Home » Posts tagged 'WHY PERMACULTURE?'

Tag Archives: WHY PERMACULTURE?

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

How to Make Your Garden Have Less Weeds?

HOW TO MAKE YOUR GARDEN HAVE LESS WEEDS?

In crop gardens, we sometimes get into a spatial race with weeds, and the solution is to replace the weeds with “designed weeds” to take up the space. This can be done with green manure mulches to fertilize the gardens and supply quality mulch. This is an example of how understanding the inner workings of weeds allows us to harmonize with natural systems to both repair the earth and create production for ourselves.

It’s important to understand that the term “weed” is applied to any plant that isn’t wanted in a particular area. While we now call dandelions weeds, they once were sought-after greens. Banana trees are so prone to take root in the tropics that someone might consider them a weed, removing them from the yard, though they are the best-selling fruit in the world. The point is that just because we call a plant a weed doesn’t mean it lacks value. “Weeds” can be useful, or they can be prevented. Often, it’s us, as cultivators, who make and foster these choices or pick our small battles.

Mulch – The best way to have a weed-free garden is to prevent them in the first place, and organic mulch is probably the best way to go about that. Thickly (about 5-10 cm) mulch gardens with straw or leaves to effectively suppress weeds, and those weeds that do make it through are much more easily pulled. Not only will mulching help with weeds, but it’ll reduce the need to water, support soil life, and prevent erosion. Ultimately, the mulch will break down and continually replenish and improve the soil.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Saving the Planet

SAVING THE PLANET

I have often found myself wincing as I hear people talking about saving the planet. It’s felt wrong!  I can hear the voices of condemnation screaming at me now … ‘What a horrible person you are not to agree with saving the planet.’… but let me explain.

I’m the same age as Geoff Lawton!  Though I think he’s doing better than me!

I was brought up in the 50s/60s. I had two dads, my biological one and my step dad. My father was a left wing, ‘why is the government giving money to the farmers just because they have a drought’ type of person. He was always railing against the government because it didn’t look after the poor people. He was also the one who would order me out of the room so he could spray DDT in the living room to kill the flies. We left when I was 10.

My step dad was right wing. He didn’t believe the government should be giving out free money to people. He believed in self responsibility. What can you do to get yourself out of the situation?  He was also a firm believer in organic farming, no poisons, and natural health solutions. (Yes, I know that sounds counterintuitive, but you’d be amazed how many right wing people believe in self responsibly and growing their own food!)

My teen years saw my parents growing all our produce organically and sharing produce with friends who also grew organically.

In Grade 10, a science teacher gave us a scenario. He explained that all energy can be quantified as BTUs, from the physical energy you put into something, to the energy it takes to make a product. He gave us an example…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Humanure Part 1: Why Should We Give a Crap?

HUMANURE PART 1: WHY SHOULD WE GIVE A CRAP?

Permaculture is not just about garden design. Even if you don’t have land or access to land, looking at life from a permaculture perspective can help you to make life decisions and take actions towards  upholding the ethics of permaculture in your daily practices. This article series will take a look specifically at one of these practices which we all share, examine the benefits of changing our habits from a scientific perspective, and offer some practical ideas of what to do next.

That which cannot be named

It’s something which everyone engages in, sometimes as often as once or even twice a day. It can often be the first sign of illness if it is uncomfortable, and if it’s comfortable can help us to feel healthy and of course relieved. We do it almost as often as we eat and yet many people only feel comfortable talking about it with their closest friends or doctor. This could be seen as unbalanced, but probably even more unbalanced (especially from a permaculture perspective) is how we deal with our faeces. The most popular way of treating faeces globally is still by using water, either to flush to a public sewage treatment facility or to an onsite septic tank, or, in many places, by flushing it directly into the sea or a river (1). There are many reasons why using water to treat poo is environmentally detrimental, and most readers may well be familiar with these already. However, below I will briefly go into a few. Likewise with reasons why you may wish to change your pooing habits (if you haven’t already) to that of non-water treatment.

Why do we do what we do with poo?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

5 HA Polyculture Farm Design–Suhi Dol Revisited

5 HA POLYCULTURE FARM DESIGN – SUHI DOL REVISITED

Paul Alfrey from Balkan Ecology Project shares with us his observations and thoughts in regards to a visit he made to a farm he designed and how it slowly developed into a polyculture of fruit trees, aquaculture and vegetable gardens. 

