Online PDC Has Me Talking to Myself

No… that is not an over-zealous 4.5 meter diameter plumbago bush monster you have to remove from your garden there. It’s a wind break, self-mulching trellis when you cut a path through the middle, perhaps line with an arched walkway for access if you want to get fancy and plant a hardy kiwiberry and black passionfruit vine on each side, to grow all over both sides. You’ll have plumbago flowers to draw pollinating beneficials by the thousands and beautifully shaded root shelter for your fruit crops.

Yep… that water harvesting obstacle the plumbago posed earlier is history… because the shaded, mulched pathway which is also a mulched channel to micro-swale behind, is sinking the water quicker than you can say ‘pass me the hose.’ Both halves of the plumbago have enough suckers to keep it alive indefinitely, so the pollinators and mulch are free. If the plumbago dies in the seven years projected lifespan that an average fruiting vine has, then you’ll still have your trellis greened up by the vines and the makings of a hugelculture bed, great soil and the benefit of five years of fruit behind you. Problem solved and less work than ‘machete-ing’ your way through the lot and the ‘bother’ of composting it down. There’ll definitely be an extra stacked function along the way too I’m sure.

This is just one of the brainwave conversations I’ve had with myself and implemented in my own garden, since finishing my online PDC with Geoff Lawton nearly two months ago. I had read the books and ‘practiced my version of permaculture’ for 20 years in my own suburban garden before doing the online course. I can say without hesitation I would not have come up with this idea beforehand, because I would not have been thinking of water harvesting in the way that led me to it.

When you pay for this course, you pay an investment in time and money once, and get a foundation groove in your brain, that keeps you thinking differently forever. You never stop learning and you want to help others through your designs.

Yes designs. I didn’t try to get my first design job. It came to me because I just talked about permaculture, which I now feel confident to do. It’s hard not to absorb the infectious passion Geoff projects in his course. In his courses you benefit from over 30 years hands of experience and the mastery he brings to the table — your table if you have reliable online access and average computer skills.

That was the convenient beauty of the online PDC for me. I found this format hands-on while being able to attend to my workplace training business and family needs. I would watch Geoff on the weekly lectures and Q&As, do the readings, then think "how could I apply that (topic) right now in my system?" I’d then be out in my garden as soon as I could to design in, or maybe ‘install’, the brainwave. I could check an idea or understand a point Geoff was explaining at a convenient time for me. The videos included of expert permaculture systems at Zaytuna, Tagari and various project sites Geoff has around the world, was in a word, superb. The online support team and 2013 veteran students assisting us along the way were awesome.

But umm… excuse me if I now get back to work in my garden. The rain is finally falling and I need to observe what’s happening in the back swale, pebble water channel and dry creek bed with frog pond. It’s addictive…. Seriously, who needs umbrellas, or other people, in the conversations I’m about to have with myself?

The monster plumbago before its permaculture renovation,
and an unmulched water harvesting micro-swale in front.

Not much yet, but these are strategic plantings of two fruit vines in the two halves of
the divided plumbago ‘trellis.’ The prunings provided course mulch material for a micro-swale
against wind and evaporation in front on the lawn side. The walkway/channel will join other
water harvesting ideas once mulched heavily, in a system that swings round behind the shade
of the bush, hydrating previously dehydrated, wind-sheared sections of the garden.


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