Permapots – Perennial Herbs

For several years now, I’ve been growing herbs on my roof terrace in what I call Permapots. Inspired by the first Permaculture course I attended, run by Patrick Whitefield at the Sustainability Centre, I began growing mixtures of perennial herbs in large planters.

Permaculture advocates low maintenance gardening of edibles by growing a mixture of perennials and annuals in a way that reduces the need for weeding, watering and feeding. My idea of the ideal Permaculture garden is one that is self-sustaining, produces a useful yield of food throughout the year, is pleasing to the eye and is in harmony with nature.

This is a tall order for a small roof garden but I thought it was worth a try. My Permapots have been going strong for 4 years now and have provided us with a nice variety of edibles and medicinals year round. We have enjoyed roof-grown Rocket at Christmas, occasional summer Strawberries, year round Yarrow and countless herbs for teas and various lotions and potions.

From time to time, I thin out the perennials and refresh useful annuals, such as Calendula and Nasturtium. but mostly I just leave the pots to do their thing and am grateful for whatever harvest we receive. Some plants have done well, some have disappeared and others have done phenomenally well.

Tips for Permapots…
Grow perennials suited to your environment.
Sew annuals which self seed readily.
Be prepared for change and some failures.
Plan for a low to moderate but varied yield.
Grow Lupins our clover in some pots and dig them in each season.
Thin out plants from time to time and share with your friends.

My favourite Permapot plants are…
Borage (self seeds readily)
Sorrel
Lady’s mantle
Lupin
Chives
Yarrow
Strawberry
Calendula (seeds are easy to collect & sew)
Nasturtian (seeds are easy to collect & sew)
Rocket
Marshmallow
Valerian

Permapots save money and effort as I don’t need to buy new plants each year and I am provided with baby plants to sell our give away.
Permapots allow for failure, if one plant does in bad weather there are always plenty of others to enjoy.
Permapots welcome unexpected guests – chickweed, hairy bitter cress and dandelion being the tastiest here.
Permapots don’t need much work.

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