This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions on this blog are my own.
My discovery of permaculture and a basic explanation of what it’s all about…
My discovery of permaculture came when we first bought our farm I was obsessed with finding out about everything I could grow here, I scoured Pinterest for ideas and inspiring pictures of things that might work for us. I found beautiful pictures of gardens all in pretty rows that were so gorgeous. I also found pictures of gardens not in pretty rows but more all crammed together randomly. I kept seeing the word permaculture over and over also. This “messy” form of gardening was a thing. I was really attracted to the pictures and I began to click on them to read more. I learned that permaculture by definition is the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. It’s taking the words permanent and agriculture and blending them together to become permaculture. I kept learning.
Planting once and harvesting for years really caught my eye as a busy home school mom. Planting companion plants around the base of my fruit trees to create a mini ecosystem and benefit the tree sounded perfect. Why have a separate bed of lemon balm or mint when I can plant it right under the trees with other plants that will bring in the good pollinators and repel the insects I don’t want around. Why not plant comfrey around every tree so I can “chop and drop” it a few times a year and it provides a nutrient rich mulch for the tree thanks to its deep tap roots. This was all making sense to me, I was seriously in love. Unfortunately my other love, the husband, wasn’t and still isn’t a fan of the “messy look”. Also unfortunately since permaculture isn’t all about the pretty rows it wasn’t best that we had already planted the start of our home orchard in rows. Our trees were already paired side by side in lines like, Apple-Apple, Peach-Peach, and so on.
The point of not having them side by side, in the world of permaculture, is basically because of pests and diseases. If a pest discovers your apple tree and there is another apple tree right beside it, it’s very likely just going to hop right over and damage that tree also. If they are spread out and that apple tree is surrounded by a cherry tree, a pear tree, and a nectarine tree then it’s going to have to work much harder to find another one of your apple trees.
So this year I have really started to go back in and companion plant with a permaculture mindset. I planted comfrey and marigolds around every fruit tree this year and random herbs around different trees, such as mints, stevia, german camomile, chives, etc. That is a good start for this year I think. Next year, when I see what all comes up and how big it gets, I will add more variety.
I’m a big YouTube fan, I use it mostly for learning more about something while I’m busy cooking or doing dishes. That’s how I’ve learned a lot of things about permaculture and homesteading. Along the way I discovered a guy named Ben Falk and I was so fascinated with his permaculture work and his amazing homestead that I purchased his book and it’s been a great reference for me.It is called The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach. His pictures are beautiful and he grows a lot of cool stuff.
What is your experience with permaculture? Are you just learning about it or implementing it into your gardens and orchards?