Last week Dylan and I set off on a road trip to discover the flora and fauna of the North East of Bulgaria. Our first stop was to Catherine Zanev ‘s farm in Todorovo, North Bulgaria. As those of you familiar with our project may recall, this was a farm I designed in 2013. I had not visited the place for some time and was very excited to see how the plans had emerged into reality.

Catherine’s goals for the plot were to create a polyculture farm with focus on producing fruit for juicing, to include vegetable production for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) scheme and to experiment with dye plants. The design was complete by 2015 and implementation began that year.

The 5 ha polyculture plot Suhi Dol on the right, locally practiced intensive monoculture farming on the left

The design concept for Suhi Dol was to create an agroforestry system of “Belts” that are comprised of mixed species fruit trees, soft fruits and nitrogen fixing shrubs planted in “Rows” under-storied with support plants, herbs and perennial vegetables. Between the rows are the “Alleys”. The Alleys have potential to be used for growing hay, cereals, vegetables, herbs or rearing pasture raised poultry such as chickens or turkeys. Integrated throughout the belts and around the perimeter are various beneficial habitats to enhance biodiversity. The designed system is an elaboration of Alley Cropping and is based on tried and tested models of our small scale forest garden systems scaled up.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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

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). Such occurrences can be seen as unfortunate; but can also serve as lessons for us. When you look at the factors exacerbating aridity, it seems clearer than ever that industrial farming is ill-equipped to deal with adaptation. This article will explore a little what happened in the heatwave, particularly in the UK and look at an example of a permaculture site which survived unharmed.

Dry continent

Throughout Europe, rainfall in the summer of 2018 was so low that many places were reported as having droughts. While some of the affected areas of the drought were wild places, such as the forest fires which swept through the coniferous forests of Norway and Sweden in June and July(4), the main losses were from the farming industry. Both Lithuania and Latvia declared national states of emergency in July(2, 5). Germany and Poland were reported as experiencing severe losses in wheat production(2), with many farmers in Germany resorting to destroying their crops since they did not have the resources to continue watering them(2). Many cattle farmers, such as in the UK, had to use their winter supply of animal food to feed their cows(6), since the grass had all withered and dried, creating a temporary solution and more problems in the months to come.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

PERENNIAL POLYCULTURES AND THE RICHNESS OF DIVERSITY

PERENNIAL POLYCULTURES AND THE RICHNESS OF DIVERSITY

THE WAY NATURE PROVIDES

Imagine walking down a country road. On one side of the road, you see acres and acres of corn grown in neat rows. On the other side of the road stands an old-growth forest filled with towering trees and a thick underbrush. If you were to ask anyone which side of the road produced the most food, almost everyone would say that the cornfield is a symbol of abundance; and while the forest might be pretty, it is simply not productive.

We have been taught that food can only be grown in orderly rows and that the wildness of nature might be pretty but simply can´t provide for our well-being and sustenance. Imagine, now, that you turn off that country road and begin to walk through the old growth forest. Underneath a pine tree, you might find thousands of pine nuts scattered on the ground. Oyster and shitake mushrooms sprout from decaying logs while a flush of morel mushrooms blooms in a patch of fallen leaves.

A wild blueberry bush provides fresh fruit in a clearing while currants grow well in the shade of the larger trees. You might even come across a gnarly, old apple tree providing an abundant crop. The thick forest provides a great habitat for deer, turkey, and other tasty wildlife as well. Hundreds of other less known edible greens may make up part of the ground cover of the forest floor.

Nature always tends towards abundance, though it may not be the neat and orderly abundance that we see in the cornfield. The production of edible foodstuffs in an old growth forest may very well outcompete the cornfield on a calorie by calorie basis.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Learning More on How to Think About Soil

Seedling & Soil

LEARNING MORE ON HOW TO THINK ABOUT SOIL

Obviously, I’ve not been unaware of the importance of healthy soils, and by happenstance, I’ve probably even managed to make a good deal of it. But, my technique has largely been based on adding a steady supply of organic carbon and nitrogen matter, mostly in the form of brown leaves, boxes and newspaper to layers of manure, household veggie scraps, and fresh cut greens. I stack them atop earth and begin building layers of soil, usually doing an initial cover crop of legumes that get chopped-and-dropped. I probably would have stopped to learn more before now had the system not worked—though slow—as well as it does.

But, this morning I learned a new way—very practical and familiar—of looking at soil. Firstly, Lawton explained the necessities of minerals beyond just NPK, using a wonderful analogy with the modern food system and its effects on people. Then, he explained pH balance, something I’ve never spent a lot of time addressing, save for avoiding certain things that have been reported to me as overly acidic.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase