3 Keys To Proper Planning


By: Mellisa Jonas-Hill, OBM, Permaculture Hub International

A while back when Steve, founder of Permaculture Hub International, got passionately engrossed with Permaculture. I, being a devoted wife, said to myself, “This too shall pass.” I thought it was a dad that he’d grow out of after a few months. As the months dragged into years, I began to see that he was not getting over petmaculture, but getting more deeply involved.

So, not wanting to be left behind, I too, begin a journey down the road of Permaculture that has intrigued me and baffled me. When I got started practicing these principles, I killed everything!  I got stuff all backwards,  planted in the wrong time of year. OH MY WORD, women, listen to this if you seem to have a brown thumb! If you plant while on your period, FORGET SEEING ANYTHING GROW! This was my main problem. Some women don’t have that effect on plants, but some do. I was all thumbs! 

I dug my first “swell” not completely on contour and it looks like A big ditch. So I tried to cover my ass by malong it into a hugelkultur bed. Then I discovered if you wait too long to bury the thing you may loose your dirt!  I enjoyed my mess ups. They give something to look back on and laugh. 

I sheet mulched for the first time this year. As part of the compost I put in grass that had already went to seed. So my new flower bed has grass now. Yep, I was impressed at how much greener my sheet mulch grass is than the non sheet mulched grass. My flowers came up too, along the rotting potatoes which were part of the compost  (my desire to get the children involved for the wrong compost bucket into the sheet mulch). They grew too! 

Although my attempts to show my community that Permaculture works even when you mess up, my devoted husband just smiled and said, “Better try again.” I won’t  even go into my herb spiral attempt…..

Through all this trial and error, I learn some keys to planning and executing that have gotten me to be more productive, have more fun, and learn more.

1. Plan on PAPER. I write out my plans now. I make sketches, get growing times written out, plan out micro climates, etc. If you put all your ideas down on paper it’s there when you need it. In the winter when I do less outside I plan. 

I have a plants I’d like to grown notebook. In here I write down the plant, it’s season, growing times, where to buy seed, conditions needed, companion plants, any special notes or ideas, etc.

I also have a masterlist of plants and where they are planted. I try to take notes on what went right and what went wrong, because that really helps the next year’s plants. 

In order to make your life sustainable and regenerative you have to plan. That doesn’t everything will go as planned and that is where the next step comes in.

2. Prepare for the worse and jump for you when you get better than your worst. I guessthus is why I laugh so much at my first attempts to practice what I was leatning. I thought to myself, ” What is The worst that could occur?” When that did not occur I could breath easy. I knew I was prepared physically and mentally for the worst.

This also includes knowing your obstacles. Will people muck up the works? How can you get the mist resistant person on your team to work willing? (As a mom, this is the KEY to getting this done) You are only as strong as your weakest link!

3. Motivation. You have to be motivated to plan.I motivate myself to plan by getting leverage. I show myself the worst case senario that I am not willing to endure and then I paint the opposite in my mind. I link my emtions to these two pictures. I visualize the finished project and how it will make me and those around me feel. Every time I get anxious, off track, or frustrated I take a moment to Renner the end result and the result of NOT getting there. Then I pick an item that I can take action on right then and there and DO IT! I don’t let myself wallow in my pity party for too long, maybe 90 seconds! 

Remember,  your first attempts will not be perfect. Permaculture is a very forgiving practice. As long as you are seeking to improve the land and realize you have a lot to learn, you will do FINE.

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Peace, Joy, and Abundance to YOU

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