May Gardening To-Do List for USDA Zones 9-11

NOTE: This list is geared toward USDA Growing Zones 9-11. If you are looking for the May Gardening List for Zones 3-8, click here.

We are officially past any dangers of frost and cold, and now the warm part of spring is certainly upon us! In many subtropical regions, this late spring season is often very dry, which can make it challenging in the garden and food forest. The rainy season, in places like Central Florida, is generally from the last week of May to the first week of October. So, for many folks, until rainy season arrives, our time is consumed with harvesting the last of the spring vegetables and daily checking gardens for watering needs.

Remember (especially in Florida), you cannot water gardens and fruit trees very well on a “perfect schedule”. Because of temperature fluctuations, wind, humidity, and other elements the length of time between watering can vary dramatically. Anyone who tells you to just water every day is going to have major issues as the season progresses.

Here is how to water properly

Use the “Finger Test” to see if your plants actually need water. Never just assume that they do. Put your finger in the soil down to the second knuckle. If it’s dry, then go ahead and water. However, if you feel coolness or moisture – then let it be. Generally speaking, most plants (especially fruit trees and berry bushes) actually like to dry out a bit between waterings.

“As a practice, it’s far better to water LESS frequently and MORE deeply.

Doing this will help establish a healthier root system and overall plant.”


So, get ready for an exciting month! May is the time when our region makes the shift from “annual vegetable gardening” being the focus to a primary focus on perennial production from our fruit trees and berry bushes. So here is your May Gardening To-Do List to help you jumpstart your late-spring projects. For some, it may be helpful to print out this list and hang it somewhere to refer to it each week to check progress.

NOTE: This list is geared toward USDA Growing Zones 9-11. If you are looking for the May Gardening List for Zones 3-8, click here.

Tropic Beauty Peach
Tropic Beauty Peach | Self-pollinating, hardy to 20 degrees, low chill hours, deliciously sweet and juicy.

May Gardening To-Do List for USDA Zones 9-11

In the Garden & Greenhouse

  • Fertilizing the vegetable garden: If you have not applied a late spring probiotic to your soil or as a foliar spray, then now is the time to do that! This application will increase the health of your soil microbiome, give plants a better chance at fighting off disease and fungus, and is a proactive way to address garden pests before they do any damage. BioAg is my preferred spray for this.
  • To plant: Okra, potatoes, sweet potatoes, summer beans / peas, and Seminole pumpkin. The prime vegetable planting season is now almost over for sub-tropical zones, so it’s time to plant your cover crop. We recommend planting Sunn Hemp at the end of the month as a nitrogen-fixing cover-crop that can be tilled into the soil in August.
  • Tropical Spinaches: It’s time to plant tropical spinaches like longevity spinach, Okinawa, Surinam, Jewels of Opar, Brazilian Sisso, etc!
  • Salad Trees & Hibiscus: In this climate, some of the best edible greens actually grow as trees or bushes during the hot weather months. Some of our favorites include: South Sea Salad, Bele Hibiscus, Roselle (Jamaican Sorrel), Cranberry Hibiscus, and Katuk, and Kenaf.
  • To harvest: Salad greens, kale, tropical spinaches, last of the peas, beets, turnips, etc. Harvest tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc. When they start to struggle because of heat and/or powdery mildew – just put the garden to bed and cover crop it until after the rainy season. Focus on fruit trees, berry bushes, and edible tropical plants for the summer.
  • Compost: Turn pile 1x per week.
    • NOTE: For most people an outdoor compost pile doesn’t really generate a lot. However, using a worm bin (like the ones from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm), can provide worm tea which creates way more bang for your buck. For most families, composting worms are going to give you a better result than a mere compost pile.
  • Cover Crops: For garden beds that are being put to rest for the summer, this is a great time to plant a cover crop. Sunn Hemp is in the legume family and does an excellent job with this. Not only will it grow 8-10′ tall by August, but produces gorgeous blooms and actually repairs the soil. Sunn Hemp repairs the soil in two ways. First, it fixes atmospheric nitrogen into the soil with nodules on the roots, which interact with bacteria in the soil. Secondly, when you till it in (or bury it) in your garden later in August, it will add much needed biomass to your soil. It can be used as animal fodder, but must be fed to livestock before it flowers.
Sunn Hemp Cover Crop

