The concept of “no waste” is one of the permaculture principles that makes the most sense to us, because it’s how we’ve always tended to live on the farm.
It seems obvious to us (and probably to you, too), so it’s absolutely staggering that according to the “Foodwise” website, the average household rubbish bin still contains 60% organic material—40% food and 20% garden waste!
The idea of garden ‘waste’ seems decidedly odd to us, even when we get a bit more organic matter to deal with than we’re expecting. Storms seem to be becoming more frequent, and more violent. Last year we had two huge storms in as many weeks – so violent they were like mini-tornadoes.
The second storm in particular brought lots of almost-ripe plums down in the orchard, and also caused a bit of hail damage in some of the fruit—again, mainly the plums. Poor plums, and poor customers, who (again) graciously tolerated a bit of hail-damaged fruit at markets. We reckon we’ve done a great job educating our customers over the years what “real” fruit looks like!
We also lost plenty of tree branches, both in the orchard and the paddocks, including this rather large branch that came down from the gum tree outside the farm shop, but luckily missed anything crucial (like the shed, or Ant’s caravan), causing only relatively minor damage to one of our beautiful tank garden beds.
Half an hour with the chainsaw and Hugh had turned it into a rather attractive garden chair that has seen the addition of a cushion and many passing bottoms ever since. Every storm has a silver lining!
Often people either don’t realise the damage they cause to the environment by putting organic matter in the garbage, or don’t know what else to do, so we’ve captured a lot of the ways that the permaculture principles can easily be put into place in a typical garden in our online short course Permaculture in Action.
Fallen branches become firewood and furniture, fallen fruit and garden waste become compost, and so the cycle goes around.