Permaculture I

Course CodeVSS104
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
  

"Interested in permaculture? A good grounding in knowledge and practice of permaculture"

Comment from an ACS students: 
"Thank you for your support and help with this course.  I have really enjoyed the assignments and I have learned a lot about the principles of permaculture." Ned, Vietnam - Permaculture course.
 
"This course was a valuable learning experience.  My workplace is slowly changing to a 'greener' approach to managing every aspect of their parks, flowerbeds & trees.  I'm trying to learn and find new ways to go 'greener' in the landscape as are many other individuals working in municipalities in Ontario.  Your course provided me with a basic foundation to start and I'm looking forward to the rest of the Permaculture course.  Feedback was very specific and easy to follow." Bernice Radtke, Canada - Permaculture I course.

COURSE AIM

To develop the student’s understanding of how to plan and develop a self sustaining, environmentally stable productive garden based on the patterns which occur in nature.

WHAT IS PERMACULTURE?

Permaculture means Permanent Agriculture.  As the name reflects Permaculture is a philosophy and a practical approach to developing and designed sustainable human settlements.  Permaculture brings together many different disciplines such as biology, agriculture, plants, animals, humans, ecology, soils, microclimates together to form a unique and visionary approach to many of our current global issues.  Developed by Bill Mollison, permaculture is the way of the future and brings many timely answers to those searching for a better way to live.

Lesson Structure

There are 5 lessons in this course:

  1. Permaculture Concepts
    • Life Ethics
    • Permaculture Defined
    • Guiding Principles -relatve 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
    • Evapouration
    • 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
    • Interelationships 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

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Discuss the nature and scope of Permaculture.
  • Apply an understanding of environmental systems to considerations given to how a Permaculture system is designed.
  • Describe soils and the impact their characteristics have upon natural and man made environments.
  • Explain the application of this knowledge to Permaculture.
  • Describe characteristics of climate and water, and the impact their characteristics have upon natural and man made environments.
  • Explain the application of this knowledge to Permaculture.
  • Describe forest systems and their relevance to Permaculture design.

What You Will Do

  • Develop a good understanding of the scientific system of naming plants.
  • Discuss some of the aspects which play a part in permaculture.
  • Describe how permaculture is different to other forms of horticulture and agriculture.
  • Visit an outdoor environment area determine what relationships the living and non‑living things might have with each other.
  • Explain how a permaculture system operates. Considering: -Relative location -Multiple functions-Multiple elements-Elevational planning -Biological resources-Energy recycling -
  • Natural succession -Maximise edges-Diversity.
  • Determine some of the characteristics of soil samples collected by you.
  • Explain contour maps and how this information can be used to estimate potential effects on plant growth.
  • Explain the relationship between soils and plant growth.
  • Research different ecosystems such as arid deserts, savannas, mangroves, etc.
  • Explain weather patterns in your local area. Determine why this knowledge may be important to the permaculture practitionist.
  • Explain water within an ecosystem or permaculture garden and its application.
  • Describing the microclimate of arid classification.
  • Describe the differences between the three main types of climate zones such as Tropical, Temperate and Desert and briefly give your views on what major differences would need to be taken in establishing a permaculture system in each climate zone, compared with the other two.
  • Consider the impact of plant communities on each other and to the rest of the ecosystem.
  • Determine the effects of light, rainfall, wind, leaf litter, etc, on the growth of the plants you observed.
  • Explain the importance of trees in a Permaculture system.

What Land is Suitable for Permaculture?
 
Permaculture can be carried out on any land that has the capability of growing plants and animals. If the land does not naturally grow them well, you it may be wise to undertake some land improvement. Even the steepest land and poorest soil is often capable of growing something though -it is simply a question of selecting something appropriate.
 
If you are buying a new property, and have some choice as to what you buy; consider the following.
  • COST ...  select land which is affordable
  • .LOCATION ... select a district first (eg. Gold Coast, northern Tasmania, central highlands of NSW, etc).... select features of the land which is suitable (eg, slope, soil type, frost factors, etc.)
  • SIZE ... be practical - it is very difficult to fully maintain and control a large piece of land.... select the size of land which is affordable.

When the above are determined, select about three sites that best suits your requirements.

Now you need to assess each of these properties to determine the best for you. This may involve "homework". The following checklist may help in you decision process:

Information that may be helpful:
  • Potential resources - timber, minerals, etc maps from Lands Dept
  • Shape and size of land, easements, etc Title deeds, Real Property plan
  • Natural problems - floods, cyclones, etc Local council, Dept Primary Industries
  • Water catchment: quality/quantity Contour maps, water board
  • Soil Dept Primary Industries, soil maps, council
  • Aerial photos Sunmap, Lands Dept
  • Available utilities Council, SEQEB, Telstra
  • Zoning - present/future Council Town Planning
  • Roads - present/future Department of Transport
  • Wind,rainfall,temperature Bureau of Meteorology
Before commencing to design any property development the following on site features should be assessed include: 
  • Creek access potential water source
  • Resources timber, stones, clay, etc
  • Soil pH, structure, texture, depth of topsoil, etc
  • Existing Plants - good plants, bad plants, health of plants
  • Signs look for activity of domestic and native animals on the property
  • Water catchment look for size of catchment, areas for dams, signs of erosion, storm damage, springs, flooding
 


Credentials

ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development
ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development

Member of the Institute of Horticulture Careers Advisory Bureau
Member of the Institute of Horticulture Careers Advisory Bureau

Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network
Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association
Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association

ACS is recognised by the IARC
ACS is recognised by the IARC



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  Robert James

B.App. Sc. (Horticulture), Dip.Ag., M.Sc., Grad Dip.Mgt. Over 50 years experience that includes, Nursery Manager Brisbane City Councoil, Grounds Manager (University of Qld), Lecturer Qld Agricultural College, Propagator/Nurseryman at Aspley Nursery, Horticulturist, Horticultural Scientist, and Horticultural Consultant
  Adriana Fraser

Over 30 years working in horticulture, as a gardener, propagator, landscape designer , teacher and consultant. Adriana has spent much of her life living on large properties, developing and maintaining her own gardens, and living a semi self sufficient lifestyle. She has decades of practical experience growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs, and making her own preserves. She is well connected with horticulture professionals across Australia, and amongst other things, for a period, looked after Australia's national collection of Thymus. Advanced Diploma in Horticulture, Advanced Certificate in Horticulture.
  Diana Cole

B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C. In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). Active in many organisations including the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
  Martin Powdrill

25 years working in Telecommunications, IT, Organisational Development, and Energy Conservation & Efficiency, prior to setting up his own Permaculture consulting business. Martin has a Bsc (Hons) Applied Science (Resources Option), MSc Computer Studies, Permaculture Design Certificate. Martin volunteers with many local environmental and community groups, and facilitates discussions on climate change, peak oil, and transition towns. Martin has an allotment, and is currently enrolled in the Scottish Mountain Bike Leader Award programme. Martin’s goal as a catalyst for sustainable change brings together his strengths and experience in his environmental, project management, and business backgrounds.
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