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getting confused please help!

 
Aaron O'Sullivan
Posts: 12
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so i've been reading up on permaculture and all that it entails as much as i can atm

now i've got some beds and im not sure which method i should use. I don't want to have to use any form of store bought pesticide, fertilizers or herbicides. I want to eliminate most industrial inputs.

I'm stuck between doing a food forest design with my beds which i suppose is a less intensive form of harvesting food? but less yields?

or i do a sort of polyculture cover crop system where i plant a feeder cover crop, kill it by crimping at the base before it seeds then planting in the food crops that i'll eat? this method has some inputs on my current scale but if i had more space i would dedicate some area to solely produce seeds for the rest of my areas. only problem is that occasionally the land may be bare between plantings

bare in mind i can't fit in anything like a tree

and i suppose if i was to grow fruit bushes i would be best doing a food forest system for this to keep it sustained correct?


lots of questions, hope you can help
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9458
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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If you could post some photos of your garden, or even a sketch, it might help to visualize what you've got so far.

Also your general location.

 
Aaron O'Sullivan
Posts: 12
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Tyler Ludens wrote:If you could post some photos of your garden, or even a sketch, it might help to visualize what you've got so far.

Also your general location.



location is herefordshire, england. frost dates are late april to early may, then late october to early november. just did a quick draw on paint lol as it's night over here so no pics
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Brett Andrzejewski
gardener
Posts: 318
Location: Buffalo, NY
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It looks like you might be over-thinking the garden. Perfection is a human construction. Nature is going to do what it do! You're going to try some things and they may work and they may not. That is how you are going to learn. It's fun to get your hands dirty and learn in the processes.

If you do something like Biointensive then you are going to plant a lot of vegetables closely packed on only have your garden and then the rest of the plants will be for composting.

If you are pressed for time and effort you may want to try all perennials so do the work once and not year after year.

You could setup a small compost area for all your table scraps, junk mail, etc. for your fertilizer inputs (screening the materials so it is all good stuff). Perhaps a worm bin inside for the table scraps and then use that for your fertilizer outside.

You have a lot of flexibility with a garden. If you are running a farm it would be a different story.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Welcome to permies Aaron.

Fruit/nut 'bushes' is a wonderful option if you are dealing with limited space.
Depending on your layout, you may be able to combine 'food forest' with beds.

The beds offer a great opportunity to use them as nurseries to start your larger plants while you decide what will go where, and what your finished plot will look like. It does not need to be an 'all-or-nothing' scenario right away.

I recently purchased a new property in an area where I don't fully understand the year-round weather patterns yet. The back yard (sunny side) already has 5 raised beds (4' x 12' each). I plan to use these beds next spring/summer to grow annuals, and as nursery beds to begin some of my permanent plants. This will allow me to observe all four seasons before I make any commitments as to how the entire area is to be utilized.

To get a head start, I will probably do a light till in the spaces between the beds, and plant some nitrogen fixers/dynamic accumulators in those pathways. A few chop-and-drops, plus walking on those paths will help prepare the soil, so that when I tear out the raised beds, the yard should be prime for starting a food forest. I may keep a couple of the raised beds for certain crops, and to add some texture to the yard as everything else is small and maturing.

That is one of the advantages of permaculture: there is no fixed only way to do it - it can evolve as you refine it to its final state. What works best for you is the right way to approach it.

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Amjad Khan
Posts: 70
Location: London, Ontario, Canada - zone 6a
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Hi Aaron,

I'm fairly new to permaculture and have spent some time studying as you have. I think behind the great advice you're being given is this concept - the titles that human beings give to systems is simply a way of classifying and categorizing the relationships we see. That doesn't mean that these are the only iterations of those relationships that will work. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence of people having permaculture systems that work for them beautifully, but when they go to an expert they get told, "that will never work". Mother nature dictates the way these relationships unfold, we just try to guide her as best we can.

In a roundabout way I think I'm trying to say that observation and trial and error are going to be your guides helping you get experience as you embark on your project. There is a lot of information out there, it sounds like you've done the first steps of observing, and have seen some examples of systems. You are free to mix and match, and what the result will be will unfold organically.

I hope something is helpful in all that I wrote, sorry if it wasn't!

 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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