K-State Horticulture Expert Talks Permaculture

By Trish Svoboda

Adopting land management practices can enhance production yields and reduce the need for manual labor by working with natural systems. Permaculture, often referred to as permanent agriculture, is a strategy that integrates ecology, food production, and landscape design.

“One permaculture principle is to turn waste into resources,” said Kansas State University horticulture expert Cynthia Domenghini in a news release. “Composting is one common example of this by turning food scraps and animal waste into soil for growing.”

Also, an example is water collection systems like rain barrels.

Another permaculture approach involves environmental restoration, which Domenghini describes as “observing what is and isn’t working well within a landscape.”

Regions experiencing erosion or flooding due to human interference can be revitalized through gradual, small-scale changes. Even transitioning a lawn to a native landscape can contribute to restoration.

A third permaculture focus is increasing yields. This specifically involves enhancing the harvest from the landscape by improving soil quality, cultivating more edible plants, practicing succession planting, and utilizing season extenders.

Certain growers may propose that increasing yields also brings additional benefits, such as enhancing the presence of wildlife.

One of the objectives of permaculture is to reduce manual labor, a natural outcome of harmonizing with the environment.

“Selecting the proper locations for specific plants prevents the grower from battling the environment and allows the plants to flourish,” she said.

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