Permaculture is a cultivation method constantly renewing living resources. No wonder that those practicing this method try to protect soil and water in every possible way. Ultimately, these are the two most important elements for life of plants and animals. Therefore, gardeners stop digging and plowing the soil. When human interference is lacking, plants colonize every available piece of space. As nature is able to cope and develop , people can benefit from this solution.
The polytunnel has also proved useful in permaculture. In this construction, most solutions can be implemented, enabling coexistence with the natural environment, without harming it.
In this Krosagro guide we will explain what permaculture is, why it is worth paying attention to it, review its advantages and disadvantages and answer the question of whether it can be used in a greenhouse.
What is permaculture?
Although a lot of information about permaculture. Can be found on the web, it usually sounds a bit scientific or mystical. On one hand, it is a philosophy, on the other hand, a practical method for healthy food cultivation.
In short, the idea is to use eco-friendly solutions. With pieces of land next to each other. It is important to treat them as an ecosystem in which processes occur similar to those encountered in the forest or meadows and which the garden becomes a part of.
Traditional cultivation and permaculture
In traditional farming and agriculture, the soil is treated as a raw material with specific physico-chemical features. Soil is categorized by several features. Including humidity, pH, structure, etc. and all organisms living in the soil are divided into useful and harmful bodies. Considered as an addition, accepted or treated, but unnecessary. The substrate is subjected to a large amount of work to increase yield potential. The soil should be plowed, dug, scarified, watered and finally fertilized. As for the last example, whether it is a natural or artificial procedure, the end result is the same. Its task is to provide crops with the macro and micronutrients needed. You should also remember weeds that must be treated with a type of herbicide.
It is not a necessity for every plant grower to immediately apply hectoliters of chemical products. Degrade the earth, and then destroy life within miles all around. It is also not about completely leaving the soil , but about using alternative methods. If the gardener has the opportunity and the possibility, he can use an equally effective ecological solution instead of artificial substances.
Soil in permaculture
Artificial fertilizers in the form of granules work like salt. This means that in order to be “activated” , they must absorb water from the environment. Although the plants grow much faster thanks to this, both fertilizer and cultivation itself cause a loss of water needed by microorganisms, which then become less and less present.
The use of artificial fertilization is a quick way to get results, but over time , the soil is being sterilized. The reason is that these substances are supposed to strengthen the plants, not the natural environment. Permaculture is about protecting life, micro and macro elements as well as organisms that contribute to a strong root and immune system for the crop. It also helps them to cope with pests and parasites.
It is this lively soil that guarantees good and healthy crops. That soil will develop beneficial fungi that will become suppliers of nutrients. Earthworms will aerate the substrate and produce bio humus. Green manures, bio-fertilizers and compost are able to replace the chemical additives, without harming flora and fauna.
Why is the ecosystem so important in permaculture?
The land has to favor not only crops but also the diversity of organisms. It is this biological aspect that is the most important. The more species of bacteria, fungi and invertebrates, the more stable the ecosystem. This, in turn, leads to a balanced substrate, as well as chances that one of the species will dominate the rest. Then the food chain becomes interrelated and is adequately set up for predators to avail of prey. Interspecific competition transforms the space in which organisms exist. They regulate their numbers themselves, fertilize the soil, turn plant remains into simple substances that are used by roots. These are just some of the benefits. It also happens that these organisms damage some plants to a small extent, but this is a small price to pay compared to the benefits.