Posts Tagged Permaculture
15 Reasons a permaculture herb spiral lets you practice sustainable gardening in urban or country settings
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
By: JB Bardot
[NaturalNews] Whether you’re a city mouse or a country mouse — with a high-rise patio or 1000 acres — building an herb spiral near your kitchen allows you to partake in the sustainable permaculture revolution and have fresh organic culinary herbs at your fingertips. An herb spiral is a compact vertical garden built on specific principles allowing for individualized management of wind and water flow to create the ideal garden in a limited amount of space.
The spiral is a natural form that provides an efficient method for managing space, storing and sorting. Using the natural universal design of a spiral, the forces of gravity and water flow are utilized to their fullest allowing for proper drainage downhill. Herbs that thrive on drier soils live at the top, whereas those needing more moisture reside at the bottom where water collects. This form allows for planting of a widely diverse number of plants, and creates natural, sunny and shady areas — a perfect miniature microclimate landscape environment. The herb spiral as a permaculture form that allows you to create your own ecosystem and become self sufficient. The format can be adapted to large gardens if space is available.
Stone or block building materials allow for retention of heat and insulate plants in colder weather or at night, while acting as the backbone for the structure. Collect water at the bottom and have a small fish or frog pond or even a bog and grow edible water plants. An herb spiral can be built even on a concrete foundation and filled with the richest biodynamic, organic earth to support any plants included.
The spiral should always be built to move in the direction of water drainage in whatever hemisphere it’s located in — for example, in the Northern hemisphere, water runs off in a clockwise direction and the opposite is true for the Southern hemisphere. This allows for optimal positioning of the pond at the bottom and reduces evaporation. The spiral can be built as a round or oval shape to take advantage of the movement of summer sunlight.
15 reasons to build an herb spiral for your permaculture garden
1. Maximize growing space to grow more food.
2. Multiple microclimates available for optimal plant growth.
3. Healthier plants where growing needs are met and companion planting is easy to reduce insect problems and foster beneficial plant relationships for better growth.
4. Aesthetic garden focal point.
5. Maximizes space even in very small areas on top of concrete or in high-rise buildings.
6. Harvesting access is easy and all plants are effortlessly accessible.
7. No bending, everything is at waist height — hooray!
8. Save money by growing your own food.
9. Eat organic, using heirloom seeds and avoid pesticides and genetically engineered seeds.
10. Reduces maintenance, little weeding and easy to turn and mulch.
11. Manage water amounts and use natural forces to perpetuate the growing season.
12. Reduce building costs when you use local available materials.
13. Use drip irrigation or a small sprinkler for easy watering and irrigation.
14. Create a bio-diverse habitat for creatures who come to visit.
15. Build an herb spiral to grow medicinal herbs to avoid Big Pharm drugs.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
By: Christina Luisa
[NaturalNews] Permaculture is a fundamental approach to food production and urban renewal, water, energy and pollution. It is based on the ethics of caring for people and our planet. It is about growing your own healthy food, being resourceful and environmentally responsible. Permaculture concepts, design principles and ideas can be applied successfully to anything from small suburban units to large farming properties.
According to Bill Mollison, permaculture integrates ecology, organic gardening, architecture, landscape and agro-forestry into the creation of a rich and sustainable way of living. Not only does it use appropriate technology that provide high yields for low energy inputs, it strives to create a resource that is both stable and incredibly diverse.
Permaculture design ethics include:
• Care of the earth (“Earth Care”)
• Care of people and all other species (“People Care”)
• Limiting consumption; sharing surplus (“Fair Shares”)
The core principles of Permaculture are explained in detail here:
Here is an easy-to-follow guide on four great ways to start incorporating permaculture practices into your own life.
Get into the habit of observing nature
Start to closely observe natural elements and designs such as sunlight patterns, moon phases, the direction of tree growth, where and how water collects and where plants don’t grow well in your native area. Don’t forget to extend your observation to patterns in human nature as well. For example, pay attention to what kinds of work young children enjoy and don’t enjoy, or how your coworkers tend to behave at certain phases of a project. What time of day is your mind most receptive to trying new ideas?
It is also important to observe the needs of anything you want to nurture, whether it is a garden, a plant, an animal, a friend or a business partner. If you want to grow herbs or raise chickens, find out what conditions they need so you can adjust your micro-climate accordingly.
Develop a design-oriented mind
Look around you and imagine ways to apply the permaculture ethics and principles to the design of everything you notice. A good way to begin developing your eye for design would be to choose a permaculture principle that especially resonates with you personally and find ways to implement it in various areas of your personal life.
