9 Steps to Create a Permaculture Garden • New Life On A Homestead (2022)

Permaculture is a toolbox of techniques aimed at regenerating the Earth and the society in which we live. However, many people see permaculture as an agriculture-based activity, driven by its originally meaning of ‘permanent agriculture’.

While permaculture now encompasses ways in which we manage energy, rebuild shelters, and rework our sociological communities, the very backbone of permaculture comes down to the understanding of how to grow a garden in order to feed, clothe, medicate, and sooth ourselves. After all, many of our resources start from the soil.

What Do We Mean by a ‘Permaculture Garden?’

A permaculture garden refers to a landscape that is focused on producing edible and useful plants that can help sustain us in our paths to self-sufficiency.

However, the true concept behind this is a garden that mimics the naturally-occurring patterns of nature, in order to promote resilience, decrease vulnerability, and increase a diverse and sustainable yield.

In layman’s terms, a permaculture garden is clever. It considers energy efficiency at all times, cycling nutrients and energy through its system.

This type of garden will employ biological solutions that use many elements of the ecosystem to serve many functions, all crossing over at once. By using the tools given through permaculture, you’ll spend less time managing your garden as it naturally manages itself.

The features you’ll often see most obviously present in permaculture gardens may include:

  • Sheet Mulching and Composting
  • Green/Living Mulch
  • Herb Spirals
  • Keyhole Beds
  • Raised Beds
  • Food Forest Design
  • Guilds and Companion Planting
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Weed Suppressants
  • Insect Repelling Plants

Tools You Will Need to Get Started

In permaculture, we believe in the concept of ‘appropriate technology’. This refers to the idea that using tractors and large non-renewable fueled machinery is very often not necessary. For gardeners, this can mean reducing the use of a lawn mower or chain saw, or tilling soil by hand.

Now while hand-powered work takes longer, it encourages the body to work harder, promoting personal health and self-care.

Equally, by extending the time it takes, it encourages teamwork to get the job done quicker, inciting community.

These are all permaculture aspects that demonstrate the deeper value of building a garden.

The following tools are a good start for getting yourself going with the garden:

Wheelbarrow

You’ll be carting things around the site, whether it be materials for mulch or compost for the soil. You will need to transport this with a good sturdy wheelbarrow.

A wheelbarrow of low quality, that is too heavy, or is low in height will hurt your back, so make sure to find something that suits your height and strength.

Hoe

Hoes come in many shapes and sizes. Choose the wrong hoe, and you could end up with a back injury. Select one that’s suitable for your height and won’t snap under pressure or force.

They are mostly used for weeding, dragging soil or for taking off top layers of soil, however they can be used in a chopping motion when preparing the soil to create beds. Stirrup and diamond hoes are usually better for weeding, whereas an eye hoe is more suitable for chopping.

Trowel

When it comes to planting, you’ll need a trowel. This will help you move back mulch and dig a hole in your soil that is wide and deep enough to pot your seedlings without causing damage. Wood-handled trowels are better than plastic, which tend to snap if they hit anything hard.

Garden Gloves

While it might be a good idea to build a few callouses while digging, garden gloves can help protect you when carrying other material. Spikes and thorns can come out of nowhere, as can glass in your beds and some things that bite.

Having garden gloves will stop your hands from experiencing wear and tear as such a rapid rate. Luckily garden gloves come in sizes, so make sure to get the right pair as gloves that are too big can make tasks more difficult.

Hose or Irrigation

A hose should be able to reach everywhere in your garden without dragging over beds and damaging plants, so make sure you have a line of hose long enough for your needs.

Due to the damage that hoses can do, often people employ dripline irrigation or sprinklers systems that can be zoned off to water certain sections of the garden at a time.

Pickaxe

For those making raised beds, a pickaxe becomes a great companion to a hoe. Pickaxes help to break up tougher ground and can speed up the process, especially with compact soil.

Pickaxes can be heavy so make sure you know the correct way to use one and that you choose a tool that isn’t too heavy for you.

9 Steps to Creating a Permaculture Garden

These 9 steps are a broad overview of how to get started on a permaculture garden. Design is especially important in order to create a well-thought out garden. However, getting started is just as important. Here are a few key pointers to get you on the rollercoaster.

