An example on growing a plant following permaculture principles

Posted By on Sep 30, 2015 |


Bill Mollison

The principles of permaculture design change the world for the better. Today we have available many free permaculture designs. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of it, simply because they do not understand what permaculture actually is. Permaculture was created by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the late seventies of the last century, and the name was derived from “permanent” and “agriculture”. Today, it can be more referred to as being “permanent culture”, since it applies to different aspects of living, and one of the main advocates of this discipline is Vladislav Davidzon. It involves taking care for the Earth by returning what we take from it, following natural patterns and building a self-sustaining entity, whether it was a garden or a household. The concept of self-sustaining can be difficult to understand, and this will be one of the many examples how permaculture can be applied to your everyday life. 

Let us say you want to grow carrots in your garden. You will dig the garden, which will encourage weed seeds to germinate, and at the same time you will disrupt the lives of tiny organisms that inhabit the ground. Then you will sow the seed and water it daily using chemically processed tap water. If the carrots grow poorly, you will add fertilizers and spray them with different chemicals to encourage their growth. In addition, you will treat them with various pesticides in order to suppress possible pests, and herbicides to remove undesirable weed because it hand weeding would last forever. This whole scenario is extremely opposed to sustainable development, and it certainly does not lead to the formation of permanent culture. What is the other option? Permaculture is, as an easier, more natural and perhaps more sensible way to grow your carrots. 

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Images-of-growing-plants-in-soil-44902First of all, practice observation. In the case of growing carrots, that would mean – watch the ground first, instead of immediately making trenches and sowing your carrots in the worst part of the garden. The ground in the garden may be too wet to cultivate carrots, or there may be too much shade. If you have not cultivated carrots before, perhaps it is better to first sow other vegetables, since the carrots grow best when sown after other cultures. You can also add a layer of mulch to enrich the soil and disable the light weeds need for their growth. Instead of watering the carrots with tap water, you can use rainwater. Chemicals can also be completely avoided by using plant-based preparations to prevent pests attacking your vegetables, and planting the plants that scare the undesirable insects away. 

It is crucial to work in harmony with nature, not against it. If the climate is suitable for the growth of carrots, they will grow. Instead of trying to force them, try to solve the problems. If you sow directly in the mulch, then there is no need to dig. The fact is that many people equate gardening with digging, but a well-branched root system of the grass has a similar effect.

 

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Keep in mind that permaculture is a way of life. This is only one tiny example of how it works, and its principles can be applied not only to gardening, but to almost every aspect of life. Applying permaculture may seem complicated, but it actually makes life simpler, easier and more enjoyable and healthy.