Category: Plants

‘Project Thoreau’ Updates

Ezanee Cooper gives us some excellent updates on progress with ‘Project Thoreau‘. Use the comments form below to share your knowledge and help develop Ezanee’s plot, or to ask questions that might help you develop your own. Project Thoreau –September / October 2008 Update The garden has undergone a bit of a revamp. The bean patch was tidied up to reduce the number of hiding places for slugs and snails, […]

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Weeds or Wild Nature?

Reprinted with permission from the “Permaculture International Journal” (PIJ) (No. 61, Dec-Feb 1997). The world’s striving for racial tolerance doesn’t always extend to plants. A key criticism of permaculture’s approach to building sustainable organic systems has been its perceived willingness to favour the introduction of exotic species. Is it better to build systems that include exotics or should reforestation aim only to replace what has been taken away? Is a […]

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Leaves to Live By

Perennial Leaf Vegetables by Craig Elevitch (see bio at bottom), originally published in the Permaculture International Journal, #61 Dec-Feb 1997 page 31 There are two types of gardeners as I see it: the “master gardener” type who genuinely delights in the detailed tasks of garden management; and the “lazy” gardener who enjoys harvesting but who experiences other garden activities as drudgery. I belong to the latter category. For years I […]

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Water Chestnuts

The Water Chestnut, Eleocharis dulcis, is a tropical/sub-tropical sedge that grows in water margins and bogs in many parts of India, South-East Asia, New Guinea, Northern Australia and Polynesia. It is an annual that has erect, narrow, tubular leaves (clums) half a metre to a metre tall. The plant spreads by a creeping rhizome which, through the summer months, produces additional sucker plants. The sweet corms are highly valued as […]

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Desert Ways

Mongongo Tree Whether it is an issue of conserving water of using suitable plant species, thriving in a desert environment is a masterful act of management. Permaculture co-founder Bill Mollison has spent time in many of the world’s arid regions and here shares his observations on surviving in some of them. Building Abundance into Sandy Deserts Why should we garden, when there are so many mongongo trees in the world? […]

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Look Locally, See Globally

It’s just amazing how many of life’s lessons can be learned in the garden. It is also amazing that even though we think we have an understanding of things they don’t truly hit home until we experience them for ourselves. I had quite a jolt last week as I searched for my bush basil. I considered myself to have a deep affiliation with the plant. It grew for me when […]

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Adaptable Acacias

by Leza Bennetts and Erika Birmingham Acacias are evergreen, nitrogen-fixing plants ranging in form from ground covers to tall trees. There are more than 1200 species worldwide. There are many roles for acacias in permaculture design such as increasing soil fertility through nitrogen fixation, rehabilitation of degraded soils and in reforestation. They are useful for erosion control due to their rapid growth and effective seed dispersal, and many species sucker […]

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Vuon – Ao – Chuong – The Traditional Vietnamese Farm

by Nguyen Van Man VAC is an acronym formed from the three Vietnamese words Vuon, garden or orchard, Ao, fish pond, and Chuong, pigsty or poultry shed. It refers to a form of domestic agriculture in which food gardening, fish rearing and animal husbandry are wholly integrated, and stems from farming methods developed in the Red River delta of Vietnam. The VAC system is a highly intensive method of small […]

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Trees Giving Up Battle, But Sustainable Farming Offers Hope

The silver bullet solution to climate change in many people’s book is to simply ‘plant a tree’. A recent study indicates that it might not be quite that simple… The ability of forests to soak up man-made carbon dioxide is weakening, according to an analysis of two decades of data from more than 30 sites in the frozen north. The finding published today is crucial, because it means that more […]

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A Pattern Revolution

by Warren Brush, Quail Springs All over the world, an ancient way of being has combined its elemental forces with the truths gained in the modern age to spark the fires of a new and imperative revolution. It is a subtle revolution of knowing the story of where all that sustains us comes from, and of honoring those things deeply. This revolution’s power draws from an ancient well of knowing […]

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Nitrogen Fixing Trees – The Multipurpose Pioneers

The myths about the wonders of nitrogen fixing trees are many. Craig Elevitch (see bio at bottom) and Kim Wilkinson explain how to use them effectively. Nitrogen Fixing Trees for Permaculture Flowers of the leguminous tree, Kowhai, the national flower of New Zealand Nitrogen fixation is a pattern of nutrient cycling which has successfully been used in perennial agriculture for millennia. This article focuses on legumes, which are nitrogen fixers […]

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