Permaculture Gardening Strategies
Prepared for Siskiyou Permaculture, Permaculture Design Course January 2011
1) Plan for plant succession. Start gardens on your worst soils. Remember trees and shrubs fill in and are the natural successors of pioneer plants like vegetables. Ideally, start with veggies and end with forest garden. Be aware of arrested succession.
2) Rainwater harvest. Consider size of storage and amount needed, seedlings love rainwater, planting basins, swales, deep mulch, gravity feed from rain tanks, greywater, city water costs.
3) Frost drainage. Layout the garden to drain cold air from planting beds and down paths. Cold air flows like molasses and can be drained from garden under gates and fences.
4) Sheet mulch. Suppress weeds and increase soil fertility and moisture by mulching with newspaper and cardboard. Deep (1 ft.) straw mulch for late summer.
5) Attract Pollinators and Beneficial Insects. Plant a series of flowers that provide nectar flow and habitat year round to encourage insect diversity to your garden.
6) Small ponds. Create habitat for frogs, toads and birds by building small ponds in your yard.
7) Collect micro-climate information. Set up a mini-weather station in your garden with a rain gauge and a maximum/minimum thermometer. Weather information will help you determine where and when to plant your garden. Record on desk or large wall calendar.
8) No till. Plant perennials. Perforation, mulch, top dressing and plant roots build soil structure from the top down.
9) Benefits of home gardening: Psychological health, fresh medicinals, increased nutrition in your food, seed saving, developing soil for future needs, learning how to do it in case we need to know.
Garden Elements: Additional things to think about in planning your home landscape and garden.
- Wind protection for both house and garden
- Sun bowl
- Shade your house in summer, preserve solar access in winter
- Water drainage
- Outdoor rooms
- Wildlife to invite in and wildlife to keep out (distract)
- Frequently visited areas near the house and main walkways
- Height layers
- Maximizing usable space
- Dynamic accumulators
- Plant guilds
- Plan for the amount of time you can spend gardening
- Field crops (corn, beans, squash) in community gardens and open spaces
- Share specialties from home micro-climates
A FEW FAVORITE GARDENING RESOURCES
Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally, by Robert Kourik, 1986
A permaculture based overview with extensive sections and charts on fruit trees, companion planting, cover crops, and more. Author based in northern California.
Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley, Year ‘Round & Month by Month, Jackson County Master Gardener Association. Not strictly organic, but it de-emphasizes nonorganic methods. Gives you important local recommendations for timing and success in our climate.
Gaia’s Garden; A guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, by Toby Hemenway, updated 2009
The permaculture backyard classic explains how to get your garden to pop.
Sunset Western Garden Book
Still the landscapers essential guide. Organized as an encyclopedia, and addressing western climate issues, it includes lists of recommended plants for wind, deer resistance, sizes, etc.
Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, by Carol Deppe, 2000
The Resilient Gardener, by Carol Deppe
Four Season Harvest, by Eliot Coleman, 1999
The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming, Fukuoka, Masanobu. Reprinted 2009. Edited by local permie Larry Korn!
New Roots For Agriculture, Jackson, Wes, 1981
Teaming with Microbes; the Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web, Lowenfels, Jeff and Lewis, Wayne
The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book, Stout, Ruth. 1979
The Future is Abundant, Species Index, by Shery Litwin. Available on the Siskiyou Permaculture website. http://www.siskiyoupermaculture.org
Plants for a Future, database for edible and useful plants. http://www.pfaf.org/user/plantsearch.aspx
OSU Extension Gardening Encyclopedia online: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/
Sowing Calendar, Hardiness Zones 7-8; Local chart for numerous vegetables prepared through research not experience, but likely still useful.
Pros and Cons of Deep Mulch Gardening, article, http://theprepperproject.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-deep-mulch-gardening/