Animal Forage, Biodiversity, Biofuels, Deforestation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Eric Toensmeier March 1, 2012
Trees are one of our most powerful tools to pull carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil for long-term storage. This is why reforestation and protecting intact forests are such important parts of plans to address climate change. Conventional climate change science tells us that the planet’s capacity for reforestation is limited, however, by the need to preserve land for agriculture.
But movements like agroforestry and permaculture show us that farming and trees are not mutually exclusive. From tree crops to contour strips of nitrogen fixing trees between bands of annual crops, there is a wealth of techniques that can give us the best of both worlds. These techniques, should a global effort get behind their implementation on a large scale, could have a major impact on climate change. They would also have numerous other benefits to the planet and its people.
A century ago, writer-farmers like J. Russell Smith coined the term “permanent agriculture” to describe food forestry and other farming practices that combated a key issue of their day — erosion and degradation of farmland. From Smith and his compatriots we in permaculture have taken the name of our movement, though our movement has grown to encompass much more than food forestry. Today these visionary ideas are more essential than ever, to address an environmental crisis on a scale Smith and his contemporaries could not have imagined.Comments (4)
Animal Forage, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Seeds, Trees — by Eric Toensmeier February 25, 2012
This article reviews perennial staple crops, a little-known group of species with tremendous potential to address world problems.
Ricardo Romero of Las Cañadas in perennial staple food forest featuring
peach palm, macadamia, air potato, banana, and perennial beans.
Perennial Staple Crops are basic foodstuffs that grow on perennial plants. These plant sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats can be harvested non-destructively – that is, harvest does not kill the plant or prevent future harvests. This group of crops includes grains, pulses (dry beans), nuts, dry pods, starchy fruits, oilseeds, high-protein leaves, and some more exotic products like starch-filled trunks, sugary palm saps, and aerial tubers.
These trees, palms, grasses, and other long-lived crops offer the unique possibility of crops grown for basic human food that can simultaneously sequester carbon, stabilize slopes, and build soils as part of no-till perennial agricultural systems. Such production models seem the most likely of all regenerative farming practices to approach the carbon sequestering capacity of natural forest, because they can mimic the structure of a forest most closely.Comments (22)
Fencing, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Nurseries & Propogation, Trees — by Carolyn Payne February 6, 2012
A few hints and tips for dealing with these unique Australian characters
Kangaroo come on to the property every evening to drink
The 34 acre site that is now the home of Mudlark Permaculture is an open grassland strip 250 metres wide and 500 metres long, set between native Australian bush land and a 280 metre diameter artificially created wetland.
The land was considered so poor by its previous owner that it had not been fenced or stocked for 30 years. The only things to graze this land for years have been a few rabbits, hares, the odd wallaby and around 100 kangaroo.Comments (2)
Deforestation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Seeds, Soil Composition, Structure, Trees — by Chris McLeod January 24, 2012
As people become urbanised, they start looking at the world in urban ways. What does that car or house say about that person? How does that person’s occupation affect their social standing? People may not admit it, but they understand the answers to these questions intuitively. As permaculturalists, we need to apply these same observational skills to our permacultural adventures.
These observational skills are important for permaculture because they allow you to read a landscape. No two pieces of land are ever the same! Whether that land is in an urban area or a rural area you can gather a huge amount of information as to its suitability for your next permaculture project simply by observation over a period of time. These skills will also allow you to identify ways to adapt your land to your particular purpose.
Reading a landscape is an observational skill so I have decided to take you on a virtual tour of the mountain range that I live in and tell you what I see in the different spots that we stop off at. I will highlight things at each location that I have learned on my food forest permaculture journey, and that I hope to impart to you the reader. I hope you enjoy the tour!Comments (16)
Animal Forage, Bird Life, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Livestock, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Seeds, Trees — by Nicollas Mauro January 20, 2012
Design science is at the root of any definition of permaculture or put simply, permaculture is design science. — Bill Mollison
Permaculture is a design/holistic/integrative science, whereas the mainstream/academic science is reductionist — that is, to understand how things work, scientists break a system and study the tiny parts.
