Integrate Don't Segregate, Stacking Functions In Permaculture (2022)

When it comes to designing your property using permaculture principles one of the many areas of consideration is stacking functions by integration rather than segregation. When I started implementing this design element into my homestead it increased productivity and efficiency and even added an element of beauty to my property.

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Integrate Don't Segregate, Stacking Functions In Permaculture (1)

What does the phrase “Integration Rather Than Segregation” mean?

This design principle takes the teaching of stacking functions (each element in a design having more than one function) into practice through the integration of those elements into the system design.

One way this is put into practice is through the use of guilds. In Permaculture, a guild is a grouping of plants, trees, animals, insects, and other components that work together to help ensure their health and productivity.

A perfect permaculture guild would have 7 components although it can function as a guild with less.

A guild should provide food for people

Many ecologically minded people sometimes tend to forget that humans are also part of the ecosystem, and as a part of it our systems should provide for us as much as the environment surrounding it. One or more componentsof the guild should provide food or something useful to you.

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A guild should feed the soil

A guild should have one or more components feeding the soil in one way or another. This could come in the form of a plant such as beans or legumes which can provide nitrogen for the soil. A soil feeding plant could also come in the form of a dynamic accumulator of nutrients (plants with deep tap roots that accumulate nutrients into the plant) that will supply the soil as the organic matter of the plants die back and put those nutrients back into the soil.

(Video) Holistic garden design: Integrate, don't segregate.

A guild should have components that dig and mine the soil

Plants such as trees and other deep-rooted plants dig deep into the soil and bring up valuable nutrients for the other components of the guild. Insects and animals like worms, ants, beetles, and rodents can also function in a guild to work at aerating and benefiting the soil as well.

A guild should offer groundcover

Groundcover is important because it protects the soil from the sun, helps retain moisture in the soil, and provides a place for microbial activity. Groundcover can come in the form of low crawling plants, broadleaf plants, or mulch made up of bark, straw, or other similar materials. It can even come in the form of non-organic materials like weed block ground covering.

Climbing plants can be another useful part of a guild

Climbing or vining plants can greatly increase food production, especially in places with limited space for growing. Things such as pole beans, cucumbers, grapes, and squash work well in a guild to fill this role. Climbing and vining plants can also thicken up an area creating privacy and protection serving other function stacking possibilities.

A supporting structure is another important part of a guild

This too can be a plant such as a tree or a large tall plant such as corn or sunflower. A structure such as a building or a trellis can also function in a guild to do this job. These supports supply a place for climbing plants to grow up onto enabling them to fill their role in this symbiotic relationship.

Protectors are yet another part of a guild

This can come in many forms, it is basically anything that functions in any way to protect the guild as a whole or any part of it. Plants with strong odors which repel destructive insects are one form of a protector. A protector of a completely different kind may be a fence that keeps animals away that can destroy a plant in the guild or a building that blocks the wind from damaging the guild. This can truly be anything that protects you in any way. I actually consider my small dog as part of my guilds as she protects my plants from things like rabbits, squirrels, and birds.

The concept of integration, not segregation goes further than just planting guilds on your homestead, it has a part in the whole design system, as in where you place things for efficiency, support, and productivity. Here are a few examples.

Example 1.

Placing an herb garden close to a kitchen for efficiency but also using those herbs as a support species for your garden as an insect repellent.

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Example 2.

Placing flowers like marigolds throughout a garden is another example also serving a similar purpose of drawing in pollinators and repelling destructive pests.

(Video) Permaculture Principle : Integrate rather than Segregate

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Example 3.

Placing dynamic accumulators strategically throughout a garden to be used in support of the garden for chop and drop fertilizer and ground cover, These plants usually also have culinary or medicinal purposes as well. My comfrey is an example of this located at the ends of raised beds and at other useful locations in the garden.

Placing livestock forage plants or trees strategically on your homestead to make them useful for the animals.

On my homestead, I have a mulberry tree, comfrey, a lettuce bed, sunflower, grape leaves and various weeds and grass available for forage within a few feet of my rabbit and quail cages.

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Example 5.

(Video) Stacking Functions: beauty, productivity, form, and function all meet in permaculture

A chicken run could be built around a large mulberry tree which could function as shade, protection, and food for the chickens. The chickens could in return provide fertilizer for the tree, control insect pressure, and make use of the mess a tree like the mulberry creates with dropped fruit.

Utilizing water on a property through integration rather than separating it from the property.

  • The integration of a water catchment system that saves water that can be used later.
  • Installing swales (a ditch on contour) that can capture the water and slowly dispersing it throughout the property.
  • Installing creek beds or tile that can move the water to a more useful location on the property.

Placing or using buildings and other structures strategically to be used for multiple functions.

  • a building could be used for storage, wind protection, water collection, trellis, and/or a thermal mass
  • a compost bin could be placed for convenience in the garden area making it more useful and requiring less energy and time.

Integrating insects in your system design

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Ideally planting things within your system that draw in beneficial insects that do the work of pollinating and protecting the plants within your system is best. However, the process can be accelerated by purchasing beneficial insects and releasing them on your property. This is what I have done in the past and it has served me well.

