WIN Permaculture Farm
WIN Permaculture Farm and Experiments In Permaculture

Whidbey Island Natural and Permaculture!

What is Permaculture?
Permaculture is a philosophy for life! It is a way of existing in a world where we can sustain ourselves and our communities, on Earth continually with out doing harm at the same time improving the world we live in. A philosophy first introduced by Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton. Both David Tiller and Kim Tiller are students of Geoff Lawton and Bill Mollison This is best summed up in three premises:

Principles of Permaculture

1) Earth Care - Care for the earth! Lets face it, industrial agriculture destroys the land and is untenable in the long term. Today agriculture is based on petroleum. All the fertilizers, tractors, transportation, irrigation and so on are run by oil based machinery and chemicals. Oil is running out! If we want to keep feeding our people we need to care for the land. By designing a landscape that works with nature and not against it, a sustainable agriculture system can be built that improves the land from the soil up to the tallest trees. Care for the Earth and the Earth will care for us!

2) People Care - People have value! When the basic needs of people are met then communities and cultures become permanent. Hence the name "Permaculture" or "Permanence in Culture". This means that peoples basic needs for shelter, food, employment, education, and healthy social relationships are met and stability will occur and fewer conflicts will happen.

3) Return of Surplus - This means returning the surplus back to the community and back to the earth. Abundance and knowledge should never be hoarded but given freely so that the earth can continue to create its abundance and knowledge can be given to others so they can learn how to live sustainably.

Methods of Permaculture

There are a multitude of methods used to create sustainable agriculture. Some of them range from contour trenching and swales to using perennial food forest and simple composting. In the simplest of terms is using the natural cycles found in nature to design an environment that is more productive and less energy intensive with an almost zero carbon footprint.

Experiments in Permaculture

At this time we are working to perfect some of the methods used in permaculture on a small scale before moving them to our 10 acres on central Whidbey Island. Bellow I will be creating a timeline of these experiments and put videos of our success, failures and efforts to learn more about growing food and crops sustainably on Whidbey Island and then later on our 10 acre permaculture farm near Greenbank.

August 15, 2015 - First perennial plants at David's house. Seabuckthorn! These are amazing perennials, higher in Vit-C than any citrus fruits, the oils from the seeds are extremely good for the skin and help in healing open wounds. Couldn't ask for better!

To see what the berries look like check out this link:

Novemer 7, 2015
Micro-Swales and Ditches on Contour! One of the best ways to capture water is to put ditches level across the land so that rainwater will fill them and then sink into the ground creating a lens of water underground sequestering the water that plants can use during dry weather with little or no rainfall. Cuts down on lots of well water use for gardening and helps to replenish the aquifers. The Swales are the built up land inf front of the ditches an create a great growing are in which to plant you veggies or perennial shrubs or treas!

Swales tend to be big affair for growing trees but only having 2 acres to play with I (David) dont have the room to create really large ditches and swale. Hence....Micro-Swales and Ditches on contour!

December 15, 2015 - Made a big discovery and change of plans for the permaculture gardens. Noticed that the ditches did not hold onto the water and let it seep into the ground. They just would not hold water. So I dug into the soil a bit deeper than usual and found out its all just pure sand. Not enough loam in the soil to hold onto the water. So now its on its way to being Hugelkultur beds!

See more info on Hugelkultur beds here:

Permaculture News

*Yeah the video above is a bit Woowoo, but its interresting!

January 10th 2016 - Sorry we have not posted recently. The Christmas season was really busy in the shop. I was able to work on the beds a bit more and finnish the first and start on the second. Below you can watch the progress. Also added a talk on why I do permaculture. Hope you like it!

Update! December 26th, 2016 I know its been a while but I have learned some big lessons in permaculture.

Lesson #1: It all takes time and planning! If you are just one or two people with no large earth moving equipment and only hand tools,m take it slow! If its a large projects divide it into small projects and do a little at a time. I learned this with Hugelkultur, the hard way. It takes a lot of time and physical effort to build these beds. If you can rent some equipment do so. It will save you in time and your back will thank you!

Lesson #2: Life is going to throw wrenches into your plans! So if it does not get done this year it will get done next year.

Lesson #3: Find people who feel like you do and work with them. Help them on their projects and they will likely be willing to help you with yours.

Lesson#4: Lasagna gardening is the friend of the gardener with bad soils and limited time, tools and physical strength. (Not that you won't be getting a work out very quickly!) Lasagna guarding is quick, easy and you can create lots of beds in a fairly short time with the least amount of effort. Put your gardens on contour too. You will slow water runoff on your property and sequester it in you garden beds.

Here are a couple links to some great sources on Lasagna Gardening:

1)Mother Earth News: Lasagna Gardening
2)Oregon State University
3)Organic Gardening Resource Center

Lesson#5: Horses are great sources for compost but the most expensive composters in existence! If you can get horse manure from someone elses horses your pocket book will thank you! But I love my horses just the same.

Lesson #6: Make sure your deer fencing is actually deer proof. This last year they got inside the garden and did some real damage to the fruit trees. If there is a way they will find it to get into your garden! Same goes for rabbits and mice.

Lesson #7: Have a way to store your extra vegetables before you start. You will have a surplus through the year. Make sure you have some way to store or preserve your harvest or share with neighbors or relatives. Its a shame to watch all you hard work go to waste. It happened to me!

Lesson #8: Rodents will find your squash if you leave them outside in a storage shed. Evil little creatures!!!!