This is the number one principle in permaculture, and for good reason. Taking the time to observe your site, interacting, walking around, watching and seeing how things are.
These observations will be key in being able to make your design later on, dictating what we put into our design and how it’s going to flow.
2. Catch and Store Energy
Being able to store the energies that come onto your site are crucial to creating a sustainable homestead.
Solar panels catch sunlight and store it in batteries
Water tank catches and stores rainwater
Overflow water can be used to feed plants, which also helps store energy
Collecting and storing wood for heat and cooking
3. Obtain a Yield
Get something more from what you do. There are any number of ways to accomplish this:
Plant a fruit tree, which will yield edible food when it’s in season
Get eggs from chickens
Generating income from your homestead (crafts, youtube videos, produce, etc..)
4. Accept Feedback and Make Change Accordingly
If something does not seem to be working, do not keep doing it. Learn from what is happening and make appropriate changes to encourage success.
Perhaps certain vegetables do not grow well in your area.
Perhaps certain animals behave a certain way in different environments.
Perhaps some animals behave in a way until they reach a certain age, and then that behaviour changes.
Recognize that and introduce new ones that will thrive.
5. Use Renewable Resources
Whenever possible, seek to use resources that can be renewed.
This naturally applies to energy, but also to ecological building, soil conservation, and planting perennial food crops.
The dangers of relying on non-renewables, technological fixes and speculative money are becoming ever more evident.
6. Produce No Waste
Find ways in your designs to not create waste:
Food scraps can be repurposed in compost or worm bins.
Cardboard can be used for sheet mulching.
Plant waste can be used for mulch
Dead trees can be used for firewood
7. Design from Patterns to Details
Look at the big picture of your design first, the pattern of what sustainable living might be:
Where do you want to put a large tree?
Where do you want to put vegetables?
Design the overall sections of your space first, then you can start refining the details appropriate for your particular site:
What kind of fruit tree?
Which root vegetables?
What herbs will complement trees and plants?
8. Integrate Rather than Segregate
Permaculture is not about whether you have a food forest, a swale, an herb spiral, or a chicken run. Permaculture is about how the food forest relates to and interacts with the swale. Or how the herb spiral interacts with the chickens.
By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
You want find ways to brings things together as a cohesive whole:
Allow vegetables to grow amongst other plants
Allow animals to be free amongst the space
Allow certain welcome “pests” to repel and ward off unwelcome “pests”
9. Use Slow and Small Solutions
Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
Biodiversity creates healthy ecosystems
Diversity in terms of crops, energy sources, and employment, make for greater sustainability
Valuing diversity amongst people makes for a more peaceful, equitable society.
11. Utilize Edges
The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
Permaculture examples of ‘edge’ in nature are:
Where canopy meets clearing in the woodland
Where sea and river meet land
Where the banks of streams meet the water’s edge
Where plains and water meet
The edge in nature is all about increasing diversity through increasing the inter-relationship between the elements:
12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change
We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.
When we design with change in mind, we are allowing for a flexible stability that flows with the seasons, with the years and the generations that are to come.
Where do I start with Permaculture?
Starting a Permaculture Garden can be done in 8 Steps:
1. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings. 2. Design your garden layout. 3. Build your garden beds. 4. Choose plants based on your environment. 5. Add compost without disturbing the soil. 6. Plant your permaculture garden. 7. Add organic mulch to the topsoil. 8. Use an efficient and sustainable watering system.
What are disadvantages of Permaculture?
While the positives far outnumber the negatives, there can be some perceived disadvantages to permaculture practices.
– Skepticism because it is a relatively new concept – It takes time to see the real benefits – Short-term losses vs. long-term benefits – Permaculture can look quite messy – May lead to unpleasant smell – Unwanted bacteria and pests may spread – Famers are not used to it – May not be sustainable for mass production
What are the effects of Permaculture?
Main benefits of permaculture can be identified as: – Improved human health – Increased environmental change resilience – Reduction of input costs – Improved soil biodiversity
Main challenges include: – Pest infestation – High initial labour investment – Lack of proper knowledge of permaculture practices
Why should some vegetables be grown together and others not?
Nutrients and pests are the 2 reasons for growing plants together or apart. If you put plants together that have the same pest problems, that may seem like an open invitation to the pest. If both plants require the same nutrients, they may deplete the soil, and neither plant will thrive. Then there are some combinations that work the other way, where the plants provide the nutrients for their partner plants.