Reflections on my diploma journey

I have decided to finish off with a post reflecting on my diploma journey, just ahead of my final assessment later this week. I am using the 4 questions to structure my thoughts.

WHAT HAS GONE WELL?

 

  • I’ve enjoyed learning about a range of different subjects, from forest gardens, to organisational design, to working with groups of people and herbal medicine.
  • My time on the diploma has been a diverse experience for me and I’ve learnt so many new practical skills, tried out new ideas and increased my knowledge.
  • I’ve loved being able to tailor the diploma around my specific interests and needs.
  • Through the work I’ve done for my diploma, I’ve developed my environmental education business and trained as a forest school leader.
  • The diploma has directly benefitted my career path, taking me towards a really fulfilling and worthwhile career that allows me to work regularly outdoors and educating people about arts and the environment.
  • I’ve improved my health, learning more about how to eat, exercise and relax in ways that work well for my lifestyle and body type.
  • My garden is abundant and manageable with lots of interesting features and plants growing. It’s a great place in which to rest and play and educate my children.
  • I’ve learnt more about my local area
  • I’ve developed many of my personal interests and found ways to include them in my career path, ie photography, foraging, organic gardening and natural crafts.
  • I’ve found ways to structure and manage my business, helping me to overcome some of the difficulties in running a 1 person business.
  • The diploma has allowed me to devote time to myself and my own learning and development. Time which otherwise would probably have been swallowed up with the day-to-day tasks of family life.

WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND DIFFICULT?

 

  • I’ve found the diploma quite an isolating experience.
  • I didn’t really get anywhere with creating a local guild, so it was a shame not to have peers to discuss my diploma with.
  • I felt a bit ‘out of the loop’ at diploma gatherings and didn’t find them an especially positive experience. I think being a relatively shy person, its tough for me to deal with that type of enforced togetherness once a year.
  • It was difficult that I chose a tutor who lives so far away from me. It meant that contact with her was only once or twice per year and involved a 4 hour round trip.
  • I found it hard to maintain my momentum throughout the drawn out timescale.
  • I got stuck in the ironic situation of creating designs that became so successful that they left me with no time to work on my diploma!
  • I found the 5 year timescale difficult, it’s a long time to  devote to something, I wish I could have done it faster. However, my breaks in diploma work were very productive in other ways.

WHAT ARE YOUR LONG TERM GOALS AND VISIONS?

 

  • I want to continue working with my business and developing it further
  • I’ve been considering multiple possibilities for the future of MB, possibly buying or renting some land of my own.
  • I want to strive to keep a good work-life balance and not let my work life take over family life.
  • I want to feel valued in all the jobs and projects that I undertake and to make a sustainable income from my work.
  • Moving out of the city is still a possibility that we as a family return to time and again. We have family who farm in Wales, so often consider relocating to support them as they get older and less able to manage the land.
  • I want to continue developing my skills and creativity.
  • I want to work more with women and develop my retreat days
  • I want to keep spending time on my own personal development, pursuing my long-term and emerging interests in earth based spirituality, herbal medicine, yoga and meditation.

WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT ACHIEVABLE STEPS?

 

  • The very next step is to hand this in to my tutor, run through the last 5 designs with her and then address any changes that need making.
  • I’m just about to start my spring programme of Muddy Boots, so from next week onwards I’ll be working outdoors 3 days most weeks. So that is going to be keeping me busy.
  • I’ve already got ideas for additional designs I’d like to pursue buzzing around in my head, so i need to start getting these down into a notebook and working on them once time is available.
  • I need to plan my accreditation event once I know I’ve passed my assessment!
  • I want to keep tweaking existing designs and remembering to refer to them.
  • I want to begin implementating my wild and healthy design.
  • I want to keep using permaculture to guide and design my life.
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Conclusions

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My design process states that I need to return to the REFLECT stage once I’ve been once around the design process circle. I will look at the activities in this stage through the lens of EVALUATION AND REFLECTION activities and consider my learning and what my next steps will be. I am also going to use the questions I used to reflect on my ‘Natural cycles’ design, as I found them useful prompts for reflection.


EVAUATION

Define –  What decisions has this design led me to? 

  • I decided which plants to add to my garden and where they should be located.
  • I decided which plants to forage for locally.
  • I decided on a few remedies I’d like to make.

Observe – List your observations about what you have learnt and need to do next. 

  • I have managed to complete the initial designing with my 6 week timescale. This was challenging and too quick really be able to go deep with my learning. It felt rushed and I’d of rather had longer to work on this design. 
  • I have a rough plan for which plants I am going to add to my garden and where they will be located. A rough plan suits me at this stage because I really want my children’s input into this design about how to plant out their raised beds.
  • I have a plan for what to forage from my local area month by month. This feels realistic and achievable. I’m excited to get started next month.
  • I have some ideas for remedies I’d like to make. This feels like a good place to start. I’ve been on a course and done lots of book learning. The next step is to experiment with my own recipes and test them out on myself and record the results. 
  • I have made and tested some remedies already. This was fun and effective. I’ll continue using these remedies and will definitely repeat some of them in the future.
  • I have learnt lots more about using herbal remedies. I’ve enjoyed the learning element of this design but feel that I am just at the start of gaining knowledge.
  • I have learnt lots more about foraging in the UK. The course was excellent, I’ve incorporated foraging into lots of my FS sessions. I defiantly want to do more of this in the future and use more foraged foods at home, medicinally and to eat.

