Season Extenders

Why Season Extenders are part of This Permaculture Design

For those of us who garden in a temperate climate (freezes in winter), we know only too well the disappointment when, for example, our indeterminate tomato plants are full of tomatoes in the fall, they are producing wonderfully, and then the first frost hits. The tomato season is now over and the plants were producing so well for the last 4 weeks.

Now, suppose we created a very simple cold frame or low tunnel to start our tomato plants earlier in the spring so that they had a 4-week earlier start.  That would mean that we would now get 8 weeks of tomatoes by the time the fall frost came calling.  We just doubled our production from 4 to 8 weeks with a little protection in the spring.

But what if we constructed some kind of added protection in the fall as well, before the frost hit, and ended up getting yet another 4 weeks of production?  We just tripled our yield with a little help from our season extenders. 

Our Objective:
To include in this permaculture design a variety of hoop-houses, cold-frames and other frost/wind protection techniques with the goal of increasing our yields while minimizing the work typically required to get those yields.  This is a primary permaculture design principle.

Season Extenders

 

Season Extenders Explained

Here is an introduction to various options–some traditional, some creative.

1) Common Seasonal Hoop House

hoop houses Continue reading “Season Extenders”

How To Build a Worm Tower

Update by Bill Wilson – March 2018

Worm towers are just one of many techniques that permaculture designers might use to totally transform their home or piece of property.  Join us sometime for a deep and inspiring look into Permaculture.
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The empty insides of an installed worm tower.

How to Use
Above is the empty worm tower as it was installed into the ground at Midwest Permaculture in Stelle, IL.  We then put in some wet straw for bedding, a handful of composting worms (red wigglers) and a days worth of kitchen scraps. For the next couple of weeks we added our daily kitchen scraps until it was full.  Thereafter, the contents would slowing sink down as the worms enjoyed their feast, turning scraps into pure worm castings.  About once a week there would be enough room to add another days worth of kitchen scraps.  If someone had 7 towers they could top-off one per day.

Continue reading “How To Build a Worm Tower”

Building a Jean Pain Style Compost Pile

This past Sunday the Chicagoland Permaculture Meetup and Living Off The Grid Meetup joined forces to build a compost pile that would provide heat for the grow beds of a greenhouse.  

Some of the last loads of compost to go on the pile
Continue reading “Building a Jean Pain Style Compost Pile”

6-Day Family Friendly Training

6-day “Hands-on” Training – August 2011
Held at Midwest Permaculture in our Sustainably Oriented Community of Stelle, IL
We expect to be offering a ‘family friendly’ training every summer.  See Here for Details

 This Training is also Stage 2 or our 3-Stage PDC Certificate Course 
6 Students stayed on for the 5-day PDC Completion Training and earned their permaculture certificate.

This was our first training that fully welcomed families with children. Four families joined us along with 12 other individuals. Bottom-line... it worked out really well!

 

 “I so appreciated having families and their children in the course. 
It really added to the wonderful dynamic.” 
Kate – College Student 

 

Continue reading “6-Day Family Friendly Training”

Pictures From May 2011 “Hands-on Training” Week

May 2011 Hands-on Training Week
At Midwest Permaculture — Stelle, IL
For those interested, here are some pictures from our “Hands-on” work week.  It turned out to be a great time dispite the fact that it rained on most days.

The pictures are from student John Berton and myself, Bill Wilson. The narration is mine as well. You can learn more about our 6-Day course here.

6-Day (1)
Herb Drying – Lemon balm and spearment Continue reading “Pictures From May 2011 “Hands-on Training” Week”

Pictures From May 2011 “Hands-on Training” Week

May 2011 Hands-on Training Week
At Midwest Permaculture — Stelle, IL
For those interested, here are some pictures from our “Hands-on” work week.  It turned out to be a great time dispite the fact that it rained on most days.

The pictures are from student John Berton and myself, Bill Wilson. The narration is mine as well. You can learn more about our 6-Day course here.

6-Day (1)
Herb Drying – Lemon balm and spearment Continue reading “Pictures From May 2011 “Hands-on Training” Week”

Heating His Home with Compost?


Meet Our Friend Rob Frost from the Milwaukee, WI Area
 

Back in the 1970s, a Frenchman by the name of Jean Pain of built a compost pile from woodchips about the size of a garage. Inside the pile he had coiled around a single, very long hose that he could run clean water through. In the very center of the pile was a very large-sealed-tank holding a slurry of cow manure.

Once the pile started to heat up he was able to run water through the hose at will and extract some of the heat. He had all the hot running water he needed for bathing, washing, and get this…for heating his home…for 18 months…!!! And from the manure tank in the center he extracted enought methane to provide gas to his stove and oven but more impressively, he compressed it into tanks and ran his automobiles from it. And when he was all done, he had a pile of fantastic compost for his gardens.

Our friend Rob Frost is attempting a mini version of this for his suburban home. 
Thanks for the inspiration Rob!

 

 


Rob’s Home Heating Experiment