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Practical Permaculture
By: Admin    July 28 2017 , 06:54 pm
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What do phrases like “edible garden,” “self-sustaining landscape,” and “productive ecology” have in common? They are all real benefits of one all-encompassing, fast-growing system: Permaculture. A combination of the words “permanent” and “agriculture,” permaculture does not have one specific definition; however, this method usually denotes the adoption of farming and gardening practices to enhance sustainability, productivity, and harmony in your landscape. Working with benefits found in nature, permaculture takes various gardening tactics, (composting, mulching, plant placement, etc.), and transforms any lawn into hearty and sustainable land. If your garden is not yielding hoped-for results, it may be time to try permaculture and not just organic gardening. If you are into working harmoniously with your landscape and producing all kinds of delicious plants through your own efforts, here are a few tips on converting your weary plot into a valuable, edible garden.

Attention gardeners with run-down, needy lawns and gardens: it is time to check your soil! How has it been cultivated? Is it fertile or compacted? The successful permaculture planter knows that rich loam is absolutely crucial to healthy plant growth – this means no compacting or digging! As its name suggests, compacting squashes out all the nutrients that are present in soil, and often leads to an altogether barren garden. Whether brought about naturally, such as by a heavy rainfall, or through personal efforts, compacting will certainly crush your land’s potential. If you do have pre-compacted soil, the first step to a healthier garden is to layer – remember, digging will only harm soil further (and believe it or not, weeds can actually be very helpful)! You will not need to dig at all in order to start a permaculture garden on top of a pre-existing space; the dig-free gardening method is a great guide to use if you are not sure how to begin this process. Layering on topsoil is a wonderful way to promote a healthy landscape – and to use up any homemade compost you may have around! Also called “sheet composting,” the method of creating rich black soil in place of an infertile garden, is simple. Cardboard ideally comprises the first layer, as it is biodegradable and a great weed-blocker; from this brown base, start layering your garden plot with “greens and browns”: green materials, such as manure and grass clippings, are nitrogen-rich, while brown materials such as straw and leaves are high in carbon. Starting from the soil up is crucial with Permaculture gardening – so make sure you layer up before planting anything new!

Once you have done some groundwork, look at what your outdoor plot has to offer. Even though it is possible to grow a completely sustainable food forest like this one, your Permaculture garden may not be able to cover much space; but you can certainly supplement previous efforts with permaculture methods, if you focus on helping your land to help itself. For a garden to be completely sustainable, plants must all work together so that one benefits another in an endless growth chain: in other words, the inputs need outputs. For example, an input of healthy soil will attract many helpful earthworms, leading to an output of hearty vegetation, a homemade irrigation system and a more harmonious backyard. In permaculture gardening, plant pairing is also a great method to use, especially when incorporating pre-existing fruits or vegetables. If you already have tomatoes, for instance, try growing basil nearby and the two plants will work together – you can even save space with a vertical garden design. There are many ways to place plants in a garden to enhance its overall productivity – just make sure to keep in mind your location, and know which plants grow during specific seasons.

Layering soil, placing plants, and creating a system of inputs and outputs are all wonderful ways to start your own self-sustaining plot – and they will certainly help turn a barren space into a plant-rich environment! Permaculture can be a system for everyone. A more earth-savvy system will benefit anyone, from the acreage owner to the backyard gardener, and will profit the land simultaneously. Just remember that when nature starts taking over, (more weeds, earthworms in abundance, etc.), that is not a bad thing – it is just the great beginnings of a completely harmonious garden!

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Kristen Pesta Jul 31,2017

So informative! Such a good read.

Todd Turner Jul 31,2017

Thanks for sharing!

Kevin Brady Aug 02,2017

Great information here!

Jonathan Reineking Aug 08,2017

Nice article! That was really helpful!