John Turner explains his permaculture garden and how plants and design fit together to create an efficient food garden.

Companion plants are used to build a community of plants that interact with one another in a beneficial fashion. In permaculture we talk of forming an affinity. There is a mutual benefit between plants and animals or insects that form a synergy. Build up a mass of plants on the sun side so that they all get water and sunlight. Build up a diversity of plants.

Comfrey is a mineral miner that has deep roots and prepares the soil for citrus roots. Lucerne is also deep rooted. it is used to feed livestock or mulch, which prepares the ground for the roots of a tree as it matures. Wild Rocket is a slightly purgative plant which removes potential pathogens from the soil. You can have a sequence of annuals around a tree. Over time the annuals spread – a kind of polyculture that should exist with a tree to give it health.

Grafting is used because certain trees are more susceptible to tough conditions. On the more sensitive species where trees are compatible we can take the roots say of a lemon tree and graft an orange tree onto it. This results in healthier trees. Apple trees may be grafted onto a particular type of root stock that is resistant to desease or drought. It is also very time-consuming to grow a tree from seed so it speeds up the propagation process.

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