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In permaculture, we let nature take its course! For the system to be sustainable, autonomous and balanced, it is necessary to promote a rich biodiversity, both that of cultivated plants and of animals, wild or domestic, and to choose perennial plants.
Read also :
- Permaculture, definitions and main principles
- Permaculture, green manure and compost
Biodiversity, queen of the permaculture garden
Biodiversity is, along with the maintenance of life and soil fertility, an essential part of permaculture. Based on the principle that balance is born out of diversity, as is the case in nature, the permaculture garden relies on biodiversity.
Associated crops on the same plot:
In permaculture, there are no straight lines for the plantations, no uniform plots dedicated to a single plant, but rather what seems to be, seen from afar, a happy jumble, varied and generous. In reality, the associated plants (vegetables, flowers, aromatics, shrubs, trees) are carefully chosen to promote good interactions: some plants protect others from pests, others provide beneficial cool shade, and still others attract auxiliary or pollinating insects: this is the principle of companion plants.
In addition, planting different plants in the same place disturbs the parasites (which love monoculture!), Which then proliferate less: the risk of a large invasion is limited. Likewise, the spread of disease is more difficult in a varied plant population, rather than in a mono-specific plot, where the disease only has to jump from one plant to another!
Save space by gardening in height
As the surfaces are often limited, in permaculture, we try to cultivate a maximum of plants in a minimum of space: to achieve this, we stage the crops and cultivate as much as possible in height (tipis, trellises, etc.).
The gardener's auxiliaries:
Welcoming a variety of wildlife in the garden means giving yourself the best possible chance to benefit from the protection of natural predators from plant pests. In this spirit, we of course ban all insecticides, including those which are natural, but the garden is also arranged in such a way as to attract useful fauna.
Hedges, dry stone walls, piles of wood, area of the garden left untouched, pond, honey flowers (in some auxiliaries such as lacewing, larvae, carnivores, are predators of aphids, cochineals, thrips, but the adult feeds on pollen) and why not build an insect hotel!
Moreover, it is not only the insects that are useful: insectivorous birds, toads, frogs, lizards, hedgehogs and bats are also formidable hunters.
Read also : attract helpers to the garden
In permaculture, chickens are often raised which, in addition to their eggs, also provide nitrogen fertilizer (thanks to their droppings) and eat slugs, snails and various insects. We can also, if the available surface allows it, introduce sheep or goats, wonderful natural mowers that do not emit pollutants, only manure!
Read also: Creating a chicken coop is easy
Old species and varieties, adapted to the terroir
Do with the soil and the climate:
Planting plants that are not adapted to the climate or the nature of the soil means, for the gardener, complicating his life and exhausting himself correcting the natural environment. By choosing species and varieties adapted to the terroir, we limit effort and maintenance. Watering, shading, drainage, protection against the cold, wintering: all these tasks are considerably simplified when one chooses, depending on the case, hardy varieties, early, late, resistant to lack of water, heat and early frosts, adapted to calcareous, acidic, clayey, sandy soils ...
Varieties reproducible by seed and perennial plants:
Since one of the goals of permaculture is to have a self-supporting garden or almost, working in a closed loop, we will refrain from choosing hybrid or unstabilized varieties, that is, the seeds of which we cannot recover the seeds for reseeding them the following year.
We prefer them old varieties : they allow the gardener to produce his own seeds, without having to buy new bags of seeds every year. You can also opt for perennial species, which produce (or flower in the case of ornamental plants) for several years (artichokes, asparagus, rhubarb, sorrel, spinach, leek perpetual, onion rocambole, celery perpetual, Daubenton cabbage ...) or whose tubers ensure the renewal of the feet (crosnes, Jerusalem artichokes…). These vegetables save labor (no sowing or transplanting) and are more economical than annuals.
In the same vein, plants that reseed on their own are nice!
Permaculture: a garden in perpetual motion
A permaculture garden is sustainable and almost autonomous ; the gardener intervenes less there than in a traditional garden, all the conditions being met so that nature does a good part of the work.
However, this method of cultivation does not mean that the garden is set in stone, quite the contrary: the plants are reseeded there, move around, animals settle there, the gardener makes tests, experiments with techniques of crops, introduces plants, suppresses others ... The permaculture garden can be a real life-size laboratory, teeming with life, in perpetual motion.