Growing Inside a Polytunnel in a Permaculture Garden

Permaculture polytunnel

The Basics of a Permaculture Polytunnel:

Permaculture is a system that allows for food production in an environmentally friendly, ethical and sustainable way. Many people are learning that permaculture offers sensible solutions for organic gardening and for life. The good thing about permaculture is that it can be applied to all sorts of different gardens in a range of differing situations – including gardens inside greenhouses or polytunnels.

In permaculture, organic gardening is a given. If you are using chemical fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides, know that these have no place in a permaculture polytunnel. Often, a permaculture polytunnel is designed to minimise the amount of effort expended by the gardener and maximise the amount that the gardener can gain while they care for the planet and other people and return surplus back into the system.

Permaculture polytunnelPractices For a Permaculture Polytunnel:

A range of other basic organic gardening practices are common to permaculture polytunnels. These include:

  • Mulching and maintaining soil health, usually using a 'no dig' system.
  • Chopping and dropping to add organic matter to the soil.
  • Planting perennial plants and useful companion plants.
  • Creating mixed poly-cultures rather than mono-cultures throughout.
  • Maximising yield as much as possible within the given space.
  • Use of renewable resources... such as rainwater.
  • Maximizing 'edge' through optimal bed design.

Permaculture PolytunnelThese are just some of the practices that might be expected within a polytunnel that is being run keeping permaculture principles and design ideals in mind. Often, a permaculture polytunnel will look very different to a more traditional polytunnel, since they are more likely to contain at least some perennial plants and may not grow any annual crops (though of course they often do, as well). Where a permaculture polytunnel does grow annual crops, these are grown in polycultures with a range of other plants, creating a far wilder and less manicured look inside the polytunnel.

The Benefits of a Permaculture Polytunnel:

There are many benefits to the organic, permaculture polytunnel, both to the individual and to the planet. While any polytunnel will allow you to grow food over a longer season than you may otherwise be able to do, using permaculture techniques and practices in that polytunnel will allow you to ensure that you do so in a way that is sustainable over the longer term, giving some measure of food security and peace of mind. By caring for the soil and valuing and using renewable resources, you can limit the strain your household might otherwise place on our planet, reduce your carbon footprint and move towards an ethical future for all.