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Permaculture Planning and Time Line?

ryan112ryan McCoy


Joined: Aug 23, 2010
Posts: 45
Right now I am going through the process where I am making what essentially is a Project Management Timeline.  So I am looking for some feedback and suggestions, etc.

Basically outlining all the tasks needed to take raw land and get a full Permaculture design started. 


Before first year

  • [li]Attend PDC[/li]
    [li]Take introductory courses to skills not yet known[/li]
    [li]Research and learn[/li]
    [li]Search for land[/li]
    [li]Purchase Land[/li]
    [li]Establish website for notes and photos (wordpress blog)[/li]



  • Year 1

  • [li]Building House (The House Plan: http://bit.ly/h1mXXl)[/li]
    [li]Observing the land[/li]
    [li]Taking lots of notes on patterns etc[/li]
    [li]re-reading all my permaculture materials[/li]
    [li]developing site plan[/li]
    [li]reviewing my plan with other permaculturalists[/li]


  • Year 2

  • [li]Purchase shed and outfitting it with tools[/li]
    [li]Have Solar Array Installed[/li]
    [li]Do Major land sculpting with tractor[/li]
    [li]Build Green House[/li]
    [li]Start Intensive Beds[/li]
    [li]Establish areas for animals[/li]
    [li]Plan and Finalize Forest Garden[/li]
    [li]reviewing my forest garden plan with other permaculturalists[/li]


  • Year 3

  • [li]Start Forest Garden[/li]
    [li]Plant tree, shrubs, long to establish plants[/li]
    [li]Establish smaller plants in guilds[/li]


  • What's next?  What did I miss?  Any feedback?  I would love to hear other people's timelines and plans?
    Emily Jacques


    Joined: Mar 13, 2011
    Posts: 30
    We are not going to take a PDC. I think we can find all the info we need from forums such as this and books.

    We also will be developing a plan, getting the house built and starting hugelkultur beds the first year. Probably get a chicken set-up going, then, too. Acquaculture pond and maybe ducks year 2? As well as start developing zones 3/4.

    We may end up biting off more than we can chew, but since we plan to buy the land at least a year b4 we move onto it, we have a little leeway. And we can always back down.

    Your plans look well-paced and well-thought-out, though. Can't see anything wrong with them.


    Blessings,
    Emily
    http://thecrunchycoach.com
    Mariah Wallener


    Joined: Feb 02, 2011
    Posts: 144
    Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
    We have been on our land for one year now, observing the weather and water patterns, etc. Learning about the flora and fauna that live here. For the last 3 months or so we've been intensively studying permaculture.

    I guess technically we're in year 2 now. So far we've completed the Goals Articulation exercise in Dave Jacke's Edible Forest Gardens II (part of the planning and design process), we've made a scale map of our property showing all buildings and major features (not easy b/c our Google Earth satellite image was next to useless). AND...we just finalized our first draft of the Permaculture Zone layout, including sites for swales and ponds, animal paddocks, food forest area, greenhouses, etc. (the last two can be found here. (the links go to my blog where I show our plans)

    Right now we are in discussion with a local permaculture design outfit and are awaiting a proposal from them any day now. We're looking at hiring them to do a Design Review (tweak our Zone map and provide suggestions/input) and to provide us with a detailed list of plants we can grow in our climate, and how best to associate them (i.e. guilds and polyculture mixes). At the end of this we hope to have our Zone map filled in with detailed plant groupings shown for all growing areas.

    Our first project, due to necessity, is to put in permanent fencing for a large pig paddock that we can divide off with electric fence and thus rotate 2 - 3 pigs through it while they are here with us over the summer. I also dug raised beds for annuals last year (before I heard about permaculture) and will go ahead and plant them so we can grow some veggies this year. We may also raise some meat chickens this summer.

    If funds allow, this fall before the rains come we hope to get our swales and ponds dug. Then next spring we'll bring in ducks and geese.

