology can be used to help us grow our own DNA-specific food. We can program our plants to our DNA by soaking them in our saliva. How can this be of benefit, you may ask? Plants can know what nutrients we need and include more or less of them based on what we need. I realize this may sound like science fiction but, as already mentioned, pesticide companies have already proven a plant will allow itself to be programmed at the DNA level. In my research, I've found our ancestors used this method very successfully. 

As I have previously mentioned, my Permaculture journey began with the bees. They are dying off at alarming rates due to many factors…not least of which are the pesticide programmed crops grown throughout the world. Non-organic seeds are those that have been soaked in pesticide long enough for the seeds to absorb the fluid…at least 15 minutes. When the seeds grow, the pesticide is included in every part of the plant. This means that regardless of what part of the plant is harvested, it contains the pesticide. We eat the pesticide. Bees eat the pesticide in pollen. Animals eat the pesticide. Our children eat the pesticide.

Organic seeds can be held in the mouth for 15 minutes to program them with our saliva so they can truly be our plants. Ideally, do this while in a quiet, calm setting and thinking positive and loving thoughts. Remember the Japanese experiment with words and water? The water responded positively to positive words and vice versa. Plants, like us, are made mainly of water…so it makes sense this same principle will work well with plants.

Why not program organic seeds ourselves to benefit us and our families? My family has been eating vegetables and herbs that were soaked in our DNA. They are our favorite because they taste great to us! There is only your health to gain. The fact that you used organic seeds is a fantastic first step because poison, in the form of pesticide, is not included in your diet. Hopefully, we will all soon see the benefits, first hand, of truly growing our own food.


Written by Tina L. Wolf, Permaculture Design Consultant, webpermaculture.com

What is a Permaculture Design?

November 10, 2017

That is a good question...and one many people ask me.  A Permaculture Design is a design of your property, or area, showing the property lines, home, other structures and other elements of the design.  A good design begins with a detailed base-map of the area that includes the property boundary, the house, any structures and other existing features.  This is important to show what currently exists and where it is located so the designer can see where any new elements can be placed/added/changed.

Elements of the Permaculture Design are then able to be accurately placed in relation to the existing property features.

This map is then used to bring the design to life.  The garden here...rain water catch apparatus over there...a privacy hedge at the back...the herb garden nearby.  Those installing the design elements can easily place them using the Permaculture Design.


Written by Tina L. Wolf, Permaculture Design Consultant, webpermaculture.com

forest; garden; permaculture; observation

Permaculture property awareness list

March 12, 2018

Web Permaculture can help you apply Permaculture Principles to your property!  A thorough analysis of your plot to get to know the land, organisms that live on it and other things that influence it. Observation is a primary way to analyze your area.

Here is a list of 15 of the main things to be aware of before you begin.


Shade

Plants shade requirements differ. Observing shading on your area you can decide which plants to place in which area.


Sun

Knowing where the sun shines on your site allows for better placement of your plants.


View

Do you have views that add or detract from your site? You can cover them or enhance them.


Microclimates

These are land features that create temperature variations. You can use these niches when you know of them.


Neighbors

Does your neighbor’s lifestyle impact your permaculture garden? You can design to exclude or work with them.


Vegetation

By observing the existing plants on your plot, you can determine which species thrive in your area.


Flow

How does water coming onto your land move through it? Can you slow it, spread it, sink it, store it or share it?


Moisture

Plants need moisture. Observing rain, snow and hail patterns on your site will allow you to use them to your benefit.


Government

Local ordinances can impact your plot. Knowing what they are allows you to design around them.


Wind

By observing the influential wind patterns on your site you can create wind breaks to assist manage your site.


Temperature

Temperature affects plants, animals and us. Knowing the variations and affected areas can help you plan for them.


Animals

You can determine what wildlife is attracted to your property and plant to attract or deter them.


Soil

Noticing and understanding your soil will allow you to know how to use and/or enhance it for your needs.


Structures

Structures can affect your views, reflected sunlight, garden shade, and diffused heat.


Local Resources

Local businesses can provide sustainable organic resources for your site.


Written by Tina L. Wolf, Permaculture Design Consultant, webpermaculture.com