I want a part of my blog to make the connection between energy savings and utilizing the Permaculture principles. To me, it does not make sense to establish a net zero home that is not connected with the surrounding environment. Two key components for developing a Permaculture plan is having vision and even more important is having patience. For example, the renewable / energy savings that we are incorporating in our house will just take some research time and money. Working with nature takes years of patience, trees do not grow over night. This fall we started the first year of a three year plan to plant over 300 trees on our 12 acre property.
One great example of how nature works as a system and not just as individual plants and animals is the Apple Guild. I first learned about apple guilds last spring while taking Will Hooker’s Permaculture online class at North Carolina State University. A couple of different apple guild models are out there, but I like Toby Hemenway’s apple guild model the best, plus it was the book that Will used as part of his class. This link will take you to the actual excerpt from Toby’s book Gaia’s Garden.
Earlier this fall, my friend and apple tree consultant, Sam Moore, hooked me up with 18 apple trees. These are full size Liberty apple trees with either MM.111 or B.118 rootstock. These trees were developed for this area of North Carolina and require minimal spraying. This year, the plan is to get the trees established before I start adding the surrounding beneficial plants. In planting the apple trees, I used a combination of the soil from the hole that was dug and compost. I covered the area around the trees with burlap coffee bags from Counter Culture Coffee and then put some pine mulch on top to hold the bags down. The coffee bags should last a couple of years and greatly reduce the weed pressure around the trees. Implementing the first phase of the Apple Guild plan has been a valuable and exciting learning experience. In a few months as we start to move away from winter, we will be eager to begin another phase of the plan while appreciating the subtle changes nature will bring with time.