Wednesday, 17 August 2011

First steps towards permaculture

Lots of people I like are very interested in permaculture. This seems like a good reason to learn more about it. So at the Harlequin Fayre this weekend, I went along to Brenna's talk 'an introduction to permaculture'.

The thing which stood out the most for me was the principle of 'accepting feedback'- not something that as a person I'm very good at, in all honesty. But maybe, if it came from plants, I could learn to handle it.

I grow lots and lots of chillies- mostly because I like to eat lots and lots of chillies- but also because they fit on a windowsill reasonably well (but not these aja ones I'm trying this year- a book Tierney lent me has informed me they grow to 1.5 metres tall).

Sadly, I then end up growing lots and lots of greenfly. Earlier in the year I tried the old squirting them with washing up liquid trick- but all my chillies curled up their leaves and looked very sad. Even before my introduction to permaculture, I listened enough to my plants not to repeat that one.

My mum's response to greenflies has always been to put said houseplant out in the garden and see if it survives. If it does, generally being outside has done the trick and the greenflies are no more. I don't know if they are eaten by predators, or they fly away, or if just living outside is a bit harder for them. I expect it's a combination of lots of factors ('integrate, don't segregate').

So now my windowsills are very bare, and my doorstep is rather over-populated. Let's see what happens. With any luck, I'll be able to obtain a yield.

Those 12 principals of permaculture in full:

Observe and Interact
Catch and Store Energy
Obtain a yield
Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback
Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services
Produce No Waste
Design From Patterns to Details
Integrate Rather Than Segregate
Use Small and Slow Solutions
Use and Value Diversity
Use Edges and Value the Marginal
Creatively Use and Respond to Change

And the chillies in that picture are: Biala Shipka, Lemon Drop (aja), Purple Venezualan, Ring of Fire, Iranian Round and another I've forgotten the name of!

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