REFLECTION

Observe –  Looking back to the initial aims for this design, how successful have I been?

  • I will make some effective home remedies to support my family’s health. YES I have planned some remedies to make and a plan of how to source the ingredient required. I am yet to find out how effective these remedies will be. I have mainly concentrated on using the remedies on myself rather than my family at this stage. Although this is something I plan to do more of in the future.
  • I will design how to add the herbs for my chosen remedies into my home garden. YES. My rough garden plan is done and I have an implementation plan dividing up the work month by month to make things happen in a timely fashion.
  • I will find out where I can collect ingredients locally from the wild. YES I’ve observed what I can forage locally and have planned remedies around what is available. I have a plan of when to forage and create remedies. To take this design further, I’d love to look at other wild areas in which to forage and add other ingredients.

Observe – How was it using my own design process rather than a traditional Permaculture design process?

This was the second time I’ve used a tweaked permaculture design process for my own designing. I’ve liked the freedom to pick and choose just the stages and tools what suit me best. Once I’d spent plenty of time figuring out my design process, then I found it pretty straightforward and quick to use. I feel that one big failing of traditional permaculture design processes is that they don’t have a specific stage for two things. 1. Learning more about your subject. and 2. drawing out your design. By including these two stages in my own design, I’ve ensured that I am constantly gaining more knowledge with each design that I produce. And that I have a visual representation of my plans to share with others.

 Research – What help do you need to make your design even better? Where can you access this knowledge?

  • I need to learn more about producing and using herbal remedies.
  • I need to extend my foraging area to increase the ingredients that are available to me.
  • I need to action my implementation plan over this year.
  • I plan to use books, websites, online courses and people with local knowledge to help me to take my learning through this design even further.

 

 

Wild and healthy – REFINE

PLANNING THE REFINE STAGE

Design – Produce your design. Revisit your boundaries and resources, are your plans realistic? It may be helpful to present your design in a visual format even if it is a non-land based design. How could you share your design with other people?

Practical tasks – How are you going to make your design happen? Make your implementation and maintenance plans. Do the work, make your design a reality and document the process.

Tweaks – Tweak the project as you progress.


ACTIVITY FOR THE REFINE STAGE

Design

The designing has been divided into three sections;

  1. Foraging in the local area
  2.  Adding herbs and medicinal plants to my home garden.
  3. So what will I do with all these plants once I’ve grown or foraged for them?

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As per my planning, I began the design stage by looking back at my boundaries and resourses. I considered what I could use to make my designing quicker and easier. I decided I’d use annotated images taken from google maps for the local and garden mapping. I’d revist my previous garden design and use this as a base map on which to add my updated plans, thus saving me lots of time measuring and drawing another map of my garden.

  1. Foraging in the local area.

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When I was designing my forest school business, it was important to me that the woods were near to my house. I got lucky by gaining permission to use parish council woodland that I can see from my house and walk to within a few minutes. You can see the locations from the map. I decided that this was the area that i’d use for the foraging element of this design.

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This shows the rough area in which I plan to forage. I plan to use the woods, meadow, park and canal side for my foraging because I am already a regular visitor to these places and they are so convenient.

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See the text below for details of what I have observed growing in the 4 areas specified and what I plan to forage for.

  1. In the woods – Wild garlic, garlic mustard, rocket, nettles and elder.
  2. In the park and meadow – Elder, roses, garlic mustard, yarrow and nettles
  3. Along the paths – Elder, roses, nettles and garlic mustard
  4. Along the canal paths – Elder, roses, nettles and garlic mustard

2. Adding herbs and medicinal plants to my home garden.

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This map shows an aerial view of my garden and how it sits with the neighbouring properties. The length of the garden is approximately 125 foot and the width varies from 28-24 foot along the boundary.

To save time and effectively use resources, I have re-used the map of my garden that I created previously in Design 2 Food from my garden. I Have used this as my base map and added overlays for this design.

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This is my original map of my whole garden that I drew up in 2014

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This map shows an enlargement of a section of the garden that I was re-designing in 2014. This map is useful for me again as most of my current designing will again take place in this area.

 

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This map shows the tweaks that I’d planned for my garden when I updated the design in January 2015.

 

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This simple base map was created for this design and shows the major changes that have taken place in this area of my garden since my tweaks in 2015.

In summary, these are the changes that I’ve made to date before this particular design;

1. The two large beds at the bottom of the map have been partially removed and replaced with patios. They are lovely sunny spots where we enjoy resting, relaxing and cooking over the campfire. Boarder beds remain as do the large overhanging fruit trees.

2. The children now each have their own raised bed in which to plan whatever they like. All three beds have some perennial plants that are thriving and the kids plant annual flowers and veg crops around these.

