Earth-Shelter #1 – CSC Permaculture Design

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.

Leveling the ground
Imagine waking up in the morning and stepping out of a cabin with a view like this?  EarthCamp Village overlooks Mint Creek Farm–an organic farm with pasture-raised animals.

Continue reading “Earth-Shelter #1 – CSC Permaculture Design”

Plant Guilds

Free Plant Guilds eBooklet

We teach the fundamentals of plant guild design at every Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course we host.
Here is our Upcoming Schedule


Plant Guilds eBookletDownload Free
We don’t ask for your email address. We’re happy to share.
Here are examples from the ebooklet:
Like this eBooklet?
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
bryce4
Bryce Ruddock

Integrated Forest Gardening
Released in 2015
From our Friends and Associates…
Bryce, Dan and Wayne.

Bryce is Midwest Permaculture’s Official ‘Plant Guy’. When we have questions about plants or need detailed design work for clients, he’s our go-to guy and wonderful to work with as well.

 Integrated Forest Gardening - Released July 2014

Learn More About This New Book Here

Continue reading “Plant Guilds”

A Cal-Earth Permaculture Course Picture Summary

Post Update (Oct. 2017)
Our 7th Annual Combined
Super-Adobe and Permaculture-Design Certificate Courses

Oct. 16-28, 2017

Oct. 16-20 Super Adobe Core Curriculum Workshop
Oct.21-28 Permaculture Design Certificate Course

Sorry – This Course is Now Full
Please Check Back for Next Year’s Dates


— About the world renowned Permaculture Design Certificate Course here.
— How Midwest Permaculture delivers this comprehensive training (regardless of the location) here.
— Download a .PDF of the PDC course curriculum outline here.

Below is a picture summary from a previous joint training to give you an idea of how full and rich this combined training is. 
Please Note: Geoff and Nadia’s visit was a one-time event. They are not expected to join us this year (2017).

Cal-Earth Interior
Interior View of ‘Triple-Vault’– A Super-Adobe Structure at Cal-Earth   –   Students will learn the basics of how to build structures like this and how to design the total environment surrounding it at this combined training.

 

Blog Post of Previous Combined Course
Pictures and Text by Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture

For a second year we co-delivered with the Cal-Earth teaching staff a combined Superadobe Earth Building and Permaculture Design Certificate Course.  At the close of our training we were pleased to host Geoff and Nadia Lawton of PRI-Australia who shared their work in desert environments with us while they were in the USA for a brief visit.  This workshop was also opened to the general public seen here at the end of a really great day of learning.

Our 2012 Cal-Earth PDC on Guest Day with Geoff and Nadia Lawton – Picture taken on one of the Cal-Earth buildings.

Continue reading “A Cal-Earth Permaculture Course Picture Summary”

Chinampas Gardens

Why Chinampas Gardens are part of This Permaculture Design

Chinampas Gardens are artificial islands or peninsulas created by scooping nutrient-rich lake, swamp or pond muck into a woven cage so that crops can be grown above the waterline in a wet environment. Within this simple design, several unique functions are accomplished at once: a micro-climate that prevents early frost damage; an extremely productive soil that is mostly self-sustaining; a self-watering system created by water wicking in from the sides as moisture evaporates from the surface of the beds; and the growing of plants and fish within the same area.

In Particular we want to: 

  • Test the efficacy of Chinampas in our northerly-temperate climate
  • Assess their productivity and labor requirements compared to regular garden beds
  • Try something very different and creative.

 

 

Continue reading “Chinampas Gardens”

Wood Gasification

Why Wood Gasification is part of This Permaculture Design

Wood Gasification is the process of converting wood (any kind of scraps or trimmings) into flammable gasses by burning it at very high temperatures in an oxygen starved environment.  These gasses, once cooled and cleaned of tars, can be piped directly into an internal combustion engine as a fuel substitute for gasoline…!!!

We have designed in the use of wood gasification units for:

  • Running trucks, tractors and other vehicles and machinery
  • Generating heat and electricity in the winter for greenhouses and homes
  • Being able to harvest the energy from sunlight stored in woody plants, from our own land
  • Using the waste product, biochar, to increase the fertility of our gardens and food forests which will also be pulling excess Co2 out of the atmosphere and locking it up

And the wood gasification units burn much, much cleaner than wood stoves because of the high temperatures.  They actually burn off almost all of the smoke and gasses, turning even these into additional energy.

Truck Runs by Wood Gasification
Truck Runs on Woodgas

Continue reading “Wood Gasification”

Linear Food Forests along Hugelkultured Swales

In this design we will be planting linear-food forests all along the downhill side of each of three hugelkultured swales.   

