Permaculture design

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  • Permaculture Design will run at Otago Polytechnic,Dunedin,NZ from July - November 2013.Everyone is welcome to follow along online as we publish recordings and study materials to this web page
  • Hortykim would like to thank and acknowledge the resources and information provided by the Permaculture design short course learning facilitators in 2008-thank you Peta Hudson and Jason Ross!I would also like to thank all the real life and "virtual" participants who helped create the permaculture garden at L block,Otago Polytechnic,Dunedin N.Z.Please call Hortykim on 021 735 498 to arrange a visit to this fantastic learning resource.



  • This course provides an introduction to permaculture design principles and methods which when applied will lead you down the path to sustainable systems for your home or working environment.
  • Learning outcomes for this course:
  1. Understand and describe the ethics and principles of permaculture
  2. Outline procedures used to analyze a site for permaculture
  3. Create a permaculture plan for a selected site and describe considerations when implementing the permaculture plan.
  • By the end of the course the participants will have a design for a selected site and a portfolio of information which they can then can continue to work with & expand on.

Course Schedule 2013

Introduction to permaculture ethics & principles

Session 1 and 2

To do

  1. Introductions and welcome.
  2. The main part of your assessment will focus on creating a permaculture plan for a selected site.Please choose a site over the next week.Ideally you may want to choose a site which you can visit frequently in order to observe the characteristics of the site,take measurements, and in time, implement your design.If this is not possible, your learning facilitator will allocate a site for you so you can practice the process which will then be applicable to any site you choose in the future.
  3. Watch this powerpoint to guide us thru an introduction to the ethics and principles.
  4. What is Permaculture?The word permaculture is a portmanteau of permanent agriculture and permanent culture.Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies.Permaculture is a broad-based and holistic approach that has many applications to all aspects of life.
  5. Explore permaculture ethics.At the heart of permaculture design and practice is a fundamental set of ‘core values’ or ethics:
  • Earth care – recognizing that Earth is the source of all life and that we are a part of Earth, not apart from it. Permaculturalists have introduced new ways of practicing agriculture. These ways are fundamental in restoring a mutually beneficial (and healthy) relationship between humans and the environmental factors indispensable to our survival.
  • People care – supporting and helping each other to change to ways of living that do not harm ourselves or the planet, and to develop healthy societies.
  • Fair shareThis principle may also involve redistributing any surplus you have created.(or placing limits on consumption) - ensuring that Earth's limited resources are used in ways that are equitable and wise.

Permaculture ethics class activity

  1. We will watch the film, Food Inc. and identify examples within the documentary that do not support each of the three main ethics of permaculture.Identify examples within the movie that do support each of the three main ethics of permaculture. (Food, Inc. is a 2009 American documentary film directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Kenner.The film examines corporate farming in the United States, concluding that agribusiness produces food that is unhealthy in way that is abusive of animals and environmentally harmful. The documentary generated extensive controversy in that it was heavily criticized by large American corporations engaged in industrial food production.)A worksheet for this activity will be completed for this activity and handed in at the end of the class.

Permaculture principles class activity

Permaculture principles. We will explore permaculture principles at work by getting into groups of two or three and looking at the concepts that are connected to the various principles.Your group will be allocated one or more of the following principles and you will be required to describe how you already honour that principle or perhaps an example of how you could honor the principle in the future.

  • Observe and interact - By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  • Catch and store energy - By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
  • Obtain a yield - Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  • Apply self-regulation and accept feedback - We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  • Use and value renewable resources and services - Make the best use of nature's abundance to reduce our consumptive behaviour and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  • Produce no waste - By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  • Design from patterns to details - By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  • Integrate rather than segregate - By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  • Use small and slow solutions - Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  • Use and value diversity - Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  • Use edges and value the marginal - The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  • Creatively use and respond to change - We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.


