Permaculture Design Course -Home Study Course -Study, Learn, Design Permaculture Gardens
Permaculture is an ethical approach to designing land use and community systems, to provide food, ecological habitats and other essentials needed for human survival.
The term 'permaculture' comes from the words 'PERMAnent' and 'agriCULTURE', and implies the permanence of culture. The term was first devised in 1978 by Bill Mollison (an Australian ecologist) and his student David Holmgren
Developed and taught by a team of leading horticulture and natural gardening experts from the around the world, including:
The course is divided into eight lessons as follows:
- Permaculture Principles
- Natural Systems
- Zone & Sector Planning
- Permaculture Techniques
- Animals in Permaculture
- Plants in Permaculture
- Appropriate Technologies
- Preparing a Plan
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted, marked and returned with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
What then is in each lesson?
1. Permaculture Principles
Permaculture principles and ethics, Principles of Design (Relative location, Multiple Functions, Multiple Elements, Elevational Planning, Biological Resources, Energy Recycling, Natural Selection, Maximise Edges, Diversity); Permaculture Relationships to other Systems, Sustainable Agriculture, Organic Growing, No Dig Gardening, Sheet Composting, Not Till Planting, No Dig Raised Beds, Crop Rotation, Cover Cropping, Composting, Companion Planting, Pest and Disease Prevention, Biological Control
2. Natural Systems
The Ecosystem (Abiotic and Biotic components), Ecological Concepts, Biomass, Climate, Microclimates, Water, Water and Plant Growth, Maximising Plant Water, Arid Landscapes, Irrigation, Swales, Waste Water Treatments, Reed Beds, Aquatic Environments, The Hydrological Cycle, Rainfall, Evaporation, Infiltration, Effective Rain, Soil Environments (Micro organisms, Organic Matter, Soil Degradation and rehabilitation, Erosion, Salinity, Acidification), Managing Wildlife in a Permaculture System, Structure, Structure of a Permaculture System, Stacking, Successions.
3. Zone and Sector Planning
Five Standard Zones, Sectors (sun, Cold, Windy etc), Site selection, Pre planning information, Staged procedure for concept design.
4. Permaculture Techniques
Forests and trees, Trees as energy transducers, Forest types (Fuel, Forage, Shelterbelt, Animal barrier, Structural, Conservation), Establishing a forest, Sector/Zone Analysis, Firebreak, Windbreak, Mandala Gardens, Keyhole beds, Water bodies, Pond design, Pond construction,
5. Animals in Permaculture
Locating animals in a system, Function of animals in Permaculture, Bees, Poultry, Mobile Tractor Systems, Pigs, Grazing animals, Fencing, Water supply, Shelter, Birds, Earthworms, Aquaculture
6. Plants in Permaculture
Vegetable Growing Hints, Soil Management for plants, Organic fertilizers, Animal manures, Liquid feeds, Rock dusts, Legumes (Nitrogen fixing), Mycorrhyzae, Mulch, Weed Management, Pest Control, Culture of a large range of plants suited to permaculture, in different environments (including: Asparagus, Black locust, Cassava, Chicory, Dandelion, Endive, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Horseradish, Leek, Mint, Okra, Pigface, Rhubarb, Sweet Potato, Taro, Warrigal Greens, Water Cress, Water Spinach, Yam, Apple, Apricot, Cherry, Citrus, Fig, Loquat, Nashi Pear, Olive, Peach, Pear, Plum, Quince, Avocado, Banana, Carambola, Coconut, Custard Apple, Guava, Mango, Paw Paw, Pepino, Pineapple, Grape, Passionfruit, Kiwi fruit, Strawberry, Raspberry, Currant, Gooseberry, Mulberry, Blueberry, Brambles, Elderberry, Cranberry, Nuts, Fodder Trees, etc)
7. Appropriate Technologies
For example; Solar energy, Wind Energy, Methane, Bio fuel power, Composting Toilets, Energy efficient housing, Living fences (hedges, hedgerows etc), Water recycling (grey water and constructed wetland).
