Category: General

The Uses of a Bunyip Water Level

Learning how to make use of the rain falling on your roof is one of the central tenets of permaculture. No matter how well you plan out your landscape design, however, you´ll never be able to catch all of the water that falls on your site for a pond or for a cistern. And even if you build a massive pond or cistern, the best way to hold water on […]

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Rubble Trenches and Lime Mortars to Avoid Cement for Construction Purposes

The most important part of any home is its foundation. While roofs can be replaced and walls can be knocked over and raised once again, a bad foundation is often impossible to fix. In the modern day construction industry, almost every house sits on a cement slab foundation that is buried beneath the frost line underneath the walls of your home. While cement certainly has high compression strength, there are […]

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Tasty Turnips

Turnips (Brassica rapa var. rapa L.) are a member of the Brassicaceae family of plants (aka mustard plants) which includes some veggies we are pretty familiar with such as cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and arugula. Like many of the vegetables from this family, turnips are great because they have a unique taste all their own. Plus, with turnips, you can eat both the root and the green! They didn’t fall off […]

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Rooted Cosmpolitanism: Bringing Together the Best of Urban and Rural Life

One of the biggest critiques of rural areas is that they are close-minded, parochial, unsophisticated, and insular. The wealthy, educated, progressives from the big cities are quick to remind us that it was mostly people in rural areas who elected Trump, who convene marches to “save” statues of racist leaders from our past, and who proudly hang the Confederate Flag where everyone can see. Cities, as the argument goes, are […]

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Go Green Beans!

Green, string, snap, pole, or bush, whatever you call these beans, these edible little pods are great to grow in the garden. Green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), as we think of them, typically grow in two forms. These two main growing forms are what we call bush and pole bean growing styles. Bush beans usually grow more compactly and won’t necessitate support. Pole beans are more viney and will need stakes […]

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Cooperation versus Competition: An Evolutionary Perspective

Charles Darwin is credited for forming the idea of evolution. During his explorations around the world and his intimate observation of how animal and plant life evolved over time, he came to believe that everything followed one basic maxim: “the survival of the fittest.” This theory states that organisms will inherently struggle against one another in competition for limited resources that make life possible. Following from this logic, only the […]

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Salak Palm: A Guide for Tropical Permaculture

Salak palm or snake fruit (Salacca edulis or Salacca zalacca) is a high-value understory species for tropical agroforestry plantings. Salak palm is native to southeast Asia, where it is commercially cultivated in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Java, in their wet tropical lowland climates. At higher elevations, the “Bali” variety can be grown. It produces a delicious fruit, eaten out of hand, with a taste similar to strawberry with an apple-like texture. […]

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Very Mulberry!

Let me begin by saying mulberries aren’t for everyone. I say this because all my life I have grown up with mulberries. I love them, my family and friends love them, and my mom even sent us kids out to pick them so she could make the most amazing pies. However, as I got older I had several people tell me that I could have my mulberry trees cut down […]

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Hydraulic Ram Pumps

The recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan, showed how vulnerable and unstable our industrial water system really is. Once it was determined that the public water in Flint, Michigan was indeed contaminated with lead and other dangerous substances, thousands of people were literally relegated to standing in lines to wait for bottled water from the government or other aid agencies. People had no idea how to get clean, potable water […]

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How Permaculture is the Perfect Match for Homesteading

What is Permaculture? “Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labor; of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system.” Bill Mollison The term permaculture is a portmanteau of “Permanent” and “Agriculture”, and “culture”. It began with a focus on the production of a sustainable food […]

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8 Tips for Starting your Tropical Homestead

You’ve just purchased your dream property in tropical Costa Rica. You want to grow your own food. You are anxious to get to work now, have bought some plants from a nursery you randomly drove by, and have a shovel in hand, but where to start? Most of our clients fall on either side of a spectrum of project implementation. Either they experience paralysis by analysis, overthinking every step, their […]

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Organic Pesticides, Biological Controls, and Finding what Can Be Grown

Bugs are inevitably a part of growing things. While most of the bugs out there are good for the soil and good for your plants, there are plenty of pests that will drive you crazy while you try to salvage a tomato crop ravaged by white flies or a peach harvest destroyed by aphids. Conventional agriculture since the times of the Green Revolution has taken advantage of the distress that […]

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