Category: Plants

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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Productivity in the Temperate Understory

I started my permaculture journey in Central America. I was introduced to the term in Nicaragua. I spent time with it in Panama, Guatemala, and Belize. Then, I learned more in Colombia and southern Spain, Andalucía. What I’d never done until recently is spent much time—at least not with regards to permaculture—in cool temperate setting. Now, I’m in North Carolina, reimagining much of what I know and learning new plants […]

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The Health Benefits of Growing and Eating Turmeric

Turmeric is a root that grows well in tropical climates and is the main ingredient in the Indian spice curry. What few people know is that turmeric is also one of the best all-around natural medicines that can be found. Turmeric can be used topically for skin related health issues or ingested for a wide array of internal health problems. You can also grow your own turmeric in containers in […]

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Deer-Resistant Plants and Trees That Are Edible

Up until very recently, deer have never been a great concern of mine, at least not in terms of gardening. I’d seen beds suffer at the spurs of the neighbors’ chickens, watched my wife running out of the greenhouses with her arms waving, mouth like a G-rated sailor. Once in Belize, we’d left a fenced garden for a couple of weeks only to return and learn that an agouti (you […]

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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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