Category: General

Straw Bale Gardens

What do straw, paint brushes and the human blood circularity system have in common?     The answer is capillaries, very narrow, long tubes. It is this physical characteristic of straw which gives its remarkable ability to become the soil of a garden bed. Large amounts of water and nutrients can be held within the straws capillaries. This is an ideal environment for bacterial growth. This conversion from straw to soil makes […]

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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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Ornamental Plants That Are Edible and/or Edible Plants That Are Ornamental

When I first began growing food and working with ideas of permaculture, I lived in the tropics where many edible plants leaf out large and are exceptionally stunning. Moreover, the places I found myself building gardens tended to be free-for-alls, where anything goes and HOAs didn’t interfere with what people planted on their property. Last year however, after twelve years abroad, I moved back to the US. Where often people […]

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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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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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Planting by Schedule & Plagiarizing Instinct

Planting by Schedule & Plagiarizing Instinct

With a recent transition from the wet-dry tropics to Zone 7b in temperate USA, this year’s planting schedule has been more on my mind than I’m accustomed to. My wife Emma likes to joke with people that we’d just stick anything in the ground down there and it would grow, but in a lot of ways, that was true, not a joke. Other than paying attention to the rain and […]

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What to do with bad soil 

After watching the sun set and the full moon rise atop my neighbour Sergey’s hill which overlooks the entire eco-village, he walks me back to my tent hidden in the midst of young pine trees upon the insistence of his mother (“You need to walk the young lady all the way to the door of her tent, you hear me?”). His cat Murka (Moor-kah, meaning purr-cat) follows her human grandma’s […]

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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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Flexitarianism

DISCLAIMER: These are my thoughts and experiences on what can be a deeply cultural, charged and personal topic: diet. There is a lot we don’t know, especially when it comes to what a sustainable diet is. For one, most studies have been centred in high-income Western countries (Jones et al., 2016); it’s also still largely unclear exactly what a “healthy diet” should consist of, nevertheless what a truly sustainable society […]

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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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Permaculture and Music Fusion at Maungaraeeda

To close off a second day of CelebrATE at PRI Sunshine Coast, we strapped on belts to become human marimbas, a musical instrument similar to a xylophone. This was the second musical workshop of this permaculture celebration, a jam session with all of the participants. We had to lean back to stretch out the keys between two people, each playing half the instrument and coordinating to connect the high and […]

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