- Permaculture ?-
Unfortunately for us today, there is a popular body of 'knowledge' that seems to have missed the basic premise of nature and has ceased to evolve as our research base and experience has grown.
Permaculture is certainly one of these ideas that, while it's begining in the 1960's, at the same time that the general idea of Ecological Management was becoming established and to be fair did create much popular support for the new science of Ecology at a tender time, was more of a philosophy than a science but with the clever use of pseudoscienctific catch phrases and descriptions, it developed over a short period into a marketable product that is still supported by many today.
There is certainly an element of responsible land management that is attached to the belief system but the real problem is that there is practically no evidence to suggest that it is anything but well intentioned vandalism of the earth with no regard for any form of recorded success that can be verified or indeed repeated.
When a claim is upheld by the statement of 'opinion' and the foundation is in philosophy, then naturally no progress with the argument can be made and there can be no winner.
If Permaculture was touted as an open source philosophy then I'm sure it would have obeyed natural laws and evolved into a useful tool on todays challenged earth.
My advice, when interested at looking toward adopting the philosophy is to look closely at the common sense behind it's claims.
As the growing science of Ecology started gathering more and more interest from a wide range of critical and scientific minds, the philosophy of Permaculture began to notice that where there was no scientific research for particular claims the gap could be filled by anecdotal claims and observations and, not only did the power of the anecdote suffice, but, my generation of New Age unqualified but passionate thinkers actually preferred it to hard data.<p> Some ideas and concepts were actually based in solid fact but were and are still so misapplied that it really doesn't matter. <br>There seems to be a standard that if some laws have been around long enough, well, they must be true, but in most cases that is simply not true. We now have a strong body of scientific data to use as a filter for these claims and, as an urban gardener, in any capacity, it is wise to use this growing resource. As I have mentioned in some of the articles on our new science based evidence, you must be careful to read clearly the intention of the abstract or research aim to make sure that you are comparing Apples and Apples.
Hügelkultur and Lasagna Gardening
These permaculture practices are two prime examples of 'what were they thinking?'
Hügelkultur simply means 'garden mound' but it's very basic nature is upside down.
There has never been any form of inscrutable evidence to support the idea and, it actually defies the common sense that the observation of any natural habitat will show. Over the last 3 million years nature has never dumped material to be composted in that order. Why would it change now?
Lasagna Gardening seems like a sound idea but, when you actually think about or, in my case try desperately to make it work, you realise that the basic idea of using cardboard to seperate the layers is bound for failure as we manufacture cardbord better than nature ever did and it will take decades to break down to a useable substance. Also, the problem of drainage, desication and the destruction of insect habitats ensures that you will never have the same useable product that exists in nature. Compost.