Category: Plant Systems

A Tool for a User-Generated Polyculture Pattern Language

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This article describes the efforts of the Apios Institute to use our website to develop a user–generated pattern language of polycultures, sites, and species. It is part of our campaign to raise funds and get new members to make our website the tool we dream it can be. This article lays out quite a bit more about that dream: a tool to help people around the world to more easily […]

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Plant Allelopathy

Plant Allelopathy

Plant allelopathy is the ‘chemical warfare’ among the plants imposed by one plant on another to suppress the latter and take advantage from that suppression. The word allelopathy comes from two Greek words allelon and pathos; where allelon means ‘each other’ and pathos means ‘to suffer’. Thus in the phenomenon of plant allelopathy, allelopathic plants create adverse conditions to other neighboring plants by reducing their seed germination and seedling growth. […]

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A Global Wiki of Perennial Crops, Polycultures, and Food Forest Sites

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Designing perennial polycultures (guilds) can be a big challenge. It can be hard to find information on perennial crops and support species. There is a need for information, sample polycultures, and design templates.

Since 2007 we have worked to address these key needs on our site, a crowdsourced tool featuring perennial crops, polycultures, and food forests. Thus far our focus has been on humid temperate systems, but we are raising funds to expand to a global resource. At the same time we’ll be implementing a major overhaul of our site. This will include the open-access addition of the 700 perennial crop species from Eric Toensmeier’s forthcoming book The Carbon Farming Solution.

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Guidelines for Perennial Polyculture Design

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Polyculture design can be bewildering and even intimidating. I’ve been planting and thinking about polycultures for over two decades. During that time I’ve planted a lot of failed polycultures that didn’t work for one reason or another, as well as some successful ones. I’ve also visited many sites in many climates and seen polycultures functioning very well – especially in the tropics, where agroforestry systems are much farther along than my cold temperate home.

I’ve assembled a set of guidelines for designing polycultures, that I’d like to share with you. They are a work in progress and far from perfect, but, in concert with the design process shown below, they have helped hundreds of people in my courses and workshops to feel ready to go home and design and install their own polycultures.

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3 Grasses that Are Effective in Rehabilitation of the Ecosystem of Tailing Dams

3 Grasses that Are Effective in Rehabilitation of the Ecosystem of Tailing Dams

These days, mining has become a terrible threat to nature with its widespread damaging impacts on environment and ecosystem. The noxious impacts of mining are mainly due from mine tailings. The mine tailings are highly acidic as well as toxic with a number of heavy metals including Cu, Zn, Mn, Ni, As, Fe and Hg. The abundance of heavy metals along with other harmful effects in the tailings and very […]

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3 Nitrogen Fixing Trees for Snowy Regions

3 Nitrogen Fixing Trees for Snowy Regions

Nitrogen fixing trees are unique natural gifts that can solve the problem of nitrogen deficiency, one of the major problems of present world’s agriculture, without any potential ecological or environmental hazard. Apart from nitrogen addition to the soil, they are also capable of improving the quality of soils to a great extent; e.g. they can turn a disturbed soil into a good one. To facilitate their use in all types […]

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5 Fun and Fruitful Techniques for Small-Scale Earthworks

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I’ve spent most of the last two years volunteering on farms throughout Central and South America, as well as a three-month sojourn through Spain, and in that time, I’ve learned a ton from the people I’ve worked with and, I like to think, shared a lot as well. I’ve been introduced to trees and plants I’d never encountered before. I’ve pruned and harvested in new ways. I’ve played with different […]

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Facts that Expound more on what Constitutes of Bamboo

featIMG_8071Ingrid Pullen Photography

Photo: Bambusa vulgaris at the PRI Zaytuna Farm Bamboo Bamboo is a resource that over the ages was not tapped. It has been viewed as an ornamental plant in the gardens and at times, in art and its economic potential not fully exploited. Bamboo is ‘the new timber’, and now people are embracing it. For the most part, it is embraced for its economic importance and benefits over timber, and […]

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Introducing Nitrogen Fixing Trees: Nature’s Solution to Curing N2 Deficiency

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Nitrogen deficiency is a major challenge to world agriculture. This element is one of the most important nutrients for the growth and survival of plants. Roughly 78% of earth’s atmosphere consists of this gas essential to supporting life. However, plant life is unable to derive vital nutrients from its gaseous form. Instead, plants must pull nitrogen from their soil. The introduction of chemicals to compensate for nitrogen deficiency has created […]

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Baobs and Bunyas

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The Boabs of Kimberley in the North West of Australia and the Bunyas of the north east coasts of Australia are two trees with outstanding appearance and function. These are two of my special interest trees the Boab Adansonia gegoeri and Bunya Araucaria bidwiili. My visits to the Kimberley began in the nineteen seventies and continued into the eighties. In the years 1999 to2003, I was living in the East […]

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How to Harvest Your Own Seeds from Fruit and Vegetables for Propagation into Nursery

IMG_7731Ingrid Pullen Photography_

Harvesting your own seeds from fruit and vegetables for propagation into a nursery significantly reduces your costs by over 50 percent. In order to reap the maximum benefit, you must give your plants the help they need to produce healthy seeds. Harvesting and storage techniques require particular attention because they impact seed quality. To achieve the best results, one must harvest at the right time, clean with the proper techniques, […]

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Permaculture as a Method for Ecological Healing:

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Maui Case Study with Native Plants and Stream Restoration. Photography by Jasmine A Koster It may not seem readily apparent when viewing scenic photos, or strolling along the beach shoreline if you’ve been there, but something like 90% of Hawaii’s species are invasive. In other words, a species had no chance of getting to these isolated islands–and adapting to its new environment to become a new species over time–unless it […]

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