Starting a Permaculture Garden

Author Jenni Blackmore reflects on the principles of permaculture after years of experience.

  • Squash, beans and sunflowers thriving on reclaimed forest floor.
    Photo by Jenni Blackmore
  • Zones: 0 – house or heart zone radiating outto zone 5 the “wild” zone. Intensity of cultivation and visitation lessens in each zone. This is a theoretic diagram. In actuality zones spread and flow more like broken egg yolks in a fry pan as they are influenced by their topographic environment.
    Illustration by Jenni Blackmore
  • This particular sectors diagram is a very basic analysis of some of the prevailing elements which influence QuackaDoodle farm. It does not take into account the microclimates and other deviations which are created by trees and buildings.
    Illustration by Jenni Blackmore
  • In "Permaculture for the Rest of Us," Jenni Blackmore presents a highly entertaining, personal account of how permaculture can be practiced in adverse conditions, allowing anyone to learn to live more sustainably in a less-than-perfect world.
    Cover courtesy New Society Publishers

Jenni Blackmore presents a highly entertaining, personal account of how permaculture can be practiced in adverse conditions, allowing anyone to learn to live more sustainably in a less-than-perfect world.

The perfect antidote to dense, high-level technical manuals, Permaculture for the Rest of Us presents the fundamental principles of this sometimes confusing concept in a humorous, reader-friendly way.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Permaculture for the Rest of Us.

When I first developed an interest in permaculture and started amassing a library of the great books available I’d gobble up the first few chapters but begin to lose my appetite when it came to zones and guilds, in part because the diagrams looked a little overwhelming in their apparent complexity. I was tempted to — okay, I did — hurriedly scan through those chapters so I could get back to the growing and harvesting parts that interested me the most. My abject fear of all things mathematical was rekindled by any mention of degrees of slope, angle of sunlight, or exactitude of compass points. In actual fact, the concepts of zones and sectors are based in common sense and are essential to any successful permaculture plan.

Zones range from one to five, from the most often to the least often visited. For example, I don’t want to have to charge to the far end of the garden for some fresh basil, with my sauce already bubbling and company due to arrive in five minutes. Therefore zone one includes herb pots on the deck by the kitchen door. Potatoes, once planted, require almost no attention until harvest time, so they will be best placed in zone three.

Sectors are like slices of a pie-chart that clearly define the sunniest spots, the wind tunnels, any natural water courses and so on. Once these characteristics have been itemized it’s much simpler to take full advantages of their attributes and take steps to minimize any negative effects. Having them drawn out on paper helps solidify the existence of these invisible boundaries.

3/21/2016 4:38:35 AM

Starting a permaculture garden can make a huge difference in our life style. We usually collect our food products from the super markets and many of us unaware about knowing the source of those food products. Many of those food products can be produced even in a small space of our home but we should learn how to make an organic garden. If we can make an organic garden, we will not have to depend on the super markets' products.

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