Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Permaculture Veggie Patch Plan!

Say that five times fast!

This is a combination of two ideas I've come across in the last couple years. The one idea was a hexagonal shaped veggie garden with dug out clover shaped beds. The idea behind digging out the beds is so that you remove all large rocks and stones from the soil and mix that soil with compost, then loosely replace that soil. This creates an easy substrate for roots to grow in and increases productivity. Once refilled you NEVER stand there again and the clover shaped design allows you to reach any part of the bed easily. This idea of digging out and never standing on the bed I read about in the New Self Sufficient Gardener by John Seymour. It was referred to in there as 'the deep bed method' but has some other names.The hexagonal clover design was shown to me by a gentleman who works for the South African prison service in South Africa. They have a social development program where they show NGO's and schools and places this idea. Big Up!

The design of each clover shaped bed is achieved by placing three plastic rings (1m in diameter made from 3 meter pieces of 20mm or so plastic piping.) next to each other in one pie slice of the hexagon. Where the circles join you also break that away making one bed. This is dug to a depth of about 40 - 60 cm. Then a capsule, for watering, with perforated sides is placed in the middle of each circle so there are 3 capsules per bed.The original design used 2 litre coke bottles but I've made mine out of 110 mm drainage pipe about 60 cm long that hold around 5 litres

 They say using this method and mulching you only need to water once a week! I have yet to confirm that but if it's true you could run an entire system, like I'm about to describe, for a whole year on water you can easily catch from rainwater harvesting off your roof!
This is the basic layout of each group of beds.
The watering capsules are placed in each circle.
(The circle should be joined but I couldn't make that happen in word :o)

The next and most important part of the plan I got from The Permaculture Home Garden by Linda Woodrow. (highly recommend). The Idea I'm going for  is to place these hexagonal gardens, six in a circle around a pond. Each full system consists of 2 circles with a pond in each.  

This is diagram shows one half of a full system.

The red hexagon indicates where the chicken tractor happens to be stationed at the time. The purpose of the chicken tractor is for the chickens to eat the weed seeds and compost the ground by scratch through garden clippings and kitchen scraps. This tractor or chicken dome moves from one group of beds to the next every two weeks and completes a full system in 6 months. Once it ends up back where you started you are harvesting every two weeks. If I can set up a few of these systems and stagger them appropriately we'll be producing allot of our own fresh fruit and veggies every week!

 There is another aspect worth mentioning and that's the rotation of nitrogen fixing plants. In each clover I intend on planting  peas in one section as legumes fix nitrogen in the soil which is good for the next crop you plant. After every time I harvest I intend on rotating the section the peas or beans were in clockwise to the next section thus maintaining a good nutritional balance in the soil.

I'm very hopeful that this will be successful and I'll show you how far I am in making this happen in later posts!

Comments welcome!!!


  1. I anticipate good results! sounds great! Our garden will soon be covered in snow but as of yet we still have lettuce, broccoli, and swiss chard fresh each day...everything else is harvested and put away for the winter... just sorted potatoes today!

  2. This sounds amazing Rhys! Do you have the money to set it all up? I know things are tight at TLC at the moment but give us a shout via facebook or email if you need anything or i can help with? Keep up the good work! Big hugs xxx