  1. Before our next session, find an Internet connection and look for resources and video related to permaculture ethics. Free access to computers and the Internet is available at Otago Polytechnic Community Learning Centres.Please take note of any good information you find so we can add it to our list of resources.You may want to start by watching this video by Permaculture expert Penny Livingston-Stark shows how natural systems can teach us better design practices. Learning to work with the earth not only creates a healthier environment, it also nourishes the people who live in it.
  2. Print off your free poster of permaculture ethics and principles.
  3. Read pages 17-26 from *Earth User's Guide to Permaculture. Rosemary Morrow and Rob Allsop. Kangaroo Press, NSW Australia. 2006 (2nd ed.).
  4. No country is an island:The role of international law in addressing global water(in)security.Tuesday 2 July, 12 noon - 1.30pm, Burns 2 Lecture Theatre.Dr Bjoern-Oliver Magsig and Ruby Moynihan, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany.
  5. The German Energy Transition: Successes and Failures of Germany's Renewable Energy ActThursday 4 July 5.30pm, Archway 2 Lecture Theatre.Professor Wolfgang Köck Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany
  6. Dunedin Botanic Gardens 150th Birthday Anniversary.Sunday 30 June.Dunedin Botanic Garden.Celebrate the Botanic Garden’s 150th anniversary! Join the Friends of Botanic Garden in a special day of celebration with the unveiling of a commemorative sculpture and garden development in the lower garden.

Ecology and its relationship to permaculture principles

Session 3

To do

  1. Welcome and attendance.
  2. I would like to suggest that we look out for any interesting articles related to permaculture and post them on the classroom noticeboard.We should also put up some posters related to our studies.I have brought some along to kick us off.
  3. Has everyone chosen a site for their permaculture plan?
  4. The purpose of your homework activity is to embrace the importance of how natural ecosystems underpin our goals in creating a cultivated ecosystem.Watch this video of permaculturist ,Peta Hudson,which explains the purpose of the exercise in exploring natural ecosystems.
  5. Today we will visit Lovelock Bush in the Dunedin Botanic Garden and make some observations about what is happening in this ecosystem.Shirley Stuart is the collection curator for the Native Collection at the DBG and will do a brief introduction to the area we are going to explore.Here is a link to some of the interesting articles that Shirley writes for the Otago Daily Times'Plant Life feature. A guide for the area will be provided as well as a detailed outline of what observations the participants will want to look for.
  6. The desired learning outcomes would be:
  • Use your senses to gather information about various aspects of any ecosystem or section of land
  • Describe how materials & energy cycle through an ecosystem
  • Describe the co-operative relationships within the ecosystem
  • Understand and link the ecological foundations of permaculture principles
  • Pay special attention to the diversity at the edges of Lovelock Bush.
  • Observe the stacking effect of the forest from ground covers to canopy & the various relationships that occur between the plants begin to understand how a permaculture system make maximum use of space, & how placing plants in good relationship aids the cycling of matter.
  • Observe the various roles of the primary producers(plants),the consumers(animals and insects)& the decomposers (fungi,insects, & micro-organisms)
  • Look for the flows of energy through the forest in terms of water & air flows, & the way light moves through the forest.
  • Observe the different growth habits of the plants and in turn their different needs.For example: dark,large leaves are suited to shade.
  • Identify five native plants.List their botanic name,maori name and common name.


  1. Visit Lovelock Bush or an area of bush near you and spend some time observing what is happening around you-jot down your observations to share next time we meet.

Getting started on your site plan

Session 4

To do

  1. Welcome and attendance.
  2. Why are we doing permaculture?#Read pages 5-8 from *Earth User's Guide to Permaculture. Rosemary Morrow and Rob Allsop. Kangaroo Press, NSW Australia. 2006 (2nd ed.).
  3. How did we enjoy and learn from our visit to Lovelock Bush?
  4. What observations did you make about a natural ecosystem?
  5. Why did we do the observation exercise and what does it all mean?
  6. What permaculture principles may apply to this exercise?
  7. Today you will need to start on your base plan. Use an A3 or A2 piece of paper and draw everything that is on your site. A base map is a drawing that captures everything that is already on your chosen site. It includes buildings, fences, trees, hedges, pathways and driveways, power lines and services.Please choose a scale that will suit you and your site.The most common scales that students have used in the past are a scale of 1:100(1cm.=1 meter) or 1:50(2cm.=1 meter)
  8. Let's look at some examples of a base plan.
  9. Check out this helpful link by Graham Burnettwho in addition to writing, illustrating and self publishing a number of books, Graham Burnett is an experienced permaculture practioner, designer and teacher. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Permaculture Association (Britain), and holds the Diploma in Permaculture Design (Dip Perm Des).
  10. Practical seed sowing activity to compare commercial seed raising mixes with one we make using materials from Permagrow.


