Crunchy Mama's Urban Homestead

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Geoff Lawton’s FREE video series on Permaculture

Greetings, friends!  I mentioned this video series in my post on Jack Spirko’s video series on permaculture.  At the time, I had not watch the entire series by Geoff Lawton.  Now that I have, I highly recommend his video series.  They are more of an overview of what can be accomplished with permaculture design rather than a specific “how-to” video series.

The first video is called Surviving the Coming Crisis: Designing your Way to Abundance by Geoff Lawton.  The titles of the other videos are at the top of that webpage.

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Pruning wild grape vines in December

Greetings, friends!  We were greeted with a pleasant late December day here in NW Ohio today.  I decided to do some outside work and enjoy the 40 degree weather.  Maybe December is not the typical month to prune back trees and shrubs but I pruned anyway.  As I stated in the video, these plants are very hardy and I don’t think that I could kill them by pruning even if I was trying to.  My biggest reason for pruning today was to begin to manage some wild grape vines (very mature grape vines) that have gotten out of hand and are “attacking” the utility lines.  I also am hoping that by pruning back the grape vines on our front fence that they will begin to produce grapes again.

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Another great free video series on Permaculture

I just came across another series on Permaculture.  This one is produced by Midwest Permaculture.  It has 18 videos and they are great!  I love hearing about Permaculture design from different perspectives.

The first video of the series is here:

If you missed my post on Jack Spirko’s video series on Permaculture you can find it here.

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Homesteading Word of the Day — plant guilds

Greetings!  I hope that this post finds you happy and healthy!

Today’s Homesteading Word of the Day (or rather PHRASE of the day) is “plant guilds.”  Plant guilds are groups of plants that grow together and support each other in various ways.  In nature, many plants grow together in the same area.  In gardening and homesteading, we can choose plants that will actually help each other grow instead of compete with each other for the nutrients in the soil and for the sunlight needed for photosynthesis.  Many plants will actually share the nutrients that they acquire from the soil with other plants

I came across this webpage that has a great explanation of plant guilds or permaculture guilds: http://www.neverendingfood.org/b-what-is-permaculture/permaculture-guilds/

Here are some of great excerpts from that webpage: “Permaculture is based on natural systems like those that we see in forests.  In a forest system, there are multiple layers of vegetation growing together in a very diverse setting.  We see many types of trees, shrubs, plants, insects, animals, and various other things all living together in a system that continually strengthens itself.  All of these components of a natural ecosystem serve a function (or several functions) that support each other like the strands of a web.  One strand on its own may be weak, but the combination of all the strands together add to the overall strength and usefulness of the web.”

“A good Permaculture guild generally has seven components: food for us…food for the soil…diggers/miners…groundcover…climbers…supporters…protectors.”

PLUS at the bottom of the page there is a free one-page illustrated download called Permaculture Guild.  From that download: “A “guild” in Permaculture is a system of efficiently grouping different plants together in order to use everything to its fullest potential.”

And here is a free ebook on plant guilds by Midwest Permaculture http://midwestpermaculture.com/eBook/Plant%20Guilds%20eBooklet%20-%20Midwest%20Permaculture.pdf

Want to see all of the Homesteading Word of the Day posts?  Scroll down and look for “Categories” on the right then click on “vocabulary” or just click on this link: https://crunchymamasurbanhomestead.wordpress.com/category/vocabulary/

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Homesteading Word of the Day — pollard

Greetings!  Yesterday’s homesteading word of the day was coppice.  Today’s HWOTD  is related — pollard.  They both mean cutting back or pruning trees or shrubs but the height at which the cuts are made are different.  Generally speaking, coppicing occurs closer to the ground and pollarding occurs higher up.  Obviously, there are reasons for each methods.

Midwest Permaculture’s website has a very helpful post on the similarities and differences between the two methods as well as the reason why you would want to do either.  Here are a few helpful paragraph’s from the post.

Coppicing and  are two methods of wood pruning that allows us to continually harvest wood from the same trees while keeping them healthy for centuries. They produce a sustainable supply of timber for many generations while enhancing the natural state for wildlife and native plants.”

“The main difference between the two methods is that coppicing occurs at ground level while pollarding is done 8-10 feet high to prevent browsing animals from eating the fresh shoots; typically, coppicing was done to manage woodlands and pollarding was done in a pasture system.

Coppicing a tree produces multiple stems growing out of the main trunk — suitable for firewood, fencing, tool handles, and many more woodland crafts. A properly coppiced woodland, harvested in rotational sections called coups, has trees and understory in every stage and is a highly effective method to grow a fast supply of naturally renewing timber. By working on a rotation we are assured of a crop somewhere in the woodland every year.

