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What's happening Permaculture wise in Texas?

Betty Montgomery


Joined: Nov 13, 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Lone Oak, TX
Has Geoff ever been to Texas and if he has I'd like to know how it compares to Australia. I've lived here in North Texas (Dallas area) and in North East Texas all my life. Thus I've never had the opportunity to visit Australia. From what I've read about it however it seems that parts of Australia are very much like parts of Texas.
Would I do well to go to the Australian Permaculture web site to look for ideas to use here, after of course I figure out which part of Australia most closely resembles N.E. Texas?
I do know that Emu do well here. Big, smelly, birds so darn ugly they're down right cute. Tasty too.


I babble at www.bettyamontgomery.blogspot.com,
more at www.arurualpointofview.blogspot.com
Mark Contra


Joined: Aug 04, 2012
Posts: 10
Location: Santa Anna, TX
I was thinking about this as well. I live in Central Texas and wanted to know which permaculture books or courses could i look into
for proper permaculture design with land that has mostly clay, and plenty of mesquite trees. I guess the search begins...
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
"Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2: Water-Harvesting Earthworks" by Brad Lancaster http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/books/volume2/


Idle dreamer

Mark Contra


Joined: Aug 04, 2012
Posts: 10
Location: Santa Anna, TX
Thanks Tyler for the recommendation! Wow, another central Texian I just finished watching "Introduction to Permaculture Design" by geoff lawton last night.
Then I started thinking that I don't live in a Tropical area like shown on the video. I've been thinking of taking some Permaculture course in Texas,
would you have any recommendations on courses or books? Are there books and videos I can purchase to help me stay on the right track? What are you using for
better understanding of permaculture in Central TX? I am excited about this and overwhelmed at the same time. I guess I just need to hang around here and keep
learning. Thanks again!
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Mark, I hope I can make some helpful suggestions. I can probably help with what NOT to do, as I have made many mistakes... First of all if the Permaculture Design DVD is anything like the Food Forest DVD then the techniques are translatable to our region, I believe. The basic design principles of permaculture apply no matter where one lives. Planning in zones, installing rain harvesting earthworks, etc all apply here. We do share with the tropics extremes of high temperature, potential drought and flood, and intense sun. The main challenge we face in Central Texas I think is our erratic climate, going from extreme drought to catastrophic flooding. Our rainfall is unpredictable, without a typical rainy season or monsoon like much of the Southwest has. So we have to be especially mindful of planning for the extremes. This is what I didn't know to do at the outset, and now have to make up for it by putting in rain harvesting earthworks after having already built house, sheds, etc. See my project thread for my planning struggles. A few things I've found especially helpful have been the video and map of Geoff's farm Zaytuna, which shows how the water harvesting works with the total landscape: http://permaculture.org.au/2012/06/01/zaytuna-farm-video-tour-apr-may-2012-ten-years-of-revolutionary-design/ I keep going back and studying it more. For those of us who can't afford to hire the big machines for installing dams and swales, or for working in smaller spaces, I can't recommend highly enough Brad Lancaster's "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands Volume 2": http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/books/volume2/ Also helpful for small scale rain harvesting structures: http://www.drylandsolutions.com/dryland.php?i=4

I can't recommend any courses because I'm not part of the Texas permaculture loop which seems to be centered in Austin. Those folks don't seem to hang out on the messageboards. There used to be a teaching permaculture farm a few miles from me. Unfortunately it closed right after we found out about it and visited once. We hope to get some permaculture teachers presenting here at our place next year but that's just in the planning stages right now.
Mark Lipscomb


Joined: Aug 08, 2012
Posts: 38
Location: North Plains, OR
    
    1


I would bet that Jack Spirko has something in the works to get Geoff Lawton to Texas for a project.
                                


Joined: Aug 15, 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Central Texas
Oooooh, great thread! Wonderful questions and great answers!


My friends call me Joy, nice to meet you!

www.JoynessSparkles.blogspot.com
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Mark Lipscomb wrote:

I would bet that Jack Spirko has something in the works to get Geoff Lawton to Texas for a project.


That's the rumor!

Betty Montgomery


Joined: Nov 13, 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Lone Oak, TX
Whoo-hoo! I finely started a thread that got a lot of comments. Especially like the answers to my questions. If Geoff Lawton ever does come to Texas I just might be willing to spend the time money and even the carbon to get to where ever he's doing his thing. A friend got three of his video's from Australia and she let me borrow them to show to folks here in Lone Oak.
Sigh.
Only one other person besides me from Lone Oak showed, though we did have some other folks from a further away. Not many of them either though. Just can't seem to get folks around here interested. They are so IN to the so called "modern" farming they can't see there is a better way.
Of course a lot of them make their living off of the various things that "modern" agriculture needs, so I can see them not being willing to go with the PC ideas.
Thanks everyone who's answered.
Though I still would like to know if there's much likeness between area's of Texas and Australia. Sure looks like it from pictures I've seen of the out back in particular. I'm also betting that some spots in deep south east Texas could, with a little work, look a lot like some of the food forest on that DVD.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I think there are a lot of similarities between Texas and Australia. The main difference I think is that none of Texas is truly tropical.

