Wrapping Up with Permaculture
Episode #10 of the course Advanced gardening by Alice Morgan
Hello! Welcome to the last day of our class. I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s lesson on seed saving, as well as all the lessons that came before. Today, I want to wrap up by reviewing our previous lessons and talking about an advanced gardening concept that should be new in name only: permaculture.
Guilds help you partner your plants up so all of them will be more productive. Plants that fit well together “stack,” meaning that they occupy horizontal or vertical niches. Plant guilds are often named after an anchor species, like “oak guilds” or “apple guilds.”
Hugelkultur is a system of gardening that combines composting and raised beds to leave you with tall garden structures that need only a little upkeep for a productive garden for years to come.
Cover crops are used during your garden’s off season and preserve the microorganisms in the soil while inhibiting weed growth and nourishing the soil.
Crop rotation is a system of moving crops from place to place in your garden every year, which can cut down on diseases and helps hold nutrients in the soil.
The wide row system is a technique for organizing your garden that helps to maximize productivity in a traditional garden set in the ground.
Square foot gardening is also a technique for organizing gardens that helps maximize efficiency in raised bed gardens.
Vermicomposting maximizes your ability to produce compost by including worms in your compost system.
Greenhouses are structures that capture the sun and create a warm, sheltered environment for plants. They can increase a plant’s growing season significantly.
Seed saving is another aspect of gardening that can provide greater enjoyment to your time in the garden. By saving seeds, you can preserve your plants for years to come.
Introduction to Permaculture
Permaculture, or ”permanent agriculture,” is an ethical agricultural system that emphasizes the creation of agricultural ecosystems that are sustainable and self-sufficient. It revolves around using or simulating the patterns of natural ecosystems. Throughout this class, we’ve been discussing techniques commonly used in permaculture. The ethic has three core rules: care for the Earth, care for the people, and setting limits on construction.
Furthermore, it has twelve design principles, which include:
• Observe and interact.
• Catch and store energy.
• Obtain a yield.
• Apply self-regulation and accept feedback.
• Use and value renewable resources.
• Produce no waste.
• Design from patterns.
• Integrate rather than separate.
• Use small and slow solutions.
• Use and value diversity.
• Use edges.
• Use and respond to change.
That’s a lot to say, but ultimately, the idea is create a garden that mimics nature as closely as possible.
For this last lesson, I wanted to introduce the concept of permaculture—not to push you into thinking a particular way about gardening, but rather to give you an avenue to keep learning and dig deeper into new ways of gardening. Permaculture has perfected efficient, highly productive gardening techniques, so if you want to continue to learn, this is an excellent path to travel.
I’ll leave you with some resources in the “Recommended” section, but there are a great many books, websites, and podcasts on the subject out there for you to find. You can even take a certificate course in Permaculture Design.
That’s it for the Advanced Gardening class. I hope you enjoyed the class and are inspired to go out and make your gardens even better!
Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison
Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture by Sepp Holzer
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