Difference Between Organic Gardening and Permaculture

The Permaculture garden is a lot more than an organic garden. It is a designed garden.
It is a system that is focused on closing the fertiliser loop by using waste, and reducing the dependence on inputs by creating healthy soil and diversity of produce.
It is also responsible for its waste, it aims not to pollute the surrounding environment, i.e. neither with excess nitrogen released into the water systems, nor weed seed into any natural systems.

It uses design to minimise the gardeners chores and energy input. Repetitive and mundane hard work is the joy of few people doing permaculture. Variety and observation keep people engaged and excited about growing food. Permaculture activists are motivated by reducing their ecological footprint and developing a varied healthy lifestyle. Permaculture needs to engage all people of different ability, not just young strong people who can shovel compost.

It aims to imitate nature. Visually this is the most noticeable difference between organic gardening and permaculture. In permaculture gardens (home systems is the more holistic term) there is rarely bare soil, the conservation of soil and water is a high priority. There is a more complex use of space. Plants are allowed to set seed and are interplanted for pest control. You are unlikely to see plants in rows.

The permaculture system aims to harvest and maximise water, sun and other natural energies, e.g. wind, dust, leaves, bird droppings.

The permaculture system aims to provide nutritious food and habitat for people AND native animals and birds.

What’s the difference between Organic Farming and Permaculture?

Basically, Permaculture uses organic gardening and farming practices but it goes beyond these practices and integrates the garden and home to create a lifestyle that impacts less on the environment.

Organic Farming promotes the use of natural fertilisers, making use of the natural carbon cycle so that waste from plants becomes the food (fertiliser) of another. In organic farming however, as with ALL farming, minerals are being lost from the farm every time a truck load of produce is carted to market.

Permaculture goes one step further. Permaculture brings production of food closer to consumers and the consumer’s wastes back into the cycle. It also reduces the energy wasted in transporting the foods by producing the foods where the people are. In permaculture the people contribute in their daily life toward the production of their food and other needs.

When is Permaculture not organic?

There will be times when a permaculture system is not strictly organic because it is using local resources rather than importing certified organic resources or perhaps the designer wants to increase diversity by bringing in unusual plants/seeds from another source that is not organic.

Re-purpose local resources

This is not usually due to an intentional use of pesticides, but often due to the use of a by-product that would otherwise be wasted. We could use old shoes as pots for plants, an old truck tyre/tire to hold the edges of a pond. Sometimes the choices are difficult and we have to do a quick cost/benefit analysis.

Permaculture Can Convert A Resource

We would need to weigh the benefit of a using a free local waste (ie. horse manure) versus supporting a good organic supplier who may be in another country. When we design well, the permaculture system can act as a cleanser or processing agent. Sometimes, we can transform then utilise a polluted waste (within what is realistic achievable). In the case of the horse manure, we could ask the owner about their anti-worming medication, check that it can be broken down by high-temperature composting then go about re mediating it before using it. Good permaculture design will aim to have a better output than input. Organic gardening may not have checks to reduce the system’s impact on the wider natural system.


some mind-blowing facts about coconuts and cheese

In early Sanskrit writings from the 4th century BC (as well as Tamil literature from 1st – 4th century AD) coconuts have been mentioned and was referred to as kalpa vriksha or the ‘the tree that fulfils all needs’ and in Indonesia it is said the coconut has as many uses as there are days of the year.

It provides: Food, Drink, Timber, Fuel, Chemicals, Yeast

From it you can make: Thatch, Baskets, Rope, Brushes, Brooms, Coir

  • It can be used as intravenous rehydration drips as it’s sterile.
  • If you’ve had your tooth knocked out, immersing it in coconut water inhibits the growth of bacteria so it can be safely reinserted.
  • Coconuts can float around in the sea for three months and still grow into a palm when they finally wash ashore.
  • In Tahiti one person is killed every other year by a falling coconut.
  • DaimlerChrysler make biodegradable seats for their trucks out of coconut husks.
  • Coconut root is liquefied to make mouthwash and a flour made from the shell used to clean jet engines.
  • Coconut water is an excellent hangover cure.
  • Coconut ferments so quickly in the heat, in can be turned into wine, liquor or vinegar

It can even save the lives of presidents.

On a moonless night in August 1943, on a pitch-black strait in the Solomon Islands, two vessels collided.

A fireball bloomed, and the Navy gave up John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 crew for dead. But Lieutenant Kennedy fought, swimming for hours with his 10 remaining crew members, pulling one along by holding his life jacket strap in his teeth. Kennedy’s heroics may have been for naught without Eroni Kumana and Biuku Gasa, two Solomon Islanders. They found Kennedy and his crew six days after the wreck, subsisting on coconuts on a small island. Having no paper he carved a message on a coconut. The message reads as:


The two islanders took the message from Kennedy and paddled at great risk 35 miles through Japanese territory to deliver it to the nearest Allied base. A rescue was launched. The crew, and the future president, were saved.

He later used the coconut as a paperweight in the Oval Office.

I love cheese. There is now over 700 varieties of British cheese, almost twice as many as the French. However the French still eat twice as much cheese per head.

