Permaculture – Graham Bell, The Permaculture Way :
Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.
It means growing your own food with respect for nature, ecology and in a sustainable way. I basically look at nature and ecology and for example consider the beneficial insects in my garden as my allies. I do not use any pesticides in my garden.
Even if you do not have a large garden, it is still possible to grow your own food. In my garden, I tried last year to grow courgettes for fun and I was surprised to see how well the plant grew and the harvest I had.
This year i am going to plant a lot more. Courgetts are easy to grow on most soils and contain a lot of potassium and vitamin A.
The courgette grew so fast I even forgot to harvest it! The pumpkin was actually not planted but grew out of a seed that fell near the compost bin. The compost provided lots of nutrition for the plant so I had many pumpkins, all grown organically, of course. If you do not have a garden, you can grow some of your food in pots. Why not give it a try?
Pumpkins, courgettes and many other fruit crops require pollination to ensure that fruit sets. In my garden, I saw bumblebees pollinating the pumpkins and courgettes.
Growing your own fruit is great. You can grow blackberries, raspberries, but also fruit trees such as apples. Apple trees are also quite beautiful trees and can be grown in relatively small gardens. Apple blossom provide both nectar and very high quality pollen. The apple tree is a very good source of pollen which has a yellow-white colour. One of the best pollinators are mason bees so if you do not have a bee house yet, now is the time to get one. The mason bees need the pollen and nectar provided by the flowers to feed their young and in return you get delicious, juicy apples. Nature is beautiful and it is all interconnected.
Photo is from our native but very rare Malus Sylvestris. Less than 250 pure trees remain in the Benelux. Photo: courtesy of Bronnen. It is thought to be one of the contributors to our Malus Domestica varieties.
To become reconnected with nature is so important, especially nowadays with so many people not knowing where their food is coming from. Children will love to help you pick the fruit and see the bees pollinate the flowers. In this way, they will value insects and learn we have to live with nature and understand the role of bees within our ecosystem. Seeing the bees carry pollen to their nests is something they will remember for a long time. Growing your own fruit is both educational and a lot of fun.