The design process was very interesting. We began to generate the cards, which consisted of the elements that were already on the site as well as newer element that the client desired. As we began to place the cards on our base map, we were able to see patterns and relationships develop between elements already existing on the site as well as newer ones. We had re-arranged the cards many times to setup the best scenario by integrating what we have learnt in class. While moving the cards we see more clearly how the permaculture principles were able to fit into our design. As we continued to move around the cards, our relationships between the elements and the functions were strengthened. We were now getting the hang of the permaculture principles at use. I had many “aha” experiences with seeing the striking relationships between elements, the form, and their function.
For example, we placed the vegetable garden, green house and compost in relative location to each other. If we need compost for the garden and green house it is nearby as when we weed the garden the compost pile in nearby. The chickens are also in relative location to the garden and green house to provide manure and assist in weeding. These are the principles of biological use of resources, and nutrient cycling.
We have also made use of micro-climates on the south and west wall, as well as created more micro-climates. For example we placed a trellis system, of beans, peas and squash on the south side to allow for shade for other cooler plants that require less sun hours. Since there is a disease on some of the ash bore trees- we looked at this as a solution rather than a problem; by using succession planting under these trees. Another “problem is a solution” was the flooding on the north side of the property during heavy rains. Instead of digging trenches to diver water flow we designed a rain garden, which will enhance the diversity of plant species and create another micro-climate.
Once we decided on the most integrated design, in terms of fulfilling all the principles of permaculture we decided to looking even deeper in various types of species native to the area, and using companion planting techniques. Choosing plants was exciting, as we had variety of native plants in Iowa that all had amazing characteristics.
The entire process for me was the most exciting exercise so far in the course, as it allowed me to express the knowledge learnt in this class, as well as to see how these principles fit together and complement each other in a real life situation.