1. Observe and Record

Biomimicry is the backbone of permaculture design. You want to create a garden that uses the natural patterns of nature and cycles biological resources through the site.

(Video) Permaculture For Beginners!

With this in mind, you should start out by watching the area that you’d like to develop to see how it progresses naturally by itself.

To get started, you’ll need a base map of your site. This will help you to see what is already there in a more ‘permanent’ sense.

On this map, you’ll want to pattern the contours of the land, any water sources, structures that can’t easily be moved, and large natural features like big trees or forested areas.

From there, you need to consider the natural sources of energy that run through the site you’ll be developing. This will allow you to create a sector diagram and a flow analysis.

In this section, try to watch out for the pattern of the Sun’s movement, how water falls and moves around the site, any wildlife tracks that move through, wind speed and momentum, fire hazards, and any shaded areas.

This will allow you to see how you can use these elements to your advantage, harnessing them and sculpting the land to enhance them.

Next you should consider the natural state of the land. Test your soil to understand what is consists of and its pH levels. This well help you to further work out how the soil needs to be improved.

After this, consider the natural flora and fauna that occur on the site. When we’re designing, to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience, patterning your own plants in similar patterns to those naturally occurring will lead to a stronger garden.

For example, if you can see a natural nitrogen-fixer in the garden, what other plants surround it? Are you seeing a ration of 2:1 of nitrogen-fixing plants (legumes) to dynamic accumulators (big leaves with tap roots that mine minerals from the soil)? If so, you will want to plant in this pattern.

9 Steps to Create a Permaculture Garden • New Life On A Homestead (1)

Lastly, consider what is missing. Perhaps there is an area of the garden that doesn’t get too much sun or water. Maybe there are a distinct lack of pollinating insects.

Perhaps the soil is so dense that there is no aeration occurring. In this sense, you can get an idea of what needs to be added to improve the land straight away.

One thing that many people forget is to record the original observations of the garden. ‘Before and after’ recording is vital to understand the feedback loops you are receiving from the garden.

For example, by reshaping some of the land to catch water, you may see certain pests or fungi you hadn’t anticipated. Only by looking back to see the changes you have made, will you be able to make real sense of what is going on.

2. Design

From Patterns to Details

When you design in permaculture, you want to move from the big to the small. This works in terms of ideas as well as pen-to-paper design. Consider the function of the garden itself to understand what you want to use it for.

Are you creating an edible landscape, a medicinal resources, or perhaps a garden for fiber or animal feed? This will allow you to consider the elements you’d like to include whether they be herbs, small fruit trees, flowers, perennial edibles, or perhaps even small animals like chickens.

Patterns to details refers to the design from larger concepts to the small. By understanding the functionality and therefore the elements, you can start to understand the patterns in which they should occur to work together with one another.

Equally, say you want to create a rainwater harvesting irrigation system, you take this bigger idea and then zoom into the details of that element, to work out how you will build that. Some might say that the patterns represent how the elements work together to fulfil functions; whereas the details explain how each element will conduct the functions.

Inputs and Outputs

When you have a rough idea of the elements you want in your garden (fruit trees, perennials, compost pile, rainwater harvesting system, etc), then you need to consider all their inputs and outputs. An input is something that an element needs and an output it something it produces.

Take an herb spiral, for example. That herb spiral needs daily watering, sunlight, and healthy soil.

Some of the herbs may need shade. It will produce herbs for culinary, medicinal, and cosmetic purposes, while serving as an insect repellent, aromatherapy source, ornamental feature, rainwater harvesting device, and herb nursery for planting elsewhere in the garden.

By considering the inputs and outputs, you can more efficiently work out where to place this feature.

The daily watering and usage suggest it is placed somewhere that is easy to access from the house.

While an herb spiral is designed to shade some plants and provide light to others, you may consider aligning it so the Northern side is shaded by a tree to help protect the plants that need less sun, while its leaf fall will help to improve the soil and the transpiration process will create more moisture in the air.

Functions Served by Many Elements

For a permaculture garden to be effective, it needs to be resilient. Resilience is created through diversity and this is exactly what can be seen in every aspect of the garden. On the most basic level, having many different crops, as opposed to monocropping, means that if a particularly voracious carrot-eating pest gobbled all your carrots, you’d still have an abundance of edible crops to eat.

