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.

Heating (and Cooling) Passively When It’s Too Late to Design Your Home for It

One of the more difficult things about taking on a permaculture lifestyle when we already have an established residence is that, because the practice is based on efficient design, many times we having seemingly come to the game too late. Once a brick-and-mortar house is built and our savings are invested, it’s no small task to start renovating it to have a built in grey water system or south-facing aspect. […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

Challenges of Choice

Even before permaculture vernacular had become commonplace to us, my wife Emma and I were active in our pursuit of living more in keeping with how we wanted to treat the planet, its animals, and our fellow humans. We were already ardent boycotters, believers in fair wages, in animal rights, in corporate responsibility. We signed petitions. We were vegans who mostly cooked from scratch. We even shopped locally, utilizing farmers’ […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

33 Books That Have Enriched My Permaculture Life

There was a time, some years ago, in which I aspired to be a fiction writer, and in those years, I found inspiration in the words of authors who wrote fiction (Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robbins are two that feel prominent). From there, I entered the world of travel writing, and I studied the works of people (Pico Iyer, Paul Theroux, Tim Cahill, Bill Bryson) prominent in that field. I […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

Assessing a Property Before Designing It

For the purpose of this article and the scope of which I’m looking to explore, we are going to begin by assuming a hypothetical property is already bought and paid for. In short, we won’t be going into all of the legal assessment ideas that might be involved when buying a property, though many of these thoughts could help in choosing one to buy. Instead, we’ll be looking at assessing […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

12 Autumn Activities for the Temperate Homestead

For those who have followed my articles over the years, you might be aware of two things: A recent relocation and the fact that, in fact, I do not yet have a homestead of my own. My wife Emma and I spent quite nearly over two years in search of a piece of land in Central America, and in the end, we watched a couple of deals fall apart and, […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

Manure: An Overview of This Shi…ning Addition to the Garden

Organic gardens really benefit from manure, and that is no mystery. However, it’s important to be aware of what kind of manure is at your disposal because they are not all equally desirable. Some manures, dare we say, are choice garden additions, while others take a lot of coaxing, a slow and patient cook, from composting gurus. Chicken manure is vastly different from cow manure, which is largely different dog […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

How Do You Use Urine?

Composting toilets are a great thing. They take what has become a problem in modern systems—human excrement—and make it into something useful: rich compost. Despite simple and effective ways of making composting toilets, humanure does still bring about some controversy with those who are worried about pathogens. Confident composters won’t hesitate to put a well-rotted humanure compost in vegetable gardens, whereas less trusting composters opt for applying it to fruit […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

How to Forage Safely as a Beginner

Disclaimer: Always seek local advise prior to consumption of wild mushrooms. I guess, to be completely honest, the best ways to forage as beginner would be to either hire a guide to take you or attend some sort of class. However, I’m going to come at this thing assuming most people are at least somewhat like me and bit tight with the budget. Truly, and even still, I plan to […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

Cold Frames, How and Why

Before moving to the temperate climate, I’d assumed that winter was pretty much a wash for growing a decent crop. I knew soils were good and summers abundant, all of which led to lots of food storage for getting through winter. I even looked forward to the squashes and pumpkins, and I couldn’t wait for the berries and hard fruits. That all seemed doable, even exciting in a way, but […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

The Basics of Growing Food in the Winter

Having spent so much time in tropical environs, I fretted over having to think about seasons, in terms of temperature, when my wife Emma and I decided to give North Carolina a try. Suddenly, we are having to think about frosts much more than wet and dry season, and a bit more encouraging than expected, we are finding a new abundance that accompanies cooler places. Going into our first autumn […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

Simple Approaches to Making and Using Foliar Fertilizers

One of our main goals in the permaculture garden is to foster soil life, and there are many methods we use for accomplishing this goal. We apply thick mulches and add plenty of organic matter. We practice no-dig methods so as not to harm existing soil life, and we enhance richness by adding things like worm compost, manure, and leaf mold. We increase fertility with nitrogen-fixing plants. We cultivate perennial […]

Read More >
Shares Comments

9 Productive Plants for Water Gardens

In permaculture design, water is the first priority. We try to find its natural routes on and off the property, slow it down, spread it out, and harvest it for use in times when it isn’t so abundant. In this regard, ponds (below surface water catchments, often naturally formed) and dams (walled-off catchments that retain water) are routinely part of a permaculture site. Designers should strive to make these bodies […]

Read More >
Shares Comments