Ecology and ecosystems acknowledges that we do not live in a vacuum. We are connected and have an impact on one another. Ecosystems explores the relationships between living organisms.
Drawing from ecological and sustainable models, permaculture is a design tool that addresses the needs of people as well as nature. Organizing your garden space into zones of use allows you to determine how you can most successfully interact with your garden. Herbs and annual edible plants are placed within easy reach. Organic methods are used to maintain one’s garden’s health. If possible rainwater is introduced into the garden with swales and wetlands, and not into the street. Greywater can be used to water your fruit trees. Guilds, like corn, squash and beans for a cycle of nourishment, and companion planting, like carrots and tomatoes for pest control, are encouraged. The topography, hydrology, wind and sun and shade of your land are considered to create natural solutions that enhance your experience of your landscape and home. Natural resources are honored and conserved through irrigation, xeriscaping, mulching and composting.
Guilds– plants that support and sustain one another. An example of a guild is corn, beans and squash. The corn provides a trellis for the beans to grow on, the beans provide nitrogen for the corn, the squash leaves create a ground cover that keeps in moisture, the soil cool, and keeps out weeds. The addition of a bee plant provides pollination for the beans and squash.
Companion Planting– this is the practice of planting plants near one another that assist one another by bringing in nutrients, better growing conditions, or providing pest control and protection
Sheet Mulching– a method of weed suppression that imitates a forest floor with a biodegradable suppressant (like cardboard), mulch and organic compost.