View Full Version : Permaculture site plans
New to forum and sort of new to permaculture (have a keen interest in horticulture, done a bit of research into permaculture but none in the hands on department).
Due to family circumstances, the girlfriend and I are now living on her parents 7 acre property, which we intend on buying shortly, located in Noth East Vic.
The best part is for us that the property is pretty much just a house on the block, the house is situated towards the front of the property and 75% of the land slopes towards the house., 3 dams (1 of which is spring fed, always has water and is up the very top of the property so no need for a pump, garden etc are gravity fed.) Spring water and soil has been tested, so what we have is basically bare land in which to work with.
We are looking into becoming as self sufficient as possible, and was wondering where to start.
How did other forum members start thier quest at becoming more self sufficient. Was it as a simple veggie patch and grew on from there or was the site first planned out and purposly designed (placing of house, gardens etc.)? Are their consultants about who can advise you?
It would be interesting to see how some people have done it.
11-01-2004, 12:50 PM
Hi Gus, welcome to the board and Permaculture.
I started by jumping in. Like many others who did the same we learned along the way. Best to make annual vegie gardens while you're thinking the next step through.
Rule of thumb: oftenest is nearest.
You need to visit the vegie garden at least once a day so keep it as close to the kitchen door as you possibly can. Think of the needs of the garden in placement. Water, sun (all year), shelter from winds, protection, etc.
Build a good soil and keep it healthy.
Yes there are plenty of courses and consultants. Take your time do a small course, keep your ear to the ground. In the end you will find the best cosultant and/or course for you.
12-01-2004, 06:18 PM
I am at a similar stage to you, just starting out with a totally bare block. Not even a house yet. I did an Intro to Permaculture course, then a Permaculture Design course a few years ago. Only now have I had the opportunity to acquire a small acreage. But you never forget the general principles of permaculture design because they are so practical and realistic, and can be applied to any site.
At this stage I am doing my background research on the land and the area. I'm collecting climate and soil data, getting a soil survey done, and researching the indigenous vegetation of the area. There is an indigenous nursery near by.
At the same time I have started to draw up plans for a passive solar house to a point where they can be lodged with the council for permits. I have drawn a concept plan for the whole 2 acres, because the house must be situated within its landscape.
My first action on the land will be to start planting the shelter belts this autumn, as my site is elevated and exposed. I already know where I want to place my orchard and vegie garden, but will not start planting any of it until the wind breaks are well established (and the house built). I anticipate that it will take me at least 5 years to establish the garden properly, just taking on a little bit at a time, but working to a master plan. I think it is really important to start small and gradually move out from the house.
Designing for the realities of the site: I have been reading with interest the postings on this site related to grey water systems, and wondering if I need one. South west Victoria has reliable rainfall all year round, and is one area of the state not drought affected at the moment - no water restrictions here! It is a cool, damp climate. So I have decided that my limited budget would be better spent on double glazing and extra insulation than on a grey water system.
One thing I found helpful was to go to field days where you can sometimes meet likeminded people. You could check the Permaculture Melbourne website to see if there is a branch in the north east. You often learn the most from other people who have done it and permies are generally very generous in passing on their experiences.
I wish you well with your project. :)
13-01-2004, 12:20 AM
Millefleurs, when I read your plans for establishing your windbreaks before you start on your orchard, I wondered if you had thought about putting in some pioneer trees in the places where you will eventually plant fruit trees? Some kinds of fast growing legume trees would no doubt help build the soil there and bring in wildlife etc, provide you with plenty of firewood and mulch when your windbreaks are up and its time to sacrifice some of those pioneers. Sorry to go offering unsolicited advice but I couldn't help it!
13-01-2004, 07:30 AM
All comments gratefully accepted! Are you talking about placing the pioneer species actually in the area designated for the orchard, then removing them at the time of planting the fruit trees? In that case, no, I had not thought of this. My primary concern is to get protection from the wind because the site is so exposed. Yes, lots of "sacrificial" trees just to get things established.
I am proposing to break the 2 acres up into a series of interconnected "rooms", with a number of windbreaks to protect these "rooms". Unlike my neighbours, who have all planted a double row of natives along their perimeter boundaries - very boring, largely ineffective! :laugh:
14-01-2004, 02:16 PM
Yeah, that was what I meant. When I did my pdc etc with pri the slogan for that sort of sacrificial pioneer was "chop and drop", which speaks for itself I suppose and the idea being to create as much mulch in situ as possible - saves work and transport related pollution etc.
I like the sound of your interconnected rooms. All the best!
15-01-2004, 10:44 AM
Read this with interest and wanted to add what i was doing with my acerage. The rooms concept is one which i plan on doing as the contour and current vegetation lends itself to this design concept.
I am using acacias as well as other legumes like leceuarna(sp) and pidgeon pea one the windy slope as these are the fastest growing. Up the slope a bit are the frost hardy trees such as Casuarinas and native Qld Hoop Pines as well as other hardwood and native food trees. These need to establish b4 i can add my longer term plantings that need protection from frost. This is also the area i have put my poultry pens(3 now and totalling 18 chooks :D ) More are already on order!
Some realities that i face in my planting regime is that it makes sense to work on one area at a time more intensely rather that spread out my planting which would only create more work for me. I will explain, grass grows quickly in this area and tall!, its a lot more effort to mow around a lot of trees all spread out rather that my current planting which is all in rows in a smaller section so i can go up and down and accross a lot easier. I don't have the time to do everything i want straight away and my health also limits me.
I realise that i will have some areas more established than others but until i get to see a full seasons weather pattern it may end up reducing mistakes also.
Not going to tell anyone what they should do.... i understand that coming up with your own plan is what makes practising permaculture exciting.... just wanted to share how i was conceptualising my block which sounds similar size to you guys.
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