This is Mamma Gori’s small Permaculture home garden established to provide vegetables, herbs and some fruits for her family and friends.
This project entails an ongoing teaching and empowerment of Permaculture design principles to my Mom for the establishment of her garden and advice on her outreach projects, and in return, I learn the finesse of Permaculture gardening from my Mom as she applies the finer aspects of these principles.
This an ongoing design process with continuous refinement and learning experiences. The design process has evolved from teacher to pupil, pupil to teacher, and, co-creation, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 - Design Process
As background, my Mom has been my best Permaculture pupil and also my best practical teacher. My Mom has always been a very keen gardener, but after several years of inactivity, and, a newfound interest in healthy organic produce, she decided to establish a vegetable garden. At this point, I started explaining the basic process of sheet mulching, composting, companion planting, maximizing edge zones, and, windbreaks. After some initial scepticism at not needing to dig up the lawn, but trusting this Permaculture advice, the garden was established and continues to be enhanced with the introduction of windbreaks, effective micro-organisms (EM), vermiculture and more plant guilds. Mom’s Garden has become a work of art and even the mulching and vetiver grass wind break, which she considered as “untidy”, is now an artistic component of the garden.
At no stage have I interfered with her creative design process, but have rather stood back and shown examples of patterns, guilds, windbreaks, etc., for her to glean from. Moreover, the vegetables and herbs from Mom’s Garden make for the most loving and nourishing salads to be eaten. She has become a local Permaculture legend in the making.
This is an evolving Permaculture garden with continuous refinement, learning and producer of healthy organic vegetables. However, there are still some “improvements” that can be made to Mom’s garden, and in time, these will be discussed when she is ready to accept them. To this end, the next accepted improvements will be a grey water system and some rainwater tanks, but, their design is still being worked out. A much longer term plan will be to gravitate towards a food forest, but there is a problem with monkeys, who have already made inroads into her garden. However, she has already started “talking” to them, and in time, who knows what positive and co-creative agreements may be struck. Incidentally, one of the contributions by monkeys is the manner in which they spread seeds, hence their usefulness in spreading food forests.
My Mom and I have both learnt a tremendous amount from each other during the years that this garden has evolved. I have learnt how to patiently articulate the broader Permaculture design principles and framework, whilst she has created the Permaculture finesse in the work of art that has become her garden and given her so much joy in life.
Mom’s Permaculture Garden has now become a well known local institution and is a source of inspiration for her family, friends, neighbours, the school across the road, the local Women’s Institute, and, others who come to know her work. She will always take time to give a guided walk through her garden and patiently explain the nutritional benefits of various herbs and vegetables. Visitors will always leave with some of her vegetables and a packet of starter seeds for their own garden.
Mom regularly harvests seeds from her garden, and elsewhere, and makes up a Permaculture smorgasbord seed pack that she gives away to enthusiasts who can then get started with a small 4m2 vegetable garden of their own. Mom has also taken to some guerrilla gardening tactics along the town verges.
Mom’s Permaculture expertise is now well known and she has been drafted into a nearby community development project, established by Morag Leiper, wherein she led the implementation of a Permaculture garden. For more information on this project visit www.energymedicinefoundation.co.uk/AmandaweCommunityCentre.aspx