(Video) How to Establish a Permaculture Garden

In the wider sense, look at every function that occurs in the garden. This could be water collection, energy capture, growing food, making medicine, providing shade. Every single function should have more than one element doing that function.

For example, if you rely solely on a well with a pump to irrigate your plants, what happens if the well dries up, or the electricity cuts out and the pump doesn’t work? If you rely solely on rainwater harvesting, what if there’s no rain?

This function should be served by many elements such as sheet mulching to hold water in the soil, rainwater barrels for storage, an electric and a hand-pump, a hose straight to a faucet, and so on.

Elements are Multi-Functional

To create an exponential level of resilience and efficiency, we want all our elements to be multi-functional. If each plant or element only does one thing, then we end up managing a lot more. If you’re planting something, make sure it is more than just a food or more than just a pretty flower.

For example, say you want to brighten your garden with some flowers. Why not choose to plant Marigolds at the edges of your beds. Marigolds excrete a toxin from their roots that kills harmful pests, while the orange flower attracts pollinators that help the garden to thrive.

Not only that, marigolds are edible and taste like citrus on salads and in soups.

As a medicine, Marigolds can be used to treat poorly healing wounds, reduce inflammation and swelling, deal with ulcers on the skin, reduce fever, and help with muscle spasms. The flowers you wanted to increase the aesthetic now serve 4 functions beyond looking pretty.

Relative Location

In this manner, it makes logical sense to group certain things together. Guilds, for example, are a way of having different plant elements serve functions in their own mini universes throughout your garden.

You may have a plant that fixes nitrogen, one that taps minerals, one that attracts pollinators, an insect repellant, a wind barrier, a weed suppressant, and so on.

Alternatively, you may consider that plants that need a lot of water should be placed in areas that receive a great deal of rainfall or where the water source is located. An example of this is people planting mint under water spickets so it can benefit from the hose drips.

Relative location refers to placing the elements of your garden logically to help them serve and preserve their functions. Imagine a function to be its own mini system. You take one element and consider which mini systems it is involved in. You then place it in the most logically energy efficient place for it to work in all those systems effectively.

3. Source Plants/Materials

With your design in hand and an understanding of the inputs and outputs, you can work out what you need to get started.

Consider all the inputs that your garden is going to need. Before jumping to buy all those things, also look at your outputs. If any cross over, then you can strike them from the list. For example, chickens are going to produce a lot of manure; this means you don’t need to buy high nitrogen for your compost pile as you already have it.

If some of the elements won’t produce the outputs for a while, this also gives you an indication of the order in which you should construct the garden.

During this stage, you may want to get a plant nursery going so you can start to sprout seedlings. Not everything needs to be grown this way; some seeds can be planted straight in the ground. However, by giving yourself a head start, once the soil is ready to go, you’ll have your seedlings prepared to pop into the beds. It also means you can grow seedlings and take cuttings, rather than having to buy and plant lots of seeds.

4. Plant Your Water

When you say ‘rainwater harvesting’ to the average person, they tend to consider catching water in a barrel, usually from the roof of your house or a gutter. Rainwater harvesting can be far more ingenious than this and covers a whole host of techniques.

The main idea of employing rainwater harvesting in the garden is to slow, stop, and spread water around your site, before it runs off.

This allows the plants to use water that would otherwise have trickled away. By doing this, you will need to water your garden far less frequently.

While there are many rainwater harvesting techniques, some of the most famous are terracing, swales, raised beds, and waffle gardens.

Terracing, for example, refers to the process for cutting steps on contour in to a sloped garden. If you are building a garden on a hill, rainwater rushes down the hill without having time to sink into the soil.

Terracing, through the creation of steps, gives a plateau for rainwater to stop and slow down. It can then spread along this platform.

Water that overflows, passes down to the next platform. In doing this, the water is captured in the soil and the plants and isn’t running rapidly off site and eroding the soil.

Other important ways to harvest rainwater refer to the impervious surfaces surrounding our homes and land.

For example, a driveway or concrete path does not allow water to pass through it, meaning the water hits this surface and runs in any direction.

Channeling this run-off can be very helpful. By cutting gutters or French drains next to driveways that are slightly arched, water runs into these gutters, and can be diverted to gardens using gravity. This again, saves on watering and prevents flooding.

