A Country Cottage in the City
Continued from page 2
Photo by Elyse Grau
Not only do their two hens produce fresh eggs, they also rid the garden of bugs.
Elyse Grau grows fruit, nuts, vegetables and herbs in Oregon. Despite being a Master Gardener with more than 20 years of experience, she finds that she can always learn something new from other gardeners. When she’s not gardening, she is writing about cooking or gardening for magazines and a weekly newspaper column. As a certified Master Food Preserver, she teaches safe methods of food preservation.
What is Permaculture?
As defined by Bill Mollison, considered the founder of the movement, permaculture is a design system for a sustainable environment. Permaculture seeks to integrate systems for food production, housing and appropriate technology in an ecologically sustainable way.
Designs seek to emulate nature and its ecological systems to create efficient, productive environments. They strive to create closed systems — self-sustaining loops of input and output. Permaculture philosophy emphasizes sustainability and care of the environment.
Some examples of farming systems employed in permaculture include edible landscaping, sheet mulching, companion planting and the use of chicken tractors (moveable coops). Water collection, reuse and management also play an important part in the philosophy.
The food forest Debbie Hebert mentions is a group of plants designed to mimic the interrelationship of plants found in a forest. In the natural forest, leaves and needles fall to the ground, creating humus for the soil and providing nutrients for fungi, such as mushrooms. Fallen logs may become homes for birds and small animals.
In the food forest, some plants will attract pollinators or beneficial insects, while others will provide food for the homeowner. Other plants may provide food or forage for chickens and wildlife, and some may be grown simply for their beauty.
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