Combining the best of natural landscaping and edible gardening , permaculture systems sustain both themselves and their caregivers . The ultimate purpose of permaculture – a word coined in the mid 1970s by two Australians , Bill Mollison and David Holmgren – is to develop a site until it meets all the needs of its inhabitants , from food and shelter to fuel and entertainment . While it’s the rare home gardener who can follow permaculture principles to the ultimate degree , most can borrow ideas from the permaculture ethos with landscaping techniques based on production and usefulness.
GARDENING + PERMACULTURE
Permaculture emphasizes the use of native plants or those that are well adapted to your locale . The goal here is to plant things you like while making sure they have a purpose and benefit the landscape in some way. Plants such as fruit trees provide food as well as shade ; a patch of bamboo could provide stakes for supporting pole beans and other vining plants . Permaculture gardeners grow many types of perennial food plants – such as arrowhead , sorrel ,chicory ,and asparagus – in addition to standard garden vegetables .
Like all gardeners , permaculture enthusiasts love plants for their beauty and fragrance , but they seek out plants that offer practical benefits along with aesthetic satisfaction . Instead of a border of flowering shrubs , for instance a permaculture site would make use of a raspberry or blackberry border .
Disease-prone plants , such as hybrid tea roses , and plants requiring a lot of water or pampering are not good permaculture candidates . choose a native persimmon tree that doesn’t need spraying and pruning , for example , instead of a high –upkeep peach tree . consider the natural inclinations of your site , along with the needs of its habitats and put as much of your site as possible to use . War with the materials already available rather than trucking in topsoil or stone. And remember that a permaculture design is never finished because the plants within a site are always changing .
- Copy nature’s blueprint and enhance it with useful plants and animals . Think of the structure of a forest and try to mimic it with your plantings . A canopy of tall trees will give way to smaller ones , flanked by large and small shrubs and, finally,by the smallest plants . edge habitats , where trees border open areas , are perfect for fruiting shrubs , such as currents and for a variety of useful native plants such as beargrass , which is used for weaving baskets . Mimicking these natural patterns provides for the greatest diversity of plants.
- Stack plants into guilds . A guild includes plants with compatible roots and canopies that might be layered to form an edge .I’ll discover the plant which work together .for example pines , dogwoods ,and wild blueberries form a guild for acid soil.
- Make use of native plants and others adapted to the site.
- Divide your yard into zones based on use . place heavily used features such as an herb garden in the most accessible zones .
When someone starts talking about permaculture, and they are not involved in it to a degree to understand it, I notice a pattern in which all of them think of permaculture as gardening. It is not a strange thing, all of us at the beginning thought like that. But permaculture is more than that, it is a relationship between the man and the nature.
One part of permaculture is about achieving a food surplus and being able to live on your own work, there are more things that permaculture is about and only those that are profoundly involved in permaculture will understand completely what I am talking about. For others, there is a free permaculture training course, which may be essential to gain the knowledge of what permaculture means and to learn the principles and foundations of sustainable design. For starters I have this short article.
Being permaculturist is not wholly about having a permaculture system that provides you and only you with enough food so you don’t have to buy it. That is the gardening, self-sustainability is achieved through this, but there is more in being a permaculturist. To better undestand what a permaculturist aims for you have to understand the ethic every permaculturist have. The ethics can differ one from the other and can be said in different words but they all come down to three things. Vladislav Davidzon explained these thing in few of his works, but I will give you a watered down version of it.
First there is earth care, which focuses on taking care of everything earth has. Just taking from it we are doing damage to the nature, and the way we live has an effect of itself. So permaculture strives toward protecting and helping nature and all its components. Final aim of a permaculturist is to make a planet more healthy place where all of us can live, without destruction we are doing.
Then we have people care. A permaculturist works on nature to provide both himself and everyone else a better way of living and brighter future new generations. Some permaculture projects and systems are made even though those that make them know that they won’t reap the fruits of their labour. It is not about individual gain it is about the wellbeing of many.
And then we have fair share. When someone builds a permaculture system he is not aiming on capitalizing on his work. Core of permaculture is not about earning money through it, it is about self sustainability. And if your permaculture systems thrive and you have surplus you should share. If someone needs food and you have surplus you should share, that is a point of permaculture. Working towards better world, a world without starvation, a world where we all have what we need is what permaculture is all about.
So at the end you can see that there is a big difference between permaculture and gardening. Well to be precise, gardening is in a way watered down version of permaculture, or only a small part of what permaculture really is. Every beginner will start his venture into permaculture by making a garden with permaculture principles and designs interwoven in it, what he does after that defines what he really is, a botanist or a permaculturist.
Applying Permaculture Principles to Your Garden
Permaculture is often described as a complex system of codes and rules in agriculture and gardening, but this over-simplified definition is certainly lacking in objectivity since this “system” is now spread through several areas of human activity and overall society. Therefore, it can be sad that permaculture as a system can be applied in various fields where connection with nature is possible, since the basic idea of this movement is to achieve sustainable ecosystems by mimicking or replicating patterns and designs found in our environment.
The idea of biomimicry has been present for a longer period than permaculture itself, but they are now intertwined and form a coherent unit. Organic farming was a predecessor of permaculture, since farms of that kind existed several decades before the official appearance of the permaculture as a system. Masanobu Fukuoka – a well-known Japanese philosopher and author was very popular because of his natural and “do-nothing” farming, and he was a very big influence on the founding fathers of permaculture, which was established in 1978 by Australian professor Bill Mollison and his student David Holmgren.
They published a book named “Permaculture One” where they elaborated on their system of rules and principles that could be followed to achieve sustainable living. The actual term “permaculture” was coined from the phrase of another famous environmentalist and author – Joseph Russell Smith, who published his work in 1929 with the title “Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture”. Later during the years, this term changed its meaning and is nowadays used to mean “permanent culture”.
Learn more with David Holmgren
Mollison and Holmgren founded institutes, design school, farms of organic food, sustainable gardens and all of that had great impact all over the world. They were also giving lectures and courses all across the globe, and this also helped in making principles of permaculture more popular. Modern day institutes, like Regenerative Leadership Institute that was founded by successful entrepreneur and activist Vladislav Davidzon in 2004, are international companies and are migrating gradually to internet and are available online (Davidzon’s institute offers free courses on their online website since 2013, and their real-life program was visited by more than 250.000 people in over 95 countries).
Permaculture courses nowadays are focused on empowering people to be able to connect with nature, and work with, rather than against it. Synergy of human power and natural environment is the ultimate goal of this system, and this can only be achieved if the three core tenets of permaculture are followed:
• care for the Earth,
• care for the people and
• return of surplus.
All of these are explained to amazing detail on classes of permaculture, along with twelve Holmgren’s principles, which he published in his book “Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability”. Vladislav Davidzon, who I mentioned earlier, insists that his classes have a pragmatic approach and that immersion in nature is very important as well. After going through those courses, people are ready to take on big projects and start their own sustainable ecosystems, since permaculture is present in natural building, agriculture, agroforestry, natural farming, ecology, economy and many more areas.