What is a hugelkultured swale?

While the tress and shrubs are in the early stages of growing (small) we will use the open space to grow some of our annual vegetables. We will also plant some nitrogen fixing ground covers and dynamic accumulators to help build the soil.

Continue reading “Linear Food Forests along Hugelkultured Swales”

Chickens for the Orchard (Part 1)

Part 3:    8-13 Weeks of Age (As Adventurers)
Part 2:    4-8 Weeks of Age (As Kids)
Part 1:    0-4 Weeks of Age (As Chicks)   

Objective: Raise some chickens for food and to also help with insect, grass and weed control in our 2-acre organic community orchard…!!!

As most of you know, in permaculture design we attempt to:

  1. garner the greatest amount or number of yields
  2. from the minimum amount of work 
  3. while creating no waste (at least minimal)
  4. and restoring the environment.

Let’s see what additional benefits we can obtain from this project other than just the insect, grass and weed-removal help from 100 chickens.  This will be our chicken saga as it reveals itself in real time.   We’re always learning too and raising this many chickens at once, and in this way, is stretching us some.  

We will take the experience we do have, plus apply permaculture design principles, while adding in good-ole common sense (with help from some great books, friends  and the internet) to work creatively and see what we might come up with.

It all starts with an order of 100 chicks (multi-heritage breeds from McMurry) that Hayden and Cameron (our two work/study intern students) selected.  All were delivered through the U.S. mail.  All survived!  Hayden created a safe and warm habitat from a yard-storage container, a heat lamp, and some old boards and fencing.  This structure lasted almost 2 weeks before they outgrew it.  During this time we worked on a more permanent home/coop.

  Continue reading “Chickens for the Orchard (Part 1)”

Burning Wood to “Cool” an Entire Lodge

Arbor Day’s Lied Lodge:
It is Air Conditioned with Current Sunlight
(i.e. Scrap Wood)

Becky at the Fuelwood Energy Plant, one of the places we'll be touring during the {a href="https://midwestpermaculture.com/wordpress/courses-training/our-certification-courses/pdc-at-lied-lodge-arbor-day-farm-ne/"} March PDC{/a}.

 

In our last post we talked about thermal mass rocket stoves and the great benefit they held by being able to heat our homes using current sunlight in the form of firewood.  (The sunlight energy stored in coal, oil and natural gas is millions of years old.) With these stoves we consume as little as 1/4 the amount of firewood it would take to heat the same amount of space with a traditional wood stove.  This is a huge savings in energy consumed for the same results.

Last February, Becky and I visited Lied Lodge and were surprised to discover that they not only heated their water and the Lodge with scrap-chipped wood, but they also air-condition the entire Lodge using the same fires…!!!   How can this be? Continue reading “Burning Wood to “Cool” an Entire Lodge”

Water Wheel Pump

This is just too cool…!

How many people live near a running creek, but the creek sits low enough on their property that there is no good way to get the water up on to the land for irrigation or for a small pond without running electricity for a pump?  This simple, homemade device will do the trick.

Of note, the water pump wheel will lift water 2 to 8 times higher than the diameter of the wheel.  Basically, the more loops you have in the wheel the higher and farther you can ‘pump’ the water.  However, the more loops in the wheel makes the wheel heaver and harder to turn, so one needs a larger or faster running creek to do the work.  Regardless, there appears to be a happy median, and to move any amount of water uphill on a piece of property gives one a very valuable resource to work with.  

Here is a link to a simple article about how the water wheel pump works and how to build one.

Just had to share this with you…. Bill Wilson

Cal-Earth – The PDC Portion of the Combined Earth Building and Permaculture Training

Week 2 – The Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course.
(Click here for Photos of Week 1)

 
We not only taught this course to 24 students from around the world (Europe, Middle East, Africa) but we also trained 7 of Cal-Earth’s staff. and 2 of their interns. Nader Khalili was just months away from hosting the first PDC course at Cal-Earth when he unexpectedly passed in 2008. To honor their father and the 20th anniversary of Cal-Earth, Dastan and Sheefteh Khalili, Nader’s children, invited us to deliver our PDC course.  As Ian Lodge (director at Cal-Earth) told us , “the hard work of proving the viability of superadobe structures is done.  It’s now time to look at the total environment, to see how much better the buildings and the land around them can function together to benefit the people living in them.”

Continue reading “Cal-Earth – The PDC Portion of the Combined Earth Building and Permaculture Training”