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Permaculture vs. Intensive gardening  RSS feed

 
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Hello, I have been reading about both methods. On paper, both sound good. How can I determine which to use?
 
Posts: 16
Location: Seal Harbor, ME
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Why is it one or the other?
 
Tom Reeve
Posts: 16
Location: Seal Harbor, ME
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Sorry. Looking back at what I posted, I thought it could be seen as rude. I would (and do) incorporate permaculture design aspects into my bio intensive backyard garden system. Permaculture is about observing the world around you and design your space to take care of the earth, to take care of the people, and to share the surplus. So if you look at the system you want to create, plan accordingly, and then incorporate intensive practices into the system so that they are benefiting the system as a whole, you'd have both a permaculture design and a bio intensive one.
Observation is key and as time passes you will notice what works and what doesn't work as well. You then adjust accordingly. I have a rain garden with natives in my plotted area. It soaks the ground around it. Over the years, I have retaken to planting zucchini, tomatoes, ect in the beds that get the heaviest drink because they do not like their leaves getting wet. I have found that my powdery mildew dropped dramatically after I did this.
I hope this helped.
 
Posts: 26
Location: Southern Sweden (zone 7a)
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chicken forest garden hugelkultur
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I agree with Tom. Instead of choosing, incorporate one into the other where you feel it may do you more good.

Although I'm developing more of a 'food forest' aspect on my relatively small property, the area that I've located for growing the more traditional annual vegetables is an area that I devote a little more personal effort (labor) towards utilizing Biodynamic French Intensive methods... which I've utilized in gardening for nigh on 30 years. I've always maintained abundance in the crops and the soils have continued to increase over time with organic matter and greater numbers of earthworms, which appears healthy to me. Additionally, it satiates my desire to have fingers and hands in the dirt as well, my favorite hobby.

I enjoy the philosophical wisdom of permaculture design in that it allows nature to become my best gardening 'buddy'. I just need to step back and allow her to do her part, her way, as she allows me to dictate, pretty much, what I want and where.

----good luck to you!
 
Posts: 3366
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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While Tom thinks his first post may have been rude, I think it was just to the point.

Most people don't have the land to do 100% permaculture and grow 100% of what they like to eat. So you build your systems for permaculture and add intensive beds in zone 1 for the "traditional" garden produce you want more of.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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permaculture is basically intensive gardening without the double digging..and hugelkulture would be quite similar to the double digging only adding a bunch of wood..so they are both interchangable in a way
 
Posts: 95
Location: New Hampshire
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I've always thought that with the exception of factory farming a combination of all methods based on the lands ability to support them is appropriate. IMHO it seems like it could be easy to get too caught up in one particular style. We went to look at a 40 acre farm last weekend that we are still considering. Very overgrown but with bags of potential. Walking around the property I found myself very unscientifically imagining where I would be putting in mobile greenhouses, where to coppice, where to put in open field, also rotational grazing paddocks and of course where we'd likely put in an orchard and blueberries and even on some parts that looked pretty marginal to say the least a place where we could try a few of those hugelbeds.

Of course it's all moot until we can get the $'s organized
 
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Good responses and I'd just add: consider root zones and water needs of woody perennials when siting the annuals. On our urban lot space limitations mean that planting buffers are small, nonexistent or overlapping. Choose annuals that do not require major root zone disturbance. Proper cover-cropping should reduce the need to dig/till.
 
Ann Marie MacSween
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Thanks for the thoughtful replies and sharing your experience. I realize that I should have elaborated. Was in a hurry to leave for work.

We have very little space or soil in our suburban Toronto back yard. There is a lot of cement. We have created 3 raised beds, got rid of the peonies that lined the north side fence and replaced them with vegetables, are considering converting the existing metal gazebo frame into a greenhouse, at least temporarily, to start seedlings this spring , have two composters,have tried vermiculture twice unsuccessfully, but want to try again, along with putting as many food plants in our front lawn as possible without causing a ruckus in our conventional neighborhood. My question is more correctly how to determine what method to use in the front lawn project while keeping peace in our neighbourhood.

Have a great day.
 
Tom Reeve
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Location: Seal Harbor, ME
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I think that planting in your front using food perennials, shrubs, and trees would probably be the least likely to attract unwanted attention from neighbors. What works in my town is to put a ring of mulch or better yet compost around any planting, that way when people or the town tries to get you to take it out by citing some zoning law, you can point out that its 'primary' purpose is as a landscape and that it grows food only as a secondary benefit. You might even be able to put in some hugel beds and call them mounded landscaping.
 
pollinator
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Ann, the extra info is good, but doesn't mention sun exposure. There are lots of pretty permaculture shrubs that produce berries which would look fine in the front yard. If you grow some "traditional" fast growing shrubs like Forsythia, think of them as providing homegrown mulch which is something intensive gardening needs in droves to keep it healthier for the soil. My concern about some of the "Intensive gardening" I read about, is the amount the soil is being disturbed. To quote that west coast gardening fellow, "Soil doesn't deepen, it uppens." Adding lots of mulch of different types to the surface around your annuals will do that. Using your front yard to produce some of this using plants the neighbors expect to see in the front yard, might help (where I live, I rely on all the growth my Wisteria produces for many uses). Similarly, simply planting the front yard to look more "forest garden" than "traditional orchard" - put the plants in groups of odd numbers (3, 5 or 7), put compatible plants into those groups but differing in colour, bloom time, and height, and mixing in edible plants as borders and back-drops the way "normal" front yards do, will go a long way to keeping the neighbors on board.
 
Posts: 1125
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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chicken dog hugelkultur
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i do believe that ive heard more than once that in bill mollisons opinion the best systems hes seen are the ones designed with permaculture and managed biointesively
a combination seems great to me - as long as im not the one managing it - pure permaculture appeals to my lazy side but i see no reason to ignore biointesive because permaculture is awesome or vise versa...
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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as was mentioned above consider what crops require digging and place them where they won't damage the roots of perennials when dug..that is a situation I work with here with my forest gardens, i have to leave a few spots for potatoes and I moved the jerusalem artichokes away from my other plants last year as they were taking over, now they are in woods, fields, and a few windrow strips.

as for the front lawn..if you have enough room consider a highish hedge of evergreens to bring in privacy and to block winds..then whatever you want to plant will be private and people are less likely to object..but also having a food forest bed around each of a few fruit trees in the front yard won't look out of place if you include some insectory plants for the flowers..if there are beautiful flowers blooming spring, summer and fall, most people see the flowers and are not put off by the food..

that also draws in pollinators to your food

also artistically placing your trees and beds should be helpful as well, if you just plop in some square beds of corn people might object, but a lovely curved bed on either side of a path to the front door or driveway..should be considered "beautiful"..that is where food forests are going to be much more acceptable compared to row or raised bed gardens..however..raised bed gardens can also be made beautiful with some arches with vines over paths, some lovely corners of fruit bushes, etc.. If you look at some famous gardens ..they often include a lot of food trees, bushes and vines yet are considered to be quite acceptable as art..so thoughful placing can make all the difference
 
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