As we continue our yard projects, I realize we're embracing permaculture as we're building up the garden and general layout.
It's difficult to summarize, but I see it as a design process that attempts to mimic nature and build around systems instead of just looking at individual components.
It's usually associated with yard/garden design, but it's more encompassing.
Permaculture design seeks to minimize waste and labor. For example, our kitchen waste and small yard debris is used in the compost.
The new garden location was picked out because of the natural slope of our property and the amount of sunlight means we shouldn't have to spend as much time keeping it watered and maintained.
Permaculture Gardening and Companion Planting
Since our soil isn't very good, we're building up as we're creating this new garden space.
We have two large piles of woodchips we're using. There's one pile that is particularly suit as it has plenty of green leaves shredded into it and it's decomposing quite well.
There are some advantages of going this route than tilling the soil.
Tilling can destroy the microbes in the soil that we want to work for us in the garden. Again, working with nature, we're mimicking how the ground is covered with material that eventually decomposes and enriches the soil.
Instead of planting in rows, we're beginning to incorporating companion planting. Companion planting groups herbs, veggies, fruits, and flowers to help one another grow and offer some pest protection.
We're experimenting with a small patch for a fall garden. Right now we have:
- Cabbages, carrots, spinach
- Jalapenos, onions,
- Broccoli, buckwheat,dill
Basil, marigolds, and rosemary are spread around too.
Looking at what we want to accomplish with our space, I think we're moving towards that.
Becoming More Self-Sufficient
There's a spirit of self-sufficiency that appealing to many, including us.
We don't have any plans to go off grid or feed ourselves only on what we grow here, but we do want to have more options for food.
As we're digging into permaculture, we've been discovering some new sites, books, videos, and resources.
- Introduction to Permaculture is video series from a semester course at NC State by Professor Will Hooker.
- Permaculture Homestead has plenty of handy how to videos and garden updates. My current favorite is 0 to Food Forest in 2 years.
- Food gardening, a functional design from James Prigioni gets into the principles he's applied with his own garden and what he's learned.
- I found the Back to Eden FAQs helpful to understanding how wood chips can help improve the land.
- Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre – Easy to follow guide to get you up and running with a suburban homestead.
- The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country – While not complicated, this book is more suited for those who want a thorough review of permaculture.
The forums at Permies.com have been helpful, especially with seeing how others have started their gardens and designed their yard space.
There are so many more, but we're still discovering them. If you have any recommendations, please let me know!
Thoughts on Permaculture
How many of you are incorporating permaculture into your home and yard design? What are some of your favorite resources?