Dennis Shaw wrote:
Close to the house there will be a full on food forest garden and it will probably be quite large. In that system I will be more picky about the placement of the larger elements (trees, shrubs, vines) but I think when it comes to the smaller stuff (herbs)I kind of like the option of "random". Well....mostly random. I will try and emulate some things I have seen and like but the rest will probably be random survivability tests.
Dennis Shaw wrote:
There are a lot of other issues on the farm that will need to be dealt with. This will be quite stressful, but the food forest however will be the fun part. Maybe I should just try to make 120 acre food forest instead. I love this permaculture shit. I guess when it comes right down to it, I want it all. Maybe an ewok village in the garden of Eden with shimmering koi ponds and the half interred faces of gargantuan mossy covered stone statues that have toppled over, remnants of a once great civilization long forgotten. And a cool outhouse. definitely an outhouse.
I have kale sprouting up here and there all over, and it does much better if I just let it do its own thing. If it’s interfering with something else, I eat it. I use the edges of the guilds and some of the gaps waiting for the perennials to size up as areas in which to plant annuals, which demand more attention, sun, water, and nutrients, but are temporary placeholders. When something sprouts up unexpectedly, I try to respect its choice, because I figure nature knows better than I do. The annuals have a need to grow fast, produce seed, and die before the season ends; perennials are more likely to take their time, bloom earlier or later, reach deeper for water, have extended harvests. In late summer, the abundance is amazing! I pick what I can, offer some to friends and the local food bank, and leave the rest for wildlife. I no longer stress over picking every berry.
Some say my garden is total chaos. I say it’s “working.” What works or not is really a matter of perspective.
Dennis Shaw wrote:What works and what does not work. Failures and successes. I hear a lot of permaculture experts talk about sharing their experiences growing perennial poly-cultures so that others don't make the same mistakes, but I think this specific information is very scattered and hard to find. When someone asks what to plant in a guild they get the answer "Well, It depends." The reason they get that answer is because,... well.....it depends. While that is true, we would also congratulate the same person for growing some of the more famous poly-cultures/ guilds/ companions. Also these proven combinations could be a great basis for further experimentation. What other successful combinations are lurking out there that we just don't know about? Sometimes there is a right way, a wrong way, a new experimental way, and a completely random way. All of which are right (except the wrong way of course).
Also there seems to be a lot of questions regarding scalability of these systems. Obviously there are two directions to which you can scale things, up or down. Each have their own set of problems. It is my thinking that when scaling down we have to really prioritize and organize for diversity and productivity. When scaling these woody perennial systems up we come into problems with time constraints on managing the system, especially with harvest. A common strategy that I have seen is moving into a less diverse system to facilitate marketing and harvesting. I think this is perfectly fine, especially if they are not spraying anything at all. There are always trade-offs in design just like everything else. I think it reflects the dichotomy of the universe. As something becomes more one thing it is less the other. A bus can carry a lot of people, but it is not as fast as a race car, which isn't as efficient as a bicycle. Gain something here, lose something there. It's just the nature of things and also explains why many of the creator gods were also trickster gods.
Somehow this post is starting to sound like a manifesto or something. I'm not an expert on anything , just some guy with a computer and an internet connection. Anyway, back to topic. Hope to read this book and check out her blog someday. I live in China and anything with the word "blog" in it is just blocked. I will be moving back to the U.S. next month and hope to practice the permaculture there.
I see permaculture as the science of design, which therefore is not a collection of methods, but a collection of principles. Methods are many (infinite, I would say), principles are only a handful. If you master the principles, you will understand which methods to choose to fulfil your design. Hence the "it depends" type of answer. The "guilds" that you mention are the methods, not the principles. Before you even ask yourself what to plant in a guild, you may want to ask "do I need to plant a guild?"; "why should I plant a guild?"; "what will the guild do for my design?" And if the answer is convincing, then you go on and think about what to include in your guild.
That's why permaculture - if understood and applied correctly - is the antithesis of the reductionist way of thinking, which is unable to deal with the infinite ramifications of the multiple factors at play in complex natural systems. "It depends" is the answer LauTzu or the Zen master would give you, because LaoTzu or the Zen master understand the fluidity of nature and the uniqueness of each situation.
By the way, if you need ideas of methods - what may work in a certain situation, what may not - there is plenty of information on the Web. Don't restrict yourself to searching for permaculture cases / stories, but rather look for any type of success story or inspirational story. For example, in China - where you currently live - I saw many exciting TV documentaries about farmers who experimented successfully with difficult-to-grow plants (e.g., one found a way to propagate an endangered medicinal tree from cuttings, AND to farm that tree AND extract the medicinal component), or innovative cropping systems (e.g., rotation of rice and potatoes in terraced fields), and so on, and so forth. BUT none of these claimed to practice permaculture - they just practiced common sense. (Many of these films can be found on the Chinese movie sharing sites like www.youku.com or www.56.com).
Good luck !
Xisca Nicolas wrote:About what works good here, is to use climbing plants in trees.
I have an air potatoe in a lili pili tree.
This tree is there for its quick growingm and its fruit is small and not the best, so I have a second crop in it.
I also have passion fruit in a legume tree (tagasaste).
I also have a mini cucumber climbing in trees.
My best "works" are the importance of planning paths (my place is steep and very variable),
and the use the the third dimention.
Then I would say the observing and using of the shade zones, and their creation when needed.
You can say the same for your sun zones if you lack sun!
About not too big not too fast, I think that the "out of season" and the "out of climate" stuffs should be kept last.
Let's do what work best 1st, and keep the more difficult last.
Also, path design is good to plan ahead on. I love having wide paths that are comfortable to roll a loaded wheelbarrow around.
My best "works" are the importance of planning paths (my place is steep and very variable)
Dennis Shaw wrote: I remember seeing a picture of a "garden" I guess you could call it. It was just a narrow lane kind of going uphill with mature trees on either side. Hanging from the trees were wisteria
I love paths.
Dennis Shaw wrote: I was honestly thinking of not using any paths at all