Category: How to

A how to guide

Permaculture and Kombucha: The Ethics of Scoby

Ethics-Of-Scoby

Kombucha, the fizzy probiotic tea applauded for its taste and health benefits, also follows the permaculture ethic of sharing the surplus. You may know kombucha is made by feeding sugar to a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), or mother as she’s fondly called. In return, the scoby infuses probiotics, flavor, and carbonation into the tea. As scoby cultures readily replenish themselves, the abundance can be passed on to […]

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How to Set Up and Keep Bees

Honeybee_02

People have been keeping bees for centuries, both for beeswax and for honey, but there is still an incredible mystique about bee keeping. This is probably because bees generally move is swarms and if they attack they can kill any sized human. Coupled with this, many people are allergic to bee stings, and even one bee can cause a reaction that can be life threatening. But over time we have […]

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15 or More Easy DIY Garden Projects with Garbage

Plastic Pillow Stuffing

Trash happens. It just does. And, our job as concerned world citizens, responsible for ourselves and the impact we are all individually making on the planet, is to figure out how to deal with that garbage in a sensible way. When all is said and done, we should be leaving the world in better condition than we found it, not in heaping piles of toxic waste. The truth of the […]

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The Oft-Forgotten Art of Growing Mulch

What a Pile of Mulch (Courtesy of Joe Hoover)

Mulching We know we’ve got to do. Nothing else makes quite so much sense. It drastically lessens the water needed for growing plants, cutting the quantity easily in half and often much better than that. It feeds our plants by breaking down into fertile composted materials right where it’s needed. It protects the soil life, helps to prevent erosion and stops the compacting effects of rain. In the winter, it’s […]

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How to Build a Swale on Contour Successfully

Zaytuna_farm-Swale

Swales are amongst my favorite permaculture projects. Though they can be laborious, especially for a shovel and pick fellow like me, they show results quickly and look amazing, texturing the landscape with both purpose and beauty. They are easy to explain: Everyone understands the concept of plants needing water. Swales are also perfect for those of us wanting to build no-dig garden beds, as digging the (swale) paths provides the […]

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Fermenting Beverages

Soils-Test

It was some time ago, over a year to completely admit the extent of my procrastination, that I was working through a breezeblock of a book entitled The Art of Fermentation, by Sandor Katz, the modern Moses of the dark and mysterious process. It all sounded so fun, so magical for a guy who loves a tip of the tipple but has never made his own, and I couldn’t help […]

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Mushroom Cultivation

Mushroom cultivation is an intricate, but rewarding art. The fungal networks called mycelium need specific conditions to produce healthy mushrooms. If the conditions are off, the mycelium will be too busy fighting microbes to produce healthy fruiting mushrooms. For the beginner, I recommend a mushroom growing kit. These kits come with a pasteurized substrate, grain spawn, and a suitable container for cultivation. These kits provide novice growers the opportunity to […]

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How to Grow a Seedling into a Plant

Star fruit started from seed in a yogurt pot It’s as natural as natural can be: Plants, from trees to chives, start small and get bigger. We can’t really escape that fact. The trick for those of us looking to cultivate, to instigate food forests and healthy polycultural gardens, is somehow getting from our seedlings to something that will provide us with food, or timber, or chop-and-drop mulch, or windbreaks, […]

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A Little Sauce on the Side: Your Guide to DIY Condiments

Homemade Condiment Collection For all of the growing and eating of fresh produce most of us do, or aspire to do, condiments often survive our purging of processed and problematic foods. Ironically, many of us are growing the exact ingredients we need to make our own homespun condiments, free of food industry chemicals and additives but stocked with real nutritional value and flavor. Plus, once the basics are in motion, […]

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How to Set Up and Maintain Your Own Flock of Chickens

Backyard-Chickens

The idea of keeping chickens at home is one that appeals to a growing number of people around the world. It’s not just that you’ll get “free” eggs and chicken meat, it’s also that the produce from the chickens you keep is known to be free from all the unsavoury “stuff” (including harmful antibiotics and synthetic colouring) commercial chicken eggs and poultry are known to contain. But if you’re going […]

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How to Make Cider, Cider Vinegar, and Why You Should Be Doing It

Apple Cider from Above I ran into a funny story in a Michael Pollan book not long ago: The American pioneer legend, Johnny Appleseed, used to stay two or three hops west of the colonial expansion in the USA, buying up large swaths of riverside land and planting apple trees. In most historical accounts (the Disney version), he is depicted as an angel of virtue, making sure that everyone got […]

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How to Make a Productive Patio

how to make a productive patio heat

It would be great if we all had an acre or two, the time, and inclination to grow our own food, but the realities of the day are that the majority of people have moved into more confined, urban and suburban settings in order to be closer to jobs, entertainment, school districts, conveniences, and whatever else tickles our fancies. It’s the world as it is: Over half of us live […]

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