8. Preparing a Plan
Design for natural disasters, Drawing a Plan, Preparing a final design
- Interpret the principles, ethics and ecology of permaculture and natural systems
- Recommend and design elements of permaculture
- Explain community patterns
- Interpret permaculture structures
- Develop business opportunities with permaculture
- Design Permaculture Systems and reresent the design on a plan.
Duration: 100 hours
EXAMPLES OF WHAT YOU MAY DO IN THIS COURSE
Here are just some of the things you may be doing:
- Differentiate between permaculture and other sustainable systems.
- Explain the procedures followed in practicing different techniques which are sympathetic to permaculture, including: *No-dig gardening *Companion Planting *Biological control *Sustainable harvesting.
- Explain the interactions that occur between living and non-living components in five different natural environments, including: *Forest Systems *Aquatic Environments *Soil Environments *Arid Environments.
- Evaluate three different Permaculture designs against the nine permaculture principles.
- Distinguish between the five garden zones in a specified permaculture system.
- Explain sector planning in a specific garden design.
- Design a mandala garden of fifty square metres, for a specific site.
- Determine the appropriate use of swales on a sloping site visited by you.
- Differentiate four distinctly different permaculture systems investigated by you.
- Explain three different cultural techniques used to minimise the maintenance requirement, in each of two different permaculture systems studied by you.
- Determine forty different animal breeds, including fifteen different genera, which can provide a useful and sustained harvest from a permaculture system in your locality.
- Describe the harvest, treatment and use of various products derived from fifteen different types of animals in a permaculture system.
- Compile a resource collection of twenty different information sources, for different animals suitable for use in permaculture systems.
- Explain the factors which can affect the success of different types of animals, in a permaculture system, including: *Poultry *Aquatic animals *Domestic farm animals *Insects *Earthworms.
- Describe the husbandry of one specified type of animal, in a permaculture system visited by you.
- Determine fifty different species of plants which can provide a useful, sustained harvest from a permaculture system.
- Describe the harvest, treatment and use of various products derived from twenty different plant genera in a Permaculture system.
- Compile a resource file of fifty information sources for different plants which can be incorporated into permaculture systems.
- Explain the factors which can affect the survival of different types of plants, including those used for: *Vegetables *Fruits *Herbs *Fibres *Building materials *Fuel.
- Explain the husbandry of one specified type of plant, in a permaculture system visited by you.
- Explain the relevance of appropriate technology to permaculture design.
- Compare three different waste disposal techniques which may be used for kitchen scraps in a permaculture system.
- Compare three different waste disposal techniques which may be used for effluent in a permaculture system.
- Evaluate the suitability of different building techniques in a permaculture system.
- Explain the application of two different systems of alternative energy in a permaculture system.
- Compare differences in the impact on a permaculture system, of three alternative technologies designed for the same purpose (e.g. three alternative sources of electricity).
- Evaluate the use of technology in a house chosen by you.
- Determine more "appropriate" technologies to replace currently used technologies, in a house evaluated by you.
- Illustrate on a plan, twenty different components of a design, including: *Plants *Buildings *Landscape features.
- Transpose a simple permaculture plan to a different scale.
- Represent an existing site, drawn to scale, on a plan.
- Describe the stages involved in the process of producing a permaculture design.
- Prepare a concept plan for a permaculture system surveyed by you, which is between five hundred and one thousand square metres in area.
- Prepare a detailed design for a permaculture system of between five hundred and one thousand square metres in size, including: *Scale drawings *Materials specifications *Lists of plant and animal varieties.
Tutors and Course Developers include:
Shane Holborne -graduated in horticulture from the University of Qld, and obtained a Diploma in Permaculture from the Permaculture Institute around 25 years ago.
John Mason -graduate of Burnley College (Victoria), 35 years in the industry, has designed over 2,000 properties, and published over 40 books including Sustainable Agriculture (published by CSIRO-Landlinks)
Dr Valeria Astorga -graduate of Barcelona University, Environmental Scientist and Landscape professional, with 20 years of experience in Spain, Chile and Australia.
Maggi Brown -20 years as Education Officer for the UK's peak organic body, HDRA; regarded as a leading authority on natural gardening across the UK.