Permaculture Literacy – HHA

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16 Comments

  • Lea Usinger says:

    I really like this concept and everyone’s comments. I was able to learn a bit this spring when certain “invasive” species showed up on our land, only one is problematic, (Japanese Knotweed along part of our home foundation; it’s known to destroy foundations and we have some issues with the foundation leaking on the side they are growing) while the others are minor issues overall if any, like a Siberian Pea Shrub we have in the front yard (it was the first plant with flowers this spring and the bees and hummingbirds loved it, and the pods and seeds are also edible for humans. Even the knotweed is edible and I plan on leaving the few plants away from our home as an easy food source and just try to keep it from spreading anymore. They may be invasive but we didn’t want to get rid of them as we noticed they are very useful plants for both us and the pollinators, and as long as we make sure they don’t spread/take over, they’ve mostly been a good surprise and addition for our land.

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    • Jesscy says:

      {HHA Coach} Japenese knotweed is known for it’s Lyme healing abilities among many other awesome medicinal benefits! 🙂

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  • Carol Yip says:

    James, you commented that our choice to not overly think/limit ourselves to what plants that might be labeled invasive, as to say that we limit ourselves due to human needs. I would like clarification. When i think of ‘invasive species’ i think of species like the English Ivy that has become invasive here and it ends up choking the native trees species and takes over an area because it has no natural enemies so to speak and it is a plant that really took hold because humans choose it as a plant for their own superficial needs. Sure it adapts and through time, with survival of fittest in mind, the local ecology adapts but that is not to say it doesn’t first potentially kill off or drastically negatively affect local species that it wouldn’t have had issues if it wasn’t our own doing. It is one thing where birds or other animals bring in an alien species but i just feel humans having the “power” we do, should take steps to step back and think about our choices a bit more than we do. I mean, really, we wouldn’t be having the issues we have today if it wasn’t our less than thoughtful choices. Perhaps I am over-thinking, but I can’t help but look at the affects we have, not even realizing it. Then another prime example that jumps to mind, though not directly plant related, Hawaii, they had a thriving bird/plant environment evolved over who knows how many millennia, but then Europeans come with their rats/mice. So then to try to rectify, we brought in another alien, the mongoose, which ended up demolishing the bird population as they ate their eggs that they had no natural defense them. In turn affecting the plant species that rely on certain birds to propagate. It just makes me nervous to not learn from our own history and bring in an alien species, not knowing if it will become detrimental to the existing environment. Sure, the majority of the alien species will not be adaptable to the local environment so would likely not take hold but, I guess I would just say we should be cautious and be more vigilant in our tracking of what the plants be bring in does and then be able to keep them from spreading on their own.

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    • Jesscy says:

      {HHA Coach} Hey Carol! Great insight. There are countless examples of where invasive species really are just that! But there are equally as many examples of where a species deemed ‘invasive’ has been turned around and rectified for the many uses that they can provide to the existence of the ecosystem they’re involved with. I highly recommend you check out a man named Pascal Baudar as he’s done amazing work raising awareness for how we can reclaim & use plants labeled as ‘invasive’. By strict definition, yes. They’re invasive. But they can also be highly useful and can be managed through the many ways in which we can incorporate them into our lives. This is not to say we should be disrespectful or harmful with our choices. You’re right that we need to be responsible with our planting and harvesting. However ‘invasive’ isn’t all bad!

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      • Carol Yip says:

        Thanks Jesscy, I do agree, just like everything in life, we can’t lump everything into a good vs bad category. I guess i would just feel better if the responsibility part is addressed in the session. Like they say for those who harvest wild, research, research, research before trying yourself. You can’t as readily undo what you eat/plant if it doesn’t work, when you can prevent by a little research first. If not native, research how the plant for all it’s pros and cons and be prepared to tackle some of the cons to build on your educated decision, vs a whim like “this plant looks great, let’s just try it… it’s a steal!” Though, i get James’ message is to not be scared off by something not being native. I do agree to that.

        Thanks for the recommendation to look up Pascal Bauder! Will do!

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    • Emily Crocker says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who was thinking this! As harmless as barberry may have appeared at the time, it ended up as breeding grounds for ticks that carry Lyme disease here in New England. I’m very picky about introducing “non-natives” to my garden as I already have a forest of invasive ailanthus that will never go away!

