Create sustainable spaces with permaculture from just one hectare

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture from just one hectare

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture from just one hectare. Permaculture, in its most general conception, is the conscious design and maintenance of agricultural production systems that mimic the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with the people who provide their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.

Etymologically, Permaculture is the combination of the words «permanent» with «agriculture». Both terms refer to the management of land for cultivation in an uninterrupted manner compared to other traditional agricultural practices, which usually make use of monocultures that separate biodiversity from the ecosystem.

In this article we are going to try to answer everything related to permaculture

  • What are disadvantages of permaculture?

  • What is an example of permaculture?

  • What permaculture means?

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture from just one hectare

Over time, Permaculture has been incorporating some social and cultural aspects in its doctrine along with other branches of knowledge to expand its scientific base (such as ecological design, regenerative agriculture, ecological engineering, environmental design, architecture sustainable, among other disciplines included within development). And because of this, the term permaculture evolved from “Permanent Agriculture” to “Permanent Culture”.

The principles of Permaculture

The principles of Permaculture

David Holmgren, one of the founders of Permaculture, organized the diversity of thought in this discipline into twelve guiding principles in order to build a more sustainable society. Next, we will detail each of the principles of permaculture:

1) Create sustainable spaces with permaculture. Observe and interact

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture. Before undertaking any Permaculture project, it is important to pay attention to the environment. Things become easier if you work together with nature, instead of apart from it.

Permaculture project, it is important to pay attention to the environment

Example: Before you start planting, take a look at the parts of the garden that get the sun and rainwater, and where the wind blows the most or the shade envelops them. Learning to take advantage of environmental factors is better than spending time and effort planting in the wrong places.

2) Capture and Store Energy

Any wintering mammal that forages for food during the fall, when we’re on a roll and resources are plentiful, it’s smart to store some of it for later use.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Capture and Store Energy

Example: Designing homes so that the sun can heat them into the evening during the winter is a classic example of energy capture. The principle also applies to resources, such as pickling harvested vegetables to eat in another season or collecting rainwater in tanks for later irrigation use, etc.

3) Get Yield

Some pragmatism is needed when practicing Permaculture. You have to make sure that you are getting really useful rewards as part of the work done.

pragmatism is needed when practicing Permaculture

Example: It is useless to plant vegetables such as lettuce, tomato or carrot, if in the end, due to poor performance in caring for them, nothing is harvested. The systems that are created must be efficient, and as far as possible, the maximum yield must be obtained from them.

4) Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Self-regulation and feedback

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture. It is vitally important to detect which practices have been successful and which have failed in order to guarantee real and lasting feedback.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Self-regulation and feedback

Example: A garden is its own ecosystem and one’s interventions can have negative effects on some parts of it. If you choose to make changes, you should pay attention to how a garden evolves with those changes. And once the results are obtained, it must be evaluated whether it is worth continuing to make changes or going back on those already implemented.

5) Use and value renewable resources

Take advantage of the abundance of nature to reduce our consumer behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.

Use and value renewable resources

Example: To ensure the long-term sustainability of a garden, use must be made of energy and materials that can be regenerated. By using the power of the sun, wind, or water, you can power homes, grow your own food, and regenerate the environment more sustainable than using fossil energy.

6) Stop producing waste

Value and make use of all the resources that are available, nothing should ever be thrown away. Rethink the concept of waste.

Stop producing waste

Example: to take a look at what is thrown away and reconsider whether it can be repaired or reused where possible, by composting or working with ethical companies that analyze waste throughout the life cycle of their products.

7) Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Design patterns in detail

If you take a step back, you will see patterns in nature and in society. These can form the basis of designs, with details filled in, as you go.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Design patterns in detail

Examples: Whether designing a new vegetable garden or an entirely new way of sustainable living, you should always look at the big picture before paying attention to the little things. Thinking holistically, in all areas of our lives, helps to move in a positive direction.

8) Integrate instead of segregate

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture. By putting the right things in the right places, over time the relationships between those things will develop and complement each other to support each other.

Create sustainable spaces in farms medium

Examples: Think of your garden as part of a much larger network of community gardens. One can benefit from being able to trade excess products, share tools, and learn new skills.

9) Use small and slow solutions

Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than larger ones. It is better to opt for the former so that local resources are better used and more sustainable results are produced.

