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282. Permaculture Practices | Modern Homesteading Podcast Host Harold Thornbro |That Green Freak in School | Small Town Homestead | Indiana
18th May 2019 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 00:53:38

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Modern Homesteading Podcast

Tell us a little about yourself.

East Central Indiana

nice and cold here

  • married to my wife Mary for a little over 26 years
  • 3 daughters
  • couple of grandkids running around
  • Most of my life I was a truck driver

Had my own trucking company

  • led to me being gone a lot
  • led to some bad eating habits 

Sure! It’s tough when you’re on the road. It lets you listen to a lot of podcasts but it definitely makes being healthy a challenge.

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

Kind of I grew up on a homestead really, we didn’t call it that but we had

  • animals
  • large garden
  • more property

did all those things

always grew up working in the garden

in garden

never thought about it being my garden

first time it was about 3rd or 4th grade

Really got the bug for growing something on your own!

in school believe it or not

  • bean plants
  • styrofoam cup
  • gardens at home

I remember that vividly, growing that bean cup grow and replanted it in the yard!

gave me a bug

Like I said, we worked in the garden all the time

always loved

That Green Freak in school!

loved growing stuff



teenage years

got more into cars and girls

stayed away from it

in my mind

always assume I’d be living that lifestyle

I always wanted to be Caroline Ingalls in the mountains, I knew the minute I walked into Mike’s house this is what I have been dreaming about all my life, it’s a little bit bigger.

How did you learn how to garden organically?

it never seemed important to me then

in my ind I thought

I guess I thought about sustainable practices

But my dad

he would dump any chemical fertilizers

on the lawns

dealing with the animals we would pump em full of antibiotics whatever would keep them alive so we could survive.

wanted the most productive garden

what we thought would be our best garden

doesn’t seem right

old ways

people have always done it that always worked

time period in the late 70s and 80s

Everyone was doing it! It’s what people did to have a great garden! 

miracle grow then

dump all kinds of liquid fertilizers pesticides

When I got cancer


  • because of all my bad decisions
  • eating out 2-3 times a day every day for years I did that
  • stage 3 colon cancer at 39 years old
  • At my 40th birthday I was doing a chemo treatment
  • back in 2012

things are really good now

opened up my eyes

Even the doctors said You can’t eat like that! 

  • that stuff is horrible
  • highly processed
  • preservatives

handle quite a bit but it was just too much!

opened my eyes to important of eating healthy

nutritious organic grown food

THAT stuff is expensive!

I was off of work for a couple of months

  • chemo and surgery
  • ate up our savings
  • organic food
  • we can’t afford that

What are you supposed to do, is grow your own?

for a lot of people that wouldn’t be a big deal

live in town on a 10th of an acre

I was discouraged 

run across a video

not doing a lot

Homegrown Revolution

Dervaes family they were on a 10th of an acre and they were growing 6-7000 pounds in their backyard

It’s so inspiring! Go watch that!


raised beds

I could do that in my backyard

They’re in Southern CA

they’re growing season

a lot more food

I took a lot of those practices

never weighted what kind of food we generate

some other practices

took on

increased the amount of food growing here

way to grow healthy food

inexpensive way

built my first beds out of scrap wood

laying around

old fence

friend who had an excavating business filling up my raised beds

cheap as I could

worked out We still grow a lot of food

2 raised bed just kept building and building And now my whole yard is raised beds

I saw on your website! The Small Town Homestead I know my mom would love raised beds, she grows a tomato plant or two. Do you want to tell listeners some things that you have learned and done to be productive.

You don’t have to build raised beds

A concern I had at the time was dogs

  • 3 little dogs
  • backyard was their bathroom
  • kind of afraid to just dig up the soil and till it

not that healthy

that’s why I built raised beds I wanted a healthy soil to grow

not something people have to do

I feel like raised beds make it more convenient and fun and your roots grow deeper, you can fit things closer together in there.

It can take you years to amend

best of soil with a raised bed that might take you years to create in the ground

that was the beginning for us

really increasing I just kept adding more and more

expanding that garden

We brought in some animals, rabbits and quail that increased the production with manure for our gardens

Things went to the next level for me was when I heard the term permaculture it changed everything for me

read a few books


I started implementing things on my property it just increased our production

healthier garden

grow my own fertilizers

comfrey is something we have brought a lot in on our property



fertilize the beds with

chop and drop

planting that around a tree, make it more productive

doing all these practices

building herb gardens

book by David Holmgrown on permaculture


Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability

talks about the 12 design principles

implementing on our property

able to do so much right here with the design

dont shade

plant this benefit

symbiotic relationship



most from one another

even things like your house


part of that ecosystem that are working to increase the production of what you are doing

world of difference

a lot more fun

enjoy it so much

seeing things work together

working with the insects



get in your garden beds

fill up

edible weed

probably my favorite herb to eat



grows pretty low

taller then it

ground cover in that bed

retain moisture

keep other weeds from taking over

lower level of purslane

peppers growing above it

things like that

controlled it

let it go where I wanted it to grow

work with it


Tell us about something that grew well this year.

so many cucumbers

we love them

run out of ideas

few plants

so many cucumbers




ferment them

wow we had so many

grow so well

something that I like that


tripled the area I was growing strawberries

what they like the most


where I planted them made sure soil was good and loose

well fertilized before I planted them


dead areas

old stuff will die off

air flow room to spread

make room for the new

more productive every year

add a little bit of comfrey

rabbit manure in the fall

Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?

I started something last year I want to expand

I built an aquaponics

worked real good

didn’t build it till summertime

expanding that

working it with in connecting

wicking beds

beside it

have a layer at the bottom



lava rock or some other medium in the bottom

water will flow through that

landscape fabric


wick up from underneath

still water

by hand

wick up in the soil

don’t ever have to water it


bigger you get

more stable and better it would probably work

well designed ones

in connection

fertile water

nutrients as well from the fish

get into this next year

potential production

I like everything about it

it’s fun


Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.

I tell you, I didn’t have a great grape harvest

jellies and jams

issue was insects

Japanese beetles

never had an issue


destroyed my grape vines

tried a few things

there’s some treatments

I know what I wouldn’t do

is try traps

they actually draw them in on a small property


boy you don’t want to use them

far enough away from your garden

brought those in

increased 100 fold I had

bags were full

traps were full

large property

back forty somewhere

mistake I made

I don’t like using things that are considered organic pesticides

don’t feel