Session 7
Presentations of Goals Statement for Projects
Major Sustainable Gardening and Growing Practices

  • Storing your resources – water (rain catchment - rainbarrels, living roofs, keyline planning), erosion, top soil (mulching techniques, irrigation techniques, living mulches, interplanting, etc.), carbon saving/sequestering, nitrogen  
  • Laying out the growing beds – contour planting/raised beds/no till
  • Space – vertical growing, container growing
  • Creating top soil from subsoil
  • Insectaries
  • Alley cropping
  • Companion Planting
  • Crop Rotation
  • Green manures and cover cropping
  • Succession planning
  • Diversity
  • Time of Day
  • Reducing exposed soil

Overview of Popular Styles of Organic Gardening

  • Biodynamic
  • Biointensive / French Biointensive
  • Maraîchère (French Market Gardening)
  • EM (Effective Micro-organisms) Agriculture
  • Lasagna Gardening
  • Square Foot Gardening
  • Strawbale Gardening
  • Holistic Management - Resting and disturbance periods
  • Taking what makes sense and using it appropriately

Hands-on Spraying of Biodynamic 500 prep
Herbs for Homesteading – overview of herbal techniques/infusions (tincture, tea, salves), supporting the humans, the animals, the plants, the bugs, the soil.
Herb Walk

Session 10
Connor Stedman talks on Agroforestry and Forest Farming
Afternoon: Mushroom Growing – Shitake in hardwood (oak, maple) logs, Oyster in soft-hardwood (popular, tree-of-heaven), Reishi in Cherry, Maitake in ground in live oak roots, and agaricus (winecap, button, portabello, crimini, etc.)
Methods - Drilled Logs, Totems, Buried, Chip Beds
Hands on – inoculation of logs (extra certified organic sawdust spore to take home)


Session 12
Ashley Rossi – Water
Sources of Structured Water (Mercola)
Weed Walk

Session 9

Natural Building and Sustainable Living Techniques
Ben Tyler of Unadilla Community Farm
Alternative Cooking Techniques – Bread Ovens, Solar Ovens, etc. 
Clay Building – Jar Test – Searching for clay


Session 13

The Animal Element – husbandry practices

  • Deep Bedding
  • Holistic Management
  • “Tractors” and moveable fencing

Chickens and poultry (eggs and meat)
Sheep and Goats and Rabbits
Cows – Beef /Dairy
Wild Animals
Community / Social Permaculture
Ecovillages to Time Banks and Community Gardens

Intentional community overview

Note - Content and order of sessions is subject to change to accommodate our Guest Teachers' schedules as well as to make the experience better depending on weather factors....

Participating in a PDC is to make a big step toward changing your life - moving toward abundance and self-sufficiency....

Session 5

Project ideas – overview of grants available and how to develop a business plan
Seed Starting – propagating the annual garden
Timing of various plants – when I plant seeds, days to harvest, etc.
Indoor seed germinating and growing out set up (lighting, temperature, water, air flow, tough love)
Starting flats – what works best 
Fungal diseases and other issues – using herbs
OMRI certification – how do you know a product is actually organic and clean?
Soil to use
Timing – biodynamic astrological calendar
Direst seeding
Sourcing Seeds – heirloom, open-pollinated, hybrid, GMO
Saving your own Seeds with Alison Hosford
Choosing crops to grow – grow what works – spinach alternatives

Updated syllabus/Outline of our Permaculture design Certificate Course Sessions

Please note that PDC Courses tend to evolve as they progress, taking into account student interest and seasonal considerations and opportunities that arise in nature for hands-on experiences. 

So this outline is most likely going to change. It might be considered stagnant if it didn't! 

Session 14

Project presentations
& Celebrate!

Session 1

Overview – What is Permaculture?
Sustainability vs. Rejuvenating / Rescuing / Restoring / Regenerative Ag
History of Permaculture
1491 – Ancient and prehistoric agriculture
Classic books on permaculture
Three core tenets
Observation / Site Analysis (Shadow mapping, pattern awareness, edges & spirals, SWAT, needs and yields analysis,
Intro to gardening styles
Touring this farm / What we’re doing on the farm now in early autumn
Garlic and Shallots / Fall vegetables and greens
Fall propagation techniques
Opportunities for group ordering – Trees, berries, etc.

