Tag Archives: permaculture

Episode-1415- Stefan Sobkowiak on the Permaculture Orchard

Stefan Sobkowiak  of Miracle Farms

Stefan Sobkowiak of Miracle Farms

Twenty years ago, Stefan Sobkowiak bought a commercial apple orchard with the intention of converting it to an organic orchard. He did just that, but eventually understood the limitations of the organic model originating from monoculture.

He then decided to tear out most of the trees and replant in a way that would maximize biodiversity and yield while minimizing the amount of maintenance required. Inspired by permaculture principles, the orchard now counts over 100 cultivars of apples, plums, pears, cherries, and countless other fruits and vegetables.

Today’s interview was like meeting a kindred spirit.  Stefan and I spoke for almost two hours and barely covered half of what I wanted to discuss with him.

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 (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

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Episode-1413- 12 More Herbs Every Survivalist Should Grow

Lemon Balm Growing in My Food Forest Edge

Lemon Balm Growing in My Food Forest Edge

Today we do part two of a series on herbs every survivalist should grow.  Herbs are great because even if have a tiny yard these are 12 plants you can easily find space for even on a postage stamp city lot.

The key is these 12 plants will provide you food, medicine, relaxation and beauty and require very little of you in return. I truly believe that ones quality of life can be improved just by growing and using fresh herbs.

This first show in this series was Episode-1410- 12 Herbs Every Modern Survivalist Should Grow, so if you don’t see your favorite herb here, it may have been covered in that episode.

The truth is I could go on an list 12 more off the top of my head but these 12 will do so much and ask so little of you that is why I chose them for today’s show.  We may in fact do one more show in this series.

Join me Today As I Discuss the Following 18 Herbs You Should be Growing

  1. Lemon Balm
  2. Peppermint
  3. Comfrey
  4. Dill
  5. Sage
  6. Thyme
  7. Calendula
  8. Rosemary
  9. Bee Balm
  10. Roses
  11. Lavender
  12. Marsh Mallow

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 (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

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Episode-1407- Xavier Hawk on Permacredits and the New Economy

Learn more at PermaCredits.com

Learn more at PermaCredits.com

Xavier Hawk Is the founder of Permacredits a Bitcoin Style Currency that fuels innovation and growth in the Permaculture, triple bottom line marketplace. He also founded Colony Earth, an Eco Village and Eco Development company in Western North Carolina that runs on Bitcoin, Credits, and other crypto currencies.

The business model he developed for profitable Permaculture Eco Developments is already being adopted and implemented in locations across the globe, and the work he is doing with Permacredits is laying the groundwork for how Decentralized Autonomous Organizations and Bitcoin 2.0 protocols function in the marketplace.

He joins us to discuss, Permacredits as a local currency for the Global Permaculture Movement.  Xavier states that “Permacredits are a currency that fuels Ecological and Regenerative Permaculture based businesses.  In doing so they allow individuals direct control of their monetary supply, issuance rates, and ultimately control over what that currency supports.”

In this case rather than supporting a debt slavery war machine, the currency supports the values, ideologies, and industries of the people involved, specifically a healthy, balanced, sane world built on regenerative enterprise.

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 (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

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Episode-1403- Planning the Fall Garden

New Garden Beds Under Construction at the TSP Homestead

“Fall Garden?  What the heck Jack, do you not see your own weather forecast?  Hellllloooo earth to Jack, it is going to be 103 degrees in your town today, the next 5 days will have highs of 104, 101, 101, 100 and 100.  Are you Daft?  This is the time to be planning a fall garden?”

Well indeed, yes it is.  Consider that your spring garden planning begins when frost and snow are still on the ground does it not.   Yes it is 103 today but our average first frost date is Nov. 17th.

There are two things to consider around this first frost date.  The first is that currently I have about 102 days on the average before our fist frost.  Hence anything that will frost kill and requires more than 102 days to produce is out of the question for a second crop right now.

So I now must choose any frost sensitive crops carefully for my second season.  I also likely need to start most seed in flats or pots in a shaded and climate controlled area right now.  Germination is poor to say the least at 100 plus degree temps.

The second is with frost hardy crops, like carrots, peas, lettuce, etc.  While they are frost hardy, one must get them well established by the frost date if they are to continue to grow in thrive in cold and short days.

Join Me Today as We Discuss…

  • Bed maintenance for beds you won’t be planting with “crops”
    • Biochar, manure, green sand, other amendments
    • Mulch
    • Cover Crops
    • Heavy Harvest of the Summer Crops
  • New Bed Establishment
    • My new beds currently being installed
    • Why this is a good time to establish new beds
  • Getting ready for the fall crops
    • Protection or not?
    • Killing Weeds
    • Starting seeds (sometimes indoors)
    • Selecting plants from a nursery
  • 10 Crops for the fall garden
    • Spinach
    • Chard
    • Beets
    • Garlic (planting for next fall)
    • Onions and Leeks
    • Broccoli
    • Cabbage
    • Kale
    • Carrots – Frankly most root crops
    • Lettuce
  • Getting the Edge on Cool Weather
    • Windbreaks
    • Southern Exposure
    • Row Covers
    • Micro Green Houses

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 (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Join the MSB Today

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Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.

Episode-1402- Frank Salzano on Firefly Gatherings and Primitive Skills

Hide Tanning at Firefly

Hide Tanning at Firefly

Frank Salzano is currently establishing a staple food crop chestnut-based forest garden in Sodom-Laurel, NC, where he homesteads and experiments with permaculture farming.

He graduated with honors from Shepherd College with a B.A. in Liberal Arts, after spending a year on the city council of Shepherdstown, WV, where he served on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Environmental Sustainability Committee, and Affordable Housing Committee.

He is a member of the Northern Nut Growers Association (NNGA) and the North American Fruit Explorers (NAFEX). His writing has been published in the Permaculture Activist magazine and Appalachian Voices.

He is also an active member of the Firefly Gathering and is passionate about helping people build community around, traditional, primitive and modern sustainable skill sets.  He joins us today to discuss the Firefly Gathering, one of the largest primitive and sustainable skills events in the nation.

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 (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Join the MSB Today

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Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

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Episode-1383- The Forest Market Garden Concept

Last week I did Episode 1379- The Profitable Small Acre Homestead and it seemed to be a pretty big hit.  Today’s show continues on that theme.  The reason I bring this up is 1379 has some business components that apply here and I will not be rehashing many of them, so to get the most from today’s show you may wish to listen to 1379 first if you have not already done so.

With 1379 fresh in my mind I was turned on to a book called, The Market Gardner by Jean-Martin Fortier.  I am currently reading it but one thing that struck me was the constant need for bed prep, soil amendments, seed and plant starting, heavy irrigation, etc.  And this is a book that promises to reduce work by “going small and focusing on intensive production and quality”.  Frankly it still sounds like a ton of work to me.

My view is a perennial style system while taking longer to yield is a lot less ongoing work and requires a lot less ongoing expense and inputs.  So today I am examining this concept in a live thought expirment.  Many of the concepts you have seen developed at TSP came via this type of thinking and planning and many other ideas never made it though the tunnel to the other side.

Hence, today’s show is not a statement of what will work, or even well planned.  It is just what I claim a thought experiment with a lot of work left to be done, but it is one I believe is highly valid and may in fact empower many homesteaders in the future to become profitable on small blocks of land ranging between 2-5 acres.  Perhaps even less.

Join Me Today to Discuss…

  • Why this approach
  • What is the downside
  • What are some of the biggest challenges
  • How might you reduce establishment costs
    • Establish a “beach head” with most planned varieties
    • Propagate and expand over time
    • Develop solid earthworks to reduce irrigation requirements
    • Use irrigation trays like IrriPan to establish, then expand with reuse
    • Thoughts on grafting including patented varieties
  • Thoughts on staggering harvest with fruit tree varieties
    • Apples (mid July to late Oct.)
    • Plums (mid May to early Oct.)
    • Cherry (early May to late June)
    • Apricots and Crosses (early May to early July, and Aug.)
    • Nectarines (late May to late Sept.)
    • Peaches (early May to late Sept.)
    • Pears (including Asian) (Late July to very early Nov.)
  • Thoughts on staggering harvest with berry varieties
    • Blueberries (May to July)
    • Blackberries (June to August plus late crop primacanes)
    • Raspberries (Mid June to July and Mid Aug. to Mid Oct.)
    • Currants and Gooseberry (mid June to mid July)
    • Strawberry (ever bearing and June bearing)
    • Grapes (August – September)
    • Wolfberry (Late June to first frost)
    • Elderberry (July to August)
    • Sea Berry (at least early Aug. to late Sept.)
  • Some cool value adds and how to incorporate them
    • Perennial herbs
    • Squash (winter and summer)
    • Dried berries
    • Mushrooms
    • Potentially reselling other local product in a cool way
    • Honey
  • Final Thoughts – this is viable but the design is still far away

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 (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

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Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

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Episode-1379- The Profitable Small Acre Homestead

Homesteading is a dream for a lot of people, a some day idea.  Generally it is usually this way.  I need a job, so I need to be close to work, so we can’t afford a  huge place close enough, so ONE DAY I will have enough saved to make the move.

This can and does work, but one day has a way of becoming a moving target, a carrot before the horse that keeps the cart moving yet never is tasted for many.  So my view is for some at least, the homestead can at least in time become a significant income source.

