23: Spring 2009

Author: Narinder Sohal

Permaculture garden

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The permaculture gardenNarinder Sohal

When recently we asked a friend who lives on a farm if we could see his 1500 litre water butt, we saw not only the huge water tank, but his dwelling and the land round it too. The whole house is geared to green living, with home grown produce, and happy farm animals and birds add to the lifestyle.

I was very interested in the luscious crops growing in ‘no dig’ beds, and was rewarded with the loan of a book, which is all about this alternative style of gardening. I found it interesting and I would like to share my enthusiasm about it with you.

The book is called The Permaculture Garden: the term is explained as going beyond the regenerative policies of the 1960s, to restore global environments over time in a life-changing way, rather than simply halting the further destruction of small parts of the planet. Permaculture, it says, is a change that will bring us back to enduring societies, which must be based on permanent agriculture. It talks about using five dimensions in the garden – the two horizontal dimensions, the vertical, time, and relationships, emphasising the spatial use, adding to the productivity of the whole. It includes working with nature, turning liabilities into assets, and describes a sheet mulch system which employs the use of layers of several types of materials to form a bed providing complete nutrition for trees and plants, which never needs to be dug over again but which merely requires to be renewed with continuous mulching.

It talks about the German Mound, children’s garden, recycling grey water with a reed bed, using natural resources and objects discarded in daily life, and gardening on slopes and contours. It covers helpful techniques for all aspects of gardening, bed types, minimum tillage, rock gardens, swales and terracing. It also deals with adding features, water in the garden, the forest garden, community gardening, and working with soil. At various stages in the book it gives tables of ornamental plants, edible plants, fibre plants, winter food, those that attract insects, living mulch, and useful climbers. Every one of the 170 pages of the book is full of useful and enjoyable reading.

The Permaculture Garden by Graham Bell, illustrated by Sarah Bunker, ISBN 1-85623-027-9, is published by Permanent Publications at £14.95 in paperback.

First published in the West Midlands Group Newsletter 2006
and subsequently in Cornucopia Issue 23
© Copyright for this article: Narinder Sohal

This article was taken from a copy of Cornucopia that was published in 2009. You could be reading these articles as they are published to a national audience, by subscribing to Cornucopia.

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