Biological Cleaning, Compost, Courses/Workshops, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Andrew Jones October 29, 2010
The dry tropics cover a significant land area of the planet, particularly around the regions of the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Characterized by a majority of the year when evaporation potential is greater than rainfall, they also support rapid biomass growth during and following the rainy season. Legume species normally form a significant portion of the species present, and provide for rapid biomass production.
Management of this biomass can be tricky, particularly when left above ground in dry mulch piles, as it normally stays dry, inhibiting both fungal and bacterial breakdown. On the flip side, dry tropics soils, whether sandy or clay-based are in need of organic matter to balance structure, enhance water retention or drainage and build humus. One approach for creating such conditions are mulch pit gardens.
Papaya, banana, and coconut circles are developed by digging pits up to two meters in diameter (for papaya or banana – up to three meters for coconuts) and about 1 meter deep. These are then filled with dampened, compacted organic material to a height of 1 meter above ground. Up to seven plants of the appropriate type are then planted in the rim of the pit. Taro or other moisture loving plants may be planted on the inside edge, and sweet potato along the outside edge to provide a living mulch as well as extra production.
Double mulch pit greywater system being developed at Baja BioSana, Baja
Demonstration Sites, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Plant Systems, Urban Projects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 14, 2010
Remember Geoff’s great post on How to Establish a Small Space Intensive Food Garden? In this video below, which I’ve also just added to the original post, Geoff talks to Noela about her observations on how easy the garden is to maintain, etc.Comments (0)
Comedy Break, Plant Systems — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 8, 2010
Someone sent the following conversation through to me. It’s a must read. I love how comedy can cut through nonsense.
God: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.
St. Francis: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
Animal Forage, Land, Livestock, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Seeds, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 7, 2010
Allan Savory has an interesting background. Amongst his experiences, he is also a biologist. I think this will have served him well as he sought to address desertification in his native Zimbabwe.
While many call for less livestock, and for good reason, Allan blames their detrimental impact on management (or lack of, as the case may be), rather than absolute numbers. Allan’s Holistic Management techniques instead use dense livestock herds to increase fertility and biomass (and thus soil carbon) and to increase human prosperity.Comments (11)
Animal Forage, Compost, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems — by Melissa Miles October 1, 2010
Comfrey (Symphytum spp.) has been cultivated and valued by many cultures for almost 2500 years. A native to Europe and Asia, the comfrey plant with which most are familiar, Symphytum officinale, has been used as a blood coagulant, a treatment for maladies of the lung, and as a poultice to aid in the healing of wounds and broken bones. Consumed as a tea, comfrey is said to treat a variety of internal ailments by various folk medicine traditions.
The word comfrey is Latin in origin and means "to grow together”. Though research has recently linked the consumption of comfrey with liver damage in mice, thus halting the development of comfrey as a modern food crop, the plant was once widely grown for its medicinal, food and forage value. Today it is still valued for its use in salves and other topical skin preparations and for its use as animal fodder and fertilizer.Comments (15)
Aquaculture, Biodiversity, Land, Plant Systems, Urban Projects — by Christopher Wallis September 23, 2010
A pond in your garden can be very attractive whilst also providing habitat for native amphibians. The sound of frogs in your garden at night is very soothing, but the pond needs to be a reasonable distance from your house and your neighbours’, as the frogs can be quite noisy at times.
It is usually good to choose the lowest part of the garden to ensure a natural setting and water flow but placement can be relatively flexible. Half shade is preferable, with plants around the pond for shelter. A pond that gets no sun will stagnate and lose its inhabitants quickly. Make sure you wait at least two weeks before adding frogs to ensure that any chlorine in the water has evaporated.Comments (2)
Community Projects, Conservation, Deforestation, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Global Warming/Climate Change, Livestock, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 21, 2010
Some of you will remember the excellent Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration article provided by Tony Rinaudo of World Vision. It shared a rapid and highly effective way to reforest degraded landscapes by simply letting the ‘underground forest’ (the seeds, roots and shoots already existing in the landscape) do what it already wants to do: that being to just grow! Instead of expensive projects with imported seed, nurseries, propagation, watering, etc., Niger has seen net afforestation on a massive scale (over 5 million hectares in Niger alone) by simply educating locals in protecting and pruning the plants already at their feet.Comments (4)
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Compost, Demonstration Sites, Fencing, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Land, Livestock, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Seeds, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Harvesting — by Geoff Lawton September 20, 2010
Editor’s Note: This post is a good reminder to ensure you take good before, during and after photos as you implement projects! Case studies like this become an awesome portfolio for yourselves, and help people to see the practical potential in permaculture. It can be totally inspiring, and help get people moving on the ground!
Case Study – Noela’s Garden, as installed by Geoff and Nadia Lawton
This is a story about a garden that Nadia and I were asked to establish in 2006. It’s a very small space – the area is 95m2. A friend of a friend asked if we could get involved to help to design and implement a garden. Nadia had only recently arrived in Australia and I wanted her and I to put a garden in together as a ‘start to finish’ job so she could get a feel for how we establish small space gardens in Australia, as she already had experience in small space gardening in Jordan.
The area on the North side of Noela’s house.
Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Plant Systems, Society, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Matthew Lynch September 13, 2010
Editor’s Note: We welcome new writer Matthew Lynch as he treats us to this awesome first post! Matthew is currently based in Melbourne, Australia, but will soon be sharing his exploits as he visits permaculture sites across Europe, before heading back to Hawaii to set up a permaculture business there.
Six months ago I graduated from my Permaculture Design Course (PDC) at Southern Cross Permaculture, bright eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to change the world.
I raced back home and made my first compost pile in the middle of the lawn, then set about the task of redesigning my parent’s suburban backyard in Melbourne to a productive permacultural paradise.
Animal Forage, Commercial Farm Projects, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, News, Plant Systems, Society — by Paul Douglas September 7, 2010
There they go again, making liars out of us, undermining our critique that their industry is contributing to the wholesale destruction of water, soil, air and biodiversity.
You know what the farmers have done, don’t you? They’ve only gone and realised that a diverse range of endemic, perennial, drought-proof fodder crops are better for their farm animals, their soil, the atmosphere and their bank balance than introduced, annual, copyrighted fodder crops. Not only that, but there is a symbiosis occurring between the annual pasture crops and perennial natives which is causing both sets of plants to grow better than they would normally otherwise. I happened upon this information via the Landline show on TV last week. I am constantly amazed by how much farmers are warming to the benefits and joys of permaculture elements without even realising it. They’ve been trialling alternative fodder crops, starting with the admittedly non endemic tagasaste “to repair the land and provide feed and shelter for [their] sheep”, and farmers in rural Australia have also long been planting Old Man Saltbush, both as a stock fodder and a way of helping combat soil salinity. This was also reported on Landline in 2008. Recently, they’ve begun trying out other crops, especially native perennial shrubs and have been crash grazing the test paddocks with sheep and experimenting with plant and crop row spacings in order to maximise yield.Comments (7)
Animal Forage, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Rhamis Kent August 31, 2010
Editor’s note: Red clover is a useful leguminous green manure. Growing taller than
other clovers, it can be easily cut down with a scythe or other when it starts to
flower, so that it doesn’t scatter seed where you don’t want it.
You can never have enough information about Earth Repair/Ecosystem Restoration tools, techniques, and strategies. As most of you know, a couple among the many in use are green manuring and cover cropping.
Over the past year of my really digging into this topic I’ve come across a number of useful links to downloadable PDFs that allow for easy access and use.Comments (9)
Fish, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Health & Disease, Plant Systems, Urban Projects, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
When I was in Australia over a year ago, Geoff mentioned that a former student and her partner were converting their pool into a fish farm. I didn’t have a lot of time to spare, but told him I had to go. A day or so later I was poking around Vanessa and Justin’s pool, fussing about with my camera and notepad. The resulting article has since become one of the more popular ones on the site.
Perhaps there are a lot of people out there with useless, empty swimming pools? If so, here’s even more encouragement to get busy and do something with it! This family has, apparently, become self-sufficient in food production in record time – just by making clever use of their disused swimming pool.Comments (3)
Building, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Energy Systems, Land, People Systems, Plant Systems, Society, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, peak oil — by Oyvind Holmstad August 23, 2010
I’ve found a wonderful flower; I discovered it not long ago. Still, it’s not so much what I know about it that touches me, I’m just drawn to its colors. This flower is unique, it thrives in every country and climate, and adapts very well to the specific conditions of culture and place. Its colors, smell and form is therefore of unlimited variety and complexity, yet it is the same flower. It is the permaculture flower.
Some people think the permaculture flower is a remnant of the hippie’s flower power movement, or that it has something to do with New Age – just another consumerism idea to be sold to the confused and rich people of the middle classes. Oh no, the ‘flower power’ of the permaculture flower has real power. It has the power to reunite humanity with the complex systems of nature, so they can live in symbiosis, enriching each other. Nothing else possesses this power.Comments (6)
Building, Energy Systems, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems — by Mari Korhonen August 16, 2010
In cool and cold areas the length of the growing season and the cold temperatures are the main challenge for growing things and supporting oneself. As part of the search for cold climate permaculture strategies I came across integrated greenhouse designs that seem to have a lot to offer to us in the cool climates. This is a little report from a trip to the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute’s solar greenhouse workshop in Basalt, Colorado. There, during his thirty five years of living on the site, Jerome Osentowski the director at CRMPI, has overcome the challenges of his steep sloping land at 2,200 meters above sea level with advanced integrated greenhouse designs as a feature in the overall system. They have stretched his climatic zones all the way to the subtropic – all year round, with no fossil fuels used.Comments (11)
Food Forests, Plant Systems — by Marcel Werps August 12, 2010
Most of us will be familiar with the Hindu and Buddhist concept of Karma as a factor in our personal lives. In nature, as a general rule, we can experience Karma, as a direct reaction by, for example, animals – as a response to our behaviour and attitude towards them.
Action and reaction. Cause and effect. It is my contention that this concept is also operative in the plant world, as a response to our treatment of them.
If we accept the basic law of Isaac Newton about action and reaction, then surely our dealings with the plant world have their consequences.Comments (6)