One of the principles of permaculture is to observe. I believed that I spent a lot of time “observing” my plot. I spend a fair amount of time just walking or sitting in the garden drinking tea, looking at the plants, birds, animals and weather passing me by.
If there is one thing that the practical work on the Permaculture Design Course (PDC) has taught me, I look but I don’t necessarily see! The principle is not just about observing, it is about interacting. I have been seeing what happens in my garden but have not really been understanding what is going on and why, I have not seen the patterns and thought them through.I’m a bit like the pupils in class who learn but don’t understand.
Many permaculture articles that I have been reading recommend keeping a diary, something I have not been particularly good at though my partner is a lot better. I now can see why it would be so useful to do this. Today, I can remember what the weather has been like so far this year and I can begin to see how the plants in the garden have responded. But is this pattern always the same? A diary would help me to look back over the years and see the patterns emerging, especially as I grow older, balderer and more … uhmm … forgetful.
Last year my gooseberries were devastated by sawfly. This year I have been more proactive in dealing with them. What I would like to do is try companion planting to see if that has an effect. If I don’t observe, interact and keep a record I won’t remember the details and be able to see what has worked.
So, here is my new resolution, I am going to try and keep a diary, to observe and record what goes on in my garden, and to see if this can make a significant change to the way I design and interact with my garden.
Now, let’s get the kettle on and go for a bit more observing!