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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Wenzel

An Introduction to Permaculture Gardening, How to Grow More Food & Plants with Less Land and Time

Introduction: Why Permaculture?

Permaculture is the most holistic way to garden by harvesting water and sunlight and creating fertile soil. As a result, permaculture gardens are more productive and require less maintenance. The benefits of permaculture are endless!

What is a Permaculture Garden?

Permaculture stands for permanent agriculture. A permaculture garden is a system of growing food in harmony with nature without using toxic chemicals. It is a design based on the principles of ecology and sustainability.

Creating sustainability means doing things in a way that does not use up natural resources and does not destroy the environment. Permaculture is an ecological design system that works with nature to create a sustainable, resilient, and productive landscape. The word permaculture is made up of two parts: permanent and agricultural. Permanent refers to the idea that you are designing for the long term.

Permaculture gardens can be designed to produce a large quantity of food or just enough for one family. It all depends on what you want to achieve with your permaculture garden.

Planning Your First Permaculture Garden

Permaculture design is a process of working with nature to create sustainable human communities. The design process starts with observation and understanding to identify where problems exist and what opportunities are present.

The principles of permaculture design are based on the earth's natural systems.

Growing Your First Row of Vegetables in a New Permaculture Garden

Permaculture gardening is a method of building gardens that can provide food (vegetables, fruit, nuts, berries), medicine, wood products, and many other things. The whole area is designed to work with nature to create an ecosystem that thrives without the need for human input.

Start a bed with companion planting in mind. What is companion planting in a garden? Companion planting is a technique for planting different types of plants together in a yard. This practice is used to support one another and maximize the available nutrients.

An easy way to begin a permaculture garden is to plant as many perennial plants as possible, shrubs, and trees that thrive in your growing zone. Examples below:

  • asparagus

  • rhubarb

  • sunchokes

  • chives

  • peppermint

  • raspberries

  • blueberries

  • peach trees

  • apple trees

  • Aronia bushes

  • cherry trees

  • walking onions

  • grapes

  • crabapple trees

Let the weeds be! So many common weeds are beneficial to our health and provide good natural medicine. Examples below:

  • Plantain

  • Dandelions

  • Sorrel

  • Chamomile

  • Clover

Harvest Rainwater

Harvesting rainwater could be one of the most cost-effective ways to water your garden. Rainwater is specially designed to have all of the minerals your plants need for healthy growth and fewer contaminants than tap water. With a rain barrel installed, you can fill up the barrel and store it in your garage for use throughout the year. If you're feeling really adventurous, take an outdoor shower too!

How to Compost and Create Mulch for Your First Permaculture Garden

Composting is a simple way to reduce household waste and feed plants, from tumblers to bins and even just a pile of scraps in the yard. There are a variety of ways to make your own compost. Fresh mulch is an excellent addition to any garden. Mulching helps suppress weeds and retains moisture in the soil, making it perfect for all plants.

Mulching is used to keep your garden's soil moist and healthy. Mulch lying on the ground can be a natural fertilizer as it breaks down over time. This can also help with erosion prevention in cases of heavy rain.

Mulch can be purchased, found at a city composting drop-off, or made by using a woodchipper.

How long does it take to establish a permaculture garden?

If you want a garden to be part of your preparedness plan, you can't wait to start! The time it takes to establish a permaculture garden can range from a few months to several years, depending on the factors involved. Factors that affect this timeline include climate, soil type, level of expertise of the gardener, and how much sunlight the plot gets.


Planting a permaculture garden is a great way to grow food, live sustainably, and save money. Even if you can only grow one apple tree, do it! Getting established will take years, so it's best to begin as quickly as possible.


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