Monthly Archives: April 2013

Episode-1120- Designing Small Scale Forest Gardens


The Jujube or Chinese Date – A Great Small Tree for Forest Gardens

At the presentation I just did at the Self Reliance Expo there were two main things people had major questions about when it comes to food forestry.  The first was “what trees and plants work in Texas” and that really is what will work in most of the US.  The second is how does this all apply to a small back yard or smaller piece of land.

Now the new video Geoff Lawton just released shows what can be done, including with trees in small backyards.  This videos leads off with a back yard that is only 640SF.  Of course the first thing people ask then is, but what about our climate that is in the sub tropics.  Um, did anyone but me notice the main trees in the system where apples?

That said I understand, it does often seem that many of the guilds (plant groupings) in Permaculture are geared to the subtropics and tropics.  Ironically the first work on Permaculture “Permaculture One” is actually geared almost 100% to temperate climates.  Today I am going to try to take this all down in size and simplify the concepts and explain how they really will work anywhere.

Join Me Today As We Discuss…

  • Small Land Holding Advantages
    • Can be irrigated
    • Easy to intensively manage
    • Contain their own micro climates (easy to create more)
    • Most work can be done by hand (build and manage)
    • Are the most productive per square foot on the planet
    • Do not attract attention and easy to secure
    • Nitrogen fixers are not as critical (still a good idea)
  • Things that are different from typical food forestry
    • The layers are scaled down
    • The number of support species are reduced
    • There are few “sacrificial plantings”
    • They don’t require swales or chickens but both are welcome
    • Small ponds and barrels are easily fed with roof catchment
  • Special Considerations that Open Your Options Up
    • Shape isn’t critical, do what works
    • Solar aspect is a major concern, but work with it
    • Put in more irrigation then you think you will ever need
    • Consider ponds, please consider ponds
    • Think about power (solar first but grid is better then nothing)
    • You can plant a LOT closer and a LOT more dense then you think
    • If you have animals design in their nutrient flow
    • In a larger space build “glades” and maximize the edges
    • Build structures for your vines they can otherwise dominate a small system
    • Fertilize (organically) a lot early on
    • Mulch and chop and drop like crazy
  • Trees to consider for North America
    • Apple
    • Plumb
    • Peach
    • Filbert/Hazelnut
    • Chinese Chestnut
    • Almond
    • Jujube
    • Persimmon
    • Edible Dogwoods
    • Pears
    • Cherry
    • Paw Paw
    • Medlars
    • Mulberry
    • Figs
  • Bushes and Shrubs to Consider
    • Blueberry
    • Blackberry
    • Raspberry
    • Wolfberry/Goji Berry
    • Elderberry
    • Gooseberry
    • Currants
    • Goumi
    • Autumn Olive
    • Sea Buckthorn
    • Blue Honeysuckle
    • Aronia
    • High Bush Cranberry
  • Ground Covers
    • Strawberry
    • Sweet Potato
    • Wintergreen
    • Salal
    • Emerald Carpet
    • Thyme (trailing)
    • Cranberry
    • Plant Anything Dense Enough and it is Ground Cover
  • Vines
    • Grapes
    • Kiwi
    • Hops
    • Porcelainberry
    • Magnolia Vine
    • Maypop
  • Other Plants to Consider
    • Large Hip Heirloom Roses
    • Chilean or Pineapple Guava
    • Herbs of all types especially Parsley and Basil
    • Flowers of all types
    • Plant annuals directly into the sunny spots in and around this system
    • Bamboos
    • Honestly anything you want

Resources for Today’s Show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

Geoff Lawton’s Newest Video and Some Confusion about Access to the Videos

Geoff Lawton - Permaculture Artist

Geoff Lawton – Permaculture Artist

Well Geoff released his latest video over the weekend (Urban Permaculture, The MicroSpace) while I was tied up with the expo and it is just awesome.  Many have been asking about what can be done with smaller pieces of land and this video answers that beautifully.  Before I send you off to the new video though, I want to help clear something up.

To view these videos you do have to provide your email address to them so they can email you about future videos, that is internet business 101.  I do it and I advise anyone doing business online to do the same.  Not doing some form of list building is just plain dumb if you are doing business online today.

The problem is the system they are using uses a cookie to recognize that you have already done so and sometimes they expire or you are on another machine when a new video comes out.  You DO NOT have to opt in again, all you have to do is enter just your email address in the field and the system will recognize you and let you in, basically you are logging in with your email address as an existing member.

