Permaculture principles . . . the other six

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank

Continuing from the previous post and first six permaculture principles; I’ve worked through them numerically in the order they appear in David’s Holmgren’s Permaculture Principles. However, permaculture principles can be applied in any order in all situations and places when designing permaculture activities and projects. There are variations of permaculture principles, based on two models: those of Bill Mollison and those of David Holmgren (the co-founders of permaculture). Bill Mollison’s are very useful strategies for practical designing, and David Holmgren’s -below- cover a more ethical/philosophical approach, and reflect how permaculture has evolved.

As with the first six, for the other six a simple exercise to become familiar with permaculture principles is for each principle, think of examples of how you: have applied it in your life; could apply it in your life in the future; have observed it applied by others.

  1. Design from pattern to detail

Applied in your life: Keep it real. In the process of transitioning from classroom Tafe studies to online, I observed the form and arrangement of my daily household activities and schedule, and created a timetable for study that allowed both necessary structure and flexibility.

Could apply in your life: The drawing board. A permaculture design plan for our property factoring in topography, environmental and human dynamics.

Observed it applied in other: Dollars and sense. Local horticulturists and market stallholders track income and expenditure and apply the results to come up with up an achievable budget and business plan.

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Green economy
  1. Integrate rather than segregate

Applied in your life: Sharing is caring. We share backyard chickens for eggs and compost inputs, with our neighbour who had an existing coop in her backyard but no chickens.

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Fowl neigbour

Could apply in your life: Participate. We’re planning to use the opportunity to make, bake and grow items to support organisers, stallholders and patrons of village’s fledgling local market, and reciprocally enjoy benefiting from their encouragement of our endeavours.

Observed it applied in other: Companion planting. As part the Tafe production horticulture course we planted out a mixed market garden style plot: planting out garlic and a variety of aromatic herbs to deter aphids; land cress among the brassicas as a control for caterpillars; rocket, coriander and tender leafy greens beneath rows of snow and sugar snap peas.

  1. Use small and slow solutions

Applied in your life: Slowpoke bespoke. After we decided to construct a glasshouse-potting shed, for more than 2 years we gathered recycled materials to add to what we already collected, designing it around what we had, and paying only $30 for new bolts and reimbursing a neighbour for the cost of excess cement for the footings and floor.

Could apply in your life: Grow your own. Propagate plants from saved seeds and prunings/cuttings.

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Feeling seedy

Observed it applied in other: Organic answers. Rather applying herbicides for weed control opt for steam weeding. Rather than utilising synthetic fertilisers create compost teas such as that formulated by my Tafe horticulture teacher.

  1. Use and value diversity

Applied in your life: A weed is just a plant in the wrong place. As well as our fenced cultivated property we intentionally maintain an adjacent biodiverse weedy-scrubby bird-bee-butterfly belt in a neighbouring unused field.

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Intentionally biodiverse

Could apply in your life: Variety is the spice of life. Each season trial new plantings in our vegetable plot to discover additional varieties which grow successfully in this location.

Observed it applied in other: Believe. Part of my Tafe production horticulture studies course was to volunteer for 2 days at Biodynamics Australia in Bellingen, my practical introduction to apparent fringe concepts I’d vaguely heard about, however the abundance of their gardens and produce evidence legitimacy.

  1. Use edges and value the marginal

Applied in your life: Free stuff. We forage around our village environs for anything usable or edible such as bush lemons, native raspberries, blackberries, field mushrooms for ourselves, wild green edibles for our chickens, straw for the chicken coop, sticks for small outdoor potbelly stove.

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Foraged ‘shrooms

Could apply in your life: Go wild. Deliberate cultivation of edible and flowering perennials along the bank of the neighbouring vacant field combining production and natural habitat benefits.

Observed it applied in other: Nature provides. Environmentally sympathetic structures constructed from materials harvested from the property or locally such as mudbrick, rammed earth, timber, stone, straw.

  1. Use change constructively

Applied in your life: Global warming. Up until we moved to live fulltime at our property in late 2015 the existing two tank -7000 gallon- rainwater storage capacity was adequate while we were mostly absent and the area experienced regular rainfall. The coincidence of our arrival and decline in precipitation and increase in irregularity of its occurrence prompted the installation of 2 additional tanks, one -850 gallon- off the newly constructed garage and carport, the other -600 gallon- off newly installed plumbing to the verandah roof.

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Country living… opportunity to become more skilled at being resourceful

Could apply in your life: Nature abhors a vacuum. The extra time available to us while we aren’t working paid jobs need not be a burden, rather a constructive opportunity to become more skilled at being resourceful, living lightly and presenting a positive model to family, friends and community.

Observed it applied in other: Growing Together. Nambucca Heads Community Garden located in the centre of town was set up within disused fire station grounds via grants and volunteer efforts from local community groups as a space for people from all parts of the community to interact, is totally volunteer run with excess produce going to the food hub and shared around local charities to feed members of the community.

Your own imagination as to the true ability of the permaculture design system, you need to trust the system and stick to main frame basics with profound and thorough thinking while trusting yourself. ~ Geoff Lawton

Your thoughts? Comments welcome.

Between now and July 2020 I’m studying Certificate IV Permaculture via Tafe NSW and the National Environment Centre flexible online learning. Studying online, I discovered, involves a lot of writing. This year of study, I think, might lend itself to some blog posts… follow along if you are interested in learning what I learn during my permaculture journey.

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