Posts tagged ‘Permaculture design course’

Permaculture Design Course

A  Permaculture Design Course To Get You (& Others) Living The Good Life.

We hold our Permaculture Design Course once a year. If you’d like to be the first to hear about our new dates, register your interest here and we’ll be in touch once we’ve got it locked in. Cheers!

What people are saying about this course….

Thanks a bunch!! You guys are incredible at what you do. I’ve made so many connections in so many ways. I’m very grateful to you all (Nat).

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Thank you so much to you all. I was (am) quite emotional at the end of it! The PDC was just what I needed at this time. I leave filled with overwhelming gratitude and promise! (Bonnie).

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Thank you for such a wonderful and inspiring experience, it was a privilege to be a part of it! Amazing teachers and participants both (Erin).

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Such a wonderful life-changing experience – love, love, love and thank you, thank you, thank you to you all (Sue).

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Inspiring. Empowering. Life changing. I feel like the course brought together so many big picture things I had been worrying about and gave me a framework not only to make sense of them but to do something about it. This transformation from focussing on problems to having a positive and practical way to move forward is so awesome. I feel totally inspired to live in a more connected way, starting with my home and community, knowing that some amazing positive changes can flow on from this. Also great to connect with a bunch of likeminded people. So much fun. Thank you (Jessamy)..

Keen? Register your interest here.

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Permaculture Design Case Studies

We’re gradually adding a range of permaculture design case studies to our website so you can have a little look at what landscape design can look like in drastically different contexts.

Fat Pig Farm

You might know Fat Pig Farm through Matthew Evans and his TV show, The Gourmet Farmer. As well as being a bit famous, Matthew and Sadie Chrestman happen to be very fabulous – pouring their hearts into their farm and work. They’ve managed to recruit some of the most talented and loveliest people to work on their farm and restaurant – we love working (and eating) there.

We’ve done a range of design work for this wonderful farm, including this most recent design that focuses on wind break design to protect their pumping market garden.

Exposed to some vicious south and westerly winds, this market garden is getting a multilayered windbreak to help it thrive. 

 

Grow Community Garden

Initiated by the community and supported by Mission Australia, this community garden is particularly unique. Surrounded by a school and the local Child and Family Centre, it oozes “community” and is an exciting place to visit – great things will happen here, in and out of the ground. Check it out. 

A pizza oven with steel pergola over it. Two grape vines are planted at its base and will eventually grow up and over the pergola to create seasonal shade, beauty and food. 

A dry-stone bridge providing all-inclusion access throughout the garden and looking darn pretty in the process. 

Bream Creek Community Market Garden

This motivated bunch of people have borrowed a patch of land from a local farmer and breathed new life into it to create a community market garden. Driven by volunteers, it’s an inspiring model and what getting organised can do for a rural region. We love this project.  

Their farm stand shop selling seasonal produce direct from the garden. 

It is such a joy to work with people to (a) create a property design that suits their needs, and (b) watch them turn it into a reality! You can explore more of our case studies and our design services here. 

  • FYI, we usually have at least a one month waiting period for designs, so book in sooner rather than later if you’re keen.
  • If you’d like to learn how to get started in creating a permaculture design for your own place, check out our summer Permaculture Design Course.
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A Courtyard Transformation

Transforming rundown spaces into beautiful, productive gardens is possibly my most favourite thing to do in the whole world. On our recent Permaculture Design Course we did just that for the Reseed Centre where we held the course, creating a kitchen garden for their kitchen and a space for their outdoor dining “room”.

Before we started it looked like this…

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While it had been a garden in the past, it was well overdue for a good overhaul and some careful design thinking to make sure it was resilient, hardy, edible and beautiful. Our design sketch below is what we came up with for this space. Simple, yet full of culinary and edible herbs, existing fruit trees/vines, nutrient cycling and an outdoor space for dining.

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Before our PDC started, this Reseed community cleared the area, making space for us to come in and do our thing.

Our first task was to make the paths to define the area we should/shouldn’t be walking. We dug a shallow ditch for this and back-filled it with a layer of cardboard and a thick layer of woodchips to prevent unwanted plants to grow and to help build soil. The woodchips attract fungi and over time will break down, forming beautiful humus which can then be shoveled onto the garden beds and replaced with fresh woodchips – it’s a great nutrient cycling process.

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We use cardboard without sticky tape and or heavy inks, you could also use newspaper – whatever is available to you. Before we lay it down, we soak it in water to make it a lot more attractive to members of the soil food web to break down. You can see Jo (below) doing a great job of this and keeping cool on a hot day – clever woman.

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We made our garden as a no-dig garden, however put a bit of a twist on it and followed Morag Gamble’s recommendation to put the newspaper/cardboard layer on top of the bed rather than directly on the original soil (the bottom). This has many benefits, as she outlines below…

  • The compost layer integrates more rapidly with the existing soil.
  • Soil flora and fauna quickly get to work without the barrier in between.
  • The compost layer stays a more moist and stable temperature under the paper layer.
  • The newspaper layer prevents weeds from growing in your garden, including the unwanted seeds from your compost. (Unless you are a master composter, there will be seeds in your compost).
  • Less nutrients from the compost are evaporated and lost.
  • Roots of plants can penetrate directly into the soil so stay hydrated longer, can access minerals and have increased resilience and stability.

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We had a ready supply of horse poo from a local (thanks Caroline), so used this despite it having a high grass see content. Putting the soaked cardboard on top (directly under the final mulch layer) will stop the majority of this seed popping up.

IMG_5434The poo crew (Brad, Shu, Graham & James) smashing it.

