Turn your backyard into a permaculture garden oasis that produces benefits for nature and humans.
Imagine this scenario: Your garden is a lush place where you produce healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables, herbs, medicinal plants and other useful products like e.g. timber. It is beautiful and productive, a great recreational space that is in harmony with nature.
This diverse garden doesn't need chemicals or artificial fertilizers to keep plants producing. It creates its own soil fertility by using nitrogen fixing plants, dynamic accumulators like comfrey and mulch. A high diversity of well-selected plants encourages beneficial insects and predators that keep pests at bay.
Permaculture is a design science that uses nature and its processes as a role model. It can be used to set up systems that go way beyond organic gardening.
The permaculture approach can be used to create sustainable business
models, build a house, agricultural systems or a sustainable backyard
garden that produces a yield without being ecologically harmful.
The aim for a backyard permaculture garden should be to apply the underlying principles of natural ecosystems. An ecosystem is based on the complex beneficial relationships between fauna and flora.
Here is a simple example: flowers provide pollen and nectar for suitable pollinators. Both, the plant and the insect benefit from this relationship. The flower gets pollinated and can now produce viable seed for the next generation. In return for this service, the insect got pollen and nectar to feed itself and its offspring.
Another example would be the relationship between plants and beneficial fungi called mycorrhizae. The fungus grows in or around the root and supplies the plant with minerals and water. In return, the fungus receives sugars that the plant produces through photosynthesis. A win-win situation!
I know that all this sounds a bit technical. To say it a bit more bluntly: a water butt or a herb spiral on the middle of a lawn doesn't make a permaculture garden just yet! Now...this doesn't mean that they can't be a well functioning element is a backyard permaculture garden but it is a lot more complicated but also more fascinating than that.
To design a well-functioning permaculture garden you first of all need to carefully observe the situation. All aspects like e.g. local climate, location, soil conditions and of course your own objectives have to be taken into consideration.
Permaculture is quite complex and if you have a serious interest in it, I would recommend you take a Permaculture Design course with an experienced practitioner. It is money and time well spent! I myself did an online PDC course with Geoff Lawton and I have to say it was a great experience. I can only recommend it!
If you don't require certification you can even find courses for free online. Just do a google search.
A garden based on permaculture principles has great benefits for you, your family, friends and the environment. It is, by design, supplying nutritious vegetables, fruits, herbs nuts and if wanted even meat or eggs. All that can be achieved in backyard gardens even if they are not very big.
Garden Cress indoors is one of the simplest things to grow. Grow cress on your window sill during the winter and boost your immune system with lots of Vitamin C from this easy to grow culinary herb!
Check out the November 2017 issue of the 'Homestead Gardener' Digital Magazine for organic gardening tips, permaculture and self-sufficiency.
Are organic pesticides truly harmless for your garden ecosystem? When should you use organic pest sprays to avoid killing pollinators and beneficial insects.