Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of garbage that your household sends to the landfill, as well as provides a fertile soil for your garden.
The basic ingredients for a proper composting bin is the following: browns, greens, water, air. A proper composting bin should not have any foul odours or insects swarming around - if this is something you have seen or experienced in the past - then there is something you are not doing properly.
Canadian winters put the brakes on composting though that is not to say there aren't options available to you to continue composting through the cold seasons.
Composting is a great way to get you and your family excited and engaged about the environment and is a natural way in which you can make your garden abundant and fertile.
If you are keen to learn more about composting - please click on the link below to visit the Green Action Centre website.
Many families have food garden's in their backyard - though it isn't as common to see permaculture design applications used to maximize yields and reduce watering.
Permaculture design will divert rain fall from the roof of your home to water your plants, and use symobiloic relationships between plant biology to improve the soil and yield of the garden.
Although the initial setup of a permaculture garden requires more labour than a typical garden - the output and nutrition of what comes out of your garden is what attracts people to this type of food growing system.
For an exiciting and informative video on a permaculture food garden - check out the video below by one of the leaders in the Canadian permaculture industry.
For an excellent article from TEDx on residential food forests please click on the link below.
Greywater is all of the wastewater generated from your household aside from that generated from your toilet and kitchen sink. In Canada, it is most common to see treated greywater used for toilets and subsurface irrigation. Though more and more jurisdictions are allowing greywater to be used for gardening purposes; it even possible to treat greywater for other uses aside from gardening.
Below is a link to a permaculturalist in Australia who has onsite greywater treatement that has been installed with approved permitting.
The majority of household wastewater is greywater - and so making use of this water is something many countries around the world allow and promote over and above the use for toilets and subsurface irrigation.
Permaculture offers us ways to treat greywater so that it is safe for gardening - though this application must first be discussed with your municipality prior to design and installation. The greywater is treated by a constructed by mimicing wetlands found in nature (as shown in the link above) greywater flows through the mini wetland in your backyard and is purified in the process.
To learn more about greywater treatment - please click on the link below for an article by a very successful and prominant Canadian permaculturalist.
With the ever increasing pressure of climate change - water scarcity is becoming an issue that many communities will be faced with. In some regions of the world, water rationing has become the new norm and luxuries such as watering your lawn are not allowed.
Canadians are one of the biggest consumers of potable water per capita in the world, we use 600–700 litres of potable water per person per day on average. Although the water scarcity issue isn't common in Canada - it is prudent to consider rainwater harvesting for your household to help ease the burden on our water systems.
In Canada, rainwater harvesting is only allowed to be used for gardening, toilets and washing machines. Though this isn't to say that down the road the use will expand to being fully domestic.
With countries around the world adopting measures to harvest rainwater for a wide range of domestic uses - there are many advanced rainwater catchment systems that can be introduced to ensure that the quality of the water being captured.
If you are interested in learning more about rainwater harvesting in Canada - the link below from CMHC offers a homeowners guide to rainwater catchment.
Permaculture's muse is nature. It's a design framework that models itself from natural relationships in the eco system. Nature provides us with many examples of systems that replenish themselves - one example that we are all familiar with is a forest. Forest's don't rely on external fertilizer input from people, nor does it rely on irrigation aside from what is naturally occuring rain, snow or water systems. Outside of major events such as a forest fire or a pine beetle infestation - forests continue to flourish year after year.
And so it is from nature that permaculture was inspired - a term that was coined in the 1970's and as a merge between two words "permanent" and "agriculture".
There are many ways in which permaculture can be applied. The below captions give a glimse on some of the applications that are popular among homeowners.