What is Permaculture and How Can I Implement it in my Garden?

So, you’ve been gardening for a while, and it’s time to step up your game. You know about composting and other cheap garden hacks, but what about permaculture? Perhaps you’ve heard this term before, or you’ve seen other green-thumbed gardeners use it. But what does it mean?

Coined in 1978 by David Colgren and Bill Mollison, permaculture is defined as: “The conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.”

Basically, permaculture is a way of designing your garden so that all the plants and components work together harmoniously, ultimately making your life easier and your harvests even better. Though it may be a bit intimidating at first, a permaculture garden can be a reality for you with just a few tips.

3 Things to Know About Permaculture

It doesn’t only include plants.

Though a permaculture garden includes plants, that’s not the only synergy you should be looking to create. Wikipedia says this: “The word permaculture originally referred to ‘permanent agriculture,’ but was expanded to stand also for ‘permanent culture,’ as it was understood that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farming philosophy.”

It’s different than organic gardening.

Although an organic garden is often a part of permaculture, permaculture extends beyond that. Permaculture “integrates the garden and home to create a lifestyle that impacts less on the environment.” Read more on the differences here.

It’s a smart way to design your garden.

Much like using Feng Shui in the garden, permaculture uses specific design practices that allow for your garden to be the most successful it can be, while fostering a positive environment for you.

permaculture

How to Implement Permaculture in Your Own Garden

Looking to try this gardening style in your own backyard? Below are our tips for beginners and green-thumbed veterans alike.

Plan.

To get started with your permaculture garden, it is best to plan your design. No matter what type of garden you are trying to grow, planning will always be a smart move. If you don’t plan, you risk a failed garden, and nobody wants that! Luckily, you can hire a professional to help you design your garden, or you can use some online design resources for guidance.

Generally, permaculture designs include the consideration of water sources and use, existing land elements (such as elevation and shade), perennial and annual plants, play and gathering spaces, and growth over time.

Prep.

Before you begin planting your permaculture garden, it’s important to prepare the garden beds according to sustainable practices. That means using compost where you can, not tilling the soil, and gathering mulch for soil cover. The idea is not to disrupt the soil as much as possible while fostering a healthy environment for your plants to thrive.

Plant.

Now you’re ready for planting! A great permaculture garden uses both perennials and annuals, as well as smart companion planting. Remember, you are creating a garden that lives in harmony, and that means using crops and plants that do not compete with one another. Review these tips for creating a perfect perennial garden, and don’t forget to brush up on your companion planting skills. For a successful permaculture garden, it is imperative you stick with native plants to your region; otherwise they will not survive and your garden’s life cycle will be cut short.

Once your plants are in the ground, watch and maintain your permaculture garden as it grows! No permaculture garden is the same, so don’t hesitate to adjust your garden as seasons go by and you see what it working and what is not. As long as you keep sustainability at the forefront of your gardening practices, you are working towards a permaculture lifestyle where all the living things are happy and harmonious (including you!).

Ready for more great gardening guidance? Join Rozanne’s Inner Circle for the top tips delivered straight to your inbox.