Did you ever think you can turn your back yard into an area that provides not only food for your family but a sustainable living environment for other animals and creatures? In its simplest definition, that is what a permaculture is. Read on as Mike gives you some more information on the topic.
Wikipedia defines a permaculture as an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies. Yes I know, that is a mouth full. However, simply defined, a permaculture, as it relates to your back yard home vegetable garden means, creating a system where plants, animals and the waste thereof all work together to make the system work.
For example, you can have chickens living among your vegetable plants. They can eat various insects which in turn allows you to reduce the use of chemicals to treat your plants for those insects. The chickens then leave behind their waste that can then be later tilled under to make your soil more nutrient rich.
The vegetable plants that you add to your garden can also be used as shelter and protection for “good” insects, toads, and other animals that assist with making your home vegetable garden a success.
There is no question that a permaculture is a lot of work. Or at least it can be when you first make an attempt at it. That is why many experts recommend that you start off slowly. One good technique is to use rabbits. House your rabbits in a cage that sits over top a worm box for vermicompost, more on that in a moment, or your garden soil, with a floor where the rabbit droppings fall through. You can till the rabbit waste directly into your soil, which provides much needed nutrients for your plants.
Vermicomposting is the process by which worms break down waste leaving behind their castings. Their castings are also called vermicompost. Vermicompost is one of the best sources of nutrients for your plants. If you have been using worms to create your own vermicompost you already have the beginnings of your own permaculture. You (or your rabbits) provide the waste for the worms, they provide the nutrients for your plants and then the cycle repeats itself.
There are countless options that can make a backyard permaculture work with the inclusion of other animals likes chickens, goats, and so on. Make sure you check with your local municipality as to what is allowed in your area and what is not. You may like that rooster waking you up when the sun rises, but your neighbor? Not so much.
Your permaculture is also not limited to the use of animals. Trapping rain water in a rain barrel for later use can be added in and I have seen some setups that use solar panels to run a pump, that pumps the water from those barrels through soaker hoses. That’s a bit more advanced than many like to get, but it gives you a couple of ideas that you can toss around.
Start off slow with the basics, then expand as you learn more, get more advanced and understand how a permaculture can work for your back yard vegetable garden.