In the Food Forest

  • Consider probiotics for your garden and yard (if you didn’t do it last month) FREE 11-minute talk on probiotics for the yard, click here.
  • Plant new fruit trees and berry bushes. Here is a step-by-step process (with diagram) of how to plant a fruit tree or berry bush. Some of the info may surprise you. This is a great time to plant avocado, mango, strawberry tree and other tropical trees. Planting this time of year gives them 7-8 months to root in and settle before winter. It should be noted that you will need to water more often until rainy season starts.
  • Ginger and Tumeric: Time to get those bad boys back into the ground! Remember, they love shade and LOTS of neglect. They also do much better in the ground (instead of pots), so plop them down, add some mulch on top, and walk away!
  • Harvest (and enjoy): peaches, nectarines, plums, mulberries, strawberry tree, moringa leaves / flowers, elderberry, blueberries, jaboticaba, cattleya guava (in some areas). Anyone else in food forest heaven, yet?!
  • Apply mulch (wood chips) to any areas that need it. Fruit trees like to have 4-6″ of wood chips around the base (extending all the way to the drip line). Remember to keep mulch a few inches back from the truck, because you don’t want the decomposing wood touching your tree.
  • Pruning: NO major pruning once trees flower. After they awaken for the spring, there is a lot of sap flowing, so you don’t want to cause a fungal or bacterial issue by pruning this time of year. Pruning should be done during late winter dormancy, so if you haven’t pruned fruit trees yet, it’s best to wait at this point. You can, however, still prune pines, decorative shrubs, and ornamental trees now.
The Strawberry Tree (or Jamaican cherry) is a new favorite! The fruit is low in sugar, high in vitamin-C, and (get this) it tastes like strawberry skittles or cotton candy. Grows best in Zones 9b-12 and produces fruit from April – Decemeber. (Photographer unknown)

In the Shed

  • Put out yellow jacket and fly traps
  • Reset mouse / rat traps (peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball in storage areas will also repel them)
  • Spring cleaning time: Go through a couple storage areas this month and recycle, donate, and reorganize. Steward what you have with excellence.


  • Water rotations: In nature, animals don’t drink out of the purified, and chemically treatred tap. Sometimes their water is from a rain puddle, but other times from a stream or pond. To help mimic this and give their immune system a boost, try doing something different every time you refill their water.
    • Apple Cider Vinegar: 1 tsp per gallon
    • Honey: 1 TBSP per gallon
    • BioIivestock Probiotic: Dilution rate on bottle depending on species
    • Herbs: Add fresh oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc to their water to make a “tea”
    • Rainwater
  • Spring Chickens: This is a great time to add to the flock by either purchasing heritage breeds or hatching your own. Whatever you do, stay away from Cornish Rock or Cornish Cross “meat birds”… more on that to come. It’s also an ideal time to add rabbits, quail, or other animals into your system.
  • Dogs: It’s time for spring check-ups on the fur babies. Once they are up to date on their appointments, go support a local groomer and send them to the doggie spa for a day. NOTE: I’d give a tip on cats… but the only thing I can think of is how much I don’t like them. Sorry, not sorry.

In the Pasture

  • Plant: Last chance to plant Timothy grass, perennial peanut, wildflower mixes, tobacco, clover mixes, and alfalfa can still be planted in some regions. Due to the usual dry weather this time of year, supplemental watering may be needed.
  • Hay / Straw: Any rotting or wet bales can be used in the garden or food forest as deep mulch. It can be spread 5-7″ thick in areas that are going to be “future” garden beds in order to prep the soil. First, roll out contractor paper (usually found in the paint section of a hardware store) over the grass and then cover with the straw or other mulch. This is a great opportunity to do “layer mulching” if you have other materials available.
New food forest installation example. There are three 100′ long rows of fruit trees, berry bushes, and native pollinators with over 90 plants. These rows have been layered with contractor paper (for weed suppression), 1″ of compost, and 6″ deep of wood chip mulch. The rows are 3′ wide. Between the lanes, the grass has been removed and reseeded with a clover mix (and lightly covered with straw).

