Notes from permaculture day

These are copied from various sources.

Agricultural principles
Polyculture is agriculture using multiple crops in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems, and avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture. It includes crop rotation, multi-cropping, and inter-cropping. Alley cropping is a simplification of the layered system which typically uses just two layers, with alternate rows of trees and smaller plants.
Permaculture guilds are groups of organisms – plants, animals, fungi, bacteria etc. – which work particularly well together. These can be those observed in nature such as the White Oak guild which centers on the White Oak tree and includes 10 other plants. Native communities can be adapted by substitution of plants more suitable for human use.
The Three Sisters of maize, squash and beans is a well known guild. The British National Vegetation Classification provides a comprehensive list of plant communities in the UK. Guilds can be thought of as an extension of companion planting.
Increased edge
Permaculturists maintain that where vastly differing systems meet, there is an intense area of productivity and useful connections.
The greatest example of this is the coast.[dubious – discuss] Where the land and the sea meet there is a particularly rich area that meets a disproportionate percentage of human and animal needs.[original research?] This is evidenced by the fact that the overwhelming majority of humankind lives within 100 km of the sea.[citation needed] So this idea is played out in permacultural designs by using spirals in the herb garden or creating ponds that have wavy undulating shorelines rather than a simple circle or oval (thereby increasing the amount of edge for a given area). Edges between woodland and open areas have been claimed to be the most productive.[5]
In permaculture design, increasing the amount of edges is an important tool for maximizing the productivity of a farm. Specifically, ponds are designed with an irregular shape (as opposed to circular) to maximize the water’s edge. Wooded and grassland areas are intermingled. Of course, since the biodiversity is high in any area, there are a lot of micro-interfaces where different organisms interact. All of this improves the resource efficiency and productivity of the designed ecosystem.
Perennial plants
Perennial plants are often used in permaculture design. As they do not need to be planted every year they require less maintenance and fertilizers.
Companion planting
Guilds – e.g. three sisters (corn, squash, and climbing beans). help keep insect and other pest problems to a minimum.
Composting all materials for fertilizing and mulching are produced within the permaculture garden.
No dig – spread compost on top and let worms do the work. Low tillage cropping to save soil, energy, moisture and growing time. Sheet Mulching
Sheet mulch is put down in layers to mimic natural forest mulch: well decayed compost, weed barrier, partly decayed compost and raw organic matter.

Rain water harvesting – not only saves on water but is especially good for the garden as rainwater is loaded with nutrients
Water feature – often encourage insects, birds, frogs, and other small wildlife creatures, and many of these will feed on pests in the permaculture garden.

OBREDIM design methodology
OBREDIM is an acronym for observation, boundaries, resources, evaluation, design, implementation and maintenance.
• Observation allows you first to see how the site functions within itself, to gain an understanding of its initial relationships. Some recommend a year-long observation of a site before anything is planted. During this period all factors, such as lay of the land, natural flora and so forth, can be brought into the design. A year allows the site to be observed through all seasons, although it must be realized that, particularly in temperate climates, there can be substantial variations between years.
• Boundaries refer to physical ones as well as to those neighbors might place, for example.
• Resources include the people involved, funding, as well as what can be grown or produced in the future.
• Evaluation of the first three will then allow one to prepare for the next three. This is a careful phase of taking stock of what is at hand to work with.
• Design is a creative and intensive process, and must stretch the ability to see possible future synergetic relationships.
• Implementation is literally the ground-breaking part of the process when digging and shaping of the site occurs.
• Maintenance is then required to keep the site at a healthy optimum, making minor adjustments as necessary. Good design will preclude the need for any major adjustment.

Elements of a Wildlife Habitat
Provide Food for Wildlife
Everyone needs to eat! Planting native forbs, shrubs and trees is the easiest way to provide the foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts that many species of wildlife require to survive and thrive. You can also incorporate supplemental feeders and food sources.
A combination of trees and shrubs of all sizes and groundcover provide not only cover and places to raise the young, but natural food for wildlife.
When selecting plants, try to use native varieties for your area. Highbush blueberry, Carolina cherry laurel, and elderberry shrubs are a few of the plants that provide berries. Eastern red cedar, southern red oak and hickory trees are excellent choices. A variety of manmade feeders are available for seed, fruit, suet, mealworms, and nectar that can supplement nature’s banquet.
Supply Water for Wildlife
Wildlife need clean water sources for many purposes, including drinking, bathing and reproduction. Water sources may include natural features such as ponds, lakes, rivers, springs, oceans and wetlands; or human-made features such as bird baths, puddling areas for butterflies, installed ponds or rain gardens
Water is essential for your habitat. Use a birdbath close to bushes or trees so birds have a safe place to dry their feathers. Most birdbaths are too deep so place a couple of flat rocks in your birdbath and only fill the birdbath to an inch or inch and a half of water so that the small birds can bathe too. Using a dripper will not only make a nice sound to attract wildlife, but it will also help to keep the birdbath clean and full. Heaters are available for birdbaths and ponds for the winter months.
Create Cover for Wildlife
Wildlife require places to hide in order to feel safe from people, predators and inclement weather. Use things like native vegetation, shrubs, thickets and brush piles or even dead trees. birdhouses, bat houses, toad houses, rock or wood piles
Cover can be provided by planting an assortment of trees and shrubs. The dense branches help to protect wildlife. Brush, rock, and log piles are places for birds, rabbits, chipmunks and a variety of other animals to hide from predators and the weather and to raise their young. Another source of shelter for birds especially during the winter months are roosting boxes.
Give Wildlife a Place to Raise Their Young
Wildlife need a sheltered place to raise their offspring. Many places for cover can double as locations where wildlife can raise young, from wildflower meadows and bushes where many butterflies and moths lay their eggs, or caves where bats roost and form colonies.
A protected place to raise the young completes the list. Cavity nesting birds use old decaying trees. Homeowners and developers often remove the trees leaving no place for birds to nest. Nesting boxes, installed in the proper location, provide a cozy home for cavity nesters such as bluebirds, chickadees, tufted titmice, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and screech owls. Trees and shrubs provide nesting areas for birds who build their own nests. In addition, a pond can be home to frogs, fish, dragonflies, and other insects.

• Water – a pond if possible, even a small one, will be a great addition, though the age/ability of the children may need to be taken into account. If a pond proves impossible, consider a small self-contained water feature or even just a bird-bath.
• Bird table – birds are the most visible, and possibly most popular, visitors to any wildlife area, and since many of the once common kinds are in decline, they can do with a bit of help particularly in the winter months.
• Sympathetic planting – whether you choose to go for only native species, or use typical garden varieties, remember that plants are the basis of the food chain, so pick ones that will attract insects and other bugs, which in turn bring in birds and other visitors to the area.
• Shelter – from the largest to the smallest, wild animals need somewhere to shelter. There’s an untold wealth of animal homes and shelters on sale, ranging from hedgehog homes to ladybird logs, so you won’t be lost for ideas

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