Thinking of growing your own fruits and vegetables this 2021? Create a permaculture garden and start growing your own fruits and vegetables this 2021. Trust us, it’s not as difficult as you think.
Permaculture garden, which means “permanent agriculture,” is an excellent way to grow your own food, such as herbs, fruits, and vegetables. It’s ideal for people with a backyard or balcony. Beginners or new plant parents might think that it’s difficult to start a permaculture garden, but the truth is, it’s actually pretty simple. The key to having a successful permaculture garden lies in the design.
What Is Permaculture Gardening?
By definition from GroCycle, permaculture gardening is one that takes advantage of the aspects of nature like the sun, wind, and water to work for you instead of against you. Many gardeners think that it’s required to have a garden to get started with permaculture gardening, but permaculture actually offers a lot of flexibility that a small garden or even balcony will be enough as long as you decide how you want to design and structure your permaculture garden.
Steps to Start a Permaculture Garden
Follow these nine steps to building a successful permaculture garden.
Step 1: Plan Where Your Garden Will Go
The first step to create a permaculture garden is to consider which part of your backyard are you planning to use for your garden. If you live in an apartment without access to land, you can build a permaculture garden by using your balcony or, if possible, the rooftop of your apartment building. It’s important to ask the landlord first for permission. It’s also best to meet experienced gardeners for tips and advice.
You can also ask your friend who has a yard to start a permaculture garden with you or a close neighbor in exchange for a portion of the harvest. Since permaculture gardening offers a lot of flexibility, it can be done in almost any shape and size, as long as the location has proper access to wind, sun, and water.
Step 2: Observe Your Surroundings
If you have a yard, it’s recommended to observe the land first, such as are there tall native plants within the space, or is there a slope in the section of your yard. If you’re going to create a permaculture garden on your balcony, observe the surroundings, such as does your balcony gets enough sun or are there insects and predators that can harm your garden.
Step 3: Choose Plants Based on Your Environment
All places have different climates, so it’s best to research which plants will thrive based on your environment. Ron Finley, a community activist and self-taught gardener, shares with MasterClass to practice companion planting by choosing crops that attract beneficial insects. He also advised you to choose nitrogen-fixing, green manure crops that will gradually increase the nutrients in your soil over time.
For other gardeners, they would start planting perennials, then annuals to fill in the extra space, such as beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, and squash. You can also plant flowers that attract butterflies like sunflowers and herbs that repel harmful insects.
Step 4: Design Your Garden
Remember, a good design will save you lots of effort. Consider the light requirements, water sources, and existing landscape of the yard. These factors will help you decide what types of plants you can grow. You should also consider the space for each plant since some plants will take time to grow.
It’s best to sketch your permaculture garden to clearly understand the space you’re working on since sometimes, the ideas in your head might not actually work on the land space that you have, and you might need to make changes until you come up with an efficient garden design.
Step 5: Build Your Garden Beds & Start Planting
It’s time to bring in the garden beds and to start planting. Choose raised beds that are six to 12 inches above the ground. If you’re working on yard space, you can opt for sheet mulching or lasagna gardening. Lasagna gardening means stacking alternating layers of materials, such as compost, cardboards, leaves, straw, and wood chips. The result would look similar to a lasagna. According to GroCycle, you don’t have to dig the land in sheet mulching. Simply start mulching on top of the grass. Eventually, the grass will die and become part of the soil.
After preparing your garden beds or sheet mulching, it’s finally time to plant perennials and annuals. Consider the light requirements of each plant. Ron Finley suggests starting growing taller plants first to shade or protect smaller plants sensitive to direct sunlight. It’s best to group plants with the same sun and water requirements, as well.
Step 6: Add a Layer of Organic Mulch After Planting
As much as possible, it’s best not to use chemical weed killers since it doesn’t align with the principles of permaculture gardening. To suppress weeds and to keep your garden’s soil moist, it’s recommended to add a layer of organic mulch to the topsoil, such as leaves, wood chips, straw, grass clippings, shredded bark, or newspaper.
Step 7: Add Compost
It’s highly recommended to use natural compost filled with organic matter to feed your plants, such as kitchen scraps and manure. Finley adds that earthworm castings and worm tea are excellent alternatives, as well. Both are extremely rich in nutrients and add beneficial microbes to your soil. Plus, it’s guaranteed not to cause fertilizer burn since it contains low levels of iron.
Step8: Put In Water Systems
Using an efficient and sustainable watering system can determine your garden’s fate. You need a good water system for your permaculture garden to succeed. You need to figure out which areas of your garden will need the most water to thrive. Experts suggest to collect rain run-off from your roof, so you can use it for watering your plants.
Step 9: Watch Your Garden Grow and Maintain It
We know that starting a permaculture garden can be a bit overwhelming, but once everything’s planted and settled, and you have built your own system of watering and caring for your garden, all you have to do is to maintain it until it’s harvest time. Set some time aside every week to check your garden or to do some weeding.
We encourage you to start building your own permaculture garden. We think this is the best time to start growing your own fruits and vegetables, especially during this pandemic. You can skip the line in the grocery store, and it’s also a way to relieve stress. Start small with greens, like lettuce, chard, arugula, asparagus, potatoes, and carrots.
Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy. Whatever houseplant you choose to transform your home into a lively oasis, you’ll definitely need a stylish planter to display your plant baby in. No matter what your style, there’s an Omysa planter that will be perfect with your garden and home’s décor. From ceramics to fiberstone, check out Omysa’s Shop and add it to your cart!