12

I understand that the main principle in permaculture and related (e.g. Fukuoka) is that of planting a garden, which is more or less a perpetual motion machine, self-sustaining and strong enough to support a person/family/community living off it. In accordance to this principle, the most important point is to design a garden that self-sustains. For example, ...


10

I know people who control slugs with toads and ducks. I once read an account of Britons using hedgehogs that were sort of a cross between wild and pets. You can make your garden friendly to toads by eliminating pesticide use, providing shelter such as broken terracotta half-pots and a water source like a small pond. If you can keep ducks as pets or ...


9

Since this is a part of the defining sustainability series, I am adding my own perspective here. Other perspectives of course are welcome and the whole purpose is to provide public insight into what's on and off topic here so please vote on these. The problems @Pitt noted above are design issues with well understood solutions, which include biodiversity ...


9

Surely it makes sense to move the planting around into some sort of rotation scheme? The backbone of most permaculture plantings are perennials, including trees and shrubs. These, being more or less permanent plantings, do not lend themselves to rotational schemes. You could, however, as mentioned, rotate some of the plantings in the herbs layer under them ...


8

I took over a garden in an old house, which was completely infested with slugs, my solution was many-fold. I tried to remove the places for them to hide during the day, this certainly worked, but the population then settled at a reduced (but still there) level. It was really only when I found a hedge-hog on the road outside my house one winter, and ...


8

Why do existing systems continue? There are several reasons. There are many ways that the current system does work. Perhaps not in the long-term sustainable sense, but in the sense of feeding billions of people every day. That's not a small feat. The existing system has an entire global supply chain built around it. A different system would need a ...


8

If you're currently in Western Europe, then Eastern European countries may be very interesting for you to look at, because compared to Western Europe: The cost of living tends to be lower, so you could invest more of your savings into alternative technologies such as solar energy Cost of property tends to be lower (both housing and land) There's generally ...


8

I think you're right that building your own is likely to be necessary (we're in the same position). What I've discovered in Australia is broadly applicable in the global north, so: An earthship can't be sustainable, and is not designed to be sustainable - they are about being self-contained within a very narrow definition of the term. They rely on free ...


7

Silvopasture refers to practicing forestry and animal husbandry (grazing) in the same area. It isn't clear from your question if you're trying to raise animals in an existing forest or if you're trying to reforest a grazing area. I don't know of how you'd do this in a "wild nature" context, but practices that I've heard of would include harvesting the wood, ...


7

FYI - you don't have to have a spinning wheel to spin small to moderate amounts of yarn. A hand-spinning spindle will work great, is much less expensive to buy and far less complicated to make, and is also very portable. I spun great yarn using a top whorl drop spindle for a couple of years or so before I finally (mostly) moved on to using a spinning wheel. ...


7

I suggest that you question some of your assumptions. Difficulties of off-grid. Off-grid is HARD, and generally isn't worth it unless you are a long ways from the power lines. If you are looking at one acre, you probably aren't that far away. Let's look at what goes into off grid: Electricity Grid connected solar means you size your PV to provide about ...


6

I would think of ollas, which are porous terracotta pots with narrow necks that can be buried in the soil. They release the water gradually, and can be filled again when empty, making the use of water very efficient because almost no water is lost due evaporation. I'm sorry, when I read about water loss I couldn't help but recommend ollas, I've recently ...


6

You could try slug nematodes. These are parasites of slugs that can kill them. They occur normally in the soil, but their numbers are normally in balance with the slug population. The trick is to increase the number of nematodes to the point where the slug population collapses. The problem is that this causes the netmatodes' source of food to vanish, so the ...


6

Make up a batch of bone sauce and apply it to your tree trunks: The first pot is buried in moist soil leaving an inch or two above ground. The second, upper, pot if filled with bones and a screen goes between the two pots. Clay seals the pots. A small fire is burned on top of the pots for about two hours. Then the wood is pulled away and the pots are ...


6

That's great to have a constant source of yarn - from your pet. I saw a lady who knitted items for sale using her dog's fur. I've been studying about spinning wheels and how to spin only in the past few months. I've come to the conclusion that a spinning wheel is actually a sped up version of a drop spindle and it's also a lot of fun to spin with. Since ...


