Permaculture, a common term for the principles of sustainable gardening has been practiced for centuries throughout the world. Lately, however, this term has become a buzzword in the gardening community.
If you’re new to these concepts, you may find a host of great ideas that you can incorporate into your gardening practices. Read on to learn about permaculture and the benefits of sustainable gardening!
Defining the Terms
No doubt you’ve heard the term organic, but what does it mean?
The term organic essentially describes the principles of growing plants and food without using chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers not made from organic materials. These chemicals, when used incorrectly, can harm the environment.
Organic gardening uses a diversity of plants, compost and insects that are good for the garden to keep the soil, and thus the plants, healthy.
Sustainability describes those techniques that work together with the environment. These techniques help to minimize any negative effects on the environment, while simultaneously improving the health and output of your plants.
Permaculture combines principles of agriculture with cultural practices. More than just a way to grow things in your garden, permaculture is a lifestyle of sorts.
Creating an energy-efficient home, recycling, growing your own food, raising your own animals, catching rainwater, building community gardens and even restoring landscapes and ecosystems that have been impacted by pollution are all examples of sustainable practices and permaculture.
Is Permaculture Right for You?
You don’t have to go overboard and toss out everything you’ve done in the past, in order to incorporate more sustainable gardening techniques. In fact, it’s a good idea to start slowly. Here are a few ideas you may want to try.
- Compost your lawn. When you mow, leave the clippings on the ground. This technique will feed your lawn and help reduce your need for chemical fertilizers.
- Use organic sprays. You don’t have to bomb pests and disease out of your garden with chemicals. People have gardened for centuries before the advent of these sprays. Try your hand at more natural pesticides, like baking soda solutions, to help your garden to maintain a more natural balance.
- Double dig it! Double digging involves taking out the first foot of topsoil from your garden and adding it to your compost heap. Next, dig another foot down to aerate your soil, and mix in some compost or natural soil amendments. This will improve the way the soil retains nutrients help improve drainage.
- Worm composting. This is a great technique for converting your kitchen waste into odor-free and very useful compost.
Backyard composting. This is another popular way to turn your kitchen and yard waste into compost for your garden.
Don’t be intimidated by permaculture. It’s good for us and for the Earth, but it’s especially beneficial for your garden. You can do a little or a lot, but doing anything at all is a move in the right direction!
Millcreek Gardens is your locally owned and operated greenhouse, plant nursery and garden center. Visit us today for all of your gardening supplies, outdoor plants and landscaping trees. While you’re here, talk with our expert staff about starting your own permaculture practices.