Category: Plants

Black Maca, Mashua, and the Richness of Andean Tubers

For thousands of years, the ancient Incan empire developed a strong, resilient agriculture system that thrived even in the tough climate of the highlands of the Andes Mountains. One of the principles of their agricultural development was the diversification of different species that were well adapted to the local climatic conditions. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN considers the Andes region to be one of the […]

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Mo’ Mulberry – The Essential Guide to All You Need to Know About Mulberry

Paul Alfrey from Balkan Ecology Project takes a close look at these incredible plants including how to grow them, the uses of Mulberry and growing Mulberry in polycultures, permaculture and agroforestry. Not many plants offer so much to the grower while demanding so little in return. A tree that requires so little attention and care, that even if there were an RSPP – Royal Society for the Protection of Plants […]

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The Amazing Hazel – The Essential Guide to Everything you need to know about Hazels

Hazel is a multi-purpose champion of a plant that is super easy to grow, produces delicious nuts, pliable wood that can be crafted into a variety of products, provides early fodder for bees and an encouraging spectacle when flowering during the mid-winter.

What more can I say…. a plant so good people started naming their daughters after it.

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Tree Crops

Chestnut bud in spring day

For thousands of years, farmers have generally differentiated forestry and agriculture. Forests were either left alone or planted and maintained as a source of fuel and building material. In the best of cases, certain trees also offered forage for livestock and other farm animals. The farm fields were generally kept clear of any trees because farming was relegated to nothing more than the planting and harvesting of annual (mostly grain) […]

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The Best Perennial Vegetables

One of the tasks that I most dislike about the farming life is preparing the raised beds each time I want to plant out a crop of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, or onion. While I do enjoy eating a fresh tomato from my garden, the tedious, repetitive tasks of preparing the garden bed, weeding, and then planting out a winter cover crop does take up more time than I would like. […]

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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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Simple Approaches to Making and Using Foliar Fertilizers

One of our main goals in the permaculture garden is to foster soil life, and there are many methods we use for accomplishing this goal. We apply thick mulches and add plenty of organic matter. We practice no-dig methods so as not to harm existing soil life, and we enhance richness by adding things like worm compost, manure, and leaf mold. We increase fertility with nitrogen-fixing plants. We cultivate perennial […]

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The Best Species for Coppice Forestry

It seems almost miraculous: you cut a tree down to its stump, and a couple years later it has grown several meters high once again. Like that mythical dragon who grows two heads for every one you cut off, there are dozens of different species of trees who have an incredible ability to regrow after severe cutting. Coppice forestry, the practice of cutting certain species of trees down to their […]

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9 Productive Plants for Water Gardens

In permaculture design, water is the first priority. We try to find its natural routes on and off the property, slow it down, spread it out, and harvest it for use in times when it isn’t so abundant. In this regard, ponds (below surface water catchments, often naturally formed) and dams (walled-off catchments that retain water) are routinely part of a permaculture site. Designers should strive to make these bodies […]

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Health Benefits of the Miracle Tree or Moringa Tree

It seems like every year or two a new “superfood” hits the shelves of health food stores around the country. Whether it be some Chinese ancient herbal remedy or some pseudo-grain grown by an indigenous culture in some part of the world, superfoods have been growing in popularity with the health-conscious population around the world. The moringa tree, like other superfoods, offers enormous amounts of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that […]

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10 Other Berries to Be Aware Of

Since arriving in the temperate climate, I’ve been so excited about the idea of growing berries that I’ve been compiling lists of what—besides the common stuff—I might want to grow. We all know strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and Chuck Berry (i.e., “Johnny B. Goode”), but these are other berries that we can and should consider including in the garden. Some of them are delightfully tasty, some of them mystically nutritious, […]

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How Much Can Plants Hear?

Plants may possess more complex senses than previously thought, according to a new study led by the University of Western Australia that has revealed that plants have the ability to both detect and respond to sound. Talking to plants has always been fairly common practice among many aboriginal tribes – and to this day, the most devoted gardeners will claim that playing classical music or providing words of positive reinforcement […]

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