key functions systems elements

” An exuberantly healthy soil is the cornerstone of a sustainable garden. The virtues bestowed by a living, fertile soil are legion. When we pack the growing earth with organic matter, via thick mulch, self-renewing roots and buried debris, we’re beckoning the industrious workers of the soil. Worms, tiny beetles and mites, bacteria, fungi, and a host of other helpers arrive to feast on the offerings and on each other. They churn and tunnel and munch and spawn, chiseling minerals from rock and humus, all the while loosing a veritable avalanche of fertility to be shared with plants. The plants themselves shelter, feed and are nourished and protected by whole communities of soil life in a mutually beneficial partnership. A vast commerce of shuttling minerals, sugars, acids, antibiotics, hormones and all the molecules of life connect this thousand-specied hive together. For the price of a little mulch and a bit of care, rich and extravagant empires that will funnel their wealth upward to plants and in turn to insects, to birds, to all wildlife, and to people as well.”

Tony Hemenway, Gaia’s Garden, p95

After reading the highly inspirational and informative book, Gaia’s Garden by Tony Hemenway, I realised that earth care is the key function of any garden, supporting all life from soil to plant to animal and human. Our vision for the garden was entirely dependant on how we care for the needs of the land. Thus the key functions of soil building, harvesting and recycling resources and building connections between all the kingdoms of nature became the three main aims for the garden. The benefits would then abound: a deeper understanding and connection with the land, satisfaction in caring for the earth, rewards of a bountiful harvest, pleasure in the beauty and wonder of nature. These key functions fulfill the ethics of permaculture as well as the principles.