More and more frequently mentioned, permaculture is a concept still unknown to the general public. However, some amateur gardeners have acquired the main principles and apply them on a daily basis. Let’s discover together what permaculture is and see how to develop a self-sufficient garden to produce more and better, while respecting biodiversity.
Permaculture: what is it?
Far from being just a method of gardening, permaculture could be defined as a life philosophy in its own right since it is based on major principles that each of us should apply on a daily basis in order to strive for a better world and allow both humans and nature to develop sustainably. It is therefore not a simple method of cultivation, even if originally it was inspired by natural agriculture!
Obviously appropriate for the garden, the main principles of permaculture can undoubtedly be applied in all areas and in all places so that society is less dependent and so, more self-sufficient, and can provide future generations with increased natural capital. In other words, it implies that we provide individual and collective efforts to build a sustainable future by changing our work and reviewing the organization of our lives.
Permaculture: the main principles
The principles of permaculture are extremely numerous and evolve over the years since they arise from the observation of natural systems. Permaculture involves ” take care of nature and people and share surpluses fairly “. It is based on two main concepts:ethics and the design.
- Provide for the needs of populations without impoverishing ecosystems,
- Observe carefully to interact attentively,
- Make better use of human capacities,
- Reduce our consumption of non-renewable energies (and therefore our dependence),
- Be inspired by traditional methods of land use, or even reintroduce them on a daily basis,
- Promote ecological designs,
- Avoid any type of surplus generating pollution of any kind,
- End the overexploitation of the earth’s renewable resources by storing energies after having collected them, such as runoff, sun, wind, waste,
- Install a rainwater collector to water your garden, this water is also highly preferable for plants compared to tap water,
- Stop wasting,
- Just consume,
- Strive for the non-production of waste,
- Minimize pollution,
- Make every effort to be autonomous at all levels,
- Apply self-regulation …
These are just a few principles, and on closer inspection we could simply sum it all up in one word: the common sense. This is acquired through observation of nature.
Establishment of permaculture in the garden
Producing yourself by applying the principles of permaculture saves money and helps you live healthier. But it is essential for this to have healthy soil. This is how we can take advantage of good abundant harvests that we must also learn to store in the rules of the art in order to preserve them well so as not to waste. Here are some ideas for create a self-sufficient garden thanks to permaculture.
Pamper the floor
The soil in which we grow vegetables must be able to provide plants with the nutrients they need to develop and produce. Over time, this reservoir becomes depleted, becoming less fertile. A good soil is one which contains sufficient nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potash, calcium or manganese, retains water without excess but also heat, is permeable to air and rich in microorganisms.
Whether light, medium-heavy or heavy, the soil must be capable of being cultivated.
- A light soil must be enriched with humus because it contains little.
- To improve the structure of a medium-heavy soil very friable, you can add lime fertilizer once a year, especially since the latter helps fight against many plant diseases.
- A heavy soil is extremely dense, which is less conducive to air circulation. It is therefore necessary to loosen it and aerate it in order to improve its general quality by hoeing very regularly and by incorporating dead leaves and / or bark that we have taken care to grind more or less coarsely or even to straw.
It is also necessary to offer the garden floor a natural blanket because it improves his fertility. We take care to avoid wasteland. For this it must be constantly planted so that the shade of the leaves protects the soil from direct sunlight and at the same time prevents too much water evaporation. These conditions are highly favorable to earthworms by which the soil retains a loose structure.
Make your compost
In any soil, we integrate our own compost from organic materials obtained from waste of animal and vegetable origin. You can use a conventional composter, a thermocomposter or a vermicomposter for example. Lawn mowing, dead leaves, peelings, eggshells (the latter have a high lime content)… we do not throw our waste in the trash because it represents a real wealth for the garden.
Green peas, beans, but also sweet peas and lupines are high nitrogen content and which have roots that colonize good bacteria, rhizobia. It is therefore necessary to cultivate them and after harvesting the vegetables or picking the flowers, it is essential not to tear them up. You just have to bury them in the soil to increase its fertility.
Combine plant varieties
It is very important toobserve nature to know which plants are compatible with each other or not. In the garden, if we want to set up permaculture, we must therefore cultivate together different varieties in order to maximize your harvest naturally. But we must also be careful not to plant the same varieties in the same place every year. You can take a break of 24 to 36 months by rotating the crops.
Fight naturally against pests
Again, theassociation of friendly plants is essential if we want to prevent the appearance of pests in the garden without using pesticides. We can use the mutual protection of neighboring plants by combining for example:
- Rosemary with cabbage and carrot: against whiteweed and carrot fly,
- Nasturtium throughout the vegetable garden and orchard: against aphids and to keep the soil in good health,
- Basil with cabbage, cucumber, tomato: against white fly and mildew …
There are hundreds of associations that should not be overlooked.
To fight against pests in a natural way, we also invite real friends such as the hedgehog, birds and many insects to your garden. All that is needed is to set up places where these small animals can take up residence such as stones, a pile of wood, an insect hotel …
Building greenhouses for early harvests
No need to boost your crops with chemicals when you can make your own greenhouse with salvage material such as untreated pallets, an old glass door, etc. The structure of this type of frame protects the soil, roots and aerial parts of young plants against frost, still very cold rainwater or snow and against icy wind. This saves up to 4 or 5 weeks depending on the varieties grown and therefore, to benefit from early harvests. Excellent results can also be obtained with a tunnel made from transparent plastic film.
Store and preserve your crops so as not to waste
A dry and very cool room allows you to preserve apples, carrots, certain cabbages, nuts and many other garden products. You can also opt for drying aromatic herbs and many fruits to enjoy them longer. The freezing works well with fruits and vegetables and avoids lose excess production even if there is no room to store them. Finally, the conservation of crops by jars is among the most common methods. This leaves many possibilities since you can keep your garden products in salt, sugar, alcohol, vinegar, spices …
For adopt permaculture in the garden, on the terrace or the balcony, we start to learn the basics of gardening in order to know the needs of plants according to the season, then we rely on nature to gardening with the utmost respect. With a little experience, everyone can then produce their own seeds to sow them at the most convenient time. It brings a lot of satisfaction. And gardening is the best way to reconnect with nature.