Category: Food Plants – Perennial

7 Ways to Use the Humble Choko Vine

Its spring time in Australia, and our area in Far North Queensland has gratefully received a decent fall of rain. I’m gleefully anticipating the springing to life of our un-irrigated areas that had gone dull and dormant during the dry weather. Among other things, I’m looking forward again to abundant chokos. I used to think of choko as a bland, boring vegetable. I didn’t like skinning it, and I didn’t […]

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Prickly Pear: a Miracle Future Fruit

THE IMPORTANCE OF CROP ECOLOGY After doing the blog post on water purification systems and Phytodepuration and the benefits of several plants. I thought this was a good time to step back and talk about plants ecology and one in particular, the Prickly Pear.“Green gold”, “fruit for the poor,” “treasure under its spines,” “world vegetable dromedary,” “future plant,” “sacred plant” and “monster tree” are all nicknames for this cactus. Why so […]

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Horseradish: Why I Should Try It Again

Earlier this year, in the spring, I was able to acquire a handful of horseradish roots to plant in a garden my wife Emma and I were putting together. I’d first encountered it as a plant the year before and was happy discover the leaves were edible with a flavor reminiscent, though milder, of the root. I’d never had horseradish in anything besides cocktail sauce, possibly some other condiments here […]

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Invasive Thoughts: A Battle with Conscientious Consciousness

I did a lot of research. I hummed and hawed, danced around the issue, came up with a veritable pros and cons type of list. Ultimately, the base of our food forest needed some fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing trees, and whether or not they were native came to feel somewhat moot. I found a good tree species. It was readily available (and free). What difference did it make if folks had deemed […]

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5 ha Polyculture Farm Design – Suhi Dol Revisited

Paul Alfrey from Balkan Ecology Project shares with us his observations and thoughts in regards to a visit he made to a farm he designed and how it slowly developed into a polyculture of fruit trees, aquaculture and vegetable gardens.  Last week Dylan and I set off on a road trip to discover the flora and fauna of the North East of Bulgaria. Our first stop was to Catherine Zanev ‘s farm […]

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How to Green the Desert: Europe’s Heatwave and some Holistic Suggestions

In the Northern Hemisphere, the balance of light is turning ever more towards darkness as we approach the Autumn Equinox. This is following a summer which in many places was unusually hot and dry(1, 2). This is perhaps not unexpected; climate change scientists have been predicting extreme temperature spikes for a number of years(3). However, it seems that a lot of farmers were nevertheless unprepared and many crops have been lost(2). […]

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Different Methods for Propagating Fruit Trees from Cuttings, Etc.

While saving seeds is a great practice and every budding grower should be starting a personal seed bank, certain plants and trees are better propagated via cuttings. This is particularly the case with many fruit trees because they won’t produce the same quality of fruit as their parent plant.   While it can be a good idea to produce a variety of species and encourage the sowing of wild oats, so […]

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Fixes for Nutrient Deficient Soil

Basic understanding of plant health comes from the soil they grow in. Their nutrition is vital to their health and overall sustainability, so it’s essential for plants to get all of the macronutrients necessary to thrive. However, there are times we still struggle with a plant mysteriously dying off long before its time. It happens, but this is often indicative of a bigger problem with the nutrients in the soil. […]

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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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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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8 Abundant “Fodder Forest” plants, and how to use them

This morning when I went to feed the animals I thought I’d start with collecting some pigeon pea for our horse, Trippy, and see what I could find for the pigs in the fodder forest while I was there.   Our fodder forest is a small beginning in my long-term goal to reduce and ultimately eliminate our dependence on fossil fuel-based agriculture. It’s an area roughly an eighth of an acre, […]

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