Permaculture gardening for beginners – Ultimate Guide

Permaculture gardening focuses on using the earth’s resources efficiently for gardening processes. Read on to find out permaculture gardening for beginners tips, permaculture gardening principles and techniques, etc.

What Is Permaculture Gardening

As a beginner to permaculture gardening, you should know What is permaculture gardening?

Conventional gardening techniques are based on what plants gardeners would like to grow on their piece of land, rather than what plant best suits the given area. On the other hand, permaculture gardening utilizes the surrounding environment, such as land, climate, weather conditions, etc. to determine the ideal plants to grow.

permaculture gardening for beginners
permaculture gardening for beginners

The term ‘permaculture’ derives from the meaning ‘permanent agriculture.’ It was originally coined by David Holmgren and Bill Morrison (who is considered to be the father of permaculture) in Australia. The professor and student worked together to author a book named Permaculture One, which was first introduced to the public in 1978.

In the 1991 book, Introduction to Permaculture, Bill Morrison describes permaculture as, “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.”

The definitions of permaculture are rooted in three fundamental principles; earth care, people care, and fair share (i.e., returning surplus produced). The principles consider the plants, garden, surrounding environment, and people involved in the overall process.

Simply put, permaculture gardening considers all natural forces and the least amount of labor involved without destroying the land in the process. It is yet another holistic approach to gardening.

How Does Permaculture Gardening Work

Here, is you need to understand as a permaculture gardening for beginners, how does permaculture gardening works.

Permaculture gardening systems work on interactivity. For instance, roofs are used to catch water that can be used in the kitchen and irrigation system for the plants. During the process, no resources are imported, and there is no wastage of any sort.

What’s more than design changes is that permaculture is a shift in the overall lifestyle. It is about making sure our actions work in accordance with the planet and we favor it, instead of depleting its resources as we are currently doing.

As an extension of organically grown food, permaculture lifestyles also include shifts to reusable handbags, using renewable sources of energy, buying secondhand clothes, eating at local stores, etc.

Thus, the ethics followed in the gardening and growing system, along with one’s lifestyle is what is rooted in the basis of a permaculture lifestyle.

Before knowing more about permaculture gardening for beginners techniques, let us check how to design your own permaculture garden.

Designing Your Own Permaculture Garden

To start your permaculture garden, designing is the first and foremost step. If you begin with a physical or mental design, you will know what plants to start from, rather than picking ones that may not work.

If you replicate patterns of natural growth and natural harvest, you’re beginning in the right direction. Design and work with how you intend to use most of the natural resources around you in order to begin setting up your permaculture garden.

Understand the limited or ample space you have and deduce whether you want to implement a few permaculture design features or employ a complete permaculture approach from beginning to end.

Some of the design features used in permaculture gardening include:

Soil Preservation

Another tip for permaculture gardening for beginners is to protect soil. Protecting soil is extremely important so you can reuse the same land for future planting cycles. Some ways to preserve soil include:

  • Using mulch helps retain the soil in its place and maintain health.
  • Tilling the soil disturbs the structure of soil and destroys the nutrients present in it. Furthermore, they also kill microorganisms such as earthworms that are inherently present to ensure soil is broken up so water can reach plant roots. Design garden beds such that there is ample walking space for you. When you step on it, you compact the soil and prevent required air and water to reach deep into the ground.
  • Composting the soil unless absolutely necessary. Use organic matter such as manure for compost materials.
  • Using cover crops such as beans and peas to protect the soil and keep it in place. Before these crops begin to seed, you can cut them and let the remains stay there to decompose.

Stacking Plants

Plant stacking entails more utilization of ground space and a variety of greens in your area. It also makes the maximum use of elements such as sunlight, water, and wind for optimal growth.

A forest is the best example of plant stacking. Trees make up the topmost layer, then shrubs, then herbaceous plants, and lastly, ground cover. Vines grow within the mix, and there is a variety of plants all within one space.

Succession and Companion Planting

Succession planting means to plant those crops that can replace previously planted ones. This gives a constant supply of produce and helps protect the soil from factors such as erosion.

How Is Permaculture Different From Organic Gardening
variety of organic vegetables

How Is Permaculture Gardening Different From Organic Gardening

The similarities and differences between permaculture gardening and organic gardening are not always discussed because people assume they are the same. In essential terms, they may sound the same. Also, check out, Difference Between Permaculture and Organic Gardening.

However, permaculture gardening practices go beyond organic gardening and traditional farming techniques. It works towards protecting the environment and altering a person’s overall lifestyle.

Permaculture brings the production and growing process of food closer to consumer and consumer wastes to be integrated back into the cycle. It uses less energy and conserves most of it by reducing transportation costs.

From the crops, techniques employed and soil used, read on to find out how permaculture is different from organic gardening:

Crops

Both organic and permaculture gardening are built on the basis of organically produced food. Much of the vegetables we notice at grocery store aisles are specific to growing seasons and annual produce that are isis then exported. Some common examples include rice, legumes, and different sorts of vegetables. For organic farmers, annual or surplus produce is the main form of out.

