Category: Plant Systems

Horseradish: Why I Should Try It Again

Earlier this year, in the spring, I was able to acquire a handful of horseradish roots to plant in a garden my wife Emma and I were putting together. I’d first encountered it as a plant the year before and was happy discover the leaves were edible with a flavor reminiscent, though milder, of the root. I’d never had horseradish in anything besides cocktail sauce, possibly some other condiments here […]

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Invasive Thoughts: A Battle with Conscientious Consciousness

I did a lot of research. I hummed and hawed, danced around the issue, came up with a veritable pros and cons type of list. Ultimately, the base of our food forest needed some fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing trees, and whether or not they were native came to feel somewhat moot. I found a good tree species. It was readily available (and free). What difference did it make if folks had deemed […]

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How to Green the Desert: Europe’s Heatwave and some Holistic Suggestions

In the Northern Hemisphere, the balance of light is turning ever more towards darkness as we approach the Autumn Equinox. This is following a summer which in many places was unusually hot and dry(1, 2). This is perhaps not unexpected; climate change scientists have been predicting extreme temperature spikes for a number of years(3). However, it seems that a lot of farmers were nevertheless unprepared and many crops have been lost(2). […]

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Weeds Aren’t Actually All That Bad

Weeds, many say, are but misunderstood plants, plants that have somehow fallen out of favor. Often, they are ready growers, keen to pop up where space has allowed, and typically they are doing so to perform some sort of vital ecological function. Geoff Lawton says they are “symptom” of a flawed situation rather than the actual problem.   Weeds are working to right wrongs. They cover the ground. They prevent erosion. […]

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How to Make Instant Garden Beds

A common problem when just starting a garden is dealing with the fact that we’ve not had time to condition the soil, fostering it into something heaving with fertility. Or, maybe we just aren’t that far into gardening yet anyway and don’t know what to do. Basically, it seems we are left with the option of using what we have and hoping for the best, or we can spend a […]

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Real food does not come from supermarkets: 6 steps from bare ground to homegrown cauliflowers

I imagine that when our grandchildren and great grandchildren read in history books about the supermarkets we relied upon for food, they’ll wonder what we were thinking.   My goal is to get to where our family can live without the supermarket entirely. There are many things we have yet to learn, but we’re well on our way.   We already raise all of our own meat and eggs, and most of […]

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Straw Bale Gardens

What do straw, paint brushes and the human blood circularity system have in common?     The answer is capillaries, very narrow, long tubes. It is this physical characteristic of straw which gives its remarkable ability to become the soil of a garden bed. Large amounts of water and nutrients can be held within the straws capillaries. This is an ideal environment for bacterial growth. This conversion from straw to soil makes […]

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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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