How Does Permaculture Work?
In this post we’ll look at how permaculture gardening works.
Four ways to embrace permaculture:
- Rotating or free ranging chickens improves the soil and gives healthy eggs.
- Swales prevent erosion and promote water retention.
- Planting guilds improves the health of fruit trees.
- Wind breaks will protect delicate garden plants.
Permaculture Gardening in Action
Chickens give healthy eggs and improve soil.
Today was chicken moving day on the farm. We move the ladies every couple of weeks. Why? Number one, it’s a healthy option for the hens. We don’t have the luxury of free ranging, so this is the next best thing.
They keep down the bug population and fertilize the soil which ultimately makes the farm healthier. We also get to enjoy eggs higher in omega 3s!
Our rotation of pastured poultry results in less health problems in our chickens and less problems with flies and parasites. Chickens that don’t live in their poop 24/7 equals healthier chickens and eggs.
Swale to prevent soil erosion.
Howard the duck, affectionately named by my kids after a comic book character, enjoying our garden swale.
A swale is a ditch that is built on contour of your land to hold water. It protects against soil erosion and allows more water to seep into your land. The swale holds rain water on site protecting the top soil from washing away.
As you can see in the above graphic, there is a companion of vegetable and herbs with the fruit trees. This group of plantings in permaculture is called a guild. This benefits the plants by cutting down on disease and pests . They support each other because they’ll use and release different nutrients. Some will attract pollinators. A guild is a beautiful support system.
We wrapped our orchard around the garden.
The plum tree’s neighbor is comfrey. Comfrey is a wonderful herb that is considered a nutritious fertilizer when chopped back each year. Allow the leaves to decompose under the fruit trees and they will nourish the soil, and ultimately the tree, with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Comfrey also flowers in the Spring which attracts pollinators to your orchard.
Also, under the plum are irises. Planting bulbs under fruit trees are very beneficial.
Wind Break to protect delicate garden plants.
We live on a ridge and get bombarded by the Spring winds. With this in mind, we planted a grouping of plants that will act as a wind break for our garden. In the wind break garden we planted hazelnut trees, blueberry bushes and gooseberry.
The layout was created as our shield. We chose plants/trees that will mature to the perfect height and width to accomplish our goal.
More Permaculture Gardening Plans
As we continue to monitor the farm, we are continually looking at ways to refine and make an existing challenge into a solution. Our goal is to improve the health of the soil and overall function of our little paradise on the map.
April and May were extremely wet this year! It would rain for days with periods of pause! Although, it was no fun stuck in the house for days, we were able to brainstorm our front yard disaster. Any period of rain leaves behind a soggy mess.
We are looking at a few possibilities to fix our drainage issue. One, perhaps making a rain garden in the front yard. As of now, we don’t have many plants in the front yard because of the standing water left behind after a rain. A rain garden will beautify the front yard and allow the water to drain to the garden.
Another option, to create swales on either side of the porch. On the swales we would plant water loving plants. I think the option we’re both leaning toward is the rain garden. That would move the water away from the porch, whereas, the swale will hold it there and could increase mosquito population.
Something else, that I’m super excited about, is the pit greenhouse!
Construction has already begun on the pit greenhouse. Our challenge has been that outside the back porch is a really deep inground swimming pool. I am not a fan of water! We have lived here 3 years with the big hole just sitting there.
The pool does have issues, so it’s not like we had this perfect swimming hole we’re abandoning. Stay tuned for the unveiling!
This will allow us to grow food year round and get a head start on Spring planting. We plan on growing some miniature fruit trees. This will UP OUR GAME in the gardening world.
This has been a glimpse into how we are using permaculture to grow our food. We are working on creating a sort of food oasis to continually feed our family.
If you would like more information on how permaculture can work for you check out “Useful Garden Styles for Permaculture. We would love to help you see how permaculture can work for you as well!
I’ll leave you some helpful links of resources helpful around the farm.
Talk to you soon,
Gardening Help Books: