Student space

Ask questions and discuss permaculture ideas - a general forum 

Self introduction

by Ola Tom Lakere -

Hi All

I am Ola Tom from Northern Uganda. I actually got on board last year July 2021through Aprils' generosity amidst the turbulence of Covid 19 and have been working my way super slowly and processing everything as it unfolds. I am so happy to be here. So far so good I have started transforming a 3 acre shamba (Kiswahili word to mean farm land) using permaculture and this course materials have been so helpful. 

I can't wait to dive deeper!!!

New Student

by Chloe Tan Jia Yi -

Hi, I'm Chloe from Malaysia. I first came across the idea of permaculture about 2 years ago. It has been a tough time and the pandemic revealed so much of the vulnerability of our society, which got me thinking about an alternative to our current system. 

My partner and I are currently working on restoring fertility of an abandoned vacant land that was previously a mining site. I've saved up some money and am ready for a full PDC course.

I'm enjoy learning from reading and I'm glad I found this site. Can't wait to dive right in!

New Student

by Kristina Gough -

Hello.  Me and my young family have recently (in the last year) moved from the suburbs to just over 2 acres in Serpentine Western Australia. We were introduced to the concept of Permaculture about 5 years ago, and have slowly been chaning our lifestyle.  Now we are keen to plan and develop our very own permaculture property!  I was all set-up to do a 2 week onsite PDC at a local permaculture farm "Fair Harvest"....aaaaand then I got sick.  I have ME/CFS (myalgic encephalopyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome) and CIRS (chronic inflammatory response syndrome or "mould sickness").  We've had to re-evaluate our plans for the future, and I'm very grateful that I've found this online permaculture course to help me do that at a pace I can manage.

March is on!

by Samantha Mcleod -

Hi All,

I signed up for the PDC "Quite" a few months ago. I am also studying teaching as my second degree, work full time and are hosting a few homeless lads as well as my youngest as a single parent at home (uhhhg the explanation make me tired). The PDA is meant to be my down time as I love the principles, theory and extension into our local environments and communities. Needless to say as an adult learner that has too many bones in her mouth I may have to take the long road on this. Holidays soon!!!!


by Tina Nilon -

Hi April,

Thankyou for all the feedback on my homework submissions thus far. Gleying is a topic that has definitely resonating within me, especially since the forecasted wet summer has not arrived. I will continue to do some more research on the process and then give it ago. It can not do any harm if I get it wrong :-).

Thanks again for your support and suggestions.



New student

by Cecile Roubeix -


I'm Cécile, based in Phnom Penh (Cambodia). I've been interested about permaculture since about 3 years, reading books, articles and watching videos about it... I finally decided to go one step further with this course. I live in the city in an apartment with a small balcony and kind of a garden in the front gate that we share with the landlord and few other tenants. So not so much space but I still try to grow food there :)

I'm also planning to start an intership in the permaculture department of a NGO that helps young girls to go to school ! Hopefully it will be more concrete soon.

I don't know if there are other students at the moment but I'd love to know where you are from and what are your interests in permaculture!


New student

by rebecca mclellan -

Hi everyone!

I'm a newbie, Bec, from Tasmania.  We've just bought 40 acres that's already got a house and some other structures but the land needs a bit of work.  It's acidic soil, has some quite boggy patches and overall needs a bit of TLC and planning.  Hence I'm excited to learn about permaculture's principles of design to help the land. 

We're super lucky in Tasmania to have great rainfall and I think that brings with it even more of a responsibility to ensure that the land is productive and well cared for.

I'd love to hear where everyone is from,


New student

by Sonia Randhawa -
Hi, I'm Sonia, based near Melbourne (Preston), just starting my permie journey. I've been growing vegies for a while, with mixed success, but have just bought some land and am looking forward to building and growing sustainably and in sync with nature. Anyone else here nearby?

students can now post to this forum - who hoo wolf made it work

by WolfsBitch Student1 -

The web person (wolf ) apologises for the inconvenience ogf setting up a forum that no one can post too !

You should now  be able to post here !  if you have any issues contact us and well see if we can fix them - in the meantime give the forum a workout !

wolf communicating..

companion planting in tropics - good work by Keith

by April Sampson-kelly -

I have shared this paragraph in the course notes citing your good work: Keith Mikkelson 

1-5 Ref- Companions 

Companion planting is also called inter cropping. These crops are used for insect control, to make wind blocks, and they promote soil conservation. When harvested, they are used for compost and feed for livestock. Companion plants also create a desirable mulch and green fertilizer.  Under sowing is a very popular means of companion planting also.

Some plants give benefits that help others grow. Tomatoes do well with carrots because the carrots stimulate the growth of tomatoes. Others, like marigold, ward off certain insects. Onions prevent the carrot fly from infesting the root with eggs. Papaya wards off corn pests like the stem borer. 

S.A.L.T. hedges [Sloping Agricultural Land Technology] prevent high winds from damaging crops that are planted between rows and filter the wind while preventing erosion. The hedges that make good companions in our system are usually legumes, but any plant can work. Plant rows following the contour of the land and make every other row a different crop. Use the hedge trimmings as mulch, animal feed, compost or green fertilizer. 

There is a huge range of opinions on which plants help or hurt each other. Some of the results are not always worth the effort, but I included some combinations that work for us. Sharp eyes and good notes help you learn what is going to work on your soil and climate with the crops you decide to grow. 

According to Advanced Home Gardening by Miranda Smith, dill attracts small beneficials, but inhibits carrot. Mexican bean beetles won’t be a pest when you plant petunia with beans. Bush beans inhibit onions but are good with carrots, cauliflower, beets, cucumbers, and cabbage. Some work remarkably well, while others are only seasonal solutions.

Broccoli and cabbage are commonly planted with celery, chamomile, sage, beets, onions, and potatoes. Onions repel the carrot fly, so onions and carrots grow well together. Fennel inhibits many species of plants and has no companions. Plant it alone. Garlic repels aphids. Nematodes won’t wreak havoc when there are lots of marigolds. Marigolds are our favorite weeds now.

Small Beneficials are attracted to parsley; Miranda recommends that you interplant with carrot or rose. Some companions hinder other plants. Sunflowers inhibit nitrogen-fixing bacteria. All the intercrop guides boast that Stinging Nettle will attract small beneficials. They claim almost all plants benefit from it. We don’t have it here in the Philippines but it is a North American weed.

Here are a few suggestions from the Philippines. In Practical Guide To Organic Gardening by Pedro D. Sangatanan & Rone L. Sangatanan, they recommend celery with cabbage to protect from the cabbage butterfly. Garlic among your tomatoes and potatoes will prevent blight. Marigolds with beans repel the bean beetle.  Radishes with cucumber minimize damage from the cucumber beetle.

At Aloha House we have stumbled on some of the most effective companions by mistake. One time we planted broccoli among some sweet basil seedlings just to use up the space (that alone is a good reason to inter crop), and found total protection from the caterpillar (cabbage moth) that would usually destroy broccoli when un-netted. 

Papaya wards off some of the borers in sweet corn so we started planting lots of them. Papaya trees are all over the place. We have enough for all the babies in the orphanage and we never tire of this great fruit! We now under sow it with a legume like mongo bean or perennial peanuts and it really benefits from the free fertilizer these powerful legumes produce in the root zone.