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Permaculture Gardening

written by: Laura Jean Karr•edited by: Lindsay Evans•updated: 9/25/2009

Permaculture gardening is a great way to grow organic food while supporting the local environment. Learn the basic principles of permaculture gardening here.

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    What is Permaculture Gardening?

    In 1978, Australian ecologist Bill Morrison invented the ideal of permaculture. The term refers to a permanent agriculture system that takes into account both human needs and the natural environment. The main goal of permaculture gardening is to mimic the local environment's growth while feeding humans, animals and even localized insects.

    The system has become more popular with the rate of environmental awareness spreading across the globe and as many people are "getting back to the land" and starting to grow a majority of their own food. With permaculture the rewards come from an ever rotating and gardening growth system that has no need for large scale machinery such as tractors and tillers.

    Another bonus of permaculture gardening is that organic gardening is just an assumed part of the process. Since no machinery is used, neither are any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Everything in use with this system is created to work with the local environment and develop the land by gardening naturally. Make the land sustainable and you'll make your garden sustainable with little effort.

    Some of the common planting and methods that are a part of permaculture include:

    • Edible Landscaping
    • Trellising
    • Companion Planting
    • Mulching
    • Solar Greenhouses
    • Spiral Herb Gardens
    • Vermicomposting
    • Composting

    Permaculture gardening and its methods vary by location. For example, in Florida you would plant succulents to help support other plants in the garden more than you would in Colorado. Each land type and soil type has specific benefits for planting and growing your own food. The key is to learn about the land and the natural environment where you are in order to garner the best benefit from permaculture gardening.

    Different locations will also call for different permaculture designs. The basis in this type of gardening design is to create an organic built up area of soil. In order to let your soil build up in a natural way, you don't remove the unused parts of the plant but let them decay and nourish the soil. You'll also need to plant a few extra plants because not all will be harvested, as some of them you will need to deliberately let go to seed where they are planted. By incorporating these two natural methods of building soil, you will end up with nourished soil that is naturally resistant to disease and harmful insects.

    For information on permaculture gardening, you can click through to watch Planet Green's series on Permaculture Gardening.