Broccoli Rabe

Green Vegetables

There’s little dispute that including vegetables in our diets does indeed improve our overall health and supplies our bodies with valuable nutrients to function properly and perform at our best. To ensure that we are receiving a full range of these nutrients we need to be mindful that we work to vary our diets. Often, we can get in a rut, eating the same few veggies, week in and week […]

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Growing Perennials

Growing Perennials feat(1)

I love growing perennials! Perennials are plants that can grow for 3 years or longer with proper care. They are time savers, money savers and allow you to share plants in most cases. Perennials are soft greens not woody and flower. Some examples you should be familiar with are; – Grapes – Mint – Lavender – Water Cress – Lemon balm – Horseradish – Jerusalem Artichokes – Broccoli – Chives […]

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Just Enough Is Plenty (Book Review)

USA - CIRCA 1967 : stamp printed in the USA shows Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, circa 1967

In my early twenties I came across Henry David Thoreau and attempted to read Walden.  I admit I struggled.  If only Just Enough Is Plenty was available then I am sure Thoreau’s concepts would have been much easier to grasp.  Samuel Alexander has written an excellent introduction to Thoreau’s works.  Just Enough Is Plenty: Thoreau’s Alternative Economics not only summarises Thoreau’s ideas it is also a pithy statement of Alexander’s work itself: it is short, […]

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Healing Your Soil

Healing Your Soil feat

Sometimes soil needs our help. When we over-utilize our lands, kill them with chemicals or deforest them, they are made weak and can die. Soil is living and a lot like us. The top layer of soil is like skin that offers the first layer of defense that can be easily damaged. We have done this damage to our earth, but we can help undo some of that damage by […]

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The Quincessential Guide to Japanese Quince – Chaenomeles Speciosa

The Quincessential Guide to Japanese Quince feat

We have planted a fair bit of Japanese Quince – Chaenomeles speciosa in our gardens over the years, all of them grown successfully from seed. Initially I was disappointed by the rock hard, sour fruits that arrived in the fourth year after sowing, but have always had an appreciation for the profuse beautiful reddish pink flowers that appear in the early spring attracting bees and other pollinators. These days I’ve […]

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Mini-Documentary Trio: Forest Gardening, Edible Landscapes and Urban Permaculture

Mini-Documentary Trio: Forest Gardening, Edible Landscapes and Urban Permaculture

Three unfortunately not great picture-quality but information-packed UK ‘mini-documentaries’ by Iota. First, an introduction to temperate permaculture pioneer Robert Hart (1913 – 2000), one of whose “guiding principles” is given as Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of “democratically organised, self-sustaining communities”. Next, a visit to The Field in Cornwall, where plant database Plants for a Future founder Ken Fern introduces his work. Finally, an interview with Mike and Julia Guerra, who grow almost a fifth of their food in their city back garden. “Nature is the biggest teacher”, says Mike.

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Hügelkultur

hugelkultur feat

Hügelkultur is a German word that means mound culture or hill culture. This is a growing method that has been used for years, but was made popular by the greats like Geoff Lawton, Sepp Holzer, and (Wild man) Paul Wheaton. Hügelkultur is a process that mimics what happens in a forest on an annual basis. Trees fall, leaves fall, seeds get covered, winter and rains germinate: from death, life begins. […]

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Designing a Lifestyle, Not Just a Garden

Ladybug (Courtesy of Anderson Mancini)

Implementing a permaculture design is much more than building a garden. It’s also more than a house that utilizes passive solar energy or barrels to catch rooftop runoff. While these things often are incorporated into permaculture plans, the practice itself is getting at something much deeper. It’s redesigning the way we live. Growing at least some of our own food is a step in a different direction from the mass […]

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Permaculture Paradise: Val and Eli’s Garden

Permaculture Paradise: Val and Eli’s Garden

A 48-minute in-depth look at the Florida, USA city garden of Val and Eli. The pair changed 1/10th of an acre, in three years, from a “barren, food desert” lawn into a “paradise” of edible, medicinal, mulch and other useful plants. As an introduction to plants it’s very useful with a tour of many of the 160 different species, as well as some water management techniques. Information-heavy but their clear enthusiasm and passion make up for this.

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Centralisation and our Fossil Fuel Future

Biogas

Globalisation seems to mean centralisation, which means that people are expected to travel more and greater distances as the world becomes “smaller”. Today I had to travel to Sydney in order to get my (Dutch) passport renewed. Up to now I have always been able to do it in Brisbane, so imagine my shock when I was told that now Dutch passports can only be renewed in Sydney. Australia is a […]

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Small Scale Composting

Compost pile with daisies

Organic waste comprises an estimated 20-40% of the solid waste stream that ends up in landfills. Organic matter breaks down slowly in landfills due to limited oxygen, which can contribute to methane gas production. Enter stage left: compost. Compost is the rich, black remnant of organic waste such as kitchen scraps combined with “brown” matter (i.e. soil, leaves); the result is beautiful fertilizer for your garden. Intentionally composting accelerates the […]

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Permaculture: Green Gold

Permaculture: Green Gold

John D Liu tells how “it’s possible to rehabilitate large-scale ecosystems”. In 1995 he filmed the Loess Plateau in China where “local people transformed an area almost the size of The Netherlands from a …desert into a large green oasis” and since then has been involved in “greening deserts” around the world. The film begins with world problems but if you get past this the solutions are imaginative and inspirational: from re-introducing “thought to be extinct” species in Jordan to reforestation and rehydration in Ethiopia. Featuring Geoff Lawton.

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