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 mode 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 move towards a better world and allow Man and nature to develop sustainably. It is therefore not a simple mode of cultivation, even if it was originally inspired by natural agriculture!
Obviously appropriate to 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 involves making individual and collective efforts to build a sustainable future by changing our work and reorganizing 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, of Man and to share surpluses fairly “. It is based on two main concepts:ethics and the conception.
- Meet 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),
- Take inspiration from traditional methods of land use, or even reintroduce them on a daily basis,
- Promote ecological designs,
- Avoid any type of surplus that generates pollution of all kinds,
- Put an end to the overexploitation of the earth’s renewable resources by storing energies after having collected them, such as runoff water, the sun, the 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 towards 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 the observation of nature.
Implementing permaculture in the garden
Producing yourself by applying the principles of permaculture saves money and leads to a healthier life. But it is essential for this to have a healthy soil. This is how you can take advantage of good bountiful 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. So here are a few ways to create a self-sufficient garden thanks to permaculture.
Pamper the ground
The soil in which vegetables are grown must be able to provide plants with the nutrients they need to grow and produce. Over time, this reservoir becomes depleted, becoming less fertile. A good soil is one that contains enough nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potash, calcium or even manganese, retains water without excess but also heat, is permeable to air and rich in microorganisms.
Whether light, medium or heavy, the soil must be able to be cultivated.
- And light soil must be enriched with humus because it contains little.
- To improve the structure of a medium-heavy ground very crumbly, lime fertilizer can be added once a year, especially as the latter can be used to fight against many plant diseases.
- And heavy ground is extremely dense, which is less conducive to air circulation. It must therefore be loosened and aerated in order to improve its general quality by hoeing very regularly and by incorporating dead leaves and/or bark that has been taken care to grind more or less coarsely or even to straw.
It is also necessary to provide the soil of the garden with a natural cover because it improves her fertility. Care is taken to avoid wastelands. 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 avoids too much water evaporation. These conditions are highly favorable for earthworms due to which the soil maintains a loose structure.
Make your compost
In any soil, one integrates one’s own compost from organic materials obtained from waste of animal and vegetable origin. You can use a classic composter, a thermocomposter or a vermicomposter, for example. Lawn mowing, dead leaves, peelings, eggshells (the latter have a high lime content)… do not throw your waste in the trash because it represents real wealth for the garden.
Peas, beans, but also sweet peas and lupins are plants with high nitrogen content and which have roots that colonize from good bacteria, rhizobia. It is therefore necessary to cultivate them and after harvesting vegetables or picking flowers, it is essential not to tear them off. You just have to bury them in the ground to increase its fertility.
Combine plant varieties
It is very important toobserver la nature to find out which plants are compatible with each other or not. In the garden, if you want to set up permaculture, you have to cultivate different varieties together in order to maximize your harvest naturally. But care must also be taken not to plant the same varieties in the same place every year. You can mark a break of 24 to 36 months by rotating crops.
Fight pests naturally
Again, theassociation of friendly plants is essential if you want to prevent the appearance of pests in the garden without using pesticides. Mutual protection of neighboring plants can be used by combining, for example:
- Rosemary with cabbage and carrot: against the butterfly and the carrot fly,
- The nasturtium throughout the vegetable garden and in the orchard: against aphids and to maintain healthy soil,
- Basil with cabbage, cucumber, tomato: against whitefly and mildew…
There are hundreds of associations that should not be overlooked.
To fight against pests in a natural way, you also invite real friends such as the hedgehog, birds and many insects into your garden. All you have to do is create places where these small animals can take up residence, such as stones, a pile of wood, an insect hotel, etc.
Build greenhouses for early harvests
No need to boost your plantations with chemicals when you can build your own greenhouse with recycled material such as untreated pallets, an old glass door… 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 winds. 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 a transparent plastic film.
Store and preserve your crops so as not to waste
A dry and very cool place makes it possible to preserve apples, carrots, certain cabbages, walnuts and many other garden products. You can also opt for the drying of aromatic herbs and many fruits in order to enjoy them longer. The freezing is suitable for many fruits and vegetables and avoids lose excess production even if you don’t have a place to store them. Finally, the conservation of crops in jars is among the most common methods. This leaves many possibilities since you can preserve your garden products in salt, sugar, alcohol, vinegar, spices…
Pour adopt permaculture in the gardenon the terrace or the balcony, we begin to learn the BA-BA of gardening in order to know the needs of plants according to the season, then we rely on nature in order to garden with the utmost respect. With a little experience, everyone can then produce their own seeds to sow them at the most favorable time. It brings a lot of satisfaction. And gardening is the best way to reconnect with nature.