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  • Ashley Scripture says:

    Hi, I’m really enjoying the courses so far, thank you! I have a question that I’m not sure where to ask but it’s about poison ivy…it’s all over my yard and I have a toddler that I don’t want by it. I’m in zone 6a and it keep popping up as fast as we “get rid” of it. I want to work in harmony with nature but I’m also highly allergic to it. We’ve used a vinegar/salt mixture to try and eradicate it. I’m worried to plant on top of areas that we’ve applied this mixture and would you even recommend planting over it unless the roots have been pulled out? Do you have any better ideas for eliminating it? Thank you kindly!

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    • Jesscy says:

      {HHA Coach} If you have access to goats, they’re an incredible resource to eliminate poison ivy once and for all. If you’re unable to keep goats permanently as part of your permaculture process, look into rental goats in your area….yes, that’s a thing! 🙂

      Also, never fear! The vinegar/salt weed eradicator will be rendered useless after a good rain or a few weeks of dew, so if it’s working for you, keep it up and plant right over the top of it with your desired plants. You can look into a super weed killer that is made from citrus oils as well that has more ability to damage the root systems. There are a few different brands, but one of them is sure to be available to you in your area.

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  • Khari Jackson says:

    Really appreciated your take on invasive species. I always thought that term “invasive” was a bit condemning, perhaps humans projecting our own habits onto flora and fauna without seeing the bigger picture. I just loved how you redefined it to climate adapted! I’ve been thinking a lot about what I will grow on my farm and have taken issue with limiting it to just “native” species because I’m aware that even some native species at one point weren’t and “nature” have a flow and evolution to it that humans could really learn from and reconnect to! Native to WHEN. Perfect question! Gosh, there are so many possibilities once you get out of such limited thinking! I love this lesson!

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  • Todd Barber says:

    Just curious… with regards to ecological succession and “deserts once being a forest” as well as “forest once being a desert”… what would cause a fungi dominant closed loop natural forest to ever become a desert? Only by a Natural disaster? or is there a slow degradation occurring in a naturally established forest?

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    • Bret James says:

      Great question Todd! So natural disasters can alter landscapes, but often not so bad that it resets the ecological succession in the area entirely. Think of a volcano explosion – it might decimate 1000 acres of forest land around the volcano, resetting that area, but the forest in general will remain in tact. And with that being the case the area that was wiped out would restore quicker. Another example might be the extreme forest fires happening in the western US mountains. Since these fires are so extreme nothing survives and the topsoil erodes away leaving basically a mini deserted area for a period of time. On the large side / more permanent side, think more in geological time scale – for example North America used to be at the equator and was tropical. Then it shifted northward and became a desert for an extremely long time, and as it shifted to where its is today it has become temperate forest, desert and grassland. So it’s the really big events, like plates shifting, that can shift an ecosystem from established and functioning back to a desert in totality.

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  • Noel King says:

    I loved this lesson! I always felt that nature had a lot more to do with such diverse landscapes than humans ever did. I find it difficult to swallow, “This such plant can’t be brought to where you are because it could become invasive,” when we have purposely destroyed much of our own landscapes far and wide to grow a singular plant for many acres. Not only have we excluded the introduction of a new plant to an area it may not have been, but we then have also forcefully removed all other naturally growing and working together plants in that area. Obviously ruining any natural habitat for the animals.

    This gives me hope the southern Arizona landscape could vastly improve, hopefully before any more aquifers dry up. This lesson, along with Lesson 3.11, is very inspiring and freeing me of guilt of planting anything that isn’t ‘native’ to the area. I’m very excited to purchase some land, my HOA ruled yard may force to to get rid of my chickens, along with any plants I have planted in the ground. Maybe then I can work on my own little piece of restoration and show others how productive the land can be, even without much water.

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  • susan tupper says:

    I liked this redefining of native plants cos many governments don’t allow other plants as they may become invasive species. However, with the world getting smaller as people travel so easily, we see so many ecosystems or climates that are similar in different parts of the world and esp. with food plants, I wish they would not be so strict cos some plants would thrive if introduced and provide sustenance to many. Sometimes, I wonder what would happen if I smuggled seeds of plants I know would grow in the south pacific but are not allowed in – many of which grow in south america, africa, and asia, which we do not have yet we have the same climate! On the other hand, we have plants like mangoes and jackfruit that were introduced by the British in the 1800s from India and they are okay and considered native now! With food shortages being a real issue, I think this really needs looking at, like that Russian plant being more beneficial even though it is not native to the region..

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