Jonathon Engels

Facebook

The financially unfortunate combination of travel enthusiast, freelance writer, and vegan gardener, Jonathon Engels whittled and whistled himself into a life that gives him cause to continually scribble about it. He has lived as an expat for over a decade, worked in nearly a dozen countries, and visited dozens of others in the meantime, subjecting the planet to a fiery mix of permaculture, music, and plant-based cooking. More of his work can be found at Jonathon Engels: A Life About.

Ramps: Saving Our Wild Edibles

Since moving to North Carolina a couple of years ago—my, how time flies—Emma and I have developed a minor obsession with foraging. We’ve learned to confidently identify over a dozen types of edible wild mushrooms here, dining on choice varieties as chanterelles, maitake, chicken of the woods, and comb tooth (Hericium coralloides), a relative of the highly medicinal lion’s mane. We’ve also frequently enjoyed wild plants such as chickweed, dandelions, trout […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

A Homemade Vegan Version of Natural & Organic Fertilizer

Featured Photo : Photo: Corn, Beans, Squash, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Amaranth and Gardener Last year I worked a couple of gardens with a friend/boss, Buck, who has been cultivating these spaces for decades. Though some of his techniques don’t jive with my permaculture sensibilities, such as tilling every year and walking in garden beds, on many things we were in lock-step. For example, once our seedlings had popped up a few […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

Growing Grains at the Home-Scale Farm

I dream of growing grains, of being so far down the line in establishing a kitchen garden, a vegetable garden, a food forest, that time can be allocated to developing a system for handling the cereal part of the food supply. Well, let me put that differently: I aspire to get to that project one day, and from time to time, I do catch myself daydreaming and wondering just how […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

Multi-Functional Living: Wood Heat

This year Emma and I are taking something we did last year and making it more functional: We are heating with wood, full-time. Previously, we often had fires at night, giving the heating system a break and enjoying the atmosphere, but it was noncommittal. Some nights we didn’t bother. We used the wood-burning cook stove even less than that, though we did love the event it made of a meal, […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

Useful Garden Projects for Autumn Leaves

Despite having spent many of my most recent years in the tropics, and despite having grown up in Louisiana, where the number of seasons is pretty wishy-washy, I’ve always kind of assumed that autumn could possibly be my favorite time of year. My birthday is in right in the middle of autumn. It’s a time when the weather slowly cools down to a comfortable temperature, which seems better than slowly […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

Repurposing Wood

Not so long ago, my wife Emma and I bought our property, a place for which we’d been looking for nearly four years. And, in doing so, the enormity of what we were about to undertake sunk in. I’d been gathering up wood in anticipation of us needing to build a home, but the pace had been leisurely and the collected resources a bit aimless in there (re)purpose. Amazingly, the […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

Horseradish: Why I Should Try It Again

Earlier this year, in the spring, I was able to acquire a handful of horseradish roots to plant in a garden my wife Emma and I were putting together. I’d first encountered it as a plant the year before and was happy discover the leaves were edible with a flavor reminiscent, though milder, of the root. I’d never had horseradish in anything besides cocktail sauce, possibly some other condiments here […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

Invasive Thoughts: A Battle with Conscientious Consciousness

I did a lot of research. I hummed and hawed, danced around the issue, came up with a veritable pros and cons type of list. Ultimately, the base of our food forest needed some fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing trees, and whether or not they were native came to feel somewhat moot. I found a good tree species. It was readily available (and free). What difference did it make if folks had deemed […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

The Reflective Art of Garbage Collection and Deflection

The way we handle trash nowadays allows us to put it on the curb or in the dumpster and forget about it. We pile up however much rubbish we produce then someone comes to take it away. If we start taking responsibility, composting and reusing and recycling, that will help. The biggest help would be reducing the amount of waste we create, particularly plastics and chemicals, which don’t so readily […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

Chores by Design

When the concept of sustainability moves past buying things labeled “green” into personal action, the cold hard truth is that our lifestyles need to change as much as the products we buy. Part of living sustainably is adjusting how we do things so that we are less consumptive and reliant on unsustainable systems. Performing everyday tasks — cleaning the floor, washing the dishes, drying clothes, opening a can, making coffee […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

7 Productive Zone-7 Plants That I Think I’m Falling For

I love discovering new, useful plants to incorporate into garden design schemes. Of course, there are a great number of plants many of us have never heard of, let alone know how to utilize, but one of the great things about the permaculture mindset is that it constantly yields wonderful, unfamiliar flora to cultivate. There are many ways a plant or tree can be useful. Food is one that we […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

12-Plus Methods for Keeping Challenging Weeds and Pests Out of the Garden

  With organic gardening, especially at the outset, comes a few new challenges for transitioning growers. Pesticides and other chemicals have, for several decades, become the go-to solution for all things in the garden, and now that many of us are clearing our heads from that fog, we are left to rediscover methods for dealing with everyday garden problems.  When herbicides have been the trick for combating weeds, how do […]

Read More >
Shares Comments