What is permaculture gardening? And what differentiates a permaculture garden from any other garden? Well, that's a big question. And big questions get big answers...
If you're just getting started and you don't know what permaculture is, then start here. If you want to learn about the factors that separate permaculture gardening from traditional gardening, then keep reading...
Permaculture gardens obey the 3 core tents and the 12 foundational principles of permaculture. And they are planned and built using the process of permaculture design.
While they are typically centered around food production, permaculture gardens don't look like traditional vegetable gardens. They incorporate many plants and features beyond the traditional garden fruits and vegetables. They frequently include aspects of pollinator attraction, beneficial insect attraction, soil restoration, wildlife habitat, and more. They almost always include perennial food sources.
"All the world's problems can be solved in a garden." - Geoff Lawton
These gardens are designed to serve many purposes, and they often include non-edible plants that serve some other purpose. A few examples are plants that are useful as animal fodder, fuel, medicine, and plants that can be used to make or dye fabric.
No two permaculture gardens are alike. In accordance with the design method, each garden is planned and built to function in harmony with the local ecosystem and preexisting natural conditions.
There are some common features that will help you to identify a permaculture garden when you see one. And some of those are listed here:
These are only a few of the more common features that can help you to identify permaculture gardening when you see it. As I said above, no two permaculture gardens are alike. Some of the most intricately planned permaculture gardens may not look like a garden at all.
It would be impossible to list all of the concepts that can come into play within the confines of a single permaculture garden. Here are a few of the most common concepts that you're likely to notice:
Those are a few of the most widely used concepts in permaculture gardening. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of techniques that have become part of the popular permaculture toolkit. If you want to see a more complete list, check out this page.
As you can see, there are many factors that differentiate permaculture gardening from traditional vegetable gardening. The few factors that we've listed on this page are only the tip of the iceberg.
The real difference is that a traditional garden is designed to please and meet the needs of one person. A permaculture garden, on the other hand, has been designed using an approach that takes into consideration all of the stakeholders who are affected, including plants, animals, insects, and ecosystems. It intentionally requires minimal inputs, generates no waste, and always produces an abundance of resources.