Betty Montgomery


Joined: Nov 13, 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Lone Oak, TX
True, but with the way things are warming up frost in the Brownsville area may soon be a thing of the past. If it isn't already. I do know that the hardiness zone for my area has changed in that it is now less convoluted and a bit warmer besides. Or it was last I looked.
Geoff Lawton
permaculture expert


Joined: Nov 10, 2011
Posts: 47
Hi Betty
yes I have been through Dallas many times on route to Minden near Shrevport where we worked on the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant redesign when it was decommissions, it was a brown fields project and one of my students got the contract. I was one of the main consultants and went back and forward over 4 years, the events of 9/11 brought it to a close but we had a eco-industrial park already in action by then.

I used to really enjoy flying into Dallas on a late afternoon flight if I was on a window seat because I could see all the farm dams (ponds) reflecting in the sunset.

I almost got an invite to go and talk to Caterpillar too, which would be dream come true if I could talk to there research and development team.

There are many parts of Australia like where you live in Texas as Australia is the size of the US without Alaska, I have also worked in 30+ countries world wide and I can assure you applied permaculture design in Texas works fine.

I do hope to be working with Jack in Texas and am just waiting for the details.

Cheers Geoff Lawton

Check out www.permaculture.org.au/permies



Famous for "greening the desert" and several permaculture DVDs including his latest: Urban Permaculture
Betty Montgomery


Joined: Nov 13, 2011
Posts: 44
Location: Lone Oak, TX
Wow, Thanks Geoff for the quick answer! Especially about the activity down near South East Texas. I didn't know anything was happening down there related to Permaculture. Of course that was also before I caught the Permaculture Bug.
I hope I'm able to find out when and where your next project here in Texas will be. Especially if it is any where near North East Texas.
I have flown in and out of DFW a time or two as well and also really enjoyed looking down at the land forms (possibly due to my training in the Earth Sciences) and the water storage. Did you know that there is only one natural lake in Texas. All the rest are man made. I'd tell you which is the natural one but I've forgotten.
Candi Duke


Joined: Mar 15, 2014
Posts: 2
stumbled upon this site, forum and topic in my search for info on Dallas Permaculture. Am wondering if Goeff Lawton has plans to teach in the Dallas area? hope I didn't miss him!

thanks so much.
Josh Katlof


Joined: Jan 07, 2014
Posts: 5
Candi,

There are a few of us "crazies" (what my wife calls me) building a permaculture garden (food forest with embedded gardens) in the Dallas area. I've got about 150 fruit/nut trees over 1/2 acres dedicated to this "project" on a 1.7 acre homestead.
My planting started just about a year ago. So, the food forest garden is still young. I'm also putting this together alone, with my shovel and wheel barrel. I'm also following certain differences in my philosophy, such as:

1) Genetic diversity. Even though I have multiple types of certain trees, they are all genetically different cultivars.
2) I'm using "back to eden" wood chips *everywhere) as a tick mulch. This solves a number of huge problems growing in the DFW area, such as:
Candi Duke


Joined: Mar 15, 2014
Posts: 2
josh: thank you for your response. I'm glad to know there are others in the Dallas area who are interested in Permaculture. I'm new to the system of thought. Thanks to the internet Wish I'd known about it 15 years ago-but better later than never, right?

Is there a group that meets in the area?

Any upcoming local symposiums or conferences?

Did you take a Permaculture Course?

Have you heard about the Ecovillage that is starting up in the Greenville area? They are offering a course next fall, which I'm considering taking,

I'd also like to learn and participate by helping others with their projects.

There are tons of books out there, which are your faves?



Your project sounds very interesting....I'd love to see the rest of your post....looks like it got cut off midstream.

Thank you again for sharing...would love to hear from others as well

Candi
K Cole


Joined: Mar 29, 2014
Posts: 1
Location: Dallas
There are plenty of people involved. To Betty's question, Geoff has been to Texas. You can see a picture of him here http://workingwithnature.org/nicholas-burtner.html with Nick Burtner. Nick has classes in and around Dallas and will consult with you one-on-one by appointment. I have not worked with Nick. I am simply reading from the site and posting this opportunity for you to investigate.

Another tool to DIY is watching Peak Moment TV on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/peakmoment
There are 30+ videos for catching rainwater, building with solar power, composting toilets, recycled materials, eating/buying local, networking for resources etc. I will admit, most of the people in the videos are in OR, WA, CA or Canada; however, the information translates to our region in Texas. I am originally from Commerce (area) and it's not easy working in black, sandy or clay soil. I do know that you can make improvements to the land one step at a time using compost, natural fertilizer and irrigation from your gray water.

I am currently working overseas, but can't wait to get back home to Texas and garden for fun, flowers and food!
 
Have you seen Paul's rant on CFLs?
 
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