Around the House and Perennial Beds

  • Power washing time: Use an organic soap (like Basic H) to power-wash the house, sidewalks, and other recreational vehicles.
  • Cut back last years growth: Remove any dead material left over from last fall and add to the compost pile.
  • Fertilize flower beds: Use kelp, blood meal, and/or fish emulsion. I like to use blood meal in March/April and then in May/June use bone meal. Kelp and fish emulsion can be used anytime during the growing season. Alternatively, apply a 1/2″ layer of compost to flower beds or at the base of each flower. Keep away from the stems, so it doesn’t “burn”.
  • Perennial Flowers: Using native wildflowers is so much easier than annuals, not to mention will save you money because they come back every year. Here are some of our favorites!
  • Air out the house: On a day you are home, open up every window in the house and turn on fans to circulate fresh air into the house. Change the filters in the HVAC system for the spring months. This is also a great time to vacuum out floor vents and air returns.
  • Clean out the freezer and disinfect really well. It’s often best to do this the day before garbage day, so you can take old items directly to the road.
Bele Hibiscus (aka Mahoe Hibiscus Tree): Delicious, edible leaves that are great in soups, stews, salads, or used for dolmas. Flowers are also edible (fresh). Grows in zones 9-12 in part sun to full shade.

Kids & Family Ideas

  • Nature Hike: Create a mini-scavenger hunt before going on your nature hike. Have kids look for things like: a feather, a seed pod, a leaf bigger than their hand, a cool rock, a weird stick, etc.
  • Wild Bird Feeding
    • Set out orange halves and grape jelly for the arriving orioles
    • Put hummingbird feeders out on April 15th (never use the kind with red dye), and be sure to change the water in them every week.
    • Hang a new birdhouse for spring nesting season
    • Add white millet to feeders to attract indigo buntings (bright blue birds)
  • Local Farm Visit: Many local farms offer free tours, kids activities, etc. Look up a local farm to visit in your area and give your kiddos exposure to the animals, crops, and fruit trees.
April gardening list peaches
Tropic Beauty Peach in Central Florida

See you in the garden

As always, thanks for taking time to join on the gardening and permaculture journey. Be sure to check out the continual flow of content available via our social media channels. Remember, PermacultureFX also does both in person AND virtual consulting (using facetime, zoom, satellite images, etc.). We’d love to help you get a plan for your property and help you create abundance and wonder.

For those looking for on-going homestead mentorship, online permaculture classes, and access to our ever-growing library of resources – consider becoming a member of our Patreon Community. The Abundance Tier even has a FREE 7-Day Trial, so you can bing watch and see if it’s a good fit for you.

Lastly, if this article was helpful, consider sharing on social media (or with your garden groups) to help set others up to win on their property.

Happy spring, and I’ll see you in the Garden!

– Kristofer Edler

August Gardening To-Do List for Zones 3-8

August gardening to do list

What to do on your Property in August – Cold Temperate Climates

It’s the peak of the summer heat and this is the time of year that our gardens are feeling it the most.  However, there are still plenty of things to be doing on your property this month.  This list is tailored for cold temperate climate growing zones, but if you are looking for warm temperate or sub-tropical growing zone lists CLICK HERE.

In the Garden

  • Things to plant by seed:  beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips.
  • Fall greens:  In order to stagger your harvest times later in the fall, consider planting smaller amounts of fall greens (salad mixes, kale, etc.) every other week.  The same can be done with beets and radishes.
  • Brassicas:   Plant broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower by seed or transplants.  Keep them well-watered (1″ per week) as they get established and mulch with straw around the base to cover the soil and prevent water evaporation.
  • Harvest:  tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and other night shades.  Prop up plants as needed to provide support.  
  • Mulch:  Keep bare soil covered completely to prevent water evaporation and protect microorganisms.  Add a little more compost and wood chips around fruit trees and berry bushes.  Add another layer of straw around garden veggies.  
  • Compost application:  Add fresh organic compost to strawberry patch (thin them while you apply compost).  You can also add compost to bramble canes (blackberries and raspberries) to improve next years harvest.

