You will probably already have some ideas for your garden if you have attended a blitz before. But before you focus on the details, it’s worth considering some of the basics of good permaculture design. What you have seen in other gardens, may not necessarily be the most suitable for your own.
First of course, a good permaculture plan will be tailored to the needs of the household it serves. A complex garden will be of little use to novices, or a simple garden may be too unproductive for a hungry young family. Your permaculture designer will need to get to know you and your household before he/she can set about considering what is best included in a permaculture garden design. They will either do this informally or ask you to answer a series of questions to help them understand your needs and wants.
The second aspect a permaculture designer will consider about your project is the site itself. It will have limiting and beneficial factors that are already determined. These are things like an established climate, soil, sun angles, prevailing winds, neighbours, moisture patterns. Some of these things can be controlled, and some can’t. When we consider the site carefully much of the kinds of plants and animals that can be used in your permaculture design may already be predetermined. You can’t expect to grow mushrooms in a hot sunny dry part of your garden, but you may be able to modify this area over time to allow you to do so in future!
After your designer has considered you and your site, they will likely begin to toss around a few ideas of garden elements. Before getting specific though, he/she may focus on beneficial input-output connections between these elements rather than the specific elements themselves.
Some examples of input-output connections are:
- Warmth of compost used to heat a glasshouse.
- A glasshouse used to grow seedlings for a vege garden
- Green waste from a vege garden used to make compost
- Compost used to make potting mix
- Potting mix used to raise flowering annuals
- Flowering annuals used to attract predatory insects
- Predatory insects used to control pest insects
Connections save energy and turn waste into resources, and this is how we design our own eco-systems! The more connections that are designed in a garden system, the more energy efficient, productive and stable your garden becomes!
After a list of possible garden elements and connections has been made by you and your designer, the next step is to locate these on a plan. In order to conserve your future energy, it will be important to locate the elements you will be visiting the most, nearest to the house. The elements that will be visited less frequently should be further away.
THE FINAL PLAN
If we consider all of the above, a good permaculture plan should clearly represent careful consideration of your needs, the site with it’s limiting and beneficial factors and a multitude of cleverly linked input output connections. Garden elements should all be located with priority given to those frequented the most. The most important part of a permaculture plan is the careful thought that has gone into it.