Category: How to

A how to guide

How to Make Cider, Cider Vinegar, and Why You Should Be Doing It

Apple Cider from Above I ran into a funny story in a Michael Pollan book not long ago: The American pioneer legend, Johnny Appleseed, used to stay two or three hops west of the colonial expansion in the USA, buying up large swaths of riverside land and planting apple trees. In most historical accounts (the Disney version), he is depicted as an angel of virtue, making sure that everyone got […]

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How to Make a Productive Patio

It would be great if we all had an acre or two, the time, and inclination to grow our own food, but the realities of the day are that the majority of people have moved into more confined, urban and suburban settings in order to be closer to jobs, entertainment, school districts, conveniences, and whatever else tickles our fancies. It’s the world as it is: Over half of us live […]

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The Magic and Mystery of Constructing a Herb Spiral and Why Every Suburban Lawn Should Have One

Herb Spiral (Panama) One of the first permaculture projects I did was building an herb spiral, and to be honest, the design has never ceased to delight me. Undoubtedly, that one and the few spirals that followed are amongst the most beautiful garden beds I’ve made. More importantly, they are also amazingly productive and a great way of getting into the mindset choosing the right spot to plant stuff, both […]

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How to Grow a Medicine Cabinet

Chamomile Bunches It has crept up on us slowly, perhaps without the initial intentions of what we are now left with: prescription medicine. Medicine, for all of the valuable attributes it provides, has been an equally destructive force. Like the chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture, the onslaught of fix-it-all antibiotics and a pills-over-health mentality has put us in more need of more and stronger medicines to combat the highly […]

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Sparkling Green with DIY Household Cleaners

Photo: Cleaning Shouldn’t Require Protective Gear A while back, my wife Emma and I made the switch to DIY hygiene products. We were trying to avoid toxic stuff like fluoride, formaldehyde, and many a varied assortment of unsavory uglies found in toothpastes, deodorants, shampoos, and so on. We started this because we didn’t want to damage our health by taking a shower or brushing our teeth. The move also made […]

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Worm Farming at Zaytuna Farm

Photos © Ingrid Pullen Worms are an essential part of a permanent agricultural system. At Zaytuna Farm worm farming has been developed into a very productive system. The feed stock we use is the contents of composting toilets and animal manures. The worm farm product is included in the potting mix for the plants grown in the plant nursery of the farm, producing very healthy and productive plants.

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A No-Straw Clay Pizza Oven

The inaugural use of the clay oven If you are into permaculture, eco-construction and/or just cool garden projects, then building your own pizza oven has undoubtedly made a blip on the radar at some point. For me, I first encountered them on Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua, where it seemed every other hostel, hotel or farm was hosting a weekly pizza night. I was volunteering at a small permaculture project […]

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Solar Water Bottle Bulbs

Alfredo Moser with his solar water bottle bulbs Introduction Thomas Alva Edison lit up the world with his electric bulb in the nineteenth century. In this century it is the solar bottle bulbs of Alfredo Moser which are illuminating thousands of houses of under-privileged people in many countries. This simple invention of the Brazilian mechanic is going viral and is been implemented in remote villages throughout the world. This article […]

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How to: Making Eco-Bricks (Costa Rica)

Finished bottles. Remember, one’s trash is another’s treasure! Last year I worked on making cob walls for a chicken coop, after attending a natural building course over a weekend which taught me about bahareque, the Central American equivalent of cob, if you will, which is adapted for tropical climates and for heavily seismic areas. The teacher, Eduardo Valverde, who is a Costa Rican green architect well versed in natural, indigenous […]

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Low Cost Raised Beds

by Joel Dunn Raised beds are great for deep, friable soil and good drainage, and also provide a nice structure for annual veggie rotations. However, the set-up costs for both the raised edging and imported soil to fill the beds can be a turn-off. This little photo journal illustrates a couple of simple cost savers I used for raised beds installed this year.

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