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Max Vittrup Jensen
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Bouzov, Moravia, Czech Republic
Climate Zone:
Cold Temperate

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Summery of plant guild workshop

Posted by Max Vittrup Jensen about 10 years ago

Teaching, designing and planting plant guilds into German mound-swales during a weekend course at PermaLot

This weekends course was advertised as:

"In nature, plants don't grow as isolated individuals, but they create communities - guilds of plants, among which social relationships arise. Solitude plants are more the exception than the rule. This tendency of plants to grouping, we can use in designing food gardens. The design of the plant communities is a promising new discipline with which to create a productive and diverse garden working on the model of natural ecosystems.

Want to learn plant design community - guilds of plants that help each other?

To try to plant a guild? Then do not miss this course. "

Facilitators was: 

Radka Jensen Vaculova, Max Vittrup Jensen a Marek Kvapil

www.permalot.org www.jen-sen.cz www.potravinovezahrady.cz


Course Preparation: Cleaning weeds from the german mound, scratching up the surface, making it easy for us to get down to the roots.

This photo was taken when the chickens had only been 'liberated' for 3 days: We bought them after they had spend a year in a factory farm.

[They think they died and went to paradise!]


Then we went pick up a trailer load of well composted hemp, and a few wheelbarrows full of last years sheep manure   ... and lined up the garden tools. We had bought seeds and starters + Marek and Radka each started some other plants.

Only 3 people had registered for the course; We normally cancel if there's not a minimum of 5 participants, but the weather was good, plants and garden ready so we decided to go ahead anyhow. 

Marek was in charge of the first 22 hours and had prepared a couple of .ppt shows detailing the secrets to success in growing vegetables in guilds. He then facilitated a group work where the participants designed a guild around an existing old apple tree, and modified to fit the German mound in our garden.

The theory took place in our inspiring winter garden, and Radka made sure we always had snacks and teas available; here it's millet/honey (jahly/med) balls and mint tea (mint from the garden, honey from neighbor). Marek's program also included films and a large selection of reference books available.

Part of the design process was identifying the available plants and existing situation:

After the design was made it was time to implement it.

...marigolds, beans, tomatoes, bear-garlic, narcissus, +existing sage and horse radish. Next to the trunk of the apple tree is planted lichorie which prevents green flies in the blossoms...

 A few extra bear-garlic got planted into an existing raspberry hedge...

At 5 pm Saturday we received a 5 page hand-out from Marek, said good bye to him, and went on an excursion learning about permaculture-agro design with extensive orchards on 5 hectares of landscape + how to integrate it with rules for Agro subsidies. The tour also highlighted how we cooperate with various locals in regards to horses, tractor services, bees, firewood; even sledging!  ...and told about our forest kindergarten.

The evening was spend around the camp fire with a bottle of wine and the film: "Synergistic Gardening" by Emilia Hazelip + late night talk about ecovillages, cohousing in C.R. and abroad.Following morning we did repetition of what we had learned by designing and planting/sowing the next German mound/swale, this time with onions, lettuce, carrots, green peas + there's an existing rhubarb, all of this is partly under a pear tree.  Oh; this bed got extra nutrition, as one of the chickens suddenly died and we buried it deep in the mound...

We learned a little about organic spelt sour-dough baking, had a tour of natural building elements in the buildings, another good lunch and finalized around 2 pm with 3 very satisfied participants who left with their heads buzzing with new information, ranging from children upbringing, plant guilds, building techniques to bureaucratic idiocy in C.R...


The course included many styles of learning;Lecture, video's, group work, discussion, hands-on, excursion, tasting, smelling, potential for self study...and sleeping in our straw bale cottage, which is a learning experience in itself!Our next weekend course is in 2 weeks about building Rocket Mass Heaters ...soon we'll also have a couple of weekends where you can build your own cob-bread /pizza oven and bring it home.

Look at http://www.permalot.org for more information.Here's a photo taken Sunday evening of the newly planted garden beds with the forest kindergarten cottage in the back:-Sorry; no mulch this year: We're trying to radically exterminate the slugs, with help of chickens, slugs and no mulch + clean garden.

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Consultant Aid worker Pdc teacher
My Permaculture Qualifications
PermaLot PDC 2003
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Verifying teacher: Patricia Konckova
Other Teachers: Max Vittrup Jensen
Location: PermaLot, Bouzov. C.R.
Date: Jul 2003
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Max Vittrup Jensen has permaculture experience in:
Cold Temperate
Warm Temperate

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