It’s time to start making tinctures and drying herbs.

In the Greenhouse

  • We are finished with the “greenhouse” season, but if you have a shade cloth, you can actually open up all the windows now and put the shade cloth over the top. This will allow you to start micro-greens and other later season veggie starts. If using a shade cloth, use the opened greenhouse for your indoor tropical plants to give them a season outdoors. Just be sure to pay attention to your watering!
  • Clean and sterilize the plastic pots used this winter / spring
  • Set mouse traps to control critters
  • Hang fly trap to control aphids, flies, and other pests

In the Food Forest

  • Harvest berries that are ripe: goji, elderberry, blackberry, raspberry, etc.
  • Mulch: Apply mulch / wood-chips around the base of fruit trees. Keep the wood chips away from the base of the tree, because if they touch the trunk it can cause rot or bacterial issues. Wood chips will encourage mycorrhizal activity and strengthen the root system.
  • Herbs around fruit trees:  Start harvesting herbs to dry and make tinctures, harvest fruit as they are ripe and remove those that fall to the ground. Fallen fruit calls in the pests… So feed to chickens or add to the compost pile.
  • Harvest elderberries:  If you are making elderberry tinctures, teas, or wine – now is your time to harvest. Whatever you do not harvest, the birds will take care of for you. It is also a great time to harvest elderberry canes for cuttings and propagation.
  • Watch for fungal issues on leaves and apply organic neem spray as needed.
  • Plant late summer ground covers in any “bare spots” around the forest. Consider things like daikon radish or crimson clover. Water the first 10-12 days until established.
  • Wait to plant new fruit trees and berry bushes until next month, when the heat dials down a few notches.

Reminder: Elderberry must be cooked before eating.

In the Shed

  • After heavy spring and summer use, give power tools a quick check (oil, air filters, and clean off exteriors).
  • Check mouse traps and keep animal feed in sealed containers.
  • Give cutting tools a good cleaning (using rubbing alcohol) and oil afterwards to prevent rust.

In the Chicken Coop

  • Chickens:  Some of the early spring chickens will start laying soon. Once the first egg has appeared, switch chickens over to a layer feed and/or provide supplemental calcium.
  • Harvest comfrey and feed to chickens, horses, goats, and cattle.
  • Quail:  Mix apple cider vinegar and honey with their water once a week. Pick fresh flowers and grass seed heads to put inside their coop and nesting area. This is a great time to provide supplemental protein using meal worms and small crickets.
  • Deworm: Use 1 tablespoon of Basic H in a 5 gallon waterer (1tsp per gal) for chickens (NOTE: Use the original formula of Basic H, which comes in a 5 gallon bucket OR 30 gallon drum). Add 1.5 cups to a 100gal waterer basin for cattle and horses. Available in bulk (much cheeper for farm use) This should be their only water source for two days.
  • Coop clean out: On a sunny day with a breeze, clean out the coop in the morning. Use Basic H organic cleaner and spray everything out. Leave the coop open all day to dry it out with good airflow. Clean out all waterers and feeders using a bleach solution.
  • Add wood ash to the dustbath to help prevent and treat lice and mites.
  • CLICK HERE for extra tips on keeping chickens cool during hot summer months.
Chickens eating a ground cover of wheatgrass, radish, and clover.

Around the House

  • Keep South and West facing shades closed during the day time in order to block out the hot sun.
  • Open up the windows on cooler nights to help air out the house and let in fresh air.
  • Replace your HVAC filters
  • Check batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Wash windows (inside and out). Use a product like “Invisible Glass” to avoid streaks.
  • Clean outdoor windows and doors (I use Basic H for this)
  • Apply UV protectant to your recreational vehicles (boats, car interiors, RV’s, decals, etc.
  • Spray tire shine and protectant on vehicle and trailer tires to prevent sun damage
  • Give houseplants a good fertilization and shower to clean off leaves
Add kid-friendly elements, hobbit holes, and fairies to the perennial flower bed.

