Bischbrunn (dpa / tmn) – Not all gardens make their owners happy. Your plants do not match the location, so they are busy and drive away native insects and birds. The alternative is permaculture.
The garden is designed in such a way as to be as sustainable as possible – i.e. ecological, socially and economically sustainable. And to suit its owners. A nice side effect: You don’t have to replant all your beds every year. And hobby gardeners plagued by snails and mice will find relief, says permaculture designer and horticulture technician Jonas Gampe from Bischbrunn, Bavaria.
Question: What distinguishes a permaculture garden from an ordinary garden?
Jonas Gampe: The difference is in the goals. An ordinary garden usually has a flat lawn, the design is based on ideas from the neighborhood and what is available at a garden center. Permaculture is about your own desires and needs: What do you want to do with your garden? What should he be able to do that is important to you?
The second step is to look at geographic features: location, soil, lighting and wind conditions, and existing resources such as plants, buildings and water. In this way, a garden is created that is tailored to the location and needs of residents. Incidentally, this does not usually lead to a garden with a south-facing terrace and large areas of gravel and lawn.
Gampe: Easy to maintain, eco-friendly garden with wilderness, snack corners and cozy seating areas.
Question: How is this different from an organic garden?
Gampe: An organic garden almost does not differ from an ordinary garden in terms of its layout, the difference is in the details. In permaculture, the basic structure is completely different. The idea is to create a framework with permanent ecosystem structures so that, for example, vegetable patches do not have to be replanted every year.
Question: How does it work?
Gampe: About 80 percent of the area is planted with perennials – for example, wild fruit, nut trees, and berry bushes. There are also herbs, vegetables and wild edible plants as perennials or plants that sow easily on their own, such as cabbage, oracha, wild garlic – depending on what grows well in your area. Annuals are in only one or two beds which are intensively cultivated.
All of this not only saves labor for installation and maintenance. A self-regulating ecosystem also develops over time, with more species richness, better pollination, better soil, and more water storage. Even snails and mice are no longer a problem in the long run.
Question: Can permaculture be implemented anywhere?
Gampe: The larger the area, the easier it is to create a self-regulating ecosystem. Thousands of species can live on one hectare of land. It becomes difficult in a small home garden, on the balcony or even on the windowsill.
It’s not about creating a comprehensive ecosystem, but more about designing and using cycles efficiently: making your own fertilizer from organic waste, gardening in large containers, growing perennial sweet fruits and vegetables. When looking at a square meter, more care is certainly required. But the smaller the area, the closer you are – unlike in a large garden or in a field.
In addition, the proximity of the house allows you to draw from completely different resources. You can grow fruit from trellises on walls, collect water from gutters, and you may even have an external electrical outlet.
Question: What elements are necessary in permaculture?
Gampe: Apart from the planning and design process, there is nothing absolutely necessary in the beginning – and nothing that is mutually exclusive. As long as you plan and operate as ecologically, socially and economically as possible, there is nothing to be done and there is no need to.
The concept is practical, not dogmatic. It also means that the garden can and should be developed further and further. Nothing is set in stone. Even the concept of permaculture has been evolving for over 40 years.
Question: How do social and economic aspects show up in the permaculture garden?
Gampe: When it comes to profitability, efficiency is the first thing: what are the best walking routes on the site? How does the area yield the highest possible yield with the least possible effort? How to optimally use and protect resources such as water? How to buy less fertilizer, less soil and less seeds?
The social component is about the community. In my opinion, self-sufficiency is very ineffective if everyone does everything themselves. If there is only room for one apple tree in each garden, you can plan together and agree who will plant a good canned apple, who will plant a juice apple, who will keep and who will plant the table apple. You can exchange crops – as well as young plants, seeds, and equipment.
Question: What are the challenges of permaculture?
Gaupe: You need some peace and relaxation. Permaculture is a long process. The garden changes over time. It takes several years for some processes to stabilize – also for plants and ecosystems.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220525-99-429603 / 3