PERMACULTURE PRINCIPLES: The Leading Edge of Thousand Year Old Technologies

Permaculture is a terrible name for the restoration of practices that have been proven effective over the centuries.

Many farmers around here plant by the moon
Things growing above ground planted in the waxing moon between new moon and full moon. Things growing below the ground planted in the waning moon, between full moon and void of the moon.

Heirloom seeds
We tell the kids: an heirloom is something you inherit from your grandparents. Here in the Americas, native people developed corn, beans, squash, potatoes, tobacco, tomatoes!--vegetables that have spread around the world into cultures. Heirloom vegetables are the seeds families from Europe, Africa, Asia brought with them to this continent, sewn into pockets and hems, plants they couldn't imagine living without, heirloom seeds. Heirloom seeds planted the next year grow exactly the same plant they came from while seeds from hybrids, like Big Boy and Early Girl, will not produce the same vegetable or flower. The two Valley school systems with greenhouses, Waverly and Athens have been growing our heirloom plants for our gardens for three years now!
OUR HEROES: David Steinfelt and Tim Wolcott!

Diversity within the bed
We interplant certain flowers and herbs with our vegetables. These attract beneficial insects and repel the marauders. In addition to making beautiful beds, the herbs and flowers enliven our menu and ensure our vegetables are pest free, without pesticides.

Creating soil
A variety of techniques allow us to continually enrich our soils. We have learned from county agencies and from our teachers not to rototill our beds as it destroys the soil structure. Use of leaf mulch free from our Barton Township Pit (HEROES Crow and his staff) introduces healthy worms into our beds, mulches the soil to prevent weeds, conserves water, and feeds our beds as it degrades. We have so many uses for straw, again, to create beds, keep out weeds, feed soil, and protect seedlings. Liz Hibbard of Project GROW's board and director of Sayre House of Hope is leading the charge to innovate use of straw bales for planting.

Garden structures
Every structure should have multiple uses. We plan to plant kiwi (they grow here but take six year or so to establish and bear) on Miller's pergolas. We are using chicken wire cages to grow potatoes (we'll see. We thank our HERO YouTube for this.) Young people did some heavy labor before YTI started early July digging and establishing our berm and swale structure in the soil at Millers. The swale is the path that composts weeds and distributes water. The berm, 3-4 feet higher than the swale, provides a planting surface for vegetables. Three Sisters, a technique used by the Haudenausaunee (the name the Iroquois have for themselves), creates a rich mound onto which are planted corn at the top, beans to grow up the corn, and squash at the base to shade out weeds and conserve water.