In the Perennial Flower Beds

  • Dead-heading: Cut back spent flowers in order to get a second bloom. Spent flower heads can be fed to chickens or composted.
  • Plant seeds of larkspur, holly hocks, and poppies for next year
  • Add extra wood chips to areas that are in full sun in order to protect soil health and microbial activity
  • Bring cut flowers indoors and share with neighbors, especially those who are shut-ins or elderly
  • Find / create garden activities that involve kids.
Kids picking flowers at the Blue River Forest Experience in Overland Park, KS. This organization hosts after school nature activities and summer camps.

We hope this list was helpful for you! Enjoy some much needed time outdoors and we’ll see you in the garden.


5 Ways to Create a Kid-Friendly Garden | Kris Edler

5 Ways to Create a Kid-Friendly Garden

In a culture of video games, Pokemon Go, and fast foods – we desperately need to get kids and teenagers back outside.  Getting your children in the garden is easy, as long as you recognize they are not going to “enjoy” merely pulling the weeds or dead-heading flowers.  However, there are some really creative ways to create kid-friendly garden that will encourage activity, creativity, and connections with nature.

As a teacher at The Daniel Academy, a Pre-K through 12th grade private school in south Kansas City, I work with students and families on a daily basis.  Getting these kids outside to explore and imagine is truly one of my passions.

Before I share any of the tools and tips, it’s important to stress here that the overarching idea is that YOU GO OUTSIDE WITH THEM.  No toy, decoration, or tool is a replacement for spending actual time with you kids.  There is not a replacement for laughing with them, getting dirt under your nails together, and talking with them.  Regardless of age, quality time is the goal and the garden is just a place to make that happen.

That being said…Here are a few tips that are easy to integrate in your urban or suburban backyard.

1 – Literature directional signs from their favorite books

It isn’t hard to get kids to enjoy reading, as long as you make it fun.  Making these directional signs are a great way to keep the family busy on rainy days or weekends.  We painted these with our students this summer using acrylic paint and then added a clear polyurethane varnish to seal them.  You can hang them on posts, trees, or on the side of your shed.  Now, of course, you can always do signs from movies or TV shows, but I think we can agree that encouraging reading is a better practice.  Check out mine here (IMG_7679IMG_7680…)

hobbit garden2 – Hobbit / fairy furniture to spark imagination

The boys generally aren’t going to be real impressed with a fairy garden, but give them a place to rock their action figures and they are all set.  Use sticks to create fences or have the kids help you make your own furniture from popsicle sticks or wire.  I have a few of these around the school and one in my backyard, which the neighborhood kids helped me design.



backyard chickens kansas city3 – Involve animals

Whether you create a place for your dogs or get a few backyard chickens, there is always room for animals.  Kids love working with animals, especially when it’s outside.  In our gardening class at the school, my students will argue about which group gets to feed and play with the chickens.  They would rather be in the group with the birds than eating and picking berries or tomatoes;  when kids turn down food – you know it’s a big deal.  We have purposely selected a lot of heritage chicken breeds that have “cool hair” or have personalities that are more social.  The rock star rooster in the picture is Cogswell, he’s a favorite of our students and loves all the attention he can get.  The kindergarten classes even wave to him on their way past multiple times a day!

bird watching in Kansas city4 – Birdhouses, feeders, and watering stations

Attracting wildlife to your property or backyard engages the kiddos whether they are inside or out.  In the middle of winter, it gives that extra bit of interest looking out the window.  I still remember being a kid at my parents house in Millington, Michigan and watching the birds out the window.  My mom always did well at keeping the bird feeders full, so there was never a dull moment out the front living room window.  It was a collection of simple acts (mostly from my parents), like filling the bird feeders, that helped cultivate a love of nature that has lasted into my adult years.

outdoor fitness kansas city5 – Interactive fitness areas

Now it gets fun!  Start thinking beyond a basketball hoop or volleyball net, though those are a great start.  This summer at our school, we added pull-up bars for the gymnasts and a cool tire-run section using old tires from the side of the road.  You can hit two birds with one stone and not only help get kids moving, but also give them a lesson in repurposing and recycling as well.  With Pinterest out there, we have no excuse for up-cycling with our kids and finding creative ways to get them moving.

