Re: ::{permaculture}:: Base Map

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Benjamin Strosberg

Mar 6, 2008, 12:26:29 PM3/6/08

I've been a little out of the loop lately because I just moved. I am finally out on the 20 acre plot where I'm be starting this seasons permaculture project. I live here full time now. Seed planting season soon so I hope I can use this mapping/zoning idea will help figure out what seeds to order... Does anyone have advice for my next steps in a temperate zone, i.e. mapping plant beds , order seeds, germinate inside? Is that something we'll talk about later in the class?

I've been following along with all the dialog. Some jewels in there. I checked out some 3D design tools but I wasn't very impressed. The tangible map seems so true to the nature of the project though I can imagine a future with large scale permaculture being designed on a computer. As for that Second Life link you sent me Leigh... That is some scary stuff. It is pretty alienating from our earth.

For anyone who doesn't know...Second Life is a 3D role play program with a million members (residents)... It mocks day to day reality except you can do pretty much whatever you want and... oh and there is a real million US dollar economy in the game, trading hundreds of thousands everyday, stocked with digital ads and real news agencies for digital clothing companies, digital rock concerts and digital travel destinations.

It can be used as a tool, sure. To teach or to create...but it is really really scary. There's very little real connection to each other or to nature. How can anyone make the essential and joy bringing connection with the Gaia through a computer program. After reading about it I really don't want much to do with 3D computer designing. I think it tips the balance.
(note: this is all written right after the experience so I might seem to be too absolute. It is just gut feelings you might say. You see, I don't feel that from our online dialog and those people SL probably don't feel it either but some out there is stating that email dialog and classes both tip the balance.)

Anyway, I am finally finishing my base map... and don't really know how to go about my sector analysis map. Can anyone give me some pointers?

Thanks for all the good work and inspiration,


----- Original Message ----
From: Jadeapple <>
To: Permaculture Design Course <>
Sent: Thursday, March 6, 2008 11:21:52 AM
Subject: ::{permaculture}:: Re: Odonata Base Map

  Hello Peta,

  You pretty much said here what I was trying to say but much better
and more concise. :)  I still use pen and paper as a starting point
because it's totally unfeasible and silly to lug my laptop around
outside. The digital map is just basically my pen and paper work put
together in a different form and now that it's done I've printed it
off  I'm using a pencil to scribble all over it while I'm doing the
sector and zone analysis. Though I will digitize that in the same way
when it's done, that last thing I want people to think is that because
it's all computerized that I think that's somehow better and the way
it should be done.  As you said it's very personal and depends a lot
on the skills that people already have or even if they're interested
in other options if they want to take it further.
  Although I am really interested in looking at the potential for
some higher 'tech' options for the future and for people that do like
to work that way (like me) , I also understand that everyone isn't
like me and there has to be a balance and that sometimes one can get
bogged down in trying to 'bettering the how' rather then just getting
the actual actual job done in the first place.

