Have you ever wondered if the way we are currently farming is the most efficient and holistic way of harvesting crops and livestock?
In order to mass produce and conserve crops, we use a plethora of fertilizers on our crops that diminishes the soil and contaminates our crops. This does not sound like the best solution.
Is there a way that we can observe nature and then design a system in a way that allows nature to do its own work?
Introduction to Permaculture
Permaculture is an alternative system of raising crops and livestock that allows nature to do its own natural work.
The term permaculture is derived from the term “permanent culture”.
It is essentially a system very similar to a farm in which you grow your own plants and livestock in an organic and sustainable way. In other words, it is akin to a big system where you make the best effort to not waste anything and you grow plants together that complement each other.
Practically anyone using permaculture principles can convert their backyard garden, rooftop, patio or balcony into a sustainable food-producing farm-like garden.
According to urban permaculture principles, they do not use any pesticides or any fertilizers to frequently maintain their crops. This means that instead of adding chemicals and pesticides to the crops they plan to harvest, they utilize the power of nitrogen-fixing plants to provide nitrogen and nurture to the soil. Nitrogen-fixing plants stores nitrogen in the roots by producing lumps on the roots called nitrogen modules. These nitrogen lumps do wonders for your garden by providing your garden and nearby plants with essential nutrients.
Permaculture gardens implement various recycling techniques such as using rain barrels to recycle rainwater. The recycled rainwater is packed with nutrients and is imperative to a healthy garden.
Urban Permaculture Design
Urban permaculture design is essentially implementing a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly using the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. Put differently, urban permaculture design is planning out a garden to “work with nature”, rather than against it.
The design principles are derived from patterns found in nature. These principles or patterns include techniques such as using “keyholes” to increase the moistness of the soil and continually provides nutrients to the plants as well as creating complimentary groups of animals, plants or people, all of which fulfill different but corresponding roles in the system.
Permaculture deals heavily with the design of a garden. There are tons of books written on permaculture design and courses to teach you how to effectively make the most efficient gardens and sustainable gardens.
Luke Hancock, a qualified Permaculture Design Consultant (PDC) and instructor of an urban permaculture design course in Chiang Mai, Thailand, believes the current system we use to harvest crops is not sustainable. He states the constant use of fertilizers that diminish the quality of the soil. Permaculture uses different plants and animals in a holistic system to complement each other.
The Benefits of Permaculture
There are many benefits to using permaculture. Here we will go over some of the key benefits of applying permaculture.
- Save Water - As we mentioned before, it is the best permaculture practice to recycle rainwater and wastewater. Doing so will make the garden more efficient while saving water and costs.
- Reduce Waste - In a permaculture system, everything compliments each other and is used. Permaculture uses garden waste as a fertilizer so the use of garden waste is one of the reasons why it is so sustainable.
- Cost Effective - Permaculture is cost efficient since you don’t need to use pesticides. With that said, most permaculture systems also require less maintenance.
- Less Chemical Crops - Since pesticides and fertilizers are not used on the crops, you will reap more natural and organic crops.
Read up more on creating a sustainable garden system through permaculture and help us leave the planet in an even better condition than how it was found!