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, ...


12

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 ...


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 ...


9

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 ...


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

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

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 ...


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. ...


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

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

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

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

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

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 ...


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

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

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 ...


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? ...


4

It is true that some endophytic fungi have antimicrobial effects on their microscopic counterparts be it of fungal or bacterial origin. This paper whose study employed the use of fungal extracts from Indigofera suffruticosa points out that Nigrospora sphaerica and Pestalotiopsis maculans inocula performed well in a rice culture medium against gram positive ...


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 ...


4

The big issue I see with such a "sustainable ecovillage" is what I call the long term impedance mismatch between the village and the external environment. So while I am pessimistic (and I think you are right to be "worried"), lots of people are trying it. Many are in the US. In what way could we seek to establish a sustainable ecovillage? Ecological ...


4

Research This is probably extremely variable depending on the specific crops you are talking about. I tried to gather information from various sources. I looked mostly at studies of subsistence farmers; I propose that the labor per unit area would be similar without any mechanized methods. Yield may be higher based on other factors like increased ...


3

The cost of "Organic" dairy At least within the United States, certifying something as organic requires time, effort, and paperwork. There does exist an additional administrative burden for farmsteads wishing to market their products as organic, but if we are invested in the organic method as part of a greater commitment to increasing sustainability, then ...


3

Start here: Quality Farm Dugouts When doing this for a farm, the usual calculation (Central Alberta Climate) is to plan for 2 years use, plus 2 years evaporation. Dugouts should be as deep as practical to excavate to minimize surface area. That usually translates into 15 to 18 feet which is what most trackhoes can handle. Here a trackhoe costs you ...


3

Get the plastic itself analyzed. It is likely Polyethylene. PE itself is harmless -- chemically it is essentially a very long chain wax. If there were any solvents in it, by now they have leached into the soil (rueful grimace). In many jurisdictions using PE mulch is allowed in organic farming. Get a ruling from your local authority. Long exposure to ...


3

As EnergyNumbers pointed out as a comment, it is a bit unclear what you are actually asking. My understanding is that you are trying to understand what needs to be done in order to develop a 'sustainable' community. I can provide you with a few examples of successful sustainable solution examples: two through sustainable water system designs and one through ...


3

Human work as a permaculture intrant A solution that wasn't mentioned there is to collect them by hand day after day. I dispose the slugs collected into my composting pile where they feed, breed and attract predators. But you need a composting pile in a good place where predators will find shelter. The secret for collecting slugs is to have a bucket with a ...


2

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock and is effective for this purpose. However, I would not classify it as permaculture. A simple definition of permaculture is growing plants within a ecosystem that is self-supporting. Diatomaceous earth comes from places like Germany, Denmark and closer to home Southern California, Colorado, to name ...


2

It seems the bottom line of the question is low cost spinning wheel. The Dodeca wheeldesign is available free on line. This has been noted in another post. Porter also sells this wheel and a similar wheel at a very low cost for a spinning wheel. http://porterthreads.weebly.com/store/p4/Dodec_Spinning_Wheel.html. The Budget Wheel, seemingly derived ...


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