How to set up a permaculture garden?
John, Passionate gardener, Cambridge36 guides
- Surveying the ground
- Assessing supply needs
- Successful design
Surveying the ground - 6 key points:
When setting up a permaculture garden, the first priority is observation, forming perhaps the most important stage in the design and execution of your garden.
This will let you work out where the strengths lie in your plot of ground and make the most of them.
Bear in mind that it's always helpful to keep your options open, so you can change or improve your garden depending on future conditions.
1. Topography and microclimates
If your garden has a slope to it, think about its exposure to wind (direction, regularity and speed) as well as any areas vulnerable to frost.
Make a note of areas receiving direct sunlight for much of the day, shady areas behind trees, walls etc... Important for deciding where to put beds of plants, chill-out corner, etc...
3. Presence of surface water
Streams, ditches and ponds make for easy watering either with a traditional watering can or with a pump system - simple hand pump, surface pump or submersible.
The self-set plants growing on your land give you an idea of the nature of the soil, given a bit of background knowledge. Think about the location of any existing trees and what they have to offer, or if it may be better to cut them down.
The composition of the soil in terms of clay, sand, lime and humus will help you to choose which plants to cultivate and which to avoid. With a little experience, you can determine soil type by simple observation. If you're not sure, ask your neighbours or carry out a soil analysis.
A healthy garden environment will be teeming with animals: birds, insects and small mammals.
External input in a permaculture garden
Consider the external resources you might need to obtain. These can be recycled materials such as landfill products, waste vegetation, stones, or manure from an equestrian centre or farm.
3 steps to creating a successful garden
This is where the design element comes in. We're not talking primarily about aesthetic or decorative considerations here, but rather the layout, resource allocation, planning and organization.
1. Making a plan of your garden
Now's the time to make a plan of the garden, marking all the existing features. It's also a good idea to incorporate the path of the sun, where significant shadows fall, areas exposed to wind, trees, water sources, relief...
2. Dividing the space into zones
Divide your garden into several zones to cater to various activities, following the rule of thumb that the more heavily used an area is, the closer it should be to the house.
3. Fitting in with the surroundings
Exposure to wind, sunlight, visual pollution, etc. should be included in your design in order to make the most of the environment around your garden.
Sow today, reap tomorrow
Permaculture and biodynamic cultivation are two complementary gardening methods where the natural advantages of the environment are optimized in the interests of sustainable development, ecological responsibility and economical efficiency.
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John, Passionate gardener, Cambridge 36 guides écrits