27 July 2014


The harvest starts for some. Click here

Saving money and doing great gardening. Click here


Learning to farm organically as a WWOOFer. Click here

NY techie returns to aid Indian organic cotton farming. Click here

One farmer’s cheerful view on farming. Click here

Cow power and the wonder of great pasture. Click here


Chef argues for “paddock to plate”. Click here

Taking organic food to Mars. Click here


Living Small. Gardening Part 1.

To-day I start a series of articles on the art of living small.

This is definitely an art. It calls for a mind shift from consumption to production. To paraphrase Bill Mollison: if  just 10% of us grow food in our own gardens, the world changes.

Gardening is but one part of the Living Small equation. Following on from this starting point, housing, clothing, IT, transport and a host other areas fill the mind. For to-day I will stick with gardening. Gardening in small way provides it own challenges.

For the past eight months my own 4 foot diameter garden has been supplying us with a myriad of produce. I will expand it this Spring to an area 5 times the size. The smallness of this original garden is instructive.

I planted it out with sweet corn, zucchini, lettuce, butter beans, rocket and bok choy. I used to live in a much colder climate. There we only had one chance to grow summer vegetables. Where I am now provided many surprises. Some were welcome, some were not. The speed of growth and harvest was one of the welcome surprises. As was being able to re-plant and rotate crops about such a small area. Maintaining constant ground cover being easily achieved.

White fly were most unwelcome. I’d never seen them before. I diagnosed the first evidence of their infestation as a nitrogen deficiency. Correcting for this created more lush growth, attracting more white fly. Once the problem was identified very little helped. They only attacked the beans, zucchini and some self-sown tomatoes. I took what we could from these and composted the rest in an attempt to break any breeding cycles.

Next Spring I will companion plant with marigolds and nasturtium to deter them. More reading might find other solutions.

During this Autumn and Winter I have been growing beetroot, more bok choy, silverbeet,  mizuna, lettuce, rocket, broccoli, cauliflower and snow peas. I have discovered the cabbage moth caterpillar. I just pick them off. Up to 15 per leaf per day!

What have I learned? It is possible to provide a large proportion of salad needs and a smaller proportion of cooking vegetables from such a small space. Additionally I have learned much about the local climate and the garden micro climate. I will be planting more of the smaller, quicker maturing types to keep the supply more constant. My other half has discovered how much longer food will stay fresh in the fridge if it only travels 15 feet to the kitchen and not half way across the continent.

From the observations and discussions with neighbours, I will not be surprised to see more little circles of food springing up across the area next Spring.

Cherry Red Potato Harvest

From Dirt to Dinner

Cherry-Red-ResultsThis year I grew a trial patch of five ‘Cherry Red’ potato plants from January 27th through June 13th. A crazy-early start, even for Northern California. And 137 days is a long time to wait for “new” potatoes. But the plants did well, grew very tall, and flowered even though they suffered some water stress in the spot where they grew. The harvest was well over 5 pounds. I didn’t include the weight of some of the potatoes because their eating quality was spoiled by growing too close to the surface.

Luckily, high stolon-set is a characteristic I love in a potato variety and this one may have everything we look for in red-skinned urban farm growing conditions. It’s a tall plant that sets stolons high on the stem. The stolon length is among the largest I have seen with potatoes growing over 2 1/2′ from the main stem. The…

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13 June 2014


Treated seeds bad for bees! Click here

High rise gardening! (A slide show.) Click here

More vertical gardens. Click here

Veggies grow better amongst flowers. Click here


How far has your food travelled? Click here

To reduce waste, eat within “100km”. A Chennai example. Click here

101 bright spots in the global food system. Click here


GM farming heading to the UK as early as next year? Click here

Agriculture is not natural. Click here

Introducing some of Europe’s young organic farmers. Click here

Sustainability Project Outline

A noble project!

Returning to Our Roots

I’ve made a project outline to try and inspire myself to research as thoroughly as possible (what can I say, I’m a planner). Below is a rough starting point for my research.


  • Project: Design a sustainable living community that is as close to self-sustaining as possible (this includes food, water, buildings, and energy). Focus on making the smallest environmental impact possible, and include a list of tentative but realistic costs for each part of the community (land, building structures, farming equipment, etc.). Also, be sure to include a general timeline for the process of starting up the community (gathering experience, finding land, building structures), as well as a list of necessary/ helpful skills that would aid in creating a sustainable living community.
  • Possible Research Topics: Organic gardening, livestock, climate zones, maximizing crop production (green houses, crop rotation, perennials), garden design, existing sustainable communities, best locations for such a community…

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12 June 2014


Nepalese guide to growing organic. Click here

Organic fungicides, these ones are simple too. Click here

Get to know your neighbours, especially if you see them growing fruit! Click here


Some Queensland, Australia, farmers longing for frosts. Click here

New Indian Prime Minister, Modi, calls for more organic farming in his homeland. Click here

Old ways of farming are revolutionary. Click here

Biodynamics: organic, sustainable and mystical? Click here

Smart agriculture in Cameroon reduces greenhouse gases. Click here

Interesting doco on farming. Click here

10 June 2014


Academic staff sow organic garden whilst students sit exams. Click here


India’s red ‘Kaipad’ rice, grown organically receives a boost. Click here

Davao, Philippines uses organic farming to green the district. Click here

Permaculture, can it help save the world? Click here


limit your exposure to pesticides. Click here

Organic is no defence from the industrial food systems. Click here

Biodynamics, an deeper appreciation of Nature produces great food. Click here

Alternative Energy

Clean technology can save a trillion dollars annually. Click here

Clean hydrogen advances. Click here