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5. Prepare the Soil

Healthy soil equals happy plants. Plants feed on the soil and low-quality soil will be represented in the plants.

Not only in the quality of the food you produce but also in the number of weeds that try to come through and the number of pests you encounter. Improving soil increases succession and balances the ecosystem living within it.

In your observation stage, you will have tested the soil to determine its consistency and its quality. In doing this, you can understand some of its key components, like whether it’s very sandy or highly acidic, for example. This allows you to understand how to remedy it.

While composting is a great soil amendment, which can be used for compost teas and natural fertilizers, sheet mulching is also a good idea. This will help to insulate the soil, suppress weeds, improve soil quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce effort.

However, if you have noticed certain unhelpful features in your soil, you may want to apply some extra measures of improvement.

For example, mixing in egg shells to your compost or sheet mulch will help to provide extra calcium in the soil, improving cell strength in plants.

By adding fruits and vegetables to your mulch or by fermenting them, you can create vitamin mixes that help to improve the content of vitamins in the soil.

Inorganic and toxic fertilizers contain 3 elements: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. In the organic world, some people like to mix manures into the soil to increase the nitrogen content while kelp meal improves plants’ ability to take in nutrients by providing potassium.

Bone meal will help to add phosphorous to the soil. The difference with all these additives is that they also provide other minerals and vitamins at the same time in naturally occurring quantities.

This decreases the chances of the pest population from getting out of control as with non-organic fertilizer, and increases the nutrients your plants receive. Be aware, however, that a high imbalance of any of these can lead to pest issues, whether the amendments are organic or not.

If you have chickens or other animals, this is the perfect opportunity to let them run the site.

Pigs will till the soil with their snouts for you, looking for bugs and roots, while manuring on the soil. Chickens will scratch the soil and manure as well. This prepares the soil without having to till it whatsoever.

If your soil is very acidic, you may want to bring it closer to neutral by adding some lime (limestone, not the fruit) to the soil. If it is too alkaline, you can add fish meal.

Remember to consider that natural and biological resources native to your own environment will always be the best and most effective long-term resources for you site.

Not only in terms of cost and moving these about, but also in the sense that native plants respond best to native amendments.

If you live very far from the ocean, kelp meal can be quite shocking to plants and the soil ecosystem and may lead to higher pest populations.

Living mulch is also a great way to provide nutrients to the soil. Sometimes called cover cropping, living mulch is usually a shallow-rooted plant that covers the soil to protect it from damaging weeds and soil erosion, while providing nutrients to the soil.

Types of clover and low-level legumes are good examples of this. When you want to plant, you can just pull up some of the cover crop and plant, leaving the rest to carry on covering the soil.

6. Plant Guild Anchors

In respect of patterns to details, one of the most predominant and effective patterns to include in your garden is that of guilds.

The guild can be said to be the pattern, mimicking the arrangement of plants in their natural habitat. The details become the composition of the guild — in which plants are included.

First you need to decide on your anchor crops. The anchor plants are the primary plants that will be in your guilds of companion crops.

For example, say you want to plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, while they grow well together, they have similar root and spatial needs as they are all from the nightshade family.

It also means they have similar vulnerabilities to fungi, bacteria, and pests.

9 Steps to Create a Permaculture Garden • New Life On A Homestead (2)

Aside from providing food, these aren’t really plants that are all that multifunctional.

They serve as the anchor point to guilds and companion plants but should be supported by the elements chosen to go around them to help combat some of these vulnerabilities.

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These should be planted first to get a good head start and to anchor themselves into the soil, so they’re not shielded out by their faster growing companions.

9 Steps to Create a Permaculture Garden • New Life On A Homestead (3)

7. Build Companion Guilds

Once your anchor plants have got a good foothold, you’re looking to find supportive plants to help those plants grow.

There are some companion plants that work with a particular purpose which is generic to most other plants.

For example, certain flowers are good pollinators, some herbs are good at repelling harmful insects, legumes will put nitrogen in the soil, plants like comfrey serve as great chop and drop mulch material due to their tap roots (dynamic accumulators).

9 Steps to Create a Permaculture Garden • New Life On A Homestead (4)

However, there are also companion plants that work particularly well with specific plants and horribly with others.

