Category: Plants

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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The Development of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration

Editor’s Note: Arguably one of the most successful land regeneration projects in the world, Farmer Managed Natural Regeneraton (FMNR), beginning in Niger during the 1980s, has revegetated three million hectares of arid land in that country alone – bringing back biodiversity in flora and fauna, increasing soil humus (and thus carbon) content, improving water retention and microclimates, and dramatically improving the health and viability of local communities. It is now […]

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Biodiverse Systems are More Productive

Sustainable farming across the world relies on cultivating a diversity of crops and livestock to maximise internal input, and this is in marked contrast to the high external input monoculture of industrial farming, which is proving unsustainable in many respects. Indirect support for the sustainability of agricultural diversity is coming from an unexpected quarter. Academic ecologists are discovering that biodiverse systems are more productive. by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho: Geneticist, Biophysicist […]

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Strange Fruit

A hard commercial logic dictates that the only way to get good fruit today is to grow your own. by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist I feel almost shy about writing this column. It contains no revelations, no call to arms. No one gets savaged: well, only mildly. The subject is almost inconsequential. Yet it has become an obsession which, at this time of […]

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New Permaculturists in Kamiah, Idaho

While on a consultancy at the future site of the Kamiah Permaculture Institute at Kim and Julie Pagliaro’s FNA Ranch, Geoff and Nadia visit the neighbor’s (Carol and David Johnson) permaculture garden in Kamiah, ID. Just a little exposure to permaculture by their neighbour’s students set them off on the high road to sustainability. You know how the advert goes – you tell two people, they tell two people, and […]

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Efficient Glasshouse Design

A well designed glasshouse can serve many functions and be an extremely productive element in a permaculture system. It creates a self-contained environment in which the designer can modify conditions of heat, light, water and air for a variety of benefits. High value crops can be grown out of their normal climatic range or produced out of season, growing seasons can be extended by starting seedlings of annual plants early, […]

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