Designing my veg patch, experimenting with less conventional approaches from polycultures to growing plants I would normally forage.
Design period: June 2013 – October 2014
Why is this design included?
It builds on my learnings from the allotment design, trying out quite a few new techniques and thoroughly applying land-based permaculture design for the first time. Consequently it is an important part of my permaculture learning pathway. Also this design was rich in learnings for me and I want to make sure that I take the time to capture them and integrate them into future designing.
To produce food to improve my health and to reduce my environmental impact, at the same time as increasing my land-based permaculture skills and experience.
- Go for quality over quantity. It is better to focus on a small area and do it well rather than spread yourself too thinly to do anything well.
- I need to get much more practical experience of growing, preferably with other more experienced people, which will give me the greater understanding needed for successful decisions.
- You can be as good at designing as you want, but if you don’t have a real understanding of the content then you will struggle to create a good design. Play to your strengths and keep learning.
- Make sure that you leave yourself sufficient time for designing, to do it thoroughly takes quite a considerable amount of time.
- Be honest with yourself about your personal limits, ignoring them will limit the success of the design
Design tools used
- Basemap was drawn on the back of an old poster and spent quite a while investigating ‘green’ tracing paper to buy for the overlays
- Native plants & Wild edges
- Only using available resources
- No dig
I could have done with a little more forethought on people care and my wellbeing while trying to implement the design.
I specifically applied the principle ‘Catch and Store Energy’ to this design when I was in the process of identifying the systems and elements. However, I took many more of them into account throughout the process as they are becoming such an integral part of how I think.
Writing up and Evaluation
I started to evaluate and write up this design once I knew that I was going to be moving house and therefore the design was not going to continue. I began the writing up before I moved as I knew it would be easier to do whilst I was still living next to the site, this was valuable in making sure I had photos and could fully observe the ‘end’ results. I did not manage to finish writing the design up until after I had moved. There has been some progress on my learning since moving, including doing a small design for my window box, which I have included as an update in the full write up.
I have included quite a lot of the details of the content of this design as my intention for the design was to learn about the practice of permaculture growing as well as permaculture designing, so I wanted to capture these. I have not however, included all of the details, particularly of my implementation as the patterns are more valuable to reflect on.
Evaluation tools used
I am really grateful to have had this opportunity to experiment with many of the land-based permaculture techniques that I have read about and been inspired by. It was wonderful to have an area which I had free rein on.
I am grateful to all of the authors of inspiring books and articles who have shared their experiences and wisdom and helped me on my journey. I am particularly grateful to Aranya for his book which I followed pretty much step by step for this design.
I am grateful to my mum and my friends for donating plants and seeds and for giving advice. I am grateful to myself for having the ambition and commitment to give this a go and to keep going even when it felt a bit hopeless leaving me with all of these valuable learnings to take forwards. And lastly I am grateful to the plants, the animals and the weather which merrily joined in with my experimentation and taught me lots of lessons along the way, as well as bringing me lots of moments of joy and a few tasty nibbles.