The term permaculture combines two words- permanent and agriculture. The term itself is defining its real meaning. Permaculture is to develop a site until it meets the requirements of all its inhabitants, from food, shelter to entertainment. It is a garden which is designed to sustain natural growth of the ecosystem without the use of fertilizers or pesticides. It works on the principal of not damaging the ecosystem and Mother Nature in any way. These healthy gardens are often used to grow herbs/food and relatively need little care.
A permaculture garden is divided into different zones according to the amount of attention each area requires. The advantage of this technique is to save a lot of time and energy. The outline has been designed in a concentric circle around your house. Zone 0 is your house and they are numbered inside out. There are specifically defined borders. It is not mandatory to be a circular or rectangular shape. Here is a description of the design and how it works:
Permaculture Zone 0: This zone covers the indoor production and processing of food, water collection, waste, repairs and education.
Permaculture Zone 1: This is the outdoor and most visited areas of your garden. It is the area closest to your house needing regular attention. All those plants/foods/herbs such as daily used herbs, a lemon tree, salad vegetables, scented shrubs, vibrant flowers needing close observation are grown in this particular zone. All these categories need regular daily watering and other natural products in order to bloom. Let us take an example to clearly understand the idea behind this type of setting:
You planned everything to throw a dinner party and you arrived home late due to rain. All the guests have arrived. Your soup is ready but those little parsley leaves which you need to garnish are grown at the end of the muddy path right down the bottom of your garden. Will you care to go all the way down? This example simply defines why herbs like chives and parsley should be grown right on your doorstep. It should be easily accessible. So it’s time to give our herbs and vegetables the place they deserve- Right in the permaculture zone 1.
Permaculture Zone 2: This is a less intensive managed area than the Zone 1. This zone is completely irrigated. It comprises all those smaller fruit trees, shrubs, trellised fruits, ponds, hedges and a lot more which will do well even if they are not visited every day. It also includes herbs and spices which we don’t use on regular basis such as ginger, turmeric and a bay tree. Those herbs that re-seed on their own also belong to this zone. Vegetables like potatoes, cauliflowers, sweet corns and onions, which take longer to mature fall under this zone.
If you reside in a rural area and you have lot of land, you will be able to include the remaining zones.
Permaculture Zone 3: This is the occasionally visited zone. Mainly comprising of the seasonal wide ranging crops like wheat, corns, rice, pumpkin and bamboo. This zone is not required to be visited on a regular basis. It also features large fruit and nut trees.
Permaculture Zone 4: This zone features wild food gathering such as nuts, native fruits etc. wood for fuel and so on.
Permaculture Zone 5: This zone is a rarely visited area mainly of unmanaged bush. Though you already know from zones 3 to 5 are normally relevant to those people who have big chunk of lands. But zone 5 is an exception because you can have this zone even on a garden size bit of land to reduce catastrophes i.e. Fire, pollution, hurricane or drought.