Blog

June Bending Oak PDC Summary

Jas showing fellow students propagation techniques

This past June of 2021, MWP excitedly presented our first in-person PDC in over a year. It was an intimate course of 8 compared to the 24 person online courses we had been administering over the winter and spring. The change of pace was wonderful. We had the joy of hosting this course at Bending Oak Permaculture Farm, and I think the functionally and beautifully designed environment there made the experience even more impactful.

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Pond Muck Berm Project

Building Raised Beds on Contour
When our community pond became stagnant from silt runoff and the build-up of plant detritus over 40 years, it needed some serious rehabilitation and excavation. In 2018 we hired a contractor to help us with the job (a nearby friend and neighbor of the community) but what to do with all of the muck?  Not knowing how much muck there would be we marked off two long contour lines in the field above the pond and had them dump truck-load after truck-load along side of our markers.
The goal? To build raised beds on contour. 

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Bending Oak Permaculture Farm, Design-Element Permaculture Posters

We recently visited a long-term project of ours, Bending Oak Permaculture farm in Youngstown, Ohio. We have been designing and implementing for this demonstrative site for over seven years, and to see it transform from a plot of barren land into an abundant, regenerative ecosystem has been incredibly rewarding.

To help share what we are creating and learning with others, we set up an 18-Stop Self-guided Tour with posters like this at each point.

Click on Poster to View in Full Resolution – 8 More detailed posters in this post below.
Here is a quick look at the map you will find at the Welcome Center at Bending Oak, Youngstown, OH. Check out the Bending Oak website to learn about the tours, workshops and overnight accommodations.

We created these Design-Element Permaculture (DEP) Posters to explain the inner workings of the farm. Read more to learn about Bending Oak and why we created these posters. Continue reading “Bending Oak Permaculture Farm, Design-Element Permaculture Posters”

Living Woven-Willow Brush Fence

Another Experiment at Midwest Permaculture
How one can attractively store woody brush to give it time to break down.

Our intern Meg trimming some of the new growth off the austree-willow posts in this willow-brush fence.

Hello permaculture friends. We wanted to give something a try. We have not seen this exact design in the literature or on YouTube (although it certainly could be out there) but the idea is to use our yard brush while also building a sturdy fence. Continue reading “Living Woven-Willow Brush Fence”

Tribute to Larry Korn

Larry Korn 1948-2019
Free Webinar posted as a Tribute to Larry

We are saddened by the recent passing of our friend, Larry Korn. He is best known for being the translator/editor of one of the most influential books to touch the lives of scores of natural farmers and permaculturists,  The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka.

Why is this book so influential?
The Middle East and Northern Africa were once very fertile areas. With widespread annual tilling/plowing, a civilization will always end up losing it’s topsoil and become arid. One-half of the topsoil has now be washed away on the North American continent. The One-Straw Revolution shows us how annual grain growing can be done without tillage so that we can grow food WHILE building topsoil!

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Permaculture Design for Community Garden Project

The folks at Smart Farm in Barrington, IL, invited us to work with them on a permaculture design for a new 10-acre parcel they were gifted with.

The biggest challenge?  This was the low ground in the area and after a good rain, 5 of the 10 acres was under water, including many of their annual gardening beds.

So we designed in some rain gardens and bioswales to move the water in the direction we wanted through the property. Once the deep rooted prairie plants are established we will actually end up holding more water on the land while also keeping their annual beds dryer. Here is the conceptual design. We’ll post the ‘as-built’ design once it’s completed.

Click Here for Full View / Higher Resolution

Permaculture Work-traders Finish EarthShelter

It has been a real boon to have Embry Jansen and Sky Pisarski assisting us over the past couple of weeks as permaculture work-traders.  They are trading their time for one of our upcoming PDC courses. They have been assisting us with a wide variety of unfinished activities related to our CSC 8.7-acre Permaculture Land Project here in Stelle.

The Team
Work-Trade Intern team of Sky and Embry
Our 2019 Permaculture Work-Trade Intern Team: Sky (seated) from Northern Illinois and Embry from Berea, KY.
The Challenge – Mortar in the Patio Limestones

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Mowing Swale and Berm

Mowing a Swale and Berm System with a Ditch-Bank Flail Mower

Greetings…
A common question we get is how to maintain the ‘weeds’ or growth on a swale and berm system. I thought this pictoral summary would be helpful to many of you. Let us know what you think and about what you have been doing as well.
Cheers… Bill Wilson

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Bending Oak PDC Course – Picture Summary

Midwest Permaculture PDC Course #78
A Picture Summary
This was our First PDC at Bending Oak Permaculture Farm
Youngstown, OH – In August 2018
A Project Site we are Co-designing with the Owner

“…this course (at Bending Oak) was solid, loaded, useful, fascinating and endlessly helpful in understanding permaculture design.  Everyone came away feeling completely enriched by the training.”
PDC Student Graduate

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