Organic Gardening & Permaculture


Organic Gardening & Permaculture

How can we transition without being able to grow your own organic food or find it in your local community? How can we successfully transition without applying permaculture principles to your environment? Learn, share, and explore in this group.

Location: California
Members: 52
Latest Activity: Aug 22, 2014



Forget about not having a lot of land. Learn how to use your space — and start gardening

First of all everyone needs to know that you do NOT need to live in the country on lots of land to grow your own food - here is a story of one urban homestead that the Dervaes family has transformed their city lot into a self sufficient homestead:

And permaculture? What is permaculture? Here is your basic 101:

"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." ~ Bill Mollison (from the website)

This definition of permaculture expresses a basic concept in permaculture - examining and following nature's patterns. Permaculture advocates designing human systems based on natural ecosystems. But, there are many other definitions of permaculture, just as there are many definitions of sustainable living.

The term permaculture is a contraction of the words "permanent," "agriculture,” and “culture.” Although the original focus of permaculture was sustainable food production, the philosophy of permaculture has expanded over time to encompass economic and social systems. It is a dynamic movement that is still evolving. For example, some practitioners are integrating spirituality and personal growth work into the framework of permaculture.

What is the origin of permaculture?

Permaculture was created in the 1970's by Bill Mollison, an Australian ecologist and University of Tasmania professor. He had spent many years out in nature as a wildlife biologist observing how natural systems work and became very distressed at the destruction that he saw going on around him. He decided that instead of being angry about what was happening and reacting against the destruction he wanted to work on creating a positive solution And he thought the solution would be living based on the patterns he had observed in nature.

By observing nature, Mollison came up with several important insights. He observed that natural systems, such as forests and wetlands, are sustainable. They provide for their own energy needs and recycle their own wastes. He also observed that all the different parts of a natural ecosystem work together. Each component of the system performs important tasks. For example, bees help to pollinate, birds provide pest control, certain plants pull nitrogen out of the air and fix it into a form that other plants can use. So everything does useful work. He applied these and other insights to design and create sustainable agricultural systems.

In the 1970's he and his student David Holmgren wrote and published some books explaining his ideas. In the 1980s he published his design manual and started teaching permaculture design courses to spread his ideas around the world. By the 1990s permaculture had started spreading throughout the US, although it's more well-known in other countries around the world. To this day, it's continuing to grow as a global grassroots movement and people primarily learn about it through permaculture design courses and workshops that generally happen outside of academia.










Discussion Forum

Compostable Toilets

I run an Equine Assisted Growth and Learning facility in Southern California. Our current project is building a compostable toilet out of reclaimed pallets. We are looking to turn all waste into…Continue

Tags: pallets, reclaimed, toilet, compost

Started by Kedra Charette Holderman Jun 25, 2014.


We want to do a fat…Continue

Started by Darlene Cavallara. Last reply by Evan Spurrell May 12, 2011.


Please post any website and…Continue

Started by Darlene Cavallara. Last reply by Paul Racko Jan 30, 2011.


Please post any website and…Continue

Started by Darlene Cavallara Jan 29, 2011.


Worm castings are the best fertilizer for any type of plant or vegetable.   These videos are introductory videos.  We know there must be information about how to make your own worm bin so if anyone…Continue

Tags: gardening, organic, casting, worm

Started by Darlene Cavallara. Last reply by Jeanne Oct 7, 2010.

Winter Greens - Sprouting

Sprouting is one of the best ways to get fresh organic greens during the winter season.  More and more people are discovering the benefits that can be received by adding to the diet the condensed…Continue

Tags: method, sprouting, sprouts, living, oil

Started by Darlene Cavallara Oct 3, 2010.

Fertilizing the Organic Garden By C.W. Basham and J.E. Ells, CSU Cooperative Extension

Quick Facts... • Organic materials generally contain all the nutrients essential toplants, but they may not be present in the ratio organic gardeners wouldlike.• Nitrogen and phosphate content are…Continue

Tags: fertilizing, gardening, organic

Started by Darlene Cavallara Oct 3, 2010.

Garden Terms

Garden TermsAcidic: Soil or compost with a pH between 0 and 7.0. Sometimes referred to as "sour" soil by gardeners.Aeration: Loosening compacted soil or compost to allow air to circulate.Aerobic:…Continue

Tags: gardening, organic, terms, garden

Started by Darlene Cavallara Oct 3, 2010.

Make a Rain Garden!

Water retention is easy with simple rain gardens! Continue

Tags: garden, rain, permaculture, gardening, organic

Started by Darlene Cavallara Oct 3, 2010.

