Category: Plant Systems

3 Benefits of Maintaining an Urban Native Plant Food and Medicine Forest

salal

Photography by Paul Galant. The eggplant colored berries grow side by side on an elongated stem, up to perhaps a dozen in a row. You know they’re ripe not only when they’re plump, but when they begin to resemble blueberry flowers in shape–more so than round berries. The berry gains this appearance because the fruit is surrounded by a protective, fleshy sepal, which looks like a flower. If you gently […]

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The Oft-Forgotten Art of Growing Mulch

What a Pile of Mulch (Courtesy of Joe Hoover)

Mulching We know we’ve got to do. Nothing else makes quite so much sense. It drastically lessens the water needed for growing plants, cutting the quantity easily in half and often much better than that. It feeds our plants by breaking down into fertile composted materials right where it’s needed. It protects the soil life, helps to prevent erosion and stops the compacting effects of rain. In the winter, it’s […]

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Mushroom Cultivation

Mushroom cultivation is an intricate, but rewarding art. The fungal networks called mycelium need specific conditions to produce healthy mushrooms. If the conditions are off, the mycelium will be too busy fighting microbes to produce healthy fruiting mushrooms. For the beginner, I recommend a mushroom growing kit. These kits come with a pasteurized substrate, grain spawn, and a suitable container for cultivation. These kits provide novice growers the opportunity to […]

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Cultivating Drought-Resistant Heirloom Varieties for Your Permaculture Garden

Copyright Ingrid Pullen Photography I live in Washington State, USA, and you may already know that we’re experiencing a state-wide drought. This is shocking: everyone jokes about how it’s always raining, so you’re lucky if you get a tan, but it hasn’t rained as much lately. Supposedly we were going to have the same amount of rain but the snowpack would be depleted, which in turn affects the rivers and […]

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Central Texas Permaculture: Learning by Working

About a year ago I began volunteering at a small school and permaculture education center just south of Austin, Texas. At the time, I was working at a nursery in the city. I had an interest in plant care but no real awareness of permaculture. Since then, I have been on the fast-track to full permaculture immersion, learning by working. Right around the time I was introduced to permaculture, I […]

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Touring the Cedars of Lebanon

Daniel Halsey, shows you the home of sustainable forestry for a thousand years, Lebanon has a history of foreign occupation, only matched by its resilient ability to maintain its resources in spite of political and social oppression. Imagine trees coppiced every 80 years, not annually or every few years. That takes dedication to long term sustainable practices, where generations honor a vision resources for their descendants and limit consumption. Some […]

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How to Build a Grey Water Planter Bed

Get ready to start using your shower and sink water. Nicholas Burtner explains in detail how to build a grey water bed for home use.

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Qualifying Dynamic Accumulators: a Sub-Group of the Hyperaccumulators.

Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a popular Dynamic Accumulator. To the untrained eye, a lot of scientific language appears superfluous – yet may best describe some detail or process within a broader concept. The scientifically trained eye, likewise, may be suspicious of superfluous language. Robert Kourik first uses the phrase ‘dynamic accumulators’, in 1986 to describe plants considered a valuable addition to composting due to their mineral/nutritional content. Theoretically, dynamic accumulators […]

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How to Make a Productive Patio

It would be great if we all had an acre or two, the time, and inclination to grow our own food, but the realities of the day are that the majority of people have moved into more confined, urban and suburban settings in order to be closer to jobs, entertainment, school districts, conveniences, and whatever else tickles our fancies. It’s the world as it is: Over half of us live […]

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Necessity Turns On the Innovative Side in Plants

-Extreme nutrient scarcity pushes plant roots in Australian kwongan bushlands to cook up ingenious strategies to survive For a general onlooker, the Australian Outback is nothing more than a bland empty void with low scrubs and bushes. But the kwongan bushland found in the south-west Australia has an unusually rich biodiversity even though subsisting on some of the world’s most infertile soils. In fact, the soil is so barren, that […]

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The Magic and Mystery of Constructing a Herb Spiral and Why Every Suburban Lawn Should Have One

Herb Spiral (Panama) One of the first permaculture projects I did was building an herb spiral, and to be honest, the design has never ceased to delight me. Undoubtedly, that one and the few spirals that followed are amongst the most beautiful garden beds I’ve made. More importantly, they are also amazingly productive and a great way of getting into the mindset choosing the right spot to plant stuff, both […]

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Are you Environmentally Organic?

Today the organic food movement is no longer considered to be a luxurious fad, enjoyed exclusively by those with the financial resources to care. Indeed, our common high street supermarkets have been cashing in on our desire to live a greener, more sustainable life and the organic market is thought to be worth in excess of $14 billion in the USA. But looking beyond the feel-good marketing, there are an […]

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