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Permaculture - Produce no Waste - with Linda from Greenhaven

Linda from Greenhaven shares her take on the permaculture principle "Produce no Waste".  Linda has a wonderful blog about her garden, chickens, fermenting, and more recently, homeschooling her kids, but my favourite post is her permie poem...  

If you would like to write a quest post about Permaculture, please send me an email at eight.acres.liz at gmail dot com.

The last guest post was Chris from Living at Gully Grove.

Here's what Linda has to say about Produce no Waste:

If you are new to permaculture, let me tell you that it is a design system which makes sense. A way to live which works in a fair, connected and thoughtful way. (Thoughtful of people and the world in which we live.

It has twelve principles which inter-relate to create a true synergy and can be applied to many different areas of life. While I have chosen to talk about principle six, throughout this post I will incidentally speak about many of the principles. To save me repeating myself over and over I will put the introduced principles in parentheses so that you can look them up yourself. I am no expert on permaculture, I just love learning about, and using it.

When Liz asked me to write a post about a permaculture principle of my choosing, I immediately knew which one I would choose. Permaculture Principle Six - Produce No Waste. I have always been frugal, recycled, reused etc. and, as a child, I loved my Nana's frequent saying of 'Waste not, want not'! Waste. It's an offensive word, isn't it? It brings to mind greed and indulgence and carelessness.

So how does this family work to achieve our goal of producing no waste? Well the most obvious way is by gardening. [3], [5] By growing our own food, we are reducing packaging. We put our garden waste into the compost, not the bin. And the compost goes back into the garden to improve the soil. (Hmmm. Can you see the synergy?) Or we feed scraps to the chooks, they eat them and give us eggs and occasionally meat. [3], [5]

Taking that a step further, we are creating a new orchard on a hill. This orchard will have a chook yard at the top. Their shed will catch water [2] which will water the fruit trees by the gravity provided by the slope [2], [5]. The nutrients from the chook manure will run down the hill as well.

We cook most of our own food from scratch, again to reduce the rubbish created from packaging.

We buy from op shops wherever possible or just don't buy in the first place if the item isn't really needed. [4]

We repurpose stuff all the time. When we look at a piece of junk, we don't see junk. Without even trying, we see alternative uses for things. I'm ashamed to admit it but we even covet other people's rubbish - especially pallets and bathtubs. Oh the things you can do with a pallet or a tub!!!

I have a wonderful potting table that hubby made me from pallets. He also made my son a kid sized work bench from old pallets.

I have a worm farm created from two old molasses buckets. It sits on recycled pallets and is surrounded by reused containers that are filled with compost, sand etc., that are used for potting medium.

Hubby made a laying box completely from junk including the closing latch which was made from an old trampoline spring. I love it!

We purchased a second hand olive barrel from which Hubby made a gravity fed watering system for the chook shed. As you may be beginning to realise, Hubby is the creator of all things good at our place. I do the garden and keep our systems running on a day to day basis.

Empty champagne and wine bottles become cordial, sauce and home brewed beer bottles. Jars are saved to store rubber bands and string or they hold the many buttons that I collect from clothes that are too worn out to go to the op shop. Or the jars are used for jam or storing honey.

Mismatched crockery is proudly offered to guests in our home. It is just as functional as a new set!! If you've been here and been served from the matching floral set then know that you must have come for a special occasion! That's when I bring out the fancy, op shopped matching set!! Though we often don't have quite enough to go around so out come the mismatched ones too. Lol!

We use the resources that are available to us. We have heaps of rocks on our property so our garden beds are built with rocks. When we slash long grass we use it for mulch. The other permaculture principles come into play with placement of systems on our property. Where the garden/orchard/chooks should be. With being aware of what is happening [1] and deciding what isn't working [4] and making changes accordingly [12]. I could continue talking all day. I mean, gee, I haven't even mentioned the permaculture ethics. There are only three and they are so simple but cover it all. Care for the Earth, care of the people and fair share. If everyone followed these three ethics our world would be an amazing place!

So you get the idea. We don't buy stuff for the sake of buying. We think things through.

We certainly are not at the point where we are producing NO waste. It's quite frustrating in fact! We still have heaps of junk. Maybe it's due to that tendency to hoard everything in case it becomes useful one day. But when I focus on the changes we have made so far, we are well on our way. And permaculture is the bees knees!!!

As you can see Permaculture is not hard or complicated. If you are interested in becoming involved my suggestion would be to find a good book on the subject and take it from there. A good basic understanding of how permaculture works and uses integrated systems will make it easier to set up your systems the right way the first time. Actually, if you can afford the time and funds, find a good permaculture design course and DO IT!!! You won't regret it. I found my course absolutely life changing! Permaculture has given us focus and confidence to move ahead knowing that there are ways we can easily improve the environment and the society in which we live.

The twelve principles can be found here as can the ethics.

Feel free to contact me at or visit my blog or face book page if you want to ask me any questions.

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