Category: Design

Unwanted Chemical Pool Gets Permaculture Makeover

Six months into our pool to pond conversion and the problem really has become the solution. For some time, we had been flirting with the idea of doing something productive with our unwanted 12,000 gallon in-ground swimming pool. It was during my Permaculture design course with Geoff Lawton last year that I decided to commit to a full conversion to an aquaculture wetland. What seemed like my most daunting project […]

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How Dry Composting Toilets Work

Dry composting toilets are an efficient, cyclical way of dealing with human waste without using and/or fouling fresh water, which is in ever-dwindling supply on the planet. Using clean water to flush human excrement sends it into either a septic system, which eventually has to be pumped and the sludge moved to larger facilities where it will then be dealt with, or sewer mains, where it congregates into a horribly […]

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Greening the Desert with Permaculture

“I have never seen soil like this before” was the comment that Bill Mollison made during a visit to the ‘Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’) in 2011. At the time, he was referring to the poor state of the soil in the small village of Jawasari, Jordan. An area of the world where the landscape has been damaged by not only extreme pollution and […]

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Permaculture chickens – 6 practical lessons from the evolution of chickens

One of the fundamentals of permaculture design is to observe, understand and work with natural ecosystems.  It sounds simple enough to apply permaculture principles to chicken keeping. Can’t we just observe wild chickens in their natural environment? The problem is, modern domesticated chickens don’t exist in the wild. Junglefowl are the immediate ancestor of chickens, however it’s not that simple. Modern chickens were domesticated more than 8,000 years ago and […]

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First Community Food Forest in the City of Melbourne

First Community Food Forest in the City of Melbourne

The Kensington Food Forest began with a dream, to provide healthy nutritious organic food for our local community, to build resilience around food security.  Kensington is an inner city suburb in Melbourne.  We wanted to grow our own food to reduce pressure on farmlands, reduce food miles and the subsequent use of fossil fuels in transportation as well as keeping chemicals off our plates and creating community.  After doing my […]

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8 Abundant “Fodder Forest” plants, and how to use them

This morning when I went to feed the animals I thought I’d start with collecting some pigeon pea for our horse, Trippy, and see what I could find for the pigs in the fodder forest while I was there.   Our fodder forest is a small beginning in my long-term goal to reduce and ultimately eliminate our dependence on fossil fuel-based agriculture. It’s an area roughly an eighth of an acre, […]

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Win-Win Situation. Retrofitting Farm Dams to Increase Freeboard and Increase Wildlife Habitat and Productive Edge

The first thing I look for in a dam retrofit other than the spillway, is the freeboard. The freeboard is the height of the dam wall above the spillway. The freeboards presence is critical to the safety of the dam.  After looking at the spillway and the freeboard, I would look at the batters of the dam wall bot. inside and outside.  What degree slope are they?  Can you build […]

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Killer Natural Plaster Recipe

In this article I’m going to share with you my killer recipe for a final plaster that I have used and evolved over the last eight years. The final layer is what you will see day to day, so it’s worth making it nice. If you’re interested in a recipe that is non-toxic, made from easy to find natural materials and has a beautiful finish then read on. I first […]

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Texas Food Forest and the Results of Good Design.

Five years ago we moved to our current property in North Texas.  While the general area is not particularly challenging, the property itself was.  The three acre property has anywhere from 11 inches (28cm) to as little as 3 inches (7.6cm) of soil, sitting atop a limestone slab.  Note: not rocks but solid slab. An insane place to build a permaculture property but we set to making it happen. In our […]

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Battery Technologies for Off-Grid Living

There are so many battery technologies out in the marketplace, and it is highly likely between me writing this and you reading it there will be another new fandangled world’s best battery that has hit the market. What Elon Musk has done with Tesla is to create a market awareness of wanting to install home battery storage and reduce our impact on the environment from burning fossil fuels. This has […]

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Slip Straw, Earthen Floors, and Tadelakt: A Recipe for a Perfectly Natural Home

Slip straw is an easy and energy efficient way to build lightweight homes or walls. It uses materials that are almost always locally available and also offers quality insulative properties. To build with slip straw you will need an abundant supply of straw, clay and some sort of wood to make forms. The straw you use should be from some sort of grain such as rice, wheat, barley, etc. Hay, […]

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Thoughts on a Permaculture Kitchen

For Emma and me, our permaculture fantasies involve building our own home, growing 90-plus percent of our food (I guess it’s 100% if we are going full-blown fantasy), and living largely in whatever space we can find for ourselves. We hope for at least a couple of acres, one of which has already been cleared because we don’t want to cut down existing forest. We envision a “natural” swimming hole […]

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