Why Permaculture?

Permaculture, short for "Permanent Agriculture" or "Permanent Culture," is a term that refers to (among other things) the creation of sustainable, self-sufficient, food-producing ecosystems.

In the techniques of gardening and agriculture that most of us are used to, food growers put large amounts of resources and energy—including human energy—into the earth so that they can extract a harvest. With permaculture, we design our environment around the natural rhythms of an ecosystem
so that resources and energy are cycled through as many times as possible.

The Garden@Kimbourne team has chosen to apply permaculture principles to our food-growing space because it is an efficient, environmentally-responsible way of growing food and building community.

One of the most important things we can do as gardeners is to create healthy, living soil. Here are some of the techniques we use at Garden@Kimbourne to do just that:

  • Never using synthetic chemicals
  • Growing lots of perennials (plants that return each year) whose root systems stay in the ground and establish a deep, thriving relationship with soil microbes, fungi, and other living things
  • Never digging or turning over the earth if we don’t have to, because that will destroy the healthy soil community we have built
  • Keeping the soil covered with mulch or cover crops that stop the sun and wind from degrading it
  • Growing a variety of plants that interact with the soil and each other in different ways
  • “Chopping and Dropping” most weeds where they stand. This lets their root system rot in place instead of disturbing the soil when it’s pulled out, and the chopped-off leaves protect the soil and return their nutrients to it as they decompose
  • Producing vermicompost (worm compost) onsite to give our soil a nutrient-packed boost
  • Adding lots of organic matter to our soil every year so that, even after harvest, we are adding more nutrients than we remove

You can learn more about the principles of permaculture at permacultureprinciples.com. You can also learn about how others are using permaculture in our area by visiting our friends at Permaculture GTA.