Permaculture Design Course Research
(Compilation by M. Holbert)
Garden vs. Farm (time frame?)
This is a complex topic. There is some good material in a book that I am currently reading: Too Smart For Our Own Good: The Ecological Predicament of Humankind by Craig Dilworth. Gardening in some form likely occurred for millennia prior to farming (as defined by surpluses, bureaucrats, and priests). A good summary of the Neolithic Revolution can be found at Wikipedia.1
From Too Smart For Our Own Good: The Ecological Predicament of Humankind:
As regards plant domestication, the first and subsequently predominant form of horticulture was swidden, or slash-and-burn, cultivation. (The word swidden is from the the Old English term for a burned clearing.) First, an area of forest was cut down by men using polished-stone axes, and then burned. Then, if grass seeds were sown, the land was probably prepared, if at all, with a digging stick. The sowing of seeds was of particular importance to both the horticultural and agrarian periods, grass seeds constituting the basic staple of both in non-tropical areas. If tubers were planted, women would stick them in holes they had made with a digging stick. Harvesting, in the case of cereals, was performed using a flint-edged sickle.
Much of the efficacy of the swidden system consisted in the fact that the surrounding forest vegetation does not include the low-growing plants which quickly invade cleared ground, while at the same time the burning that the swidden method involves destroys whatever weed seeds there may be, so there is little or no need to do any weeding. Nor is it necessary to spread fertiliser or grow rotation crops to keep up soil fertility, as this is provided for a time by the forest ashes.
The same plot would be used for a number of years, until its productivity declined to the point where it was more worthwhile to chop down and burn a new area of forest and start afresh. The original patch would be left fallow to eventually regain its forest character, which would take some 20 or 30 years, after which it could again be used for crops. With increasing population density, however, the length of time a swidden plot was used before being left fallow increased, and the length of time it was fallow shortened. Longer use of the plot increased the amount of weed, and a shorter fallow period did not allow the re-growth of forest but only bush. Because the ground was no longer covered by forest, sunlight reached it, which resulted in more weeds in the form of unwanted grasses and other plants. Thus the cultivators had to clear land of bush and rough scrub, which became the predominant vegetation in the area. This increase in weeds was responsible for the transition within horticulture from the use of the digging stick in forest-fallowing to the hoe in bush-fallowing, the first hoes being essentially forked digging sticks, with the handle longer than the head....
By the bush-fallowing stage the soil had also become more compact, which meant that the forked-stick hoe had eventually to be replace by one with a stone head, which required much greater effort to wield. The stone heads were of polished stone, the grinding of which also required extra work – all on the part of men – as did the grinding of other stone-headed implements related to the form of horticulture, such as axes. By the final stage of the swidden process, described as 'short fallow,' the soil had become infested with perennial weeds, which could not be controlled by hoeing without exceptional effort. Eventually bush-fallowing in sufficiently fertile places was replaced by gardening, wher ethe same plot was used continuously, and crops were rotated to support productivity. Gardening, compared with swiddening, gives an even poorer caloric return to labour, but given greater labour, can provide greater quantities of food. Gardening can absorb ten times more labour input per unit land than can swiddening, and constitutes the most intensive form of cultivation in rain-forests today. This specialised food production meant a lack of flexibility however, which led to famine when crops failed e.g. as a result of drought. [p.237-238]
Shade Tolerant Vines For Spokane2
Lonicera varieties (Honeysuckle), Hall's variety is the most shade tolerant
Parthenocissus quinquefolia – Virginia Creeper
Parthenocissus tricuspidata ‘Veitchii’ (8 m ) Boston Ivy
Akebia quinata – Edible fruit
Hedera helix 'Baltica' (English Ivy) (on the list of invasive plants at Invaders Database, University of Montana)
Herbaceous Weed Barrier
I have not been able to find much on this topic. It appears that Michael is leading the way up the curve in this area. Does anyone have any other sources of information?
Painted Mountain Corn3 (High desert)
Open pollinated gene pool (Commercial hybrids are bred for high yields at the expense of nutrition)
90 days to maturity
50-70 bushels per acre
Available from: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Bountiful Gardens, Fedco Seeds, High Mowing Seeds, Irish Eyes Garden Seeds, Johnny's Selected Seeds, D. Landreth Seed Company, Nichols Garden Nursery, Osborne International Seed Company, Stokes Seeds Territorial Seed
Local Source of Bone Meal
Darin is working on this one.
Where can you get Wapato seed?
The only company offering seeds is Everwilde Farms, Inc., Bloomer, Wisconsin
Kester's has it listed4 but does not indicate a price. I am assuming that it is unavailable.
