Why You Should Hire A Permaculture Designer

October 29, 2012

Permaculture Food Forest

Here’s a video of my 1 acre Permaculture food forest a few months after our first planting.

It is my hope that I can keep sharing these cool little fly-over videos with you as my food forest develops, add ponds, irrigation, and more plantings; so that you can get ideas to bring up with a designer yourself, or in attempts to do your own permaculture design work.

What You Could Learn From This Food Forest

Six months ago I set the goal for myself to learn how to grow all my own food to feed my personal and extended family indefinitely if I ever had to, without outside resources like chicken food, compost, fertilizers seeds etc.

I wanted to learn how to grow food as if my life depended on it, because who knows, maybe one day it will.

I had heard that growing all your own food was MUCH harder then you would think, and wanted to develop those skills in case our nations future doesn’t turn out to be as rosy as most others seem to think it’ll be.

Now I don’t know what your background is, but if you’ve ever achieved anything significant in your life you know that there is ALWAYS a steep learning curve.

It’s always MUCH harder to achieve wonderful things than you ever thought it would be, and you make an incredible amount of mistakes along the way.

First Hand Experience Is The Best Teacher

Knowing this presented a problem for me… because to grow a fruit tree takes 3-5 years.  And if I had a goal of feeding my family by growing my own food like fruit from trees, I really didn’t want to have to wait 3-5 years to learn all the lessons I needed to learn, especially in attempting to grow my own food for a Shit Hit The Fan (SHTF) type of scenario where my life might count on it.

That is why I hired a professional permaculture designer to help me lay out a permaculture design to avoid as many fatal flaws as possible (and it turns out there are many).

From the first time I met my designer and watched her look at my property, I realized I would have been truly hosed if I’d attempted to plant a permaculture food forest on my own.

My designer could look at what I thought were just weeds and tell that a lot of water flowed through right there, or that soil was poor in areas and rich in others.  She could tell what species of trees and what types of root stalks would thrive and which ones would not.

She taught me more things then I can go into in this post, and even went ahead and did things on my property without explaining why; knowing that after a few months I would understand and appreciate her design.

And boy oh boy do I.

I would go so far as to say that if you have NO experience, and you have some extra money like I did I think you would shave YEARS off of your learning curve.  Food forests aren’t something that just work without having a lot of planning done on spacing requirements and plants that support each other, and I would have surely had to start over in many areas, or worse I probably would have just quite as waiting another 5 years to see if I did it right on my second try just wouldn’t have been worth it.

Quick Newbie Tip For Hiring A Permaculture Designer

Try to find someone who has operated a permaculture farm in YOUR climate, as a newbie I didn’t realize how important this was.  And preferably someone from your area who is familiar with lots of different plants that do well, or that do poorly in your area.  They’ll save you time trying to grow something that doesn’t grow well.


10 Responses to “Why You Should Hire A Permaculture Designer”

  1. Lina Schofield Says:

    I am a certified Permaculture designer, if anyone in New England requires assistance with land management or planning please feel free to contact me. My Facebook page is Purple Pixie Farm.


  2. Cayla Says:

    what if you live in an urban area and cant have chickens


    • Chet Says:

      If you look into some of the stuff Geoff Lawton, a permaculture designer has done there is a LOT a designer can help you do in an urban space as well. I saw a video of his where one of his students had designed an incredibly abundant backyard that was only 600 square feet or so. I don’t know how many people it could feed, and I wouldn’t want to be in an urban area when the SHTF, but it was still really cool.


  3. Tommy Says:

    Hi Chet,
    I’m a new visitor to your site and really like what you’re doing here. My wife and I visited the Seattle area a few years back and really fell in love with the area. My wife is ready to move there anytime. We’re currently in SE Florida (zone9) and have been on our property since 1986 so we have a bit of a head start on you. Our food forest includes Avocados, nectarines, oranges, lemons, limes, pomegranates, blueberries and a cool tropical fruit called a Jaboticaba. It grows a large grape like fruit that grows RIGHT ON THE TRUNK IN ROWS. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaboticaba Our tree is small (5′) and hasn’t fruited yet, but they are quite a sight to see when they flower/fruit.

    A couple comments on your garden. Looks like you have a good plan going forward, should produce lots of food for your family. However (there’s always a however lol) I think you’ll see closer to 200 eggs per bird than 300 IMHO (they like to take weekends off lol). Also we have wild grapes (Muscadine) that grow here and if your grapes are anything like ours, your fence will be quickly destroyed by them. They need a VERY sturdy support system if you want to keep the fruit off the ground (you do), otherwise it will rot.

    Good luck with your homestead and thanks again for sharing your video with us.


    • Chet Says:

      I hate reading comments like yours Tommy… cause they’re so full of truth.

      If people could learn one lesson if they ever read this comment is that most of the learning comes from mistakes, or those who’ve already made the mistakes.

      But you’re absolutely right, its definitely more like 200 per bird… if you can keep the protein up, which is another topic.

      However I’m very curious about your grape/fence concerns. Do you think I can reinforce my fence so that it is capable? Those are cemented posts ever 10 feet, and I think I’d still have time to reinforce them as only a few are climbing it as of right now. Either way I’ll be asking more about this issue as it would be terrible to waste years of grape growing because I didn’t have a good enough fence.


  4. Jack Marley Says:

    looks like you are off to a good start. Lots of luck as it comes to full growth state. I don’t know if you have looked at another Seattle person, but look on line for East of Eden. I liked viewing it.


  5. Vicki Says:

    Thank you for the video and commentary. I am inspired.


  6. THERESA Says:

    I live in north west fla and I sure done know where to place plants for permaculture planting.. but I would really love to get it going .. any suggestions???


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