For example, French tarragon helps tomatoes to grow better and taste sweeter, while basil stops whitefly and borage stops hornworms. While carrots will help tomatoes grow, tomatoes stunt the growth of the carrots.

Many gardeners will use alliums for pest control as they can confuse carrot rootfly and protect against slugs due to their strong smell. However, they’re not every plant’s friend.

Take beans: beans are a great source of nitrogen but they can not be planted with alliums (onion, leeks, etc) or things from the brassica family, like cauliflowers.

9 Steps to Create a Permaculture Garden • New Life On A Homestead (5)

You can find many companion planting charts which will help to direct you in working out what needs to be planted with what.

8. Maintenance

Building the compost pile isn’t the end of composting. Planting the tomatoes isn’t the last thing to ensure their growth. Maintenance is where the real work comes in.

To be the most effective gardener, it is good idea to write a list of all the jobs that need doing and their frequency. This will help to budget and plan your time to make sure everything gets done without dropping the ball.

You can apply this to a calendar to create a routine whereby you know the day and time to complete each of the tasks.

This will also help with the next level of improvement where you can outline the tasks that take a long time and could be automated with a systemic changes and multi-elemental design.

In-built in maintenance is using your biological resources. As your garden functions more effectively, you’ll find that weeds occur, leaf drop builds up, and manure starts coming.

These things will enable you to continue to build your compost pile. Equally, as herbs and spices grow, you can start to utilize them on the garden, perhaps making chili and garlic ‘teas’ to apply to the plants for insect protection.

9. Accept Feedback and Adapt

It is inevitable that your garden will kick back, both in good ways and bad. After all, you are changing the landscape in order to increase production. This is bound to cause reactions from that landscape.

Sheet mulching can be a good example of this. Sheet mulching will leave the soil in a better condition than when you started. However, sheet mulching tends to increase pests at the beginning as it creates the perfect habitat for mice and slugs.

With this in mind, you need to recognize these kickbacks by seeing the changes in your plants and then remedying the issues that crop up. Including coffee in your sheet mulch, for example, will keep slugs at bay.

Equally, however, you may find that some areas are flourishing more than others. Accepting this feedback and analyzing this will help you to objectively consider why that area thrives better than other areas.

Perhaps you have some tomatoes doing really well in one and place and terribly in the other, only to realize you had added some fireplace ash to the better tomatoes and not to the others.

Moreover, giving yourself the time to step back and understand how these systems are working enables you to become more creative in your design. After all, permaculture design does not stop with the implementation of the garden; it continues to occur, forever improving your site.

Perhaps you can see a better way to harvest rainwater, or a more efficient way to divert it. Maybe you notice that some plants could do with shade, so you grow a trellis of hardy kiwis above it, increasing the yield and providing the shade.

Feedback loops are vital to becoming a keen and expert permaculture gardener. After all, those who are unrecognizing of their mistakes and impact cannot change damaging patterns, as they are not aware of them.

Wrap-Up

Starting a permaculture garden is the beginning of an exciting journey into creativity and inventiveness. It is important to remember that observation is key to solving some of the inherent problems and will save you time with trial and error.

On that note, giving yourself time to create a design will also help you to plan out your time and budget, while giving an overview of the finished product. However, don’t get caught in those stages by being a perfectionist.

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Get the shovel in the soil and start the process, otherwise it will forever remain an idea and never a reality. You can always remedy your mistakes later or adapt to unplanned changes, but you’ll get nothing without a seed in the ground.

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FAQs

What are the elements of permaculture? ›

The way I like to distinguish permaculture is by dividing it into five major categories. These are: ethics, abstract principles, science & design principles, strategies, and techniques.

How do you prepare soil permaculture? ›

Some don't realize but the soil is actually the first thing they should look at .
...
How to Build Soil
  1. Lift the earth or soil. ...
  2. Add cardboard, newspaper or even old bed sheets or carpet. ...
  3. Add some nutrients like manure. ...
  4. Add mulch, and then add more mulch.
17 Aug 2020

What are the 12 principles of permaculture? ›

The 12 design principles of permaculture
  • Observe and Interact with Nature. ...
  • Catch and Store Energy. ...
  • Obtain a Yield. ...
  • Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback. ...
  • Use and Value Renewable Resources. ...
  • Produce No Waste. ...
  • Design From Patterns to Details. ...
  • Integrate Rather Than Segregate.

