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Tour of Will Hooker's home, part 2

Will Hooker's houseAs I delved into the next round of permaculture lectures, it became clear that the professor had included some topics out of order to fit his field-trip schedule.  Since we don't have that restriction, I recommend you skip around with me and watch lectures 5, 11, and 12 as a set before moving on to lecture 6.

Lecture 11 should really have gone along with the slideshow tour of the professor's urban homestead since this later "lecture" is a field trip to the professor's house.  You'll end up seeing some of the same information over again, but lecture 11 adds in Hooker's wife's perspective, and you also learn more specifics about variety selection (Black Mission is his favorite fig) and design.  (Keep in mind that varieties that work well for him are more likely to suit your homestead if you live in an urban environment near Raleigh, North Carolina, which is in zone 7b.  Some of his favorites have failed miserably for us here in rural zone 6.)

My favorite part of the tour was the twenty minutes Hooker spent in the chicken run (starting around an hour and four minutes into the video).  I'm still working on the best way to match chickens up with compost, and I liked his method of keeping an open-topped compost bin in the chicken run and just letting the chickens hop in and eat what they want.  Although pastures provide more food if you have the space, Hooker's mulched yard also Chicken compost binlooked very effective for the urban environment.  He provides about 10 square feet per bird, keeps the whole area mulched with straw, then rakes out the mulch every two to four weeks to use on the garden.  Finally, he has planted peaches, figs, and kiwis in the run, protecting the last with 3-foot lengths of black PVC pipe, which keeps chickens from eating the tender vines and also protects their bases from late freezes.

Stay tuned for my next post, which will cover lectures 5 and 12, and also the reading for this section of the course:

  • "Orchards, Farm Forestry, and Grain Crops" in Introduction to Permaculture.
  • "Growing a Food Forest" in Gaia's Garden.

  • If you've got the space to graze chickens, my 99 cent ebook Permaculture Chickens: Pasture Basics will save you years of trial and error.


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