  • Use all of your senses to start to observe what is happening on your site.(Observe and interact)Use a notebook/scrap book to record these observations.Pay attention to boundary areas, temperatures, winds, types of living organisms, anything you can notice about the space.Do this as regularly as you can and it will become a useful resource for years to come.
  • In future sessions we will start to look at the concept of the zones which you will include on your site plan.Zone 0 is often the home or office/classrooms as is our case for the permaculture garden at Otago Polytechnic.Regardless, permaculture principles could be applied in terms of aiming to reduce energy and water needs, harnessing natural resources such as sunlight, and generally creating a harmonious, sustainable environment in which to live, work and relax.Your zone 0 may be your own home or a rented property but if you could choose any home-what would it look like?
  • For next week's class please find an example of a home or an office building that you think would meet some of the expectations of permaculture design.
  • Jonathon' example of a neat zone 0
  • Video of Richie Sowa' man made island

Base Plan and Sector/Site Plans

Session 5

To do

  1. Welcome.
  2. How did you go with finding an example of a home or an office building that you think would meet some of the expectations of permaculture design?
  3. What is the Living Campus?The aim of the Living Campus is to inspire curiosity and capability in sustainability to change attitudes to how we use land.Map of Living Campus
  4. Base plan and development of Permagrow Garden at L block.If time allows we will stretch our legs and explore the Living Campus.
  5. Read pages 95-100 from your text Earth User's Guide to Permaculture. Rosemary Morrow and Rob Allsop. Kangaroo Press, NSW Australia. 2006.Could everyone briefly show the class their base plan so far.
  6. Look at plans from last year's students for a sense of direction/goals and check out page 98 from your text
  7. What is the difference between your sector analysis map and site analysis map?

Sector Analysis Plan

  • What energies are affecting your site from the four different directions outside of your site(north south east and west).
  • What is happening in your neighbors site?
  • Where does most of your wind come from?
  • Is your site near a busy road?
  • Read pages 101-104 from your text Earth User's Guide to Permaculture. Rosemary Morrow and Rob Allsop. Kangaroo Press, NSW Australia. 2006
  • You may combine your sector and site analysis plans into one

Site Analysis Plan

  • Site Analysis will expand on the factors from outside you boundaries and begin to go into more detail.Use all of your senses to observe what is happening on your site.(Design from patterns to details.)
  • Your site analysis is what is happening on your site and to some degree what you will have more control over.
  • What energies are affecting your site and how best can you utilize them and work with them.(Observe and interact.) This will also help you identify your zones and zone placement.
  • What is the sun's path in summer and winter?
  • What are the prevailing wind and rain directions?
  • Where are the main areas of people activity?
  • What existing paths are in place and how do you move across the site?
  • What is the aspect? Where is north?
  • Where does rainwater collect or flow to?
  • Where are any areas of shade/full sun?
  • Use a notebook to record these observations and/or draw directly onto your site analysis plan.
  • Observations could include:temperatures and micro climates,prevailing winds,the different types of living organisms,soil conditions,the types of weeds you are finding,what plants are self seeding/doing well or maybe not so well,what plants are perennial,evergreen or deciduous?You will want to create some sort of key that will be useful for identifying the different features as per examples shown in class.
  • Observe your site often and transfer as much information as possible onto your site analysis plan.


  • Commence your sector and site analysis plan.
  • Start to make a list of all the elements you would like to have on your site.

