The Backyard Permaculture Garden
- Permaculture Principles
Explore the ethics and design principles behind the diversity and creativity of permaculture
It is time. It is time to convert the big backyard into an urban permaculture garden. We moved into this house at the end of last summer. Presently we are renting but are going to buy. The house has a big backyard and is ideal for a small scale urban farm.
My training in permaculture design and the consulting work I have done on community and private gardens can now be put to use creating a space for us and that is most exciting.
The site is big enough that I can put one of the three permaculture ethics into direct practice and share some space for a community garden. I have had a preliminary conversation with the local food bank about this and as the project evolves we will talk further.
The site will be established over a three year period, although a garden is never completed which is one of it s many attraction.
I am giving thought at present to including chickens in the mix; there is a shed at back which could house a chicken coop with a wired in run to the outside. My next step will be to find out if the city will permit this.
A container herb garden will be on the deck, right next to the kitchen door so I can just step outside and pick fresh herbs when needed.
The orchard, most likely dwarf apples trees will be in the corner that is farthest away from the house as this is the section of the site I am less likely to visit. The placement of plants and other garden elements will be determined using the permaculture zone system.
Permaculture uses zones, which are defined by the frequency of use, i.e. how often would you go to that zone, daily, once a week, for example, to determine where the various elements, hen house, wood pile, fruit trees, herbs, etc. are placed. The more regular your visits, daily, the closer the zone will be to the house, in the case of an urban environment.
The community garden (shared space), the orchard and herbs will all be established the first year as will a cut-and-come-again garden (salad greens, which will eb just off the deck at the bottom of the steps so it will be as close to the kitchen as I can place it.
I am also considering a green house, possibly a kit greenhouse) in order to extend the growing season. The potential siting of this greenhouse is important and may be put somewhere between the shed and the house, but that is a decision I will make after the snow melts and I can more readily access the yard. Pathways will also need to be established for ease of movement between areas.
Perennial vegetables such as Jerusalem artichoke will be including in the end design. The site is all gravel so this is likely to be a raised bed and container garden and of course there will be an area were I can experiment with plants that I do not yet know.