So how do we embrace permaculture when we have no knowledge of it? When you look at websites about it they talk about the need for design and the importance of planning, and this is intimidating. Especially for me. I was brought up to do things right… first time.
This has been an ongoing battle throughout my life, to forgive myself for not getting things right first time. To not beat myself up for not being perfect. And when you scratch the surface of permaculture theory you find that the teachers haven’t got things right first time, that they aren’t perfect and it’s OK.
The reason there is the stress on planning etc. is because if you are going to go the whole hog and recycle all waste (including human waste); build ponds or swales (to keep as much water on your property for as long as possible); even building raised beds, in fact any kind of major landscaping project needs to be planned, because it’s not a job that you’re going to want to do twice, and it’s going to be difficult or sometimes impossible to change later.
For most of us who are thinking of dipping our toes into permaculture, planning need not be quite so important. If you’re thinking of planting a tree then there should be some forethought, but a way around that would be to keep it in a pot until you are certain where you want it. The same for other smaller plants, you can keep them in pots and move those pots around the garden until you’re reasonably happy.
Don’t forget though, the soil in your pot isn’t necessarily going to be the same as the soil that you plant into. Also, bear in mind that pots may need watering, especially terracotta which dries out much faster than anything else.
You might find it useful to look at companion planting. There is good evidence that some plants do much better when planted together. But the advice is generally, try it out, see what works, repeat that which is good, avoid that which fails, but be aware of other factors that might influence outcomes.
Good luck with your food growing. 🙂