3.  One of the raised beds had been removed and replaced with a chicken house and attached run. We only have three chickens now, so they need less room.

4. The large chicken shed and runs have been removed. This has opened up a large area that I have not yet planned what to do with. it may become a lawned area or maybe an outdoor kitchen or maybe a play area for the kids. This is another design in itself.

5. The soft fruit/ forest garden beds are doing well. We harvest lots of fruit from them now and I plan on continuing to work on making them even more productive over the coming years.

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This more detailed overlay shows where I plan to put the plants I’ve decided to use for this design. I’ve kept my plans quite loose at this stage, especially in the kids beds as I want them to have some input into designing these beds. I will also be adding plants to areas of my garden not included on this map. I will be adding pots of herbs in areas close to my house more wild garlic, garlic mustard, rocket and nettles around the edges of my garden, especially at the north more wild end and I will be adding Echinacea and yarrow to my flower border on the east boundary.

 


3. So what will I do with all these plants once I’ve grown or foraged for them?

Part of my design is to make my own homemade herbal remedies using the plants that I’ve chosen. Last year while I was in the thinking/ researching stages for this design, I made a few remedies. Some were made at home and some on a day course I went on about making herbal oils and balms. I’ve been using them on myself and my family over the winter months and enjoying the process of experimenting and learning.

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I made a lemon balm and bramble oil which is good as a salad dressing or a spoonful added to hot water or herbal tea. It’s good for a sore or irritated throat.

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I made this oil with rosemary, pine needles and mint (Unfortunately the label is blurred now) It’s for a chesty cough.

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My kids and I foraged for rosehips in the autumn and made loads of this rosehip syrup. Its delicious and we’ve been using it all winter when we feel under the weather.

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We made extra rosehip syrup to give away to friends and family , check out the beautiful colour!

 

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When I was ill with the flu last month it was the perfect opportunity to try out some of my planned remedies. As I was early in the design stage, I decided to start by only using remedies that I already had around my home. (using the permaculture principle of small and slow solutions) I used my stash of dried herbs to make herbal teas to help with sleep and immunity. (recipes below) I drank lots of lemon, honey and ginger tea. I’d normally add a shot os whiskey too, but I didn’t on this occasion as i was doing ‘dry-january’. I put a spoonful of pro-biotic and vitamin C powders into my drinks. I used lemon and oregano essential oils and a blend called ‘On-guard’ rubbed into my feet, my chest and added a drop in my drinking water twice a day.

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I made ‘immuni-tea’ herbal blend using elderberries, rosehips, chamomile, elderflowers and echinacea. This recipe is from a book called ‘Witch’ by Lisa Lister.

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I made a ‘sleepy tea’ blend to help with my broken nights. This included lavender, chamomile, rose and Echinacea.

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I drank a spoonful of apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning with a big glass of water. I actually really enjoy the taste and find it helps me to have an appetite wich otherwise can be low during illness.

Other remedies I am planning on trying out;

I am planning on making Elderberry syrup next autumn using this recipe here 

I will also make Rosehip syrup again using a recipe like this one here

I will make lemon honey ginger drinks like this simple recipe here

I will try the flu bomb essential oils remedies as roller balls and capsules like this one here

I will make lots of wild garlic pesto and will add other foraged green in to a recipe similar to this one

I will be experimenting with a new plant in my garden, Yarrow and using it for remedies like the one here


Practical tasks – Implementation and maintenance plans

I found that when I wrote my goal list, it turned into an implementation plan! So you can view that against the end of this post here.

I turned my goals list into an implementation plan by re-formatting it into monthly chunks. This makes it more clear to see what needs to be done and the timescales involved. I have printed out a copy of this table and am ticking off each task as it is achieved.

MONTH TASKS TO DO
FEBRUARY I will draw up a plan of how to add my chosen plants into my home garden.
I will prune my elder
I will walk the local area to look at what is growing and talk with people with local knowledge.
I will look at existing maps of my area and draw my own version showing where to find the plants I want to forage for.
I will look at prices for all items to purchase and decide on the most cost-effective way to make my purchases.
  I will complete the write up for this design
MARCH  I will look in plant and seed catalogues and order my chosen plants and get ready to start them off in the spring once the weather has improved.
I will research herbal remedies and make decisions about what I’d like to try making this year.
I will find out more about using yarrow and see if it is growing locally or add it to my garden.
I will find some good recipes for yarrow remedies
I will make my food purchases and include the food items in our diet
I will use the oils in preventative ways and as treatments when needed
APRIL I will add plants as planned in my design from April onwards
I will leave a patch of nettles at the end of my garden.
I will encourage the wild garlic, garlic mustard and rocket growing wild in my garden.
I will harvest wild greens at the correct time and add them to our diet as fresh greens, pestos and as cooked greens.
MAY I will forage for spring greens, nettles, wild garlic, garlic mustard.
JUNE I will harvest yarrow
SEPTEMBER I will harvest elderberries and process to make syrup
OCTOBER I will harvest rosehips after the first frost and process them to make syrup.

I’m not really at the stage of being ready for a maintenance plan as yet as I still have to do the implementation. So this will be addressed later on in the process.

