Permaculture Course Design Project
Midwest Permaculture PDC Course #41
June 28, 2013
Assessment of Property
8901 Ransom Rd. Mt. Vernon OH
Full Climatic Information is available on-line:
- Long/Lat. --
- 40 degrees 22’ 12” N
- 82 degrees 35’ 45” W
- Elevation Above Sea Level – avg. 1360 ft
- Rainfall – avg.
o Dominant Wind Directions are from the West-South/West: All data available here:
o Wind Rose: Jackson/Reynolds, MI, airport
- Topography: 2 foot lines
- Soil: Predominately BnB, some CdC2 and CdB, meaning silt-loam throughout.
Vision for Property
Agricultural education and some meat harvest sales. Cattle, sheep, chickens and possibly hogs. A vision of a food forest to feed animals and the Hill family, marked by contour swales throughout pasture. Mob grazing throughout pasture. Cereal crop rotation between linear food forest rows.
· Ensure livestock are easily watered
· Ensure livestock have appropriate shade
· The property owners also work with cereals, which require less shade
· Strong westerly winds
· Size of land
First 1-2 years:
· Get the hedges started, and install one-two swale and pond systems as an experimental plot.
· Plant boundary fence, which will take 5-10 years to mature growth
· Plant Korean Nut Pine, which takes 10-15 years to mature growth
· Learn and experiment with root stock and grafting; find a mentor in the area that can assist with gathering trees on site.
· Install rest of swale and pond system on landscape.
· Linear food forest plants can also be planted
· Continue to add perennial vegetable to garden
As time goes on, continue to observe, plant, and harvest from the system.
Early Design Strategies
· Access water for livestock
· Capture water and fertility high on landscape
· Build soil fertility and organic matter
· Capture the sun
· Attract pollinators
· Design access
· Easy maintenance and harvest
· Design for public amenities and use
· Slow and steady solutions
· Minimize wildlife pressure
· Maximize for small livestock and poultry
· Minimization of fossil fuels
· Design for seasonal changes
· Maximize design for sequential harvest
· Consider neighboring runoff
· Biodiversity in market crops
· Conscious of woodlots
· Support existing orchard
· Design for wind support
The Permaculture Design
(Recommended Techniques and Specific Design Solutions)
o Swale design on contour with hugelkultur;
o connecting ponds for the purpose of water retention
o dryland saturation and livestock hydration
o Emphasis on holding water high on the landscape, and for the purpose of food forest growth.
o Keyline in the south west corner, where steep slopes reside
· Access/Circulation: Fine with current access, but do require gateways between pastures. Cattle with move around food forest linear design, with 3-4 entryways between pastures.
· Vegetation and Wildlife: Mob grazing to promote natural grassland, planting of food forest for animal feed, human consumption, and possible sales. Encourage natural wildlife, but also need more observation to design for a diversion crop (possibly Maximillian Sunflower).
· Microclimate: Creating cooler microclimates in shaded areas to cool animals, and provide shade for crops such as canola. Ponds also provide housing to new species and aquaculture (arrow root, cattail, water lilies, amphibians, fish, insects).
· Buildings and Infrastructure: Natural hedging on North edge using Korean Nut Pine; natural edging also along west edge requires more filling to keep animals in. This west edge also serves as a wind break. This will be Osage Orange and Black Locust.
Design solution to challenge of watering in the fields is resolved by ponds that have pump sources to troughs. These will be gravity fed whenever possible.
· Zones of Use: Frequency of travel to zones 3-4 (food forests and pasture) to maintain grazing and to harvest. Edible trees are planted on the margin to increase productivity in zone 4. Zone 5 forests still exist on east and south areas of property. Zones 1 and 2 merge in the orchard nearest the home.
· Soil Fertility and Management: Mob grazing provides an opportunity to increase and protect soil fertility: cattle take in longer grasses, sheep follow and eat grass into the ground, hogs root the soil, and chickens follow with scratching. This way, the manure replenishes soil and gives old seeds an opportunity to germinate. This method prevents over-grazing. The food forest plantings and water retention in the form of swales and ponds also replenishes the soil. Crop rotation will continue in a Modified Norfolk Rotation system. Also want to propagate Comfrey on a half-acre plot to add nutrients and mulch.
· Aesthetics/Experience of Place: Currently the Hill’s land is solely pasture, and livestock are managed with electric netting. Over time, with this design, natural vegetation will replace fencing and boundary fence will be significantly enhanced. Machinery will also be replaced with animal tillage, providing the aesthetics of a farm on the European countryside.
Ideas for various food forest layers:
Currently carries: Peaches, grapes, raspberries, apples, elderberry, blueberry, diverse native understory, day lilly, some annuals, perennial herbs, canola, Jerusalem artichoke, gooseberries, currants, Russian sage, yarrow, among others.
