Last time I introduced the concept of permaculture (assuming some might not already know) and offered a sampling of Catholic teaching which fits neatly – some would say plainly – with the practice of permaculture. Then I said some hopelessly optimistic things about living with Mother Nature.
This time, a start at implementation.
Most of the resources I’ve encountered seem to agree on the principles of permaculture, which are summarized here.
As the Permaculture Association has it, the first principle is “Observe and Interact.” Other permaculture resources say likewise, and some recommend an observation period of at least a year, if not longer.
Ain’t nobody got time for that! No, but seriously, I’m a 21st century American – who thinks I’m going to wait around after I’ve just publicly committed to starting into permaculture? I’ll observe, alright – then immediately act! What, am I supposed to be patient, and restrain my desires?
Almost took up an inverted soapbox there.
Fortunately, I have been observing, and for longer than a year. Every time I’ve mowed the lawn, I thought how I would like to incorporate more garden beds, and how to arrange them. Once we started a garden in the backyard, I noticed how the sun moved across it, how the wind blew, and where things would have room to grow or climb or drain.
According to my foray into permaculture, it was observation by accident; but according to purposes I already had in mind, it was sustained observation.
For example: One technique suggested for implementing permaculture is an herb spiral. There are even videos guiding the curious to herbal glory.
We Pluchars like herbs at the ready, and so I thought of two locations, and Marcy picked one – the more reasonable one, of course. This is just outside our back door:
Now, as to observation: This particular location is on the south side of our property. That white vinyl fence is on the south side of the frame. That particular area – next to the heat pump, with a short concrete sidewalk and two pebbled areas – has always seemed hot to me. This struck me immediately, from before we bought the house, and has been verified repeatedly.
I believe this is because our house and the neighbor’s (relatively close by – maybe 40′, with a fence in the middle) act as a wind block, the heat pump generates heat in the summer, and the sidewalk and pebbles absorb heat on top of that. Even when the “weather” is breezy and tolerable elsewhere on our property, it is stifling in this area.
Furthermore, I believe we will modify the herb spiral, in favor of an herb amphitheater…or and herb-phitheater, if you please.
The reason for this is that any herbs on the north side of a spiral would have precious few hours of sunlight – given the house sandwich. Another drawing?
Therefore – I presume, at any rate – an amphitheater design will be more advantageous.
But where to find the building materials?