Home > Decent Democracy > Vol 1: On Decentralization > Permaculture

Permaculture

Permaculture combines permanent and culture to reference agricultural practices that are based on perennial plants, such as berry shrubs, vines and fruit trees.

A perennial plant is able to grow far deeper roots than a annual plant and is also in a far better position with respect to weeds as it’s already tall. With more mass and better nutrient absorption a perennial has more stored energy to fight diseases and pests and is more resilient to droughts and flooding. By already taking up more volume at the start of the growing season, a perennial better captures sunlight.

Perennials also protect the soil through more extensive root networks, taller wind breaking, as well as the simple reason that the soil beneath them does not need to be tilled (overturned and exposed to sun and wind) each year for perennials to grow. and lastly by providing better habitat for a more diverse and in-balance ecosystem.

The real question is not why perennials are so amazingly better than seasonal planting, but why our agriculture today is mostly seasonal planting.

The answer is that perennials require more care and human involvement and harvesting them is not so easily mechanized or chemically managed, and so if oil is cheap (and water access not yet a major problem) it is possible to reduce agricultural labour through oil based mechanization which is most efficiently done with tractors that can simply be driven (or today, drive themselves) around a field to till, plant, spray chemicals, harvest and process the plant matter. Seasonal plants are ideal for mechanization as there’s not problem driving over them.

 


copyright 2006 - 2020 Eerik Wissenz