To consider: Goomies, Medlar (semi-dwarf), Cherry, Comfrey, Paw Paw, Asian Pear, Plum, Maximillian Sunflower possibly on border.
Linear Food Forests ZONE 3-4:
Canopy: Apple, Cherry, Crabapple, Hazelnut (runners), Kentucky Coffee Tree, Paw Paw, Pear, Plum, Linden (coppiced), Osage Orange, Black Locust (Coppiced)…
Shrub Layer: Blackberry, Currant, Gooseberry, Raspberry, Siberian Pea Shrub, elderberry…
Herbaceous Layer: Arugula, Chamomile, Chives, Comfrey, Stinging nettle, Dill, Fennel, Canola, Ground Plumb Milk Vetch (Endangered), lemon balm…
Ground Cover between rows: Already carries great diversity, but would like to add plantain and chicory.
Korean Nut Pine on northern edge zone
Natural Forest-mushroom potential?
Cross Section Example of a Linear Food Forest
with Hugelkultured Swale
Many other species of plants might be included.
Closing – Conclusions
“For what is the use of a house…
if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
~ Henry David Thoreau
“(Woodchips) make an attractive, stable road base that holds soil in place and compacts into the ground to make a firm driving surface. Creation of a wood-chip driveway is a permanent work in progress because this organic surface biodegrades over time and needs new chips added periodically.” http://homeguides.sfgate.com/create-wood-chip-driveway-32638.html
Quick List of Useful Permaculture PlantsTemperate Climate, North American, Midwestern Species
Common Name / Scientific Name / Uses
Beech / Fagus grandifolia / Nuts
Butternut / Juglans cinerea / Nuts
Shagbark Hickory / Carya ovata / Nuts
Sugar Maple / Acer saccharum / Syrup
White Oak / Quercus alba / Nuts
American Persimmon / Diospyros virginiana / Fruit
Apple / Malus pumila / Fruit, flowers
Cherry / Prunus spp. / Fruit, flowers
Cornelian Cherry / Cornus mas / Fruit
Crabapple / Malus spp. / Fruit, flowers
Hazelnut / Corylus spp. / Nuts
Kentucky Coffee Tree / Gymnocladus dioica / N-fixer
Paw Paw / Asimina triloba / Fruit, flowers
Pear / Pyrus communis / Fruit, flowers
Plum / Prunus domestica / Fruit, flowers
Serviceberry / Amelanchier spp. / Fruit, flowers
Witch Hazel / Hamamelis virginiana / Medicinal, flowers
Blackberry / Rubus occidentalis / Fruit, flowers
Currant / Ribes sativum / Fruit
Elderberry / Sambucas nigra / Fruit, flowers
False indigo / Baptisia australis / N-fixer
Gooseberry / Ribes uva-crispa / Fruit
Raspberry / Rubus idaeus / Fruit, flowers
Rose / Rosa spp. / Medicinal, flowers
Siberian Pea Shrub / Caragana arborescens / N-fixer, flowers
Arugula / Eruca vesicaria / Edible
Chamomile / Chamaemelum nobile / Tea, flowers
Chives / Allium schoenoprasum / Edible
Comfrey / Symphytum uplandicum / Medicinal, mulch
Cornsalad / Valerianella locusta / Edible
Dill / Anethum graveolens / Edible, insectary
Fennel / Foeniculum vulgare / Edible, insectary
Garlic / Allium sativum / Edible
Kale / Brassica oleracea / Edible
Lemon balm / Melissa officinalis / Tea
Lettuce / Latuca sativa / Edible
Lovage / Levisticum officinale / Edible
Mint / Mentha spp. / Edible
New Zealand Spinach / Tetragonia expansa / Edible
Onion / Allium cepa / Edible
Parsley / Petroselinum crispum / Edible
Rhubarb / Rheum rhabarbarum / Edible
Salad burnet / Sanguisorba minor / Edible
Sorrel / Rumex scutatus / Edible
Spinach / Spinacea oleracea / Edible
Stinging Nettle / Urtica dioica / Edible, mulch
Flowering Ground Covers
Strawberry / Fragaria spp. / Fruit, flowers
Nasturtium / Tropaeolum minus / Edible flowers
Violet / Viola spp. / Edible flowers
Grape / Vitis vinifera / Fruit
Hardy Kiwi / Actinidia arguta / Fruit, flowers
Hops / Humulus lupulus / Medicinal
Scarlet Runner Bean / Phaseolus coccineus / Edible, N-fixer, flowers
Wisteria / Wisteria floribunda / N-fixer, flowers
Leaving the planet in better condition than we found it.