In the Garden
Cities certainly present the greatest challenges to permaculture designers. As we move out
to the suburbs and the country the potential is greater, as most things which can be done in
the cities can be done there too, and there is the added potential of bigger gardens.
Perhaps the most valuable principle used in designing a permaculture garden is that of
'zoning'. It says that things which need the most attention should be placed nearest to the
centre of human activity.
How often have you seen a garden where the flowerbeds are placed near the house and
the vegetables tucked away behind a hedge as far from the house as possible? This is pretty
typical. Yet there is no truer saying than 'the best fertiliser is the gardener's shadow'. Veget-
ables grow better where you see them every day and give them the attention they need when
they need it. Weeds get pulled before they start to seriously compete with the vegetables;
watering gets done before the plants start to wilt.
Also, you eat more of what you grow when you can easily inspect what is ripe from day
to day. It is a sad fact that every year masses of vegetables are grown and then left to rot in
the garden simply because they were grown out of sight. Sometimes this is because no-one
has visited the garden for a few days, so it is not known that such-and-such a vegetable is
ready in quantity. At other times, you know what is there and want to cook it, but it is rain-
ing, the kids are yelling, you are behind with the cooking and the last thing you need is a
trek to the bottom of the garden. A quick nip out of the back door would be quite another
The most productive area of any back garden is that which can be seen from the kitchen
window. The most effective way to boost the productivity of any garden is to move the ve-