Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Nurseries & Propogation, Seeds.

For the last three years, the best-performing seeds in my garden have come from a little local outfit called Heart of the Highlands LLC. It helps that they’re locally grown: adapted to the same arid, frosty-hot climate that my garden struggles with.

Now that I’ve learned a little more about the proprietor and her farm, however, I recognize there’s also extensive experience, expertise, and attention to quality involved in producing my favorite seeds.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

As farmers, food growers and land managers we are reluctant to ask the real questions: where has our topsoil gone and how do we get it back? How do we grow better food for less cost and what are we leaving our grandchildren — deserts or fertile soil?

We have the answers to turn this all around and Paul Taylor is one person committed to providing some commonsense answers for recovering topsoil and building soil carbon as humus. Humus is our ‘Natural Capital’ — this is the stuff that long-term soil fertility and profitable production is made of.

Paul is a 3rd generation organic farmer and horticulturist. He has developed Trust Nature’s Bio-Vital™ system of sustainable soil management to provide a basis for soil regeneration. This system takes the mystery out of the complex sciences of soil microbiology and plant nutrition, and includes organic principles, modern technology, and traditional knowledge to deliver a set of answers for the crisis that we all face today — losing our productive soils. As we lose our living soils we become increasingly dependent on more toxic inputs and production becomes less profitable.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Nurseries & Propogation, Seeds.

Dried and Finished “Clay Dumplings”

What’s a Seed ball?

Seeds balls are an ancient technique for propagating plants from seeds without opening up soil with cultivation tools such as a plow.

The rediscovery and popularization of seedballs (or “Clay Dumplings” as he called them) in modern times is typically ascribed to Japanese natural farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka.

As with many natural farmers, Fukuoka believed that tillage over large areas is laborious, destructive to soil health, and ultimately not needed and thus a waste of time and energy. Thus, seedballs have become an important aspect of many natural farming and conservation enterprises around the world.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Trees, Urban Projects.

Berries are quick to bear and just make life better

As the perennial vegetable season dries up, berries are coming into full swing. Foraging for fresh fruit in the backyard was a key goal in our garden and this is reflected in the diversity and abundance of berries we enjoy. Within two to three years, all of our berries were yielding well and many were filling in to form nice patches. There’s nothing better than walking out the back door and feasting on five or six different kinds of berries as you make your way through the garden. Jonathan and Meg next door love them on their cereal every morning. We’ve cooked all kinds of dishes with them, but in general, that’s too much work for me: nothing is a satisfying as filling up a handful of berries and shoving them into my mouth, eating them right out in the sunshine.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Urban Projects.

When: July 12, 2014, 9-4pm
Where: Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA

Spend a day with Jonathan Bates and Eric Toensmeier, the co-designers and managers of the garden that inspired the book Paradise Lot.

We will tour the garden and sample the vegetables and fruit that are in season. In summer you may taste blueberries, raspberries, jostaberries, currants, gooseberries, marionberries and many more!

Read more »

Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

12 Leading Experts, 17 Invigorating Talks

12 world renown authorities, including several best selling authors, led by Dr. Brian Clement, Jeffrey Smith, Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Richard Oppenlander, Devra Davis, Cherie Soria and Dan Ladermann, Hans Diehl, Steve Meyerowitz – “Sproutman”, Joseph Keon, Elizabeth Grossman and Dr. Anna Marie Clement spoke at this 3 day conference.

This conference is now being offered for free (original price $149).

Read more »

Posted by & filed under General.

by Rob Avis

Read Part I here!

Opportunity is about seeing things differently

What is amazing about permaculture is the number of solutions that are contained within the design system. I often say that the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) provides people with a solution matrix they can use to run their problems through. A lot of the time, these derived solutions are not considered in mainstream design professions. As an engineer, doing my PDC brought together a lot of disconnected concepts from school and the petroleum industry in a way that I had never considered before. Permaculture became hugely beneficial in shaping the way I saw design, and it is through this transformative lens that I now see the following niches and opportunities for new permaculture students.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Land, Plant Systems, Seeds, Soil Biology, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

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 establishing vegetation which can ultimately protect and nurture soil life.

Read more »