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With the continuously growing concern of people for health and wellness, organic produces have somewhat become a fad. This resulted in more and more organic farms around the world. But while an organic farm appears healthy, it is not completely self-sufficient and still requires some pesticide and fertilizer input. This is where permaculture design comes into play.
What is it?
A permaculture garden is defined by a closed loop environment. What does that mean? It refers to having elements inside the garden including plants, animals, insects, and others to work together dependently and thus nourishing, sustaining, and supporting one another so as every element is working as a system.
For example, one type of insect may be in charge of keeping a certain parasite in check, a chicken keeps that insect from growing too many in number, that chicken provides manure as fertilizer for the land, and so on. It is a loop wherein every element in the garden serves a purpose with the idea of keeping the overall environmental balance in check.
What are the benefits?
A permaculture designed farm may not produce as many or as fast as commercial farms can. However, the benefits are great. Perhaps the most striking is that it produces very high quality organic fruits, vegetables, and perhaps poultry as well. In fact, this farming technique is usually done for health and wellness purposes.
And because every element within the closed loop system is working to benefit of one another, little human intervention will be necessary. This can be
a perfect solution for people who do not want to bother with very high maintenance gardening.
Basics of Permaculture Design
Alright, the idea sounds very enticing right? So far, you might be compelled and encouraged to start up your own permaculture farm. Before you do, here are some of the most basic things that you need to know about permaculture gardening:
Starting with the soil
The soil is very important as it will be the source of nourishment for the plants and vegetables. Keep it packed with nutrients by putting up compost pits around the farm and regularly dumping biodegradable waste. About three different locations would be ideal. Fill up one compost, then move on to the next one while waiting for the previously filled compost to decay and do its magic.
Next, you must prepare the soil area where the seedlings will be allowed to grow. Over the soil, liberally apply a layer of compost. Then, stack up straw and hay up to 8 inches thick. Adding seaweed into the stack will also make the soil more conducive for growing things. Keep the stack moist with seaweed emulsion tea. Also, water is directly added into the stack of compost, straw, and hay. Therefore, the growing area is actually moist.
This set up will be left as it is for the next six weeks. This will allow things to settle down and create the perfect environment for growing seedlings. Adding cultured earthworms into the soil area and the compost pit is also highly advisable to speed up the decomposition and the conditioning of the soil.
Adding water supply
Other than placing the water system into the beds and actually letting the soil soak depending on what will be grown, having a small body of water or a small pond near the growing area is also necessary.
This small body of water will attract the presence of many naturally existing farm creatures such as lizards, frogs, and insects and also nourish them. These creatures will play important roles in the closed loop ecosystem that you have created.
When everything is ready including water supply, compost, soil, earthworm additions, and such, it is time to introduce native chickens into the farm. These chickens will keep the balance of many insects, earthworms, and other creatures in check. Also, their droppings will regularly nourish the soil.
Make sure however that the chickens will not escape and that they are protected from their natural predators. Keep the garden surrounded by a fence to fend off unwelcome predators.
Planting the seeds
Permaculture garden is also called the no dig garden. Instead, the seeds are allowed to grow in a raising box filled with compost. When the seeds have grown enough, they are introduced into the permaculture soil. Another alternative is to plant the seeds between the soil and the compost layer just prior to adding stacks of hay and straw.