Category: Food Forests

Grow Food and Soil With A Food Forest

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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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Reverence for the Bunya Bunya: A Seasonal Retrospective From Melliodora (Australia)

Dedicated to the memory of Peter Brew 1954-2010 Classic bunya bunya canopy profile at the Bunya Mountains National Park Equinox gift from the subtropics It feels like a classic autumn break after a horrible gardening season with alternating cool and scorching hot dry conditions, insect plagues and disease. We’ve had a series of nice rains bringing the first germinating winter clovers, grasses and lush annuals that most people call weeds. […]

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Growing Trees and Reforestation

Acacia tree With Autumn in the Southern hemisphere it is an ideal time to plant trees, as the sap of the tree is descending, and especially in hot environments the trees get a chance to acclimatize during the cooler weather and if you are in a winter rainfall area your trees can be well watered in before the hot summer days start again. In all forests there are the pioneer […]

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Bone Sauce: A Tool for Deterring Browsing

Applying the bone sauce Bone sauce is a product of the destructive distillation of bones — a process which separates the volatile organic components (aka bone sauce, or Dippel’s oil) from the inorganic components (aka bone char — mostly calcium, carbon and phosphorous compounds). Bone sauce has a potent smell, somewhere between wood-creosote and rancid meat. When applied to the bole, branches, and shoots of dormant woody perennials it deters […]

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Life in Season: What to Do with All Those Mangoes (& Other Harvesting Conundrums)

We knew it was coming. Hell, we were excited about the fact that it was coming. We were returning to Panama just in time for mango season, taking the reigns of a piece of property with five or six large mango trees, and beyond those, we knew some of the neighbors let hundreds of fruits rot on the ground every year. Well, that wasn’t going to happen on our watch. […]

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Fernglade Farm – Autumn Update (May 2014, Victoria, Australia)

Well, the summer just past was interesting. Heat and drought were constant companions in all parts of the Australian continent other than the Northern Territory. Down in the south eastern corner of the continent the farm here had to deal with 10 days of temperatures exceeding 40°C (104°F) during January and February. At one point in early February a bush fire came closer here than I was comfortable with and […]

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Designing Food Forests Across Three Climate Zones with Geoff Lawton

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Got 10 minutes? Here’s a great little video of Geoff Lawton outlining the construction of food forests across three different climate zones. Whether you live in the tropics, drylands or the cool to cold North American climate, there is something to glean from this instructional and entertaining video.

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Urban Garden Demonstration Update (New Zealand)

by Kay Baxter, PRI New Zealand (Koanga Institute) This is an update on our urban permaculture garden experiment which integrates the best ideas from our Permaculture Design Course students into a working urban garden here in our North Island, New Zealand temperate climate. Our end product includes rabbits, chickens, a 36 sq m biointensive garden, 2 vines, 19 fruit trees, 15 berry bushes, 1 olive and 3 nut trees. We […]

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Agroforestry Support Species for Cold Climates


A silk tree in my garden, serving as living trellis to arctic kiwifruit; also shade provider for shade crops including currant, mayapple, fuki, and edible hosta. Also fixes nitrogen. Rafter Ferguson’s recent excellent article “Permaculture for Agroecology” (PDF) challenges the permaculture movement to read up on what’s happening in related fields like agroecology and agroforestry. I’m particularly interested in learning from the well-established agroforestry practices of the tropics to see […]

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