Join Me Today As I Discuss…

  • Our basic plan and why it might not be right for you
    • Start with eggs, build a customer base
    • Sell other nice items, meal worms, candles, etc.
    • Begin selling plants, cuttings, fertilizers
    • Sell produce as it comes into production
    • Possibly at some point sell poultry
  • What I think you can learn from our plan and how you should build your design
    • Specialize in something that builds a customer base
    • Expand slowly over time
    • Develop DEEP relationships with your customers
    • Let them guide your development
  • What I would look for in a property
    • Close to a reasonable population center
    • Decent internet access
    • Good drive buy traffic
    • No restrictions (unincorporated if possible)
    • Deep soils with pond sites
    • Flat to relatively flat
    • As always it comes down to water, access, structure
  • Thoughts on different revenue elements
    • Paddock shift silvopasture poultry (eggs, meat)
    • Market gardening
      • raised beds of fixed length
      • heavy weed blocking
      • designed to the sun or shade by climate
      • Develop a CSA around it fast
    • Small nurseries
    • Small “orchards” for produce
    • Specialty craft products
    • Bees and bee products
    • Dairy
    • Other stock, cattle, sheep, goats, etc
    • Focus on value added products
  • Some final thoughts
    • It takes time, how much is based on how much you have
    • You can’t do everything so don’t even try to, do one thing then another
    • It isn’t for everyone, that is great!
    • It isn’t easy, but in reality it is simple
    • It is hard to do on your own, a multi family approach has a lot to offer
    • Making a living is better than working for a living

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 (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

Join the MSB Today

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Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.

New Video Series Dedicated to Comfrey – Episode One

The sheer number of questions about comfrey since I did episode 1371 has been pretty amazing.  I haven’t had as much follow up questions on an episode in a LONG TIME so I decided to do a whole series on comfrey.  Here is episode one.  The Basics of Comfrey Propagation with Root Cuttings.

Here is a link to the seller I bought from on eBay but now the huge quantity makes sense, apparently I bought a quantity of 2 packs of 10, there was still a SHIT TON of comfrey there, far more than 20 crowns and cuttings.  This is one of the best deals I have found on Comfrey.

Episode-1371- All About Comfrey the Miracle Plant

Comfrey - A Proven Medicinal Herb, With a Undeserved Bad Reputation.

Comfrey – A Proven Medicinal Herb, With a Undeserved Bad Reputation.

Why do I call comfrey a miracle plant?  Well if I said their was one plant that could help heal broken bones, speed wound healing, heal skin ulcers that nothing else could close, provide fertilizer, provide mulch, feed livestock and be as easy to grow as breaking off a piece of a root and sticking it in the dirt, what would you call it?

Comfrey does all of these things and frankly more.  It also has a very undeserved bad reputation as being toxic if used internally.  In fact some over zealous nanny state types even caution against using it externally.  I am not really sure if the misinformation about comfrey is simply tea cup protectionism run a muck or an outright slander campaign.  And while I can’t advise you to use comfrey internally, because it is illegal for me to do so, what I will say is at times I do and I certainly am not dead or ill from doing so.

Even if you plan to never use comfrey internally it is still a plant every person should grow and be familiar with.  Its uses are too many to ignore and further it is so easy to grow and propagate there is no reason not to.

Join Me Today As I Discuss…

  • What exactly is comfrey
  • Why are we told comfrey is toxic
  • What is wrong with the research done to say it is toxic
  • What are the main comfrey types and what does Bocking mean?
  • How do you propagate comfrey
    • From seed (“wild comfrey” only)
    • From root cuttings, crowns, etc.
    • From tiny cuttings (make a lot fast)
    • Growing out cuttings in containers to multiply results fast
    • How I would propagate lots of roots fast if I wanted to
  • Uses for Comfrey
    • As fodder for cows, chickens, pigs, geese, etc. what you need to know
    • As fertilizer
      • Awesome NPK Ratio 1.8-0.5-5.3
      • A Dynamic Accumulator of Si, N, Mg, Ca, K & Fe
      • Making Liquid Fertilizer
      • Mulching
      • Leaf Boosting
    • For Medicinal Use
      • On wounds and ulcers
      • On bites and stings
      • On broken bones and sprains
      • On bruises
      • Internally (this is illegal)
      • Making oils and salves
  • Rules for successful comfrey patches
    • Keep it “clean, cut and fed”
    • Grass can and will choke out comfrey
    • You can graze it, best to do when you would have cut it
    • I prefer a distributed model but might do a propagation patch
  • Sources of Comfrey

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 (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

Join the MSB Today

Join the MSB Today

Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.

Episode-1339- 21 Things I Planted this Year and Why

Things Have Changed a LOT in a Year!

Things Have Changed a LOT in a Year! Click for a Full Sized Image.

The last few weeks have been a wirlwind of activity at the Spirko homestead.  We had a workshop where over 30 students planted about 200 or more trees and bushes.  But it didn’t stop there.  Since that time I have been busy as hell so I can take the next ten days off and soak my butt on the beach in Florida.

Before I jet out in the AM, I figured a quick little recap of some of the more unique things I planted this year and why I planted them might make for a fun and more lighthearted show then we have recently had.

The goals I have had for the TSP homestead are really two fold.  One of course is simply a diverse and heavily producing system.  To accomplish this I planted a lot of the usual suspects, peaches, pecans, pears, apples and plums for instance.  These plants are proven producers in my climate.  The other goal though was to have an average person come on site during peak season and be able to actually eat a half dozen in season items that they had never even heard of.

The reason is that really opens up peoples mind as to what is possible.  Some of this unusual stuff is really hardy for my climate and we know it will do.  Others are marginal and we are using select micro climates to try to establish them.

Join Me Today As I Tell You About These Plants…

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 (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

Join the MSB Today

Join the MSB Today

Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.