Category: General

The Great Hay Stack

The Great Hay Stack feat 01

Come the end of the annual monsoon, all eyes turn to the rice paddies, watching for the ripening of the grain. Spirits have been dampened by some unseasonal rains, bringing anguish about the state of the crop. This year, after a heavy monsoon that lingered a little past it’s welcome, the harvest finally came a little later, too.

The fields in front of our home are a mix of both cultivated rice paddies and fallow fields of wild grasses.

Each year, we undertake the big job of harvesting as much as we can of the organic matter that the fields have to offer.

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Dealing with Amish Neighbors through Sharing and Bartering

Dealing with Amish Feat

I find myself to be lucky enough to have many Amish neighbors. I feel lucky because they generally make the best neighbors for homesteaders. The Amish are quiet and like to be left alone: they don’t really mind what you do on your land. You can have a symbiotic relationship with the Amish that suits both of you. First off you need to respect the way they live and understand […]

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Raising Rabbits: My Source of Manure

Raising Rabbits Feat1

I love raising rabbits, mainly because of rabbit pellets also known as rabbit manure. When people ask me why I raise rabbits they expect me to say meat, pets or fur. When I say manure I really surprise them. I do love my rabbits and I love their meat, but rabbit pellets are invaluable. If you work on a small homestead rabbits might be a great livestock option. I first […]

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Language and Permaculture, Part 1: Why we need to focus on Terminology to take Permaculture to the next level.

Agriculture word cloud

One of the most universally applicable attractions of permaculture is that it is a practical set of design tools, based on directly observable effects and which can be used to create physical solutions to problems in the world. Indeed, co-conceptualiser of permaculture Bill Mollison famously pointed out that one of the reasons permaculture is so useful is that it involves actually applying what you are saying to what you are […]

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Farming the Garden

Farming the Garden Feat

How small is too small? Depending in what year you asked this question I would have given a different answer. I came across Permaculture in 2004 while searching the web for ‘intensive growing systems’. I lived in the burbs and only had access to small areas. Many techniques for gardening were attempted as I jumped from garden to garden in my parents and friends yards. Permaculture just seemed to rattle […]

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Polyculture Trials 2016 – Home Garden Records

Polyculture Trials Feat

Paul Alfrey from the Balkan Ecology Project looks at his Polyculture Trials 2016 – Home Garden Records. For the previous three years, we have been testing the practice of growing vegetables and herbs in Polycultures (guilds within Permaculture circles). We have been using our home garden for these tests, and recording the inputs and outputs from the growing seasons. Our aim is to discover whether or not growing in […]

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Rock Phosphate

phosphorus in the vein of teide

Phosphorus is needed by plants in relatively large amounts; this is why it is classified as a primary plant nutrient. It plays a key role in photosynthesis, carbon metabolism and nitrogen fixation. It is also a key component of nucleic acids-DNA and RNA. When phosphorus is deficient in a plant the following symptoms show: – Dark-green colouration in leaves- the dark green colour is as a result of high carbohydrate […]

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Swales Bring Life to Your Soil

Swales Feat

Everyone knows water means life, but not everyone pays attention to the amount of water going to your soil. Dirt, soil or earth, whatever you call it, is a living being. Having a consistent amount of moisture in your soil guarantees that it stays alive. Water is the “solvent of life” that functions in transport of nutrients through plants and is used in the energy producing-processes of plants. However, watering […]

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Reducing Your Footprint When You Haven’t Built a Permaculture Site from the Ground Up

Reducing Your Footprint Feat

In the ideal world of most budding permaculture enthusiasts, which I still consider myself, we would have pieces of land sizeable enough to begin the adventure of a lifetime. We would be designing our own energy-efficient homes with passive solar heating in the winter and deciduous vines clambering around to keep the sun off in the summer. We would have the space for luscious gardens and food forests to grow […]

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How much Comfrey can you grow on 13 m2 ? – Comfrey Trial Results Year 1

How Much Comfrey Feat

Inspired by the work of Lawrence D Hills (1911–1991) who undertook extensive research on Comfrey during his lifetime,  we decided to start some Comfrey trials of our own to see just how much biomass these plants can produce for us, how well they fertilize our crops, how attractive they are for garden wildlife, and whether they have a beneficial impact on the soil. We sought to do this by planting […]

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Farm to Table Tales

Farm to Table Tales Feat

Good food takes time. I’ve heard this phrase many times before, but after nine months at the Ranch, I’ve truly come to understand what it means to me. The local Costa Ricans are called the Ticos. The Ticos live by the mantra “Pura Vida”, which directly translates to pure life. This is indefinitely how they choose to live. “Tico time” is another phrase I’ve heard and come to understand here. […]

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