Category: Plant Systems

OrBio – a Cover Crop Strategy for Market Gardens

A bug’s eye view of the sky, from a stand of cover crop Photo © Craig Mackintosh A recent post by Australian permaculture aid worker, Miles Durand, writing from Lesotho, reminded me to share a method of growing vegetable crops alongside cover crops that I learned when I studied organic biological horticulture many years ago. In the context of the holistic soil science and natural pest control studies I was […]

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Small Scale Nursery Applications: Reflections from Loping Coyote Farms Nursery (NV, USA)

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by Neil Bertrando , Eric Toensmeier Plant materials are a critical component of any homestead or agroecology site, and by using the permaculture design concept, we can figure out many yields to pattern into our management activities. I want to explore some opportunities presented by integrating a small scale nursery into the process of site development, based on my experiences in a high desert climate context on sites of <2 […]

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Winter at Tata Kaitawa, 2013 (New Zealand)

by Yvonne Collin Misty winter morning in the valley What winter? Have we had one and it has slipped by without making a noise? We have had a few cold and wet days here in the bush and the occasional frost after a clear night, but not like the winters we are used to having. We live in a deep valley, one of two valleys that meet at the bottom, […]

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Permaculture is Weaving Magic! (Maharashtra, India)

by Jyoti Deshpande, Chaitraban It has been almost three years, and, as Toby Hemenway says, the magic is happening! The trees are yielding shiny tasty food, the variety of weeds on the land is slowly reducing, the soil is a darker colour now and there are tons and tons of predatory insects patrolling the site.

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Maximum Yield Cropping System (MYCS)

There are many economic, social and environmental benefits to be gained by increasing the current yield from existing food production areas, including increased employment, food production and community food security, and most important, the prevention of clearing more forests for food production. Natural ecosystem services are essential for human existence, providing life support functions such as water and oxygen — and they are the models from which we can design […]

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Return of the Native (UK)

Why are almost all the trees that councils plant exotic species? by George Monbiot The differences can be stark and remarkable: native trees tend to harbour far more wildlife than exotic species. Indigenous oak species, for example – according to the table extracted from scientific papers by the Offwell Woodland and Wildlife Trust – harbour 284 insect species in the UK. Birch supports 266. But horse chestnut, introduced from the […]

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Fernglade Farm – Winter 2013 Update (Australia)

//www.youtube.com/embed/2LkVPAhxoCE The rains turned up here in Victoria, Australia, in April and then kept on pouring. So far this year has seen almost no rain over summer and then about 600mm (2 foot) since about the middle of Autumn. In addition to that, winter maximum temperatures have set new records (which date back to the 1860s). The climate here is turning strongly Mediterranean. As you’d expect, everything is growing strongly […]

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Report on Permaculture Training in Dembe Dollo, Western Ethiopia (Part 2)

Continuing from: Report on Permaculture Training in Dembe Dollo, Western Ethiopia (Part 1) Community trainings in the third world present a bit of a different set of challenges from your average western group. The community members often have quite a wealth of indigenous knowledge on the methods and the species of the area – they know exactly which trees are used for what (goat forage, fencing, medicine, fibre, etc.), how […]

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Cover Crops Solutions Chart

Click pic to download PDF As most readers of this site will recognise, nature always works to protect the soil from from wind and water erosion — by covering it with living foliage. In doing so, the cycle of life and death continues, increasing the soil’s fertility over time. Alas, many ‘modern’ gardeners have allowed themselves to become indoctrinated into trying to maintain a ‘tidy’, foliage-free garden bed — they […]

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Regenerating Rusinga Island (Lake Victoria, Kenya)

In January, 2013, I wrote an article titled, "Helping Small Farmers Help Themselves on Rusinga Island". In December of 2012, I came to Rusinga Island for the first time under the invitation of PRI Kenya to teach a PDC to women and men subsistence farmers. What emerged out of the PDC was a small group of farmers — sixteen members — organizing themselves and setting up their own association called […]

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Advanced Cell Grazing – Permaculture Livestock Systems at Zaytuna Farm

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Cell grazing is not a new option when it comes to large animal management. However, brewing at Zaytuna Farm is a dynamic and advanced cell moving method that combines age old and newly discovered techniques and strategies. It has been said before, and most of us permaculturists have used our power of observation to see, that nature will opt for balance. This becomes apparent when we see an overgrazed pasture […]

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