I thought it would be useful to consider when and how I plan to evaluate this design. All my other designs for the diploma have been implemented, documented, evaluated and reflected upon. So it feels strange to be presenting this one to my tutor at this stage.

I plan to evaluate in four stages as detailed in the table below.

Evaluation stage What will I be evaluating? When will this be?
The learning stage 1.     Have I completed my wild food mentor course?

2.     Did I listen to all the herbal remedies pod-casts that I signed up for?

3.     Did I complete the spring into health course and what did I get out of it?

4.     Have I been reading my books?

Spring 2018 onwards
The planting stage 1.     Have I made all the planned additions to my garden?

2.     How successfully are the plants establishing?

3.     What tweaks did I make to the planting plan?

Summer 2018 onwards
The harvesting/ foraging stage 1.     What have I harvested from my own garden from my planting plan?

2.     What have I harvested from the wild areas near my house?

3.     Have I been using foraging in my forest school sessions?

Summer 2018 onwards
The production of remedies stage 1.     What recipes have I tried out?

2.     What herbal remedies have I produced?

Autumn 2018 onwards
The use of remedies stage 1.     Am I remembering to use these remedies when people are getting ill?

2.     How effective do I consider them to be?

Winter 2018 onwards

 

Tweaks –  I have already made some initial changes to my original plans. As I’ve got further along with the process, I’ve tweaked my ideas more to be more realistic about what time and space I have available to me.

On reflection, I decided maybe not to grow the following;

  • Eucalyptus (this is a non native tree, so not ideally suited to my back garden. I think that using eucalypts essential oils will be a better option)
  • Echinacea and yarrow ( herbal remedies will be a better option but I may add them to my garden anyway for their beauty alone)
  • Leafy greens (My chickens will eat these before I do, adding them to my weekly veg box order will be a better option)
  • I’m still not sure about growing tomatoes either as when I’ve grown these for the last few years, I have found them to be a lot of work and I’ve lot almost the entire harvest to blight at the last-minute. Once blight is in your ground, it’s very hard to grow the same plant type again without succumbing to it again.

As this project is an ongoing project that has not yet been implemented, I expect there will be lots of further tweaks to my design in the future.

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Wild and healthy – CREATE

PLANNING THE CREATE STAGE

Permaculture ethics and principles – Evaluate your ideas against ethic and principles. Use this to narrow down options and make decisions about what options to pursue.

Parts – You should now have a good ideas about what the ideas to take forward are. Consider what you will need to use to create this design.  Consider the functions required and what parts do you need to make your design work? How will these parts work together most effectively?

Goals – Set yourself goals about how this design will address your aims. Make your goals SMART so that you can see if they have been achieved.


ACTIVITY FOR THE CREATE STAGE

Apply Permaculture ethics I re-visted my research table, looked in more details at where the remedies are sourced from and accessed each option against the permaculture ethics of earth care, people care and fair shares. This led me to discount some possibilities as unsuitable and make decisions about how to pursue others. Please see the ‘parts’ stage after the table for a summary of my decisions.

NATURAL COLD REMEDIES

REMEDY PROPERTIES WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM? Conventional sources WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM?

Wild or home-grown sources

APPLY PERMACULTURE ETHICS DECISION
Vitamin C Reduces the length of a cold Citrus fruit

Tomatoes

Peppers

Most fruits

Green veg

 

Rose hips

Garlic mustard

Wild garlic

Elderberry

Wild strawberries

Lambs lettuce

Wild rocket

Earth care – Its better to use items that I can grow/ forage myself, or those that grow locally and definitely in the uk to avoid airfreight and pollution associated with travel.

People care – Consider what we like the taste of and enjoy eating

Fair shares – Buy fair-trade items and organic/ FT seeds. Only take a small amount if collecting from the wild.

Home grown Toms and green leafy veg

 

Forage for rose hips, wild garlic, mustard, rocket and elderberry

Vitamin D Reduces your risk of catching a cold in the first place. Fish

Meat

Eggs

Milk

Mushrooms

Supplements

Sunlight

Wild caught fish

Wild mushrooms

EC – Consider the sources and the production chain. Positive or negative affects on the earth?

PC – We are veggie/ almost vegan, so the meat, fish, diary and eggs are not options for us

FS – Collecting wild mushrooms is a risky option

Supplement

 

Get plenty of sunshine

Zinc Reduces the length of a cold Red meat

Chicken

Seafood

Pumpkin seeds

Chickpeas

Cacao

Cashew nuts

Mushrooms

 

Spinach EC – Consider the sources and the production chain. Positive or negative affects on the earth?

PC – We are veggie/ almost vegan, so the meat, fish, diary and eggs are not options for us

Home-grown spinach

 

Supplement

 

Plenty of seeds, nuts cacao and mushrooms brought from ethics suppliers

Oregano and/or thyme essential oil Antimicrobial and antiviral treatment Oregano

Thyme

Essential oils purchased from shops

Oregano

Thyme

 

Currently purchased from DoTerra, a company with ethics in line with permaculture, so I’m happy to stick with this DoTerra EO and add more of the herbs to my garden to use in culinary ways and as herbal teas
Cinnamon Effective antiviral and antibiotic

Relieve cough and congestion and lower fever.

