Category: Compost

How to Steal from Your Neighbors and Have Them Love You For It (Panama)

Stolen leaves over yucca plants with banana circle backer The first time I did it I did so on the sly. I needed some mulch for a piece of dried up clay I was hoping to convert into a forest floor upon which I planned to grow a food forest. The piece of land next door was thick with leaves, and having seen the groundskeeper over there laboring with a […]

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Meet the Designer: Benjamin Vidmar (Svalbard, Arctic Ocean)

Inside a spare hotel room, on one of the most northern places on earth, something magical is happening. Plants are growing, worms are composting waste, and people are feeling re-connected to food in a world of mining and monetary extraction. Meet Benjamin Vidmar, Director of Polar Permaculture Solutions. Benjamin has been working on creating a permaculture system in Svalbard, part of a group of Islands in the Arctic Ocean. A […]

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Soil Science Basics for Beginners

by Aaron Jerad It’s dark. You are surrounded by giant flesh eating amoebas. You can’t move very fast…. Welcome to the world of the bacteria, the smallest but most abundant member of the soil food web. Often feared but essential, whether directly or indirectly, for the survival of almost all other living organisms on earth. Cover cropping, mulching and composting are three great ways to build soil. In this photo […]

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Composting Toilets Made From Wheelie Bins

I just read a post on composting toilets here on the PRI site and remembered that I never posted about the composting toilets I made last year (for various projects) based on a similar principles, but a distinct design. Below I offer a few words of introduction and then post photos of the building process with instructions. As part of various projects that I’ve helped organise over the last six […]

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Building a Basic Compost Toilet

by James Reid Humanure, which one is it — embarrassing waste product or invaluable, free fertiliser? Heh, what do you reckon?! The human body has within its waste products (faeces and urine) pretty much all the suitable nutrients needed to help grow the food we need to keep ourselves healthy and well fed. Everyday we produce this free fertiliser and flush it down the toilet when it could be being collected, managed correctly […]

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Dung Beetles – The Underground Army Enriching the Soil

This video gives an overview of the benefits of establishing and managing dung beetles. Dung beetles are fascinating insects, working tirelessly to bury dung around the country. One cow per day produces approximately 18kg of dung. These beetles process the dung by burying it deep into the soil and helping the plant roots to access them directly. In a way they are also providing food for the earth worms. When […]

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How One Chicago Restaurant Went Totally Trash-Free

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwg6ei2V6-4 Some restaurants produce eight gallons of waste every hour. Thanks to a sustainability plan, Sandwich Me stretched that time… to two years.

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How To: Wire Mesh Compost

I live in an area with a very defined and intense rainy season, and had been wanting to start a compost pile at my house for some time. However, I remembered from having visited a farm in an even wetter region, that their compost piles, which were on the bare ground and without a roof (like I had been intending to do) ended up being, more or less, piles of […]

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FoodWaterShelter Fast Fact: Recipes for Healthy, Happy Plants (Tanzania)

The spoils of Kesho Leo’s permaculture garden beds (Arusha, Tanzania) Healthy plants in healthy soil shouldn’t generally suffer from serious insect infestations or diseases (see here, here and here for more on this). So if you’re having severe problems with either, look for reasons that your plants may already be stressed, and therefore more vulnerable to disease or insect attack. Spraying for pests should really be a last resort…. Ask […]

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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 […]

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Soil: The Hidden Frontier

Permaculturists everywhere are crazy about patterns. We are taught to “zen-out” so we can observe patterns in nature and society. But if patterns are the glue in permaculture, how do we begin to pick apart the patterns that we can’t even see with the naked eye? Enter world renowned soil biologist Dr. Elaine Ingham and her rowdy band of critters known as the soil food web. Dr. Ingham has spent […]

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Composting Toilets in Thailand

Newly completed composting toilet This is an analysis of a humanure composting toilet designed and built at the Panya Project in Mae Taeng, Thailand. Humanure toilets are a very effective, easy, cheap method of creating a resource out of what our conventional society views as waste. A humanure composting toilet allows feces to break down into soil by adding sawdust to the chambers after each ‘use’. After six months of […]

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