Saturday, November 21, 2009

I am a believer in the trend to make every dwelling area into a place for permaculture.

The term permaculture is a contraction of the words
"agriculture,” and “culture.” Although the original focus of permaculture was sustainable food production, the philosophy of permaculture has expanded over time to encompass economic and social systems.

It is a dynamic movement that is still evolving.  On my farm, I have developed a pond with live fish and water plants, an open field for a wide open space, a mini "tropical forest" , and am developing an orchard area, vegetable area, herbal patch, flower gardens, horse paddock, grazing area for goats, and have enough beneficial insects and natural predators to keep pests down.

I encourage birds to flock to my place by planting their favorite trees like kakauati that bloom in summer and attract nectar feeder birds. I have a flower bed that brings in lovely butterflies feeding on the blooms. I also integrate  areas for meditation, and reflection, prayer to enhance the human spirit and personal growth. Everything  works  in harmony and this is  the framework of permaculture.

I designed my garden& farm like a natural system. This saves a lot of work, energy and eliminates waste.

In a forest, you will find that certain animals dig the soil, and through the ingestion of seeds, pods, fruits and parts of plants, animals will actually plant seeds and feed on wild weeds. Natural predators will eat bugs in a forest. There is no need for bug sprays in the wilderness. There can be imbalances brought on when humans interfere in nature. One single tree cut down will imbalance a forest. The forest grows and feeds its inhabitants and attracts just the right balance of plants and animals that need one another to propogate their species within an area that can sustain them.

I run my farm with just 1 farm hand, and a gardener I trained for 15 years. We go with the flow in climate changes, and we have to learn from nature. Nature has already developed a precise solution to every problem that we encounter in a garden.

Nature is also equiped to recyle organic matter into soil and clean up after itself. Everything goes around a wheel of life and I never feel alone. There is no such thing as being wasteful. We as humans are allowed to dominate, but even the ants know that once we lose control, they view us as "waste" that becomes vulnerable to attack. Everything is a resource for food. A fallen log becomes a habitat and a meal opportunity for plants and animals.

We humans can make use of space to plant and harvest our food. We have an abundance of organic matter to use as fertilizers. There are creatures that help us get the job done quickly. And when we put the right combination of plants together, they even work well together.

Nature is a system that works together with all the inhabitants of an ecosystem. Humans are the only beings that will eventually upset the system.

Design is the keyword. It's all about how you place the design elements together. You need soil, plants, animals, sunlight, water and then discipline the areas you need for planting your vegetables and raising your animals. You need to "tame" nature but eventually you can use your energy by working on how everything works together.

Just recently, my goat died after a storm hit my area. This goat was responsible for keeping the weeds down. The goat helped me, and it could eat all the plants in a particular area when left there to graze. Ever since my goat died, weeds are cropping up again and have become unmanageable. My horses only want to eat grass and some soft edible plants, but they won't eat or even graze in a weed infested area. Goats also protect against snakes because their hoofs are very sharp and once snakes notice a goat , they steer clear of that area.

I need to restablish the system by replacing the goat, however one large female goat eats a lot more weeds than a small goat kid does. I am now looking to rescue 3 small goats and bring these to my farm and employ them as my "weed wackers."