Thursday, 4 June 2015

Obtain a Yield

"You can't work on an empty stomach"

This is the next installment in my discussion of the 12 principles of permaculture. This time I am sharing my thoughts on the third principle, Obtain a Yield.  Please go to this link  for my thoughts on principle two. For expert information about the principles of permaculture you may like to check out the website of David Holmgren who formulated the principles. 

In a self-supporting household all systems need to be designed to be productive in some manner. 'Obtain a yield'  encourages us to hone in on the practical. This is illustrated by the proverb "You can't work on an empty stomach."  However when someone is hungry they need food now, not at some future point in time when the crops we may have planted are ready for harvesting. So another way of obtaining a yield would be sharing in the productivity of others such as through a local community supported agriculture programs, time banks, or bartering.

What we do now to obtain a yield

We grow some of our own fruit. Mulberries, lychees, mangos, starfruit, passionfruit, mandarins, and lemons are what we have been able to harvest  so far. We have also been harvesting chokos, a vegetable my husband really enjoys. Unfortunately a few days after I planted my zucchini seed and my bush bean seed we had terrific  downpours of rain which seems to have washed away the seeds that were planted. The strawberry plants I planted around the same time as the seeds were eaten down to nothing by unidentified culprits. Our tomato plants are still growing well.

My husband enjoys fishing which is a hobby that obtains a yield. I am also beginning to obtain a yield with my hobbies of knitting and crochet. 

What we would like to add in the future to obtain a yield

We would like to keep chickens in the future both for the eggs and for the fertility of the chook manure. I really want to have a Dexter cow at some point in the future.   I would like to keep bees and harvest some of the honey they produce. I also planned to include an aquaculture set up but our neighbour told me he is working toward having a big aquaculture set up and in time we can barter some of our produce for fish. Having neighbours who use the terms self-sufficiency and organic gardening is a great source of happiness to me.

What other people have done

Horticulturalist Peter Cundall has always been, for me, an inspiration for obtaining a yield. Many Australians would remember Pete’s vege patch sited in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.  Countless people would have been assisted in obtaining a yield thanks to the practical instruction in organic vegetable growing provided by this man. This in turn means that Peter’s yield has included countless of organic gardeners.

Are you familiar with permaculture? How do you apply the principle obtain a yield in your life?


  1. am still working towards mine, not having much luck with vegies this year & am heavily relying on our local market gardens to produce, which is a little slow in some areas too but think the weather is much to blame as we had an extremely warm autumn.
    interesting post & i loved peter cundall too, he was so practical & kept it simple.
    thanx for sharing

    1. It was a warm autumn wasn't it? Well we have the cooler weather now.

      Peter Cundall was bloomin' marvelous on Gardening Australia. He has a gardening column in the Weekly Times

  2. Hi Sherri

    I reckon those zucchini will probably pop up somewhere, just not where you want them. This is a good way to look at production of food and other goods in general; atm I am concentrating just on what we eat ourselves but I hope to expand in the future to include veg I can sell at markets or swap for other things. Peter Cundall sure knows his onions, always had a pretty down to earth view on things. I'll check out his column. Have a good weekend.

    1. With the heavy rain we had the zucchini just might pop up somewhere else. We have a volunteer cherry tomato plant growing up against the big tractor rim that Don uses to burn garden waste. Selling or bartering your surplus veg is a great idea and every little bit that is sold or exchanged helps to make a home self-supporting. I hope you have a good weekend too, Barb.

  3. I really like the idea that I am part of Peter Cundall's yield, he is a great bloke and I loved Pete's Patch. It's amazing that he's still writing at his age. Hope we will be too!

    1. Yes Peter Cundall is an inspiration for many. He is a great example of a senior in our society who is keeping active and following his passions. And now he is mentoring a whole new generation of gardeners through his column in the Weekly Times.