Tyler Ziton is a Certified Permaculture Designer from Orlando, Florida with over 20 years of gardening experience. He has a Permaculture Design Certificate from Oregon State University and is the author of Permaculture: The Secret to Self-Sustaining Food. When he’s not designing self-sufficient gardens, you can find him in his food forest course where he teaches people how to grow their own food.

Tyler in his garden with fruit trees

About Couch to Homestead

My Favorite Books For Beginners

Below are some of the books I found to be transformative for homesteading, permaculture, and self-sufficiency.

  • Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway
  • Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison
  • Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

I recommend Gaia’s Garden for the backyard gardener, Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison for the budding permaculture designer, and Ishmael for anyone who wants one of the best perspectives on life that I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I don’t go a day without thinking about that book.

Other good books that I enjoyed and recommend are:

  • Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
  • Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual by Bill Mollison

My Story: Reliant on the Food System

In 2020, I saw a glimpse of our food system’s vulnerability. My local grocery stores had little to no food. Meat, produce, toilet paper, all gone from the shelves. We had to visit several different stores to make sure we had enough to last the week.

And it’s happened several times since then.

Currently, our grocery stores have an egg shortage and are just now getting them back in stock. They’re limiting them to just 1 dozen per family.

On top of that, I’ve found more flaws within the food system. Here are a couple that stand out most:

  1. You need to eat 8 oranges today to get the same amount of nutrients as 1 orange 50 years ago (due to nutrient depletion in the soil)
  2. Grocery store food is anywhere between 2 weeks and 11 months old (leading to even more nutrient loss)

So, it’s obvious there’s a problem. And the solution might seem just as obvious.

Getting Self-Sufficient

In March 2020, I didn’t know where to begin.

I remembered hearing that during WWII, civilians in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany grew victory gardens in their backyards and public parks. Growing these “war gardens” offset the demand for food and allowed manufacturing to focus on other supplies.

So, I walked into our backyard and planted everything I could get my hands on (remember, there was a seed shortage). I planted corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, herbs, flowers, and fruit trees such as avocados, lemons, oranges, figs, limes, and many, many others.

I learned about raised beds, hugelkultur, composting, vermiculture, mulching, pruning, grafting, propagating, and other techniques. I tried my hand at all of them.

And it began to work.

our backyard with avocado lemon and tangerine trees copy
Avocado, lemon, tangerine, rose and other plants in our backyard
our backyard food forest
Another view of our backyard
picture of me in my backyard with annual ryegrass growing
My first time growing cover crops (annual ryegrass)
raised mound of soil and compost in my garden
Amending a garden bed with compost
a hugelkultur mound I dug in the backyard
Amending clay soil with hugelkultur
Tyler holding worms over his Meyer lemon tree
Fertilizing a lemon tree with compost from my worm bin
potato and corn plants growing in our backyard
Growing potatoes, corn, nasturtium, and other crops

After some time, I decided to pursue a certificate in Permaculture Design from Oregon State University. It was difficult, but what I learned was priceless.

Tylers Permaculture Design Certificate

However, not everyone will follow this path. Most of us are too busy to read all the books, watch the courses, and visit farms to learn what we need.

Not only that, but permaculture can be complicated as heck. Sectors, zones, slopes, resource management, guilds, passive heating/cooling, swales, nitrogen-fixing, soil testing, and many other aspects are a big learning curve.

When I was learning permaculture, I wished that I had a cliff’s notes version and a simplified way of how to use it for my site. Something that translated the permaculture language into an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide. And an instructor to walk me through it.

Permaculture Food Forest: Online Course

I took this challenge, along with everything I learned (and am still learning) and distilled it into a simple, permaculture course so you can spend less time with the complexities, and more time doing the things you love.

The problem with permaculture today is that it’s too often shown to be abstract, complicated, and peculiar.

But there are many benefits that are simply too good to pass up.

People are saving hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of dollars by avoiding obvious mistakes simply from learning a bit of permaculture. And this makes learning it well worth the cost.

With this course, I’m delivering a streamlined, simple, actionable view of food forests and how you can make the most of it.

See the course.

If You’re Looking for Inspirational Videos

Lastly, if you’re looking for some self-sufficient inspiration, below are my 3 favorite videos.

Stay in touch!


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