Integrating animals into your system design

Animals such as chickens or pigs could be placed over a future garden area to work and prepare the soil. Chicken or rabbits could be run over garden beds to inject nitrogen into the soil. Chickens could also be used to decrease insect populations in an area. All while your system is supplying the food to feed the animals, again working in a cooperative manner with one another.


These are just a few of the ways in which the permaculture design principle of “Integration not Segregation” can work to make your homestead more efficient and productive. I hope this has given you some ideas in which you can apply this concept in a big way to your Permaculture Homestead.

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(Video) Integration Rather Than Segregation - Modern Homesteading Podcast

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Harold Thornbro

Author, blogger, podcaster, homesteading and permaculture enthusiast. I have a passion for sharing what I learn and helping others on their journey. If you're looking for me, you'll usually find me in the garden.

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Integrate Don't Segregate, Stacking Functions In Permaculture? ›

What does the phrase “Integration Rather Than Segregation” mean? This design principle takes the teaching of stacking functions (each element in a design having more than one function) into practice through the integration of those elements into the system design.

When it comes to permaculture What does the term stacking functions mean? ›

Stacking functions is a core permaculture design principle that anyone who wants a healthy garden can and should practice. The idea is pretty simple: Every element of your garden (plants, animals, insects, fungi, water, etc) serves multiple functions. Minimum inputs for maximum outputs in your garden, landscape or farm.

What is the function of stacking? ›

The purpose of the stacking layer is to get all of the protein samples lined up so they can enter the resolving layer at exactly the same time. When you load a gel, the wells are around a centimeter deep. If your samples entered the resolving layer this spread out, all you would see is a big smear.

What are the elements of permaculture? ›

These are: ethics, abstract principles, science & design principles, strategies, and techniques. I list them in order of fundamental importance to the concept of permaculture. They are also listed in reverse order of how many there are.

What is the difference between stacking and separating gel? ›

Stacking gel and separating gel are two types of polyacrylamide gels used to get better separation of protein molecules in a given sample. The difference between stacking gel and separating gel is that the pH of the stacking gel is 6.8 whereas the pH of the separating gel is 8.8.

How functions are stored in stack? ›

Stack, where automatic variables are stored, along with information that is saved each time a function is called. Each time a function is called, the address of where to return to and certain information about the caller's environment, such as some of the machine registers, are saved on the stack.

What happens if there is no stacking gel? ›

The stacking gel has 2 main points, 1- It gives similar platform to the protein before they start separate in resolving. Without stacking you will not get sharp band for one proteins. 2-It gives potential difference in gel, due to PH difference in stacking and resolving which results the current flow.

What are the three core principles of permaculture? ›

Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share are the three core values of permaculture.

What is the basis for permaculture? ›

Permaculture can be understood as the growth of agricultural ecosystems in a self-sufficient and sustainable way. This form of agriculture draws inspiration from nature to develop synergetic farming systems based on crop diversity, resilience, natural productivity, and sustainability.

What are the underlying principles of permaculture? ›

What Are the Principles of Permaculture? The use of permaculture design principles are guided by three ethics: care for people, care for the earth, and fair share. The focus of permaculture isn't on each separate element, but on relationships created among elements through the way they are placed together.

Is stacking gel necessary? ›

Yes stacking gel is also required in order to improve resolution of the separating gel. In the calculator you have referred does 1M Tris(pH 6.8),Tris (pH8.

What is the purpose of stacking and resolving gel? ›

The purpose of stacking gel is to line up all the protein samples loaded on the gel, so that they can enter the resolving gel at the same time. The resolving gel is to separate the proteins based on their molecular weight.

What happens if we run a continuous electrophoretic system without the stacking gel? ›

and if there is no stacking gel the proteins will not resolve properly. Stacking gel has high acrylamide concentration and high voltage is applied to it thus it helps the proteins to come in one race line before starting the race. Resolving gel is the actual track where proteins run according to their molecular weight.

What does stacking mean in Cryptocurrency? ›

Stacking is an innovative mechanism that rewards STX token holders for participating in the Stacks blockchain's consensus process, called Proof of Transfer (PoX). STX holders who participate in Stacking are called Stackers.

What is stack in computer? ›

In computer science, a stack is an abstract data type that serves as a collection of elements, with two main principal operations: Push, which adds an element to the collection, and. Pop, which removes the most recently added element that was not yet removed.

What is stack diagram? ›

A stacking diagram is a graphic representation of the total amount of area taken up by all the spaces on the floors of a building, arranged in layers floor-by-floor.

What are stacks in Cryptocurrency? ›

Stacks is a blockchain linked to Bitcoin by its consensus mechanism that spans the two chains, called Proof of Transfer. This enables Stacks to leverage Bitcoin's security and enables Stacks apps to use Bitcoin's state, despite being a separate blockchain.


1. Cultivating raspberries - and flexible thinking!
(Parkrose Permaculture)
2. Polyculture: Valuing diversity in the garden
(Parkrose Permaculture)
3. Katy Bowman - Stack it Don't Hack it Talk 2022
(Health Essentials)
4. Stacking Functions With Rabbits On Your Permaculture Homestead - Modern Homesteading Podcast
(Harold Thornbro - Redemption Permaculture)
5. Permaculture Garden Design Around Existing Mature Trees
6. 27 The Principals of Permaculture with Chris Isgriss
(Thrive Co-Living Communities)

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