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An Introduction To The Art of Permaculture Gardening

Updated: Mar 21

Despite its name, permaculture is a simple and crucial tool for food producers and gardeners. In this article, we will discuss what permaculture gardening is and how you can create your own permaculture garden.


What Is Permaculture Gardening?


It may seem unordinary to those who are unfamiliar with permaculture, but gardening and philosophy are two subjects that are frequently connected. Permaculture is a design system established in the 1970s due to food insecurity and a desire for self-reliance. Permaculture includes anything from recycling, reusing, and regenerating to superficial observation, combining practical application with an environmental philosophy.


Concerning gardening, the phrase implies that we can grow food almost anywhere—from fruit shrubs in patio pots to vines on fences—and obtain higher yields with less work by mimicking nature. In my mind, the world turned into a gingerbread house when I began to think of every niche as a potential food-growing zone.


An ecological approach to growing sustains a perpetual circle wherein dead plants become mulch for new growth. Permaculture gardening attempts to re-create this process by converting food scraps into valuable compost and eliminating slug pellets and weed-killers in favor of natural predators and competitive nature. Mollison, one of the co-creators, describes it as working with nature rather than against it.


Survey your plot


Because permaculture is not prescriptive, the approach should be customized to the demands of each garden or terrace. Observation is the initial phase.


During a permaculture class in North London one cold February evening, I was particularly impressed by this aspect. We were asked to visit a forest garden (a permaculture design concept in which a garden resembles a young forest ecosystem) and observe a small portion for 15 minutes. I was standing in front of an apple tree, watching lichen patterns and trying to picture the sun rising and setting when the light faded. As a result, I began to appreciate the garden differently.


Before planting anything, it's important to note how much light, wind, and water a garden receives. To protect tiny plants, it's crucial to monitor seasonal variations over an entire year. As a result, microclimates may be found in any outdoor environment, and delicate plants that require warmth and moisture might prefer a south-facing wall to a windy balcony, providing a natural, edible windbreak.


Green manure is excellent preparation for future vegetables. If you are eager to get started, it is an excellent opportunity to work on your gardening skills and get limbered up before your year is up. Try a few things out on a small plot first if you are eager to get started before your year is up.


Zoning


When developing your garden, you should consider which plants will be visited the most and which will require the most care. Zone one will be the busiest zone, while zone four will house plants requiring minor care. Zone one, closest to the house (also known as zone zero), will contain the fruit-bearing plants, while zone four, farthest away, will contain plants requiring the least attention. Zone five is where you'll find the plants and wildlife that require the least attention, as is typical.


Diversity


Permaculture garden design emphasizes growing various food items with synergistic relationships. For example, marigolds keep eelworms away from tomatoes, while lovage and sweet cicely draw aphid predators that eat them.


The second key concept of permaculture is minimum input for maximum yield. In addition to those we currently consume, various native plants are carefully selected in permaculture gardens, requiring minimal upkeep and producing the most outstanding results. Annuals and perennials, for example, may be used to provide food throughout the year and produce an attractive appearance.


Forest Garden


A permaculture forest garden comprises a layer of dwarf fruit trees and nut bushes over a layer of tall fruit trees, which in turn shelters shrubs that fruit, herbs, and vegetables, all of which are covered with perennial plants to preserve soil moisture and prevent erosion. On a two-dimensional plane, nature features diversity as well as various heights.


Mulch


In permaculture, turning over the soil is not necessary to change what grows there. Although turning over the soil sounds more like a fantasy than a real option, mulch can be applied to change what grows in space. During my permaculture course, I learned about the benefits of mulch. Mulch is the key here, and potatoes, cabbage, and carrots are the best crops to apply it to. After knocking down any weeds, put down a layer of newspaper, cardboard, or natural fiber carpet to kill any weeds.


Mulch or compost can be applied after killing weeds with cardboard. You can help new roots reach the soil by piercing the cardboard layer after adding compost or topsoil. Finally, sprinkle straw or grass clippings and leaves (which are commonplace in local councils).


Watch out for Pests


Invertebrates are killed by the masses of pesticides used by UK households. Numerous examples of creatures help control slug populations without harming the environment, including frogs that eat slugs and do not leave behind dead bodies. When I visited Froglife last year, I bought a planter and put water in it, and a frog moved in within three weeks. Froglife and other organizations are working to help people establish their natural slug patrols.


The Transition Towns initiative was inspired by permaculture, which was developed to confront issues with oil depletion. Cultivating food sustainably by using practical skills, and benefiting ourselves, our communities, and our wildlife is possible. It's nice to imagine as you eat your home-grown dinner.



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