By lambert strether of Corrente.
There seems to be quite the Permaculture Community down in Jacksonville, FL, and I’m so envious of them; the traditional and still valid planting day in the great state of Maine is Memorial Day! Anyhow, this is a really fun video; I think the best part is where Alex’s daughter Maya dyes her hair pink with beet juice [14:39 et seq.], explaining that “the real dyes in the store” “smell like Sharpie marker.” “This is more better because it washes off automatically.” So, enjoy!
A few things to notice about Alex’s garden: The plants are big, even for Florida. And Alex doesn’t use beds; he creates “systems” of plants in the patches that are most appropriate to them. (I always operate on the assumption that plants are just as smart as we are, and will tell us how to make them happy if only we will listen.) Anyhow, take the whole tour; I’m going to pull out a few of Alex’s tips that especially appeal to me, because I am a lazy gardener. I would far rather sit in my garden than weed or water for example, which is why I like sheet mulch so much.
[1:07] We can actually take any system on the planet, any I guess you’d call it a biosphere, be it a desert or just a suburbam neighborhood, and try to nurture that back into life, try to make the soil, which is the most important component to me, a living community of organisms that use the sun’s power as it comes down, and plants to nuture life. … [and] nuture it all back into a system that is working with nature’s program, it’s based on a natural ecosystem and to benefits everybody, not just us.
Three permaculure principles:
- Care of the earth
- Care of the people
- Return of surplus
[2:13] The return of surplus is important because even on a small level, if I’m out in my garden, and I’m chopping something back, and I know I don’t need this thing, I don’t carry over to a compost pile necessarily… I would . And that plant goes back in the soil and helps the next plant grow even better.
See how lazy?
[4:43] I want to point out that nothing I do gets watered. It waters itself through the rain and/or through storage in the soil, which is why you’ve got to put that organic matter in the soil. There’s a statistic which I wish I coud remember … In an inch of topsoil, organic material, you could store X gallons of water per square yard. And then in two inches it was more than double. … They call the forests “land lakes,” it’s like an ocean of water out in the forest. And the forest saves all of its water.
[6:34] What we’re trying to do is have Zero waste streams means that if there is an output of a system, you made it up with the input of another system. Nature doesn’t have any waste.
If nature handles what isn’t waste to nature, I don’t have to!
[8:20] Start by maybe digging a little bit. anything like that, you never do that, except maybe when you first walk into a very compacted piece property.
Digging is hard work! Must to avoid!
[9:07] I’ve heard a lot of people say, I walk out to my compost pile and everything I have is growing out of the compost pile, and then I move to my yard and it dies. And then I say, why don’t you just grow it in your compost pile, and leave it alone?
[10:04] Zones in permaculture are not USDA hardiness zones, they are sort of concentric circles leaving your home. Zone 0 is your home, it’s your built environment, Zone 1 would be right outside your front or back door as you go to your car or wherever; these are the places you see the most, and that you will interact with the most. Zones 2 – 5 are a little bit less interaction, and a little bit less needy, and so Zone 5 is actually the wild forest that you don’t touch.
It’s important to think about Zones when organizing your garden. For example, I have placed my compost bins in Zone 1, because I am so lazy I absolutely will not travel from Zone 0 through Zone 1 to get to Zone 2 if there’s no reason to be in Zone 1.
[20:05] The thing about permaculture is that you . For every thirty hours of observation you do one hour’s worth of work.
Now that’s a business ratio I can get behind!
I encourage you to listen to the whole thing, not just read the bits I pulled out. Alex is especially interesting on pollinators and rhizomes round the roots of plants. He packs a lot of teaching into a very short video.