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  • #14049
    Profile photo of Novus Ordo
    Novus Ordo
    Hunter
    rprepper

    To begin with, I’m a very novice gardener with only my second 25 x 7 raised garden currently starting to produce.  I did grow up with one every year planted by my mother and grandmother, but I was just a labor force as a kid and I didn’t learn much.

    In any case, my studies landed me on this site by Australian Geoff Lawton.  He has what I think is a unique course on “Permaculture Design” with the end result being having a fully sustainable “Food Forest” that perpetually produces food with minimal maintenance after a few years.  Has anyone taken the course and or implemented some of these tactics and if so, do they work?  In theory, the trapping and use of rainwater via ponds and swales and the strategic planting of specific plants that compliment each other seems very feasible – unfortunately, I don’t have the acreage to try this currently.

    http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/32461-surviving-the-coming-crises?r=y

    The site will probably take you to a sort of sign up page (so they can capture your email), but once you give it the videos are all free.  He makes his money in the course ($1500 online – more in person) which gives you a certification if you pass it.

    Appreciate any input or thoughts on long term self sufficient gardening or other sources.

    Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
    - Thomas Paine

    #14054
    Profile photo of 74
    74
    Survivalist
    rnews

    Novus,

    First, I didn’t get past $1500 line and stopped. I’m pretty sure you don’t need to either. He might have a lot of good info. With the internet there is literally more good information available then anyone could ever read. Not only that but there are some very gardeners in this group that would be happy to help you plan your garden.

    Just give us the basics of your ideas for your garden, what you want to plant, and let the ideas roll in.

    #14058
    Frozenthunderbolt
    Frozenthunderbolt
    Survivalist
    member4

    Lawton is legit as far as practical permaculture goes [as opposed to hippy-dippy ‘bio-dynamics’].
    His focus is tropical/ sub-tropical environments, but does teach the whole set of permaculture principles.

    Permaculture originated with Bill Mollison and David Homlgren. They are the other two names you should look for in a genuinely useful book on permaculture design.

    Permaculture as a system of design for food production is sound, but most specifically if you have some acreage to play with. It looks at the sucessful self-sustaining environments in your geographical location and then attempts to recreate an ecosystem where each ecological niche is occupied by a species of your choosing [i.e. those that are useful to you].

    It is also neat in that it tries to close nutrient loops; feeding what is considered ‘waste’ one area to another purpose on your property. [e.g. you don’t have too many snails, you have an absence of ducks in your system etc]
    Many versions also look at plants that build fertility by ‘mining’ deeper land for essential minerals [like comfrey for example], or those that can fix and then release atmospheric nitrogen [like lupines, acacias, and other legumes].

    The other thing that it does have going for it is that it actively builds the topsoil layer and the health of the ecosystem, rather than stripping the nutrients from the soil, washing them through, and degrading and eroding the topsoil layer as much modern agriculture does [through the necessity of producing bulk staples for 1000’s based on the labor of just a few].

    It is not a Panacea to solving the problem of food production for 7billion+ people, but it is effective if designed well and used effectively. IMHO it would work to a village scale 2-400 people. But by it’s nature it is not the kind of system that is intensive enough to provide for a city of 2-4 million+ [assuming you planted the city’s hinterland in this way.

    Hope i didn’t hit too much of a tangent there!

    #14067
    Profile photo of Novus Ordo
    Novus Ordo
    Hunter
    rprepper

    1974 – Sorry, I should have mentioned that once you get your free access (it is free for the vids – only the full blown course costs) there are over 20 interesting vids on what FT mentions above in addition to using chickens to fertilize, letting them “free range” and eat bugs and such through compost piles (fertilizing as they scratch), moving them every 10 days.

    Anyway, I thought the free vids (20-45 mins each) were worth mentioning as the goal seemed to be a manageable level for a “crew” to both maintain and obtain food from.

    FT, not at all, thanks – I got most of what you mentioned and I like the use of rainwater and natural cuttings and plantings and animal fertilizer to re-feed the “forest” on a rotational basis.  I also like the idea that at a glance it really doesn’t look like full blown crops with the blended trees and shrubs on the contours of the land.  I heard Mollison’s name mentioned a couple times so I’ll dig up his book when I get a chance.  Really need to get some acreage before I can do much (although they did have a good vid on a guy who was doing a ton of growing in like 750 square feet!).  I agree, feeding a city would definitely be a paradigm shift there – only way that would happen is if all the stores closed and trucks stopped rolling in – oh, and everyone got along and contributed to it’s establishment – not likely.

    Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
    - Thomas Paine

    #14068
    Profile photo of Novus Ordo
    Novus Ordo
    Hunter
    rprepper

    1974 – Thanks for the offer, not sure I want to bore everyone with what I’m attempting to grow, but would take suggestions on a good source of information that you trust.  The internet is too large for me to decipher what is good from bunk.

    Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
    - Thomas Paine

    #14107
    Profile photo of 74
    74
    Survivalist
    rnews

    Novus,
    Well anyone that is bored can read another thread. When the concept of Permaculture came out in 78′ we all laughed our asses off because it was a repackaged idea for gardening that most productive farming/gardening cultures had used from the beginning of time. Organic Farming and Gardening magazine had been producing articles since 1942 preaching the same methodology. There was some book out that became popular about farming in Asia using the same methods, duck pop in the rice paddies, blah blah blah. Anyone can use new nomenclature for old stuff so it appeals to new generations. It was the beginning of the ecological environmental science boom and it was gardening using the new language of academia.

    Not to belittle the outcome of permaculture, every garden is a micro environment that needs to be adjusted to it’s own specific requirements. Sun, water, soil, slope, temps.

    #14136
    Profile photo of Novus Ordo
    Novus Ordo
    Hunter
    rprepper

    ’74 – Right on, thanks for the history lesson.  I believe it – how many times have we seen things re-packaged and re-sold over and over?  Hell, Hollywood does it all the time with movies since they evidently have a shortage of talented writers.  How about the Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Ben Stiller – originally came out in 1947.

    Glad to hear there are some experts out there – I’ll take all the advice I can get.  Right now my romaine isn’t coming up.  First attempt at lettuces.  Got a couple other types to grow a bit though.  I seeded twice and out of about 25+ I only got one to sprout.  Maybe I should have grown them in containers first.  Soil is typical SoCal, a bit sandy and I mixed it 50/50 with some store bought “Garden Soil”.  Everything else is pretty good.  I haven’t gone the route of a soil tester or any of that – more of an experiment “if I had to start this to live off of”.  Thought I’d better learn now, than when it really counts.

    Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
    - Thomas Paine

    #14148
    Profile photo of 74
    74
    Survivalist
    rnews

    Novus,

    I’m certainly not one of the experts but can maybe give you a hand up.  Most of the time when seeds don’t germinate it is either not enough moisture or to much. With sandy soil my guess is the seeds dryed out.

    #14194
    Profile photo of Novus Ordo
    Novus Ordo
    Hunter
    rprepper

    Perfect – thanks.  Makes total sense in context.  Some of the other lettuces came up but were very slow growing so I doubled the water and now they seem to be growing fine.  I’ll add some more moisture holding content and go from there.  Thanks a ton!

    Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
    - Thomas Paine

    #14198
    Jay
    Jay
    Survivalist
    member3

    You can watch a lot of free videos here http://www.openpermaculture.com/

    Do not go for the “Permaculture Design Certificate” anywhere online. It is not respected anywhere and yeah… you do not learn farming in theory. I read a couple of permaculture books and visited several permaculture projects and it is a sound methodology but you can boil it down to a few points that really matter.

    • Plan your whole farm with permaculture in mind and how it is going to be used so you have minimal maintenance work to do.
    • You create a functioning small ecosystem and that takes time. Time until the soil is good again, you have the right amount of insects, plants…
    • Think long term and grow a food forest if you can. That means trees and other plants that provide you with food year after year.

    Our new farm will use a lot of permaculture design idea, mixed with other organic farming practices. Like 1974 said, its nothing really new but after the Japanese book called “One Straw Revolution” was published, permaculture took off and offers a pretty good starting point for sustainable farming.

    Another thing that you hear often from people who practice permaculture is that it is A LOT easier if you do this in warmer climates. Permaculture at a place where you can grow and harvest all year around is very much possible, while it won’t work if you live in an area where you only have a few months a year to grow and harvest fruits and vegetables.

    Alea iacta est ("The die has been cast")

    #14394
    Profile photo of Ghost Prime
    Ghost Prime
    Survivalist
    member6

    Novus, I am no expert by far but a common problem I have read about with seeds not germinating is that they are old and no longer viable.  I planted a small plot of sweet pepper seeds that I took from fresh peppers we bought. Not a single one ever sprouted.  Mine could have been GMO’s though I can’t say.

    My regular seed bank is all heirloom.  Good topic here, especially for us city boys who are trying to learn about country life now while we still have grocery stores to depend on!

    For God, Family, Country, & Liberty!

    #14397
    Profile photo of 74
    74
    Survivalist
    rnews

    Ghost,

    I think the gmo seed is mostly commercialized plants like corn & soybeans.

    Any plant seeds from a hybridized plant will usually not be like the parent plant. You normally get only one side of the mix. The plant reverts back to it’s original genes.

