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Setting Up A Permaculture Farm, Garden On Your Own

Setting Up A Permaculture Farm, Garden On Your Own

Setting up a Permaculture farm on your own

Understanding your locality:

The main factor for agriculture is climate and is responsible for every aspect of the farm which you want to create. Wind, temperature, humidity are the main things you need to consider before starting a permaculture farm.

Geography is another factor for the farm which has to be considered as it determines the locality of the farm, including its shape and form along with the rocks which are underlying and also the chances of a market.

You need to study the details about the location and the climatic conditions and gather all the information related to the history of the location. This would help you to create a completely new data which involves all your observations. You can also use maps in order to depict your property and that can be done as below:

  • Google earth can be used for getting a screenshot of your property as it would give the images of your property with high quality.
  • After this, you need to set up the boundaries of your property and prepare a boundary map.
  • You can also get a topographic map which would help you in analyzing the landform and create plans.

Development of Water supply:

Water and rainfall are two factors which will determine the development of your farm. Harvest, storing and water distribution will help to form the foundation on which you will construct because the water lines such as swales, terraces, diversions, dams, etc. are the ones which would become land features which are permanent so that other companies of infrastructure will follow the same. At the time of development of water systems, you have to keep in mind the storage, reticulation of the water which is available and harvesting.

  • Storing water
    • Prior to the development of storage of water, you need to think about your requirements and also research about the amount of water you will need in order to sustain the crops, livestock and also yourself.
    • For this, a calculation must be done about the area of catchment for the determination of the volume of water available for your farm in order to receive in the form of rain to make sure that the planning is going in a correct way.
    • The main formula you need to keep in mind is 1 mm of rainfall on 1 sq mt of land will be equal to 1 liter of water.
    • It is very much better to place your ponds at the top of the landscape. For this, you can make use of the topographic maps to point the perfect location for the storage of water.
    • After this, you can make use of that water for the purpose of irrigation whenever you want. The pipes which are made of plastic are the ones which will efficiently deliver water and also store water in the tank which is placed at an elevated level.
    • After that, it is transferred to the place where it needs gravity, mainly at summers or dry seasons.
  • Harvesting of water
    • After the storage of water is done and ready, you need to concentrate on the development and expansion of the harvesting methods of water.
    • Wells which hold water can tap into the aquifers which are located underground.
    • Before you go much deeper, you can make use of the flows of the surface streams and runoff of rainwater in order to fill the storage.
    • Capturing of water can also be done with the drains which carry water harvesting and these will help by diverting the runoff, flow of the stream or the water which is pumped into your ponds and after that, they move into tanks.
    • Ditches or swales will also help in overflowing the water into the ponds. Once the installation is done, your roads will become an efficient system of water harvesting.
  • Water Reticulation
    • Your aim should be to slow down the rainfall, sink it and spread it across the landscape in an even manner. This can be done by the usage of Keyline cultivation, a cultivation pattern which is unique and is a water line which is artificial.
    • These help in capturing water, which will then gradually undergoes infiltration and the, as a result, the landscape would be hydrated.
    • Irrigation which is gravity-powered can also be used for the release of water which is stored in ponds and tanks whenever required.
    • Ridges are the best place to keep your irrigation reticulation pipes as you will have a chance to achieve coverage to the maximum of the foothills.
    • After the establishment of irrigation is done, elements such as trees, fencing will follow.

Read: Small Scale Fish Farming Business Plan; Pond Design.

Defining the access points:

  • After developing water supply, you need to start developing access roads, paths, tracks which act as permanent features of the landscape and these are the ones which are very important mainly at the starting of the process. The locations where the access points should be placed will be defining your movement in and around the farm.
  • Access point location will be most influenced by climate, the shape of the land and the supply of water which you developed in the second step.
  • On the slopes which are gentle. It is subjective to locate the farm roads which are permanent. When you get into steeper terrain, the farm road siting will be completely dependent on the shape of the land and climatic conditions.
  • Ridge crests are the best place to locate the main road as they divide watersheds. The main roads which are located on ridge crests will be elevated and dry and moreover, it is easy to maintain them.
  • Few potential locations of the road will be along the boundary lines and by channels of water, such as channels of diversion, irrigation etc.
  • Drainage pattern which has occurred naturally will be changed by farm roads and they also work as hard surface runoff. You will have to locate the roads on the contour for the prevention of soil erosion and runoff concentration.
  • Restoring the building which already exists and an introduction of new structures:
  • After providing access roads, it is time to deal with the building placements and a few other new structures. In most of the scenarios, you will have a shed and a yard. So you will need to retrofit and get them adapted to your requirements.
  • You need to always take care of what you are starting with and then start restoring whatever you can and then continue with the introduction of new structures into the system.
  • You can start working from your house and gradually move outdoors. While working in the house, you need to take care of the renovation first and greenhouse should be placed as an extension. After this, the introduction of the nursery of plants can be done and it can be kept on expanding.
  • At the time of introduction of new structures, the placement of those houses should be following the aspects which are mentioned at the starting regarding the keyline scale as these have already done the indication of the places which are suitable to construct the farmhouses permanently.
  • Determination of the supply of water is related to the shape of the land and climatic conditions.
  • The roads on the farm will be guided by the water supply position. All these things will be helping you in disclosing the locations which are suitable for the structure of your farm, building or any other aspects.
  • By keeping this in mind, there should not be any overexposure of your buildings and there should be better access to solar energy. They should also be protected from the winds mainly on the slopes.
  • If you are constructing the sheds of the buildings or any other new structures, you need to concentrate on their positioning by placing them higher than the house so that you can utilize the water coming from their water tanks for a water source which is gravity-fed.
  • Another important factor here to be considered is you will be needing more energy levels in this particular stage. Hence, you need to generate and store energy.
  • Each and every household will require energy for heat, power and hot water in order to maintain a standard living. So you will have to introduce some structures which would produce energy or any structures for harvesting to meet those requirements.

