Why A Year-Round Greenhouse is part of This Permaculture Design
It doesn’t take much for those of us in temperate climate zones to imagine the allure for year-round greenhouses. Fresh tomatoes in January are compelling! A more controlled and protected environment in spring, summer and fall has real advantages as well. And from a small business perspective, what if we could produce enough fresh produce for ourselves and a handful of our neighbors 52 weeks of the year?
In a good permaculture design for an urban residence, a homestead or a farm, the first thing we seek to accomplish is the efficient storage of summer crops through root cellaring, drying, fermentation and other forms of preserving. But once we accomplish this… few things beat fresh produce in the middle of winter.
To get this done we need to design for the two major demands of plants that are in short supply during the winter months: heat and light.
Originally constructed as an industrial sized greenhouse, this structure has been exposed and empty for the last 30 years. Located in the CSC apple orchard, it had been a popular roosting site for our orchard turkeys. Unfortunately for them we were determined to get some use out of the Buckminster Fuller inspired geodesic frame.
Why ‘EarthCamp’ Village is part of This Permaculture Design
In William McDonough’s book, Cradle-to-Cradle, he talks about the importance for us as humans to reexamine the way we build our homes and other structures/buildings. The big question is, how much waste and pollution is generated while building, maintaining and finally demolishing our structures? It is about 40% of the entire waste stream of “civilized” cultures.
Our objective in building EarthCamp Village is to see how close we can get to creating structures that last a very-long time but create and generate very-little waste or CO2.
Click Here for Picture Summary of the Building of Earth-Shelter #1
Ground breaking has begun for EarthCamp Village which is part of our 8.7 acre permaculture design for Center for Sustainable Community here in Stelle, IL. We started working on Earth-Shelter #1 on July 15, 2013. All updates related to this one cabin will be posted here. Feel free to leave messages, ideas or comments. Let’s learn about this together.
I’d like to invite you to take a walk with me around our yard at Midwest Permaculture. None of these plants existed 5 years ago when we started experimenting with perennial plants, trees and shrubs.
And all off this was produced with almost NO WORK on our part this year!!!
Other than caring for the general area, the plants surrounding these productive crops are doing the majority of the work of keeping ‘weeds’ down, fertilizing the area and holding in moisture.
We are really experiencing the benefits and yields of permaculture designing with the use of perennial plants!
10 Perennial Crops at Midwest Permaculture – July 2013
1 - Peach
Above is one of 4 peach trees we have on our property. The tree is locate on the back of a berm that we constructed which holds overflow water from our rain tank and side yard. With little extra watering it has grown to this size in 3 years. It was a two year tree when we planted it. We had to knock off half of the peaches this year because there were just too many but we estimate there are still 300 on this one tree. The peaches should be ripe and ready to pick soon.
During their first 8-days, our interns immersed themselves in:
- Spring gardening bed prep and harvested early perennials.
- Beehive inspections and maintenance
- Field trip to Univ. of Illinois Woody Ag Research Site
- Harvested wild edibles and used in community meal.
- Laying out and planting of the first linear food forest for the CSC permaculture design. (see below)
- …and today they learned how to ‘harvest’ chickens. Continue reading
While the city of Chicago was shutting down due to too much rain last week just 60 miles north of us, the swales, ponds, berms and rain gardens we have put in around our home and in Stelle did their job of filling up and holding water back from the creeks. Over several days they will slowly release that water into the water table rather than let it run down into our creeks and rivers all at once.
The water we are holding back will eventually make it to our creeks and rivers anyway, but it will do so slowly… and over a long period of time… thus trickle-feeding our creeks and rivers all year round. This is the way a normal hydrological cycle works. Continue reading
Free Plant Guilds eBooklet
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Join Bryce for an
Tentatively Scheduled for Jan/Feb 2014
A Full Day with Bryce Ruddock
Author of the Plant Guilds e-Booklet
Next Scheduled Workshop — Jan./Feb. 2014 — Check back for dates
Price: $95.00 Includes Lunch and printed copy of the Plant Guilds eBooklet ($20 value)
At Midwest Permaculture in Stelle, IL (Limit 24 Students)
The Registration Link will be Posted in November 2013
Bryce will Cover the Essentials:
Students Will Also:
Private Consultations with Bryce… If you have a specific project and would like Bryce’s undivided attention and recommendations, we will set a few private, 1-hour appointments on Saturday evening and Sunday Morning. Call ahead to reserve… or… seek out Bryce following the workshop should you feel you still need additional assistance. Price: $95.00/hr.
Learn to Make A Thermal Mass Rocket Stove
Students will Build and Fire-up a Thermal Mass Rocket Stove in a Single Day -
The Next Scheduled Workshop is Sunday, September 29th.
$95 (includes local-food lunch) Online Registration or Call Becky 815-256-2215
Location: Midwest Permaculture – Stelle, IL
Standard wood stoves waste much of the heat and wood energy when they burn, with much of it going up the chimney as hot smoke. A rocket stove burns more efficiently – converting nearly all of the fuel into CO2 and water, including the smoke. It also stores it’s thermal energy in a “battery”, a bench that stores the heat from the fire and releases it slowly over the course of the day. The stove can burn both logs and scrap wood and the best part is, it can heat the same space as a regular wood stove with 1/4 of the wood! Continue reading