Top Ten Tips We Used to Minimize Weeds

We may think our weeds HATE us, but they sure think we LOVE them! At least right up to the moment they see us transform into maniacs with weed-wackers and sprays! Because, we treat them like we just can’t get enough of them. It’s like we do everything we can to encourage them to move in, grow and be happy – then all of a sudden we’re re-enacting the shower scene from Psycho with a weeder in hand. Lately, I’ve been lucky to do a number of talks on Permaculture and forest gardening and the #1 question I get is: … Continue reading Top Ten Tips We Used to Minimize Weeds

"Food Forests Are Horrible Ugly Awful Places that Make Your Neighbors HATE You!!!"

(Food Forest in June of its first year at Lillie House. Ugly? Heck no! Not at Lillie House! PS – all those beautiful flowering plants are EDIBLE!) Gaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! This is driving me crazy! I keep hearing from people that one of the LAWS OF NATURE of forest gardens is that for AT LEAST the first few years they’ll be ugly tangled messes that will drive your neighbors to drink – and then rotten egg your car, T.P. your house and vote you off the island. 5 times this week alone I heard this concern from 5 different people! I’m not entirely … Continue reading "Food Forests Are Horrible Ugly Awful Places that Make Your Neighbors HATE You!!!"

Permaculture Design Certificate Course-Fall 2016 at Lillie House

With “extras” on “Regenerative Living and Enterprise.” (Page Under Construction Final Details TBD) Course Runs 8 Saturdays, October – December, with a Design Presentation Symposium (TBD)  The PDC developed specifically with Southwestern Michigan in mind! Get to know our local Permaculture opportunities, resources and projects, as well as growing information and experience refined to our local climate, soils, community character and market. Includes a list of over two dozen scalable “regenerative” business ideas with an unmet demand in our market, to help us grow a broad “regenerative enterprise community” to transform Southwest Michigan! We teach the “PRI” curriculum, as taught by … Continue reading Permaculture Design Certificate Course-Fall 2016 at Lillie House

Gardening in the 2016 Drought

Last year was so wet, and so predictably so, that we didn’t even bother to put out our rain barrels. No need. Would have been a waste of time and energy. All our beds are designed to collect water, and we were getting at least an inch per week anyway. Other than “watering-in” seedlings, I never watered once all season. Same thing the year before. Two good years in a row! Spring 2016 will bring the return of our rain barrels. After looking at US and EU drought monitors, as well as a private service, all are predicting that we’ll … Continue reading Gardening in the 2016 Drought

8 Patterns for a Permaculture Kitchen Garden Make-over

Check out this new short video of Geoff Lawton’s Kitchen Garden Make-over at Zaytuna farm: The garden beds you’ll see in the video above, like most of Geoff Lawton’s kitchen-garden designs, look very much like the kitchen garden beds you see in our pictures at Lillie House, and that’s no coincidence.  I wanted to share this video because it shows a collection of classic Permaculture patterns that go together well to create a style of vegetable gardening that work well almost anywhere. This video is at Zaytuna, Geoff Lawton’s farm in subtropical Australia, but the patterns can be adapted … Continue reading 8 Patterns for a Permaculture Kitchen Garden Make-over

Envisioning a Forest Garden

As we get ready to start our email series on forest gardening basics in mid-February, I wanted to serve up a few appetizers. The Permaculture design process starts from patterns and moves to details, so to get familar with what food forests are about and more importantly, what they look and feel like, here are 3 really fantastic videos featuring cold-climate forest gardens. They’re each about 15 minutes long and well worth the time. Martin Crawford’s Forest Garden This video features one of the oldest temperate forest gardens in the world, possibly the oldest that was designed and created as … Continue reading Envisioning a Forest Garden

Forest Gardening with Native Plants

Over the last year, I’ve had a lot of questions from native plant lovers who want to know if they can create native forest gardens, or even adapt their current native flower gardens into food forests.  Of course!  In fact, many researchers now believe that the whole of the Eastern Woodland was one big “anthropogenic” food forest, meaning, humans were one of the keystone species controlling the plant varieties, spacings, etc. So, when we create native food forests, or at least food forests with lots of natives, we’re re-creating our true lost “pre-Colombian” habitat.  In fact, our back-yard is a … Continue reading Forest Gardening with Native Plants