For example, if you really love the permaculture principles of “using and valuing diversity” and “using small and slow solutions,” then make a list of ways you can diversify your daily activities in a simple, non-wasteful way. Design grocery shopping lists that include a variety of simple, local and seasonal foods, and make your shopping trips include tasks for the whole family, since one of the most important aspects of permaculture is the rebuilding of community.
Create a simple and ecological permaculture garden
Ecological gardening involves growing a wide range of edible and other useful plants and can be done on any scale. It’s a fun and easy way to create a “backyard ecosystem” by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively and perform a variety of functions, including:
• Composing and maintaining soil fertility
• Catching and conserving water in the landscape
• Providing a habitat for various animals, insects and birds
• Growing an edible “mini forest” that yields seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods
Many beginning books on permaculture as well as online sources explain how to complete a variety of useful projects such as making your own herb fertilizers and compost or creating homemade organic sprays for pest control.
To learn more about creating permaculture gardens, check out this article:
Take a permaculture design course
Study and practice permaculture principles in-depth by looking into affordable local permaculture design courses. You’ll learn to practice sustainable design in your everyday life, strengthen your connection with nature and develop your creativity and intuition.
In the process, you’ll also get an interesting tour of various permaculture practices from all over the world – all of which you can adapt to your own situation. Most permaculture classes offer an extraordinarily rich community as well, giving you the opportunity to improve your understanding of this holistic design system and create lifelong friendships and business partnerships. If you don’t want to take a general course on permaculture design, research specific elements of permaculture such as local food systems, self-reliance, growing food, traditional skills, beekeeping, small-scale organic farming and ways to build community.
For a list of sources and videos on permaculture, check out the list of links at the bottom of this article:
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
By: Tara Green
[NaturalNews] Organic gardening avoids the use of chemicals to make plants grow or protect them from insects, relying instead on natural gardening principles used for thousands of years. Permaculture organic gardening goes a step further and also emphasizes growing plants sustainably, working with rather than against the grain of the natural environment. Permaculture organic gardening is growing in popularity as more people realize that it offers an inexpensive and relatively low-maintenance way to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Choosing a location
Observe your property at different times of day. Consider which areas receive the most sun, which are in shade for much of the day. Depending on where you live, if sunshine is a scarce commodity, you will want to expose plants to receive as much as possible. On the other hand, in desert regions, you will not want your plants to be in the area most likely to be parched by sun exposure. Also think protecting your garden from the paths where strong winds tend to blow through your property. Even a small property will have microclimates — notice these and plant accordingly to give different plants either more sun or more shade according to their preference.
Avoid disease-prone plants which require time-consuming chores such as spraying and pruning by the gardener. Select plants which will thrive in your area rather than those which will require extra labor on your part to protect them from the environment. As far as possible, select plants which serve multiple purposes, such as fruit trees which will put forth blossoms in one season, fruit to pick in another, and provide shade for when you want to sit and enjoy your garden’s natural beauty. Native plants are also more likely to attract local pollinators such as bees, and to draw butterflies so that your garden contains even more natural beauty.
Making a home for your plants
Raised beds require less physical effort on the part of the gardener and also benefit plants, providing better air circulation, more protection from spring chills and improved usage of water. Raised beds also mean a small permaculture garden is an option even for apartment dwellers and others with little available space since you can rely on containers and vertical gardening principles.
Feeding your plants
One of the key concepts of permaculture organic gardening is to avoid waste. Having a garden gives you a means of re-using natural waste such as eggshells, apple cores, coffee grinds as well as yard waste which many people throw away. You can either purchase or make a compost bin to turn this organic material into gardening gold which can be used to help your plants grow.
Watering your plants
Modern gardeners who do not follow sustainability principles tend to draw heavily on piped-in water resources, often using hoses and sprinklers to make plants which require abundant water grow in a desert climate. Permaculture organic gardening tries to use natural water as much as possible, maximizing the use of groundwater and rainwater. Rain barrels allow you to collect rainfall and extend its use over longer periods of time.
Protecting plants from pests
Eschewing the use of chemicals does not have to mean a garden full of pests. You can use companion gardening principles, growing plants which deter pests near those which attract them. There is also a natural synergy between some plants which means planting them near each other increases your yield. Also, just as some herbs have a medicinal effect on human health, they also offer benefits to plants which grow near them. For more information about companion planting, visit
If you have space and live in an area where it is permissible to keep poultry, chickens can make a wonderful addition to a permaculture garden. If they are permitted free-range for most of the day, they will consume many pests. Chicken manure also contributes beneficial nitrogen to the soil of your garden.