Category: Plant Systems

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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Intercropping: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Why We Do It

Get into permaculture and within no time an entire field of jargon is sprouting up around you, and while it can be exciting to have all these new ideas to ponder and play with, it can also be a bit intimidating…bewildering…intense. Well, at some point or another we’ve all felt that way, but even so, it’s time to talk about one of those mysterious terms: intercropping. In order to have […]

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How to Harvest Enough Dry Beans and Other Legumes to Feed a Family

I’ve been growing beans now for a while. They are a big part of my diet, and the nitrogen-fixing bacteria many legumes (not just beans) have are a huge factor of garden design. It’s common practice for me to simply plant a load of beans and peas as soon as a bed is made, both to chop-and-drop but also to pull a good harvest from the first planting. Something I’m […]

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My New Take on Self-Sowing Plants for Low Maintenance Gardening

It happened this week, just yesterday actually, I was piddling through some old sheet mulch garden beds I’d made, beds still providing plenty, and discovered the next generation of plants coming up. There were three or four leafy outcrops of arugula sprung through the mulch. There was collection of pigeon pea saplings, about 15-20 centimeters high that were hiding amongst the weeds I was pulling. A cranberry hibiscus had dropped […]

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