Category: Plant Systems

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 […]

Read More >

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 […]

Read More >

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 […]

Read More >

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 […]

Read More >

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 […]

Read More >

The Victorian Stumpery Meets Hugelkultur: Timeless Matchmaking With Permaculture (Panama)

The Inspirational Stumpery by Jane-Ann Liddle I’m crazy about hugelkultur. I love the concept of burying old fallen and felled trees to provide years of slow-release compost for crops to come. I love using waste material for something useful. I love not having to turn or move compost about. I love the chance to sculpt a really raised bed, something behemoth — hulking if you will — that makes a […]

Read More >

Seeding Into Frost Heaves: Leveraging a Natural Soil Disturbance Event

A close up of frost heaves A common winter sight in most cold temperate regions are frost-heaves; areas of water-saturated soil that have been uplifted due to freezing. Frost-heaving is generally regarded as an undesirable dynamic, because it evidences a lack of organic material or mulch capable of sheltering the soil (and it’s microinhabitants) from freezing. However, on degraded and compacted sites, frost heaves are really a great opportunity for […]

Read More >

Growing Trees and Reforestation

Acacia tree With Autumn in the Southern hemisphere it is an ideal time to plant trees, as the sap of the tree is descending, and especially in hot environments the trees get a chance to acclimatize during the cooler weather and if you are in a winter rainfall area your trees can be well watered in before the hot summer days start again. In all forests there are the pioneer […]

Read More >

Bone Sauce: A Tool for Deterring Browsing

Applying the bone sauce Bone sauce is a product of the destructive distillation of bones — a process which separates the volatile organic components (aka bone sauce, or Dippel’s oil) from the inorganic components (aka bone char — mostly calcium, carbon and phosphorous compounds). Bone sauce has a potent smell, somewhere between wood-creosote and rancid meat. When applied to the bole, branches, and shoots of dormant woody perennials it deters […]

Read More >

Propagation Using Willow Water

There are many ways to propagate plants, which can be broadly divided into sexual and asexual. Taking cuttings is an asexual method, as your new plants will be clones of the mother. The method is simply to cut a new shoot from an existing plant and encourage it to take root itself. Information abounds about which plants are best to take cuttings from, and how to go about the process, […]

Read More >

Building Up Soil for a Nutrient-Rich Raised Bed

All photos by David Ashwanden A lot of permaculture involves utilising waste streams and turning problems into solutions, and I often bring these into practice by looking at what’s available around me and how I can use it effectively. With this in mind, having come across some old bath tubs, I decided to create some raised beds, building up the soil using a layer mulch recipe rich in a mix […]

Read More >

Fernglade Farm – Autumn Update (May 2014, Victoria, Australia)

Well, the summer just past was interesting. Heat and drought were constant companions in all parts of the Australian continent other than the Northern Territory. Down in the south eastern corner of the continent the farm here had to deal with 10 days of temperatures exceeding 40°C (104°F) during January and February. At one point in early February a bush fire came closer here than I was comfortable with and […]

Read More >