 

Bark of the cassia tree

Essential oils purchased from shops

N/A Currently purchased from DoTerra, a company with ethics in line with permaculture, so I’m happy to stick with this DoTerra EO
Eucalyptus essential oil Opens nasal passages and promotes clear breathing Eucalyptus tree

Essential oils purchased from shops

N/A Currently purchased from DoTerra, a company with ethics in line with permaculture, so I’m happy to stick with this DoTerra EO
HERBAL
Ginger Ginger helps bring down inflammation, clear congestion and support the immune system. Soothes sore throats. Ginger root, fresh or powered in tablet form Will grow in the UK on a sunny windowsill To try growing it ourselves seems to fit the best with all the principles Grow it ourselves

 

Buy fresh from ethics suppliers

Ginseng Boost the immune system

Reduces length and severity of a cold

Can prevent you catching a cold

Ginseng root in tablet form Will grow in the UK outside in a woodland environment To try growing it ourselves seems to fit the best with all the principles Grow it ourselves

 

Buy fresh from ethics suppliers

Echinacea Reduces the length and severity of a cold Tablet form Roots and flower heads of the Echinacea plant To try growing it ourselves seems to fit the best with all the principles Grow it ourselves

 

Buy fresh from ethics suppliers

Elderberry Stops the cold virus from multiplying Syrup form

Tablet form

Elderberries collected from the wild and processed into a syrup EC – Collect locally from the wild from places we can walk too.

PC – Can be educational for the kids.

FS – Just take our fair share. Can I share with friends or maybe do a swop scheme with friends who are also making herbal remedies?

Collect from the wild and make into syrup
Nettle leaf It contains large amounts of vitamins and trace minerals and helps the body stay hydrated and remove toxins. N/A Nettles collected and processed EC – Collect locally from the wild from places we can walk too.

PC – Can be educational for the kids.

FS – Just take our fair share.

Collect from the wild and eat as a green veg or soup or in smoothies.
Yarrow Unsurpassed for flu and fever, and great for children. If used abundantly in tea or tincture at the beginning of an illness, it will usually shorten the illness to less than 24 hours Not commonly used but can be found in herbal tea mixtures Yallow collected and processed into a tea or tincture EC – Collect locally from the wild from places we can walk too. Add it to our garden

PC – Can be educational for the kids.

FS – Just take our fair share.

Start growing this in our garden

 

Learn about how to process and use it

Chamomile Calms the nerves, helps children sleep better and reduces inflammation or fever. Herbal tea mixes

Essential oils purchased from shops

Chamomile collected and processed into a tea or tincture EC – Collect locally from the wild from places we can walk too. Add it to our garden

PC – Can be educational for the kids.

FS – Just take our fair share.

Start growing this in our garden

 

Learn about how to process and use it

Peppermint Great for all digestive disturbances and for lowering fever. It is antimicrobial and antiviral Herbal tea mixes

Essential oils purchased from shops

Peppermint collected and processed into a tea or tincture EC – Collect locally from the wild from places we can walk too. Add it to our garden

PC – Can be educational for the kids.

FS – Just take our fair share.

Start growing this in our garden

 

Learn about how to process and use it

OTHER
Garlic Stimulates the immune system and fights the virus. Natural antibiotic, anti fungal, and antibacterial

 

Fresh garlic bulbs

Dried and powdered in table form

Wild garlic

Garlic bulbs

EC – Collect locally from the wild from places we can walk too. Add it to our garden

PC – Can be educational for the kids.

FS – Just take our fair share.

Collect wild garlic in the spring and process into pesto and freeze to have extend the season
Honey Honey has antioxidants, antiviral and antibacterial properties, boosts the immune system and soothes sore throats and coughs.

 

From bees

Purchased from shops or directly from producers

Wild bees.

Bee hive in my garden

EC – Consider the sources and the production chain. Positive or negative affects on the earth?

PC – As above

FS – try to support small local producers rather than big corporations.

 

Purchase from local ethical bee keeper
Coconut oil Coconut oil is high in lauric acid and is thought to dissolve the lipid coating around some viruses and make them more susceptible to attack by the immune system. Purchased from shops Not in the UK EC – Consider the sources and the production chain. Positive or negative affects on the earth?

PC – As above

FS – try to support small local producers rather than big corporations.

 

Purchase from ethical producer

 


Principles

So having thought more about which remedies to pursue and how to source them, I thought i’d look at permaculture principles and consider how to apply them to my ideas. As this is my final design for the diploma, I thought i’d look briefly at each of the 12 Holmgren principles, giving more or less attention to each principle as I deemed appropriate for this design. 8e6f0c5b3866e9ca6c35cabd5094326f

Principle Possible application in this design
Observe and interact Research before acting

Observe my health and the health of my family and how any illnesses manifest in us

Observe and note any remedies tried and the effects

Learn from others

Catch and store energy Harvest wild foods at the correct time for optimal potency

Process or store then to expand the season that they are available to us.

