Category: Plant Systems

Designing Food Forests Across Three Climate Zones with Geoff Lawton

Got 10 minutes? Here’s a great little video of Geoff Lawton outlining the construction of food forests across three different climate zones. Whether you live in the tropics, drylands or the cool to cold North American climate, there is something to glean from this instructional and entertaining video. Watch it now!

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Agroforestry Support Species for Cold Climates

A silk tree in my garden, serving as living trellis to arctic kiwifruit; also shade provider for shade crops including currant, mayapple, fuki, and edible hosta. Also fixes nitrogen. Rafter Ferguson’s recent excellent article “Permaculture for Agroecology” (PDF) challenges the permaculture movement to read up on what’s happening in related fields like agroecology and agroforestry. I’m particularly interested in learning from the well-established agroforestry practices of the tropics to see […]

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Omaha Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health – Presentation Resources

Recently, I had the honor of attending a national conference on cover crops and soil health. The conference was held in Omaha, Nebraska on February 17th to the 19th, sponsored primarily by the Howard G Buffett foundation and SARE (Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education). The attendees represented university specialists, seed vendors, farmers, non-profit groups, and government organizations focused on how to improve the health of our nation’s soils.

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Banana Circles

Banana circles can be used in tropical and sub-tropical areas to utilise waste water, run-off or overflow from rainwater tanks, and even urine waste from dry composting toilets. It is possible to use other plants in a similar system, but bananas are an excellent choice as they are very heavy feeders and also need a lot of water to be productive. The fruit from banana palms is highly nutritious and […]

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Does Comfrey Really Improve Soil?

All of us who have studied permaculture have heard some impressive claims about comfrey. It is a dynamic nutrient accumulator; it improves the soil; it is “a slow motion fountain” of nutrients, bringing them up from the subsoil to improve the topsoil. We’ve heard lots of anecdotal evidence, but where is the empirical data for these claims? Peter Harper’s article in The Land last summer, “Permaculture: the Big Rock Candy […]

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Swale Pathways (Tasmania, Australia)

by Good Life Permaculture Diagram of a traditional swale system Hobart is Australia’s second driest capital city (Adelaide’s first) so catching and storing water is often on my mind. Annually we get approximately 615mm, most of which arrives in the cooler months in and around Winter. During Summer our soils will dry out so ferociously that some soil types (including ours) will form cracks big enough to stick your hand […]

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Advanced Cell Grazing with Geoff Lawton

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPCBQh0hEl8 Trailer only – watch full video here! Last year on Permaculture News there was an excellent article on Advanced Cell Grazing by Nick Burtner who documents the circular cattle lane-way on Geoff Lawton’s 66 acre Zaytuna Farm. Geoff devised a system of easy to install temporary electric-fenced cattle lane-ways that lead to over 38 grazing cells on his farm — small plots of grazing land where cattle could be […]

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Biological Carpeting

Biological Carpeting is a method introduced to us by Rodger Savory of Savory Grassland Management. Rodger is the son of Holistic Management founder Allan Savory and managed the African Centre for Holistic Management’s research station at Dimbangombe, Zimbabwe for six years. At our home and training site, Rosella Waters on the Atherton Tablelands in northern Queensland, Australia, we soon realized that we lived on pretty marginal land and what would […]

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The Benefits of Permaculture Education and Sack Gardens in Kenya, East Africa

You may have previously read about the work of FoodWaterShelter in Tanzania, East Africa, where they use permaculture solutions to provide the food, water and energy needs of the vulnerable women and children at the Kesho Leo children’s village. And you may have heard about the successful English and Kiswahili PDCs that they have hosted with almost 90 graduates. Well now read a story from one of the world’s first […]

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Bhaskar Save, the Gandhi of Natural Farming

Sage of a minimalist farming system based on non-violence and all of nature’s biodiversity that produces in abundance with no chemical inputs. by Bharat Mansata Bhaskar Save, acclaimed ‘Gandhi of Natural Farming’, turned 92 on 27 January 2014, having inspired and mentored 3 generations of organic farmers. Masanobu Fukuoka, the legendary Japanese natural farmer, visited Save’s farm in 1996, and described it as “the best in the world”, ahead of […]

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Trophic Cascades – On the Reintroduction of Wolves to Yellowstone National Park

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. — John Muir The eradication of wolves from Yellowstone National Park is a classic example of the Us and Them approach to wildlife management — where a simplistic, selfish and reductionist mindset sees nature as something to battle and compete against, rather than recognising that each wildlife entity has an […]

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Reversing Desertification with Gabions

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mE0Nq-hz5YM Trailer only – watch full video here! Gabions are rocks and small boulders packed into a wire basket to combat soil erosion on the side of steep slopes. But to Geoff Lawton, they are more commonly used to pacify storm water in a flash flood event and to build soil in strategic locations in the Middle East. They can even be used to reverse desertification in dry lands and […]

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