It’s easy to think of permaculture as a sustainable lifestyle, but it’s really based on ethics— and it applies to much more than just gardening.
Permaculture is a term that is not always understood— is it organic gardening, or something different? This spring, local permaculture designers and teachers Jessi Bloom and Dave Boehnlein have published a book that answers the question with 336 pages of insight, inspiration, and practical application. We recently spoke with Bloom about using permaculture to live a more sustainable life.
How would you describe permaculture?
Can you give examples of how permaculture works in the garden?
What is the first thing people could do to better their gardens, according to permaculture?
What are some other easy ways to use permaculture in the garden?
Focus on perennial food plants instead of annuals—all the cane berries, asparagus, fruit trees, shrubs, grapes, artichokes. We have so many berries to choose from in the Northwest. Consider native perennials like salmonberry and huckleberry.
What are the unexpected benefits of permaculture?
Another benefit is savings. I just moved away from a permaculture homestead I had been developing for fifteen years to a new place and don’t have a garden yet. I’ve had to buy my produce—things I would normally grow—and I’m shocked at how expensive it is!
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get started with permaculture?
There’s such a vast amount of information—there’s no way to digest it all in one book or one course. But one of the principles in permaculture is to start small. Find a way that is seasonally appropriate and affordable. Don’t get overwhelmed. Do it in bite-sized pieces. It’s a lifetime of learning
Jessi Bloom is an award-winning landscape designer, owner of N.W. Bloom, and author of Free-Range Chicken Gardens.