> > Hi Everyone
> > Peta Hudson here.
> > I'm what you could call the central tutor here for the Otago Polytechs
> > Perma Design course you are all following. It's a whole new learning
> > curve for me to have a sort of virtual classroom sitting alongside the
> > one I see each week! Your enthusiasm & energy however I can feel very
> > strongly. I will write an intro soon although I think Leigh has put up
> > a long winded recording of one on the wiki site.
> > I'm a bit  snowed under at the moment (with course work in my case!)
> > but I felt I needed to address the issue that Leigh brought up about
> > the method I presented of doing base maps.
> > There are many great tools out there that are available now for
> > landscape design & as Christine says some more accessible than others.
> > Each person is unique in their needs & there is never just one way of
> > doing anything. No black or white when you are working creatively.
> > I chose to present the pen & paper method as that is how I was taught
> > & I believe that it is the most accessible way for most people who are
> > starting out with designing anything at all. I have often found in
> > various courses I have run that the first step in doing a Permaculture
> > design can be very daunting.
> > The task of learning a new skill while trying to grasp others can be
> > just a further complication.A pen & paper are low tech, easy to find &
> > inexpensive. First steps in many cases are best taken in small ways.
> > The actual on the ground exploration that needs to be done as part of
> > this process is invaluable as it literally gets you in contact with
> > your land & is further enhanced by the feeling out of the
> > microclimates. It is all part of listening to the land, your ally in
> > life.
> > Leigh Blackall wrote:
> > > I'm not satisfied with the way we are doing base maps. No offense
> > Christine,
> > > your's is way better than
> > > mine<>.
> > > It was actually your reasoning for authoring digitally that got me
> > thinking
> > > how ineffective and limited we possibly are by staying with the
> > traditions
> > > of the plan/map metaphor.
> > > I have used Google's free and absolutely easy to use
> > > Sketchup<>a bit. But I
> > > think its only available to Windows operating systems :( I'm
> > > not sure how good it is at organic shapes, but its ability to spin and
> > turn
> > > into perspective drawings could be very useful for visualising our
> > 'maps'. I
> > > have seen people start with a photo and then trace the perspective...
> > > I also wonder if GoogleEarth
> > > <>would be useful too.
> > > Similar to Sketchup, it has that 3D perspective with
> > > added features such as ready made terrain and road features, not to
> > mention
> > > the ability to share and publish what you create as a GoogleEarth
> > file...
> > > The last thought on this is
> > > SecondLife<>- which the more
> > > digitally creative among us could really loose themselves
> > > in... I have seen some amazing Youtube
> > > video<>of architects
> > > collaborating in SecondLife to build concepts up for potential
> > > or existing clients to walk in and visualise.
> > > All of these would be miles more effective than the birds-eye-view
> > tradition
> > > we are following... but all require a little more know how.. ok, in the
> > case
> > > of SecondLife, a life time of know how :) ...
> > > Just a thought, if I can find some more go juice, I may even give one of
> > > these a try myself!
> > > On Wed, Mar 5, 2008 at 3:08 AM, Jadeapple <> wrote:
> > > >  I've posted my base map on my blog.
> >
> > > --
> > > --
> > > Leigh Blackall
> > >+64(0)21736539
> > > skype - leigh_blackall
> > > SL - Leroy Goalpost
> > >
> --
> --
> Leigh Blackall+64(0)21736539
> skype - leigh_blackall
> SL - Leroy Goalpost

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Leigh Blackall

Mar 16, 2008, 11:11:16 PM3/16/08
Hi Benny, somehow this post got held up in the Google world, and I saw it was pending approval for some reason..? Maybe Google doesn't like what you are saying about computer mediated communication :)

Maybe I should meet you in Second Life and try to allay some of those concerns. At the very least, its just a different interface to the way we are communicating now (or any other communication technology before it). But a little further and we could be sharing experiences like.. watching movies together, attending conferences, talking with our real voices, showing each other pictures, and sketching up some new chicken shed idea :) There is a Permaculture conference going on in Australia this month. People flew in from all over the world burning fuel all the way. Much of what they do at those conferences is done on a daily basis in Second Life - I attend education conferences in Second Life all the time. Obviously the carbon footprint of a SL conference is a lot less, but (for the experienced) the outcomes are far better!

But, let's not get distracted by such things. We won't be using SL in this course, and you have a very real need for advice on how to choose the right seeds for your area. Jason Ross talked with us here recently, I grabbed a video of him and posted the link on the wiki. He is now also in this email forum.. maybe he will be able to help...


Mar 19, 2008, 9:00:27 PM3/19/08
to Permaculture Design Course
Hello Benny
Some strategy suggestions
1.Do you have anyone around you who grows food &/or saves seed /grows
seedlings especially organically? That would be a great place to start
finding what to grow when. Failing that good seed catalogues which
have climate zones in them will help you to choose seeds that are
suitable to your area.
2. While you are mulling over what to get you could be mapping & then
putting in the beds & getting them ready for planting. The no-dig
method is very quick once you have got all your materials together.
There are lots of ways of doing this. We will be using hay, seaweed,
leaves, compost & old chicken manure. Maybe you have good soil & so
only need to check if it needs any additions or Ph adjustments? Give
it all time to settle in, say at least a couple of weeks.
3. Get your seeds going inside if you can but be aware that if you put
them on a window sill they can become very leggy as they reach for the
light. Have you considered making a cold or hot frame? It's easy to do
from waste timber & old windows & is a good way to provide your seeds
with a light warm place to grow.
4. Plant your perennial herbs & other food plants as soon as you are
able to.
A busy time ahead eh! Hope this helps!
Cheers Peta
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