Monday, April 30, 2012

Bird houses

Since permaculture is also organic we don't use any chemicals on anything.  This means we need another way to control bugs that bother our garden plants.  Birds eat lots of bugs so we should do our best to make friends with some birds.  I put birdhouses all over my yard.

This is my very first visitor.  I should point out too that if you put the houses or a post out in your garden, then when the birds poop, they are adding nitrogen to your garden.  I have seen one garden where the post can be moved around depending on where you need the nitrogen.  Permaculture is all about many uses for everything.  
My whole family helped in the birdhouse making.  We made a day of it.  We all sat down together and painted and then I fed everyone dinner.  It was a nice family gathering and I got quite a few nice painted birdhouses out of it.  I think we will do it again next year.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rainwater barrel

This is my rainwater collecting barrel that I made to water my garden.  It cost me about $50 to make but you could do it for a lot less.  Store bought they are closer to $100 or more for a good sturdy one.  It was very easy to make.  
First you need about a 55 gallon food grade barrel.  You can get these free from soda bottling companies.  They fill them with syrup and then throw them away.  I had no luck with this option and got mine for $40 on ebay.  The hole on the top for the water to come in has to be mosquito proof.  I took an old piece of screen and attached it over the hole in the top with a large hose clamp.  Then I drilled a hole on the side at the bottom for the spigot.  The spigot cost about $4.  It was threaded so I just screwed it into the hole I drilled.  If you warm it up a little it helps it go smoother.  It took a few tries for me to get it to go in straight too.  Once it was in place nice and straight I sealed it with waterproof caulk all the way around the edge of the spigot.  A big tube of the caulk cost about $4.  Done. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No dig potatoes

Part of starting a permaculture farm is learning as much as possible while you are waiting to buy the actual farm.  All of the books that I have read suggest that you try as many things out as possible before throwing yourself into a new farm with no idea what you are doing.  I have been spending a lot of time learning how to garden organically and using some permaculture methods as well.  Permaculture tends to be more perennials, but I can't see getting perennials established to leave them when I go so I work with what I can.

So anyway, I'm trying something in the garden this year called no dig potatoes.  I've heard they have great yields and best of all, no digging.  Basically you lay down cardboard on the ground.  You then lay out your prepared potatoes on top of the cardboard instead of in the ground.  Then you can add various amendments if you like.  I chose simple to see how it worked and added nothing.  Then you cover the potatoes with straw.

Here's a great link if you'd like to try it yourself:
I'll let you know how mine turn out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Buying land

This past weekend we went up north to look at two pieces of land.  One was sold before we even got there.  At least it wasn't the one that we really wanted.

The lot was great, the area was great, but the mortgage is bad.  We had been pre-approved for a great mortgage, but because we don't live in VT we couldn't have it.  All the land loans we have looked at are 7.5% or they want 35% down.  I just can't see spending that kinds of money.  Right now we are looking at logging as a possible way to counteract the high rate, but I'm not convinced that it is an option yet.  If that falls through we are going to wait one more year so we can just pay cash for the lot.  The frustration begins already....

Monday, April 2, 2012

What is permaculture?

What is permaculture?  Permaculture is a way of designing your landscape where all of aspects works together.  This includes gardens, animals, buildings and anything else you have.  The design you use is based on that of nature.  For example, a tree grows in the forest.  The leaves fall off the tree and create compost for that tree which provides organic matter to feed the tree and also helps conserve water for that tree.  This tree also grows fruit which can feed animals and people of course.  The decaying leaves feed the bacteria and the mushrooms and the slugs.  The ducks eat the slugs which helps to keep them off of your garden.  The ducks also lay eggs that we can eat.  You can also eat some of the mushrooms.  A vine could grow up the tree rather than you having to trellis it.  That vine also produces fruits and more leaves for compost.  If you set up your whole yard this way, then everything takes care of each other and you don't have to do much at all.  Everything grows year after year and you can put in as much or a little work as you choose and you will still get some food.  Perennial vegetables rather than traditional annuals also make far less work for you.
If you want a better explanation than what I can do, check out this website: