Permaculture Principle #10 – Use & Value Diversity
Using and valuing diversity can be able to almost any idea or area but the most obvious to me are the plantings that you make. Instead of growing only 1 variety of 1 crop growing 10 different plants and 2 or 3 varieties of each plant. This makes the whole system stronger because no plants have the same conditions for successful and failure. It creates a redundant and beautiful system.
Permaculture Principle #9 – Use Small & Slow Solutions
A small and slow solution means using solutions that are local and fit to the scale of a system. An example of a small slow solution is using the natural tree fall to help mulch and build the soil. In a location near my home there is a hill that is quite barren and has been for several years. This is due to the fact that the wind patterns during fall blow all the leaves away although there is a huge oak tree that dumps a huge amount of leaves. A small slow solution would be to plant a wind break from the direction of the wind comes in. This would allow the leaves to collect rather than blow away. Slowing building up over the years and eventually allowing for plants to grow. Of course you still want to integrate so using the small slow solution of the wind break could be combined with sheet mulching and specific types of planting to encourage soil development.
Permaculture Principle #8 – Integrate rather than Segregate
Integrating rather than segregating or separating the parts in our system makes the whole system stronger and will reduce the amount of work needed to keep the system running. An example would be taking kitchen scraps and composting them in a compost tumbler near the kitchen door, adding the finished compost to a herb spiral, then harvesting the herbs for use in the kitchen, and using the scraps for compost. So each part of the system integrated and close rather than apart. There can be any number of integrated solutions in a system all it takes is the time and observation to connect the dots.
Permaculture Principle #7 – Design from Patterns to Details
Designing from patterns to details means taking a broad general idea and working out the details unique to your situation. A perfect example is a herb spiral. The herb spiral is a general idea or a pattern. The materials the spiral is built out of, the materials and composition of the sheet mulching, and the plants planted in the spiral are all details. The general idea of a herb spiral stays pretty much the same while the details will change depending on what materials are at hand and what will grow in a given climate. I plan to write specific posts about herb spirals and sheet mulching so keep an eye out for those soon.
Permaculture Principle #6 – Produce no waste
Producing no waste simply means looking at things that might be considered waste and seeing if there is a way to reuse that waste in another manner such as an input to a different system or to eliminate the processes that causes the waste to be created. There are several ways to, if not eliminate waste, then to reduce waste. This could be anything from repairing an item instead of throwing it out and buying a new one, going without when something breaks, buying used and secondhand items, or making your own items.
Permaculture Principle #5 – Use and value renewable resources and services
Well the classic of this example would be riding in a car as opposed to riding a bicycle. One uses up resources that aren’t renewable and the other is quite renewable. I guess a better example would be of a gasoline powered car versus a bio-diesel which is ran off of plant waste that are generated each year and are much more renewable.
Another example would be of a lumbered forest. The forest can be clear-cut which makes it takes a longer time for the whole forest to regenerate. While a forest can be sustainably harvested in a way that the resources are being used and the forest is still able to be used by all manner of woodland creature.
Permaculture Principle #4 – Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
Self-regulation is the way a system corrects itself. An example of such self regulation is the natural ebb and flow seen in predator and prey relationships. The population of wolves in an area might be low, so with less predators deer see an increase for a season or 2. Since the wolves now have lots of food they have a population increase but they eat all the deer so the deer’s population goes done. Then the wolves population will go down because they have no deer to eat and the whole cycle is back where it started.
The same is true for gardens. There might be an abundance of one type of insect pest eating all your crops in the garden. Then in a few weeks a predator bug of the first type catches up and eats all of the pest. That is how a system will self regulation. Many a gardener’s first reaction to a pest would be to bring about the pesticide. This can cause a disturbance in the breeding of the predator bug and is most likely not as effect as the bugs will be.
This principle can be applied to plants as well. Certain plants will only grow or thrive in certain environments. Some plants need a lot of sun and others enjoy the shade. So plant all over the place, notice what plants do well where, accept the feedback the plants give you and use it to better build plant groupings and locations for planting.