Permaculture Use small and slow solutions

Example: It is better to develop your own skills and invest slowly as you go. When building a garden, many materials can be collected for little or no cost if one is willing to be patient. Going slow also means saving resources because you will avoid buying new things that you could end up wasting.

10) Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Use and value diversity

Diversity reduces vulnerability to a range of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Use and value diversity

Examples: Growing a diversity of plants means there will always be something for beneficial insects to feed on and protect your garden from pests and diseases. Eating a wide variety of foods can also better maintain our health.

11) Use the edges and value the marginal

Don’t think you are on the right path just because it is a known path. Exploring beyond the sites you’re used to can bring you new ideas and resources.

Permaculture Use the edges and value the marginal

Examples: Balconies, the edge of the path and the edge of the driveway are just some of the spaces that can also be productive, not just the interior of a garden. Herbs, such as nettle and dandelion, can be gathered from trail edges or unused plots of land.

12) Respond creatively to change

A positive impact on inevitable change can be had by carefully observing and intervening at the right time.

Permaculture Respond creatively to change

Examples: It is important to remember that Permaculture is not just about now. But about the future. We must always design for change, understanding that things will change over time.

The Flower of Permaculture

Permaculture allows farms and communities to pursue their own ends in a way that works with the environment, not against it. To achieve this, three basic and fundamental ethics (or ethical principles) are taken into account:

Flor de la Permacultura

  1. Care of the earth: The importance of all the living and non-living components of the planet is recognized. It also implies a basic life ethic. Which recognizes that every living thing has value in the sense that it fulfills some basic role in the natural ecosystem.
  2. Caring for people: Here the importance of community participation is advocated and that access to natural resources should be a basic human right.
  3. Establish fair limits: The importance of reinvesting surplus work, money, information and energy in caring for the planet and the human populations that inhabit it is recognized.

In turn, from these ethical principles follows a series of seven application domains that represent the transition from theoretical to practical permaculture. The 7 domains and 3 ethics of permaculture are often represented together in the permaculture flower.

Flower Permaculture

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture. Any subject examined, from something as general to something as specific, manifests itself in all these domains of the flower simultaneously. Together, the flower represents the different facets of any subject or object. So you can enhance your designs by observing and interacting with each one as you work.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Land and Nature Stewardship

The ways in which people influence the ecology of a specific place.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Land and Nature Stewardship

Examples: Ecological or organic farming, agroforestry, integrated aquaculture, seed conservation, forest gardening, integrated pasture management, wild harvesting and hunting, etc.


Everything related to the man-made environment, including designs, specific structures, and the construction process.

Permaculture Construction

Examples: Use of natural construction materials, water collection and waste reuse, Bioconstruction, organic design, passive solar design, etc.

Tools and technology

Physical objects that are used to manipulate the environment and concepts related to their operation. Ideas and ways of thinking are required to operate the way we usually do.

permaculture Tools and technology

Examples: Renewable energy generation, energy storage, hand tools, biofuels from organic waste, biochar from forest waste, etc.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Education and culture

Specific local ideas related to how life is lived and how that information is transmitted.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture education and culture

Examples: Social ecology, active learning, participatory art and music, Waldorf pedagogy, homeschooling, etc.

Spiritual health and wellness

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture. The effect something has on your environment, both physically and mentally. The assumption of personal responsibility for our own well-being.

Spiritual health and wellness

Examples: Natural medicine, revival of indigenous culture, body-mind-spirit disciplines such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, etc.

Finance and economy

All alternative methods of exchanging goods and services from the permaculture approach.

Permacultura Economía y Finanzas

Examples: Farmers market, life cycle analysis, sharing economy, tradable energy quotas, local and regional currencies, etc.

Land tenure and community governance

The way each individual participates in the world, region or people around them, the decisions that are made about a space and who is included.

Land tenure and community governance

Examples: Cohousing, ecovillages, cooperatives, open space technology, native title and traditional use rights, etc.

Benefits of Permaculture

According to Our World in Data, 18.4% of greenhouse gas emissions come from industrial agriculture, forestry, and land use globally. And that percentage is fueled by the amount of food that goes to waste creating additional emissions when it spoils.