    We're doing things a little differently here, in terms of order of projects, because we are planning to build a cob house in the next 2 - 3 years and it won't be on the same spot as our current mobile home. So we can't do much in the Zones 1 and 2 where you would normally design first ("from the doorstep out". So we will likely end up putting in our Zone 3 food forest and polyculture plantings first (hoping to start some of that this year, as funds allow).


    Permie Newbie. ruralaspirations.wordpress.com
    John Polk
    steward

    Joined: Feb 20, 2011
    Posts: 6661
    Location: Currently in Seattle. Probably moving 1 hour north by end of the year.
        
    138
    I see 2 potential things that were overlooked for Year 1.  Since soil building takes time, before house construction begins, I think the kitchen garden should be worked up.  And, any cleared pasture/meadow areas should be laid down to good cover crop.  This way, while you are building your home and infrastructure, nature is building your soil.  You can grow 7000 pounds/Acre of green manure in the time it takes to build your home.
    Jeff Hodgins


    Joined: Mar 29, 2011
    Posts: 140
    Try My No Money Miricle
    Did'nt fucuoca say not to try to understand nature? Maybe you should just throw some trees, seeds and shrubs in and observe what happens. I think the sooner you plant the better. Im glad I didnt wait a whole year before I planted, if I had I would always be one year behind where I am now, swales are nesesary when you have run off but I have never had to make one with more than a shovle or a ox drawn plow. I think Neil Young said it best "The devil fools with the best made plans". I have made plans like the above too but; as an expirienced grower I have to say that when it comes to nature you're realy flying by the seat of your pants anyway. So now I just think and do at the same time, you get more done that way.   
    Mekka Pakanohida


    Joined: Aug 16, 2010
    Posts: 383
    Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
    BDAFJeff wrote:
    Try My No Money Miricle
    Did'nt fucuoca say not to try to understand nature? Maybe you should just throw some trees, seeds and shrubs in and observe what happens. I think the sooner you plant the better. Im glad I didnt wait a whole year before I planted, if I had I would always be one year behind where I am now, swales are nesesary when you have run off but I have never had to make one with more than a shovle or a ox drawn plow. I think Neil Young said it best "The devil fools with the best made plans". I have made plans like the above too but; as an expirienced grower I have to say that when it comes to nature you're realy flying by the seat of your pants anyway. So now I just think and do at the same time, you get more done that way.   


    Map & plan your property, and plan for time also.  Do NOT just plant right away. Micro-climates which can be min / maximized are very important, as are the changes they make.  The benefits of mapping prior to planting far outweigh short term benefits.  Yes you need food, but you also need patience with permaculture;  An area might be frost prone now, but not in the near future because of your pond, but since you are still observing daily you notice the next fall that it changed the frost pattern over a different area for example.

    You may have to move things like a cob oven (not something I recommend, but happens.  ) or you may need to move a favored fruit tree or kiwi fruit vine.  Or worse because you didn't plan and just went off and planted. 
    Jeff Hodgins


    Joined: Mar 29, 2011
    Posts: 140
    Good point. An example of this would be the corral I need to build for my sheep I now have limited free space and may have to build some protection around trees and keep them in the penn. but still I think its better to have stuff I may have to destroy than to not have stuff

    Oh another good example of my poor planing is that I planted about twenty avacado trees in front of my house over the course of four years. They all died, mostly from lack of shelter from wind and frost and from my kids playing with them. LOL. But hey live and learn right.
                                                  


    Joined: Mar 30, 2011
    Posts: 500
      I think I fall between the two. Mapping is very important. Especially with the contour of the land aspect. where the water moves through it and the like.

      depending on the ultimate goals of a site, I find value to just going at it. Ive learned a lot by doing this. because its not always easy to learn exactly how to grow something from reading it. so if you try a bunch of ways the first round, your second round can be much better. Id make sure to make a solid backbone of a long term plan, with lots of experimenting in between.

        If your goals are producing for sale, or for a family, or something else, I still think the same holds true, just used a bit different.

