Permaculture Gardens: What You Need to Know

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Any garden whose design is based on replicating natural forests can be considered a Permaculture Garden.

If you are reading this article, it is safe to assume that you are into permaculture gardens. “Permaculture,” as the name suggests, is short for permanent agriculture. 

Some also call this method the most holistic method of gardening as it relies on nature’s forces such as the sun, water, and wind to provide requirements like shelter and food to your garden.

Any garden whose design is based on replicating natural forests can be considered a Permaculture Garden. Australian ecologist David Holmgren professor Bill Mollison introduced the world to this term back in 1978.

Healing the earth by building up the soil quality is an essential aspect of Permaculture Gardening. 

The three pillars of Permaculture Gardening are: Care for the earth, care for its beings, and earning what you deserve. 

Bill Mollison – The Inventor 

Throughout his life, Bill did many different things and worked several professions. He worked as a wildland surveyor. He was a biologist and also a university teacher.

The idea of permaculture came to him while he was helping to reforest an area for the CSIRO, a federal government agency for scientific research in Australia. He was helping to reforest an area that they had cut back in the Tasmanian rainforest. 

While he was trying to reforest that area, Bill ran into trouble with the Wallaby, the Kangaroo, and some other animals. They were coming in, destroying the land he was trying to reforest.

He started to live-trap him and move him about nine miles away, and then after doing this for a while, he was sitting back one night and thinking, and the idea came to him that he said to himself, “I could definitely design a system better than this.” From that idea, permaculture was born. 

Features of a Permaculture Garden

Soil Preservation

  • While following the treads of nature, soil preservation is one of the primary things to do. Usage of mulch or cover crops such as legumes may help tip the nitrogen levels and keep the soil in place.
  • No-dig gardening is also a good option. You have to understand that earthworms and microbes are your friends. They usually die during the tilling process. When earthworms move, they create many channels which provides better aeration to roots and more water absorption. Tilling the garden will also compromise the lower soil structure, leaving it exposed to harmful UV rays. Stepping on your soil should also be avoided as it will close the open pores, which might lead to a low air supply in the roots.
  • During composting your soil, you should sidestep from turning the soil more than required.
  • To keep your soil intact, crops such as peas or beans can be planted as cover crops. They can be cut down before seeing so that they can decompose.

Succession Planting 

This will improve your harvest when your old plants die off or reach the end of their cycle. The key is to plant various varieties of crops with calculated maturing dates. 

Companion Planting 

Planting certain crops together for their mutual benefit is known as companion planting. This may increase plant growth, make them more resistant to pests, and attract beneficial creatures like those that eat pests or pollinators. 

Plant Stacking

Use herbaceous plants for the ground layer and plant shrubs below them. Trees provide the top canopy. Stacking plants together will also save space and ensure maximum utilization of resources. 

How to start your Permaculture Garden

  1. Analyze your surrounding and see if any features in your garden might benefit you while landscaping. Look out for the insects, treads and familiarize yourself with the plants. 
  2. Choose your plants wisely. Before planting, make sure they are suitable for your habitat and temperatures. You can also make use of companion planting. Growing crops that attract butterflies and repel harmful pests using green manure and nitrogen fixtures will enrich your soil over time. 
  3. Then design your garden with the selected plants in any manner you like. Stacking them right will make your garden look more organized. 
  4. Plant the taller trees initially, followed by the addition of mulch to the topsoil to suppress weeds. Leaves, wood chips, and grass clippings can be used. 
  5. Avoid using artificial fertilizers. Instead, you can go for natural compost, kitchen scrap, and worm tea. 
  6. Make sure you are using a good irrigation system to water your garden. You can go for low drip systems, which will water your soil without much evaporation. 

Benefits of Permaculture Gardening 

A permaculture garden is a promising idea for everyone to get embroiled in with their family members. It promotes constructive engagement and keeps everyone involved.

It will improve the appearance of your home and may even serve as a DIY wildlife habitat for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies in your backyard.

It allows you to discard house scraps while making something good out of them. Permaculture creates biodiversity in both food and animals.

When people grow their vegetables, they grow closer to the produce personally and feel proud. 

What is the Difference Between Organic and Permaculture Gardening 

A Permaculture Garden is more innovative than an organic garden because it ties all the elements of the ecosystem in harmony. 

Yield is high per product, but the quantity of produce is more minor. One can use this garden to filter air and naturally help the surroundings with the help of nature’s forces. 
Pest control is closely looked after. Harvest can be shared among other laborers. 
Food ripens at the same time. The water catchment determines the shape of the garden. 
Considerable human labor is required. Integrated Pest management. 

A few Principles of Permaculture 

Permaculture is a way of thinking about organic agriculture that asks you to think about it as a system rather than in discrete parts.

The system of Permaculture involves some principles which are vital to follow, and they are as follows: 

1. Observe and Interact 

The first principle asks us to gain knowledge about the components of the area where we are going to design our garden.

These components include climate, topography, water, soils, vegetation, wildlife, wind, fire, people, etc.

2. Catch and Store Energy

Electricity isn’t the only form of energy. When we speak of stored energy, we refer to potential energy, symbolized by stored water. It is conserved as irrigation water for future crops.

The forest represents other stored energy sources such as fuel, nutrients, and building materials, which is known as forest biomass. Wind, sun, and flowing water can all be converted into electricity using alternative energy systems.

This principle directs us to capture surpluses and grow them in our system.

3. Obtain a Yield 

This principle encourages self-sufficiency and directs us to reap the benefits of our Permaculture system. This principle is vital to remember when deciding which tree to plant in a specific location.

It is suggested that you choose the one with the highest and most diverse yields. Yields are about more than just food. Building materials, fuelwood, and honey nectar are all items that can be added to the list.

4. Apply Self- Regulation and Accept Feedback

This principle encourages us to live a simple, conscious life. It motivates us to cut back on our consumption and accept that no one else will do it for us. It is up to us to keep a close eye on our consumption and emissions.

Accepting feedback entails learning from both our successes and failures. As we gain experience, we will be able to make better decisions in the future.

5. Produce No Waste 

One of the biggest advantages of Permaculture is that you can make use of everything you produce and nothing will go to waste. You can always be looking for new ways to put your garden’s leftovers to good use.

Begin by setting up a vermicomposting system. The red wiggler worm can your accomplice.

Organic waste and vegetable scraps can be easily transformed into amazing soil amendments by such garden creatures and soil microorganisms. Worm’s digestive tracts convert food scraps into castings, which help to support the soil food web.

6. Incorporate Perennial Crops in Your Landscape

Because perennial crops do not need to be replanted every year, they save energy and cause less soil disturbance. These perennial edibles will produce for years in your garden, even if the yields are slow at first.

An asparagus patch can produce for 15 to 20 years if properly planted and managed. This is also a great way to save energy.

 Some of the Perennial Crops that you can consider are Bamboo, Moringa, Sweet potato, Walking onion, etc. 

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