the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient
I've been reading more about permaculture lately because I've been curious to see if this term is descriptive of what we're doing and the direction much of my recent interest seems to be headed. As you may have noticed, I don't talk as much about growing specific vegetables, individual recipes or even preserving as much as I used to.
view across the back of our property (1.5 acres) with our neighbor's house in the background
Of course we're still growing vegetables (and fruits), making food and putting it up (and all those posts exist on this website, please look them up). But since getting bees, I've become much more fascinated with how it all comes together.
(top to bottom, left to right) honey bee on clover, wild black raspberries, house roof rain water cistern/pump, butterfly on black raspberry bush, mulberry tree, blooming chestnut tree loaded with pollinators, day lilies, mulberries, young peaches, honey bee on butterfly bush, wineberry bushes, first crop of blueberries
Sadie's garden mound of vegetables and flowers in front of our large brush pile
our used-to-be-all-lawn side yard with sweet cherry and blueberry rows, wild grasses (the birds are loving the seed heads) and sunflower patch
As you may have noticed, it's never been important to us to have a manicured yard. And, no, this isn't just what happens because we don't have the time or interest in manicuring it. It comes from the desire to have a more natural-looking property and the desire to not be slaves to our land- there is more to life indeed.
That flowering weeds, trees and bushes will provide nectar and pollen for our bees and butterflies. That wild raspberries and wineberries will continue to multiply, pushing their way into mowed paths if they like.
black raspberries and wine berries at the edge of the woods with bee hives in the background
The way God created His creation to live in harmony is breath-taking. I have been relishing it and look forward to reading and learning more about what we can do to encourage it instead of fight it- whatever it might be called these days.
If you're interested in more of the specifics of Permaculture, Wikipedia provides this list as one version of it's twelve design principles:
- Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
- Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
- Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
- Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
- Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature's abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
- Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
- Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
- Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
- Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
- Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
- Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
- Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.
Sadie feeding kitchen scraps to the chickensPin It