Category: Plant Systems

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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Planting by Schedule & Plagiarizing Instinct

Planting by Schedule & Plagiarizing Instinct

With a recent transition from the wet-dry tropics to Zone 7b in temperate USA, this year’s planting schedule has been more on my mind than I’m accustomed to. My wife Emma likes to joke with people that we’d just stick anything in the ground down there and it would grow, but in a lot of ways, that was true, not a joke. Other than paying attention to the rain and […]

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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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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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The Best Species for Coppice Forestry

It seems almost miraculous: you cut a tree down to its stump, and a couple years later it has grown several meters high once again. Like that mythical dragon who grows two heads for every one you cut off, there are dozens of different species of trees who have an incredible ability to regrow after severe cutting. Coppice forestry, the practice of cutting certain species of trees down to their […]

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Why Your Garden Needs A Herb Spiral Design Solution

What is a herb spiral It is a vertical garden that makes use of limited garden space by horizontally accommodating plants along its spiral design. It has a base diameter of around 1.5-2m while its height is 1-1.3 m. It is built on level ground, preferably layered at the bottom to keep weeds at bay, and the walls are built using bricks or stones. The herb spiral not only offers […]

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The Rhizosphere

The rhizosphere is the word used to describe the area of soil surrounding plant roots. It is the most biologically active layer of the soil; populated with micro organisms interacting and benefiting from chemicals released by plant roots (1,2,7). There are more micro organisms present in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on the earth; the rhizosphere can carry 1000-2000 times this amount making it highly populated with […]

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How Plant-based Permaculture Is Possible

I get laughed at a lot. It’s frequent enough that, when I tell people of my intention to build a permaculture system without using domesticated animals, I sort of give a preemptive grin. While I believe most permies mean well in advising me, most seem pretty dead-set on the idea that a vegan permaculture garden just can’t work. In a lot of ways, I won’t lie, the proposition scares me, […]

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The Problem with Growing Tomatoes Where I Live

Somewhere in this country people are doing it well, and truth be known, I now work at a conscientious, mindful organic farm (organizing volunteers and a farmers’ market) with vast biodiversity, animals and plants, that manages to pull enough crop to keep me in organic tomatoes. However, despite what appears to the contrary, what seemed illogical to me not so long ago, in a climate that never gets too cold […]

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Guilds for the Small Scale Home Garden

Building guilds is a clever way to put gardens together. Instead of toiling over providing this or that nutrient for plants or battling with pests or relying on the success of just one crop to provide the food, a massive mixture of productive growth is but a few preparation steps away. We often talk about guilds as a grand scheme, part of growing a food forest, starting with something huge […]

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