Create a permaculture garden – How to make an easy-care and productive ecosystem
Permaculture garden – the garden planning plays a crucial role in the success
The first step to a cozy permaculture garden is planning. The basic principles of conventional garden design are also used here – but the difference is that the processes are naturally regulated by the planting of native trees, shrubs and plants. First, a sketch of the property should be created, on which the cardinal points are marked. This sketch is the starting point, new information is then gradually added.
Then comes the windbreak – it plays a crucial role in creating the perma garden. Normally, a wild hedge can be created on the east side as a windbreak – there are several plants to choose from. Lilac berries as an element of the wild fruit hedge attract birds and insects, the native viburnum (a white-flowered shrub) can grow up to 3 meters high, the dog rose grows vigorously, spreads quickly with root spouts and has edible fruits rich in vitamin C.
In addition, the north side is protected from the cold wind by trees and shrubs – fast-growing trees are, for example, the ash trees, which grow up to twelve meters in the first ten years. They seed themselves, can be cut and give fruit – nuts (not edible). On the western side, either hedge plants or low perennials shield the permaculture garden. The hobby gardener does not need to plan a windbreak to the south, this side usually remains open.
Right from the start, you should pay attention to the light and shade conditions – if the vegetable garden is exposed to the strong rays of the sun all day in summer, the plants can dry out. Here it is definitely worth getting advice, because this step is crucial for the subsequent garden design. Numerous garden schools offer special training in the field of permaculture, but the local tree nursery can also answer the most important questions.
Divide the perma garden into zones
The second step to a perma garden is the zoning – depending on the design effort, the property is divided into several areas. The house and adjoining terrace, where the family likes to hang out, make up Zone 1. The area immediately adjacent to the terrace and around the house where, for example, the potted plants are displayed in summer, fragrant flowers are planted and hedge plants such as climbing roses provide shade the terrace on hot summer days forms zone 2. Most hobby gardeners also build a greenhouse here if this is necessary for gardening. A garden pond and other garden design elements can also be created here.
Elements of permaculture – creating a vegetable garden
The next Zone 3 is relatively close to the house or garden shed – and can be watered as needed. Vegetables are usually planted here that like moist soil, but are otherwise easy to care for and are only visited again at harvest time – for example pumpkins, potatoes, wild cabbage or wild tomatoes. The potatoes prove to be an all-round talent – they are characterized by easy cultivation, are easy to care for and defy frost and snow without any problems. The experts advise planting early potatoes with medium-early and storable late potatoes in a bed – this way, the residents of the house can enjoy their own production all year round. For example, the early Christa variety can be combined with Melina, a medium-early variety that can be stored. Novice gardeners can’t go wrong with the most popular strain, Linda. Wild cabbage, also known as brassica oleracea, prefers loamy, moist soil and can be sown in both shady and sunny locations. The wild tomatoes thrive both in pots and in the garden, defy moisture and frost without any problems, and do not need any fertilizer. In any case, the gardener must plan about 3 square meters per plant. Golden Currant is a popular and delicious variety.
Permaculture garden – fruit bushes and fruit trees
Zone number 4 is considered to be easier to maintain than the others – this is the right spot for an orchard. For example the goji berry, which not only grows quickly and survives the winter outside without any problems, but whose fruits also contain many healthy vitamins and ingredients. The fruits of the chokeberry strengthen the immune system and taste delicious. The vital berry is not one of the native plants, but it has a decisive advantage – in addition to the fruit, the leaves are also edible. The blueberry enjoys great popularity – the plant is extremely easy to care for and only needs to be pruned after several years (usually from the fifth year). Bees can also be accommodated in zone No. 4 – they perform an important function in the orchard, namely promoting plant growth and pollinating the berries. Anyone who decides to do so must build the beehive with sufficient distance to the house and to the neighbors.
Chickens help control pests in the orchard and are proving to be an environmentally friendly alternative to common pesticides. If the pets move freely in the permaculture garden, they need at least 20 square meters per animal. In winter, the hens can find shelter in the barn, so this should not be missing under any circumstances. Otherwise, chickens are fairly easy to care for, the noise is limited if the distance to the house and neighbors (similar to bees) is large enough.
After zone 4 comes the last zone, zone 5 is considered the edge zone and should optically separate the property from the neighbors. This is where the fruit trees will be at home – how many fruit trees can be planted is closely related to the available area. For the small garden, the small fruit trees come into question – they grow more slowly and are therefore easier to harvest than tall fruit trees. If you decide to do this, you have to expect a higher effort – the soil has to be carefully prepared, the earth loosened, the trees are fertilized in spring and autumn, watered in summer – if necessary – all small fruit trees need a stake. Anyone who decides to do so can buy an apple tree – the deep root allows for underplanting with ornamental grasses or shrubs.
The zoning at a glance – when dividing into zones, the first thing that plays a decisive role is the maintenance effort – vegetables and fruit that are easy to care for are placed at the edge of the property, complex plants should be in inseparable proximity to the house because of the need for watering. Chickens and bees protect the orchard from pests, in any case, they must be placed at a distance from the house and neighbors.
Permaculture garden – green manure or compost?
Fertilizer is an important prerequisite for plant growth – permaculture gardeners can choose between green manure or compost. With green manure, special plants are first grown to improve the soil and then processed into mulch. On the one hand, this suppresses weed growth and, on the other hand, the plants create a balanced soil climate. Cover crops such as marigolds are sown either first in the garden or between the fruit and vegetable beds. After about eight weeks, or when they are at least 6cm high, the green manure plants are mown and left on the property. Mulch will form over time. If you decide to use green manure, you must have a certain amount of experience, but later you will save time.
When composting, choosing the right location for the compost heap plays a major role in success – a shady spot protected from the wind with dimensions at least 1.40 meters long and 1 meter wide and water-permeable subsoil offer the perfect conditions for the compost. Materials to consider when composting are leaves, plant debris (except weeds) and bark.
Permaculture principles in the greenhouse – what must be considered?
It seems that permaculture and the greenhouse have nothing in common. But the permaculture principles can easily be implemented even in the greenhouse. The hobby gardener should disturb the natural processes as little as possible and only support them. Green manure, skillful combination between different plants can create an active sustainable ecosystem. In the greenhouse, sensitive plants can also survive the winter and cultivate seedlings in the spring. Energy should be saved as much as possible – ultimately it is about an environmentally friendly garden design.
Saving resources in the perma garden
In the permaculture garden, environmental awareness comes first – the gardener should therefore use resources as profitably and sparingly as possible. First and foremost is the water requirement – i.e. collecting rainwater and using it for irrigation. Energy is saved with a hill bed – this is mostly south-facing and consists of several layers – at the bottom come compost, bark, leftover leaves. Then comes the earth, and after that fruit or vegetables can be planted. Over time, a layer of humus forms, which supplies it with energy and promotes growth. Furthermore, no chemicals are used in the perma garden, but the pests are fought by plants, animals and insects. The end result is an ecological harvest – the fruits and vegetables are therefore not only delicious, but also healthy.