How much Comfrey can you grow on 13 m2 ? – Comfrey Trial Results Year 1

How Much Comfrey Feat

Inspired by the work of Lawrence D Hills (1911–1991) who undertook extensive research on Comfrey during his lifetime,  we decided to start some Comfrey trials of our own to see just how much biomass these plants can produce for us, how well they fertilize our crops, how attractive they are for garden wildlife, and whether they have a beneficial impact on the soil. We sought to do this by planting […]

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Can You Really Make a Living From a Permaculture Farm? – 7 Ways to Find Out

Mas del Encanto feat

By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be urban, and in more developed regions of the world, these numbers are expected to reach close to 90%. The number of cities and mega-cities with more than 10 million people is slowly but surely increasing in number.

You can catch a glimpse of this very large organism by looking at a satellite photograph of the earth at night. Brilliant clusters of sparkling city lights that dim at the edges to produce long thinly lit high-ways connecting other distant city clusters, forming organic, treelike patterns. Even these ad-vanced human creations of steel and concrete still conform to the laws of nature that we humans seem to forget so easily…

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Rustic Homesteading with Limited Space

Rustic Homesteading feat

It’s really amazing what you can do on a small plot of land. I’m often surprised by what I can squeeze in on our ¾ acre plot. Whenever I think we’re maxed out, I seem to find a way to get one more plant or one more project in. One way we saved space and produced more food on our small homestead was with espalier trees. Proof of this growing […]

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Farm to Table Tales

Farm to Table Tales Feat

Good food takes time. I’ve heard this phrase many times before, but after nine months at the Ranch, I’ve truly come to understand what it means to me. The local Costa Ricans are called the Ticos. The Ticos live by the mantra “Pura Vida”, which directly translates to pure life. This is indefinitely how they choose to live. “Tico time” is another phrase I’ve heard and come to understand here. […]

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Hands Off Our Apples

Female hands holding red apple at garden at sunny day

Apples are, without a doubt, one of the most diversely cultivated fruits in the Northern Temperate climates. Long before modern-day humans existed, the wild apple progenitor had evolved in Central Asia, where it can be found to this day.(1) Its image is interwoven into the rich fabric of human history. Throughout the ages it has been featured in countless artistic works from paintings and sculptures to domestic needlework. The apple […]

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Americans Are Not Consuming Enough Fruits and Vegetables

Fruit market with various colorful fresh fruits and vegetables

For a number of years the CDC has been studying the fruit and vegetable intake of Americans based on national dietary guidelines. Currently, the guidelines recommend 2-4 servings of fruit, and 3-5 servings of vegetables daily. In 2013 state and national surveys determined that on average, only 13% of americans met the recommended daily serving of fruit. As for vegetables, only 9% met the recommendation. These numbers seem less surprising […]

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Shou Sugi Ban: How to Preserve Wood Using Fire

Shou Sugi Ban Feat

Modern building practices often use designs and materials which cause destruction or detriment to the surrounding ecosystem and utilize resources which may be cheap to buy but are expensive to the Earth (see for example 1). Luckily for the Earth, a myriad of projects out there are following the “use and value renewable resources and services” principle with building materials and techniques. One common natural resource to use is wood, […]

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Implementing Aquaponics in Permaculture

Leaf lettuce plantation in hydroponics system

Aquaponics (AP from now on) is a system to produce fish and vegetables in a closed loop system. It is not mentioned in permaculture books but I think AP has a place as part of a permaculture design. It is possible to incorporate the AP in a sustainable way in our designs too. AP cannot be the main food producing system though. In an integrated food producing systems, it has […]

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Learning What the Dendritic Pattern Is (It Looks Like a Tree) and Applying It to Design

Dendritic Tree (romana klee)

Recently, I’ve been working my way through Geoff Lawton’s new online course, in particular chapter four, which concentrates on Pattern Understanding, as found in Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual. It’s a topic that I do enjoy, though it sometimes feels a bit steeped in jargon, words formerly unfamiliar to me—tessellation and dendritic—appearing again and again. However, it’s the later, the dendritic pattern, that has recently captivated me, and I […]

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Failed Promises of GMO

crude oil on oil spill accident on Ao Prao Beach at Samet island

Thanks largely to Europe’s flat rejection of GMO seeds for the last twenty years, as compared to North America’s overwhelming welcome of them, the New York Times was able to conduct a thorough analysis of United Nations data on the two promised benefits of the infamous GMO products: increased crop yield and decreased pesticide usage. The results, as many farmers already knew from years of experience, are that these promises […]

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How To Grow Your Own Mulch?

How to grow your own mulch feat

Growing my own mulch has long been a goal of mine. We use a lot of mulch in the nursery and garden and at the moment we have no problem sourcing straw but if/when the day comes that the farmers start using their own straw to improve their soil (which is becoming a more common practice), We’ll be needing to step up our mulch growing efforts. Currently, we grow enough mulch to sustain the perennial beds and around 10 % of the annual beds but rely on imported straw for mulching the other 90% of annual vegetable and nursery beds.

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