Development of fences to divide the farm internally:

  • Fences are the ones which can be considered as infrastructure, but these will not be a permanent part of the farm as the other components of infrastructure.
  • Though they are fixed in the later stage in terms of permanence, if you have clarity regarding where they need to go, it is the right stage to go for fencing which is a fixed and permanent one.
  • Fencing which is a mobile and flexible one can be taken into consideration later, after the introduction of animals into the system.
  • You need to be adaptable to explore several opportunities as they come across. For now, you need to consider the fences which would be permanent in your farm, including the boundaries which will also be permanently planted, like hedges and living fences.
  • The simplest way for dividing your farm internally is to work according to the infrastructure elements which are permanent. All such types of aspects are the indication of subdivision pattern.
  • The main fences will be associated closely with the farm roads and follow the same pattern as the roads follow by enclosing the areas of planting and paddocks. The zones of the farm offer guidance in the subdivision of your farm.

Improvement of soil:

  • Though the soil is the factor which can be considered at least in terms of permanence as it taking into consideration the fact that any poor soil can be made fertile, it is the main factor which is considered in the development of agriculture.
  • Due to this reason, at the time of development of the farm, you need to build your soil as fast as possible.
  • The main agenda is the improvement of the soil fertility so that it can provide benefits to the maximum during the first plantation.
  • Few techniques which are quite simple can be used in order to build the soil and you can start conditioning the soil in the stage of infrastructure.


    This includes Keyline ploughing, control of soil erosion, mulching and using bio-fertilizers and compost teas.
  • This is the step which is required before plantation as this will help in the improvement of growth of plants.
  • After the introduction of grazing practices which are good, the transformation of subsoil into topsoil can be done very quickly than usual and with this, the fertility of soil can be improved by using less energy.
  • Life of soil needs air, minerals, water, biology, which is living inside and outside the soil. The creation of these conditions will lead to the response of life of the soil and will begin the creation of humus.

Plantation of crops and also trees:

  • This is the stage where the establishment of main systems is done along with the planting. The tasks include pastures, market gardens, orchards, woodlots etc.
  • In most of the scenarios, you need to start with the establishment of windbreaks in order to protect the plantings.
  • Once this is ready, you can begin the plantation of trees, crops which are woody, annual plants and also the perennial ones.
  • By doing this, you can completely focus on the establishment of pastures and lands for annual plants before the plantation of systems which are tree-based. This will help you by providing an income source and a very fast return on investment in terms of both expenses and time.
  • When coming to the plantation of trees, the pattern should be dependent on the shape of the land. To take an example, in the scenario of the Keyline plan, farm forests are slopes which will follow the patterns of harvesting of water and also channels for distribution along with the roads which will also be determined by the shape of the land.
  • To tell shortly, the density of the tree which is desired will determine the type of tree-based system you need to adopt. Food forests will be dense, whereas the savannahs will be open and for each system, you will have to follow an approach which is different.

Introduction of animals in the landscape:

  • Animals are the essential part of the entire enterprise of agriculture and they form the ecology which is regenerative.
  • They are very important for the perennial system to get matured as none of the ecosystems will be complete and reach its complete potential without animals in it.
  • If you want the progression to be natural, then the introduction of animals should be done once the establishment of seeding trees is completed. Otherwise, the introduction of animals can also be done along with the plants, but it adds some risk to your money.
  • To start the introduction of animals, the animals you need to consider should be chicken and pigs. This is because they are easy to maintain and there would be quick cash flow.
  • Moreover, they are omnivorous which gives you many options for feeding. If you have fencing which is temporary, there would be flexibility to move them so that there would be protection for your trees and also plants.
  • The introduction of herbivores which are big can be done later. If you are following good practices of grazing such as grazing which is planned, there would be a very good increase in the fertility of the soil.
  • If the livestock and the living soil are maintained in a proper way, the cycle can be completed and can help in the transformation of subsoil to topsoil permanently.

Developing the economy of the farm:

  • When the farm is completely done and the time has come up to deal with the aspects of finance and also for the expansion in your neighborhood, you need to make your farm sustainable in terms of finance.
  • Attaining sustainability in terms of finance is completely dependent on your capability of creating a narration of your farm.
  • Your main aim has to be the development of personal relationships with the customers who would probably be coming from your neighboring areas. This is not that easy to do.
  • You need to make use of free and simple techniques of marketing such as social media to make these connections.
  • By increasing the contacts and the relationships with them, by producing the products which are needed by the consumer and by delivering it perfectly, you can make your farm sustainable.
  • These days, there are dynamic markets, which are changing in a constant manner and also getting evolved with time. The happy news is that you can access the markets and also read the analysis of the market by using the internet and a smartphone.
  • You can also start an e-commerce site which would bring a very big change in terms of selling your products.

Read: Lemongrass Cultivation Information Guide.

Last Updated: February 22, 2019
Author: Jagdish

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