Category: Design

Reducing Your Footprint When You Haven’t Built a Permaculture Site from the Ground Up

In the ideal world of most budding permaculture enthusiasts, which I still consider myself, we would have pieces of land sizeable enough to begin the adventure of a lifetime. We would be designing our own energy-efficient homes with passive solar heating in the winter and deciduous vines clambering around to keep the sun off in the summer. We would have the space for luscious gardens and food forests to grow […]

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Rustic Homesteading with Limited Space

It’s really amazing what you can do on a small plot of land. I’m often surprised by what I can squeeze in on our ¾ acre plot. Whenever I think we’re maxed out, I seem to find a way to get one more plant or one more project in. One way we saved space and produced more food on our small homestead was with espalier trees. Proof of this growing […]

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Learning What the Dendritic Pattern Is (It Looks Like a Tree) and Applying It to Design

Recently, I’ve been working my way through Geoff Lawton’s new online course, in particular chapter four, which concentrates on Pattern Understanding, as found in Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual. It’s a topic that I do enjoy, though it sometimes feels a bit steeped in jargon, words formerly unfamiliar to me—tessellation and dendritic—appearing again and again. However, it’s the later, the dendritic pattern, that has recently captivated me, and I […]

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How To Grow Your Own Mulch?

Growing my own mulch has long been a goal of mine. We use a lot of mulch in the nursery and garden and at the moment we have no problem sourcing straw but if/when the day comes that the farmers start using their own straw to improve their soil (which is becoming a more common practice), We’ll be needing to step up our mulch growing efforts. Currently, we grow enough mulch to sustain the perennial beds and around 10 % of the annual beds but rely on imported straw for mulching the other 90% of annual vegetable and nursery beds.

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Walipini Greenhouses – Some DIY Tips

A Walipini is an underground greenhouse with a transparent or translucent roof. The word ‘Walipini’ means ‘place of warmth’ in the Aymara language of an indigenous Bolivian tribe. These greenhouses work on the principle of using nature’s resources – i.e. the earth – to create a stable-temperature environment in which a cool climate area can significantly increase the variety of crops you can produce as the greenhouse, with little or […]

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The Birth of a Wooden House: Carpentry and Resilience in Latvia

In this video Jacob Neeman shows us an account of the building of his house in Latvia. What do you need to build a wooden house? Jacob starts at the beginning, with the forest. From a permaculture perspective this is very interesting; he is clearly engaging with the local ecosystem and uses mainly natural and local resources, with “Lime, sand and concrete mixture [used] only in small amounts”. Every step […]

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Installing an Urban Food Forest – Updated

Last year, the city of Pottstown, Pa., saw new growth and opportunity in the world of permaculture, as several local and broader groups came together to transform a dead, empty lot into a food forest. Biochar Bob from The Biochar Company and Soil Reef Biochar took viewers around the space, introducing them to participants and the project. The empty lot, situated perfectly in an urban space, near a busy street, […]

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How and Why to Rotate Your Annual Crops

Sure enough the bulk of us permies are working to establish perennial sources of food, cultivating food forests for high yields with low inputs. Nevertheless, annual food crops are often what our kitchen gardens are chiefly comprised of. It’s no big shock, really, as that has been what most of us have grown up eating, enjoy the flavor of, and thus want to grow. No doubt, we should be cultivating […]

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Free Geothermal Power from Earth’s Heart

I have yet to get my mind around the idea that Earth’s inner core is dense iron and nickel, surrounded by boiling liquid like the stuff that comes out of volcanos. Nevertheless I find the potential power of it awesome, although it does remind me how transient life is on earth. The ancient Greeks were not far off when they believed everything – including you and me – is a […]

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Building Ponds & Talking Liners

We all know that harvesting and storing rainwater is a huge part of designing a garden, and while swales are super functional and a fantastic way to hydrate a landscape, I—like many others—dream of an area replete with ponds. I want those permanent water features to attract wildlife, to swim in, and to use for irrigation if and when that’s necessary. Consequently, in daydreaming of some day soon owning a […]

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The Endlessly Renewable Power of the Tides

The water flows high up the beach when the moon is directly overhead, as happens on the far side of planet. The rhythm is predictable with a spacing of approximately 12 hours and 25 minutes. Half way between these points, the water level is at its lowest. There are subtle variations because of local factors. However, the power is always there. This knowledge is not new. In approximately 150BC the […]

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Gardens Aren’t Just for Plants, So What Else Is There?

Like any budding permaculturalist, I spend a lot of my design time obsessing about what plants to include, how I’ll be piecing together this guild or time-sequencing that bed. I want my crops to fix nitrogen, provide food, deter pest, create mulch, make shade, prevent erosion, and, oh, how the functions add up. Who can help it? It’s a wonderful world we live in, and wonderful task we are involved […]

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