The elements and zones in a permaculture garden

Session 6

To Do

  1. Welcome.Did you find any neat zone zeros. I'll show you my examples.
  2. Now that we have made a good start on the design process let us have a look at the foundations of permaculture. Permaculture was developed by two Ozzy blokes in the 1970s David Holmgren and Bill Mollison.Bruce Charles 'Bill' Mollison (born 1928 in Tasmania, Australia) is a researcher, author, scientist, teacher and naturalist. He is considered to be the 'father of permaculture', an integrated system of design, co-developed with David Holmgren, that encompasses not only agriculture, horticulture, architecture and ecology, but also economic systems, land access strategies and legal systems for businesses and communities. In 1978, Mollison founded The Permaculture Institute in Tasmania.One of his many words of wisdom includes the following quote“The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”And now David,“Permaculture is defined as consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for the provision of local needs…more precisely I see Permaculture as the use of systems thinking and design principles that provide the organising framework for implementing the above vision”
  3. Read pages 5-8 from your text Earth User's Guide to Permaculture. Rosemary Morrow and Rob Allsop. Kangaroo Press, NSW Australia. 2006.Could everyone briefly show the class their base plan so far.
  4. How is everyone doing with their base plan and building up the information for site/sector map(s)?Can we have a look?
  5. How is your list of elements going?Handout list of elements.
  6. The elements and zones within your garden are very important-I will show a few examples from my own garden which may help-remember that the yields and needs of your elements need to be carefully considered.Think about our visit to Lovelock bush and how we observed naturally occurring relationships between the elements in the bush-how can you transfer these examples to your site? (Use edges and value the marginal)For example,a pond needs: shelter from wind, some sun, a water source/catchment, plants, fish, and aeration. It provides extra humidity & light to the area surrounding it, moisture to the edges, thermal mass (holds heat & radiates it out in the evening), food & beauty. It’s needs will be met, if placed in good relationship to other elements & in return their needs will be met by it.
  7. Even on a small site all zones from 0~5 can be included. See “Earth Users Guide to Permaculture Design” and read pages 104-107 for more detail. Zones are about creating & placing areas of activity in good relationship to their needs & yields.
  • ZONE 0 — The house, or home centre. Here permaculture principles would be applied in terms of aiming to reduce energy and water needs, harnessing natural resources such as sunlight, and generally creating a harmonious, sustainable environment in which to live, work and relax
  • ZONE 1 — The zone nearest to the house, the location for those elements in the system that require frequent attention, or that need to be visited often, such as salad crops, herb plants, soft fruit like strawberries or raspberries, greenhouse and cold frames, propagation area, worm farm and compost bin for kitchen waste.
  • ZONE 2 — This area is used for siting perennial plants that require less frequent maintenance, such as occasional weed control (preferably through natural methods such as spot-mulching) or pruning, including currant bushes and orchards. This would also be a good place for beehives and larger scale composting bins.
  • ZONE 3 — The area where maincrops are grown, both for domestic use and for trade purposes. After establishment, care and maintenance required are fairly minimal (provided mulches and similar things are used), such as watering or weed control once a week or so.
  • ZONE 4 — A semi-wild area. This zone is mainly used for forage and collecting wild food as well as timber production. An example might be coppice-managed woodland.
  • ZONE 5 — A wild area. There is no human intervention in zone 5 apart from the observation of natural eco-systems and cycles. Here is where the most important lessons of the first permaculture principle of working with, rather than against, nature are learned.


Growing Edible Plants in Dunedin

Session 7

To Do

  1. Welcome and attendance
  2. Our guest speaker today is Bart Acres who is the main contact person at Otepoti Urban Organics which is a non-profit network of gardeners, community groups and businesses who have an interest in fostering and engaging in organic food growing activities, and other sustainable practices in Dunedin.The primary purpose of the network's existence is to increase the quantity and quality of food grown by people in their own back yards or other locations, and to make these activities more enjoyable, productive and efficient for all involved.
  3. Check out this wonderful resource that outlines the specific requirements of different species and strains of fruit and vegetables. When to grow things, what soil they like, seed germination tips, nutrient requirements, sunlight preferences, etc.
  4. Hand out for planting guides for coastal otago.
  5. Bart is going to talk about the importance of seed saving and introduce us to the fantastic Symbiosis Seed Exchange
  6. Tour of permaculture garden at L block.Look at concept of multi functional plants.Good example is tagasaste Chamaecytisus palmensisor tree lucerne
  7. Hand out for planting guides for coastal otago.
  8. Seed sowing and pricking out of edible plants for permaculture garden.
  9. Power point on vege gardening in Dunedin.