Benefits of Permaculture

Although traditional agriculture has been a fundamental piece for the advancement of our civilizations, the impact it generates on the composition of the soil and the atmosphere is undeniable. Permaculture, as an alternative to agriculture, seeks to offer positive solutions to properly manage soil compositions, remove toxic chemicals, and create an abundance of food while regenerating the land.

Next, we will mention all the environmental impacts caused by traditional agriculture and how Permaculture aims to solve these problems:

Use of fertilizers

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture. Agriculture is characterized by the constant use of artificial fertilizers and fertilizers. With a high nitrogen content that can generate nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. of carbon, gases that tend to increase climate change.

Use of fertilizers

Permaculture has a variety of approaches to regulate, solve or avoid these unsustainable practices. Specifically, Permaculture advocates completely organic farming that eschews artificial fertilizers. When you grow organically, you don’t feed the plants, you feed the soil. Permaculture methods such as composting, ‘chop and release’, no-till farming, and more efficient fertilizer application such as foliar spray increase beneficial soil organisms. These methods reduce or eliminate nitrogen or carbon that escapes from the soil.

Efficient soil management Soil

erosion practices can also produce nitrous oxide as soil nitrogen is exposed to the elements. Regarding soil management, Permaculture designs seek to “slow down, spread and sink” water. This reduces stormwater runoff, recharges the aquifer, and seeks to eliminate soil erosion, thus reducing the amount of carbon and nitrogen leaving the soil.

Methane from cattle manure

While there is a considerable amount of methane produced by the stomachs of cows, their decomposing manure creates additional carbon. Aerobic decomposition of this animal waste produces more carbon dioxide, while anaerobic decomposition produces more methane.

Methane from cattle manure

A popular manure management method using Permaculture is called a methane biodigester. These structures create anaerobic conditions for bacteria to process the manure along with other waste and allow the gas to be collected for domestic use such as cooking or heating. Capturing and burning this methane creates carbon dioxide, but the impact here is much less than if the methane is allowed to escape directly into the environment. In addition, simply composting this waste can also prevent the production of methane.

Emissions from Transporting Inputs

A major problem with contemporary agriculture is that it takes place far from where people live, and thus from grocery stores in all parts of the country. Harvested produce must be transported hundreds of miles between farms, processing plants, distribution centers, and grocery stores, just to get to your fridge. This inherently creates carbon emissions through transportation.

Emissions from Transporting Inputs

Permaculture advocates eating region-specific foods, growing food in your front and backyard, and eating local foods that are not part of the typical diet. Farm-to-table production allows harvesting when food is ripe and in season and avoids long transportation routes.

Pesticide Use

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture. Toxic chemicals used in agriculture are intended to kill pests. However, these chemicals can have long-lasting unwanted impacts after their application. While the use of synthetic fertilizers and chemicals has helped feed millions of people. Some of these products are known to be toxic to humans and wildlife, and their negative impacts may not be fully understood.

No Pesticide Use in the permaculture

With Permaculture, instead, there are ways to design farms that naturally break pest cycles, such as planting a polyculture of companion plants instead of pest-vulnerable monocultures, providing habitats for predators, or managing the cycling of cattle paddocks.

Basically, in a permacultural design, each element performs multiple functions and each function is supported by multiple elements. That is why there is no single chemical insecticide to solve a pest problem. But rather a network of natural elements that work together to reduce pests. That is why a diversity of species is also planted. This diversity makes it difficult for pests to find their preferred food, while also creating additional habitats for predatory species to eat the pests.

Permaculture design concepts

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture. The implementation of the guiding and ethical principles of Permaculture is carried out following a series of key design concepts that we will present below:


permaculture zones

The classification by zones implies the division of the areas of a farm according to of movement. And the amount of human attention needed for those areas. As an illustration, Permaculture farms can be thought of as a dart board. Where the farm designed by the farmer would be in the center. Dividing a farm into zones is intended to organize agricultural activities in a series of concentric rings radiating from the center. The higher the human traffic required for the activity, the closer that area will be to the center. With this in mind, plants and animals are bred following the examples of nature.


Permaculture sectors
This is another methodology to organize the location of agricultural activities, but in this case more emphasis is placed on the flow of energies or necessary resources starting from an established point, such as a country house or farm suburban Let’s imagine the Permaculture farm as a pizza. Each triangular slice represents a sector radiating from the center. This is intended to organize agricultural activities so that each area has easy access to the center.

