Monday, 25 July 2011

Part 1 of 3: Earth Care

The first main principle of permaculture is Earth Care.
In essence, this principle implies that humans are not inherently destructive to the Earth, we can be mechanisms of repair if given the proper knowledge. One of the easiest things we can do in a city situation is to remove our role as a grass farmer and use that space to grow our own organic food. Here is a great article about lawns from my friends at Verge Permaculture: The Grass Isn't Greener.

In our zone 2 climate, it is challenging to grow melons, hot peppers, and okra. However, we can quite easily grow lettuce, beets, carrots, peas, beans, squash, cucumbers, onion, garlic, strawberries, raspberries, apple trees.... and the list goes on. We can grow more edible plants than most people think! It is important to select varieties of seeds for this climate carefully, as some are better than others. Try to save your own seed from successful plants or barter for some from a friend.

Another easy thing to do to aid in Earth Care is to compost. Composting can be done on all sorts of scales in many different ways, but they all need similar materials: browns (carbon) and greens (nitrogen). Here is a good source for more details on composting.

If you do not have space or ability to start a compost pile, you can vermicompost in your home or apartment with worms. Not only is it a great activity for children to be involved with, it can be maintained with minimal effort. Here is where I get my worms and info from: Worms @ Work and "Worms Eat My Garbage" by Mary Applehof. We have maintained our worm bin for over 2 years, feeding them every other week, without so much as a hint of smell from the bin. Give it a try!

When you are working on a project around your yard or home, think about if you can source the materials you need second hand via Kijiji, bartering with a friend, or check out ReStore. Do you really need to remove your bathroom cabinets, or could you refinish them? Instead of buying new wood to build a raised bed, could you find some pieces that someone is giving away for free or low cost to avoid them being dumped in the landfill. Many construction sites around town now have debris recycling bags that can often be a source of good pieces of wood or other materials.

In summary of Earth Care:
1. Stop being a grass farmer and turn your lawn into a food productive space
2. Plant seeds that are well adapted for your particular climate and growing season
3. Compost
4. Reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose

Next topic: People Care

No comments:

Post a Comment