Category: Plants

Raised Garden Beds in the Bush – Growing Your Own Food in Poor Soil Conditions

A simple aluminum raised garden bed

“We acknowledge and pay respects to the Dhurga people of the Yuin Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country where we live.” When we moved to our bush property two years ago self-sufficiency was high on the agenda. We wanted to produce our own electricity, collect rainwater and we certainly wanted to grow some or if possible most of our own food. This included an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables […]

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Pure Hop-iness

When you hear the word hops, you may think of beer or bunnies. While I love the ever-bouncy bunny, I’m referring to the plant version of hops, aka Humulus lupulus. Hops, which are the female flowers/cones of this dioecious perennial, have a distinct aroma and flavor and are best known in the beer brewing world as a stability agent and for the bitter taste, they impart that balances out the […]

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Calendula

Butterfly landing on a calendula flower

Calendula is a bright little member of the Asteraceae Family, which includes stevia, sunflowers, and even lettuces. The name Calendula is actually the genus name for around 20 species of herbaceous plants. The most often recognized and utilized species is the Calendula officinalis (English or pot marigold) and is edible. This is not the same as the French marigold from the Tagetes genus. Calendula is often grown in polyculture gardens […]

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Cosmic Carambola

Carambola in the palm of a hand.

Carambola (Averrhoa carambola), often called starfruit, does seem like a fruit that is out of this world. This beauty is a member of the Oxalidaceae family, and is considered a slow growing, fast producing tree with evergreen foliage. The foliage is light sensitive and most often folds in upon itself as the sun goes down. The carambola is thought to have originated in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, but is also […]

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The Charm of Cabbage

Large purple cabbage

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitate) is a cool season vegetable that comes in both purple and green and is related to other vegetables such as broccoli, romanesco, horseradish, and cauliflower. This Mediterranean native has been around for over 4,000 years and was used medicinally by the ancient Romans and Greeks. Cabbage was brought to Europe around 600 B.C.E., and around 200 B.C.E. the Celts began using it to make sauerkraut. Later […]

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From Big City Kuala Lumpur to Rural Kampung, Chalin Food Forest

Malaysia might not be a country that is known for permaculture, but many of the tropical ancestral practices of our forefathers reveal wisdom and the interconnection of humans and nature. Who would have thought the supposedly simple act of daily burning of excess leaf litter with branches in front of the ‘kampung’ or village house, actually helps fumigate the whole compound off mosquitoes and pests. The burning is done by […]

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15 Productive Plants That Are Evergreen and Suited for the Temperate Climate

For me, this year has been full of exciting information about the temperate climate. Having spent most of my permaculture life in Central America, moving to North Carolina has had me say goodbye to many old favorites and marvel at a host of new possibilities. It wasn’t until November, however, that I realized just how naked the forest and garden would be due to the cold. I’ve spent quite a […]

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The Health Benefits of the Chia Seed

What are Chia Seeds? When most people think of the Aztec and Mayan cultures of Central America, we automatically think of corn and beans as the main culinary contributions to the food we currently eat today. However, these important civilizations contributed several other important crops to today´s food system including products such as amaranth, tomatoes, and chia seeds. Chia seeds were actually one of the most consumed products in these […]

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The Importance of Tree Crops in Sustainable Agriculture

Tree Crops are the most common perennial agricultural method. More specifically, orchards are one of the most common and successful forms of perennial agriculture. A well-maintained peach orchard will give you a steady crop for up to 20 years. An apple orchard can last up to 50 years and well-maintained pecan tree may very well continue to produce for up to 150 years. Our agricultural systems have been designed almost […]

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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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