Relative Location

permaculture relative location

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture. Considering the above, the principle of relative location involvescareful planning of zones and sectors based on where they are in relation to each other. The goal here is to place these elements in a way that maximizes energy use and minimizes waste generation. An example would be planting crops downhill relative to a pond to allow for easy irrigation without the need for a pumping system.

Single elements with multiple functions

Single elements with multiple functions in permaculture

As a way of maximizing efficiency. It would be wise to place the elements of the farm in such a way that they encourage the performance of multiple functions. For example, the right choice in a hedge plant could provide windbreaks and produce seeds to feed poultry. A properly placed pond can provide irrigation and fencing for livestock.

Single Feature of Multiple Items

Single Feature of Multiple Items in permaculture

As opposed to the above, if a feature is important, you need to ensure that multiple items can provide that feature, such as an integrated backup plan within the farm. This would involve, for example, supporting seasonal crops with edible perennial trees in times of poor harvests or using a pond to help irrigate during times of drought.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency in the permaculture

For Create sustainable spaces with permaculture, involves the input of the least amount of energy needed from outside the farm. Energy efficient designs, by harnessing solar or wind power, help make this possible because very little is wasted as renewable energy.

Biological resources

Biological resources in the permaculture

Continuing with the concept of energy efficiency, whenever possible agricultural work should be left to more efficient non-human elements. This includes the use of animals for tasks such as weed control, pest control, and fertilizer production. The use of wasps to control plant parasites and manure to nourish crops is an example of this principle.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Plant Succession

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture plant sucesion

Wild plant populations develop slowly from weedy fields to forest. Imitating this model of plant growth in a natural environment, in Permaculture farms, crop varieties are planted having the life cycle and synergy with other plants. Fruit and nut trees are grown along with short-lived food plants, so the land constantly bears fruit and enriches the soil while the trees continue to grow to maturity.


recycling Nutrient recycling involves using the ecosystem

Nutrient recycling involves using the ecosystem within the farm to replenish nutrients, rather than relying on imports or creating waste. A classic example of this practice would be the composting of organic matter. And the use of manure as fertilizer, instead of using artificial fertilizers.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Diversity

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture diversity

To avoid dependency on a single product, something that often occurs with traditional agriculture. Permaculture encourages the raising of multiple crops and farm animals. In this way, market price volatility or diseases specific to a plant or animal breed are less likely to have catastrophic results.

Examples of Permaculture

The World Permaculture Network has published an extensive database to disclose which functional Permaculture projects exist around the world. The site can be searched for projects based on keywords, climate zone, and project types to better filter results. Currently, the site features 1957 Permaculture projects around the world.

However, since there are so many projects of this nature, the techniques and practices to implement this discipline of sustainable agriculture tend to vary quite a bit from one another. To clarify the matter, below, we will present some of the most common subcategories of Permaculture.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture diversity Agroforestry

Agroforestry, is an approach to permaculture that combines trees or shrubs with livestock or crops. The name comes from the combination of agriculture and forestry. These two seemingly separate fields can work together to create more sustainable, healthy and productive systems.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture diversity Agroforestry

Within the agroforestry conjuncture, there is forest agriculture, whose basic idea is to use a seven-layer system to create its food forest. Such a system includes a canopy layer, a low tree layer, a shrub layer, a herbaceous layer, a rhizosphere, a ground cover layer, and a vertical layer. This design is intended to mimic natural forests. But using fruit trees, nuts, vegetables, herbs, and other plants that are useful to humans.

Other agroforestry systems include silvopastoralism and arable silvo systems. Silvopastoralism combines trees with forage livestock, while arable silva combines trees with associated crops. Alley cropping is another agroforestry technique that involves growing food, specialty crops, or fodder between wide rows of trees.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Hugelkultur

Hügelkultur is a German word that means “cultivation of the hills”. It is a technique by which large amounts of wood are buried to improve the water retention capacity of the soil.


This decaying wood acts like a sponge to retain water that seeps into the ground. Often compostable plant materials are planted on top of the mound and eventually composted into the soil as well.

