Collaborate2011

How to use the Permaculture Planning Pack, Elia Charalambides

In Elias Charalambides, nonfiction, visual on July 31, 2011 at 1:38 am

How does one use the Permaculture Planning Pack?

Mid Size Suburban Yard

Click to zoom in

Here is an example of a layout of a yard roughly 160 feet by 160 feet. This garden was designed with wheat production, vegetable production and fruit production in mind with an emphasis on encouraging beneficial birds and insects. Also this location suffers from a strong western wind in the winter. Lets imagine that north is down, south is up, east is left and west is right. That would mean the sun rises over the house and casts a shadow directly behind it just covering the chickens, compost, herb spiral, and first veggie garden. Though the bees are strategically placed just so they are hit by the rising sun, to wake and begin pollinating. To protect the site from the strong western wind we plant the firs and pines to eventually act as a shield against it. The abundant wildflowers help the bee colonies sustain themselves when the fruit trees no longer have flowers. The Rowan encourage birds to live nearby, eat from the trees and drop their valuable fertilizer about the garden. the Mimosa also help with pollination and pest control by attracting hummingbirds. The chestnuts are placed far away from the house since they will only be visited during harvest time while the vegetable gardens are just outside the door and the pond is a predator haven. Frogs, lizards, dragonflies and carp help control the pests.

Large Suburban Yard

click to zoom in

In this yard we are afforded the luxury of space and thus the ability to add much larger trees. The tall and majestic oaks and walnuts line the rear of the property while mushroom farms and forest gardens nestle beneath them. The oaks’ canopy slowly descends to meet the bamboo, willow and chestnuts while the walnuts’ toxic allelopathic secretions are negated by the mulberries and wildflowers. The mimosa are favored by this landowner so they are placed just outside the door right in view and purposefully at the core of the garden thus adding pest control but also nitrogen fixing fertility to the nearby soil.

A more technical approach

click to zoom in

The cards then double as a more technical reference to the plants, animals, and structures. This way the planner can easily recognize fodder plants for certain animals and thus place them in proximity, or choose different shelter belt plants to make a defensive line against salty sea winds or cold nor-easters. One can easily see the size differences in climax canopies and thus make appropriate decisions on placement. Water needs can also be referenced and used when planning a water catchment system or when digging swales. Sun requirements are listed to accommodate site specific sun and shade patterns.

The possibilities are endless and with future cards mainly focusing on more animals and structures I hope to complete the pack. Those still to be added include:

  • Ducks
  • Geese
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Pigs
  • A Cow
  • A vine trellis covered patio
  • A shed
  • An American Chestnut
  • A Ginko Tree
  • A Monkey Puzzle Tree
  • A Large Pond
  • A Large Vegetable Bed
  • A Small Vegetable Bed
  • A Large Greenhouse
  • A Small Greenhouse
  • A Large Forest Garden
My hopes are that this pack becomes a useful, fun and educational learning tool in classrooms and an indispensable aid to permaculture designers everywhere.
“All the world’s problems can be solved in a garden”-Geoff Lawton
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