Session 6
Food Preservation – overview by Joe Sellers
Making Sauerkraut –Lacto-fermenting


Session 11
Touring Greenhouse and Farm and reviewing the sustainable gardening techniques
Discussion and hands-on work in garden
Homestead energy flow from The Resilient Farm and Homestead by Ben Falk
Berry Growing & Propagating  – strawberries, raspberries, black berries, blueberries, mulberries, elderberries, currants and gooseberries, gogi, seabuckthorn, figs, service berries (juneberries), bayberries, grapes, hardy kiwi, barberry, etc.
Overview of fruit growing and orcharding – maintenance, pruning, propagation, guild development, biodynamic treatments,
Overview of amendments you may want to bring into your farm or garden or have on hand for emergencies (vs. complete sustainability)
Soil Testing
Overview of synergistic cycles
Art of Soil Building

  • Biointensive methodology broken out  (John Jeavons)
  • Composting methods
  • Hands-on building a biodynamic compost pile using energetic preps
  • Compost Teas (manure-based and herb-based)
  • Biomass
  • Aquatic plants
  • Weeding techniques
  • What different weed species tell us (weed walk)
  • Types of Green manure and cover crops
  • Using Inoculants
  • Growing mushrooms for soil
  • Biochar

Plants for riparian areas, rain gardens, water filtration (wetland native plants)
Fish water as a fertilizer
Farming fish
Picking a species – tilapia, catfish, crayfish, cold water species
Set up details and instructions
Alternatives to “fish chow”
Water filtering – personal-size, moringa, processing water through tubs of plants (reed filtration)


May – Project exploration/development – Personal Sessions

Session 2
Reviewing student preliminary site analysis – start creating map for design process
(define hardscape, softscape on single map; permaculture zones)
Define difference between site analysis and site design – The Design Process
Mid Autumn – very interesting time period – What we’re doing now

  • Garden clean up
  • Leaves – composting, poultry runs, mulch, etc.
  • Manure spreading (Aged manure vs composted manure)
  • Mushroom harvesting
  • Planting perennials, shrubs, trees, berries, etc.
  • Overview of endangered native species - Planting endangered medicinal native herbs.
  • Trees for harvesting – overview of nuts trees, oaks, (balanoculture vs biome of a single tree or plant stand (oak, milkweed)
  • Perennial vegetables – quick intro
  • Planting quick growing cool weather greens
  • Harvesting herbal roots – for medicinal use and divisions for replanting
  • Watching for frost – bringing in tender perennials – how to get plants through the winter
  • Still propagating in greenhouse – cuttings and seeds that need stratification

Ecosystems / Biomes / Micro-climates / Climate / Windbreaks
Re-creating stability – diversity and biomass
Stacking and Layering
Guild Building
Extending your harvest on the 41st parallel

  • Light hours vs temperatures
  • Solstices
  • Cold hardy growing
  • Succession planting
  • Second spring
  • Protected cultivation

Winter prep of garden, compost, animal housing



Session 4

Beekeeping - overview of what we do ….
Forest Farming
Creating a “food forest”
Forest (Shade-loving) harvestables
Farmscaping as another way to view/develop your designs/earthworks
Forest regions, succession of forest types, overview of common Eastern North American forest types
What’s happening in eastern forests now – species succession
Forest soil
Overview of Nitrogen
Nitrogen fixing trees
Mycorrhizal fungi networks
What is carbon sequestering? Carbon cycle
Photosynthesis with Elise Ferencyvich

Session 3
We’re moving from evaluating and analyzing a piece of land to designing an ecosystem that will provide what you want.
Any questions on reading and how it relates to your design process so far.
Review of what students have accomplished so far with site analysis and with design elements added. Overview of project ideas.
Insects and permaculture – step by step on how to create a balance of good bugs to your bad bugs.
Predatory insect habitats
Insectary plantings / Beetles Banks, hedgerows, native stands, etc.
Pollinator hotels – hands on build of mason bee home
Ordering insects like ladybugs and bumble bees - pros and cons
Overview of nectar plants vs larvae food plants
Native perennials
Grai St. Clair Rice from Honeybee Lives talks on Natural and Biodynamic Beekeeping

Session 8

Business Building

  • Overview of start up – sales tax, income tax (schedule F), real estate exemptions, LLC vs sole proprietorship, Farm Credit, etc…
  • Certifications (USDA Organic, Demeter, Certified Naturally Grown, Animal Welfare Approved, etc.)
  • What do you produce?  Calories, Sugar, Fat & Protein, Carbs, Vedge?
  • Who are your producing for?
  • Diversity, experimenting – how the permaculture principles apply to a business entity
  • CSA  - other ‘alternative’ enterprises
  • Triple Bottom Line Accounting
  • Nutrient Density
  • Food production for prepping or survivalist philosophy
  • Monetary Sustainability
  • SWAT / business planning
  • Hand made business vs manufactured business
  • Value added products
  • Small space production – large vs small farms
  • Quail, Snails, and Micro-greens
  • Balancing growth

Anastasia Cole Plakias of Brooklyn Grange talks about building an alternative style business – Rooftop farm