Can You Practice Permaculture in the City?
If you grow an organic landscape, then you are a step closer to practicing permaculture in your landscape!
If you grow an organic landscape, then you are a step closer to practicing permaculture in your landscape! Permaculture is the simple act of growing and maintaining a fully sustainable landscape. The idea of permaculture, derived from the words “permanent” and “agriculture”, began in Australia in the 1970s. Bill Mollison and David Holmgren had the idea that with nature as our guide, we could sustain ourselves using the resources around us. Permaculture is “the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems, which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems”.
If you are lucky enough to live on a large piece of property, you can space out your land in six zones, as was the thought of Bill and David.
Zone-0 is your home. This is where you’ll focus on saving energy, collecting rainwater, and installing solar panels. The simple act of turning off lights and unplugging electrical equipment when not in use for a period of time also saves energy.
Zone-1 The closest to your home where you would plant your vegetable gardens. Fill with edibles that you will use often and have easy access to in order to properly maintain it.
Zone-2 The next layer has plants that need less maintenance and harvested less often such as berry plants, perennials, and shrubs. Beehives, chickens and compost bins would fit in this zone.
Zone-3 is for a greenhouse, or plants you might grow and sell.
Zone-4 In this layer of the permaculture landscape, the plantings are more natural. Plant natives, plants to forage from and trees to harvest timber from in this zone.
Zone-5 This is the wildest zone meant only for wildlife. Wild animals and plants will live and grow here without the interference of people.
If you live in an urban setting, your space is probably a lot tighter. However, there are still elements of the permaculture system that you can practice on a smaller scale. While you might not have room for a beehive, or an area for totally wild plants, you can still catch rain, grow vegetables and reduce chemicals in the landscape.
Elements of Permaculture
- Going organic in the landscape
- Releasing and encouraging beneficial insects such as ladybugs and praying mantis
- Catch rainwater to supplement your landscape’s water needs
- Growing vegetables and fruit
- Raising small livestock such as chickens and goats
- Build your soil naturally. Healthy soil means healthy plants, reduced need for water, and less erosion and water runoff.
When you focus on creating healthy soil full of microbial activity, you are aiding your plants in taking up much needed nutrients and retaining moisture. This is especially important here in North Texas, where our soil is often tough to plant directly into and needs to be amended. Over time, you’ll find plants grow stronger and more vigorous, with less maintenance, in an organic environment.
A simple organic maintenance plan can put you on your way to a sustainable landscape. Need help getting started? Give us a call!