Category: Trees

Miracle Farms – a 5-acre Commercial Permaculture Orchard (Southern Quebec)

Twenty years ago, Stefan Sobkowiak bought a commercial apple orchard with the intention of converting it to an organic orchard. He did just that, but eventually understood the limitations of the organic model originating from monoculture. He then decided to tear out most of the trees and replant in a way that would maximize biodiversity and yield while minimizing maintenance. Inspired by permaculture principles, the orchard now counts over 100 […]

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Permaculture Paradise at Val & Eli’s Garden (Jacksonville, Florida)

Val and Eli take us on a tour of their permagarden in Jacksonville FL. They have created a wonderful, natural space filled with self-sustaining fruits, vegetables, herbs, medicines, colors, water, fragrances, and wildlife… at their fingertips. And below, Val and Eli continue to harvest the organic riches of their food forest and now cut back their garden to nourish their fruit trees with natural, free fertilizers. No artificial fertilizers, herbicides, […]

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Hill Country Permaculture: The Way of the Fox (Central Texas)

Foxes are renowned for being clever and nimble — elusive when sought as prey and very hard to keep out of a chicken coop when on the prowl. Many years ago, sitting at dinner with some long time "Hill Country" (AKA central Texas USA) farmers, I learned something about foxes that’s stuck with me ever since. A fox’s tail weighs as much as the rest of its body and thus […]

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What Plants Talk About In 1973, Lyall Watson, a South African botanist, claimed that plants had emotions that could be recorded on a lie detector test. His research was fiercely dismissed by many in the scientific community. Recently, researchers at The University of Western Australia relaunched the debate by revealing that plants not only respond to sound, but that they also communicate to each other by making "clicking" sounds. (The article was published […]

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PRI Zaytuna Farm Internship Project – Slope Stabilisation

My chosen internship project at PRI Zaytuna Farm was to stabilize and prevent erosion on a steep slope from an excavation back cut. I also wanted to build topsoil and increase fertility as most of the slope is subsoil clay. This is a picture of the slope before doing anything to it I decided to try the Net and Pan method described in the Permaculture Designers’ Manual by Bill Mollison. […]

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Tough Fruit

A line of thought evolving from the interest in both epigenetics and the Paleo diet has led to an exploration of low cultivated, western European, Asian and North American fruit trees in our Food Forest systems. What does this mean? Well, we all love fruit. A fresh, crispy apple or sweet, fleshy nectarine are hard to beat, but how often do we need to eat such super sweet treats bred […]

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Fruits and Nuts: Our Cold-Climate Favorites (Massachusetts, USA)

An excerpt from Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City by Eric Toensmeier with contributions from Jonathan Bates Grapes August is the beginning of our fruit and nut harvest. Since we have little room for fruit and nut trees, we had to prioritize the species we most love to eat, with the prime fruit growing space […]

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Small Scale Nursery Applications: Reflections from Loping Coyote Farms Nursery (NV, USA)

by Neil Bertrando , Eric Toensmeier Plant materials are a critical component of any homestead or agroecology site, and by using the permaculture design concept, we can figure out many yields to pattern into our management activities. I want to explore some opportunities presented by integrating a small scale nursery into the process of site development, based on my experiences in a high desert climate context on sites of <2 […]

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Of Apples and Earth Apples (Ireland)

by Ute Bohnsack August is a happy month, a time of abundance at the tail end of summer, the month that gives us the first apples and new potatoes. In Ireland ‘spuds’, somewhat more eloquently termed ‘pomme de terre’ by the French, are a staple food of course, but similarly apples to me are a staple I don’t like to be without. In my native German language they are generally […]

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Winter at Tata Kaitawa, 2013 (New Zealand)

by Yvonne Collin Misty winter morning in the valley What winter? Have we had one and it has slipped by without making a noise? We have had a few cold and wet days here in the bush and the occasional frost after a clear night, but not like the winters we are used to having. We live in a deep valley, one of two valleys that meet at the bottom, […]

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Food from Perennial(ising) Plants in Temperate Climate Australia for July 2013

This is the mid-Winter post for the ongoing research project about perennial plants and self-perpetuating annual plants providing food in temperate climate Australia. The original article introducing this project, stating its aims, and providing participant instructions, can be found here. Growers are sending me information on a month-by-month basis, then this information is collated and published the following month. All previous posts from this series can be found by clicking […]

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Return of the Native (UK)

Why are almost all the trees that councils plant exotic species? by George Monbiot The differences can be stark and remarkable: native trees tend to harbour far more wildlife than exotic species. Indigenous oak species, for example – according to the table extracted from scientific papers by the Offwell Woodland and Wildlife Trust – harbour 284 insect species in the UK. Birch supports 266. But horse chestnut, introduced from the […]

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