If you have enjoyed one of these tips, please share this with some friends on your favorite social media network.  Enjoy your afternoon – and GO OUTSIDE and take a few kids with you.

5 Keys to Healthy Building | Kris Edler

food forest wood chip pile

One of the biggest pitfalls for educators, permaculturists, and business folks alike is the subject of overcommitting themselves.  Like Bilbo Baggins, we often tend to spread ourselves too thin, like butter over too much bread.  When we are building (both projects, land, and people), this tendency of overcommitting often results in half-finished projects, burned out brains, and enough stress to go around.  Not even a dirt ninja can overcommit on projects for an extended period of time.  It always results in burnout.  Always.  In addition, the lack of finished and excellent projects often result in a system that is not sustainable, producing at maximum capacity, or supplying for the people maintaining it.  This is where the 5 keys to healthy building take us from burn out to abundant living.

Before we begin, let’s be honest.  These five keys to healthy building are ones that I have learned, am learning, and will continue to learn.  Every good leader is a going to face the temptation to become unbalanced in these areas, but by revisiting them with frequency, we really can keep our commitments in check.  I am the king of overcommitting, so I am essentially an expert on this subject due to repeated and frequent trial and error.

Half Started Projects

food forest wood chip pileFor the urban gardener or dirt ninja, we tend to start new vegetable gardens, fruit tree guilds, and hugelkultur swales, but all too many times, get sidetracked from focusing on one project only to start another one.  On most permaculture worksites, you can walk around a see 10-15 (or more) projects that are started, but yet to be successfully completed.  On these worksites, one dynamic which often follows is the systems are not maintained, managed, or allowed to yield at their fullest potential.  Not to mention the unpleasant side-effect, which includes ugly properties with piles of “stuff”.  When managed well, a permaculture system should both create successful yield, and provide beauty for the eye.

Whether you are examining the habit of overcommitting from a business management, leadership, or permaculture perspective, the keys to overcoming this trap are the same.  The five keys to healthy building allow the leaders to both grow themselves, their business, and the people around them.  This system of personal and professional development involves healthy levels of input (e.g. learning) resulting in vigorous levels of output (e.g. the project, growth, or fruit produced).

One Thing – Just One

The key number to remember is ONE.  One commitment for every one area.  No more, no less.  This simple rule helps keep leaders healthy in their minds, bodies, and spirits.  By remaining focused on one area at at time, using these five outlets, we keep the diversity needed to prevent boredom, while retaining the focus needed for success.  Keep the first things first and remember – one.  Just one.

5 Keys to Healthy Building

In each of the following five areas, the leader should choose a single project or focus at a time, in order to maintain a peaceful and productive balance.  Obviously not all leaders are created equal.  Some focus better with multiple plates spinning at once, while others can only focus on one thing at a time.  The beauty of using these five keys is that they allow for multiple expressions, while still helping balance various types of commitment.   The following are the 5 keys to healthy building:gallery_15.jpg