I spoke to Geoff’s web developer this morning and he has made that more clear now on the site, but I wanted to clear up the confusion because I did run into the same thing myself.  They did have it posted on the site but it was easy to miss.  I hope my efforts and this explanation will help with this matter.

That said there have been a few insisting this is so they can “sell your email address”, frankly I find this insulting.  Geoff didn’t put all this effort into these 4 amazing free videos to sell your email address for a fraction of a cent (which is the going rate by the way).  I also haven’t busted my ass for five years to get your email address for a friend to sell it again for a fraction of a cent.   I will not be explaining this again, any such complaints will be ignored and deleted.

Others have said that they are getting your address and building a list because at some point they are going to try to sell you something.  My response is of course they are!  Just like you and I, Geoff has bills to pay and can’t do everything for free.  What is coming is an online PDC with some really awesome bonuses.  It WILL NOT be cheap but it will be first class and a way for many to do a PDC that can’t make the time commitment any other way.  It will be a FULL PDC, with certification as well.

The price and full details will be released this coming weekend.

Next many have said the only reason I am doing this with Geoff is for “kickbacks” for referring people to him.  Frankly if I did that there would be NOTHING WRONG WITH DOING SO, again it is kind of insulting to be spoken to like this after all these years.  Let me say though I am NOT taking a dime from Geoff on this.  I arranged for the referral fees he did offer to pay me to be GIVEN BACK to the audience.  Yes any MSB member will get a big discount on this Online PDC.

I am not doing this because I believe it is wrong for me to earn a referral commission, again there is nothing wrong with earning money in return for value delivered.  Nor is there anything wrong with making a referral if you believe the product is solid.  Given I see Geoff as the most gifted teacher in Permaculture it is indeed the case that I see the value as solid.  That is why I will recommend this new PDC to those that want to become certified in Permaculture or just want the education.

The reason I refused referrals though is because my business is selling access to the very best discounts I can get for the members of the MSB.  That is part of my job for this community, to return value many times the cost of the MSB to all members.  For MSB members that want to get certified this will pay for your membership for several years.  I do hope this clears up any concern or confusion.

See Geoff’s Latest Video – Urban Permaculture, The MicroSpace

Episode-1119- Listener Feedback for 4-29-13

Join Me Today as I Answer Your eMails

Join Me Today as I Answer Your eMails

Today on The Survival Podcast we discuss paleo bread, local food based businesses, a senator voting with his feet, garden tools, no till gardening and more.

Yes it’s Monday so it is time for another round of your feedback, questions and commentary sent to jack at

Make sure if you submit content for a feedback show that you put something like “comment for jack”, “question for jack” or “article for jack” in the subject line to assure proper identification for my screening process.

Please understand I receive several hundred emails a day and can’t get them all on the air.

I also do put out a lot of information on Facebook from emails that I can’t fit on the program though so keep em coming.

Join Me Today As I Respond to Your Emails On

  • My presentation from the Expo is online in HD video
  • The next Geoff Lawton video and confusion about the email “opt in” issues
  • Perhaps those on paleo have something to look forward to on the bread front
  • A listener I met who is making it happen in the local food movement
  • Could we ever actually “bank on seed”, its been done before you know, or do you
  • An Illinois Senator votes with his feet and heads to Texas
  • What in the heck is a siket and why might you want one with serrations
  • Ever wondered why you can’t have citrus trees shipped to Texas, I’ll tell you
  • Bribery isn’t what it once was?  Wow, wait till you hear this!
  • A listener tells us about his first year with no till gardening
  • The US Army adjusts it’s basic training fitness program to handle tea cups

Resources for Today’s Show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

No Show Today and Updates for the Self Reliance Expo

Join Me Today as I Answer Your eMails

Join Me Today at the Self Reliance Expo

Just a few quick notes today.  First I am doing the Self Reliance Expo in Arlington, Texas today and tomorrow so there will be no show today.  There are over 1100 past episodes though so why not hit up the search box and tune into an old edition on a subject of your choice.

Secondly here are some updates to the Expo and the Meet and Greets.

1.  Marjory Wildcraft is going to be at the Expo today but can’t make the meet and greet, she will make the meet and greet on Saturday and will be there this afternoon.

2.  Doctor Bones of the Doom and Bloom podcast will be joining us for the meet and greet on Saturday as well to take over David Crawford’s spot since he can only be there today.

3.  I  have to go take care of something for my father-in-law today for about an hour.  So we likely won’t do a break away for lunch but we will do something this evening if you want to do that with us just hit me up at the expo today. Likely that will be about 430 before the places get too crowded.

