Permaculture and Microgreens

For the past few weeks I have been doing more reading and thinking about permaculture, and how growing microgreens can fit into a permaculture lifestyle.

Permaculture is a set of principles that can help us live more closely with nature. Part of the idea is that we should mimic natural processes in our cultivation of food and in the design of our homes. One of the most important tenets is that energy should be conserved and never willfully wasted.

A permaculture home can have many modes of food production including a greenhouse for starting seedlings, an herb garden closely accessible to the kitchen and a vegetable garden also within close proximity to the house. In permaculture there is an emphasis on planting fruit trees and other edible plants that will supply abundance year after year with little upkeep.

The idea is that keeping these gardens close to the living quarters will help us tend to them, and designing their layout consciously in relationship with one another will help us make the most of every square foot of our available space.

That latter part is where microgreens come in. Microgreens can occupy tiny spaces of the home that are otherwise unused for food production, such as kitchen windowsills. In fact, that’s where I started growing microgreens a few months ago.

After a few weeks of growing in my kitchen windowsill I began to think of other places in my home where I could grow. I ended up deciding to set up a grow area in my spare bedroom under a windowsill that receives several hours of indirect light a day. I can fit three 20″ x 10″ trays on the metal rack that I have positioned under the window.

Previously that window was “wasted” energy. Effectively all the sunshine was just going unused, but now we’re getting arugula, broccoli, mustard greens and whatever else we choose to grow. It’s a logical extension of permaculture principles of energy conservation and optimal land use.