Beginners Guide for Permaculture Gardening

Gardening is costly and time-consuming work. It requires regular watering, pruning, providing fertilizers, insecticides, and sometimes even maintaining temperatures if the plant is not a local variant. And you might not even feel content after doing this. Permaculture gardening allows you to have a self-regulating garden with minimum effort. It does need a bit of research and understanding of the surroundings, though.

Let’s learn about Permaculture Gardening, its principles, and how to practice it yourself from this article.

What is Permaculture?

In nature, you don’t have to plant seeds or add fertilizers or add insecticides. The environment is self-sustained with the climate, animals, and insects in such a way that they can all live together. Permaculture follows this principle where you create a garden where the garden takes care of itself rather than you taking care of it.

Bill Mollison, in his book, defines Permaculture as “a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.”

Permaculture allows you to have the garden like any other but with less effort. This can be done in rural or urban areas, small backyards or balconies, or even indoors. You can plant vegetables, herbs, or ornamental plants to add beauty to the garden.

how-to-design-permaculture-garden

Image by hardworkinghippy in Flickr

 

Benefits of Permaculture Garden

Permaculture garden have following benefits:

Saves grocery money

Increase Greenery around the house

It doesn’t need much effort

Fresh and Healthy air

Helps in maintaining local biodiversity

 

Principles of Permaculture Gardening

There is no clear definition to define any garden as a Permaculture garden. It is mostly an environment-friendly and cost-effective practice. David Holmgren, in his book, has defined 12 principles for Permaculture which are as follows:

1. Observe and Interact

Observing where you are, what the climate is like, what wildlife, vegetation grows here, what type of soil is available, and how much water is available.

 

2. Catch and Store Energy

Energy doesn’t just mean electricity. Stored water acts as potential stored energy. The biomass also acts as an energy and nutrients for the soil. You can also convert wind and sunlight to electricity. It would be best if you captured every chance of storing energy.

 

3. Obtain a Yield

Always select crops with greater yield rather than ornamental plants as you want to be self-sustained. The yield doesn’t need to be food. It can be woods, fueling materials, honey, anything that can give some value.

 

4. Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback

This principle directs us to check our consumption and emissions. If you make some mistake, learn from it and don’t repeat the same things again. You cannot get everything right on the first try. With many trials and errors, you should learn and improve the garden.

 

5. Use & Value Renewable Resources & Services

Renewable resources are those resources that replenish with time. You should use renewable resources over non-renewable resources. This could mean adding vegetation at the bottom of the hill so that all the water and nutrients from the top could flow towards it as nutrients from the soil are also renewable.

 

6. Produce no Waste

You might be thinking that it is impossible as waste is inevitable. But a waste for one is a resource for others. Learn to recycle, reuse and compost. Repair and repurpose old and broken tools.

 

7. Design from Patterns to Details

The climate, topography, watershed, and ecology have certain patterns. Observe those patterns to design the garden.

 

8. Integrate rather than Segregate

Create more relations between the parts of your ecosystem. Don’t just group similar things together. You can get more productive when things work together and help each other rather than keeping them separate.

 

9. Use Small & Slow Solutions

Don’t only think about the immediate future—plan for years ahead. People usually don’t plant trees because they take a long time to grow, but they can help the ecosystem for hundreds of years if planted now.

 

10. Use and Value Diversity

Ecosystems are diverse, and so are Permaculture gardens. It can be semi-aquatic or on lakes. It can also have animals like grazers. Grazers take care of fast-growing grass and shrubs and also provide manure.

 

11. Use Edges & Value the Marginal

Use the edges of the garden to interact with the surroundings and get more productive. Things that need much care and attention can be put in edges, whereas ecosystems that do not need much attention can be in the center.

 

12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change

Be Creative. Use, reuse and recycle at every possible place. If some parts of the plan do not work well, change it according to the recent environment.

 

How to design a Permaculture Farm

To design a permaculture farm, follow the following steps:

1. Understand the surrounding

Before starting, you should select a place where you want to start the garden. Remember that you don’t need large outdoor space and can do this at the smallest places like rooftops and balconies.

If you have set up your mind about where you want to start the garden. The next step is observing the surrounding, how much sun it gets, how much water it gets, the soil, the creatures in the soil, etc.

Permaculture gardening needs a lot of planning and preparations, as well as knowledge of local species. You can also ask these questions to the nurseries around.

 

2. Selecting plants

While selecting plants, you must select plants that go together well. Some plants might be poisonous to others, while some might not give other plants a chance to grow.

You can select plants that grow alternatively as one grows in summer and the other in winter. Some characteristics of Permaculture Plants are:

  • Need low maintenance and short duration
  • Regional variants
  • From legume family (to provide nitrogen to soil)
  • Have deep roots
  • Produce lots of foliage

Read about  10 fastest growing plants to include in your Permaculture garden.

 

3. Layering

All plants are of different sizes; some grow large and create a roof, while some other are small and grow in the shades. Also, some are medium size and grow wide, while some grow on the branches and stems of other plants. You can layer these plants to create an ecosystem.

 

4. Composting without Disturbing the soil

Please do not use chemical fertilizer as it might kill the microbes and insects in the soil. The microbes can decompose old leaves, while earthworms can help to make the soil porous. Animal manure and kitchen scrap are popular composting choices.

Read more on vermi-composting. 

 

5. Sustainable Watering System

Use minimum amount of water for irrigation. You can direct the wastewater and water collected on the rooftop to the garden. You can build the garden itself in a place where the water automatically gets collected from the surrounding. Proper leveling and directing are required so that the water doesn’t stay put in the same place.

 

Interesting Facts

1. Permaculture is a combination of “permanent  + culture” or “permanent + agriculture”.

2. Permaculture started way back in the 1970s by a teacher and a student named David Holmgren and Bill Mollison.

3. Permaculture started in Australia and later spread throughout the world in the 1990s.

4. Permaculture doesn’t just apply to people’s gardens or farms.

 

Thank you for visiting the page. I hope you learned something new and had lots of fun. Don’t forget to give feedback and suggestions in the comment section below.

Also, learn to make your own greenhouse. Click Here.

Suman marahatha

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