Gee, that’s Swale! Resources for Permaculture Swales in Michigan

“Swales” are one of the most common water-harvesting devices used by Permaculturists.  Like most Permaculture techniques, the use of swales is extremely site-specific, so I’d like to give a few tips and thoughts about using them in my biome, the Great Lakes region. If you aren’t already familar with swales, here’s a great “basic” introdcution from PRI: (Water-harvesting micro-swale/ditch system at Lillie House) ———————- The impact of swales can be nearly miraculous, especially in dry, wet tropical or Mediterranean climates where rain comes infrequently in large events and run-off is a big problem. But, as respected Permaculture teacher Patrick Whitefield points … Continue reading Gee, that’s Swale! Resources for Permaculture Swales in Michigan

Gardening Advice

When people see our garden, they often start asking me for gardening advice.  Unfortunately, these days, I rarely have any to give.  As a Forest Gardener and Permaculture enthusiast, I actually go out of my way to be a really bad gardener, and I try to encourage other people to do the same.  When I used to garden conventionally (organically, actually) I used to try my best to provide everything that the plants need. So I tried to keep up with the best science on how and when to water, what kind of fertilizer or compost to use, how and … Continue reading Gardening Advice

Permaculture at Lillie House

What does “Permaculture” mean in the context of what we do at Lillie House? Most of our BIG problems–on the personal level and the planetary one–are caused by the way we try to meet our needs. I used to feel discouraged from doing anything about them because all these various problems are so big and often our attempts to intervene in them only make things worse. On top of that, I felt trapped in the system, unable to escape from contributing to the problems myself, like a cog in some destructive machine. Then I discovered a way I could get out … Continue reading Permaculture at Lillie House

Selecting Plants for a Food Forest

With 10+ years of experience in observing planned food forests and similar “wild” ecologies, as well as 3 seasons of co-evolving with a home food forest, I’m just starting to form some good conclusions about what makes a really good forest garden in the Great Lakes bioregion. Interestingly, some of those opinions are quite different now than they were a dozen years ago when I first became passionate about the concept of forest gardening. When first introduced to the concept, here are some of the criteria I would have had for a successful food forest:–High yield.–Would focus on productive trees.–High … Continue reading Selecting Plants for a Food Forest