  • The British cheese market is worth £1.8 billion of which 55% can be attributed to just cheddar. That’s nothing compared to the global cheese market, where it’s worth $55 billion.
  • The UK actually produces more mozzarella each year than Italy.
  • Cheese can be made from the milk of Cows, Sheep, Goats, Horses, Reindeer, Llamas, Yaks, Water Buffalo, Camels, Moose and Zebras.

Stilton, Roquefort, Danish Blue, Gorgonzola, Camembert and Brie all contain Penicillium fungus which puts the blue in blue cheese. The fungus P. camembertimakes Camembert and Brie white. A single gram of blue cheese rind contains 10 billion microbial cells, a mixture of bacteria and fungi. It’s this mixture that provides the delicious taste. Yet very little is known about what this bacteria and fungi actually is or how it interacts.

Benjamin Wolfe and Rachel Dutton, two scientists, recently took 137 cheeses from 10 countries into Harvard University to study.

They found the presence of bacteria more used tomarine environments in cheese made nowhere near an ocean. But how?

One of the ingredients in blue cheese is sea salt which is used in the cheese making process. Apparently, the sea dwelling bacteria, which is more used to living off the Chitin rich shells of crabs and other marine invertebrates, has found an alternative source of Chitin: The fungi. When a cheesemaker creates a similar environment to the cold, wet sea, such as a cave, the bacteria thrives and creates the unique taste most of us fond of.


Quirky Ways to Celebrate Christmas

If you’ve ever considered it odd that U.S. Christmas traditions revolve around indoor trees (real and plastic) and a plump, bearded man sliding down chimneys… you’re not wrong.

In fact, our conception of Santa Claus can largely be attributed to a single 1828 poem, Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” which enshrined the nation’s image of Santa–with his “little round belly” and a beard “as white as the snow–and propagated the idea of him coming through chimneys to deliver gifts in stockings, now common knowledge to children across the country. It’s just one of the ways our Christmas traditions can be traced to quirks of history.

But odd and seemingly arbitrary Christmas traditions are not only the purview of the United States. Around the world, in countries that are majority Christian and countries that are majority not, unique practices emerge as the holiday approaches.

Here’s a look at some of the notable and sometimes bizarre Christmas time traditions around the world.


The vast majority of Japan is not Christian, but one Christmas tradition persists: a trip to KFC. Since a “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing campaign was launched in Japan in 1974, the American chain has become a popular Christmas Eve hotspot. The campaign worked so well that sales that night typically outpace those of the rest of the year. Some people even order their bucket of fried chicken ahead, to beat the Christmas crowds.


In the Swedish town of Gävle, it is traditional to construct a 30-foot tall giant straw “Yule Goat” — a Christmas symbol in Sweden for centuries. And it’s tradition for some meddling kids (actually, unidentified criminal arsonists) to try to burn it down. According to the Gävle tourist board, the goat has been burned down 25 times since its construction became an annual tradition in 1966. So far this year, the Gävle goat is safely standing, as you can see on this webcam. You can also follow him on Twitter.


Christians comprise roughly 2 percent of the Indian population, or 24 million people. But Christmas trees in the warm climate are in short supply, so in lieu of the evergreen conifer many Indian families will adorn banana or mango trees with ornaments. In Christian communities, which are mostly in southern India, people put oil-lamps of clay on their flat roof-tops to celebrate the season.


Americans would recognize the Christmas trees decorated in Ukraine, as they’re similar to the traditional, Western fir tree, but Ukrainians will sometimes decorate them with an unlikely ornament: spider webs. The tradition stems from a Ukrainian folk tale, about a widow whose family was so poor they had no money to decorate their tree. Instead, a spider span a web around it on Christmas Eve — and when the first light of day hit it on Christmas morning, it turned into a beautiful web of gold and silver.


Beware the Yule Cat! This traditional Christmas fiend is said to terrorize the Icelandic countryside, particularly targeting those who don’t receive new clothes for Christmas. But the frightening festive feline is just one of Iceland’s “Christmas fiends”, who include Grýla, a three-headed ogress with goat-horns. The creature’s sons, the “Yule Lads”, hand out Christmas gifts to children who have been good (and rotten vegetables to those who have been bad).


Only in Italy do the witches bring gifts to children. That’s La Befana, a broom-flying, kindly witch who effectively takes over from Santa–in Italy, “Babbo Natale”—about two weeks after Christmas on Epiphany to deliver gifts to the good, and ash to the bad. Though the witch has her roots in the pre-Christian pagan tradition, she features in some tellings of the Christmas story in Italy — as an old woman who refuses to give the Wise Men directions to Bethlehem because she is too busy cleaning, and is forced to ride a broomstick for eternity as a result. The town of Le Marche, in northwestern Italy, celebrates her coming every January.

Czech Republic

Save the ham. In the Czech Republic, carp is the mainstay of a Christmas dinner. The tradition of eating carp on Christian holidays dates back as far as the 11th century, when Bohemian monasteries would construct fishponds for the express use of farming the fish. Until recently, Czech families would buy a live carp in the weeks before Christmas and keep it in a bathtub, before slaughtering it on Christmas Eve ready for the following day’s meal. Many Czechs still take part in the festive superstition of saving a dried (and cleaned) scale from the Christmas fish in their wallets for luck over the coming year.