Obtain a yield Make sure I am getting useful results

Harvest what I need

Use what I produce

Apply self-regulation and accept feedback Observe and note any remedies tried and the effects

Make changes and tweaks to the design as needed

Use and value renewable resources and services Consider where I am sourcing my purchases. Is it the best source?
Produce no waste Use what I produce; don’t waste my hard work by making these remedies and then forgetting about them.

Can I double up by using this knowledge to lead wild harvesting, herbal remedy making sessions for muddy boots?

Design from pattern to detail Look at the patterns in the year when these wild foods will be available

Look at where they most like to grow in the wild and see if I have suitable niches in my garden

Consider the moon phase and when is the most potent time to harvest wild foods and begin remedies.

Integrate rather than segregate Use remedies together for maximum impact

Use plant guilds in my garden designing

Use small and slow solutions See what I already have, knowledge, books, herbs, plants in the garden, essential oils, supplements and use these first before rushing out and making purchases
Use and value diversity How do the remedies work together? Are they more powerful in union with each other?

Use plant guilds in my garden designing

Use edges and value the marginal Look to the edges of the woods, the canal towpath etc. as these are often the richest place to harvest wild foods.

Can I design more herbs into the edges of my garden, along the paths etc.

Creatively use and respond to change Observe and note any remedies tried and the effects

Make changes and tweaks to the design as needed

Respond to the season changes in my planning

Parts

For the ‘parts stage’ I looked at both of the tables above and made decisions about which elements to include in my design. The decisions I made were as as follows;

I will grow at home; I will add tomatoes, green leafy veg, echinacea and yarrow to my raised beds.I will grow pots of peppermint. I will also experiment with growing ginseng and ginger in containers on my conservatory or on our sunny patio. I will add wild garlic, garlic mustard, rocket and nettles to the wild areas of my garden. I will prune the Elder in our garden and harvest the berries from it this year.

I will forage locally for; rose hips, wild garlic, garlic mustard, rocket, nettles, yarrow, mint and elderberry.

I will purchase from ethical sources and add to my diet; seeds, nuts, cacao, mushrooms , coconut oil and honey

I will purchase from ethical sources and use as a supplement; DoTerra Cinnamon, oregano, eucalyptus, peppermint and thyme essential oils. Vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc supplements.


I considered how these parts could work together by asking myself a range of questions; 

What grows well together? Where was the best location in the garden for each plant? What can I forage for at the same time of year / in similar locations? What is the best was to make my purchases?

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I looked at plant guilds/companion planting for the new plants I was planning on adding to my garden.

I also considered where was the best location in the garden for each plant I was planning on adding to my garden.

In pots – Peppermint, other mints, ginger, ginseng

In wild areas of my garden – Nettles, garlic mustard, wild garlic, herbs

In herb/ flower beds in full sun – Echinacea, yarrow, oregano, thyme

In annual/ perenial veg beds in full sun – tomotoes, rocket

In annual/perenial veg beds in part shade – leafy greens, wild garlic,

Against boundary wall in full sun – Roses

On reflection, I decided maybe not to grow – Eucalypus (non- native, essential oils will be a better option) Echinacea and yarrow ( herbal remedies will be a better option but I may add them to my garden anyway for their beauty alone) Leafy greens (My chickens will eat these before I do, adding them to my weekly veg box order will be a better option)

What can I forage for at the same time of year / in similar locations?

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I thought about when in the year i’d need to forage for my chosen remedies.

I considered what is the best was to make my purchases? Could I buy in combination or bulk to get the best deals? I looked at adding the items required to my  6 weekly SUMA order and settled on this for now. It links back in nicely to another of my diploma designs and fits in well with my current buying habits. I will buy the essential oils from DoTerra as I already have an account with them and feel their ethics are in line with my own.

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I already have a good collection of DoTerra essential oils and will add the selected additional oils to my collection as and when I can afford them or when they are on special offer.


Setting goals

To make my goals more achievable and SMART, I decided to allocate each task to a suitable month. This became more of an implementation planning exercise than a goal setting exercise in the end.

Grow at home

  • February I will draw up a plan of how to add my chosen plants into my home garden.
  • I will prune my elder
  • March I will look in plant and seed catalogues and order my chosen plants and start them off in the spring.
  • April onwards I will add plants over the spring-summer.
  • I will leave a patch of nettles at the end of my garden.
  • I will encourage the wild garlic, garlic mustard and rocket growing wild in my garden. I will harvest these at the correct time and add them to our diet as fresh greens, pestos and as cooked greens.

Foraging

  • Before the end of Feb I will walk the local area to look at what is growing and talk with people with local knowledge.
  • I will look at existing maps of my area and draw my own version showing where to find the plants I want to forage for.
  • March I will research herbal remedies and make decisions about what I’d like to try making this year.
  • I will find out more about using yarrow and see if its growing locally or add it to my garden. I will find some good recipes for remedies
  • April-June I will forage for spring greens, nettles, wild garlic, garlic mustard.
  • May – June I will harvest yarrow
  • Late aug-sept – I will harvest elderberries and process to make syrup
  • Oct I will harvest rosehips after the first frost and process them to make syrup.