        Play around with spacing, and how plants react over the year at different spacings. things that worked for one in one place, even with little differences might not in another. ive seen enough examples of this that I feel its worth exploring on many things.

        and like you said, you can always get rid of it, so theres nothing to loose but maybe some time, and possibly a lot to gain, imo.
    ryan112ryan McCoy


    Joined: Aug 23, 2010
    Posts: 45
    Really good points!!!

    I didn't think about the building the soil, I of course was planning on bringing a bunch of compost/organic matter in the beginning to get things rolling, but is there more I can do?
    there is:
    -Sheet Mulching
    -Compost/Manure
    -Hoglekulture


    When folks do "mapping"  or observing, do they have a particular method?  Tool?  Resource? 
    Salkeela Bee


    Joined: Dec 02, 2010
    Posts: 101
    If you are going to wait a year, then make sure that your year is productive - in the sense that you closely look at properties around you.  What have they done that you like?  Or dislike?  What sort of things grow well for them?  Or badly?

    If you have already been living in this general area, then I think the need to wait is somewhat reduced as you should have an instinctive notion for what might grow and what might fail.

    Were I to start another plot here in N.Ireland on the drumlin type soil I have here already, then I would not wait a year.  My gut instincts should be good enough to be fairly reliable.  However if I were to move to another country, or terrain then I would be much more cautious.

    Yet some things are always a good idea.  When we moved here we started  by removing some light hogging conifers.  We already had some shelter, but when we later did a re-landscaping then we had to plant some more hedging to help with the newly exposed area.

    We have made a few minor mistakes, but really nothing that I regret.  However I grew up in this area so I had some background.

    New area = New game altogether!

    Good luck.....

    Oh and if it were me... I'd be looking for shelter from prevailing winds, and starting on the near-the-house veg beds.  Start near the door and work outwards! 
    Mekka Pakanohida


    Joined: Aug 16, 2010
    Posts: 383
    Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
    Salkeela wrote:
    If you are going to wait a year, then make sure that your year is productive - in the sense that you closely look at properties around you.  What have they done that you like?  Or dislike?  What sort of things grow well for them?  Or badly?




    Or start mapping the property, and actually plan for time as well with it... ((which oddly is what I thought the topic was about when I read the title)) i.e. plan for when the leguminous trees / shrubs, what have you will die off / cut down and make room for the fruit, nut, or whatever that was growing up at the same time.

    John Polk
    steward

    Joined: Feb 20, 2011
    Posts: 6661
    Location: Currently in Seattle. Probably moving 1 hour north by end of the year.
        
    138
    Even though we live in the computer age, I believe the greatest mapping tool is a pad of graph paper.  It gives you a good visual aid that you can carry out to the annual veggie garden, or the zone 5 learning center.  Jot down notes as you observe.  Refine your maps while you eat supper, or have your morning cup of "kick my ass into gear".

    What else am I forgetting?  Soil samples: they will tell you a lot about what you have, and what you need...it could be the best $10 you ever spent on your homestead.  Contact your local County Extension agent.  He/she can tell you a lot about which species/varieties do well/fail in your locale.  They often have shelves full of free books, pamphlets and other info that is particular to your growing clime.  Be forewarned though: most County Agents are the products of the state's Ag school, and many are of the opinion that chemicals solve all problems.  That trend is slowly changing, but depending on your region, you may have to discount a lot of what you are being advised.  It is certainly worth a visit, as most are pleased to see new people come in.
    Paul Cereghino
    volunteer

    Joined: Jan 11, 2010
    Posts: 849
    Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
        
      15
    ryan112ryan wrote:
    When folks do "mapping"  or observing, do they have a particular method?  Tool?  Resource? 


    Air photos are critical for conceptual design to avoid surveying on med to large sites.

    If you have complex hydrology, consider ground water monitoring wells (pvc tubes in a auger hole back filled with sand that you can peak in -- or just holes in the ground).  So you can better understand what is happening with water underground.

