Posted by & filed under Design, Development & Property Trusts, Earth Banks, Education, Education Centres, Plants, Swales.

Geoff’s new video on Creating Permaculture Designs, see the full version on

So you’ve always wanted to design a beautiful plant system in your garden, but baulked at the idea because, quiet honestly, you can’t tell a bean from a cactus or a legume from a walnut and don’t have the time or interest to devote to studying all this plant diversity stuff and biology bores you, but inherently inside you, you’d know that you would make a great designer. Instinctively, you can spot a nice clump of trees together and you know you could do all this stuff if you could overcome this one small insignificant minor technical stumbling block – a lack of plant knowledge!

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Posted by & filed under Food & Food Support Systems, Fungi, General, Plant Systems, Plants.


Shiitake mushroom production at home.

In autumn 2013 we began our first foray into the world of homegrown gourmet mushroom production. We had been felling a lot of trees on the Tap o’ Noth Permaculture site to reduce some of the shade around our vegetable gardens and to provide fuel to keep our home warm in winter. And while we were processing the timber into firewood we thought we would keep some logs aside to use them as a substrate to grow edible mushrooms, in this case Shiitake. We chose Shiitake for their reputed health giving benefits, their flavour and, from what we have read, it is one of the easier mushroom varieties to try cultivating. We found the process of inoculation to be relatively simple and we have outlined the way we prepared our logs below.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Demonstration Sites, Design, Development & Property Trusts, Earthworks & Earth Resources, Education Centres, Land, Permaculture Projects.


We have been busy at Tiger Hill Permaculture getting ready for our upcoming Specialized Earthworks Course starting February the 20th, 2015.

There has always been a bigger vision on how the land was to be utilized and the existing infrastructure was only needed to be repurposed to value add their uses. Take the shearing shed. It was always intended to be a bunk house. Now it is a sharing shed with 12 single beds. The beds were made from timber on site and constructed so they will be bunks beds. They are solid and will take a great deal of weight before compromised. We striped out all the unnecessary partitions and equipment, lined the ceiling and walls and laid vinyl for easy cleaning.

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Posted by & filed under Education, Events, Resources & News, General.


Permaculturists frequently speak about the Permaculture Wardrobe. I first heard it from Geoff Lawton, but I am not sure if the concept originated with him. The wardrobe is an idea that describes the knowledge that can be drawn from and the skills that can be applied to a Permaculture project. I have seen the wardrobe in my head for years, and I finally decided to put pen to paper.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Design, Food & Food Support Systems, General, Plant Systems, Plants.

In the Urban Permaculture design work that we’re doing here in Córdoba, Argentina, one of the recurring themes that we’re exploring is how to use climbing, edible plants not just for their fruits, but for their ability to resolve microclimate and livability issues such as privacy, windbreak and passive cooling.

In this article, I’d like to share a few examples of how we’re using edible climbers as an important piece of urban design gear.

First, let’s take a look at an example of an inner patio and walkway that we covered up with a hanging organic roof of pumpkin and passion fruit that grows over a trellis system of wall mounted hooks and wire. It’s extremely low-tech and extremely functional.

01 - inner patio and passage from roof - SMALL


This patio is solar facing and normally gets quite hot during the summer, due to the stone tile flooring.

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Posted by & filed under General, Medicinal Plants, Plants.


Photo: Healing noni and it equally medicinal leaves

One of the many things I’ve learned thus far gardening in Central and South America is just how many plants are edible and medicinal, most of which people generally don’t use, that we in fact never even think to harvest. Of course, many of us who frequent a site such as Permaculture News have soft spot for multiple-purpose plants, especially those with nutritious attributes, but until recently, I’d never approached it as much more than a curiosity, a sort of fun quirk of growing certain plants. I wasn’t making nearly enough of the forest around me, and wasn’t that foolish!

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Posted by & filed under Community, Events, Resources & News, General, Population, Society.