4.  I will be in the “Speakers Lounge”, which is likely an empty booth for a few hours each day, as will Steven Harris.  I will also hang out a bit in Doctor Bones and Nurse Amy’s booth both days.  Keep an eye on TSPs Twitter and Facebook for announcements on the fly about that.

5.  Again yes I do have a rough version of my presentation in screen capture powerpoint.  I will make it available to the MSB and may be everyone after the expo is over, but not until then.  It has typos and a few rough spots as it was my first time doing it, but it conveys everything and has actually more info then the live one will.

6.  I am bringing the laser level to the show.  We will show it off a bit to those that want to see it.  Kind of boring in a indoor location where everything is level but it will give you an idea of how it works.  Hell may be we can even do a mini workshop outside with it.

Hope to see many of you today, again the early meet and greets are 30 minutes before the doors open.  Just be there at 1030 today or 830 on Saturday at the main entry and Ron or Scott will escort you to the meet and greet area.  Remember the best part is that everyone in that group is part of TSP, so make sure to talk to those around you and exchange info.

Update to the Meet and Greet

I just received confirmation from Marjory Wildcraft of Back Yard Food Production that she will be a the meet and greets.  So not Friday is Steve Harris, David Crawford, Marjory Wildcraft and Me.  Saturday will be Steve, Marjory and me.

Full details for the full meet and greet are on the previous post, or click here

Meet Steven Harris, David Crawford and Me at a TSP Only Event

There will be two events at the Self Reliance Expo for TSP Members only.

Please note the time differences on the two separate days. 

Special Update – I just got confirmation from Marjory Wildcraft that she will be at both meet and greets in addition to Steve and David.

  • On Friday the 26th, tomorrow, you can meet Steve Harris, David Crawford and me 30 minutes before the doors open for the expo.  That will be at about 10:30 but you may want to show up about 10:15 AM.  Just go to the front entry way and hook up with other TSP folks, about 10:30 Ron or Scott will show up and let you guys in early and escort you to the stage area.
  • On Saturday the 27th, pretty much the same deal but this time it will be Steven Harris and I only, David Crawford has some relief work to do in West, Texas in regard to the recent explosion that happened there.  I will be trying to find another special guest to take David’s spot.  The other difference is the time.  On Saturday the event opens at 9AM so Ron or Scott will be at the entrance for you guys at 830 AM.

I will not be speaking on Friday other then the panel discussion meet and greet.  I will be there to meet with you guys and hang out.  I will likely be at the event on Friday until about 4PM though we will break for lunch and go grab a beer likely at a place called, Humperdinks just a bit away from the event.  After we leave the event around 4-430 we will likely do the same but exactly where is yet to be determined.  If you want to hang with us either time just let me know and you are welcome to join us.

I will be speaking from 11 AM until 1 PM on Saturday.  The subject will be 6 major permaculture techniques, including forest gardening, making seed mixtures, contour based wood core gardening and more.  This will be a great presentation that will really open you up to what is possible with permaculture design and put visuals with many subjects I have covered on TSP.

Many have asked if I will be putting out a video.  I did a rough rehearsal of the presentation today and will be putting that in the MSB after the event.  It has been done with screen capture software and is likely a much better visual then a regular video would be in a live event.  We may video the event it will depend on a number of factors.  I don’t feel right putting out the video before the event due to my obligations to Ron and Scott in helping them promote the event.

I do hope to see many of you guys tomorrow and/or Saturday.  I really do my best to be as available as possible at these events.  PLEASE DON’T HESITATE to come talk to me, that is why I am there.  I have had people drive a long way and only talk to me a few moments because they “don’t want to bother me”.  Please do not do this, come hang out, meet me and other TSP members, you guys are the reason I do these events.

Episode-1118- Lou Hayes on 6 Core Tactical Skills

Lou Hayes of

Lou Hayes of

Lou Hayes is a full-time municipal police officer (15yrs), SWAT officer (13yrs) and trainer (12yrs). He sits on a large Statewide tactical officers organization.

Lou provides instructions on weapons, tactics, law, command, rescue, active shooter response and area searches (K9).

He and his partner have developed a fully-integrated system to train these items together, rather than in isolated fragments.

Lou and his partner teach these as part of a program around the State to various police trainers and officers.

Today we discuss six core tactical team skills. They are:

  • Priority of Fire
  • CrossFire
  • Flanking
  • Cover-Maneuver
  • Back-to-Back
  • Cross-Clearing.

These six skills are the root of ALL team movements, formations, or positions. They are combined into applications such as: patrolling, bounding overwatch, room entry, building clearing, searching, perimeter functions, site security.

