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  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

Permaculture Apartment Design Zones

Updated: Apr 10, 2022

Ordinary large scale permaculture has a zoning system based on the distance it takes you to get to the item. In urban environments, our whole apartment is considered zone 1, so a distance-based approach wouldn't be of any use to us.

Permaculture Apartment Zoning is based on sunlight availability in an apartment. This will inform your designing decisions just like in the ordinary zoning methods in Permaculture.

Zone 1 - Sun Facing window

This is a window that is facing south. This means that you'll get optimal sunlight all day long. You could technically grow almost everything here.

However, be careful of young seedlings as intense rays could burn them. If plants have been in the sun too long, especially on really sunny days, the leaves will begin to wilt. You may also have to water more, depending on how hot the room gets.

Plants that can be placed here are high light-loving plants like edible flowers, dwarf fruits, fruiting vegetables, and herbs.

Zone 2 - East and West Facing Window

These windows get partial sunlight. East-facing windows get morning sunlight and west-facing windows get the afternoon and evening sunlight.

These are the plants that can be grown here:

  1. lettuce

  2. green onions

  3. chives

  4. ginger

  5. spinach

You can also grow medium-light-loving herbs like cilantro, parsley, and mint.

Zone 3 - Walls

This is where your plants are placed beside a wall and are receiving some light. You are better off growing shade-tolerant plants (see list below in Zone 6) and small roots like radishes. You could get away with more if your wall is receiving light from a south-facing window.

Zone 4 - Dark Corner

You're very limited with light here. I'd only recommend growing mushrooms in this corner as they like dark low light areas. But, you could dramatically boost your growth potential if you were to get some grow lights. Have a read of my recommended grow lights in my article here.

Zone 5 - Centre

This is where your plants are placed in a centre of a room and are receiving only a small portion of light. In these cases, sticking to shade-tolerant plants (below) is your best option.

Zone 6 North facing window

A north-facing window isn't going to get any direct sunlight. But you can still grow shade-tolerant edible plants like:

  • Nasturtiums

  • Arugula

  • Lambs Lettuce

  • Spinach

  • Mustard Greens

  • Garlic

  • Chives

  • Potatoes

  • mint

  • Parsley

  • Cilantro

  • Basil Ginger

  • Alpine Strawberries

  • Blueberries

  • Black Raspberries


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