The final project is due in my permaculture design class. I know this is a long post, but I wanted to share my final project and what I would be doing for the next 5+ years. Here is my project and future homestead:
The homestead section of the lot will be surrounded by a living fence (13). It will be made up of willow, roses, ash, hawthorns, spicebush, highbush cranberry, nanking cherry, smoketree, hydrangea, elderberry, forsythia, buttonbush, and dogwood. All highly recommended by a local nursery specialist in hedgerows. There is a portion of the living fence that will actually separate the homestead portion of the land from the “wild” or zone 5 portion of the land. This fence will be made of blackberries and raspberries. I didn’t want to put berries that could potentially spread near other people’s land and I wanted access to both sides of the brambles for harvest and pruning.
The house will likely be an earthbag home with some extra insulation that will be bermed into an existing small cliff. It will include rainwater catchment, passive solar heating with a backup rocket mass heater, solar/wind energy, composting toilets, greywater/greenhouse system, and any other sustainable techniques we can come up with (1). There will be a nearby outdoor kitchen (2). As long as it is warm enough, we plan on being outside to prep and cook all of our meals. The kitchen will have its own seasonal potable water supply so everything can be done outside, even the dishes. All the drains will be part of a grey water system that will water the bushes in the nearby chicken run. Finally, there will a be a rocket mass heated bench which can also function as a rocket mass stove top.
The kitchen garden will be just beyond the outdoor kitchen (3). Since the whole lot is sloped, the garden will be all in terraces. They will start out as hugelkulture beds and gradually be built up into raised beds/terraces as we build them up over the first few years. At the end of the terraces there will be a composting area. The idea is to start at the top, and rather than having to lift the compost, you just push it down to the next lower terrace. This will end in the lowest terrace where the potatoes will be grown in bins. There will be a tool shed near the garden (4).
Beyond the kitchen garden will be a forest garden (5). We will grow hazelnuts, apples, cherries, plums, berries of all kinds, and any perennial vegetables we can grow in our area. There will be swales and a walking path throughout the forest. The outer edges of the food forest will be full of more perennial vegetables and flowers. I will make a wave pattern out of these vegetables and flowers to increase the edge space and allow for easy access for harvesting. We will plant bird and butterfly gardens that will be full of flowers and bushes that the local birds and insects are attracted to. The flowers will also feed our bee hives located nearby. There will eventually be an art studio among the trees as well.
Animals will be near the food forest in order to easily bring scraps to them and to allow them to eat bugs from the forest. The chickens will have a coop closest to the kitchen garden so that we can move them to that garden to scratch for planting (6). The chickens will also have a grapevine that will provide some bugs and shade and pea shrubs for food. Next to the chickens there will be a duck area with a pond (7). The pond will be edged with blueberries and full of fish. There will also be pea shrubs and other food plants for the ducks in their pen. Once we have learned to care for the smaller animals, we will get some pigs (8). The pigs will be able to feed off of fallen fruit in the forest, which will partially extend into their pen so that they have their very own fruit trees. An option other than pigs for a larger animal would be sheep. The wool from sheep could be valuable in the colder climate we will be in.
The guest house will be a temporary living area and also practice for building (12). It will be set up very similar to the permanent house we will build the second and third years we are on the land. It will have an outhouse that will be surrounded by willows (11). They are heavy feeders that will break down much of the waste in the out house and in return give us branches for weaving. Next to the guest house there will be a natural pool surrounded by bamboo(10). The bamboo will provide us with small timber for many building projects.
Finally, the most important part of the whole project, the kids area (9). The children will have a tree house built from lumber cut on the land. We will use recycled tires to make climbing structures. There will be a large bean teepee and other food sources like a strawberry spiral throughout the play area. They will also have their own gardens to grow their favorite plants.
I would love any feedback anyone has. Thanks!