Design principles for growing in small space

Hedvig's permaculture container garden in a concrete yard.

In this series of videos you’ll learn about ten principles to help you design your container garden.

These principles, drawn from ‘permaculture’ (more on this below), are simple but powerful tools to help you design and evolve a growing space.

The principles are not dogmatic – so don’t worry if they don’t all resonate with you. Simply pick and chose the ones that do.

1. Observe and Interact

  • Even in small spaces, the amount of sun and wind can vary a lot.
  • As the amount of sun determines what you can grow, observing your space to find out which bits get the most sun is an invaluable exercise.
  • Hedvig explains how she did this in her space.
  • Observation is an ongoing process – as there is always more to learn about a space, however small.


2. Working with nature 3. The problem is the solution

By working with nature, you can create a container garden that requires less

maintenance and pest control. Hedvig also explains how solutions for problems can often be found within the problem itself.

4. Produce no waste 5. Important elements are met by multiple functions

Your waste food and other organic waste can be recycled to create fertiliser. Important growing requirements – like fertiliser – are best met from a variety of different sources.

6. Obtain a yield 7. Use and value the edge

When growing in containers, the principle of “Obtaining a yield” will help you think how you can grow as much as possible in a small space. And the principle “Use and value the edge” will help you make the most of every inch of space available!

8. Each element has multiple functions 9. Relative placement

Rather than growing plants that are just edible or just pretty, this principle helps us choose plants which might be edible and pretty – and maybe attract beneficial insects, too. “Relative placement’ helps us think how we might grow plants next to each other and create beneficial connections.

10. Integrate not segregate

This principle is about looking for ways that your growing can make positive connections in your neighbourhood. I love this principle!

About Hedvig and Permaculture

Hedvig talks about why she was attracted to Permaculture, and explains a bit more about what permaculture is and the three ethics that underpin it.


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