Making purchases

  • February I will look at prices for all items to purchase and decide on the most cost effective way to make my purchases.
  • March onwards. I will make my purchases and include the food items in our diet.
  • I will use the oils in preventative ways and as treatments when needed.

Wild and healthy – PLAN

The PLAN phase includes these stages; EMOTIONS, PATTERNS and IDEAS


PLANNING THE PLAN STAGE

Emotions – Use an adapted version of the six thinking hats tool to explore your emotions about this design.

Patterns – Look at related patterns in your own life and natures patterns

Ideas – What ideas do you have for solutions?


ACTIVITY FOR THE PLAN STAGE

Emotions

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I looked at the six thinking hats tool and just used the stages that felt useful to me. I focussed on the emotions that the design brought up for me; what did I feel positive and hopeful about? What did I feel fearful and cautious about?


Patterns

I considered some natural patterns that felt relevant to this design. I didn’t actually find this a very useful exercise on this occasion, so quickly moved onto the next stage. However, some useful ideas included;

Seasonal patterns – what foods are available in which seasons? How can I use effective self -care suitable to each season to minimise the likehood of illnesses occuring?

The moon cycle – Can I use the moon pattern to consider when to plant, harvest and process the plants?

Illness cycles – When do most illnesses occur? What is the cycle of symptoms within the illness?

Patterns evident in plants – Could I use a branching pattern, a web pattern, a spiral etc to help in my designing? Could I design a yes/no type path to lead to possible remedies for a range of symptoms?

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I thought about the permaculture of designing from pattern to detail and brainstormed this.

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I thought about the zoning pattern and patterns of time and applied my ideas to this.


Ideas

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This is a brainstorm I made from my initial ideas and online research.

I looked back at my research notes and  I set myself a challenge to put together a table in under two hours, listing the all the ideas for useful remedies that came up most frequently in my research .

NATURAL COLD REMEDIES

REMEDY PROPERTIES HOW TO USE CAUTION
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Vitamin C Reduces the length of a cold Take as a powder or supplement. 500-2000 milligrams every 2 hours is recommended.

Increase vit C containing fruit and veg, for e.g. oranges, kiwis, bell peppers, guavas, strawberries, dark leafy greens, papaya, broccoli and Brussels sprouts

Don’t use in high doses with children. Can cause diaherra. Best to stick to natural sources rather than supplements.
Vitamin D Reduces your risk of catching a cold in the first place. Sunlight and fish are great sources of D.
Zinc Reduces the length of a cold Lozenge at first sign of symptoms Can cause nausea and unpleasant taste in the mouth
ESSENTIAL OILS
Oregano and/or thyme essential oil Antimicrobial and antiviral treatment Diffuse or massage 1 drop onto feet in a carrier oil

Take a drop in water or a veggie capsule.

Do not use if pregnant
Cinnamon Effective antiviral and antibiotic

Relieve cough and congestion and lower fever.

 

 Mix 1 tablespoon of cinnamon essential oil with 1 teaspoon of honey and stir to make a spicy and very effective tea that helps
On Guard essential oil (DoTerra) Effective antiviral and antibiotic. Proven to kill viruses, used in numerous hospitals in the US and UK Diffuse or massage 1 drop onto feet in a carrier oil

Take a drop in water or a veggie capsule.

 
Eucalyptus essential oil Opens nasal passages and promotes clear breathing Put 4-5 drops of eucalyptus oil in a glass bowl. Add boiling water and lean over the bowl. Cover your head with a towel to trap the steam in and inhale deeply for 5-10 minutes. Repeat twice a da

 

Do not use for people with liver problems
HERBAL
Ginger and / or tumeric Both herbs help to bring down inflammation, clear congestion and support the immune system. Soothes sore throats. Drink 2-3 cups of fresh ginger tea daily. Freshly grated ginger root (about 2 teaspoons) in a cup of hot water. Add tumeric to food and drinks.
Ginseng Boost the immune system

Reduces length and severity of a cold

Can prevent you catching a cold

Andrographis paniculata, or Indian Echinacea

 

Natural Ayurveda herbal medicine that seems to stimulate the immune system

Can prevent you catching a cold

Echinacea Reduces the length and severity of a cold   Can cause allergic reactions
Elderberry Stops the cold virus from multiplying Elderberry tea or syrup Not suitable with certain medications to do with blood clotting
Nettle leaf It contains large amounts of vitamins and trace minerals and helps the body stay hydrated and remove toxins. Nettle Leaf– In a tea with Red Raspberry LeafAlfalfa and Peppermint, it makes a powerful immune supporting and illness preventing remedy.

 

Yarrow Unsurpassed for flu and fever, and great for children. If used abundantly in tea or tincture at the beginning of an illness, it will usually shorten the illness to less than 24 hours. It is especially good for fevers as it induces perspiration and is great for all childhood type illnesses It is naturally bitter, so it is often good to include peppermint and stevia leaf when making a tea.
Chamomile Calms the nerves, helps children sleep better and reduces inflammation or fever. It is also great for regulating hormones and for the skin and can be used regularly for good sleep.

