Category: Plants

Plant-Based Sources of Protein

Any time I mention veganism, I feel the need to precursor the discussion with the fact that in no way am I suggesting that anyone is wrong for not practicing a plant-based diet or that it is necessarily healthier than an omnivorous one. Without a doubt, circumstances of food availability are different around the world, and regardless of our whereabouts, we all have personal versions of what we will and […]

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Tropical Food Forests

One of the biggest myths of the industrialized food system is related to the issue of productivity. The massive monocultures of wheat, soybeans, corn, and other products that are cultivated by GPS-controlled combines and fertilized with heavy doses of chemical fertilizers are upheld as the standard of maximum productivity of the land. Following from this myth, we are led to believe that if it wasn’t for the genius of industrial […]

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SCC Urged to Reconsider Decision to Chop Down Fruit Trees in UFS

Western Australia Councilor Chris Cornish is urging the Sunshine Coast Council (SCC) to consider reducing the red tape around verge gardens – after council workers cut down 18 fruit trees in the Urban Food Streets (UFS) precinct at Buderim. The gardens span 11 streets and provide sufficient produce to feed approximately 200 households – but the council has decided that if residents do not obtain free permits and take out […]

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A Few Forays into Foraging from the Forest

Emma and I have been living as artists-in-residence at a farm — Snaggy Mountain — just north of Asheville for the last month. Snaggy Mountain isn’t necessarily a permaculture site, though there are certain shared commonalities. Jared, the owner/operator, certainly has interest in growing food, and he is no stranger perennial vegetables or the drive towards garden forestry. On our first full day here, he took us on a foraging […]

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Sustainable Raising of Small Grains

The clear majority of the small farmers around the world make their living by growing small amounts of grains, both for subsistence and for sale in the local market. Indeed, the greatest civilizations of world history have depended on the raising of certain types of small grains for their survival; corn in the Mayan Kingdoms of Central America, quinoa in the Incan domains of South America, rice in most of […]

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A Mere 20 of the Roles Trees Can Play in Permaculture Design

While permaculture certainly pays mind to annual crops, by and large it is a system rooted in perennial plants and, in particular, trees. Permaculture, as the “perma” name suggests, is a movement towards permanent agricultural arrangements, ones which culturally value nutrition, systemic health, and sustainability over monetary wealth and materialism. Permaculture designs can be quite complex cycles for avoiding waste creation and maximizing productive efficiency, but they are fairly simple […]

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A Time-Sequencing Plan for Straw Bale Gardens

Something has never sat quite right with me about straw bale gardens in a place where soil is available. Like hydroponics, I can envision it for places that lack soil and ground space: rooftops, driveways, parking lots, and the like. Then, I’m not sure if it’s the purist in me, but the generally movement towards focusing on soil repair and permanence (my interpretation of what permaculture ideally does) rings much […]

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The Growing of Trees and Plants for Climate Change Mitigation

Plants and trees have been grown for human consumption for generations. Vegetables and fruits obtained from plants and trees are used to sustain lives on earth. As a result, trees and plants are important resources for our day-to-day survival. Apart from the fact that humans consume vegetables and fruits from plants and trees, they all have other health benefits. For example, plants such as Catnip and Blackberries have been used […]

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Using Weeds to Read the Soil: Some Basic Concepts to Get Started

Weeds are becoming a more and more appreciated component of gardening. We have been reintroduced to eating the weeds, with things like dandelion leaves becoming a niche crop. Also, we are encouraging plants that, up until recently, were viewed as weeds (dynamic accumulators like comfrey and pioneering legumes) to revitalize our soils. And, many gardeners are once again celebrating weeds as a means of reading the soil. Geoff Lawton says […]

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3 Simple But Sustainable Ways to Build Tomato Cages

The fact of the matter is that tomatoes are, indeed, perennial plants when in their native tropics, but that is also beside the point because some foods, perennial or not, are just too damned tasty to fully wave goodbye to. There is a time and a place to play with tomatoes in the greenhouse, see how many years they might last. But, ultimately, when spring rolls around and temperatures start […]

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Tropical Lettuce

The first time I encountered tropical lettuce, or Indian lettuce (Lactuca indica), was when I was exploring a rooftop garden in Fujian province of rural southern China. It was the middle of the day in the middle of the summer, and here was this beautiful lettuce exposed to full sun in a raised bed with less than six inches deep of relatively poor soil. I was amazed that this plant […]

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Quick and Simple Tips for Germinating Seeds Yourself

Growing crops, or any plant really, often begins with germinating seeds. Occasionally, we get a head start with plants that can be reproduced with cuttings or other propagation techniques, but by and large, it’s seed to soil that starts the garden. This can sometimes be a little frustrating, as seeds can be finicky and unwilling to cooperate. In other words, any advantage we can grab for germinating seeds is an […]

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