I have been so inspired by the book Edible Forest Gardens (by Dave Jacke & Eric Toensmeier) that I’ve been sketching and brainstorming about what we could do with our backyard, now that we’ve eliminated our problematic trees. We’re nowhere near consensus on what we should do (or what we will be able to afford to do), but it’s fun to brainstorm.
I am inspired by many aspects of permaculture, but one of the most simple/profound is the concept of “stacking.” Stacking refers to stacking functions: any element (plant, structure) that we put into our landscape ought to fulfill at least two functions. The more functions you can stack on a single element, the better. So planting something that looks great, but does absolutely nothing else? Well, from now on I’m going to think twice about it.
Here are some examples of multiple-function plants, and their functions:
Dill: looks nice, attracts beneficial insects, edible (3!)
Apple tree: provides shade, looks pretty (esp. in the spring when in bloom), provides food
Trellis over your deck: provides shade & support for vines (plant useful vines like pole beans and you stack another function on)
I totally think “looks nice” is a valid function. So I’m drawing up plans… lots of plans… coming up with ideas on how I can turn my backyard into a productive, enjoyable landscape. Stay tuned. Can you think of other good examples of stacking?