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To top the whole garden off, we put a thick layer of straw on to keep moisture in and inject even more organic matter into the soil. We planted the garden pretty much straight away. To do this, we punched holes through the cardboard exactly where we wanted the plants, added a small handful of mature compost, mixed this in with the horse poo and original soil and watered it all in.

12654614_1092317510802493_3266034440946739342_nJo and Lisa planting out the seedlings

We put some simple edging of recycled bricks around the whole space to contain it and planted the gardens out with a range of herbs and beneficial plants.

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Beneath the existing lemon tree we planted a border of garlic chives, a ring of clumping comfrey directly around the base of the lemon and the rest to nasturtiums, calendula and borage. A nice little guild of multi-functional plants, all useful, all beautiful.

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The keyhole path creates the shape of the main herb garden, allowing easy access to all points of the garden.

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We also made a worm farm seat to cycle nutrients from the kitchen and provide a bit of social infrastructure for the outdoor dining room. You can read about how we did this here.

IMG_5722Blake demonstrating the radness of the worm farm seat.

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While our Permaculture Design Courses are very much focused on design and not building garden beds, this was a valuable process to take our students through. We got to explain the design we did for this space, talk through our reasoning, implement it and then enjoy the space we created. A fantastic learning process and a beautiful legacy for this group of spunks to leave behind!

Interested in doing one of our Permaculture Design Courses? Check out our next one here.

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What actually happens on a Permaculture Design Course?

Well, lots of things – both planned and spontaneous and all good. Being a design course, we focus on design and creating designers out of all the students we work with – that’s our key focus and priority. To support good design we integrate practical activities and site visits throughout the course… But at the end of the day we focus on design. Here’s a snapshot of our current part-time Permaculture Design Course which we’re half way through, and loving.

The students have just completed their first ‘practice run’ design projects, here’s a look at a couple of them in process and completed.

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Todd working hard on a group design task

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The group design task provides students the opportunity to apply the theory they’ve learned in the first half of the course and gets them ready for their second design task where they can refine their learnings and create magic.

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And a couple of close ups of the finished result, we are so impressed with the quality of our students work in applying the permaculture ethics and principles onto real landscapes in their first design project. So impressed. We’re really looking forward to their second solo design task, where we know great things will happen.

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Our current course is a part-time one so students have been finding ways to work together on their group designs (which they’ve just presented) in between our weekends together. One group created a blog where they stored their information and added to it as their design progressed. The final version of their design and associated support documents aren’t all uploaded yet – however it’s a great indication into what a design consists of, you can have a look here.

When we’re not inside focusing on design theory, you’ll find us outside learning practical skills that support good design and implementation…. Like aerobics – everyone knows you need aerobics in your life as a permaculture designer, duh.

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 Aerobics… To  keep the body and brain warm in Tassie’s chilly winter

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Other practical activities we’ve been exploring include propagation of which there are many, many types. These are basic and powerful techniques which will save you big bucks and see you collecting cuttings and seeds everywhere you go.

Bunyip level

We’ve taught both low-tech (A-frame and the bunyip level above) and high-tech (laser level)  methods in finding and marking out contour lines. Here you can see Caroline and Nysha learning the ways of the bunyip level, aka the water level. Where ever possible we make sure we teach a range of options for what tools and methods you can use so that even if you’re working with a tiny budget you can get the job done.

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Soil testing! Knowing simple techniques to test and analyse your soil means that you can get to know a new site quick smart and determine how you might approach the land. Above you can see support teacher, Nick Towle, teaching students the jar test, while below the trusty pH soil test provides an indication of where your soil’s at. In addition to these two, the ribbon test is another technique we play around with.

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When we can’t physically take you to the types of landscapes we’d like to show you, we make them instead. Below David Holmgren (yep, that’s right David Holmgren) talks students through keyline water management theory and systems.

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We also take students out and about to show them real life permaculture sites in development and other great people who are seriously rocking it in terms of creating productive landscapes and viable, meaningful livelihoods. This is so important as it shows theory in action and also provides a reality check into the amount of work, time and commitment involved to establish and maintain productive, healthy systems.

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Good Life’s homestead. While checking out our chook house, we realised our chickens are back on the lay after a long winter hiatus – huzzah! That paddock in the background is actually our neighbour’s property.

IMG_0243 Paulette Whitney and her family’s farm – Provenance Growers. Paulette took us on an edible weeds tour throughout her market garden, where she also cultivates more traditional greens, herbs and vegetables.

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IMG_0241Getting acquainted with new tastes, some of our students have a nibble on a range of edible, nutritious ‘weeds’
IMG_0199And then there’s Suzi’s market garden in urban South Hobart. Suzi is a force of nature and a bloody good gardener with a particular focus on soil health… as all good gardeners tend to have.  Suzi practices what she calls forest floor gardening – we like it so much we did a little write up about it which you can read here.

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  Suzi also has 5 incredibly friendly goats (one which is pregnant with twins – oh the cuteness) and chickens which we couldn’t pull the students away from. Those sheep in the background are on the neighbour’s land.

Other unplanned things that happen on a Permaculture Design Course are usually the divine, golden moments that warm your heart and make memories you’ll never forget. Like the one below, where our students presented us with a compost cake while visiting our home to celebrate Good Life’s first birthday.  As far as we’re concerned, this is the most beautiful, incredibly awesome present we could have every hoped for!

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The compost cake in all its glory. It’s moment’s like these that I remember I have one darn fine life.

We run Permaculture Design Courses regularly throughout the year, both part-time (as the one above it) and 2 week intensives. You can see what’s coming up here, sign up to our newsletter and like us on facebook to make sure you hear about them first.

*Your blogger is Hannah Moloney, co-director of Good Life Permaculture and lover of all things fun and garden-esk.

**Thanks to Tamas Oszvald (again) for a lot of these photos

 

 

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