Understanding Permaculture Part 1

Would you like to know how you can use the permaculture system/method of land management to more effectively utilize your land?

In this two part post “Understanding Permaculture,” we’ll look at the variables you need to consider when planning your farm or food forest.

How To Begin Permaculture

So, you’re thinking about designing your property using permaculture.  First, let’s talk about what Permaculture is:  Permaculture is a system of design principles to create abundance and sustainability.  It’s about using the resources you have and reducing your waste.

This culture is for anyone wanting to produce “more” on their property!  Sounds like a win, huh?

To begin Permaculture the first steps are:

  • observe your property (i.e. wind, sun, wildlife patterns) We live on the top of a ridge which brings A Lot of wind!
  • establish your goals (what do you want to accomplish)  Our goal is to grow around 70% of our food this year.
  • make your design (the scale of permanence looked at below) Our garden is in a sunny spot!
  • start to work on your plan (a.k.a. manual labor) The initial set up of permaculture is a lot of work.  We’re creating a food forest.

Scale of Permanence

In the scale of permanence you are looking at all the factors on your property that will affect the success of your plantings.  To begin, look at the most permanent (weather) to the least permanent (aesthetics like decorations).

You will need to design around your weather.  For example, recognizing your plant zone.  Plant according to what grows well in your area.   You wouldn’t want to plant a banana tree in Montana!  Notice from which directions you get wind.  Are there any extreme weather conditions you should be prepared for, like hurricane or drought?

Next, is your land.  Note the elevation, topography, etc.  The things you have absolutely no control over.  We live on top of a mountain, 1300 ft elevation.  The altitude affects how well certain plants grow.  Not to mention, if you dig there will be rocks!  Recently, we dug a hugelkultur bed and got about a 5 gallon bucket of rocks to boot!  That’s a picture of our hugelkutur action on the left.

Up next is water.  Where does water enter your property and leave it?  How well does your land use the water?  We have plans to use rain barrels as a catchment from the roof.  I seriously need help watering the garden.  The nearest hydrant is too far away.  A rain barrel will make those times watering the garden a lot smoother.  We also dug a swale to catch water.  The swale holds water and allows it to stay on our land instead of draining away.

Access/Circulation-how will you be getting around on your property?  Lay out the paths you’ll be walking or roads for driving.  This step is to make everything flow more smoothly on your property.

Vegetation and Wildlife

The next scale of permanence is Vegetation and Wildlife that is already living and growing on your place.  As far as vegetation, look at the trees.  Will you be planting around the trees?  The type of plants already growing will give you a feel for the health of your soil.  And the wildlife in your area will let you know what precautions you need to take.  We have a family of wild rabbits which let me know I needed to plant marigolds around the garden to keep them out.  Kye loves flowers and took this picture of one of our garden marigolds.

Check out the rest of the story, Understanding Permaculture Part 2

Have a blessed week!  Have you been to our FREE SEED SWAP?

Talk to you soon,

Shaun & Alisha




Leave a Reply