    I agree with the value of pen-paper.  CAD, GIS, PowerPoint or Photoshop have limited value outside the marketplace. 

    I would produce a good basemap at an easy to reproduce scale (11x17?).  You can photocopy sub-areas, with a scale included to blow it up for detail design. 

    Buy a roll of architectural tracing paper for sketching and overlay.  Organize it all on a board and tape down 2 corners, and you can flip between layers.  Nice colored pencils are very nice.

    Check out the NRCS Soil mapper... or check if you County has a GIS server (if you are in USA).



    Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute
    Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
                                                  


    Joined: Mar 30, 2011
    Posts: 500
    John Polk wrote:
    Even though we live in the computer age, I believe the greatest mapping tool is a pad of graph paper.  It gives you a good visual aid that you can carry out to the annual veggie garden, or the zone 5 learning center.  Jot down notes as you observe.  Refine your maps while you eat supper, or have your morning cup of "kick my ass into gear".

    What else am I forgetting?  Soil samples: they will tell you a lot about what you have, and what you need...it could be the best $10 you ever spent on your homestead.  Contact your local County Extension agent.  He/she can tell you a lot about which species/varieties do well/fail in your locale.  They often have shelves full of free books, pamphlets and other info that is particular to your growing clime.  Be forewarned though: most County Agents are the products of the state's Ag school, and many are of the opinion that chemicals solve all problems.  That trend is slowly changing, but depending on your region, you may have to discount a lot of what you are being advised.  It is certainly worth a visit, as most are pleased to see new people come in.



    It depends where you live. They have an office right in town, but they had absolutely zero recommendations. they advised me to call a place about I think 3-4 hours away, and essentially a different world as far as planting goes.

    Lots of other places to have soil tested though. theres a great book out about how to tell soil issues by how certain plants do. Id have to look up the name I forget, so there are other ways.

    Sean Haseloff


    Joined: Mar 04, 2014
    Posts: 4

    [img]
    ryan112ryan McCoy wrote:Really good points!!!

    When folks do "mapping"  or observing, do they have a particular method?  Tool?  Resource? 


    I found that Sketchup 2014 was a super easy starting point for the property I just bought. You literally type in the address, import the Google Map image, then click the Toggle Terrain button on and off. Here's a link to my sketchup file:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/sesetc7swbo3a9r/3DProperty.skp?dl=0

    and a screenshot:


    Good luck!
    Simon Johnson


    Joined: Apr 19, 2014
    Posts: 91
    Location: SW Ontario, Zone 5
        
      11
    John Polk wrote:I see 2 potential things that were overlooked for Year 1.  Since soil building takes time, before house construction begins, I think the kitchen garden should be worked up.  And, any cleared pasture/meadow areas should be laid down to good cover crop.  This way, while you are building your home and infrastructure, nature is building your soil.  You can grow 7000 pounds/Acre of green manure in the time it takes to build your home.


    I think this depends. If you are moving onto raw land and you have no other place to live now, it might be better to build an initial tiny house to keep you dry/warm first. Then move on to building soil with green manure.

    I like this thread. I am going to think on this a bit and come back to post more.


    Check out my new blog http://www.mypermaculture.net/
    Simon Johnson


    Joined: Apr 19, 2014
    Posts: 91
    Location: SW Ontario, Zone 5
        
      11
    ryan112ryan McCoy wrote:
    When folks do "mapping"  or observing, do they have a particular method?  Tool?  Resource? 