What is the basis for permaculture? ›

“Permaculture and traditional farming practices are based on indigenous or traditional knowledge that has been developed over many generations to form farming systems that are regenerative, self-sustaining and resilient systems modelled from natural ecosystems,” says Pillay.

What is a permaculture design? ›

Permaculture is design – a conscious process involving the placement and planning of elements, things and processes in relationship to each other. As such it is a way of thinking, and it is our thought patterns that determine our actions, so permaculture becomes a way of living.

What is permaculture and why is it important? ›

“Permaculture” as a practice, simply means observing nature, researching tools and techniques used by indigenous people in your bioregion, and engaging in a diligent, daily practice of balancing the needs of yourself and your family with those of the other species all around you.

What is the no dig method? ›

In a no-dig regime, weeds are controlled by shallow hoeing, hand weeding, contact weedkillers and mulching. Debris is gathered up rather than dug in. Mulches are taken into the soil by soil organisms, and fertilisers are washed in by rain.

Should I put rocks in the bottom of my raised garden bed? ›

There is no need to put rocks at the bottom of a raised garden bed. It is actually a myth that has been around for several years. The belief for many years was that it would improve the drainage and also prevent any soil from spilling outside the beds.

How do you fill a raised bed for free? ›

Create dig in your garden bed that is ten inches deep and in the center of your raised bed. Layer down a few layers of cardboard, and fill the core with straw bales, leaves, grass clippings, or old twigs. You can use one of these materials or mix them.

How do you create good soil? ›

You can increase the amount of organic matter in your soil by adding compost, aged animal manures, green manures (cover crops), mulches or peat moss. Because most soil life and plant roots are located in the top 6 inches of soil, concentrate on this upper layer.

How do you build amazing soil? ›

For the best soil, sources of organic matter should be as diverse as possible.
  1. Add manures for nitrogen. ...
  2. Try composting. ...
  3. Tap chicken power to mix organic materials into the soil. ...
  4. 4.”Mine” soil nutrients with deep rooted plants. ...
  5. Plant cover crops. ...
  6. Cover the soil with mulch. ...
  7. Use permanent beds and paths.
7 Oct 2020

Can I use cardboard in my garden? ›

Why use cardboard in a garden? It's a great mulch, and prevents weeds from sprouting. Decomposing cardboard adds organic matter to the soil, improving your garden's drainage and boosting nutrient levels.

What is an example of permaculture? ›

Examples include buildings that support outside plant life, backyard and balcony gardens, and energy-saving green initiatives such as the installation of gray water reclamation systems. The permaculture movement has its critics.

How much money do I need to start a permaculture farm? ›

You can spend $100,000 building a house or you can build one for $5,000, or, even better, live in a teepee or camper. There is a 20-fold saving factor right there. You can choose to spend a little or a lot, it's all about your preferred style.

What are the three core principles of permaculture? ›

Central to permaculture are the three ethics

The ethics earth care, people care and fair share form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies.

What is a permaculture lifestyle? ›

It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.” In other words, permaculture is a holistic, living-in-harmony-with-nature worldview, as well as technical approach for how to do so.

What is the difference between permaculture and organic farming? ›

In permaculture gardening, energy is transferred from one source to another before leaving the system entirely. Whereas, with organic gardening, since fertilizers are used, the waste from one plant becomes food for another organism.

What are permaculture methods? ›

Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.

What is permaculture Homestead? ›

Permaculture homestead design integrates observed systems in nature that create symbiotic relationships with plants, animals, humans, and even structures. It is a beneficial, circular concept that is only enhanced by time. Sustainability is a buzzword in today's world.

What does permaculture gardening mean? ›

Permaculture gardens use techniques and practices that combine the best of wildlife gardening, edible landscaping, and native-plant cultivation into one low-maintenance, self-contained and productive ecosystem.

What is permaculture PDF? ›

Permaculture is a design concept for sustainable, food. producing landscapes mimicking the diversity and resilience. of natural ecosystems. Although concepts included in. permaculture design have been in practice for millenia by.

How do you start a permaculture in food forest? ›

STARTING FROM SCRATCH! How To Start A Food Forest Phase One

What are the strengths of permaculture? ›

10 Benefits Of Urban Permaculture
  • Plants Are Good For Your Mental Health. ...
  • Urban Permaculture Saves You Money. ...
  • Reduce Your Carbon Footprint. ...
  • Perennials Help The Local Insect Population. ...
  • Urban Permaculture Improves Your Indoor Air Quality. ...
  • Keep Mosquitos Away.
  • Cut Down Your Food Costs. ...
  • Food From Your Garden Is Healthier.
28 May 2019

Why is permaculture better than agriculture? ›

In permaculture, the people contribute in their daily life toward the production of their food and other needs. Instead of a culture of lawn, we build a culture of food production and outdoor living. Permaculture is more holistic, it looks at the whole culture of food and exercise a healthy livelihood.

Will roots grow through cardboard? ›

Yes, roots can grow through cardboard, but only in certain conditions. 'Firstly, the cardboard must be moist enough to allow the roots to penetrate it. Second, the cardboard should be placed in a place where there is no light or air circulation,' Melody says.

How deep should a no-dig bed be? ›

The key is adding a 'thick' layer. It needs to be 3-6″ initially and then a further 2″ each year. A light sprinkling will have little to no effect so you need to go big with this one. It may be best to order a few tonnes of compost to get yourself started even with a smaller bed.

How long does cardboard take to decompose in garden? ›

In a home garden, cardboard used as mulch – shredded and soaked with water – the cardboard can decompose rather quickly and be completely broken down by microorganisms within 3 months.

Should you put cardboard under raised beds? ›

Many gardeners build raised beds right on their lawns, and line the bottoms with cardboard to smother the grass – a technique that makes it possible to fill the beds and start gardening right away. Even the gardener's helper enjoys a cardboard box!

What is the best soil mix for raised garden beds? ›

Some gardeners prefer to fill raised garden beds with a topsoil-free mix, using equal parts compost, perlite, and coco coir. It makes for a fluffy, moisture-retaining growing medium. Compost from multiple sources is best because it provides a wide variety of nutrients.

What is the cheapest way to make raised beds? ›

Used bricks and breeze blocks are cheap or even free. Breeze blocks laid on their side can make a good cheap and safe raised bed and form a seat to sit and garden from. Old planks nailed or screwed around a simple frame of corner stakes that have been well hammered in is cheap and very simple to make.

Should I put landscape fabric under raised bed? ›

Do's for Your Raised Garden Bed

Of course, you don't have to excavate if you don't want to. You can simply remove any grass or weeds from the spot where the bed will sit, and then add layers of newspaper, cardboard or landscape fabric to smother anything that might grow back.

What do you fill the bottom of a raised bed with? ›

The first option for filling your beds is a simple soil mixture. As you may have guessed, this is the simplest route you can take. Fill your bed with a 1:1 mixture of topsoil and compost mix, then lightly combine with a rake or shovel.

What plants put nutrients back into the soil? ›

Some cover crops directly add nutrients to the soil by fixing nitrogen at their roots. Examples include winter field beans and peas, clover and vetch. These are all types of legume and are a great choice for sowing before nitrogen-hungry brassicas such as cabbage.

Why does nothing grow in my garden? ›

If your vegetables aren't growing to full size or producing as much as you think they should, lack of sun might be the reason. If you can relocate your garden into a full sun area of your yard that's the best option. If not, focus on growing vegetables that need less sunlight.

What are 5 ways to increase soil fertility? ›

These include fallowing, using compost, manure, crop residues, fertilizer trees (e.g Calliandra and Pygeum africana), intercropping legumes with cereals and including the principles of conservation agriculture (crop rotation, ensuring permanent cover for the soil and no disturbing of the top soil layer).

How can I make rich soil fast? ›

In addition to compost, there are several other things you can add to your soil to increase the amount of organic matter (and therefore overall fertility.) Grass clippings, shredded autumn leaves, aged manure, or coffee grounds will help your garden soil increase in fertility, water retention, and improved texture.

Which type of soil is most fertile? ›

Alluvial soil is formed by deposition of alluvium and sediments carried by rivers and sea waves over many years, which make this soil very fertile. It consists of various proportions of sand, silt and clay. It is also rich in organic nutrients.

