A little philosophy can’t hurt. The meaning of the whole permaculture thing can be found in its name (permaculture) – “perma,” from permanent, represents something sustainable, permanent, and “culture,” from agriculture, is supposed to stand for a certain culture in the gardens, in nature. I still don’t know what to think of permaculture. It is a beautiful kind of work not only for people but also for the plant world. Everything in the garden can regenerate and rebuild itself. Or even more simply, it is about how to generate the greatest profit from the smallest investment.
When we talk about a permaculture garden, we talk about awareness – what do we really need in the garden? What do we perhaps have too much of in the garden? What kind of environment do the plants we grow need to grow? With a good plan, we can conjure up a garden that won’t take us too much time but will bring us a lot of joy in the process.
An Extraordinary System
If you think of the term “perfect garden” as a place with clean lines and manicured beds, permaculture will seem fully systemless at first. However, don’t be fooled. In a permaculture garden, a sophisticated system prevails – just on a different basis – nature-based. Imagine a forest. There you will find trees and small bushes and herbs living together symbiotically. And you don’t find forests chaotic, do you? You feel good walking in nature – no matter that there are no perfect lines there. Take a look at your garden from a different perspective.
The essence of permacultural (natural) gardens is the unity between the garden and nature. Essential is precisely the symbiosis of different plant species, animals, and microorganisms. Focus on the individual aspects and inhabitants of your garden. Help it and let it do its own work, live its own life.
A Whole Variety
Diversity forms another basic principle of these gardens. Thanks to the “uncontrollable system,” garden life is stable, and the organisms are independent. You don’t have to be afraid of pests either – they like it much better in monocultural environments.
Thanks to the diversity in your garden, you will once again be able to save time. But diversity doesn’t mean not having a plan. Look for plants that could produce a good combination together and benefit from each other. Longevity is also an important factor – preference is given to trees, shrubs, perennials, and plants that can reproduce themselves.
So you should know in advance which plants will do well together and which are better not to plant together. To bring in a bit of theory – you need to respect the allelopathic effects of the plants. Tomatoes, for example, would do very well next to corn. Another good combo would be their celery with basil. Very practical could also become neighborhoods between vegetables and herbs or flowers. For example, a velvet flower would be great with onion, as it deters small snakes from the onion plant. Nasturtium, in turn, helps with plant lice.
At this point, you should consider well what you really need and what is just a great but unnecessary trend. For example, do you really care that much about a short-cut lawn? Would a small flower meadow be such a big problem for you? After all, it would be even more beautiful. But, on the other hand, is a living fence made of trees of life unavoidable for you? Wouldn’t it be better to conjure up such a fence from a mix of fruit trees and shrubs? In any case, it would be so much more interesting – and also pleasing for the bees and butterflies.
One must go hand in hand – fair play required!
One must always invest first to profit afterward – taking without giving back is out of the question. The nutrients that the plants have consumed must be returned to the earth – compost is not the only option here. In autumn, the whole of nature prepares for the cold winter. Some plants end their life journey here and fall to the ground together with leaves. This then forms a perfect organic layer – please do not remove it! It will provide warmth and nutrients for the remaining plants. In addition, insects have to overwinter somehow. Every living creature has its individual purpose in nature.
Covering Instead of Covering Up
In wild nature, “bare soil” does not appear very often – for one simple reason: after all, this would be a direct invitation for weeds and pests! How does permaculture deal with this matter? Just don’t fight nature – weeds are just part of it. Give the earth what it really needs – warmth. Cover it. Use straw, leaves, branches… The soil will not corrode this way. In addition, moisture will not escape from it, which will once again save time when watering.
If some of the weeds penetrate the blanket, you can pull them out (be careful – you must, of course, do this before the seeds form). Next, you can put cardboard under the cover. If weeds appear anywhere, they will not be able to grow through the cardboard. Over time, the cardboard will decompose along with the top layer of the blanket and fertilize the soil.
Tip: To prevent weeds from growing, you should place your plants close together. This leaves almost no space for weeds.
It is not a project for “lazy gardeners.”
Permaculture is suitable for well-organized people – where perception also plays a major role. Even in a permaculture garden, there is a lot of work – only it is divided up a little differently in terms of time. You will have a lot more work making raised beds than you would with ordinary digging. However, from the long-term perspective, this will make your garden life easier. Yes, there is indeed no digging or chopping in a permaculture garden (small microorganisms do not live in the dark in sunlight) – but you have work to cover again. With everything around, it could be said that we are not too distant from a normal garden (at least when it comes to maintenance).
A Good Plan is a Must
To save yourself work in the garden later, you must first have everything well thought out – perceive the needs of the plants, the whole environment. Then, consider the selection and placement of individual plant groups. Also, pay attention to the practical side of the whole thing – it is best to have all the garden equipment (garden tools and other) always at hand. Therefore, the mounted garden shed should also be positioned tactically. Finally, look for a solution, thanks to which you will be able to generate a lot and effortlessly – think permaculture. Over time, you will appreciate especially the plantlets that will stand by you the longest.
In a permaculture garden, you always need to have a good plan first. Of course, that takes time. Focus on the details. Consider different combinations and options for placement. The garden will appropriately thank you for your hard (especially mental) work.
Finally, water management is also part of the basic rules of permaculture. Water catchers are an essential practice that saves money and water the plants with rainwater, loaded with nutrients. The circulation of water in the garden must also be thought of for a minimal loss and optimal hydration of the grounds.