Little goes a long way
One tiny change can be a fun way to reduce waste, provide food, and connect with nature. Small solutions may appear to be whimsical yet they are inherently robust when well-designed. These tiny designs have the capacity to give you the tools, skills and understanding to make a lasting change. Starting small and feeling successful is a critical step in building resilience.
Observe and Interact
One of the core principles of permaculture is to turn the ‘problem into the solution’. For us there are some persistent little challenges. One of the greatest challenges is the bird-life. We love being close to nature but we also want to grow some food for ourselves. Generations of wild-life enjoy easy pickings from our permaculture garden. With good design tools we out-smart them. We get to benefit from their manure and let them eat the foods that grow outside the cages.
Whimsical World of Waste-Not
Boundaries and constraints often give rise to creativity. For years, we have used re-purposed bird-cages to protect delicate plants. In the intensive-care corner of the garden we often made wicking pots to nurture young rare plants.
In a whimsical moment recently we wondered: what it look like if we bundled these powerful features?
So, we made some wicking beds inside the bird-cage. The tray is the water reservoir, the base holds our bio-char and compost which we mounded in the middle to increase surface area. (In a miniature way that Emile Hazelip used mounds to great effect.) Small gardens can be highly intensive. If you find a weed you have simply found a wasted space.
The cage acts two ways: as a support for young shoots and protection from wildlife . You can even use it as support for a cover if you wish to convert the whole thing into a tiny greenhouse. This concept of multiple-uses is another principle of permaculture.
New plants, like ginger, grow from selected green buds on fresh pieces at the grocery store. Set them to sprout in a warm place like a bathroom or kitchen window. The effort we spend in observing and caring for their development is well rewarded. We see the true value of the foods that we love.
Sprouts and Micro-greens are small but powerful
High levels of nutrition in a small space with little effort comes from sprouts and micro-greens. Within days, you have fresh food ready to eat raw or cooked. This food can be grown inside, even during winter. As long as they do not get too cold over night and are rinsed in luke-warm water each day, they supply nutritious fresh food.
Balconies all around the world connect people with the outside world. Imagine if these balconies grew some of their favourite foods, gave them more privacy and a mini sanctuary. What joy they would find in their tiny food forest.
If you want to learn more about Balcony design, tiny bird-house gardens, bio-char, wicking or Permaculture living you can join a workshop, sign up as a hybrid student (online and on-site) or enrol with us online. Drop us a line.