    #14407
    Profile photo of tweva
    tweva
    Survivalist
    rreallife

    Novus
    =====
    Growing lettuce from seed is tricky until you get the hang of it – mostly because the seed is so small, lettuce likes rich soil and likes a consistently moist (not soggy) soil (not dumping water on it every once in a while when you remember). Use a good mix to get a productive bed going. They like a well drained sandy loam with organic matter best. Peat moss, your sandy soil and some good compost would work well. The peat moss will help retain moisture and adds needed organic matter. Take the time to screen the soil in the top inch or so of the bed (or at least pick out the rocks and bigger pebbles) – even better. They generally like cooler weather in part sun/shade but I have grown lettuce of all types year round but in summer I use drip tape and shade cloth. Start with loose leaf types before moving on to head lettuce. Cut and come agains like Oak Leaf etc. Elliot Coleman is the guy to read about lettuce, mesculan and greens. Follow his advice, take the time (worth it) to prepare the bed the first time and you’ll have success. Lettuce in containers with good potting soil with moisture retaining pellets where you will remember to water it (and can also cut it easily) is something I also do while growing in the garden. I eat lots of salads.

    Permaculture is a fine idea, but if you think SHTF is anytime soon – keep it in mind, IMHO, and just start practicing growing stuff in one of the more common methods and bear in mind permaculture as an ideal. That will take enough of your time to build experience if you have not ever grown enough of your own food to feed yourself consistently. Now, one type of garden construction that is ‘permaculture-ish’ is the ‘keyhole’ garden. I have several in the back of the property and they produce very well and are very easy to maintain. (I am in the mid-atlantic states) I do utilize some permaculture principles but for every day annual vegetable gardening? Hell no – thanks very much in my experience. And, I have 12 acres and have been gardening for years using various ‘methods’/experiments. I plant potatoes of various kinds in all kinds of places tucked around the acreage. I plant lettuce in the woods/along the stream and let it bolt and reseed. I grow watercress, mushrooms etc around in the woods, in the odd corners. I understand and agree with the principles but for the average, need to learn to grow food NOW,….not something I would recommend you make your first priority.

    As I say, I use lots of different ‘methods’ and garden construction/growing container construction on my place. Do this from experience growing different types of food here, where I live, and the state of the soil at the time (ever changing as I DO pay a great deal of attention to this) – depends on what I have found to work best for the plant I am trying to grow! I raise rabbits (mostly weed free manure) specifically for manure in the main garden as I can add it straight away for example.

    Every other year (when I have scheduled to do a heavy, heavy canning/preserving – more than normal – to substantially restock stores with lots of excess) I use the Mittleider method (sorta modified) to grow annual vegetables with the least fuss and worry and best results I can count on. Doesn’t matter if it is a new bed or and old well developed soil bed. I have lots of experience with it and can vouch for it. I think it is the best IMHO for a newbie to follow because if you follow the simple steps you will get good results no questions without tons of soil building (heavy labor, time and can get expensive if you don’t have your own source of compost etc). No one seems to talk about it much as it doesn’t have fancy names, splashy books, celebrity gardeners, ‘green’/crunchy sites promoting etc I suppose. I have 6′ tall T-posts on the end of my raised beds that hold a five gallon bucket on each side, a length of hose attached to each, and a drip tape attached to that placed under the soil. The rain or I keep the buckets filled so I don’t have much watering labor at all. There are easy, get from the grocery store products that you can buy for the nutrients described in the ebook that are the same thing. (Think epsom salts, beer, etc) Check it out if you like. I first saw this method being used in China – later in Africa and in California.

    Ghost Prime
    =========
    Did you dry out the pepper seeds a bit before planting? Not all seeds from store bought produce are viable – I think because of the fact many vegetables are picked way before they are ‘ripe’ (and the seed becomes actually viable) because of the long distances they are often transported, and artificially ripened before being placed in the stores. Why they taste often like crap. Sometimes they will rot. Peppers are actually very easy to grow – haha – not so easy to keep from cross-pollinating!

    HTH someone – don’t get me started on food growing! :)

    #14413
    Jay
    Jay
    Survivalist
    member3

    Tweva please go on! Im taking notes haha! This is very valuable information! I will highlight in the next community newsletter.

    How many acres do you think can you take care of with just two people working on them without help of any modern tools?

    Alea iacta est ("The die has been cast")

    #14419
    Profile photo of tweva
    tweva
    Survivalist
    rreallife

    Jay -depends on how healthy and knowledgeable the people are and what the goal/use of the acreage is for. I have to go now but (watch out) I will answer with might be helpful to others (IMHO) this evening when chores are done.

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