Home gardeners are discovering the many advantages of permaculture, a smart gardening method that maximises efficiencies in the garden and boosts productivity in the plants.

Understand the soil

Observe the thriving nature of the wilderness and replicate the lessons in your own garden. Pay close attention to the soil and ensure its good health so that it can effectively support and feed your plants.

Turn every waste from your garden (except for diseased plant waste) as well as organic matter from your kitchen into mulch for your soil. Compost this waste and return it to the soil to increase its nutrition. By allowing the soil to sustain itself, you can avoid additives such as store-bought fertilisers, pesticides or boosters. Use your pet’s droppings to enhance the nutrition in your mulch. This cyclical practice ensures an energy-efficient, resourceful system that is at the core of permaculture.

Key recommendations also include replacing most of your annuals with perennials to ensure a thriving garden year-round; harvesting seeds from plants and utilising garden space wisely; filling spaces in the garden with complementary plantings to ensure each bordering plant offers an advantage to its neighbour; minimising watering needs by installing natural watering systems, such as ponds and micro-catchments for rainwater, and re-using grey water from the home; and using natural pest control alternatives such as chamomile tea and seaweed, garlic and paraffin oil, and rhubarb.

Companion pairing

Some plants can be paired together when planting with one plant serving as protection to its partner plant. For instance, buckwheat attracts hover flies, which then prey on aphids, leaf hoppers and mealy bugs. Introducing certain predators to your garden could also be beneficial in keeping pests down; frogs, wasps or even ducks can play a significant role in protecting the garden, as well as adding a beautiful natural element to the space.

Some handy herb and plant companion ideas include basil grown next to tomatoes, to repel flies and mosquitoes; chives planted with carrots; dill away from carrots but around cabbage; mint to deter white cabbage moth and thyme to deter cabbage worms; oregano as a friendly herb pairing for all vegetables; parsley for asparagus, corn and tomatoes; and rosemary and sage for cabbage and carrots, but not cucumbers.

The best way to introduce permaculture into your garden is by mapping the space and creating a list of plants that can thrive off another. Once this is implemented, your gardening tasks will be limited to monitoring and sustaining this harmonious ecosystem.

Plant a garden that will suit your lifestyle and enjoy the fruits of your labour. If you’re interested in building some easy garden beds, or need a new garden fence, check out boundary fences and retaining walls from Modular Walls.