The Tropical Salad: Leaves of a Different Cut (Panama)

Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants.

Leaves of a different cut I love the tropics as a place for permaculture, specifically the ability to grow tropical fruits and the capability to plant stuff year round. I like the interplay between rainy and dry season, the way things get incredibly green and grow uncontrollably in the wettest of times, and all that… Read more »

Minor and Uncultivated Fruits of Eastern India

Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Trees.

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… Read more »

Saving Seed on the US/Canadian Border

Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Nurseries & Propogation, Seeds.

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,… Read more »

Plant Cuttings Made Simple

Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Nurseries & Propogation.

CERES plant propagation brings back some memories. I volunteered for a day when it was first launched. The CERES team was prepping the site for the first polytunnel and I spent the day potting on dozens of herbs with a handful of other volunteers. Five years later and the propagation enterprise has grown steadily. They… Read more »

Exploring Sustainable Livelihoods in Laikipia (Kenya)

Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Medicinal Plants, News, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Trees, Village Development, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

Elin Lindhagen, Director, PRI-Kenya Some members of the women’s group Since it started in 2013, the Laikipia Permaculture Project in Kenya has rapidly grown with the help of the inexhaustible passion of Joseph Lentunyoi, founder and manager of the project. From the first women’s group, Nabulu, which approached the newly established Laikipia Permaculture Centre, wanting… Read more »

Does Comfrey Really Improve Soil?

Posted by & filed under Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Rehabilitation.

All of us who have studied permaculture have heard some impressive claims about comfrey. It is a dynamic nutrient accumulator; it improves the soil; it is “a slow motion fountain” of nutrients, bringing them up from the subsoil to improve the topsoil. We’ve heard lots of anecdotal evidence, but where is the empirical data for… Read more »

Hardy Gingers for the Food Forest Understory

Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) can handle 5°F/-15°C. The rhizomes make a great tea and are wonderful shredded into stir-frys or cooked with rice. When I visit tropical and subtropical forest gardens I often see ginger, turmeric, galangal, and cardamom in the understory, beneath and between the fruit trees. In fact, according to P.K. Nair’s fantastic Tropical… Read more »

Weeds – What Are They Good for? (Victoria, Australia)

Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems.

The subject of ‘weeds’ has always seemed to me to incite far more controversy than it should. The best description of a weed is, “a plant out of place”. It seems to me that if you have a weed, then you have an available niche in your garden that an unwanted opportunistic plant has taken… Read more »

Delicious and Nutritious – Moringa is a Miracle Tree!

Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants, Trees.

The uses and health benefits of Moringa are amazing; some even call it miraculous! It is truly a ‘jack of all trades’ tree that can be a food, fuel, medicine, and tonic! Even if you are not a salad lover, by drying and grinding the leaves it can be added to a traditional food like… Read more »

The Natural Capital Plant Database

Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, News, Plant Systems, Trees.

by Daniel Halsey The database is working very well and I encourage all permaculture designers to try it out. Especially the spreadsheet download. Let me know if you would like free access for a time to try it out. The Natural Capital™ Plant Database is a repository of plant information for ecological design. Our partner… Read more »