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This might sound like a rather open question, but I've got to start somewhere.  Where do I begin to setup a permaculture at my house?  What are the most important first steps?

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I guess I'm trying to figure out how to get from where my landscape is today to something more sustainable and productive.
This is good. You've got me thinking. :)
Question: When planting in containers out here in the desert, is there any value in putting some of the native soil in the container soil mix?
I am kind of in the same boat as you Jeff. I have some books that I have been reading. I'm interested in taking some classes, too. Basically, I have been experimenting with my small plot of land.
Jeff-I'm no expert and hardly even experienced, but here's what I have done: I built some raised beds and planted some stuff. The stuff is growing (for the most part) and in the planting and the growing I am learning. I research a problem when I observe it and I am trying to keep everything alive and get it to produce something to eat. Simplistic I know. I spend some time reading posts on here ( I am learning a LOT from these amazing people), hope to go to come classes soon and have thumbed through some books. I can just get caught up in being overwhelmed by all the great stuff to do. I want to do it all and maybe someday I will. For right now I"m going to learn by doing something, and then that something will lead to the next thing. Sounds more philosophical than practical but maybe you can jump off from there...Keep us posted. Peace!
I've been trying to raise veggies and herbs for a number of years. My house has a pool in the back yard and a fair amount of pool deck, concrete and brick pavers. There are some permanent planters that I've been doing most of my growing (and learning) in. For some time I've been thinking of removing some of the concrete and pavers to get access to more soil. My goal is to grow as much edible stuff as i have room, time, etc for. In the process I want to transform my land from it's dry, downhill sloping, water-shedding landscape into something different...
Thanks!
Composting! If you want to grow anything in an organic and low waste, low carbon way, the best practice to implement is on site composting. Depending on your set up, you may very on what style composting you will employ. If space and contact with an offical yard is not an issue, than contact your city waste management team and see if they are selling/giving away repurposed trash bins to help get you started, many, like Gilbert give you a free easy to read guide on getting the basics of composting down. Good luck!
I've had a compost bin going for a while...but have neglected the moisture. Been on top of it for the past month and have some good looking compost forming. Just started a 2nd pile in a an extra bin that I have. It's amazing how fast composting can be when conditions are right.

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