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Observe: make your own sun calendar

Make your own sun calendar. You’ll be more able to use sun power and make an ecologically healthy and attractive garden!

We people like to create our own ideal world. Preferably today. One of the permaculture design principles is: to observe.
We suggest you are going to observe the sun in your garden or allotment. Make your own sun calendar! Your new insights will help you to create or recreate a garden that suits your needs better.

Attention and patience needed

In permaculture, natural processes are the starting point. It’s easier and more cost-efficient to work with nature than against it. Building such a sustainable system is possible only when we pay attention and … have patience.

All year round

In the past 2 summers we experienced intrusive effects of the sun’s rays. Did you notice where the sun has much and not too much influence in your garden? Sun has a role all year round.
With your own sun calendar, you’ll be more able to use sun power and make an ecologically healthy and attractive garden.

Sun calculator

How does this work, making your own sun calendar? First, get to know the sun’s position, in theory.
Websites like Suncalc give you information on the sun’s position in your town or village. Just look at the sun’s position in my veg garden on October 31, 2019, at 10:19. Tip: there’s also an app for your smartphone.

Next, just go outside on a clear day. Take a compass with you. What’s the position of your house and garden?

Now that you know more about the sun and your garden in general, you might already have some ideas to make your current garden design a little better!

making your sun calendar

Garden drawing

Your next job is to make a drawing of your garden. Perhaps you prefer to use software for this. It could be part of the fun and the process to take pencil and paper.
Include your driveway or parking zone in your drawing. Don’t forget important fixed vertical elements like your neighbours’ garages, a hedge, or a tree in the common green.

This ground drawing stays intact. Later, you’ll draw your observations on separate pieces of transparent or see-through paper. On each one of them you add date and time of your observation.

Observe sun and shade

Now you have a full observing year ahead of you. Go and make your observations on the first day of each season or month, and at the same time of day. Noon is ideal. Perhaps you want to note down your observation days in your agenda.

Each time, you draw lines where the sunlight is, and where your plants are in the shade. Take a photo or video. No sunshine that day? You might be able to make an educated guess or use next day’s data.

Use sun calendar for garden redesign

You’ll enjoy your observing year. After 12 months your sun calendar is ready. That’s a long time, yes. In my experience, it’s worth the time. You get to know your garden and it’s natural processes so much better!

In my observing year, my own garden surprised me. My notes and drawings really made me understand better how the plot works. My observations helped me to put in permaculture elements like the new veg patch.

This post/page is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

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