When my son was younger, I spent considerable time trying to make sure he understood ‘wants’ versus ‘needs’. Fortunately, whatever he needed was available: food, water, a place to sleep, clothes to wear, family who loved him. But what he wanted, well, that’s a different story. We battled with wanting every Lego set possible, staying up late even when tired, eating ten cookies instead of two. Imagine a toddler being allowed to do whatever they wanted: chaos would soon reign, with sleep deprivation and sugar overload. Temporary pleasure quickly turns to unhappiness when there’s excess. Perhaps part of that is because we don’t appreciate things as much when they are in constant abundance right in front of us.

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Posted by & filed under Education, General.


Photo: Cleaning Shouldn’t Require Protective Gear

A while back, my wife Emma and I made the switch to DIY hygiene products. We were trying to avoid toxic stuff like fluoride, formaldehyde, and many a varied assortment of unsavory uglies found in toothpastes, deodorants, shampoos, and so on. We started this because we didn’t want to damage our health by taking a shower or brushing our teeth. The move also made sense because we were volunteering on eco-farms, many of which asked visitors not to use chemical soaps and such. It seemed another good reason to change. We didn’t want to harm the environment either.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Housing, Animals, Design, Fencing, General.


Our deer-proof fence is easy to install and doubles as a poultry fence and triples as a trellis on the inside the entire way around!

Prince of Wales Island is known, among other things, for it’s Sitka Black-tailed Deer population. The deer are extremely naive and often wander by as we are having coffee on the beach or working outside. When we bought the place it came with Lucy the pet deer. Everyday she would come up onto the deck for her piece of bread and a scratch behind the ears. Over the years her fawns had fawns, which had fawns. . . which all considered our place their home ground. The family resemblance in the photo is only coincidental!

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Posted by & filed under Building, Community, Community Projects, Design, Development & Property Trusts, Energy Systems.

Geoff’s new video on Annualized Geo-Solar, see the full version on

Imagine if you could trap the energy of the sun, shining on you on a warm summers day and store it, in a bank, for future use when you needed it in the winter? Sounds fanciful right? Well, that’s the principle of Annualized Geo-Solar. A fancy name, but a clever way of storing the heat in the ground and using it to warm your greenhouse when its needed in the cold winter months.

Recently Geoff Lawton visited a massive community glasshouse in the mountains of Invermere, British Columbia in Canada where they are using this method to keep their glasshouse warm over winter.

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Posted by & filed under Food & Food Support Systems, General, Processing & Food Preservation.


Ginkgo biloba, commonly known as the maidenhair tree or just plain ginkgo, has got to be one of the most distinctive, and in my mind interesting and captivating, plants in the world. Believed to be truly indigenous to only a single province in China , this 270 million year old species belongs to an ancient lineage of species that have since disappeared for one reason or another over the past few millennia, making Ginkgo biloba (known as a ‘living fossil’) the sole extant representative of what was once a vast and diverse group of organisms. In fact, the ginkgo tree is so unlike any other living plant species that this tree has it’s own genus, family, order, class and division. To put this into terms that may be easier to conceptualize: the only thing that ginkgo trees have in common with other plants is they are also plants. This means that pretty much everything about their genetic make-up, physiology, general behavior, reproductive strategies (including their mobile sperm; a trait particular to ferns, cycads and algae) and even their ability to photosynthesize is anywhere between slightly-off to fundamentally different from any other living plant. Oh, and you can eat it’s seeds.

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Posted by & filed under Community, General, Population, Society, Village Development.

Daimen Hardie & Sebastian Manchester of – 7/01/2015


First light – residents of Kokota islet enjoy first night with electric light provided by portable microgrid (Photo: Jeff Schnurr)

The problem . . .

The rise of renewable energy has to be one of the most inspiring revolutions of our time. It offers hope for transitioning to a low-carbon future – a future in which humanity rises out of the smog of fossil fuel dependence to put out a centuriesold fire that is now cooking our planet.

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