1. Set up a small compost pile somewhere discrete
2. Find out what your soil is composed of. Don’t be put off here, if you have access to an extension office, they can tell you. But, use common sense. What is the organic content. What is the mineral content. What sorts of nutrients will you need to amend with? Its ALL about the soil.
3. Observe the “native” ecosystem nearby. Whatever should be there. This is your greatest teacher. Is it semi-arid perennial bunch grass? Is it coniferous forests? Is it deciduous forest? Learn the natives and how you can use them.
4. Designing an ecosystem is all about succession. What is the series of plants the complement each other while building the soil for the next succession?
5. AVOID INVASIVE SPECIES. If they are already present, use them. Many are medicines or food. Exploit them.
6. Buy food / medicinal perennials. Anything that you can sustainably harvest. Include non-native food stuff suitable to your climate. For me, that is artichoke, rhubarb, asparagus, apples.
7. Plant for the future. Imagine the plants that you plant as their mature forms. How much space will they need? What is the range of phenotypes?
8. Companion planting is an infant science, especially in light of the increasing one-world-wide-flora. Variety! Plant as many types as possible, and innovate. Don’t let yourself be crippled by the extant information. Try try try. Some plants will die.
9. Fuck lawns! Fuck pesticides! Fuck herbicides! Fuck importing all your nutrients! Build a closed system. Initially it will need inputs, but focus on cycling.
10. Plant plants that also serve a vital ecosystem function. Not only should you have plants for food and medicine, but you should also have plants that attract insects. Insects can be highly nutritive food too. They also attract birds and mammals.
*Think complexity. Avoid homogeneity. Innovate…