Permaculture No Dig Gardening

October 17, 2013 in Organic Gardening by Christine

Permaculture No Dig Gardening Made From The Ground Up 

Permaculture No Dig Gardening Layers Up Well Rotted Straw Manures Permaculture No Dig Gardening – Human beings and their pillaging of the earth is reaching a climax, and we are finally seeing the result of our tampering in this dramatic climate change. Most people are primarily placing their faith in technology to save us, but the fact of the matter is that our lifestyles need to change if we are to have any hope, of changing the world for the better and ensuring a habitable planet for our children.

It has been said that our current rate of consumption would need more planets than we currently have at our disposal. So it’s clear that there needs to be a dramatic shift in lifestyle philosophy. One such philosophy that has steadily been gaining traction over the last 5 decades or so is permaculture. Permaculture is actually a combining of the phrase permanent culture. The concept involves the studying of systems in nature and replicating them to provide food and materials for humans in a more sustainable or permanent manner.

Putting permaculture in its simplest terms can be stated as such, crops are used to feed livestock. The waste products from the livestock are primarily used to grow future crops. Just enough meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables is taken out of each system to feed a small community, or as in the case for backyard permaculture, this can be a family. Each system is setup to make efficient use of resources, and the waste of one system is used as input to sustain another. Acres and acres of the same crop for as far as the eye can see is not a sustainable use of land, and requires far more resources than it returns.

In a perfect world each micro ecosystem would be self-sustaining, as nothing is removed including human waste.  We may not each be able to have a permaculture system that is infinitely self-sustaining but using permaculture principles could certainly provide a lot of our needs with minimal input required from outside sources to keep the cycles perpetuating.

Permaculture is a design process. Rather than brutally changing the environment to suit our needs. Permaculture chooses to design the system to fit in with the surrounding landscape. Designs are created that make harmonious use of the space, provided such as layering different sized plants together, to make efficient use of the garden bed and sunlight. The soil will benefit from the diverse range of plants. Pest control is manageable without toxic chemicals, and expensive resources of organic fertiliser and pesticides are not required from outside sources.

Recipe How to Build A Permaculture No Dig Garden 

How do I make a no dig garden? In this garden the garden beds are made directly on top of the grass or ground. Being an organic no dig garden philosophy this means no turning or tilling of the soil to make a new garden bed. To start the ground is aerated with a garden fork, by stabbing its prongs, making many puncture holes into the ground. Then the garden bed layers begin, with the first one covering the garden bed with chunks of carbon rich cardboard, newspaper but avoid the shiny coloured print types from magazines and junk mail, old rotted carpets can be laid on the ground, this is to stop and smother the weeds, leave no gaps for the weeds to grow. Remember to water each layer very well as you go. Build each layer 1 foot high from now on. Aged loose pea straw, biscuits of hay, dry leaves any farmers left over dry crop waste can be added in rotation with bags and bags of organic compost on top this will help keep the dry ingredients in place. This can be organic manures as long as they are well rotted pig, cow, chicken all mixed up, their function is to break down the carbon materials as well as keeping the plants green. Keep alternating the layers till you get to your desired height. The last layer must be quality well rotted compost added on top layer for planting in. The garden bed is then mulched ready for planting your vegetables. The layers can be as high as you like but remember the layers will shrink over time. There is no need to wait till the raised garden bed has broken down, you can plant in it instantly. By just making small pockets in the raised garden bed, you are able to plant your plants and vegetable seedlings. All the layers will start breaking down, and in the end the garden bed will give you well drained good looking black soil. I think this is a perfect way to build a raised garden bed especially if you have hard compacted clay soils, poor land, rocky ground or dry dust earth. In no time your plants will have a great wad of roots. A Sydney gardener Esther Dean developed No-Dig Garden in the 1970’s.

Permaculture no dig gardening began in Australia by two Australians Dr. Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in 1978.

Permaculture gardening can be practiced at many levels with the average family home being a perfect place to make a start. What ever space you have available this can be utilised more efficiently, instead of having useless decorative shrubs in the front yard why not plant fruit bearing trees instead. Most suburban landscapes allow families to keep a few chickens and they’re great for pest control and removing weeds. Flowers are always nice but in permaculture gardening they have a more useful purpose in attracting pests away from the food stock for example marigolds and nasturtium separately will deter whiteflies, thrips, white curl grubs and even kills nematodes. Even something as simple as collecting and recycling your water can make a big difference in the sustainability of the planet if everyone gets involved.

These are some of the things to know about the cycle of permaculture gardening by truly working with nature that can be practiced in your own back yard. Just think of the garden worms you will have… Lets go fishing!

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