A Hügelkultur is a great way to follow the permaculture principle of capturing and storing energy. Water during rainy times of the year is trapped in underground wood. Which can often hold enough volume to help keep plants alive even during a prolonged dry season.

This practice is an excellent alternative to burning wood debris and other unwanted wood. Instead of releasing carbon into the atmosphere when burned, the carbon in wood is sequestered back in the soil.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Rainwater Harvesting Systems Water

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture diversity. Runs off the land after rain can be captured and stored for later use. Most of the rainwater can be collected directly from the roofs of homes. To collect it, you need to connect a tank to the roof drain, thus preventing the water from reaching the ground and being wasted.

Rainwater Harvesting Systems Water
Another method of capturing water is rainwater harvesting. This differs from roof-mounted rainwater harvesting in that it is not limited to just capturing from the roof. But rainwater harvesting is also done in streams, storm drains, and other waterways. One way farmers can create a rainwater harvesting system is by making a cistern or water reservoir at the base of a hill. This will catch most of the water flowing down the slope.

The advantage of rainwater harvesting is thata much larger volume of water is collected. The downside is that it picks up a larger amount of contaminants. To mitigate this, rocks and silt are normally incorporated into the hill to partially filter the water before it reaches the cistern.

Rainwater can be used for a variety of applications, including water for irrigation and livestock. And even drinking water if it is properly treated first.

Rotational Grazing

Grazing is generally considered an activity that generates a negative environmental impact, because it can destroy the environment if it is not practiced responsibly.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Rotational Grazing

In permaculture, rotational grazing is the preferred method of sustainable grazing. This involves moving groups of cattle regularly between different fields, pastures, or forests. Both ruminant animals (cows, goats and sheep) and non-ruminant animals (pigs, rabbits or geese) can be effectively used for rotational grazing.

When done responsibly, disturbances caused by grazing animals can lead to ecological improvement and allow plants to regrow more quickly.

The practice involves closely monitoring livestock to determine how they are interacting with the ground. Plants need adequate rest between grazing. So it is important for an area to have a rest period to regrow after being grazed. However, an area should also not be allowed to rest too long or the plants may undergo lignification (become woody), resulting in lower productivity. So it’s a delicate balancing act.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Mulch

Many farmers and gardeners use mulch, or sheet mulch, to provide nutrients to crops. This is any type of protective covering that is placed over the ground to retain water and prevent weed growth. To prepare it, wood chips, cardboard, plastic, stones along with other materials are commonly used.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Mulch

Mulching is an organic no-dig technique that attempts to mimic the accumulation of plant matter in the soil as it occurs naturally in forests. How leaves cover the ground.

Sheet mulch typically uses alternating layers of “green” and “brown” materials. Brown materials include fallen leaves, shredded paper and cardboard, pine needles, wood chips, and straw. Green materials include manure, grass clippings, worm casings, vegetable scraps, hay, coffee grounds, and compost.

5 to 10 layers of materials can be used. Mulch should always be covered with straw or wood chips to be effective. Sheet mulch helps add nutrients and organic matter to the soil, suppresses weed growth, moderates temperatures and protects against frost, reduces erosion and evaporation, and absorbs rain.

Permaculture from just one hectare Bioconstruction

Bioconstruction houses is an approach to sustainable architecture that involves the search for and use of sustainable materials for the construction of. In a permaculture design system, sustainable materials can be either recycled or reclaimed materials or materials taken directly from nature.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture bioconstruction
Cob House There. Are many renewable resources on earth that can be used in a construction project. Clay, rocks, rammed earth, wood, bamboo, straw. And sand are some examples of materials that are readily available in the surrounding natural environment.

For example, earth, water, straw, and lime can be combined to create Cob. This mixture of building materials is very low cost, fire retardant, resistant to seismic activity. And strong enough to build entire houses. Despite being made from natural materials,Cob is highly weather resistant.

Adobe is another cob-like material that is used all over the world, from Mexico to the Middle East.

Create sustainable spaces with permaculture Earthship

Less natural materials such as construction tires can also be used. Earthship houses are a type of passive sun shelter that are built by stacking tires filled with earth to form walls and then covering them. This can be a great way to reuse used tires that would otherwise end up in landfills or incinerated. Scrap glass windows are also often used in a similar way instead of buying new.

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