Pollarding (from the word “poll,” which originally meant “top of head”) has been used since the Middle Ages — in fact, there are still stands of continuously pollarded trees that date to that time. Today, it is a technique that can be used in very urban environments to prevent trees from invading utilities or sewers . . . but its historical use of a wooded pasture system also fits into a permaculture method very well — stacking functions to get more yield out of one area.

What makes these methods so appealing is that by keeping the tree in a perpetual juvenile state, they actually extend the life of the tree by hundreds or sometimes even thousands of years. Diseases rarely have time to take hold of the young growth and weather elements do not affect trees of short stature so they live much longer than their unpruned counterparts. ”

I highly encourage you to visit the webpage, especially if you are a visual learner, because it has some illustrations and photos of the methods plus it goes into much more details about the benefits of these methods.

Lastly,  in regard to the pronunciation of the word pollard, the stress is on the first syllable — PAH lurd.

Want to see all of the Homesteading Word of the Day posts?  Scroll down and look for “Categories” on the right then click on “vocabulary.”

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope that you have enjoyed this post.  Please consider subscribing via email or in your favorite reader.  I’m also on Twitter and YouTube!  Have a great day!

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Homesteading Word of the Day – coppice

I was reading a post in a permaculture forum and the post wrote that he coppices his trees at 10 feet.  I imagined that that meant that he cut them at 10 feet but I wanted to be sure.

From http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/coppice, as a verb, coppice means “to trim back (trees or bushes) to form a coppice.”  It can also be used as a noun.

See also how http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coppice defines it.

Pronunciation: the stress is on the first syllable — KOP – is.

Be sure to check out my post on a similar pruning technique — pollard.

Want to see all of the Homesteading Word of the Day posts?  Scroll down and look for “Categories” on the right then click on “vocabulary.”

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Homesteading Word of the Day – riparian

Yesterday I was watching a Paul Wheaton video in which he used the phrase “riparian species.”  I had no idea what riparian meant so I looked it up.  I thought that I’d share with y’all — just in case you didn’t know what that word meant as well.

From http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/riparian?s=t, riparian as an adjective means “of, inhabiting, or situated on the bank of a river.”  See the link for more definitions.

In http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/riparian, the definition is “relating to or living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse (as a river) or sometimes of a lake or a tidewater.”

Pronunciation is ri-pair-ee-uhn.

Want to see all of the Homesteading Word of the Day posts?  Scroll down and look for “Categories” on the right then click on “vocabulary.”

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Keyhole Gardens (videos)

I came across this site and thought I’d share.  I’ve never heard of keyhole gardens.  They are pretty cool!

Videos on Keyhole Gardens

From the site: ”

A Keyhole Garden is a type of kitchen garden that recycles as it grows. The design – which looks like a keyhole from above – incorporates a central ‘basket’ where compostable waste is placed and water is poured. They are especially useful in areas where good soil is scarce, often adding nutritious vegetables to diets. Send a Cow uses them as part of our training, and they get fantastic results; families start to grow enough to eat and sell.”

“Keyhole Gardens are also a great way of introducing children (and adults), to sustainable principles such as composting and using ‘grey water’. They are an excellent project for schools and groups to get involved in – perhaps as part of a bigger African gardening area?”

One more video:

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40 hours of free permaculture lectures (college course at NCSU)

I have not yet watched all of these but wanted to post them here for anyone interested and also for future reference for myself.

This is a college course by North Carolina State University called Introduction to Permaculture (Instructor Will Hooker).  You can listen to the podcasts or watch video of the lectures.

http://www.permaculture-media-download.com/2011/09/introduction-to-permaculture-40-hours.html

Enjoy!  And thanks to NCSU for making this freely available to the public!

 

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An easy-to-understand video series on Permaculture

I just want to give a big “THANK YOU” to Jack Spirko of www.thesurvivalpodcast.com for doing a video series on the basics of Permaculture.  It helped me (a visual learner) immensely.  I really appreciate his take on it.  Here is his first video in the series.

Most of the videos in the series are 5 – 12 minutes long — great bite-sized chunks!

I am very excited about learning and incorporating permaculture design/principles into my garden next year.  I’m glad that I have a few months to plan before spring arrives so that I can get a plan together!  It will be quite a learning process — one that I am very excited about.

And, once again, thanks, Jack for the video series and for mentioning Geoff Lawton’s video series which I am currently enjoying immensely.

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