  1. Learning:  This input helps maintain personal growth and development.  The learning input includes reading, listening to podcasts, taking classes, or other tasks that aid in personal growth.  As productive and flourishing human beings, we should continually give ourselves to personal growth.  Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we are curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  At the same time, too much of this key commitment (learning) can result in become knowledge fat with little productivity.  Some of the greatest thinkers will never be known, because they spent too much time thinking and not enough creating.
  2. Giving:  This is the output / outcome that helps keep a balanced leadership lifestyle.  This key of building focuses on sowing back into others through volunteerism, tithe, serving the poor, etc.  Within every human being is the innate need to give back and make an impact on the community around them.  In permaculture, the foundational value is on “people care”, which gives back to the community at large.  Overextending our ability to give, however, can result in an unbalanced income or profit, which goes against the third principle of permaculture – fair share.
  3. Brainstorming:  This type of key commitment is the vision-forming stage of the building process.  By committing to one brainstorming project at a time, we keep our eyes forward on the future.  Looking ahead gives a builder hope that new things are on the horizon and inspiration in the creative process.  In regards to permaculture, Geoff  Lawton says, “Spend 10 hours of observing and thinking for every one hour of action.” However, at the same time, too much dreaming and brainstorming often results in little action.  Great ideas with lack of follow-through are not productive elements in a system and result in brain clutter.
  4. Building:  The building commitments are often the ones that need most of your time and attention, because these are ones that leaders are actively creating.   They are new systems that have just come out of the planning phase.  Even with the best planning, leaders who over commit to building get burned out, emotionally drained, and physically exhausted.  The danger is building more than one project at once is that most of the time, we do not realize we are overcommitted until it’s too late.  There is, however, productive abundance when we build from a peaceful and focused place.  This is the opportune phase to be hands on, active, and committed.  Stay focused here and do not try to build more than one area at a time, otherwise your permaculture property will have handfuls of half-started projects that never reach their potential.  Just because you are should do the project one day does not mean you should do it today.  Just because it is a good idea, does not mean it’s a great idea.  Just because someone should do it, doesn’t mean it should be use.  Instead of taking it all on yourself, use this time to train others for the final key of healthy building.
  5. Maintaining:  In this final key commitment type, we make the decision of what others are capable of in order to create the best system for maintenance.  We now examine whether the end justifies the means; we decide if the system is producing enough to keep active.  If a system is not sustainable, it will eventually become unbalanced and fall into chaos.  Fred Elliott, a business man and church leader from Clermont, FL, once said, “You need to determine first if the project is a priority that needs to be done right now or if you should wait.  Secondly, determine if it’s something you should train others to manage, or thirdly, decide if it’s something you need to maintain yourself.”  Once you figure out maintenance, you are freed up to build the next project and begin the building process anew.

permaculture kansas cityWhen we actively engage in a permaculture creative process, these 5 keys to healthy building help us live from a peaceful, balanced, and productive place.  In order to experience the power of a focused life, it’s important to revisit these five keys and ask ourselves a few questions.  First, “What am I committed to in each of these areas right now?”  The second question is “How do I limited myself to ONE commitment per area?” Finally, “Am I overcommitted and lying to myself about what I can responsibly accomplish?”

By following these healthy habits, we are able to be managers of productive and abundant systems, businesses, and families.

Action Item

permaculture projects in kansas city Make a list of these five areas and what you are currently doing in each.  Narrow it down to five projects total (one for each area) and practice it for 2-weeks with intentional focus.  Do not waver and do not take on any other commitments.  Revisit after two weeks and examine the fruit of your labor and how you feel as a person.

Leave your thoughts in the comment area below and tell us what you think.


Permaculture Test Site and Case Study | The Daniel Academy

permaculture test site

The Daniel Academy (TDA), a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade private school in South Kansas City, is an active permaculture test site and case study.  This site began using permaculture design methods to transition their existing commercial landscape around 2010, and has been on a fast-track course to pioneering the use of permaculture in midwest education.

Permaculture at The Daniel Academy

ji garden 2As a permaculture test site, TDA has been hosting yearly gardening courses for 7-12th grade students, and in 2016 hosted its first Permaculture Design Certification Course (PDC).  As a test site, there are several models of permaculture related designs taking place on one property.  Each of these has a direct connection to the students, classrooms, and families that the school serves.

The downloadable document below gives an example of a permaculture design project focused on the educational sphere.  This design was developed by Kris Edler in 2014 and presented to the school for adaptation and implementation.  It gives a historical summary of the 18.5 acre property, a current site analysis, and a few project ideas to launch them into 3, 5, and 20 year planning.  The project proposal includes everything from the use of late spring foliar spray methods to long-term building proposals and capital investments.

Download the FREE PDC Proposal Below

This permaculture test site and case study is a great way to find out what works in Kansas City with our extreme weather fluctuations, as well as provide inspiration for other local projects.  For those interested in implementing permaculture into education, it serves as an excellent case study to use for adaptation in your own systems.  Finally, the document below is one possible approach to how to do a permaculture design project for your own PDC.  If you know of other test sites for permaculture in Kansas City, or would like your own site to be featured our website, please email


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD The Daniel Academy Permaculture Design Proposal