Edible Landscaping

Edible landscape has become quite a buzz concept...lets create a solid resource of information with this is a video to kick this string off... Continue

Tags: permaculture, gardening, organic, landscapes, edible

Started by Darlene Cavallara Oct 3, 2010.

Seeds of Sustainability

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Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Organic Gardening & Permaculture to add comments!

Comment by Tree Lees on October 30, 2011 at 9:37am


I already have my work cut out for me as it is. Sorry, but I cannot take on another effort. I am not able to be a signature gatherer for you.


Comment by Jeanne on October 30, 2011 at 8:43am
Wow Trees this is just jam packed with information. Loved the water garden idea. Texas needs to get on board with this idea too. And the waterless sprouts idea.... I have some friends that live on boats and water was an issue for growing sprouts. This could be real bonus. Making living oil has my interest too. Just makes real good sense to capture all those nutrients in the sprouting stage.

Trees would you be interested in getting a petition to label GMO's and get people in your groups to sign it? This is grassroots (hehe) kind of signature gatherer. Transition California is just made to order for this kind of action. Real down to earth, foot soldier stuff. Dandarius and I are putting together a 'campaign' for TC. You are a natural.

Thanks so much for this great informative post.
Comment by Tree Lees on October 29, 2011 at 7:32pm
Hello, My name is Teresa Lees and I am hosting the SLO Permaculture Guild listserve. If any folks in this Organic Gardening and Permaculture Group live in SLO County, please go ahead and email me at and I will add your name to the listserve.
Comment by Paul Holowko on October 5, 2010 at 11:50am
If anyone else is interested, here are some of the names of the Ecological Succession ---

Ecesis: It involves establishment and initial growth of vegetation.
Competition: As vegetation became well established, grew, and spread, various species began to compete for space, light and nutrients. This phase is called competition.
Reaction: During this phase autogenic changes affect the habitat resulting in replacement of one plant community by another.
Stabilization: Reaction phase leads to development of a climax community.
Comment by Paul Holowko on October 5, 2010 at 10:52am
Hi Damdarius,

I'm currently filming the Succession project and others. Currently, I released on YouTube the 2nd part of the Advanced Part of composting. The show just lightly touches Succession. This method can also be used on farms that do not have organic material available. Or there are large fields where it is not practical to plop down compost and mulch. There is a side effect of using a lot of mulch from trees (or at times, really thick sheet mulching) for re-establishing soil, that is a large among of fungi appear without the balance of the other living organisms.
When it comes to using teas, there needs to be some hint of food for the organisms to survive on when they are spread out. Remember, when we are making teas, we are growing soil organisms out of their own home. It's amassing it works at all!
Comment by Darlene Cavallara on October 5, 2010 at 10:35am
Hi Paul

It would be great to have a bunch of your videos and discussions in this group. The project you described is very interesting because there are probably going to be a great deal of tearing up cement and planting gardens as we all move forward yeah? Thank you!
Comment by Paul Holowko on October 5, 2010 at 9:28am
About 4 weeks ago I started a project where the cement is removed between the sidewalk and the street in front of my house. I did not want to move organic material from other locations to this spot. The area is producing new soil from reclaimed sand, silt and clay from the San Jose dump. See pictures under Succession.
Since there is no mulch to start with, the plants are plant in proportions of making C:N; 30:1 compost. Only the materials on this piece of land is used for making compost. And it will be applied after the plants have gone through their life cycle. Fava beans are snipped at 18 inches and the clippings are considered greens. The snipped greens are used as ground cover.
One application of compost tea is added. (Formula: 1/3 cup milled Oatmeal, 74 degrees, 48 hours brewing time and 4 gallon bucket. Seed compost is created from straw, kitchen wastes, chicken and rabbit poop, heated to 165 for 24 hours. Turned twice more at 160 and 155.. When temp settles to 100 degrees F, 2 gallons of (late summer) Santa Cruz Chaparral soil is added. Resulting Compost tea: B:F 30,000 um grams/gram: 2000 um gram/gram; P:N 0:0.)
Comment by Samantha on October 4, 2010 at 11:39am
I haven't always had the benefit of having lots of growing space, but have managed to compost and grow in containers when I had to. I made a compost bin out of a trashcan that I drilled with holes and kept on my porch. I've even recycled plastic laundry baskets into compost bins. A friend of mine used to grow tomatoes in recycled plastic grocery bags with a few drain hole poked into them. They actually held up for a season. Another idea for recycling gray water from the washing machine: I bought a brass nipple and screwed one end it into my drainage hose on the washer, attached a garden hose to the other side, and ran the hose out the garage down to my trees. Cost less than $5, and we had the sweetest oranges and lemons ever.

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