When you consider how seeds germinate in nature, it makes sense to sow our own seeds the same way.
In late summer, left to their own devices, seeds fall into the ground. They slowly get covered with leaves and other natural material ready to begin their long winter hibernation in the soil.
As the cold weather sets in and snow covers the ground, the seed toughens up and as spring sets in that little seed will emerge in its own good time, when conditions are perfect for it to start peeking above ground.
July through August (or, in the northern hemisphere, from December through January) is generally a ‘rest time’ for the annual gardener, so if you’re anxious to be ‘out there’ doing something, winter sowing is a perfect way to keep your green fingers active!
Some years ago Graham Burnett produced Permaculture: A Beginner’s Guide. It’s a nice 76-page introductory look a permaculture — a very readable booklet to get you looking at the world, and your garden, through the permaculture lens. It’s in no way a substantial, technical how-to type manual, but rather a good inspirational dose of permaculture principles with a broad smattering of practical examples of how to apply them. In short, it’s a great tool to get one started on the permaculture pathway.
One personal observation on a possible downside to this otherwise excellent perma-intro is that the illustrations tend to leave one thinking permaculture is only for a sub-culture of people: the hand-drawn illustrations are populated with unshaven punks, sloganned t-shirt anarchists, dreadlock-wearing ethnic minorities and suchlike. Even the cartoon guy demonstrating the composting toilet has to be stark naked. The December 2008 update of this book would have done well to replace these images with ones that didn’t tend to leave one feeling permaculture was just for the fringe elements of society. But it didn’t. Perhaps next time.
Anyway, I thought I’d provide a link to a freely available 24-page extract (3mb PDF) of the book that could be useful for those trying to explain permaculture to friends, family and colleagues.
I hear you comrade. ‘I want those acres and to start my food forest and have a permaculture demonstration Eden – but alas, I am a humble renter with big bloody dreams and typically uncreative landlords’.
As us ‘renters’ forlornly scan open fields and acres — seeing real estate listings of eroded soils sitting below beautiful key points — we are designing lush, abundant landscape in our minds and whinging about the price and how we could easily ‘turn this place into a self-sustaining paradise’. Well, at least I am! But, we can get caught in the dream trap — thinking we will start the big permaculture project when we get that dream plot of land. But it is really a void that needs to be filled. When you know how much good you can do you do feel a little crippled by renting a place where you feel you cannot do much. Having this deluded mindset a few years back I set out to figure out what I can do. Hooray!
Hugelkultur is a composting method that uses large pieces of rotting wood as the centerpiece for long term humus building decomposition. The decomposition process takes place below the ground, while at the same time allowing you to cultivate the raised, or sunken, hugelkultur bed. This allows the plants to take advantage of nutrients released during decomposition. Hugelkultur, in its infinite variations, has been developed and practiced by key permaculture proponents such as Sepp Holzer and Masanobu Fukuoka for decades.
Most of us know about pine needle tea as a rich source of Vitamin C, but now white pine pollen is to being promoted as a highly nutritious superfood powder. But who needs to buy it when you can pick your own?
Arthur Haines shows you how and when to harvest pine pollen with strategies for gathering sufficient to make tinctures or use as food. Haines also goes into detail about the nutritional chemistry of pine pollen which is rich in non-enzymatic anti-oxidants like pro vitamin A, B Complex, C, D and E plus a host of minerals and amino acids. Apparently pine pollen is also a great defence against radioactive Cesium that is appearing in dairy and other foods in the US.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
“Brrr-ace yourselves! Britain to shiver in -20°C in WEEKS as councils stockpile extra grit”(1). So the Mail on Sunday warned us in October. Blizzards, snowdrifts, locusts with the faces of men and the teeth of lions: we would become, it cheerfully assured us, prey to every nightmare nature could devise.
Last week the story flipped. “December has sprung! Spring blooms arrive early and autumn blossom lingers… so what happened to our winter?”(2) I scoured the text but could find no mention that the Mail had forecast the polar opposite.
The country of Yemen has not been featured much on the PRI blog page. It has only been mentioned briefly in some articles discussing water shortages in the region and it has made the list of exotic destinations to apply knowledge gained in a PRI Aid Workers course. I think this is about to change.
