Stacking functions in permaculture

Daniel McFly often geeks out about permaculture “stacking functions.” Can you figure out how each element of this permaculture garden supports other components?

Permaculture can be defined as the science of assembling beneficial relationships. When designing regenerative systems of agriculture, a key concept to keep in mind is how to effectively pair elements within the design to fill more than one niche in the ecosystem.

Trees & chickens make good neighbors

A fruit tree not only produces food for humans, it also attracts pollinators for other nearby fruiting plants. If placed near a chicken coop, it may drop fruit to the ground for chickens to eat. The decomposing fruit on the ground might attract insects for the chickens as well. The tree also provides shade in the summer, and protection from predatory birds overhead. If the tree drops leaves, it provides mulch for the surrounding area, and its deeper roots pull up nutrients from the depths of the soil for nearby plants with more shallow root systems. If this fruit tree overhangs a pond, dropped fruit and branches might provide food and habitat for fish and other inhabitants. 

Chickens serve multiple functions within a design system. Of course, they can provide meat and eggs for human consumption, but they also provide fertilizer, they are a resource for food scrap disposal, and they can even provide weeding and pest reducing services to your garden. The key idea here is to identify what benefits different components of a system give, and what they take, and arrange them so they may passively benefit each other.

The greenhouse effect

Consider the many possible functions of a greenhouse. It provides warmth and protection for plants thereby extending growing seasons. The roof may serve to collect rainwater that could be delivered to plants within the house, or an adjacent animal enclosure. Radiant heat from a shared wall can provide overnight warmth for nearby chickens, rabbits, or other small livestock. 

A good landscape design will consider the interaction of the elements within the design to achieve mutually beneficial relationships among them. Every design component will have multiple functions, and every essential function will be supported by multiple elements.

Photo Credit: By PermaKulturgut.de – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Nerding out in the “permagarden”

Daniel McFly often geeks out about permaculture “stacking functions.” Can you figure out how each element of this permaculture garden supports other components?

The Permaculture of Perennials

Did you know that the majority of the plant based food we consume is from annual crops? In terms of sustainability and food security, the seasonal vegetable garden should only be considered supplemental to what is possible through perennial cultivation.

Gardening with the flow

Permaculture, in it's simplest form, is about working with the flow of nature. If you think about the flow of energy across a landscape, you can see patterns. Water flows downhill and carries nutrients with it. The practice of permaculture can be thought of in terms...

News from the hen house

  It took six months but we've finally got eggs! We also have a rooster. Surprise!   When we went to our local feed store, we picked out five (female, or so we thought) chicks; one for each of us to name. We got a variety of breeds so we could observe the differences...

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The Mystical Magical Abracadabracal Daniel McDougal McDouglas McFly

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Hi! I'm Daniel

I am busy everyday learning about the world around me and how I can protect the environment.

I can’t do this alone. I need you and your friends to help!

The Mystical Magical Abracadabracal Daniel McDougal McDouglas McFly

A great addition to your child’s bookshelf, a classroom and we offer bulk discounts.

I would love to get to know you. Like our Facebook page and keep an eye out for events, book signings, great activities and more!

Pierce Press
PO Box 206
Arlington, MA 02476

Pierce Press
PO Box 206
Arlington, MA 02476

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