Category: Plant Systems

Perennial Polycultures – The Biomass Belt: Fertility Without Manure

Perennial Polycultures – The Biomass Belt: Fertility Without Manure

We’re extending the Polyculture Project to include experimental perennial polycultures on various plots of our newly acquired land. Our aim is to develop models that are low cost to establish and maintain, can produce healthy affordable nutritious food and will enhance biodiversity. We’ve been looking into fencing our plots, and how to meet fertility demands of the establishing perennial crops such as fruits, nuts, herbs and perennial vegetables without relying […]

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Zone Four Chop and Drop

tom zone four 01

Even though its getting to the end of the wet season and is possibly a bit late I have started the chop and drop process on the zone four swale. It has been planted out to timber trees and support species and of course quite a lot of natures additions have germinated as well. I have plenty of other things that I could be doing however I think that the […]

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Upside-Down Tomato Garden DIY

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We know that a lot of people want to grow tomatoes but simply do not have a backyard spacious enough for it or do not even have a backyard at all. Here’s a simple solution to remedy that: the upside-down tomato garden. You’ll be able to plant tomatoes and hang them vertically and they’ll consume only a very small amount of space. Do you want to build your own upside-down […]

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Food Forest “Chop and Drop”

Food Forest Chop and Drop 01 - feat

Even though I would like to see more rain the “wet season” is here. This means that rainfall is higher than evaporation so it is time to “chop and drop”. This saying is a permaculture saying meaning that we cut back our support species and drop them on the ground to accelerate the natural forest floor buildup and to cycle the nutrients and carbon.The first photo is a “before” shot […]

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Sprouting Good’s Aquaponics

Sprouting Good's Aquaponics 01

We would love to introduce you to the wonderful world of Aquaponics. Aquaponics is the cultivation of plants using the waste water from fish or aquatic creature which supplies the nutrients for the plants. Those using Aquaponics at home will be able to deliver fresh healthy chemical free produce in their backyard with the benefit of having access to fresh fish. Our specially designed education centre has been teaching students […]

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Permaculture Animals as a Discipline to the System

Permaculture Animals as a Discipline to the System

The use of animals in permaculture design is a fundamental aspect which provides diversification of a system as well as accelerating this system towards its potential maturity. Integration of elements in a system can occur through the use of animals natural tendency to do useful work as their living function and increase the complexity of interactions possible in a way that aligns with natural tendencies of ecological reality. Animals love […]

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Nature Did It First (and best).

Nature Did It First (and best).

Aquaponics are a very interesting development in the world of permaculture and offer some great benefits and advantages. Let’s take a look at hydroponics and aquaponics to see what they offer, and how aquaponics functions in comparison to hydroponics. Hydroponics – the ingenious and highly optimized system of growing plants in water. Commercially available nutrients provide all that is needed for the reservoir and after these nutrients have been added the growing begins. This is really great for those who want to hit the ground running.

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Poisonous Mushroom as the Medicine of the Future

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“The difference between medicine and poison is dose” Paul Stamets on the Omphalotus Illudens or much commonly known as the Jack ‘o Lantern mushroom. Stamets talked about the infamous poisonous mushroom and talks about its medicinal properties. The mushroom, according to Stamets, provides compounds that can be used to arrest tumor growth by preventing DNA replication and protein binding which makes tumors grow. Though the mushroom has a wide array […]

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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

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

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

Guidelines for Perennial Polyculture Design

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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