3 companies offer plants5
Native Worms in Spokane? Palouse Worm
11 species of non-native earthworms can be found in the Columbia River Basin (CRB)6
Only 3 species of native earthworms in CRB, including the giant Palouse earthworm or Washington giant earthworm (Driloleirus americanus, meaning lily-like worm)7
What type of potatoes were the Maori growing?
Types of Pond Liners
Soil additives such as sodium bentonite clays and a chemical product known as ESS13
In general, plastic and rubber are less expensive for small ponds and enhanced soil and clay are more cost effective for large ponds and lakes10
Calcium Accumulator Plants11
Arrowroot, Carageen, Chamomile (Corn and German), Chicory, Chives, Cleavers, Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Dandelion, Dock (broad leaf), Dulse, Horsetails, Kelp, Lamb's quarters, Meadow sweet (Astilbe), Nettles (stinging), Parsley, Pigweed (red root), Plantains, Salad burnet, Shepherd's purse, Sorrel (sheep), Toadflax, Watercress
Best invasive plant database
U.S: National Invasive Species Information Center12
Best in the region: Invaders Database System (University of Montana)13
State: Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board14
County: Spokane County Noxious Weed Control Board15
What fruits will grow in some shade?16
Oregon Grape, Service Tree (aka Sorb or Whitty Pear), Black Currant, Japanese wineberry
Pollution in the median strips. As it relates to snow removal.
There seems to have been much more research conducted in this area prior to governments mandating the use of unleaded gasoline. Obviously, any water that runs across or along a paved roadway will contain petroleum products.
With respect to de-icer, the State of Washington and the City of Spokane primarily use Magnesium Chloride. Some researchers believe that another product, Calcium Chloride, is responsible for damaging and even killing pine and fir trees near areas of heavy use.17 Plants in areas that are exposed to these types of de-icers should be salt tolerant.
Sources of Government resources for climate, soils, etc. (Work in Progress)
Jean Pain 2x Shredder in the U.S.?
Super Pain model made in France.18 I also saw an online comment that made me think that they were available in Ontario. The key: “Most wood chippers are hammer mills that cut across the grain and leave chips that do not compost easily. Drum shredders whose teeth drag small limbs across knives produce long fiber shreds and are best for fungal moldering (as per Jean Pain; www.motherearthnews.com/arc/2032/ or journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/methane_pain.html).”19
The best summary that I found:
“The unit is called ICPS (Improved Charcoal Production System) or „adam-retort“ and has the advantages which are mentioned at the beginning of this page.
* The concept of the ICPS / “adam-retort” is that the retort works in 2 stages – the first and the second phase. In the first phase the wood in the retort chamber is dried by hot flue gases and the carbonization is initiated. Hot flue gases are produced with cheap waste wood in an external fire chamber. By waste wood we understand branches, crust, charcoal dust and other residual products from agricultural processes, such as coffee husks. About ~50 kg of waste wood is burned per batch.
During traditional charcoal production a part of the ‘good’ wood must be burned down in order to carbonize the rest of the wood.
As soon as the water in the wood has evaporated, the smoke is sufficiently hot and the first inflammable wood gases appear, the smoke is now rerouted by a patented method and burnt in the hot fire chamber, reducing pollution. This additional energy is used to heat up the wood chamber and to further accelerate carbonisation during this second phase
In the traditional carbonisation process- smoke smoke is emitted into the air for up to 4 – 14 days. The smoke created by the “adam-retort” will be much less within approximately 10 hours of operation- with some of the smoke being burnt off in a fire box. If the carbonisation begins in the morning, the retort-kiln can beclosed by the evening. The charcoal cools overnight by a special cooling method. By the next morning or midday- the charcoal is ready to be evacuated from the wood chamber.”20
Spokane law-- Can you bring compost material from off site?
Biodynamic Education System
Athough the majority of Biodynamic education involves training Waldorf teachers, there are a handful of day-long and 6-day long (3 levels, each two days long) courses that primarily seem to be held in Australia. In addition, there is a two year long certificate program that is external – no classes or workshops. The Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association appears to be in the process of coming up with new programs. My general sense is that Biodynamics is a great deal more dogmatic than Permaculture.
Bioregions overlaid with state lines
Several maps are available at the Western Ecology Division (EPA) website.21
Ramial Chip Wood
“...adding 10 tons/acre of wood chips each year did more to maintain soil quality than adding grass cover crops or resting the soil with harvested alfalfa sod hay crops.”22
Mint Family- Which do well in shade? Partial shade? Sun?
Can Codling moth female fly?
“Tayberry (Rubus fruticosus x idaeus) is a cultivated shrub in the genus Rubus of the family Rosaceae patented in 1979 as a cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry, and named after the river Tay in Scotland.”24