On the other hand, permaculture gardening focuses on those plants that live through several seasons all at once. This implies that the harvest does not have to be sown year after year, but just occasionally maintained. Permaculture gardening sites are occasionally not the sole providers for one food, and there is a variety grown in the site.

Technique

If you consider specific techniques of growing produce, organic farms concentrate on row plantations of a single crop. The farms operate using sprinkler jets, vast irrigation systems, and thousands of gallons of water that occasionally evaporate before plants receive them. As long as the production process is chemical-free, organic farming is considered, no matter how many resources are used or wasted.

Permaculture gardening uses crops that are planted together. One energizes the soil, while the other provides ground cover so the land does not dry out. Irrigation systems work mainly due to rainwater that is captured and safeguarded for future use. And lastly, each resource is used with efficiency and the least harm caused to them.

Hence, permaculture gardening techniques incorporate ethics and good practice throughout the production process.

Soil

For commercial farming, chemical fertilizers are standard to treat the soil and help retain its health. Similarly, organic farms also work on the same grounds where they include dug up soil and raised rows as a standard practice.

As mentioned above, permaculture gardening seeks to preserve and maintain soil health. Without digging it every year, the standard practice in permaculture involves tilling it just once and covering the same spot with organic mulch and compost material.

The methodology is built on the grounds of building and enriching the soil, rather than simply breaking it down. Furthermore, there are no fertilizers used in this practice. As natural materials are used, there is no need for chemicals, and the soil survives years beyond regular use.

Fertilizer  

Another, permaculture gardening for beginners tips is for fertilizer. Even though organic gardeners and farmers have moved away from chemical fertilizers and harmful pesticides, they are often noticed using organic versions of those products to kill insects and unnecessary weed growth.

On the other hand, the use of any type of sprays and organic compounds is prohibited in permaculture practice. The typical idea is to create an environment in which the plants can grow along with the pests present. The same pests feed the beneficial insects, which in turn will help control the pest problems.

Using harmful sprays kills off the pests and beneficial insects which eventually come back, only larger in number next time. With permaculture and no-spray techniques, the ecosystem is balanced for each organism to survive, along with sufficient plant growth.

Collaboration

Organic gardening and permaculture gardening, both, have beneficial qualities that cannot be missed out on. If, on a large scale, commercial farmers employ methods of both farming types, surplus vegetation would be healthy and beneficial for everyone to consume.

Benefits of Permaculture Gardening

There are many benefits of permaculture gardening. Some of them include:

  • Gardening processes made easy. If you’re looking to grow your own crops and vegetables, permaculture techniques are easy to employ. Once the initial steps are implemented, they can easily be maintained. The primary workload is related to the ground and choosing the right crops to plant. After that, the right insects are automatically attracted, and the crops work to replenish the soil at the same time.
  • Cleans the environment.  As you reduce, reuse, and recycle resources, permaculture employs renewable techniques that are beneficial for the environment. Not many resources are wasted and they are efficiently used throughout the gardening process. What’s more is that the same resources produce the same, if not more, yield year after year.
  • Replenishes your system. Other than benefits to the environment, permaculture produce benefits your body as well. Healthy growing techniques imply fresh and organic foods implemented in your daily diet. For someone who had been consuming chemically-induced vegetables in the past, organic produce would replenish your body overall.
  • Benefits your mental health. Research shows that plants have a positive impact on the gardeners and urban dwellers around a plantation site. If you are a grower of permaculture produce, you would feel a positive effect on you and the environment around you. Similarly, surrounding yourself with permaculture produce means to distract the brain from the traffic and noise pollution in urban settlements and take some time out for nature.
  • Reduces carbon footprint. The ‘zero-waste’ approach in permaculture gardening helps you reduce your carbon footprint. Instead of heading towards the dumpster every day or every other day, you’d head towards your garden and use the waste as natural compost for your soil. If not one, but many people employed such methods, landfill sites throughout the country would decrease significantly.
  • Saves costs. If you notice yourself spending more than half of your monthly budget on food, permaculture gardening can help reduce that by a considerable percentage. By growing your own produce for years on end, you will end up taking fewer trips to the grocery store and consume vegetation grown in your own backyard. Furthermore, many permaculture plants are designed to soak up the sun’s rays and keep the surrounding area cool. If you surround yourself with such plants, you will also notice a decline in your air conditioning use and overall electricity bill.

As a beginner to permaculture gardening, I hope the above benefits of Permaculture Gardening will helpful.

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The Key Takeaway

Permaculture gardening is a unique gardening technique that requires an overall change in lifestyle. Now that you are aware of such methods, and how permaculture is different from organic gardening, begin yours right away. Remember, you’re not only benefitting yourself but the environment around you as well! Also, we got to know:

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