Permaculture approach to gardening is one of creating edible landscapes, that mimick ecosystems in the way how its different elements relate and rely on each other.When applying permaculture in gardening, we try to include and imitate natural processes in our site. Some permaculture gardens, like food forsts might even be hard to distinguish from a natural landscape.
When observing nature we come to the conclusion that most practices stand at the core of conventional and even biological gardening, are “unnatural”, which means that they are slowly destroying the self-regulating capacities of the lands, and decreasing both it’s feritility and capacity of holding water. In a long run that means that plants are growing less strong, pests and insects are showing up, which is answered by the farmer mostly through the use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Which, once wahsed out from the land where they were aimed to be spread further into the surrounding ecosystems, bringing destabilization. So, ignoring the priciples of nature when working with it, means in the long run that we need a lot more labour and energy to produce the same outcome.
So what happens if we really step out of the linear thinking, sit down and observe how ecosystems function?
We will soon recognize that…
… soil is always covered, not exposed.
…there are no monocultures in nature and that the more diverse an ecosystem, the more stable it is.
…tilling the soil happens on a way more subtle level (like by earth worms) than through machines such as ploughs.
…one plant community creates the living conditions for another, which is called succession and describes how bare soil becomes grassland that turn into a forest by the time.
…there is no waste – that dead matter is the base of new life.
These principles of nature find their application in the permaculture garden through different methods which we will present you in the sections of the gardening menu.
Through imitating the natural processes as good as possible, a permaculture garden has the capacity to reduce the work needed for maintainance over time. This doesnt mean, that the garden doesnt require work at all. Much of the work and time needed goes into the observation of the site, it’s processes, energy cycles and flora and fauna, which is then integrated into the Permaculture Design, that aims to connect human needs with those of the ecosystem. And also the implementation of a design, which is often a lengthyp process, requires much work, careful observation, reasessment and eventual adjustments of the design. But once you get it going, a garden that mimicks nature, will maintain itself more year after year.