Category: Food Forests

Winter Pruning Techniques: Spur-Bearing Fruit Trees

I’ve always been a bit confused about proper pruning techniques. You’ve got your winter pruning for spur-bearing fruit trees, winter pruning for tip-bearing fruit trees and summer pruning to keep your trees at a manageable height. There are some people like Sepp Holzer and Masanobu Fukuoka that even advocate against pruning at all, although they both specify that your unpruned fruit trees need to be propagated and managed in a […]

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Green Winter at 63 Degrees North (Norway)

Stephen Barstow with Angelica atropurpurea, a North American species. In a garden which can freeze solid down to the bedrock for three months a year, Stephen Barstow supplies himself with a wide selection of fresh vegetables throughout the year. Over 2000 edible plants are found in his unique garden. Many consider the Norwegian climate to be a challenge for growing food with its long, snow-rich winters, but Stephen finds his […]

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Minor and Uncultivated Fruits of Eastern India

Averrhoa bilimbi A new agricultural paper describes the wild, uncultivated fruit that have long been an excellent source of nutrition and ayurvedic medicines in India (Paul, 2013). Due to rapid urbanisation and the concurrent erosion of traditional knowledge, these crops are under threat. Conservation plans need to be developed in order to re-popularise these fruits and preserve their sacred value to local people.

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Tips and Insights from Miracle Farms (Canada)

Recently Michelle, Rowan, Naomi and I embarked on a cross-country train trip to attend a family reunion in the eastern townships of Quebec. With a little extra time left over after the festivities, I decided to connect with Stefan Sobkowiak of Miracle Farms for a day, having come across Stefan’s work in the amazing YouTube video above. Over the course of the day, I gleaned some great ideas and tips […]

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Herb Spirals and Herb Circles

Fresh herbs right outside the kitchen door The herb spiral is more or less an ubiquitous installment at the permaculture farm, so when we came to work on a property in Panama, building a spiral as near to the kitchen as possible was a top priority. Not only would it supply us with fresh and flavorful meals, but it wouldn’t take long to establish a useable system, a harvestable, sustainable […]

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Fukuoka’s Food Forest

Mandarin orange, a main crop of Fukuoka’s food forest. At one time he was shipping an impressive 90 tons of citrus fruit annually Many of us in the permaculture and organic movements have read Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka’s One Straw Revolution, which lays out his ingenious (though hard to replicate) no-till organic rice production system. I was surprised and pleased when, in my job as librarian for the New England […]

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Useful Plants from Robert Nold’s “High and Dry”

One of the more challenging environments for food production is cold and arid. I’ve been investigating useful perennial plants for that climate for many years. A few years ago I purchased Robert Nold’s High and Dry: Gardening with Cold-Hardy Dryland Plants. Robert isn’t interested in growing these plants for food, but he has an incredible wealth of knowledge and years of experience in growing plants in his Littleton, Colorado garden […]

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The Victorian Stumpery Meets Hugelkultur: Timeless Matchmaking With Permaculture (Panama)

The Inspirational Stumpery by Jane-Ann Liddle I’m crazy about hugelkultur. I love the concept of burying old fallen and felled trees to provide years of slow-release compost for crops to come. I love using waste material for something useful. I love not having to turn or move compost about. I love the chance to sculpt a really raised bed, something behemoth — hulking if you will — that makes a […]

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Grow Food and Soil With A Food Forest

Soil before and after After ten years of learning from and collaborating with a mega-diverse, globally inspired, edible forest garden, new wonders are under foot. Paradise Lot, here in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA, has a soil story to tell, and we are finally getting around to deciphering its wonders. Since 2004, each year we installed a portion of our design of perennial polycultures of multi-purpose plants into sheet mulched garden beds. […]

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Saving Seed on the US/Canadian Border

For the last three years, the best-performing seeds in my garden have come from a little local outfit called Heart of the Highlands LLC. It helps that they’re locally grown: adapted to the same arid, frosty-hot climate that my garden struggles with. Now that I’ve learned a little more about the proprietor and her farm, however, I recognize there’s also extensive experience, expertise, and attention to quality involved in producing […]

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Making Seedballs: An Ancient Method of No-till Agriculture

Dried and Finished “Clay Dumplings” What’s a Seed ball? Seeds balls are an ancient technique for propagating plants from seeds without opening up soil with cultivation tools such as a plow. The rediscovery and popularization of seedballs (or “Clay Dumplings” as he called them) in modern times is typically ascribed to Japanese natural farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka. As with many natural farmers, Fukuoka believed that tillage over large areas […]

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Summer Berries in a Humid Cold Temperate Climate (USA)

Berries are quick to bear and just make life better As the perennial vegetable season dries up, berries are coming into full swing. Foraging for fresh fruit in the backyard was a key goal in our garden and this is reflected in the diversity and abundance of berries we enjoy. Within two to three years, all of our berries were yielding well and many were filling in to form nice […]

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