Nevertheless, permaculture can benefit from reductionist science, to find relevant knowledge and new design ideas, but above all to gain some academic arguments to demonstrate the validity and legitimacy of its principles and techniques.
This is an article which shows some of the links I’ve found between scientific articles published in national and international journals, while searching facts and numbers to help me design my property. During the process, some ideas just popped, so I included them to make the article a “live performance” of the usefulness of lurking in the scientific jungle sometimes.Comments (10)
Compost, Conservation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Rehabilitation, Urban Projects, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Leigh Glenn January 19, 2012
The Kniskerns’ yard is a sustainable smorgasbord
Over a period of less than 10 years, James and Mary Kniskern transformed their sod-based lawn into a vibrant, blooming habitat that not only reduces their impact on the land but also rewards them with a bounty of edible plants as well as honey-producing bees.
The fifth of an acre where James and Mary Kniskern live in Arnold [Maryland, USA] was about what you’d expect for a suburban dwelling: grass, azaleas, daffodils in the spring, pachysandras year-round. As you’d expect, it required the drone of a mower and sweat non-equity to keep it in shape.
“I didn’t like to mow,” says James.
But what was the alternative?
Less than a decade later, the Kniskerns are living the alternative. Their yard is like none other on their block. It’s the eco-gardener’s version of The Limbo Song. The how low can you go? part involves occasional weeding, plenty of harvesting… and no mowing.
Before the Kniskerns headed down the wood-chipped path to zero grass, they considered buying into an eco-village, so they visited several throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Each had its quirks, but what they really didn’t care for was the landscaping, which was not as tidy as what they were used to.
“It looked ugly,” James says.
But their desire to reduce their impact on the land propelled them.Comments (2)
Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Trees — by Sunny Soleil
How to Graft a Fruit Tree
YouTube is full of ‘how-to’ videos but only a few give clear instructions with professional presentation, good sound and really clear visuals. This is why I give top marks to the series of three fruit tree grafting videos from Dave Wilson Nurseries which have comprehensive instructions, good camera close-ups and a very knowledgeable presenter.
In this 9-minute video (above), the presenter explains how to graft 3 different varieties of nectarine onto one nectarine tree. The two videos below are follow-ups showing the grafting after two and six months. You can find lots more at this channel including info on grape growing and a tour round their gorgeous elevated display garden with a definite permaculture flavor.Comments (3)
Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Nurseries & Propogation, Seeds — by Sunny Soleil January 10, 2012
When you consider how seeds germinate in nature, it makes sense to sow our own seeds the same way.
In late summer, left to their own devices, seeds fall into the ground. They slowly get covered with leaves and other natural material ready to begin their long winter hibernation in the soil.
As the cold weather sets in and snow covers the ground, the seed toughens up and as spring sets in that little seed will emerge in its own good time, when conditions are perfect for it to start peeking above ground.
July through August (or, in the northern hemisphere, from December through January) is generally a ‘rest time’ for the annual gardener, so if you’re anxious to be ‘out there’ doing something, winter sowing is a perfect way to keep your green fingers active!Comments (11)
Community Projects, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Seeds, Society, Trees, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Bob Nekrasov January 6, 2012
by Bob Nekrasov
I hear you comrade. ‘I want those acres and to start my food forest and have a permaculture demonstration Eden – but alas, I am a humble renter with big bloody dreams and typically uncreative landlords’.
As us ‘renters’ forlornly scan open fields and acres — seeing real estate listings of eroded soils sitting below beautiful key points — we are designing lush, abundant landscape in our minds and whinging about the price and how we could easily ‘turn this place into a self-sustaining paradise’. Well, at least I am! But, we can get caught in the dream trap — thinking we will start the big permaculture project when we get that dream plot of land. But it is really a void that needs to be filled. When you know how much good you can do you do feel a little crippled by renting a place where you feel you cannot do much. Having this deluded mindset a few years back I set out to figure out what I can do. Hooray!Comments (21)
Compost, Conservation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Trees, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Harvesting — by Mark Feineigle January 4, 2012
What is it?
