Category: Plant Systems

Air Pruning (video)

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 9.15.19 pm

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.

Read More >

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 Abstract Shifting agriculture in the tropics has been replaced by sedentary smallholder farming on a few hectares of degraded land.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 […]

Read More >

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 […]

Read More >

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 […]

Read More >

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

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)

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 8.32.25 pm

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 >