Category: Plant Systems

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 Abstract Shifting agriculture in the tropics has been replaced by sedentary smallholder farming on a few hectares of degraded land.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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Green Winter at 63 Degrees North (Norway)

Stephen Barstow with Angelica atropurpurea, a North American species. In a garden which can freeze solid down to the bedrock for three months a year, Stephen Barstow supplies himself with a wide selection of fresh vegetables throughout the year. Over 2000 edible plants are found in his unique garden. Many consider the Norwegian climate to be a challenge for growing food with its long, snow-rich winters, but Stephen finds his […]

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Herb Spirals and Herb Circles

Fresh herbs right outside the kitchen door The herb spiral is more or less an ubiquitous installment at the permaculture farm, so when we came to work on a property in Panama, building a spiral as near to the kitchen as possible was a top priority. Not only would it supply us with fresh and flavorful meals, but it wouldn’t take long to establish a useable system, a harvestable, sustainable […]

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Fukuoka’s Food Forest

Mandarin orange, a main crop of Fukuoka’s food forest. At one time he was shipping an impressive 90 tons of citrus fruit annually Many of us in the permaculture and organic movements have read Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka’s One Straw Revolution, which lays out his ingenious (though hard to replicate) no-till organic rice production system. I was surprised and pleased when, in my job as librarian for the New England […]

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Soil Carbon Cowboys – Case Studies in Holistic Management (video)

Meet Allen Williams, Gabe Brown and Neil Dennis — heroes and innovators! These ranchers now know how to regenerate their soils while making their animals healthier and their operations more profitable. They are turning on their soils, enabling rainwater to sink into the earth, rather than run off. And these turned on soils retain that water, so the ranches are much more resilient in drought. It’s an amazing story that […]

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Self-feeding, Self-watering Pot (Video)

In this video, Daniel Catalaa of San Francisco explains the design for a planting pot which combines the benefits of self-watering and self-feeding in a single unit. This is not a new idea, but a combination of two existing ideas into a single unit. It has a large water storing capacity and uses earthworms to create and spread compost in situ. It will take roughly about six hours to build […]

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