Episode Three: Let's Talk Permaculture

Diane loves it, and maybe you will too.

Jessica Coutinho Newey

3/16/20232 min read

a plant with green leaves
a plant with green leaves

Link to podcast: https://jesslcoutinho.podbean.com/e/episode-three-let-s-talk-about-permaculture/

Hello Hurricanes! Today, I wanted to talk more about permaculture. Renee's informative harangue covers the nitty-gritty of what homestead permaculture would look like. The Permaculture Research Institute says, "The philosophy behind permaculture is one of working with, rather than against, nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless action; of looking at systems in all their functions, rather than asking only one yield of them; and allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions." The main idea is to take settled areas and bring as much productive biodiversity into places that are settled by people or used for agriculture.

The way our factory farming agricultural systems work is solely focused on individual crops and maximizing yields. This monoculture is destructive to ecosystems, from clearing farmland to needing to use fertilizers that put the nutrients back into the soil that has been decimated by those very same single crops. Those fertilizers end up flooding the oceans with nutrients that change the biodiversity and impact fisheries. It's a lot like shooting yourself in the foot. This cascading effect of harm isn't just from factory farming practices but also from those homeowners who spray weed killer and fertilizers on their own monoculture lawns.

In permaculture, you would see elements like companion planting, rain collection, and chickens; even though Diane "doesn't do livestock," the use of chickens as a pest control and natural fertilization is pretty standard. And yes, the chicken poop is the fertilizer. Companion planting is something Renee brings up and this is a very ancient practice. For example, The Three Sisters is a name used by the Cherokee and Iroquois to describe the planting of corn, beans, and squash because they nurture each other when planted together. The corn was the main crop; the beans added nitrogen to fertilize the corn, the corn would act as a pole for the beans to grow, and squashes would shelter the soil around the plants and trap in moisture that the other two crops needed. Other examples are "word painted" by Diane and Renee both in different places throughout the play. When it comes to rain collection, there is some allusion to that when Renee discusses the slope of the hill in her yard. More generally, though, rainwater is collected using the slope of homeowners' roofs.

Other elements include the recycling of waste products. Like composting food scraps and leftover crops. Whether the use of raised hotbeds or worm boxes is utilized, it doesn't matter as long as there is a continued cycle of returning unused nutrients back into the soil to prevent the overuse of fertilizers. There's also "humanure," but that is a completely separate podcast and can be done incorrectly, leading to E-Coli in your salads, but it's really efficient for off-the-grid homesteading, which I can see in Pam's future if they can survive the apocalypse.

You all know you can direct any questions my way. And for more information, here are my sources:

Permaculture Research Institue https://www.permaculturenews.org/what-is-permaculture/

National Agriculture Library US Department of Agriculture https://www.nal.usda.gov/collections/stories/three-sisters#:~:text=and%20the%20Southeast.-,The%20Iroquois%20and%20the%20Cherokee%20called%20corn%2C%20bean%2C%20and%20squash,squash%20throughout%20of%20the%20field.

Links in the blog section of the website, and

Dr. Thomas's Marine Biology Class, which I highly recommend if you still need a lab science!

Until next time!