Develop a foundation for understanding permaculture
Gardens that follow permacultural guidelines may look chaotic, although there is usually precise planning in the design. The aim is to develop a synergy between all the plants and the animals that occupy the space. Once established, permaculture gardens should rarely need maintenance, except for the harvesting of fruit, vegetables and flowers. Some very efficient and attractive permaculture gardens have been established in the past. Planning is the priority for such a garden though; and this course helps you to develop an understanding of the critical factors which need to be met in planning a permaculture system..
There are five lessons in this course as follows:
1. Concepts: Permaculture philosophy, natural systems and key practices (eg. no dig gardening, biological control, plant naming, seed (sources, hybridisation, storage, etc).
2. The Environment: Ecology, ecosystems and permaculture design concepts.
3. Soils: structure, nutrition, erosion, natural fertilizers, soil plant relationships.
4. Climate & Water: Climatic factors, estimating plant water requirements, water quality, improving drainage, site planning.
5. Forest Systems: Plant associations, mycorrhiza, tree interactions (with wind, light, rain, etc), forest types in permaculture, creating a rainforest.
What Does a Permaculture Garden Look Like?
Every garden is different. Some are bigger and others smaller. Some are tidier, and others seemingfly more chaotic. The important thing however is not what it looks like; but that is is sustainable and productive.
Here are some characteristics you might commonly find.
- Lots of useful plants, growing wild.
- Free range poultry foraging throughout the garden. They control some types of pests,
they eat many weed seeds, and they produce manure which helps to keep the garden
fertilised. They also produce eggs and meat which is free of chemicals that are often
used in commercial poultry production.
- Established fruit and nut trees which produce food for the household and shade in the
- A large variety of herbs, often grown as companion plants to other plants in the garden.
- Hedges or trellised fences (covered with climbing plants) that provide fruit and nuts, as
well as some wind protection and shade.
- Fish in a large pond or two. The fish will help control some insects, and can be culled
every now and then for food.
- A range of hardy vegetables grown throughout the garden, in particular climbing and
trailing ones, grown on trellis to keep them out of reach of poultry.
Is this the Course for You?
If you are just starting out with permaculture; there are two choices with our school; either this course, or Permaculture Systems.
This course is easier to tackle, but it does not take you as far in terms of scope, as what you might do with Permaculture Systems. Permaculture Systems covers everything that is covered in a standard Permaculture Design Certificate. This only covers parts of that PDC, but what it covers, it does in a little more depth and intensity.
If you have the time and money to take your learning about permaculture more slowly, you can spread it over 400 hours by doing Permaculture I, II, III and IV. If you want a more intense academic challenge, you may be better to study the 100 hour Permaculture Systems course.