 

 

Take in tea and tincture formula.

Peppermint Great for all digestive disturbances and for lowering fever. It is antimicrobial and antiviral It can be used as a tea or tincture or rubbed on the skin to bring a high fever down. It can be consumed as a hot tea or cold tea during illness in any amounts.

 

Catnip It helps induce sleep and settles the stomach As a tincture or tea
OTHER
Garlic Stimulates the immune system and fights the virus. Natural antibiotic, anti fungal, and antibacterial

 

If pregnant, only take 1 raw clove of garlic per day
Apple cyder vinegar  Make an ACV tea to sip and/or gargle. Use 2 tablespoons ACV, 1-2 tablespoons honey (to taste), lemon juice (again, to taste) and a little hot water to dilute

 

Honey Honey has antioxidants, antiviral and antibacterial properties, boosts the immune system and soothes sore throats and coughs.

 

Add 1-2 tablespoons to your ACV tea, ginger tea or just a cup of warm boiled water. Add some lemon for the added benefit of Vitamin C.

 

Do not giver honey to children under 12 months old
Coconut oil Coconut oil is high in lauric acid and is thought to dissolve the lipid coating around some viruses and make them more susceptible to attack by the immune system. When ill, take for 5-6 tablespoons per day in food or melted and stirred into hot tea.
Herbal steam Congestion and kill viruses and bacteria in the lungs, bronchial or sinuses. Boil 1-2 cups of water in a large pot. Remove from heat; add 2 teaspoons of thymerosemary and oregano. Cover for 5 minutes with a lid, and then remove lid and put face directly over pot with towel covering your head to hold in the heat. Breathe in the steam as long as you can, aim for 15 minutes.

 

Neti pot – The salt kills bacteria and the warm water flushes out the nasal passages. Nasal irrigation can be an effective way to relieve sinus symptoms.

 

Every morning and night, fill the net pot with a small amount of salt (about 1 teaspoon) in warm water to wash out sinuses.
General ALSO Reduce sugar intake, keep hydrated, rest as much as possible, keep warm, eat healthy light foods, get plenty of sleep, take gentle exercise.

 

Sources of information consulted (plus the books listed in previous post)

https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/12-tips-prevent-colds-flu-1#1

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4472/10-Holistic-Remedies-for-the-Common-Cold.html

 https://wellnessmama.com/1499/natural-remedies-for-illness/

https://draxe.com/natural-cold-remedies/

https://www.doterra.com/US/en

I also watched loads of people’s home cold remedies videos on you tube and spoke with my friend Andrea who is a Naturopath.

 

 

Wild and healthy. REFLECT

For this design I shall be following my own design process as explained in my previous post here 

The Reflect stage is made up of three activities; DEFINE, OBSERVE and RESEARCH. 

One of my aims for this design was to use a quick and efficient design process with a view to really getting down to the heart of how to approach a Permaculture design in real life. I want to continue using permaculture after I complete my diploma, and feel that the best way to ensure that happens is by developing a design process what works well for me. 


PLANNING THE REFLECT STAGE

Define – Define the problem or issue what you are working with. What outcomes or goals are you aiming for?

Observe – List any initial observations of the problem or issues that may be useful. Consider what observations may be useful to you in the designing process. Observe your boundaries and resources.

Research – Do some initial research around your problem or issue that helps to increase your knowledge of the area and may bring to light potential ideas for solutions.


ACTIVITY FOR THE REFLECT STAGE

DEFINE – This design aims to research and explore the use of wild and herbal remedies to support a specific health issue, the prevention and care of the common cold.

  • I will find make some effective home remedies to support my family’s health.
  • I will design how to add the herbs for my chosen remedies into my home garden.
  • I will find out where I can collect ingredients locally from the wild

    OBSERVE 

  • I have been observing myself and my family getting colds forever and very consciously over the last year or so.
  • I have observed a few plants that grow wild locally that I feel could help me in this design.
  • I have carried out sustained observations of my own garden, the zones and sectors, what grows well etc, over the last 10 years.
  • I thought it would be useful to observe and record any colds that occur in my family while I am involved in this design and note any remedies tried and the outcomes of that experimentation.
  • I observed my boundaries and resources in the form of a brainstorm

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RESEARCH  – A big desired outcome for this design is the research element.  I really wanted to use this design to educate myself in practical ways that can help my family.

In order to support my research, I have signed up to do a ‘Wild food mentor’ online course. I’ve been following this since late summer 2017 and working through the syllabus season by season Eat weeds academy

I have signed up for a ‘spring into health’ online course coming in March 2018 to learn more about holistic health and specifically the usage of essential oils to keep the body healthy and as a preventative measure. This is being led in part by the health coach that i’ve used before Rochelle Hubbard.

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I have signed up for a free Online Workshop with Herbalist Holly Bellebuono to learn about crafting herbal remedies.

I have done lots of online research and read loads of books around the subject, there is so much information out there its rather overwhelming. Here are some of the books that I’ve gathered on the subject and dipped into for inspiration.

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