Category: Plant Systems

When Engineers Grow Food Forests (TED video)

Dr. Akira Miyawaki has a job many of us would enjoy — planting forests on degraded land. He once was asked by Toyota (in India) to help them become carbon neutral and turn their factories into healthier, greener and ‘environment friendly’ places. He has developed a methodology to make forests grow ten times faster than normal.

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Mycelium Running: How Fungi Can Help Save the World

by Paul Stamets. Review by Sher June. When research biologist Paul Stamets suggests fungi can help save the world, he is absolutely serious. In fact, he contends they can rescue it in several different ways. There are the medicines to be derived from fungi, probably more than we can yet imagine. Fungi for insect pest control. Fungi can absorb and often digest toxins from their environments — toxins as diverse […]

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UN: Only Small Farmers and Agroecology Can Feed the World

Governments must shift subsidies and research funding from agro-industrial monoculture to small farmers using ‘agroecological’ methods, according to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. And as Nafeez Ahmed notes, her call coincides with a new agroecology initiative within the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. Modern industrial agricultural methods can no longer feed the world, due to the impacts of overlapping environmental and ecological crises linked to land, […]

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Sheep Vegetation Management in British Columbia, Canada

Permaculture principle #11: Use edges and value the marginal. The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place, these are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system. — Holmgren Let’s talk about clearcuts in Northern BC. Clearcuts are edges, between the forest and cleared land where fast growing broad-leafed plants like fireweed and alder outcompete conifer seedlings. We think of clearcuts as ugly […]

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Alihuen: An Agrarian Conservation Story (Chile)

Click the ‘CC’ button to choose subtitles (English and French available) Alihuen means big tree in the language of the indigenous Mapuche peoples of Chile. When Jeroen Beuckels decided to settle in the rural Chepu province of Chiloe with his wife Grecia this name was not taken lightly, for the farmland which it would represent has undertaken massive transformation from pasture to thriving forest.

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Accidental Propagation, For the Best in Gardening (Panama)

Many of the most successful gardens we’ve propagated have been as much luck and accident as they have been my astounding wits. We’ve made lots of special garden beds, no-till expressions of fertility and decomposition, but often times it’s the rogue plantings, the spots where seeds have fallen from a pocket or simply tossed away as compostable refuse, that turn out to be the most bountiful. Here are some of […]

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Oh, The Beds I’ve Made: No-Till Gardening in Tropical Panama

One of the most exciting parts of taking the reins to a hectare of lakeside land in Panama was planning just exactly what kind of experimenting was going to be on order. We knew there would be a food forest. We knew there’d be a vegetable garden, fresh herbs, and lots of very dense clay soil with which to contend. Much of the space was steep hillsides, but at the […]

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Design and Build a Low Maintenance Perennial Fruit and Herb Front Garden (UK)

Perennial Fruit and Herb Garden Note: The plants listed below are as a guide — it is not a list of edible species. Please refer to culinary fruit and herb text books before using any plants in the kitchen or consuming any plants. Not many people use their front garden. Front gardens are often laid to turf. Except for mowing the grass, or using the front door, the front garden […]

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Air Pruning (video)

Here is an interesting and simple-to-manage technique that will promote better root growth for your potted plants. It can be applied to plants that will stay permanently in pots or for those that will end up in your garden. Those interested in this should also check out the ‘Air Nursery’ chapter of the Farmers’ Handbook.

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The Role of Trees in Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture in the Tropics

by Roger R.B. Leakey, Department of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia. Abstract Shifting agriculture in the tropics has been replaced by sedentary smallholder farming on a few hectares of degraded land. To address low yields and low income both, the soil fertility, the agroecosystem functions, and the source of income can be restored by diversification with nitrogen-fixing trees and the cultivation of indigenous tree species that […]

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Using Practical Permaculture Principles to Help Us Think Like an Ecosystem

At Hill Top Farm the functions and dynamics of healthy natural ecosystems provide the framework and inspiration for our on-farm decision-making, as well as the structure and content of our Permaculture courses. Nature has had millions of years to fine tune the process of designing sustainable self-maintaining ecosystems. Natural ecosystems, whether they are rainforests or desert scrublands, do not produce waste or pollution. Non-renewable resources are not part of the […]

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Ducks in a Permaculture System (Scotland)

by James Reid, PRI Tap o’ Noth You don’t have a slug problem, you have a duck deficiency. — Bill Mollison It was reading the above quote that made us want to acquire some ducks here at PRI Tap o’ Noth in North East Scotland. The idea of using the natural foraging instinct of the duck to rid our kitchen garden of slugs and snails, by encouraging them to browse […]

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