The last days in Tarim, Yemen have uncovered a real treasure of permaculture potential. I anticipate that natural building techniques, still widely used in Yemen, will no longer be the only reason for Yemen to be on the permaculture map.
When applying mathematics to interpret our world we invariably run into formidable difficulties. Explaining human perception of our surroundings and our reactions to the environment requires that we know the mechanisms of our interaction with the world. Unfortunately, we don’t — not yet. Thus, explanations of why we react to different forms in our environment tend to be conjectural.
We know from observation that human beings crave structured variation and complex spatial rhythms around them, but not randomness. Monotonous regularity is perceived as alien, with reactions ranging from boredom to alarm. Traditional architecture focuses on producing structured variation within a multiplicity of symmetries. Contemporary architecture, on the other hand, advocates and builds structures at those two extremes: either random forms, or monotonously repetitive ones. Let us explore why human beings find the latter unappealing, and propose what they do like instead, with the ultimate aim of characterizing that mathematically.
The heroes and heroines of history’s past are so well-known they need not be mentioned. Lesser known and perhaps more integral, however, are the countless individuals whose stories remain untold and hidden by history. “Orlando Permaculture” is a documentary of the latter modern-day individuals. It is a story of a community of people who have read cover to cover the “story of pattern recognition in a sea of apparent chaos” of which Troy Ansley, speaks. They have also repeatedly heard the story modern culture sells them on how the world operates, and decided they would like to write a new, yet somehow ancient story of their own. A story of community, integrity, true sustainability and new beginnings. A story of belonging.
The film, “Orlando Permaculture,” poignantly reveals that great movements are birthed in the dreams of those who desire more, and molded between the hands of those who reach out to one another and to the land. Through visiting a variety of different people within the city of Orlando, the film and portrayals serve to inspire, enlighten and engage your heart & mind to dream of a more colorful and living world in which all are welcome. This is a world of possibilities, togetherness, and balance. Indicative of the subject matter, Ansley weaves a beautiful fabric of sound and image to ornately clothe this emerging community whose story otherwise might remain hidden by history. Listen to this story, dear viewer, so that you might share it and likewise reach out your hand and mold it with us. — Richard G. Powell December 20th, 2011 Orlando, FL
I wanted to send some sort of holiday greeting to our friends and readers, but it is difficult in today’s world to know exactly what to say without offending someone. So I met with my lawyer yesterday, and on advice I wish to say the following:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, gender neutral celebration of the summer solstice holiday practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious / secular persuasions and / or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all….
I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2012, but not without due respect for the calendar of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that Australia is necessarily greater than any other country) and without regard to the culture, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee….
By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:
This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her / him or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. The wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.
I just want to express my gratitude to all our readers and supporters who have contributed in various ways over the last year. What a year it has been! We’ve seen the launch of the Worldwide Permaculture Network, with your support — which now enables us to see who is doing what, and where, and even how they’re doing it. We saw the Tenth International Permaculture Conference & Convergence (IPC10) come and go, and by all accounts it was a great success. And most importantly, we’ve done our darndest to help permaculture individuals and projects in some of the world’s neediest places. We even restarted the PDC Teacher registry, so students can have choice in the quality of instruction and to protect the integrity/reputation of permaculture as we move forward into the next few challenging years.
To confidently face the many challenges that the future holds for us, we need new models for living lightly on Earth and for building resilience into our communities.
We can’t expect that we can merely change our intentions and the existing economic, physical and social structures will magically serve our new intentions with ‘green’ add-ons.
Design follows intention.
We are challenged to dream new dreams and to have the courage to manifest those dreams; crafting them in the spirit with which they were dreamed. This is the challenge of our time. “We are the ones we have been waiting for”.
Curious what goes on at the PRI Zaytuna Farm? If you live close to the farm, or are passing by, you're welcome to book yourself on a farm tour (Wednesdays at 11am only). Contact the farm manager and we'll see you soon.
We will take a minimum of 3 people at $35 p/p (groups of less than 3 adults are $50 p/p). Large groups please call to discuss pricing (at least 48 hours prior required).