Will cardboard attract termites? ›

You can build a cardboard bait trap to attract the termites in the furniture. Get three or four pieces of cardboard and spray them with water. Pile the cardboard pieces together and place it near the furniture. The termites will be attracted to the damp cellulose in the cardboard.

Is shredded paper good for gardens? ›

Shredded paper from a paper shredder can be recycled and used to make great mulch around trees and shrubs as well as in your garden. Shredded paper also provides warmth, protection, and nutrients for the plant's roots.

How much land do you need for permaculture? ›

To establish a self-seeding, low-maintenance, backyard food forest capable of feeding you and your family, you would probably need around 1/30th of an acre per person, which is 1450 square feet or 38 by 38 feet. This figure is based on 2000lbs (900kgs) of fresh produce per person per year.

How much does it cost to start a permaculture farm? ›

You can spend $100,000 building a house or you can build one for $5,000, or, even better, live in a teepee or camper. There is a 20-fold saving factor right there. You can choose to spend a little or a lot, it's all about your preferred style.

What is an example of permaculture? ›

Examples include buildings that support outside plant life, backyard and balcony gardens, and energy-saving green initiatives such as the installation of gray water reclamation systems. The permaculture movement has its critics.

How do I turn my yard into a permaculture garden? ›

Convert Your Lawn to a No-Till Permaculture Garden
  1. Step 1: Smother the Lawn. ...
  2. Step 2: Add Layers of Brown and Green Organic Matter. ...
  3. Step 3: Plant Strong-Rooted Crops the First Year. ...
  4. Step 4: Shape the Soil into Raised Beds. ...
  5. Step 5: Continue the Composting Process. ...
  6. Step 6: Deter Weeds in the Walkways and Around the Borders.
29 Jun 2016

How big of a garden do I need to be self-sufficient? ›

Tip # 1: Plan Sufficient Space

Depending on who you ask, what you eat, and your growing methods, it takes between ¼ to 2 acres of well-managed, fertile land to feed a family of four. You can start small and expand annually. However, if food self-sufficiency is your goal, then be realistic in your space planning.

How many acres do you need to be self-sufficient? ›

How much land does one need to be self-sufficient? Agricultural experts say the minimum amount of land needed in North America is between 2 and 17 acres per person.

Can I make money in permaculture? ›

This is a very common question that pops up often and with good reason. Modern agricultural farming costs a pretty penny to get it up and running. One has every right to wonder if permaculture farming costs just as much. The good news is that permaculture farming can make you money.

What is permaculture in simple words? ›

Definition of permaculture

: an agricultural system or method that seeks to integrate human activity with natural surroundings so as to create highly efficient self-sustaining ecosystems.

What is the goal of permaculture? ›

Permaculture aims to create stable, productive systems that provide for human needs, harmoniously integrating the land with people. The ecological processes of plants, animals, water, weather and nutrient cycles are integrated with human needs and technologies for food, energy, shelter and infrastructure.

What is a permaculture lifestyle? ›

It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.” In other words, permaculture is a holistic, living-in-harmony-with-nature worldview, as well as technical approach for how to do so.

What is a permaculture no-till garden? ›

In the no-till world, instead of mixing amendments deep into the soil, slow-release organic fertilizers, compost, and/or mulch materials are added to the top of the soil on occasion. Those things, along with the left-behind plant roots, slowly break down to rejuvenate the soil and provide food for new plants.

What is permaculture Homestead? ›

Permaculture homestead design integrates observed systems in nature that create symbiotic relationships with plants, animals, humans, and even structures. It is a beneficial, circular concept that is only enhanced by time. Sustainability is a buzzword in today's world.

Videos

1. What is a "Vegan" Homestead?
(Jon Tedd )
2. How to Start a Permaculture Food Forest NOW
(Fae Hollow Homestead)
3. Property Tour Of My Urban Permaculture Homestead
(Harold Thornbro - Redemption Permaculture)
4. How to Start a New Life ON LAND (City to Homestead)
(Better Together Homestead)
5. PERMACULTURE FIRST STEPS: Microclimate Mapping
(Andrew Millison)
6. THE FIRST 7 THINGS YOU MUST DO ON YOUR NEW HOMESTEAD PROPERTY
(Homesteading Family)

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