What is Permaculture Gardening?

I have a dream. I dream of a world where the environment needs no protecting.

Our planet’s future depends on certain changes and permaculture is one of them. o Surely we have a responsibility to leave for future generations a planet that is healthy and habitable by all species – Sir David Attenborough (Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash )

To explain what is permaculture gardening, one has to consider being more resourceful and self-reliant through an ecological design system that helps find solutions in a natural manner, not just for the humans but also for our wildlife.

“Permaculture, originally ‘Permanent Agriculture’, is often viewed as a set of gardening techniques, but it has in fact developed into a whole design philosophy, and for some people a philosophy for life. Its central theme is the creation of human systems which provide for human needs, but using many natural elements and drawing inspiration from natural ecosystems. Its goals and priorities coincide with what many people see as the core requirements for sustainability.” – Emma Chapman

This is a low-maintenance design-option (sounds good right?!) and works solely with what is naturally there and includes a design that mimics nature in the natural growing and interaction between plant, animal and insect species, so that no fertilizers or pesticides are needed. Sunlight and water patterns are first observed and which then decides the placements of beds. Designs work with the wind, sun and water, provides food and shelter for insects, birds and wildlife and makes use of compost to feed the soil. After all, soil is life.

First things first…. designing your permaculture garden starts with getting familiar with all things indigenous – the plants, predators, pests and benefactors in your area. Rather than going on a whim, take a moment and see how your most natural, untouched and thriving local area works. Think about how you can use that knowledge.

Next, the sun is king. You need to find an area that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Start working on a list of your favorite plant wish-list. Group them according to their needs and compatibility. Requirements include sun and water plus neighbours that should get along. See this list of companion plants https://gardeningeden.net/category/uncategorised/companion-planting/

Ideally pollinators should love your plants, pests should be directed away and a barter system between plant talents should be encouraged such as nutrient exchange (example: growing grains next to peas). Check out this list of pro-pollinator plants! https://gardeningeden.net/2019/10/30/bee-gardening/ Tallest sun-worshipers should be at the back, such as trees, with shorter shrubs in front of them and small plants in the front row. ***Create a sowing calendar. Make sure to sow new plants halfway through existing growing plant cycles. A bed should have babies, teenagers and adults at all times.

Regenerative gardens are the best https://gardeningeden.net/2019/10/08/growing-a-regenerative-garden-in-eden/ <<< you may wonder why you have not converted much earlier.

After considering your plants list, how big should your beds be?

Raised beds are great choices and they should be wide enough to fit double plant rows and narrow enough to work on both sides from the path in-between. Soil is life. See how to build up layers inside these beds to ultimately create a no-dig soil environment. I have tried it and will never go back to old ways.

Make sure you honour your soil appropriately. Successful gardens have one thing in common: healthy soil. Soil should be covered like the human skin. Mulch is a good place to start as it prevents weeds while also feeding the soil. This makes the use of awful weed killers, fertilizers and herbicides unnecessary. Now you have saved money and avoided making the mistake of using such awful synthetic killer products. Don’t till your soil. Period. Popular and effective mulches include wood chips and although they initially remove some nitrogen to break down, this only happens during the first layer. After that, all the nitrogen goes back into the soil, plus much much more. More on soil health here: https://gardeningeden.net/category/soilhealth/

What is permaculture gardening without recycling garden/kitchen waste back into the system as compost? Create a composting system from green waste products (uncooked food scraps, weeds, dead plants, leaves) with brown waste products (paper scraps, sawdust or wood pruning material) is a simple method that works successfully.

Finally, make sure you are setting up a low-waste watering system through for example drip irrigation, swales, Hugelkultur (see: https://gardeningeden.net/2019/10/02/growing-back-the-garden-of-eden-with-hugelkultur/ ) and collect water run-off from gutters.

This video above is probably my favorite permaculture youtube vid. I hope you find good inspiration in it too.

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