This morning I posted my first comment in a forum on a really great website www.  I’ve been a lurker for about a year. It was a call out for members to post information about blogs they maintain and it piqued my curiosity so I had to reply.

We began using permaculture methods in our garden even before we knew what permaculture was.  The most important thing we do to begin our planting areas is to prepare the soil ahead of time ( a year in advance).  We use the method called sheet mulching.

Cardboard is laid down on top of existing vegetation and then a layer of newspaper to cover the seams or holes and on top of that a heavy layer of grass clippings or organic mulch.  We are using fresh wood chips and pine needles because it will take over a year for it to decompose enough for us to plant in it.

While it is decomposing, there are many earthworms working underground to loosen the soil and change the soil structure with their castings.  You are left with a nice loosened soil in which to plant your garden.  We use nature to help us with the heavy work, we don’t till our soil, the earthworms do it for us.

Here is the most recent area we’re covering.  Next year it will be a cutting garden.

All of the beds in our gardens were started this way.  Here is a photo of an area that was filled with quack grass and brambles.  We cut it down covered it with cardboard and newspaper and put 6 inches of mulch on top.  Next year it will be planted with edibles.  We put some potted plants, a birdbath and a grapevine swirl in there for effect instead of letting it remain a large mulched circle.

Our classes cover these techniques and our students are having great success with them.  Its pleasing knowing that we are helping others to become less dependent on chemicals and more dependent on nature.


About crabtreegardens

I am a passionate decorator and the head gardener at Crabtree Gardens, LLC, which is a five acre naturalized garden located in Drums, PA. I advocate chemical-free, low maintenance gardening methods and working along with nature. I'm a freelance garden writer and member of GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators.
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2 Responses to Permaculture

  1. The wood chip is also great for developing beneficial fungal relationships – mimicking a woodland soil. I have had great success using willow chips from out hedge (which grows about 15 feet every year).

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