The three sisters planting of corn, beans, and squash, was common among indigenous North and South Americans and is commonly used by permaculture designers to demonstrate how connection create resiliency within systems. Individually, each species possess a unique set of needs and yields (niche) and, with care, can be grown very successfully on their own. When planted together, however, something more interesting happens Continue reading
The seven layers of a forest, is a useful permaculture design tool and a convenient way to break down and analyze the components of a crest ecosystem. The important thing to remember is that it’s the forest’s diversity (and hence potential for connections) that makes it function. Individually, plants don’t likely know (or care) that one is fixing nitrogen while another is providing food or shelter but, through a 4.5 billion year process of co-evolution organisms have aligned themselves in ways that, as a whole, are beneficial to the entire ecosystem. As designers, we look at ecosystems, like forests, to tease out patterns and principals that we can use in our own designs. Continue reading
Who Takes Care Of A Forest?
The answer, of course, is nobody; unlike their garden counterparts, forests don’t require watering, weeding, tilling, chemicals, or fertilizers and yet, when it comes to producing biomass, they are unrivalled. Ironically, the first thing settlers did (at least in my part of the world) was remove the forests for agriculture. Monocultures, in contract, are fickle; prone to drought, pests, weeds, and disease. Continue reading