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More than ever, people are becoming aware of the need to eat well, do good and live better. Whether it’s for our own health or the planets, from ethical eating to zero waste, choosing a more sustainable lifestyle will help you do your bit for the planet.
So when it comes to a sustainable lifestyle and home gardening, what’s a the best sustainable gardening practice? It’s permaculture.
Have you heard of permaculture? For those who haven’t, allow me to explain and hopefully this quick guide can help break down what permaculture is all about and how to get started.
What is Permaculture?
Permaculture is more than just organic gardening, it is working with nature to create a sustainable garden.
Permaculture is a holistic agricultural system adopting social design principles centered around creating a natural and self-sustaining ecosystem. A system built with the philosophy of working with , rather than against nature. Permaculture seeks to mimic nature, for example, turning food waste into valuable compost and replacing slug pellets and weedkillers with natural predators and natural competition.
In essence, when setup correctly, permaculture is sustainable and can assist with utilising your garden space for the best possible yields.
Permaculture for the home garden
Before you start, there are a few things that need to be considered and a bit of planning involved in order to create a sustainable garden with permaculture.
Permaculture is perfect for urban farming or the home garden as it maximizes yield per space while minimizing impact on the environment. You don’t even need a lot of space to make it happen.
With a plan and a little bit of patience, you can start doing your bit for the planet and create a sustainable garden at home.
Things to consider when setting up permaculture in your home garden
Know your garden space
Things like sunlight, rainfall and exposure to wind and what not will play a huge part in your sustainable garden as with any garden.
Chose a diverse range of native plants
If you’re a complete noobie to gardening, then this is where a bit of research or youtube will definitely come in handy. To ensure you create an garden ecosystem designed to flourish and be self-sustaining, you need to know what plants live well together.
Use the ‘no dig’ gardening method
The no dig method is simply just that, a method that requires no digging up of the soil.
It’s a method that’s easy to implement and is used for natural weed control. This also helps natural micro organisms and bacteria thrive and keep the soil rich of nutrients for the plants.
This is basically using newspapers to create layers on the garden bed, like the layers in a lasagne.
You can read more on the ‘no dig’ method here at Very Edible Garden’s post, No-dig gardening.
Keep you you plants separate in zones
This is best when starting out with permaculture as it helps keep everything organised for scheduling and experimenting to determine which plants work best with each other.
Use natural predators to deal with pest
All those slimey little slugs and aphids can be huge garden problem but in a successful permculture garden, it can work in your favour.
A lot of research will go into this part to find out which predators work best as pest control in the garden you have set up.
Sometimes, it’s just trial and error. It’s taken us about 3 goes before we worked out the best plants/veggies in combination with the right predators and pest to have in our garden.
Visit local garden clubs, community gardens and speak to others for advice and ideas to deal with pest.
This goes without saying, if you haven’t set up your own compost at home, check out our previous blog on How to Setup Your Own Compost.
Using compost from your own compost pile is the most sustainable form of fertiliser for you garden. First, of all it’s free and secondly, it’s recycled from your own garden.
Start small with a plan
It’s always best to start small as with anything new, there will always be trial and error to find out what works in what season. So start with a plan and always do your research to find out what works best.
There are heaps on resources online, especially on youtube to help you get started. That’s how we got started.
Also, on a final note, it can get a bit disheartening as a noobie when things don’t work out in the garden. Just remember why you started, to grow your own produce and to do your bit for the planet by living a more sustainable lifestyle.
So best of luck in setting up your own sustainable garden at home with permaculture.