In the spring of 2012, I took an Introduction to Permaculture Class in Australia and really enjoyed it. Ever since then, I've been excited to apply the principles to my own yard and life, but a little overwhelmed on where to start and what resources I have here in Alaska. I've often thought that I would like to take the full design course, which gives you a Design Certificate (you can use the certification as a credential when designing for others), but haven't had the chance yet, partially because it's a two week course and I'd have to take leave. Then this year, a cold-climate specific course opened up in Palmer, on one weekend a month, which is perfect! My first class was this weekend.
What is permaculture, some of you may be asking? I'm glad you asked! Permaculture is the design of a living system that works together harmoniously and abundantly for its components -- plants, animals, humans, and soil. (We had to come up with an "elevator speech" for one of our activities). It's a garden, but it's also incorporating aspects of your home, organics, sustainability, community, integration, self reliance, and no waste!
I'm sorry to say that I don't have any pictures from the weekend, but that should give you a clue that I was really busy and having a good time. We learned a lot, made sheet mulch ("lasagne" mulch), planted a cover crop (a.k.a. "green" manure), did soil tests, observed our environment, and started a major project to present to the Matanuska Experimental Farm sometime in February.
Part of the reason I joined this class is to meet new people who share my interest in organic gardening -- creating a group I can rely on for advice and resources and hopefully make some new friends! I enjoyed meeting everyone, and it was so nice to talk to people about the things I'm interested in (raising chickens, buying fruit trees, composting, etc) without feeling like a weirdo.
So, this was just the first weekend. What now? Well, I need to start some google docs for our project and share them (I'm actually really excited about this!). I want to get a journal and start spending more time observing my yard and my garden. I need to do some compost work, and lay down some sheet mulch for a native plant garden I want to grow next year. And, I need to keep in touch with my classmates so I can develop the community I'm looking for! A lot of work, but I'm definitely excited for the upcoming months.