Look closely at a spider’s web: we know what they look like, but each one is different. The spider has taken into account its location, what anchor points are available; what is movable, flexible and what stays put. An effective web is also close to possible food sources; right by big bushy areas that attract bug life, or near a light bulb that attracts moths. Even though the design of the web is universal, it has adapted to its location.
It is easy to get caught up in details and immediate ideas when setting up a garden. If we begin from the standpoint of, “I would love to have fresh herbs and lettuce growing right by the door, so I can use it while I’m cooking”; it makes sense. It is using the zone principles of permaculture, with ease of access to the things we use the most.
We take small steps from here, Where will I put my compost so I don’t have to walk as far? Worm farm? Vegie patch? And we need to consider the big picture. Looking at your garden as a whole and considering nature’s patterns (the seasons, wind patterns, shelter, sunlight, slope of the garden, thermal masses, trees that attract birds, where the water flows after rain) we gain a better understanding of working with nature. These cues will better guide us as to where the right spot for that vegie patch is - yes, near the kitchen, but right by the brick wall of the garden shed to harness the warmth and protection it offers.
So like a clever spider, see the patterns first, then add the lovely silvery details.
Author: Natalie Er; Seed Harvest Spoon Facilitator.