Lillie House is a 1-acre Permaculture Homestead in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Here, we work to live well, care for the earth, care for people, and respect natural limits. The old rules and “road maps” for life just weren’t working for us, … Continue reading About Lillie House
This Sunday we’ll be offering a free garden tour with a focus on designing practical polycultures. I’m making up a nice handout with online resources on Polyculture design and a summary of the techniques and strategies I’ll be covering and demonstrating. We’ll be checking out the garden and tasting some plants while we explore current theory and research on interplanting strategies including: Basic “Root type” polycultures based on the “carrot, onions, lettuce” model. Naturally modelled plantings that mimic locally found plant communities. Time based “advanced polycultures” such as the “Ianto Evans Polyculture.” Strategies for mixed Annual/Perennial Polycultures “Plant Guild” roles: … Continue reading Free Garden Tour with a focus on Designing Polycultures: Sunday the 19th, 3:00
(Monarda in our home food forest garden) As “a system for designing human habitats to meet our needs,” Permaculture can be used to improve the function of ANY “structure” we “inhabit,” including invisible structures like economies. Its basic method is to emulate the processes in nature that make natural systems accumulate life-enhancing energies such as water, fertlility and energy, rather than constantly declining the way most man-made things do. (A “Forest garden” modelled after a natural ecosystem, to grow more fertile over time.) Those same principles can be used to design our home economies so that our families can grow … Continue reading Permaculture Life Design: "Wealth"
This morning I ate handfuls of raspberries, mulberries, strawberries and Nanking cherries on my daily walk around the garden. I also stopped to nibble a few bites of mint, some cilantro flowers, and hyssop. This ancient culinary herb seems to change flavor significantly through the seasons, something our ancestors would have been familiar with as they used it to flavor their meals. Since we use good Permaculture design and strategies like heavy mulching, polycultures and self-organizing plant communities, our garden doesn’t require much of us, but it gives back a great deal: beauty, diverse nutritionally dense foods, fuel wood, craft … Continue reading Growing a Better Life
This Saturday we’ll be giving some free tours of our garden, with a discussion on the basics of Forest Gardening. It’s a nice time of year to see our young forest garden, as the summer flowers have begun their show and the pollinators are taking full advantage. If you have questions about starting a forest garden or where to begin, this weekend would be a good time to chat about it. We’ll also have a few plants for sale/trade, including valerian, blood-veined sorrel, marshmallow, comfrey, bellflowers, bee balm, anise hysop and a few others. If you don’t have the cash … Continue reading Lillie House Forest Garden Tour Saturday at 1:00
The French “Jardin de Cure´” might just be the original “Permaculture garden” of temperate Europe. I believe we have a lot to learn from these old, evolved gardening systems of traditional cultures, so our front yard at Lillie House was deeply inspired by this style of garden. Let me take you on a tour of our “Permaculture Jardin de Cure´” while I share some garden pictures from this morning. The “Curate” or “Cure´” was the head parishioner in the French Presbyterian Church and his garden had to be multi-functional and easy to care for. The curate himself would have … Continue reading Permaculture Jardin de Cure´
With a home forest garden, our meals usually start with a quick trip out the front door. And when we’re busy, “Stir-Fried Food Forest” is often on the menu. Today’s perennial or self-sown veggies all came from within 50 feet of our front door. In about 5 minutes of work, with no required yearly digging or planting, I found perennialized garlic, perennial spring onions, self-sown carrots, sorrel, lovage, turkish rocket “broccoli,” asparagus and a few herbs to spice things up. A quick chop and a light stir-fry meant dinner went from “farm to table” in about 15 minutes. You want … Continue reading Stir-Fried Food Forest
“Boy, that garden must take a lot of work!” “I see you out here working on this all the time!” “I wish I had time for a garden like that!” We get comments like this all the time from people, and they never seem to believe me when I tell them that our garden actually saves us time. Sure, people see us out in our garden a lot, especially compared to how often you see people out “enjoying” their lawns, but that’s because our garden is one of our favorite places to be and we enjoy spending time there. How … Continue reading How Much Work is a Permaculture Garden?
For all of our evolutionary history, feast or famine has mostly been the “luck of the draw.” While one family found themselves well-fed and wealthy in the environment of an oasis, the next had to make due in the desert. One valley was green and fertile while the next was a barrens and we human inhabitants simply accepted our lot. Or we fought to take someone else’s. The primary insight of Permaculture is that this does not have to be so. We can design our human habitats to meet our needs by emulating and working with nature instead of wasting … Continue reading What is Permaculture?
Last night, I had the opportunity to join in a permaculture discussion where hedgerows came up, and people who know me know that I’m crazy about hedges. As modern agricultural research turns towards perennial crops, and polyculture plantings, the hedgerow stands out as a traditional and uniquely adapted system for utilizing both. Better still, these woody perennial polyculture systems can do extra work by providing building and craft materials, ample carbonaceous material for composting, providing windbreaks, wildlife shelter, fences for wildlife, create fire and erosion barriers, provide forage, protect livestock or humans, and greatly increase the biodiversity that has a … Continue reading Designing a Permaculture Hedgerow