    Really observing is best for me. Going out on a really regular basis and just checking things out. Seeing what is happening. Then start to make flexible plans, according to what has been observed and begin to implement them, all the while observing and changing plans as needed.
    Peter Ellis


    Joined: Apr 04, 2013
    Posts: 672
    Location: Central New Jersey
        
      22
    I like mark shepherd's point on this. The very first thing is to figure out your water flow and what to do to optimize it. You don't have to build all your ponds and swales first thing, but determine where they will go.
    Don't build your home before you know this, and rough out your plan before you site your home. Don't want to find out after you build that you are in the perfect spot for your primary pond!
    My planning right now runs toward getting animal infrastructure in place as one of the earliest steps. Nothing of great permanence but enough to get chickens started and maybe goats - depends on the land we don't have yet
    Cover crops right along with the animals. No great preparation or planning. Broadcast mix of desirable seeds a la Sepp Holder and let them go. All of these are easily changed, minimal effort for good return.
    Observe, articulate goals, integrate goals with observations, plan, repeat.
    Determine where the house goes. Make really certain that will be the place. Remember to consider all the factors, from where the driveway runs to how to get to every other part of the property.
    The house will be the single lest mutable thing you do on your land. Be really sure it is not in the wrong place.


    Now blogging at blasphemouspigeons.com
    Paul Cereghino
    volunteer

    Joined: Jan 11, 2010
    Posts: 849
    Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
        
      15
    No time to chew on this wonderful question... plan your nursery system early, and, unless you have more mojo than anyone I know, every installation will be experimental and iterative.

    Reminds me of an old proj. mngr. saying:

    "there is good, cheap or fast; but you can only have two..."
    Simon Johnson


    Joined: Apr 19, 2014
    Posts: 91
    Location: SW Ontario, Zone 5
        
      11
    Here is a little piece I wrote up at my blog about this topic. http://www.mypermaculture.net/

    I'll post here for you guys as well.



    I came across this thread over at permies.com and it got me thinking about a "Permaculture Implementation Plan". I think I would structure this as list of things to get done in order of importance. These could be generally listed with a time frame of, say 'year 1 tasks', 'year 2 tasks', etc. This might be useful at first to get an idea of all the things that need doing and in what order they might need to get done.

    Let's see what I come up with.

    I am going to lay out a Permaculture Implementation Plan from the point of view of someone who is a couple/few years from getting a raw piece of land, moving on and getting a permaculture system running. Which is what I can relate to best.

    Here is a working list of general things to get done in a some what order, under rough time headings.



    Before Moving

    Save money by living an ERE lifestyle to save the largest percentage of income possible; going to need money and more is better when starting out

    Learn skills/concepts necessary to completing first 2 years of tasks. This might include things like hugelkultur, tiny home construction, chicken care, etc.

    Become familiar with the above skills/concepts through practice.

    Identify desired area for land purchase

    Begin collecting useful tools and cheaply sourced/scavenged building materials

    Understand local building and land use regulations

    Learn about local real estate markets and how to find good deals on land

    Buy Land

    Begin observation of land



    Year 1

    Move onto land and increase observation

    Build compost toilet/outhouse

    Build tiny home and tool shed

    Build and plant hugelkultur for primary food production

    Observe nature closely for the rest of the year and begin to formulate ideas for land use based on observations



    Year 2

    Implement some initial earthworks (swales, ponds, terraces, large crop garden, etc.) depending on observation and seed with green manure plants and edibles

    Begin planting fruit tree guilds

    Build mobile chicken coop and set up paddock shift system

    Plan for initial, expandable construction of main home based on observation

    Continue observation and reevaluate current situation



    Year 3

    Build first small section of main home

    Continue with planting of perennials

    Observe and reevaluate current situation



    This is about as far as I can reasonably plan into the future. After the second year it becomes rather speculative. It is more than likely that the plans of the first two years didn't go as planned and so the list needs constant reevaluation. Through observation other tasks will also come up that need to be added as high priority items on the list, thus pushing others further down.

    The items that I have listed are also very broad in scope. Each of these tasks needs to be broken down into many smaller tasks in order to be completed. These smaller tasks could be listed as the time to begin work nears.

    Basically I think it is important to have a list of tasks that need completing in order of importance. This list needs to be constantly reevaluated when new information is provided. The list should start off as a broad view and then each category should be broken down into more specific sub categories as the time nears when that broad task needs doing.
     
     
    subject: Permaculture Planning and Time Line?
     
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