Cleaning Products

Session 8

To Do

  1. Welcome and attendance and hand out seed saver information.
  2. Our guest speaker today is Maureen Howard!Maureen will be talking to us about the work she does around Dunedin sharing her knowledge of walking a bit more lightly on the earth and some down to earth recipes for cleaning products.We will meetMaureen at 1.30 in the permaculture garden.
  3. Class discussion/reflection on last week's session.Did you find some more unusual elements that could be used in your perma site plan or just some neat ideas to share with the class?
  4. Zones are about creating & placing areas of activity in good relationship to their needs & yields.You should have your base plan,site plan and sector plan finished or at least well under way so you will be thinking about where you will place your zones.
  5. We are about to have a two week study break but I would like you to keep thinking about your design and start work on your written assessment.As a group we will decide on a realistic hand in date.Let's have a quick look at the assessment.Any questions?


  • Work on your written assessment and feel free to contact me during the second week of study break if you require assistance.

Videos about food forests

Where can we source fruit trees/shrubs and shelter/forestry/firewood trees that are suitable for the Dunedin area?


  • What is a guild? Outline a selection of plants that would comprise a guild that you may use for your site.
  • For our next session please remember to bring along all your plans you have been working on so far as we will spend most of the next session working on your plans in class.It will be a good opportunity for me to visit everyone,see where you are at and address any questions related to your permaculture design.

Visit to Two Permaculture Gardens

Session 9

  1. It can be helpful to have a look at permaculture gardens that have been planned,implemented and are working examples of what can be achieved.
  2. Two great examples can be found in Waitati,New Zealand.Jason Ross of Sutherland Nursery will give us a tour of these great models and some valuable tips that may be inspirational for your own designs.

Visit to Jon Footes' Education Centre for Resiliency

Session 10

  1. Jon Foote is a Permaculture Consultant who specialises in the regeneration of Urban and Rural landscapes. He is passionately determined to help create communities that can feed themselves by designing food systems that will outlast the humans that plant and harvest from them, while also enhancing the eco systems in which they reside.The Centre he is developing in Dunedin spreads across 7 acres of a north/south running valley, the site will include a series of food forests, market gardens and timber crops. There will be an indoor education centre and outdoor workshop areas, demonstrating the many different methods of food production, such as stacking, guilding, hugelkultur and sheet mulch no-dig beds. There will also be an emphasis on passive water harvesting with dams, ponds and swales.
  2. Check out Jon's website-BareFoote GardenerIt has some great information related to permaculture design and some neat time lapse images of the building of the dam at the ReScape Resilience Education Centre.

Growing Fruit Trees and The Designer's Checklist

Session 11

To Do

  1. Welcome and attendance.
  2. What fruit trees and useful permaculture trees suit Dunedin's climate?
  3. Bill Mollison, who coined the term permaculture, visited Robert Hart at his forest garden in Wenlock Edge in October 1990.Hart's seven-layer system has since been adopted as a common permaculture design element.Let's get a feel for the topic and travel to Australia with this vid about a permaculture food forest.
  4. Jim Channons food forest garden
  5. Distribute class set of Edible and Useful Trees and Shrubs for the Dunedin area by Jason Ross.
  6. Discuss concept of food forest use page 2 of Jason's book for specific plants to fit food forest layers.
  7. Power point on Growing Fruit Trees/Shrubs in Dunedin
  8. What does Fukuoka say about pruning fruit trees?
  9. What is the designer's checklist?
What are your needs from your site? What resources do you have available?
  • Consider the time you are able to spend on site.
  • What are your physical abilities?
  • How much money can you spend on resources/desired elements?
  • Take your time and allow yourself some mistakes.(Use small and slow solutions.)
  • What are your long-term dreams/goals for your site.
Observe what is happening on your site. (Design from patterns to details.)
  • Use a notebook to record these observations. Pay attention to boundary areas, temperatures, winds ,the different types of living organism, anything you can notice about the site. Do this as regularly as you can and it will become a useful resource for years to come.
  • Think about our visit to Lovelock bush and how we observed naturally occurring relationships between the elements in the bush-how can you transfer these examples to your site?(Use edges and value the marginal)

