Treasure Lake Permaculture Elements

With so many different moving parts at this education center, edible landscaping HQ, and forest and farm, I use this page to show the diversity of operations in this growing site. Treasure Lake Permaculture Elements extend across the 60 acres with its diverse topography, vegetation stages of succession, and soil types.

Treasure Lake Permaculture Design Map
Treasure Lake Permaculture Design Map


Essentially, eco-forestry, or as I call it Active Forest Enhancement, has been my main mission since I started working the land here even before I got into permaculture (2001 started my degree in Fish and Wildlife Management). However overtime more and more has been added in as the place finishes its legacy businesses and moves more into permaculture development.

Existing Permaculture Elements include the following:

Extensive Native Food forest actively managed for biodiversity, especially paw paw, spicebush, and sugar maple:

  • This is the ecoforestry operation that has been running since 2001.  Because of my global travels over the years, I have done stints here and there on the land hacking away at invasives, encouraging natives, and thinning what needs it.  In 2012 we did a light logging allowing us to keep the property which also augmented the forest canopy quite a bit.  But yes indeed paw paw and spicebush were my main aims but general biodiversity is always key along with forest health.  Now we have moved onto sugar maple stands being improved. Fish and Wildlife management will always be the primary goal since that is where i started as an ecologist.

Perennial Hedgerows of Mixed Species:

  • In fall of 2017 I began one hedgerow and moved onto another in 2018 called the triangle garden.  The original one, facing south, sits behind the market garden road that separates it from Dark Wood Farm.  It is a mix of fruit trees and berry plant guild circles forming nuclei which are complemented by plants like comfrey, bee balm, and Egyptian Walking Onion. The triangle garden is much the same mix except the herb layer is more focused on perennial vegetables like asparagus, horseradish, and jerusalem artichoke.

Ongoing Development of a Permaculture Campground:

  • For our educational events and festivals, the South facing ridges that compose our campgrounds are managed uniquely.  It leverages the extensive native food forest management but also adds in tree crops, both natives like paw paw and elderberry but also cultivated tree crops like Jujube and Stone fruits. Read this blog for more: Tree Planting Recap 2019.

Mushroom production:

  • In 2018 we added logs and grow beds of mushrooms.  The logs were inoculated with oyster mushrooms on maple logs.  We also did quite a few beds of king stropharia wine cap mushrooms in grow beds. The yields have been impressive.

Composting: Hot and Vermi:

  • Both hot and cold composting are taking place on the property to feed into the farm and new agricultural projects.  Food wastes are cycled from personal households, from the farm, and from wastes garnered in the city like fermentation or coffee wastes.  The compost is put out solid or put into liquid form through compost extract.


  • In 2018, a friend of the farm, Gil, donated one of his beehives to us.  It is located at the back of the farm in a sheltered area.  We slowly have been doing management with it but the more hands off approach is our style here for beekeeping.  Harvest have been light but delectable.


  • For years i have been slowly adding plants for a diversity of edge plantings to compliment the fishing lake.  I began in 2013 with Duck potato. There are now extensive patches.  I also add in 2018 Thalia, sweet flag, and yellow flag iris to give some contrast to the existing patches of cattails and phragmites. I am also adding beneficial microbes to the lake to help with nutrient cycling.

Medicinal herb biodiversity plantings:

  • Plantings of highly medicinal herbs began in 2018. Ginseng, goldenseal, bloodroot, wild ginger, and blue and black cohosh were all planted on the north facing slopes of our forest. Patches of cohosh and bloodroot are already there but most importantly the seed stock is there for them to spread.

Animal Husbandry year round and seasonal:

  • In 2018 three sets of ducks were given two us, most being peking but also a mallard and mallard cross in there as well.  They help with controlling the duckweed, waking campers up early and the eggs are delicious.  Also goats were leant to me and they helped do some brush foraging in the summer of 2018. While the ducks left us, in 2020 we got our own flock of chickens and herd of goats!

Fish and Wildlife Management techniques for accelerating succession:

  • From augmenting the canopy for more fruit producing to doing extensive stream repair, this kind of stuff is my true passion.  I get to be in the forest and enjoying all that is. The work will take probably more than one generation to complete, but what forest is ever done?  I do see it as my life work and relish in the pulsations of work to improve habitat.

Permaculture Nursery in conjunction with Cincinnati Permaculture Institute (CPI):

  • In 2018, we began utilizing Treasure Lake as an alternative spot for the CPI Growing Value nursery. In 2019 it became a full fledge nursery with my own production of different plants as well including homegrown paw paw.

Educational Center for PDC and other Short Courses

  • Starting in March of 2018 we hosted our first portion of the PDC at the lake.  Over the years, mainly from 2014 on, we have had numerous ways to reach people through different events like Pollination and Treasure Fests and other plant based educational events. Its really great to show off this work of forest stewardship and we definitely want more of this.


Sculpted Earthen Oven/ Cob social Space:

  • In 2012, we added a cob oven to start this space and continued over the next few years adding elements under the carport at the house on the land.  It is a work in progress still but has hosted many a cookouts and we have cooked pizzas for festivals and events.  

The plans are to do so much more and it takes a team.  I need help, want to join?

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