Episode-385- Solving Problems With Permaculture

In the Army I was a heavy wheeled diesel mechanic.  While I did not realize it as a young man the most valuable skill that job taught me was “trouble shooting”.  As a trouble shooter you look at a problem and dissect it logically down to component parts, evaluate and implement a solution.

I believe this is why I have so embraced Permaculture, as at its core it is trouble shooting for the problems we face in feeding, housing and providing energy for ourselves.  So today I will take some common problems those attempting to grow their own food face and give you permaculture style principles for solving them.

Join me today as we discuss problems such as…

  • Dealing with steep and rocky land
  • Dealing with cold climates and short growing seasons
  • Hot summers that drive up electric bills
  • Dealing with low lying areas that get too swampy
  • Dealing with excessive shade with out cutting everything down
  • Growing a decent amount of food in very small areas
  • Dealing with depleted soils with minimal off site organic matter
  • Dealing with swings in climate conditions
  • Dealing with deer
  • Not all holes, look like holes

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

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5 Responses to Episode-385- Solving Problems With Permaculture

  1. Great show today. I like it when an idea is brought to life by an example that I can relate to. I am currently reading/absorbing Gaia’s Garden, which is a most fabulous book. I have highlighted and paperclipped numerous pages so far and plan to begin to implement permaculture into my front and back yards.

    Thanks for the show today. Makes my committment to this even stronger.

  2. Ordered seeds yesterday and today (orach, ground cherries, calendula, new zealand spinach). Also ordered a new rose shrub to replace an old one. “Carefree Beauty” is said to produce lots of hips (Vitamin C!) AND it’s pretty. Should have it by Friday! All this gardening talk is giving me “green fever” in the WORST WAY!

    Your show continues to inspire Jack! Thank you!

  3. conservative01

    Jack
    Loved this show. I think this show is spot own for how you need to think about your particular land situation. I have been taking this approach all winter thinking how I can make my particular situation work for me. I live on acre lot, house faced west to east ( was not thinking about food production when I built.)and pie shaped land at end of cul de sac with varying time of sun exposure due to arrangement of trees in yard and surrounding woods. Please keep the great information coming.

  4. Thanks Jack for the great information. It really is about problem solving – define the problem; look for the solution. I find that solutions are discovered easier when one is familiar with the system. Could you please list the multiple permaculture sources you mention in this podcast and others together in one place? Or maybe you already have it in one place. For example, where to I look up the permaculture benefits of beets?

    Like conservative01, my lot doesn’t seem best suited to growing. I do have a wonderful, south-facing, sloping hill that would swale beautifully….over the septic lines. Ugh. I’m using different areas of the yard instead. Ordered my spring veggies, including beets, spinach and your much loved legumes. Keep it up, Jack!

  5. I really loved the part of this show where you explained that a small space does not mean you can\’t do anything.

    I grow on my balcony, a space only 4m by 40cm, and have taken the permaculture approach and grow vertically (expanding my space upwards by at least 5m). This year I have blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, blackcurrant, redcurrant, and a dwarf apple tree growing in containers at various levels of my space. In addition I have two types of tomatoes, peppers, corn, garlic, lettuce, onions, peas, runner beans, dwarf beans, and various herbs. I have four different kinds of strawberries in hanging baskets and wall-mounted baskets.

    My neighbours are so impressed with my production that they pretty much allow me to do what I like with their space as well, which adds another 4m each side to my growing area. I use their space for cross pollination plants that benefit both them and me. I pay for the plants and take care of them and in return for the space they give me they get the fruits and vegetables that grow in that space.

    It might seem like I come off less for this arrangement, but really I do not. For example, this year I wanted to put in some blueberry, but I do not have the space for three blueberry plants. By using the space both sides of me I was able to have a great blueberry plant and in exchange my neighbours get a source of blueberries. We all get something out of what I am doing. We all get blueberries. It\’s the same with everything I do here. I spread out the planting so that we all get something from it. We all get strawberries from the strawberries I have planted. We all get blackberries. We all get tomatoes. We all get peppers. From the consolidation of our space we all benefit.

    The only thing I have to do is tend to the plants, which I have to do for my own anyway. I tend theirs when I tend my own. The cost of planting and tending for them is less than what I would have to pay to have a bigger area in which to plant. I can have a greater variety of plants than I could otherwise.

    So something for people who live on a communal balcony whose neighbours don\’t have much interest in this. Free food will persuade them to let you put a pot or two outside their house. \"Can I put some tomato plants outside your house? You can have the tomatoes!\"
    Tell them that you\’ll look after the plants and they can have the fruits and they will probably say you can do as you like, especially if they do not use the space. But make sure they get the same as you out of it. You get tomatoes, they get tomatoes. They will see that it is a mutual arrangement.