Droughts can be rough, for people and especially for gardens which have plants that need a lot of water. Even if those plants don’t need a lot of water, longer periods without water can damage or destroy most of the plants. And as we can see as years are going by more and more drought periods are happening in all parts of the world. So our task is to try to adapt our plants to these conditions.
Permaculture systems are a powerful tool to have knowledge about, and many showed us and are still showing us that, among who I must mention Regenerative Leadership Institute and its founder Vladislav Davidzon, as well as a world renowned permaculture consultant, designer and teacher Geoff Lawton. Geoff Lawton permaculture design course is focused on the practical design of sustainable soil, water, plant, animal, energy, structures, legal and economic systems and will bring you inspirational examples of permaculture solutions .
First thing to know is that when you want to start a permaculture system you should aim for plants that grow in the kind of conditions your system will be. They have already adapted to that atmosphere and will have less problems than other plants. At the beginning you should focus on quality not on quantity that comes later. Of course, you should use symbiotic relationships when planting and totally avoid pesticides and non-natural fertilizers. Cutting back on water should be done slowly, don’t drown your garden with a surplus of water.
In order to create drought resistant plants you will have to sacrifice some. Only the strongest of the plants will survive and from them you should take seeds and nest generation will have the ability to survive droughts better than others. Doing this with couple of generations will provide you with seeds, that will grow into plants that require less water than any before them. You should note that this will take you a lot of time. Taking a bunch of seeds from regular plant in order to make future generations of it a drought resistant plant can take a lot of time from you and there will be a lot of plants that will die away, and those that die, will serve as a mulch for those that survived.
Next step in creating a permaculture system that is drought resistant is building of hugelkultur and swales. Both of these things will help your permaculture system to attain a portion of independence from watering and it will be a bit sturdy than before. Hugelkultur, as you know is building a mound that have rotting wood inside which helps plants through nutrition as well as water retention. You can build these mounds to be up to 4 feet tall, but you can also make smaller ones. Hugelkultur will be a home to a number of organisms that will form symbiotic relations with your plants, and they will protect them from outer influence. Hugelkultur also provides food for your plants through decomposure of ingredients of the hugelkultur. Swale or a number of them will gather water and intersperse it to your system without your influence.
Hugelkultur - The Ultimate Raised Garden Beds
With all of these things you can create a permaculture system that won’t require your 24 hour a day care to strive. You will still need to work around it, but with plants that require only minimum attention and land with hugelkultur to feed you plants you will have almost autonomous permaculture system.