#Permaculture: 3x the top 3 #sustainable #ecosystem #iOPENER

Elements for success

There are a few elements that ensure permaculture is achieved successfully.


The point of permaculture is to optimize the ecosystem for the best yield possible, done using only natural methods. This is creating abundance in a closed-loop cycle, so, a system that sustains itself. The following principles are being applied:

Permaculture basic principles

  1. Good for the earth

  2. Good for humans

  3. Share fairly (take only that what is necessary and leave plenty of space for nature to do her thing)


To sustain an ecosystem, sun, wind, and fresh water are required. The sun is the main element, which also causes water cycles and wind flows.

A permaculture area is being planted with these main factors in mind:

  1. Sun

  2. Wind

  3. Fresh water


Dependant on where the perma-garden or food forest is going to be, the trees, shrubs etc. will be placed strategically.

So, where is the sun, from which angle does the wind blow, and are there water resources around?!

Sun circle techniques:

  1. Sun circle

  2. Airtight sun circle with fruit

  3. Sun circle with water resevoir design

Sun Circle

You choose a sun circle technique if sunlight is limited.

In this example:

Here you see five big fruit trees in a semi circle facing south.This way, they will collect is much possible sunlight without competing with each other for the light. Also four berry bushes are placed on the south side in between the trees.

On the north side are eight more fruit bushes. This ensures a tight sun circle while all still have the ability to catch quite a bit of light.

Furthermore, the water in the middle generates extra light for the plants in the circle, because of the reflection of the sun on the water surface.

On top of that, the pond supplies water and serves as habitat for frogs and salamanders. They keep the different insect populations under control.

When the weather is nice, because of the protection of the trees, the pond is also ideal for humans to swim in. And that is the essence of permaculture: because of its smart design both nature and humans can benefit.

Airtight sun circle with fruit

When you want to keep out colder winds from the north and east, you choose an airtight sun circle technique.

In this example:

Instead of water in the middle, this design is chosen for fertile soil.

Besides keeping out the winds from the north and the east, the wind from the west is also being kept out pretty good in this design. Because the sunlight is being collected optimally, and the wind is being kept out, you create a no-wind zone in the middle where the sun is abundant.

This microclimate is extra warm and favourable for plants who can benefit from it. This place is ideal for plants who enjoy much direct sun, like pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes etc. Of course you could reverse the circle as well to create a centre with much shadow. So, in Spain and Asia you would rather choose a reversed sun circle.

You can also save a lot of energie in your house by placing a solid windscreen of plants around it. This is because the wind is less effective in collecting the warmth, then, which means it remains and thus, your house will need less warming up. If you would make such a windscreen of walnut trees, chestnuts of hazelnut trees, in the fall, you’d also be enjoying the harvest from it.  Again, situation where a smart system ensure multiple benefits.

Sun circle with water reservoir design

When water is limited, you choose a water reservoir design technique.

In this example:

This last example focuses on a system that is as efficient as possible with the use of water. First of, there are bends in the river. Such a bendy river/water gutter is also called swale in permaculture terms.

Water flows less fast through these swales which allows more water to be absorbed into the bottom. (Swales are being dug on the same altitude line on hills so that the running water from the mountain is being collected and gets absorbed into the bottom. Without swales, the water often runs fast and because of that, will carry quite a bit of soil with it on the way down.)

Furthermore, the trees in this design are placed in between the sun and the river. This ensure that, from sunrise till sunset, the river has shade. This causes the water to evaporate less fast.

It would also be possible to place bushes alongside the river, causing the wind to be less influential and thus, even less water will evaporate.

This design is being used in many countries where the availability of water is limited. Using water as efficiently as possible, is also called harvesting in permaculture.

[Source: Zonnecirkel technieken Permacultuur Nederland]

Which sun circle technique is most suitable for you?

This is the beginning in achieving a successful perma-garden of food forest!

If you can’t figure it out, ask the Moestuinman, they can advise you, for sure!

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