For example, a pond needs: shelter from wind, some sun, a water source/catchment, plants, fish, and aeration. It provides extra humidity & light to the area surrounding it, moisture to the edges, thermal mass (holds heat & radiates it out in the evening), food & beauty. It’s needs will be met, if placed in good relationship to other elements & in return their needs will be met by it. Look at other elements that you have or need, in the same way & see how you can place them so that their needs & yields are met by each other. Cycles of energy are enhanced & created this way.(Catch and store energy)

  • Experiment with random assembly if you would like to break out of traditional patterns of thinking.
  • What type of birds and insects are on site? A heavy infestation of a particular insect indicates an imbalance which will need to be addressed using IPM. Plant health is the key here.
  • What plants are presently on site? For example, weeds can be a useful tool for indicating soil conditions. If you have chickweed or Stellaria media growing on your site it indicates good soil fertility!(Use and value diversity)
  • Have a good think about the structures and elements (present and future) on your site and consider what resources they provide and what are their needs/ maintenance requirements. Do they provide useful micro climates? How can you group certain elements together in order to maximize their functions?(Integrate rather than segregate)
  • Identify all of your resources on site as well as within your immediate boundaries to your neighbours/neighbourhood. When can these resources be collected and used, or stored for later use. For example, the stockpiling of all the tree prunings at Permagrow which can be chipped later or driven in one load to clean and green recycling station. Resources may also be available off site. For example, food scraps from Bokashi bins.(Use and value resources and services)
Sector Analysis Map

(Observe and interact.) Think of your sector analysis as what energies are affecting your site from the four different directions(north south east and west)outside of your site.See above for more detail.

Site Analysis Map
  • What is happening on your site?(Observe and interact.) See above for more detail.
Analyze elements and flow patterns
  • This exercise enables you to create the beneficial relationships that are central to good Permaculture design. It leads to a great deal of creation! These relationships echo those you find in nature. The principles of “co-operation not competition” & “observe & interact” apply here.Make a list of all the elements that you want in your design. Take each element and look at all its needs & what it gives.(Obtain a yield)After you have identified the needs and yields of all elements try to place your elements within co operative proximaty or relative location to one another and with consideration to your flow/movements.If the land you are working with is already lived on, look at how you move across it. How could this change when your design is implemented? Make the pathways multi – functional. You are a flow of energy in a permaculture system. For example,you leave the house with the compost bucket & a basket & on the way back from the compost you can collect the eggs, & pick some herbs/veges & maybe grab a few pieces of wood or kindling from the woodpile.
Zone planning

Try to include all five zones on your site even if it may take a few years to develop all zones .You may want to seek advice from your local council when you are developing or adding to plantings for your zone 5. (Apply self regulation and accept feed back)

  • Even on a small site all zones from 0~5 can be included. See “Earth Users Guide to Permaculture Design” by Rosemary Morrow for more detail. Zones are about creating & placing areas of activity in good relationship to their needs & yields.See below for specific info about zones.
Now pull all of these steps together for your final site plan.
  • You may want to use a transparent overlay or cartridge paper. Remember that your plan may take some time to implement and you may change your plan as it is implemented but your site plan will be a great guide. (Creatively use and respond to change)

Soils Improvement Techniques in the Permaculture Garden

Session 11

To Do

  • Welcome and attendance.
  • Did anyone come across any interesting guilds?A guild extends the concept of companion planting to a whole ‘community’ of plants which benefit, support and protect each other. For example, apple trees, comfrey and scented geranium and calendula all work together. Comfrey’s deep roots break up the soil; the scent of geraniums confuses codling moths and prevents them attacking the apples; and the calendulas attract good insects. All three smaller plants provide green mulch for the apple tree, and the apple tree in return drops apples and leaves that fertilise the smaller plants underneath.
  • Today we will look at soils and soil improvement techniques.
  • Show power point.
  • Returning organic matter to your soil is the best way to improve soil health and we usually accomplish this by using some sort of composting system.There is a composting system for everyone-the trick is to identify the best method for your situation. The systems we use at Otago Polytechnic include: Bokashi ,vermicomposting,container composting and industrial composting.
  • Check out this video of the construction of a no dig garden
  • Check out this video on sheet mulching
  • Kim has gathered together a wide variety of ingredients and will share her Primo Compost Recipe with students as we do a hands on composting practical.
  • Hand out on planning for a disasterWhat are some ways you could prepare for a disaster? Do you have an emergency kit? Possible activity: work with a buddy and make a list of some threats to you/your site and how would you plan for one of those possible disasters