Hugelkultur is a composting method that uses large pieces of rotting wood as the centerpiece for long term humus building decomposition. The decomposition process takes place below the ground, while at the same time allowing you to cultivate the raised, or sunken, hugelkultur bed. This allows the plants to take advantage of nutrients released during decomposition. Hugelkultur, in its infinite variations, has been developed and practiced by key permaculture proponents such as Sepp Holzer and Masanobu Fukuoka for decades.
Food Plants - Perennial, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants, Nuclear, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Sunny Soleil
Most of us know about pine needle tea as a rich source of Vitamin C, but now white pine pollen is to being promoted as a highly nutritious superfood powder. But who needs to buy it when you can pick your own?
Arthur Haines shows you how and when to harvest pine pollen with strategies for gathering sufficient to make tinctures or use as food. Haines also goes into detail about the nutritional chemistry of pine pollen which is rich in non-enzymatic anti-oxidants like pro vitamin A, B Complex, C, D and E plus a host of minerals and amino acids. Apparently pine pollen is also a great defence against radioactive Cesium that is appearing in dairy and other foods in the US.
Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems — by Wes Roe December 3, 2011
Edible Forest Gardens! This powerful concept of perennial polyculture design is finally gaining wide recognition, thanks in part to people like Dave Jacke, author of Edible Forest Gardens, Volumes I & II.
Dave Jacke was in Santa Barbara recently for a program sponsored by the SBCC Center for Sustainability as a benefit for Mesa Harmony Gardens, a food forest in the making. If you missed Dave’s talk, or just want a review all the great material he shared with us, the interview is now available to listen to.
Dave Jacke is a longtime permaculture teacher and designer. In this interview, he talks about the history of forest gardening, its many benefits, and how gardening like a forest can enrich your life. — Sustainable World Radio
Click play to hear the talk!Edible Forest Gardens: Dave Jacke Interview with Jill Cloutier of Sustainable World Radio Comments (0)
Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Trees — by Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper December 2, 2011
An updated chart of basic companion plants we’ve grown successfully over the years
We recently received an e-mail from a gentleman in China looking for…
… what plants you may have in your garden that you can transplant next to your rose or your apple tree to see how they nurture each other over time.
As a result I thought I would post our own updated list of companion plants for him and anyone else interested. While I would love to say this plant or that plant are "best" I feel I must remind folks to keep in mind your climate, soil and many, many other factors that determine how well these plants cooperate together. Trial and error is the best choice to begin companion planting but the chart below should lead you in the right direction….Comments (4)
DVDs/Books, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 26, 2011
I thought I’d share this excellent, growing resource on edible plants for specific regions.
At time of writing the Learn Grow project has created comprehensive plant list info for the following regions:
In addition, the site has two disks available that should be of direct interest to Australian permaculturists:Comments (0)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Health & Disease, Society, Trees — by Chris McLeod November 24, 2011
Save Ferris! Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was a 1986 movie about a teenager, his girlfriend and best mate — all of whom were just about to finish high school and enter the adult world. It represented for them a moment in time; a very hedonistic look into their lives for just one day, where responsibility and long term planning were dismissed. I’ve always felt that it captured the spirit of the times of 1986, which also, by a strange coincidence, was the time of Morning in America, Ronald Reagan and the return of cheap energy for industrial countries. The question that I would like to know, whilst hedonism is fun, is it responsible and sustainable?
As a bit of background, I was born in the early 1970s and during the first two decades of my life, fruit tasted, well, like fruit, regardless of where it was purchased. However, slowly things started to change. Supermarket fruit stopped tasting like fruit should and started tasting like water. At about this time, I stopped buying fruit at the supermarket and moved onto the city markets. Melbourne is lucky to have the Queen Victoria Market just on the edge of its CBD (as well as a few other inner city markets) which sell fresh fruit and vegetables. Nice. It was all sorted, fruit tasted like fruit should again. However, it was not to be that way for long!
Over time the market fruit also started to taste bland and I started to get desperate for tasty fruit. I began visiting and purchasing direct from commercial orchards on the eastern edge of the city. The joke was on me because these were the same people who were selling to the wholesale markets who then on-sold that same fruit to the retail markets! It was the same fruit! I was simply cutting out the middle men. This is when I started to understand that the change was because of economics, as fruit was paid for by weight and not by quality.
So, what the heck, I gave up and started growing my own fruit.Comments (8)