Key principles of permaculture are that nothing is wasted, and everything in the garden has a purpose.

In a permaculture garden, like the Otakaro Orchard, plants are carefully selected as they all have a purpose and, over time, contribute to the wellbeing of the garden.

We take into account many forest and garden elements as they would appear in nature so that our garden can sustain itself; ground cover and leaf litter, climbing plants, herbs, pollinator attractors, and more. This means that over time, we get abundances of food with very little labour on our part – sweet!

We also use recycled and compostable materials in our Orchard. We use cardboard as mulch to protect our seedlings from cold temperatures and block out light to stop weeds from growing. And, we reuse donated items such as desks to furnish our Orchard.

When you pay our Orchard a visit, have a think about what plants you see and how they are contributing to our food forest. Some examples of our food forest elements to look for are:

🐛 Garlic: used as a natural antibiotic that protects other plants against pests and fungal infections.

Photo by Shelley Pauls

🐛 Borage: when flowering, this herb has bright blue petals that attract bees, who in turn pollinate our fruit trees and other plants.

Photo by Flash Dantz

🐛 Ground-covering plants: they provide shelter for insects that help our ecosystem, and reduce weed growth by limiting light to the ground where weeds grow.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Everything in our food forest has a purpose, and helps to create a self-sustaining food forest for now and the future. See it in action at the Otakaro Orchard, 227 Cambridge Terrace in Central Christchurch.