I consider myself to be a novice in many things (including posting on forums), and permaculture most definitely falls into that category. I try to live by the philosophy of , "Grow where you are planted." meaning, wherever I am, that is where I am to be and so I need to make the best of my time while I'm there.
A few years ago before getting into permaculture, my wife and I moved onto a small piece of family property (roughly an acre) with a smallish duplex on the front half of the property with the back half of a gnarly tangled mess. At the time I still believed in the divisive paradigm of the hollow political rhetoric in the mainstream and was comfortable in my ignorance. While being swept away downstream of the flowing sewage of that paradigm, a branch was extended out to me, metaphorically speaking of course. This was the branch of preparedness and modern survival.
I happened to come across The Survival Podcast, and my world was thrown into upheaval. Listening to Jack Spirko and hearing about the reality of the world around me was like waking up from a deep sleep. As I continued to travel deeper down the new found rabbit hole I came across permaculture and have been enamored ever since.
I started with a small garden, maybe not very permaculturesque, but that knew I needed to take action and do something to help me and my family to be more self-sufficient. Then I heard about urban permaculture and like a floodgate opening I found myself looking at my backyard in ways I'd never seen before. There was a blank canvas for me to experiment on, albeit an overgrown canvas. I knew it was time to ramp up my efforts to make it a thriving space for me and my family in these uncertain times.
Presently, I am slowly, while in between working full-time and a family, clearing the overgrowth and trying to actually get a feel for what is back there. This weekend some progress was made but there is plenty left to do. I have high hopes for this place and while I'm here I can gain experience and skills as well as preparing a place for my family and I to hold out if need be.
I know that this isn't my ideal place to be but it is what I make it out to be. I have many great ideas and am eager to implement them. I just hope I can get things going while there's time.
As soon as I started reading your post, you lot reminded me of the one that Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates developed. Check out the book Paradise Lot and I think that you will, not only discover true inspiration and a plethora of ideas, but I think that it will help you to realize that the lot can truely be exactly what you want. There are also quite a few YouTube videos of their lot and you can see just what their tiny, tiny (much smaller than your) lot has become. In fact, Geoff Lawton recently did a quick video there. Take a look at http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/61569-perennial-abundance and I think that you will be completely surprised. Another video of Geoff's which shows just how truely astounding you can make urban lots is http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/33812-urban-permaculture. Prepare to be excited at the prospects from both of these!
Your lot CAN be your paradise.
Could you add to you personal information where you are located, growing zone, etc and it will help people in their responses and suggestions to you?
"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you." ~Maori Proverb
Location: Currently eastern coast of Florida/zone 10a
I had seen the video Geoff did with Toensmeier and Bates. They truly are masters of the microhomestead. Such amazing diversity on such a small piece of property just baffles me. I haven't read "Paradise Lot" yet but have heard it referenced several times as a good source of info.
I'm planning on taking Lawton's online PDC next time it's available as a way to better understand what possibilities are here. I am also going to start going through "Gaia's Garden" (which I know Paul recommends for a suburban size permaculture system) to give me a better understanding of guilds and companion plantings. With a smaller space I know I don't have the luxury of doing as much so I want to make what space I do have count.
Again, the suburban area isn't the ideal place for us to be, but this is where we are for now so while here I am going to get my hands in the dirt. We are very limited on what we can and can't do though, due to us not owning the property. It is a family property but they are somewhat reluctant about doing anything drastic with it like...Growing food However they're slowly starting to like the idea of having fresh food to eat. I hope that by doing what I can and proving that permaculture systems work, it will convince them to give us creative control.
I'm not sure why it didn't show up under my name (not sure if there is a privacy setting I missed or not) but I'm on the east coast of Florida zone 10.
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
One way that you can look at the plant input that you put into the property...you are basically building yourself a nursery that you can collect seeds from, cuttings from and propigate plants from for your next property all while having the benefit of the good eats while you are there. You can also use this time to hone your homesteading skills and, if something gets messed up, you won't be as devistated about it's outcome since this isn't your forever place anyways.
I have been considering moving myself but know it will be a year or two before I can do so. I am looking at my property that way. I have less than an acre, 0.4 acres to be exact, and have put in some stuff to start and will be putting in more this year. What actually astounded me was when I had someone asked what I had on my property, I was shocked at the list that I came up with. (I am an anal engineer type, so I have everything documented. Heck, somehow I ended up with 5 different kinds of asparagus!). I like to experiment with things, so I have one of this, one of that, many different varieties of things (like the asparagus, about 5 different kinds of grapes, 4 different kinds of raspberries, etc.). I look at it as a learning experience, not only on the growing side, but I will get to taste a variety of the same thing and figure out which cultivars I like. I don't look at it as time or effort lost, but as very focused time and effort for my someday grand masterpiece!
I HIGHLY recommend the Geoff Lawton PDC. I was fortunate enough to be in the first group and I heard him talking about all of the "improvements" they want to implement this time based on the first time course. I thought it was an amazing course, so it is hard to imagine it improved! I will say to be ready to allow yourself a good chunk of time for it because he has put in an astounding amount of information into it. I don't say that to scare you off. Just keep up because it is damn near impossible to get caught back up. Yes it is self paced and self study, but there is a LOT of information provided. If you keep caught up, too, it gives you a chance to ask questions that either get answered by other participants, Geoff's staff and sometimes even Geoff himself. The course will definitely ignite a fire in you!
"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you." ~Maori Proverb
I'm in a similar boat and the other corner of the continental US. Permies.com rocks, rots, and soils. It's my favorite spot on all the Internets. Good luck and I look forward to learning from your successes and trials.
Freakin' hippies and Squares, since 1986
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