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You have a plot of land and want to start planning your small homestead – but don’t know where to start?
When planning a small homestead – or any sized one for that matter, the planning stage – and getting it right, is of utmost importance. The first thing to do is thoroughly evaluate your site. You may already be picturing a vegetable garden here and a chicken run over there, an apple tree or six and a wood lot.
But your own unique piece of land will have its own ideas. So get to know and understand it’s individuality. Your end result will be much more successful if careful planning is used right from the very start, to work with nature.
You need to know which spot gets the most sunlight, what areas get hit by the wind the most, if you have any frost pockets and if any spots are prone to becoming water logged.
It’s not just a matter of needing so many square feet for a garden and so many for an orchard. You need to put each element of your homestead where it will work best. And not just on it’s own, but in relation to every other part of your little corner of paradise.
The absolute best advice that I can give you in this regard is to spend some time watching some Permaculture videos on YouTube and/or get a good Permaculture book. Permaculture means you work with – instead of struggling against Nature.
Here’s a definition of Permaculture from it’s founder – Bill Mollison
Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system.
A properly planned environment will make your day to day life so much easier and you shouldn’t need anywhere near as many external inputs as many traditional gardens/orchards/chicken runs/greenhouses etc.
Which means you’ll have to do less work on an on going basis and you won’t need to bring in much feed, fertilizer or (any) pesticides.
For example, an orchard is the perfect place for a chicken run. The chickens get to enjoy fallen fruits, while providing manure for the trees and helping to keep insects under control. Plus on hot summer days the chickens can find shade underneath the trees.
Introduction to Permaculture:
This video is a sampler of Permaculture principles in application narrated and explained by Geoff Lawnton, from his farm in New South Wales, Australia. Learn about Permaculture principles and how abundant it is, by design.
Permaculture Principles in Application ‒ Geoff Lawton
About Geoff Lawton:
Geoff Lawton is highly sought after as a passionate and committed educator on the ethical design science called Permaculture that teaches individuals how to design sustainable urban and rural environments and landscapes.
From his start in permaculture, under the tutelage of Bill Mollison, Geoff Lawton has gained 30 years experience in permaculture design in dozens of countries around the world from the most affluent, to the most war torn; from the tropics to frozen cold temperate climate.
Each year Geoff teaches hundreds of students in permaculture courses ranging from permaculture design certificates, to permaculture earthworks courses, urban permaculture, creating healthy soils, to managing sustainable projects, and more.
And Slightly More In-Depth
This video is a little more in-depth. Geoff discusses WHY we should be using permaculture principles. An easy to understand video – and is certainly worth watching.
Learn About Permaculture
Here are three books that I have found indispensable in helping me to plan my own little permaculture Garden of Eden.
While Permaculture in it’s most pure form may seem daunting to many people, and even look to be an insurmountable peak … even just adding a few of the basics into your life is great. It is all about using what you have, and that is a really good place to start. Learn the principles, take little steps, and slowly start to add these things into your way of life.
Our Earth desperately needs people to understand and work with her … not against her. Help make a difference, and in return, you will find your life a lot more rewarding and healthier, too!
There are a number of really great forums where you can find the most awesome and helpful people. Here is one I am a member of and highly recommend: Permaculture Forum
Author: This article was written for Self Sufficiency HQ by Barbara Wright of Stanford, Kentucky.