6

Methods There are several methods of livestock disposal to choose from, each has its own benefits and drawbacks. While there may be no correct answer for everyone, there are better approaches - especially as we factor in sustainability. Inspiration for this Q&A layout is drawn primarily from Amundson (2013). While this book concerns husbandry (see ...


6

These are 12 principles of Permaculture elucidated by David Holmgren, which I pulled off of here and added a bit to. These are not the only accepted principles of permaculture, nor the only phrasings. Observe and Interact – “Beauty is in the mind of the beholder” By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular ...


6

I can only tell you about my country, Chile, where I've been watching the situation closely. But since I'm living in France now (for the moment), I'm also familiar with the situation in France and Spain. As things are in Chile right now, I believe that self-sufficiency is quite affordable. We can generate our own energy, our tax load is quite low (compared ...


6

My wife and I have about 100 free-ranging chickens. For bug control, they are a mixed blessing. Chickens eat just about any kind of insect they can find, excepting small ants, and thank goodness they don't appear to eat bees. But they also eat frogs and lizards, which also eat insects. We try to create environments where the frogs and lizards can hide ...


5

I am not sure I am qualified to answer all your questions but here are the ones I feel qualified to answer. Phased selection The first point I would make is that trees in the wild do start off in dense thickets and naturally self-select as they get larger. I would expect that this has a number of benefits for the soil such as reduced erosion. I would ...


5

To the extent you can cultivate predators (certain birds, frogs, etc), you will have a wonderful, on-going, biological control system that will keep them under control. For the cockroaches problem I mentioned before I have started trying to cultivate frogs and lizards around the perimeter of the house. The same should work with slugs. This means focusing ...


5

To be honest, I think this part is somewhat self-defeating: But how to best utilize a forest for animal husbandry, in the way that hopefully interferes with wild nature as little as possible? From a permaculture perspective the goal isn't to avoid interfering with nature, but to try to ensure that interference is constructive. In other words, ...


5

The one(s) that survive/thrive in your orchard. I don't know the specific answer to this and I don't know that anyone does. The reason being that "apple tree" and mycorrhizae are not the only variables in this equation. For example, What variety of apple tree? Are the trees healthy? How old are they? Is the orchard neglected or intensively maintained? ...


5

I would use a donkey. The dairy and sheep farmers I visited in the UK as a child used them, and there's a field of cows near me that has a pair of donkeys in it. When I go by on my bike, the donkeys clearly and obviously arrange themselves protectively between me and the cows. (We have coyotes and wolves near us - you can hear them howl at night and a ...


5

Great Pyrenees (Pyrenean Mountain Dog) If you're in an area with a high-threat of animal attack (bear, wolf, coyote), consider 1-2 dogs specifically bred for the purpose of protecting livestock. This breed, specifically, has deeply-bred territorial instincts - which make it a desirable watchdog. They are capable of long-term, independent action and are ...


5

It is my understanding that there have been studies proving nutrient depletion in the soil of conventional farming. These studies (Haughley Farms in the mid to late 1930's) at which time states more people should be made aware of the facts that organic farming methods are far more sustainable than conventional. Such as in the area of chemical fertilizer and ...


4

There is an ongoing discussion in the permaculture community whether ph changes to the soil are sustainable. I am in the camp which says they are provided the changes are not huge (going from highly alkaline soil to very acidic) and so I assume your pines are part of this effort. I have been looking at trying to do something similar in a similar zone but ...


4

What a great question. It really got me interested in this. I have a biology background and even now as a forester, apples are still among my absolute favorite trees. I did a little bit of digging and found what may be some good information for you. This one cites Pitholithus tinctorious. And this is from the Journal of American Society of horticultural ...


4

Surely the most natural solution would be for the human population to reduce the deer population by eating them.


4

This is an interesting question. The way I read your question is, "how can we create a sustainable economy in an ecovilage?" Obviously the modern economy which is based on excessive consumption is not sustainable. However I think one can look to the past (and other places today) for insight in what to do differently. I don't expect also that EnergyNumbers ...


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