Category: Plants

Guilds for the Small Scale Home Garden

A Mixed Bunch

Building guilds is a clever way to put gardens together. Instead of toiling over providing this or that nutrient for plants or battling with pests or relying on the success of just one crop to provide the food, a massive mixture of productive growth is but a few preparation steps away. We often talk about guilds as a grand scheme, part of growing a food forest, starting with something huge […]

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7 Perennial Shrubs and Trees with Edible Leaves

Mulberry Tree (Courtesy of Vivian Evans)

Mama always insisted I eat something green. I think a lot of moms are that way. Frankly, now, some thirty-odd years later, I’m quite thankful to her for teaching me to appreciate a variety of flavors and textures for making sure I stayed on the healthy straight and narrow. As an adult, I don’t find it difficult or disconcerting to try new foods, but in fact, it’s exciting. Eating leaves […]

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Intercropping: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Why We Do It

Strip Intercropping (Courtesy of Oregon State University)

Get into permaculture and within no time an entire field of jargon is sprouting up around you, and while it can be exciting to have all these new ideas to ponder and play with, it can also be a bit intimidating…bewildering…intense. Well, at some point or another we’ve all felt that way, but even so, it’s time to talk about one of those mysterious terms: intercropping. In order to have […]

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How to Harvest Enough Dry Beans and Other Legumes to Feed a Family

Scarlet Runner Beans

I’ve been growing beans now for a while. They are a big part of my diet, and the nitrogen-fixing bacteria many legumes (not just beans) have are a huge factor of garden design. It’s common practice for me to simply plant a load of beans and peas as soon as a bed is made, both to chop-and-drop but also to pull a good harvest from the first planting. Something I’m […]

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Nitrogen Fixing Species for Agroforestry Systems

Caragana-arborescens-feature

I am currently working on a Regenerative Landscape Design for a site in Todorovo, Bulgaria. The plan is to establish an Agroforestry system known as Alley Cropping wherein rows of mixed species edible trees and shrubs are planted at intervals with spaces for herbs, forage and/or grain crops to be grown in between. It’s a dynamic system which is inherently diverse, providing multiple yields and excellent habitat for wildlife while at the same time being relatively resilient to a changing climate.

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My New Take on Self-Sowing Plants for Low Maintenance Gardening

Raised Bed

It happened this week, just yesterday actually, I was piddling through some old sheet mulch garden beds I’d made, beds still providing plenty, and discovered the next generation of plants coming up. There were three or four leafy outcrops of arugula sprung through the mulch. There was collection of pigeon pea saplings, about 15-20 centimeters high that were hiding amongst the weeds I was pulling. A cranberry hibiscus had dropped […]

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How To Grow Watercress At Home, One Of The Most Nutritious Vegetables

Watercress Farm

Watercress is among the most highly nutritious vegetables, many of the great herbalists wrote of the revitalizing power of watercress. The health benefits of watercress are attributed to its nutrient content. Watercress is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E, manganese, and carotenes. It also a good source of calcium, fiber, iron and copper. Watercress livens up raw salad and it also makes a valuable juice. Watercress […]

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An Attempt to Set a New Guinness Record by Planting 50 Million Trees in One Day

India Planting Trees

On July 11, thousands of people from Uttar Pradesh, a northern state in India, attempted to plant 50 million trees over 24 hours to get into Guinness World Records. Although this massive effort needs to be officially certified by the Guinness World Records, Indian officials say that volunteers have planted a mammoth 49.3 million tree saplings in 24 hours, easily surpassing the previously held record of 847,275 tree-plantings in a […]

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A Dozen or More Plants That Provide Quickly and Abundantly

Lemon Cucumbers (Courtesy of Megan Hansen)

I am for a new system of food production in which we utilize perennial plants more, slowly replacing our tendency to eat, nearly exclusively, annuals with a diet better suited to self-sustaining, soil-building, long-living agricultural ecosystems. I know these systems, in the end, will serve us better as a planet (humanity having to exist on said planet), has the potential to provide well-balanced abundance, and give us lives less reliant […]

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The Importance of Food from a Different Source: Eating Perennials

Pigeon Pea (Courtesy of Forest and Kim Starr)

Permaculture and perennial plants seem to be inextricably linked, and such is the case by design, of course. When building a permanent ecosystem, food-based or otherwise, it makes little sense to do so with annual plants. They die; thus, they require cultivation again and again, as well as an abundance of minerals and nutrients to support such fast growth cycles. While some edible annuals may readily self-seed, the quick turnover […]

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