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How to Create Permaculture Gardening

2013-08-24   Views:0

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Permaculture gardening is based on the organisation and cooperation of life on the planet. That is to say, it attempts to mimic the natural associations and cooperative relationships that exist between plants and between plants and animals. A permacu

How to Create Permaculture Gardening

Permaculture gardening is based on the organisation and cooperation of life on the planet. That is to say, it attempts to mimic the natural associations and cooperative relationships that exist between plants and between plants and animals. A permaculture garden is primarily a perennial garden, but one that contains plants whose "single elements" have "multiple functions," according to Sami Grover of PlanetGreen.com. A permaculture garden is, in general, a low-maintenance garden that takes up relatively little space and yet manages to provide shade, food and shelter for both wildlife and people.

Skill level:Moderate

Things you need

Newspaper or cardboardStrawWooden stakesStringBreeze blocks, cedar posts or old sleepersCompost

Instructions

1 Select the location for your permaculture garden. It's a good idea to locate the garden in full sun. Even if many of the plants in your garden prefer some shade, the other plants in the garden, such as tall plants, small trees and shrubs that prefer full sun, will be able to provide that shade.

2 Locate the garden near a compost pile, and locate the compost pile near a chicken coop, if you've got one. This allows you to scoop chicken and garden waste directly into the compost pile and scoop compost directly into the garden.

3 Mark out a path to the beds, as well as where your raised beds will be. Use your body as a guide and walk where you would like the path to exist. Outline it with garden hose or string to get a rough idea of its design, then mark it with wooden stakes and string. Set your raised bed materials where you would like them to be when the garden is finished. Start small, with the understanding that you can always expand your garden later on.

4 Install a weed barrier to avoid digging up existing turf. Lay newspaper or cardboard on the area where you wish to build the garden and cover the materials with a layer of straw. The weed barrier will decompose and nourish the foundation soil.

5 Construct your raised beds. Raised beds are generally 8 to 12 inches deep. Use breeze blocks, old sleepers (the old ones aren't likely to seep creosote into your garden), cedar or anything else that will stand up to watering and weather. Build the material of your choice into a rectangular box shape and fill the shape with a 50-50 mix of garden soil and compost, or all compost if you can.

6 Establish space in the raised beds to be used as vertical planting areas. Vertical gardening saves space. If the raised beds border a chain link fence, use the fence side of the garden to grow climbing plants such as beans and cucumbers. Alternatively, you can pair tall plants with climbing plants. For example, sunflowers make excellent climbing supports for such plants, as their stalks remain strong well after the flowers themselves have faded.

7 Include a water feature in the garden. A small pond, a birdbath or a small fountain will attract wildlife and could be attached to a rain collection system or other water recycling system in the future. If you'd rather not deal with a water feature at the outset, consider saving a space for it in the garden for future use.

8 Plant native plants whenever possible so that you only have to spend a minimal amount of time caring for them. Permaculture gardens often favour perennials over annuals, partly because their root systems are deeper and they require less water. Locate the plants that you'll use most or that require the most care and maintenance closest to the house so that they're easy to access.

9 Study up on companion planting to learn which plants provide beneficial nutrients or bacteria for the plants around them. Marigolds, for example, are often planted with tomatoes to keep away nematodes. Include a fruit tree or two to provide necessary shade. Fruit trees are a prime example of permaculture gardening as they provide food, shade and shelter for birds and other wildlife.

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