These team skills are being applied to preppers trying to train small communities of shooters who plan to work together on security or post-SHTF living.  Today we compare these six skills to “simple machines” (wedge, screw, wheel and lever) that combine into all other machines.

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

Geoff Lawton’s Next Video – Permaculture in Micro Spaces

One common trap that I see play out over and over and over again with people new to permaculture is what I call an monocular view.   Or a one dimensional view.  They see a desert project and so permacultureis for deserts, or they see a project in the tropics and feel it is only for where bananas can be grown.

In the case of Geoff’s recent videos two views like this came to a head from this audience, they seem to be.

1.  Permaculture and Geoff’s designs are only for large properties

2.  All permaculture designs are based on large swales and multiple ponds

The problem with that view is it doesn’t really grasp that Permaculture is a design science, the techniques are more like paint, the land like canvas.  Each artist must design his work based on the canvas he is given (land) and the paints he chooses and the final image he wishes to create within those limits.

Can this be scaled down to a suburban lot?  You bet and in ways that almost make you want to live on a small land holding!  Geoff’s newest video will focus on that, below is the trailer for it.

If you have seen the other videos you will get an email when this one goes live.  If you have yet to see the others you can sign up for free access to them at this link,

This will be the 4th video in the series and I have to say I continue to be blown away at the quality of production and information in all of them.

Episode-1117- Women of Prepping Series Episode Two

Jenn Fowler of Frugal Upstate

Jenn Fowler of Frugal Upstate

After an 11 year career as an Army Logistic Officer, Jenn Fowler traded her combat boots for tennis shoes and became stay at home mom in Upstate New York.  Not long after that she combined her love of writing with her love of saving money to created the Frugal Upstate blog in Jan 06, where she helps teach people how to “Use what you have, get creative and save”.

Jenn now lives with her husband, two kids, one dog and 2 rodents on the “Frugal Upstate Village Homestead” in a small Upstate NY community eerily reminiscent of Mayberry.   Jenn is a professional blogger, speaker and social media consultant working with fortune 500 companies such as Hershey’s and Walmart.

She is a founding member of  the Walmart Moms program, a frequent guest contributor to H&R Block’s Blog and the Together Counts Blog, and a member of both the Homestead Blogger’s and the Food Storage for Families Blogger Networks.

In her nonexistent “spare time” she enjoys reading romance and fantasy, knitting, jewelry making, gardening and cooking.

Join Us Today As We Discuss…

  • Is it harder or just different for a woman when it comes to prepping
  • How Jenn got involved in prepping
  • How did you got her husband to go along with prepping
  • How her military service has influenced her prepping
  • What exactly is subversive prepping and why and how Jenn does it
  • How she has  built a prepper community on the sly
  • How does a woman prepper build community differently than a man
  • What’s the importance of women in networking
  • How is personal protection different for women preppers than men
  • Steps to take to prepare your children for the future
  • How  working from home is part of Jenn’s prepping lifestyle

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

Episode-1116- Gene “Evil Roy” Pearcey on Earth Sheltered Homes and Cowboy Action Shooting

A Performance Building Systems Earth Sheltered Home

A Performance Building Systems Earth Sheltered Home

After a heavy-hearted day yesterday this is a fun interview on two great subjects, one is a total bonus.

Gene Pearcey has built earth shelter homes for over 30 years.  His company, “Performance Building Systems, Inc” manufactures a patented structural system used to build earth shelter arches and domes used mainly for homes and some all out shelters.

They do this by producing steel structural systems that with concrete forms a shell rated in excess of 4000-psi. When sheltered with earth, the home benefits from the constancy of the earth’s temperature, greatly reducing heating and cooling expense. Additionally, the strength of the shell and the shelter provided by the earth combine to protect both the home and occupants from harm.

By designing for the advantages of thermal mass and passive solar, these homes benefit from energy that is clean, abundant, reliable, and free. In fact, their system received an Award of Energy Innovation from the Department of Energy. They have also been featured in Popular Science, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek International, Entrepreneur, Better Homes and Gardens Building Ideas, and many other magazines and newspapers.

In his other life under the name of Evil Roy, Gene is an Overall World and National Champion shooter in both Cowboy action and Wild Bunch shooting.  He has his name on pistols holsters, targets.  Gene is also a regular firearms expert on The Outdoor Channel’s “Gun Stories” hosted by Joe Mantegna best known for his roll on the Criminal Minds TV show.  He was also inducted into the SASS Hall of Fame in 2006.

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.