Permaculture I

Course CodeVSS104
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
Develop a foundation for understanding permaculture
Embrace three main ethics of permaculture:
  • Care of the Earth
    This includes all living things and non-living things which together comprise the environment (i.e. animals, plants, land, water and air).
  • Care of People
    Permaculture systems should be developed to promote self-reliance and community responsibility.
  • Give Away Surplus
    Permaculture aims to pass on anything surplus to an individual's needs (e.g. labour, information or money) in order to pursue the above aims.

Lesson Structure

There are 5 lessons in this course:

  1. Permaculture Concepts
    • Life Ethics
    • Permaculture Defined
    • Guiding Principles -relative location, multiple functions and elements, elevational planning, energy recycling, etc.
    • Ideas and Techniques from around the world
    • Natural Gardening
    • Organic growing
    • No dig gardening
    • Crop rotation
    • Biological control of pest and disease
    • Integrated pest management
    • Living things vary from place to place
    • Understanding plant names
    • An easier way to identify plants
    • Pronunciation of plant names
  2. Understanding the Environment is Key to Permaculture Design
    • Introduction
    • Ecology
    • Ecosystems
    • Abiotic Components
    • Biotic Components
    • Ecological concepts
    • The Web of Life
    • Replicating Nature
    • Successions
    • Starting a Permaculture Property
    • Cost, Location, Size
    • Information required
    • Structure of a Permaculture System
    • Choosing a Site
    • Permaculture Design
  3. Soils in Permaculture
    • The Role of Soil
    • Soil Components -gravel sand, silt, colloids
    • Peds
    • Naming a Soil
    • Soil Management
    • Cycles
    • Fertilizer Application
    • Nitrogen
    • Factors Affecting Nitrogen Release from Organic Sources
    • Microorganism population
    • Heat and chemical treatment
    • pH
    • Soil temperature
    • Cultivation and Cover Crops
    • Drainage and Erosion
    • How to Measure Soil pH
    • How to Measure Organic Content of Soil
    • How to Measure Water Content of Soil
    • Determining Solubility of Soils
    • How to Test the Affect of Lime on Soil
    • Taking Soil Samples for Laboratory Tests
    • Measuring Salinity
    • Colourimetry
  4. Climate and Water in Permaculture
    • Site Types
    • Degree Days
    • The Hydrological Cycle
    • Infiltration
    • Rainfall
    • Evaporation
    • Effective Rainfall
    • Temperature
    • Frosts
    • Extreme Hazards
    • Permaculture Microclimates
    • The Greenhouse Effect
    • Water and Plant Growth
    • Climatic Influence on Production
    • Frosts
    • Climate Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Production
    • Climatic Zones
    • Humans and Water
    • Minimising Plant Requirements
    • Household Water
    • Xeriscaping
    • Interpreting Weather Reports and Predictions
    • Precipitation
    • Wind
    • Weather Maps
    • Weather Map Patterns
    • Interrelationships between Climate, Soil and Plants
    • Estimating Water Requirements of Plants
    • Ways to Improve Water Quality, from any Source
    • Water Impurities - sediment, impurities, colour, chemical impurities
    • Water Hardness
    • Alkalinity
    • Corrosion
    • pH
    • Iron
    • Salinity
    • Tastes and Odours in Water
    • Biological Impurities in Water -algae, bacteria
    • Other Water Chemistry Factors -dissolved gasses, nitrogen cycle
    • Fish for Ponds
    • Other Animals in Water
  5. Forest Systems
    • Biomass
    • Components of Biomass
    • Plant Associations
    • Pinus Monoculture
    • Eucalyptus Association
    • Deciduous Forest
    • Alpine Communities
    • Myrtaceae Plants
    • Australian Legumes
    • Rockeries
    • Rain forest Systems
    • Wind, Light and Rain in Forests
    • Forest Productivity - fuel, food, forage, shelter belt, structural, conservation
    • Establishment of a Forest
    • Creating a Rain forest
    • Maintenance and Upkeep of Forests
    • Plant Application -trees, shrubs, ground covers
    • A review of how to grow a variety of different plants for Permaculture

What Does a Permaculture Garden Look Like?
Every garden is different. Some are bigger and others smaller. Some are tidier, and others seemingfly more chaotic. The important thing however is not what it looks like; but that is is sustainable and productive.
Here are some characteristics you might commonly find.
  • Lots of useful plants, growing wild.
  • Free range poultry foraging throughout the garden. They control some types of pests, 
    they eat many weed seeds, and they produce manure which helps to keep the garden 
    fertilised. They also produce eggs and meat which is free of chemicals that are often 
    used in commercial poultry production. 
  • Established fruit and nut trees which produce food for the household and shade in the 
  • A large variety of herbs, often grown as companion plants to other plants in the garden.
  • Hedges or trellised fences (covered with climbing plants) that provide fruit and nuts, as 
    well as some wind protection and shade.
  • Fish in a large pond or two. The fish will help control some insects, and can be culled 
    every now and then for food.
  • A range of hardy vegetables grown throughout the garden, in particular climbing and 
    trailing ones, grown on trellis to keep them out of reach of poultry.

Is this the Course for You?
If you are just starting out with permaculture; there are two choices with our school; either this course, or Permaculture Systems.
This course is easier to tackle, but  it does not take you as far in terms of scope, as what you might do with Permaculture Systems. Permaculture Systems covers everything that is covered in a standard Permaculture Design Certificate. This only covers parts of that PDC, but what it covers, it does in a little more depth and intensity.
It is ideal for someone who wants to develop their understanding of permaculture more slowly and thoroughly. If you want a faster, more intensive but possibly not quite as comprehensive education: choose Permaculture Systems instead. )

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