How does organic gardening differ from sustainable gardening and permaculture?

Granted the words organic, sustainable, and permaculture carry a certain preconceived notion attributed to growing trends today; They are now key words in our vocabulary and on the markets. Question is, who really knows the difference between the lot nowadays?

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Organic gardening is not a new concept, nor is sustainability practices in fact they have been in existence for centuries. Organic growing is quite a simple concept, it simply means to grow food naturally without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides or inorganic fertilizers (any artificial agents) that pollute our soil and water. It relies solely on nature, biodiversity of plants and macrobiotic organisms.

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Sustainable gardening or farming works in symbioses with the environment. Sustainability employs various techniques to create an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources. This can include and assortment of techniques such as organic gardening, double digging, vermi-compost, home composting, integrated pest management, and more.

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Permaculture is all encompassing, it offers a lifestyle with a unique approach to sustainable practices not limited to gardening or agriculture. Coined by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 70′s, permaculture is the combination of permanent agriculture as well as permanent culture. It is now an international grassroots movement. Permaculture principles embrace not only land and nature stewardship but, education, culture, health, spiritual well-being, economics, community, technology, and so much more.

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By observing the dynamics of natural ecosystems, and putting into practice permaculture principles we mimic and work in harmony with nature making it the utmost sustainable design implementation. With permaculture as a resource tool we can create more natural, energy-efficient homes, build waste water treatment systems, use recycling techniques, grow our own food, raise our own animals (chickens, cows, pigs, bees, etc.), restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities, and much more without depleting or abusing our environment.

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All in all when these practices are really compared to one another, they are all interconnected in a way. It is your application that will shift the dynamic and the results. Do what works best for you while being conscious of the effect. Try new techniques and have some fun!

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