Category: Plant Systems

A Canadian Rocket Stove Powered Greenhouse

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How does Permaculture function in cold climate latitudes? Recently Geoff Lawton and his crew visited engineers Rob and Michelle Avis at their home in Calgary, Canada. Rob and Michelle have transformed their urban garden into an outstanding example of good design. They run Verge Permaculture and actually encourage the neighbouring children to pick and sample the berries and vegetables that are grown in their front yard.

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World’s Largest Aquaponics Project, in China’s Third Largest Aquaculture Lake

Lake Taihu experienced its worst ever algal bloom at the height of summer, pushing researchers to search for new solutions. They decided to try a new technology, Aqua Biofilter, that is designed to remove nutrients that fuel algal blooms. An ambitious aspect of the project was to launch the world’s largest aquaponics system, over 4 acres in size, using new technologies in combination with old world bamboo that is used […]

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Create a Hugelmound Landscape

Hugelmounds are a truly amazing regenerative landscaping technique. They could be your preferred method of soil re-building and regeneration, and here’s why. There’s a lot to consider when understanding the best and most environmentally balanced way of creating your new forest garden and permaculture landscape. Hugelcultures, or "hugel mounds", are a way of creating raised beds, which over time break down into mounds of fertility. They work on the principle […]

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Intensive Silvopasture – a Win-Win for Carbon and Yield

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I don’t have rights to a photo of intensive silvopasture, but in this image we have high density of leucaena with pasture below, thus a very similar pattern. Ethan Roland for scale. As I research my book on carbon-sequestering agriculture I am occasionally struck by particularly promising techniques that mitigate climate change, build soils, and actually increase production of human food or other yields. One such system that has me […]

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Plants That Attract Beneficial Insects

by Fred Hoffman Nature wants to make your job as a gardener as easy as possible; but you have to help. So, let’s talk about putting in plants that attract the "good bugs", the crawling and flying creatures whose diet includes pests that are ravaging your garden plants. These beneficial predatory insects do not live on aphid steaks alone. They need other natural sources of food and shelter for their […]

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When Engineers Grow Food Forests (TED video)

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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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