Managing pests,diseases and weeds in the Permaculture Garden

Session 12

To Do

  • Welcome and attendance
  • Watch power point on Managing pest and disease in perma garden and hand out useful resources.
  • Class activity read Weeds:Guardians of the soil together.If time allows we will try to identify weeds in the permaculture garden and look at their potential as a resource.
  • Typical pests we may come across in a garden or glasshouse and biological control suggestions.Let us have a look at what pests are starting to get out of balance in the tunnel house and how can we control them.
  • Kim give class useful hand outs.
  • Hand in your written assessment today!


  • Find and identify a plant commonly referred to as a weed and research its virtues as a plant.
  • Finish your site plans and have ready for next week's final class.

Design Presentations and Pot Luck Celebration

Session 13



  • Introduction to Permaculture. Bill Mollison and Reny Mia Slay. Tagari Publishers, Tyalgum, Australia.1991. 198pp.
  • Permaculture: A Designer's Manual. Bill Mollison. Tagari Publications, Tyalgum, Australia. 1988. 576pp.
  • Earth User's Guide to Permaculture. Rosemary Morrow and Rob Allsop. Kangaroo Press, NSW Australia. 2006 (2nd ed.). 164pp.
  • And more books

Useful links

Movies to make you think

Course information

Workshops and talks

  1. Dunedin Permaculture - Permaculture Food Forests talk by Jason Ross on Wednesday 17 July 5.30pm, THE APARTMENT upstairs from The Malcalm Trust, 174 Princes Street.Forests and woodlands provide great inspiration in their diversity, resilience, self-perpetuation and beauty. Can we use a forest model to inspire design for integrated edible and useful gardens and landscapes? I have been inspired by this question for the last ten years. In this talk I will outline some key aspects of temperate food forest design and thinking.Jason is the Owner / Operator of Sutherland Nursery and Edible Garden Design, based in Waitati. He also works with Waitati Stores, growing vegetables, herbs and fruit for Taste Nature, Dunedin’s Organic Shop.
  2. FREE Homemade Cleaners Workshop on Wednesday 24 July 10am - 11am NEV Community Centre.Avoid unnecessary packaging and harmful chemicals in your home by making your own eco-friendly and cost-effective cleaners! Share tips and recipes for cleaning your home with your own homemade cleaners!Maureen Howard, Sustainable Living Facilitator, will share tips and recipes for making your own homemade cleaners. Please bring your recipes to share, and a couple of glass jars with tight fitting lids to take away your samples.Places on this workshop are restricted to 14 and by RSVP only. To book your place, please contact Maureen on 473 9967 or workshop is brought to you by the Dunedin City Council and Transition Valley 473.

Numeracy and literacy

  • Suggested DATS for selected sessions.

Session One

Session Two

  • This unit of study on permaculture design may involve readings and references that contain terms that are new to us,have a look at this glossary of terms related to permaculture and identify at least five terms that you are unfamiliar with and jot those down in your scrap book.For example,hugelkultur was a new one for me!

Bonus Activities

  1. Student activity:Read pages 17-26 from *Earth User's Guide to Permaculture. Rosemary Morrow and Rob Allsop. Kangaroo Press, NSW Australia. 2006 (2nd ed.)Find a buddy and discuss the topics from your readings and where possible give examples for the following concepts.Each group will nutshell their topics for the rest of the class.*Hand out activity topics that include negative and positive stories about issues facing our world,students will nutshell and present to class.
  • Group 1:Closed system and Gaia theory.
  • Group 2:Ecological footprint and Network Science.
  • Group 3:How ecosystems work and how surplus causes pollution.
  • Group 4:Food chains,foodwebs and succession.
  • Group 5:Stacking,ecotones and guilds.
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