With an overgrown rocky wilderness of a garden it seems to me that using permaculture methods is the best way to develop my garden.
The first stage in preparing my first permaculture garden was to choose the place. There are lots of possibilities in my overgrown wilderness but I decided to prepare a messy area behind my little garden shed.
Up until now it has just been a slightly raised rocky, and very weedy area behind the shed and I have noticed it is in grave danger of becoming a dump.
DON’T DUMP – MAKE A PERMACULTURE GARDEN INSTEAD
Any little patches of ground behind a shed are in this kind of danger so be warned – you start off with good intentions – saying things like ‘I am not going to create any dumping grounds in my garden!’
Just a few short weeks later and you look behind that shed and suddenly there’s an old yard brush, some empty paint cans, an old wash basket, an old rubber hose, a few pallets, and there you are – just one roll of smelly old carpet away from having your very own nasty little dump!
BEHIND THE SHED
So I decided that this would be a great place to start making a permaculture garden. It’s not far from my existing raised beds and being a naturally raised area I thought it would make it easier for me to work on as well.
I can see the advantage but I don’t yet have numbered zones around the garden. This is one of the permaculture ideas – the lower numbers being nearer the house and also being where the most commonly used vegetables and herbs are stored.
I hope to sort that out soon but for convenience of writing this and keeping my own garden notes I am naming areas around the garden. I am going to name the area formerly known as ‘dump’ simply ‘behind the shed.’
So to start my little permaculture garden I raked the rocks and stones up towards the fence. I hope that if I rake enough of them up there I might just gradually build a stone-wall or at least something that aspires to be a stone wall.
Then I covered the area – first with newspapers and then a harder layer of cardboard. I soak these in water prior to placing to weight them down and help them into the decomposition phase. The cardboard I used for this area is the same stuff my new environmentally friendly pedal-powered trike got delivered in, so this cardboard has great eco-credentials already!
I like re-purposing and it is nice to know that the same cardboard which wrapped and protected my new environmentally friendly transport (which brought the seaweed from the bay to my garden) and is now providing the first layer of my new little permaculture garden.
The next stage was to cover the cardboard in seaweed and now I am mixing in my stash of saved teabags, kitchen peels, pea pods, wood ash and other bits and pieces that naturally occur around the house.
Since we are in a very windy area with little shelter I placed a few rocks on top to keep it secure. I am learning as I go along, so before I learned to weigh the cardboard down with rocks I had the unpleasant experience of having to chase pieces of newspaper and cardboard that were blowing all around the place.
WASTE NOT – WANT NOT!
I am also currently harvesting some of the potatoes I grew in coal sacks and I am throwing this used soil on top of the bed as I go along. My mother grew up in Liverpool during World War II and she was brought up to think waste not – want not! To be honest it was pretty well drilled into me too, so I love finding ways to use waste.
I am also thinking of adding some straw, I believe that oat, barley or wheat straw is less likely to spread seeds than hay or grass straw so when I get my hands on some I’ll add it to the mix.
None of this was hard work I’m glad to say and it feels really good to have got the seaweed from the bay, cycled it home, then layered the cardboard and added saved waste etc. all by myself.
Since I wrote this post I have also written an update on my permaculture garden and you can read this here.
By for now and good luck with your own gardening!
P.S. To obtain and share a FREE 21 card set of the original permaculture ethics and principles click here.