I must admit that I feel a little scared with the prospect of designing the permaculture of my little world.
Begin by getting an arial view map of your property. I purchased a 2’x3′ arial view from our county equalization department for $15. You could also use google earth and print one off yourself. This is a handy tool to have if you have a larger section of land to plan.
Permaculture may take years to accomplish and establish so begin by making the plan or land print. We made a five year plan for our property. If you are unsure about how to go about a plan make a list of what you want to accomplish.
- Attract butterflies and bees
- Backyard pond
- wetland management
- wildlife habitats
- flower garden
- vegetable garden
- wind breaks
- bird sanctuary
- water for wildlife
- erosion control
- invasive species removal
- food plots
- Fruit/Nut orchard
- Natural swimming pool
- Berry patch
We made a trip to our local conservation district and was handed a host of pamphlets and information on backyard conservation including forestry and wildlife guides. They offer a large list of native trees and shrubs for sale in the spring. Renting a 3-point tree planter is available for large plots.
Once you have establish your plan begin to put it into action. It is a good idea to get your soil tested. Your county extension office will be able to set you up with that. Some plant species require a different soil ph, as with blueberries. Some plants need dry soil, some wet. All this should be planned out in advance. Know your land. The drainage and soil type is an important step in this process.
When I looked, I found a community of people and information to help me along the way
On our property, the first step we made was to remove all dead or unwanted trees and shrubs. Our land was a farm that lay vacant for many years. We removed the dead trees and the many wild grape vines that killed the trees. Also we had a overabundance of autumn olive (invasive species) that took over the property, which we removed. We then planted several types of pine trees on the boarders as wind breaks. Pines are a great choice because they stay green all year and grow fairly rapidly.
You don’t need to worry about doing it wrong, just get started. Everyone has a backyard that is just waiting to be transformed in to a wonderful place to relax, enjoy and harvest food. In doing so you will create a space for birds, butterflies, and more. The big bonus with permaculture is it will also be like having a farmers market in your backyard.
A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke (of the axe) he is writing his signature on the face of the land. -Aldo Leopold