Updated: Jun 15, 2021
There has never been a more important time in our history to insist on practicing sustainable and natural horticulture methods. The permaculture revolution will start on the home front.
Here are five simple ways you can start enacting permaculture.
-Natural fertilization instead of chemicals.
This can be achieved through various compost teas, created by soaking organic material in water long enough for it to ferment. This will imbue the water with the principles of the plants soaked, as well as the nutrients they absorbed while growing. Often, these are the nutrients lacking in the very soil you plan to apply it on. The chemical fertilizers used by many are actually only temporary incentives to your plants. They only briefly aid the plants and neglect cultivating healthy microorganisms in the dirt. These chemical sprays can actually be damage the microbial life in your soil. This starts a never ending cycle of need in your garden, where natural fertilization helps your soil gain
strength and balance to supply nutrients for much longer periods of time.
-Allowing "weeds" and wildflowers to grow.
When you are gardening, of course you will want to remove the competitive sprouts to prevent them from stealing nutrients and sunshine to specific plants. However, there can be unforeseen benefits that are at play when these plants grow.
Nothing grows in nature without reason, and believe it or not, the weeds are not trying to drive you crazy. Instead, they can actually be supplying the soil with much needed aeration (dandelion root), valuable nitrogen (clover) or simply ground cover to retain moisture (phlox). I have found this method works well to encourage a natural green lawn.
These are just a few examples to give you an idea of why wild plants may be beneficial. The weeds and wildflowers you allows pollinators to have native food that can be desperately needed in the early spring. Over the last century herbicides have been actually killing the very insects that we need to live!
-Use large rocks to cover bases of trees and shrubs, or in retaining walls for raised beds.
As well as on places where nothing seems to grow. Stones have a wonderful effect of collecting moisture underneath, helping you maintain your soil without over watering. They also attract earthworms and other creatures of the soil. As well they store and release energy from the sun, creating for more stable temperatures throughout the summer. Stones will naturally allow for drainage when used in retaining walls.
-Planting native perennials, as well as hearty trees.
Native perennial plants will give you successful ground cover and can provide flowers early in the growing season. Trees will also help shade the ground and collect cool air during the heat of the summer.
Shade trees are a great way to keep your house's climate controlled without using power. The same idea goes for soil, which maintains more growable conditions when shaded by perennial growth.
-Collecting and reusing rainwater
Not only will you be saving yourself money, you will also be saving the planet by utilizing rain water instead of turning on the tap. On top of that, rainwater is actually much safer for plants than treated water. The chlorine and fluoride used to "treat" city water is more difficult for plants to absorb and actually have the opposite of the desired effect.
The Earth is an incredible teaching tool, and careful observation of the world around you is where your next inspiration in permaculture will come from.