Simon Gooder

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since Apr 22, 2019
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hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi foraging cooking ungarbage
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia (7b)
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Recent posts by Simon Gooder

Hey Andy, this is a great idea! Myself and another permie are working on something similar at the moment. Currently you can only create guilds from a large database of plants, but we'll be working on more of the aspects soon too.

If it's an option for you, I'd love to see if we could collaborate on this! I'll send you a purple moosage with my email if you're interested!
2 days ago
Ben Falk's book, The Resilient Farm and Homestead, has a great overview of all the parts as a whole. He refers to it as: Whole Systems Design. There are a few case studies in this book about how many of these systems are designed, and how they're working in the real world.

Seeing the whole system is important from a vision perspective, and to know how all the pieces fit together.
Thanks Judson! We’re working hard to build it to suit the needs of Permies (likes us), so let me know if you get any use out of it!
Lots of the insight from this thread were used for inspiration in our new project:

Some of us Permies have been building the next generation of plant database:
1 week ago
TL;DR (too long don't read)
Permies + free time =

Use Permapeople to...
Research, grow, harvest, trade/share surplus, share knowledge, repeat.

How it started

At the end of 2019, I lost my job. I started working on a new project — a little app to help me track all the plants in the garden — so I could learn a new programming framework. I got to work and put together a little prototype - but then I got some work, and everything fell by the wayside. Several months later - I'm cruising "Recent Topics" on Permies, when I came across a post from Ben: "Would you be interested in a plant database/planner/tool focused on permaculture?". This was the exact project I had in mind. Ben had already done a ton of research, and had a solid plan in motion. Long story short, we connected, put our heads together and tinkered around - and 5 months later we've got Permapeople!

The project

We've built a plant database. But not just any database — a database that focuses on the *value* of plants; their intrinsic value within a guild, garden, ecosystem, environment. We're also building a shed full of useful tools — like custom plant lists, an open marketplace and garden design tools — that work directly with the database.

We started the database with an import from Plants For A Future. While PFAF is a loaded database full of quality information, and great for searching for specific plants - there are certain things that it just can't do. To improve our offering, we'r working through the PFAF data and displaying what we find most relevant - sprinkling in some Wikipedia information and images, and best of all - allowing contributors like you to edit or add data.

So far, we have over 8500 plants indexed, and you can create and manage lists of plants, or contribute plant information. One of the biggest differentiators for us is that we're collaborative — like Wikipedia, but for the utility of plants. Anyone can add a missing plant - and update or edit data to improve quality.

Our goal here is that everyone's input maximizes the value for every other participant in this ecosystem.

Soon enough, you'll be able to design your garden or landscape using the plants in the database and easily share your experiences with other plant slingers. Permapeople can help guide you down a path to becoming a more knowledgeable gardener.

We've also built a marketplace for regenerative and sustainable items. You can list products, which are discoverable by location, set a monetary or trade value, add images, and set conditions (available for pick-up, will ship, delivery). When a customer is interested, they send you a message. It's simple, but we like to consider it an *appropriate technology*.

The future

While there are other free plant databases out there, they're just not as active or adaptable as we need them to be, and they lack a marketplace and planning tools.

Over the past month or so, we've been doing extensive research, working to fill those gaps and design the best possible path forward for Permapeople.

There is a bright future for both the database and the open marketplace, and some new planning and design tools are coming soon. We will continue to improve this project to the best of our abilities - but we could use your help.

The ask

The database and marketplace are totally free - and will remain free forever. All we ask is that if you try it and find it useful, please add/update one little piece of information on a plant, sign up, or share with a friend! If you have your own database (spreadsheet or otherwise) — or any feedback on the project at all, we'd love to hear about it!

Our mission is to assist people in growing a productive future.

Thank you
We want to thank a number of you who we consulted and answered some of our questions! You've been invaluable in our process so far!
In my experience, not a lot grows underneath them naturally, in the PNW. That said, huckleberries and salal do well around the margins of alder stands. Claytonia covers a lot of ground underneath too!
1 week ago

I'm currently working on a project which will require a strong collection of wild/native/naturalized starts -- all part of a natural guild.

An experiment

I'm attempting to develop a guild using a collection of native edible/medicinal plants which I've been able to acquire through local foraging. This guild will be used in re-greening civic green spaces that have been half-ass implemented (see: cleared of trees, soil disturbed, left to desertify) in our semi-arid climate in the midst of massive suburban development. This guild will be edible, easily scalable, and will serve to re-green small pockets of abused "green space", as well as provide education opportunities for students (schools in the area) and local residents. I've been working on a proposal for the city, and have a good idea of what they're looking for.

The list ( external link )

Here are the plants I've collected so far. This list is specific to zone 6a, semi-arid, clay soil, pine forest and grasslands:

   - Chokecherry - Prunus virginiana - Shrub layer, large

   - Mountain Ash - Sorbus americana - Canopy layer

   - Nootka Rose - Rosa nutkana - Shrub layer, small

   - Saskatoon berry - Amelanchier alnifolia - Shrub layer, large

   - Yarrow - Achillea millefolium - Herbaceous layer

   - Blue elderberry - Sambucus cerulea - Shrub layer, large

   - American Mountain Gooseberry - Ribes oxyacanthoides - Shrub layer, small

   - Bearberry/kinnickinnick - Arctostaphylos uva-ursi - Groundcover layer

   - Wild bergamot - Monarda fistulosa - Herbaceous layer

Do you attempt to naturalize wild edibles in your landscape, or forage them where you find them?
2 weeks ago
Found claytonia growing in my garden this past summer. The seeds must have finally come alive from my forest-soil mixture. A nice find, and it fills in the empty spots. Plus the ducks love it!
1 month ago
Strawberries are one of my favourite ground covers! Among my fruit trees, I've planted strawberries and chives. They both self-propagate extremely well, and I find both of them quite useful and delicious!
1 month ago