What I love about permaculture is the fact that it copies nature, its common sense and it saves on lots of needless labour” Say Mr Mavundle.
Today we had a fruitful lesson covering many different topics like companion planting, seasonal planting, rotation, how to look after our soils, making our own natural liquid fertilizer and designing our own Autumn garden plan.
After initially planting out some seedlings (Kale, cabbage, beetroot, onions, spinach and lettuce) in preparation for the cooling weather of Autumn, we went back to the classroom to learn about why we do what we do. At Water Explorers practice is always linked with theory and hopefully the children learned lots in a fun informative approach.
With 3 permaculture principals in mind 1. Earth Care 2. People Care 3. Fair Share we played games to demonstrate these ideas. The first game was called the Thirsty Farmer looking at the comparison between diversity through polyculture when compared to monoculture. Julia said, one system was more resilient and earth friend than another. The class was then divided into 2 teams, one team represented monoculture with lines after lines of mielies, the other permaculture with a collection of different plants and vegetables. After the first year, a swarm of locusts came to eat the mielies, the monoculture farm was left destitute, but the polyculture farmer still had plenty to eat despite his mielies being nabbed. The following year the monoculture farmer decided to kill off the locusts with pesticides, whilst it did assist, it also killed the helpful guys in the field like bees for pollination and earthworms for soil aeration and fertilization. Without the benefit of these ecological and life-promoting services, the monocultural farmer was no longer able to provide the necessary conditions for the growth of his mielies and darn his crop failed to prosper. This was a wonderful yet simplistic explanation that can be applied to all our interactions with nature. When we fail to look after nature, nature fails to look after us!!