Garden Planning part one: Dirty Talk | picky to plenty

I’ve been under a lot of stress lately. Like a lot. I was in a car accident nearly three months ago and it has turned my world upside down. While the accident wasn’t too serious, thankfully, it was enough to cause me health problems I’ve been dealing with ever since. One way to cope with stress is to do things I love — cook, write from the heart and dream.

There’s something about being up to the elbows in fresh soil that is oddly soothing. Caring for a vegetable garden is a satisfying journey that begins with the dirt. While it’s too early to get my hands dirty (though seed planting begins in only a few short weeks) I can cope with the stress by daydreaming about this year’s gardens.

One of my biggest mistakes in gardening last year was not paying attention to the soil. My raised beds thrived because they had great soil, the newer ones in the front however, terrible. Here on the Niagara Escarpment we have a lovely red clay soil… not so good for growing. While we did add a few yards of soil to the plot and some manure and compost, it was not enough to create an atmosphere where plants would thrive. Case in point, my midget pepper and bean plants which were barely half way up my calf when they reached their maximum height.

via Garden Planning part one: Dirty Talk | picky to plenty.


In defense of weeds | FoodGrow

In defense of weeds

February 2, 2015 by Stephen 1 Comment

I provide a haven for weeds. No crap! Sometimes, if no one is looking, I even save seed.

There are places on my property where I have broken ground, turned the grasses under, and waited, just to see what would grow.

And I recommend it. Urge, even, every gardener to think, just for a moment……what would grow here If all these introduced grasses, shipped here from some place in Europe, where removed?

What would grow if I stopped ripping it all out at the slightest hint of germination, If I let some stuff just be?

How would it look?

What insects?

What wildlife?

Would the plants I want to grow do better?

And I promise it will be enjoyable and educational in a way that changes everything. Some of this happens, I think, because you stop looking at the weeds as weeds and think of them as plants again. Just like any other plant, and you get to see how they can benefit the ecosystem that is your garden.

Of course some weeds you will know all too well. Like invasive grasses or “Old Man’s Beard” (an invasive weed in my country that destroys native forest). These should be dealt with in the usual way.

What I’m talking about the other stuff. Like cow parsley.

via In defense of weeds | FoodGrow.

Transforming a Suburban Property: Removing a Driveway

By Jan Spencer

This is the third blog describing the 15-year transformation of our quarter-acre suburban property.

The previous blogs describe the site in more detail, along with reasons for making these changes, both practical and political. Another blog describes turning the garage into a living space, grass to garden and creating a food hedge along a fence line.

Please check out my website, Suburban Permaculture, where each project has a page with more explanation along with many photos documenting the changes. The website also has galleries of sites in the neighborhood, front yard gardens and notable permaculture and land use sites in the Northwest and beyond.

My place is in Eugene, Oregon. The property is flat. Good soil. The house has excellent solar access.

There was also a driveway that needed to go.

Loading Chunks Of Driveway.
Loading concrete. I kept some, my friend took some.

There are tens of millions of driveways in suburbia. My house had one that could accommodate six cars. I wanted to put the space to better use. No question, taking out the driveway has been one of the most satisfying projects in my life. Cars take up too much space and this was a small push back.

First time for both of us, a friend and I rented a gas powered cement saw. Good move. Bashing a driveway with a ten pound sledge is not recommended. The cement saw is like a lawn edger but a lot bigger. It has a diamond blade, takes two people to unload it and you hook up a hose for constant water to cool the blade and to keep the dust down. Wear ear protection because its loud. A dust mask is a good idea, too.

Read more:

Labouring in tropical heat can be tough, but Jim loves it

By Mike Knott

FOR Jim Martin, living life through impulsive decisions is something of the norm and his spontaneous nature has certainly taken him on many adventures over the years.

The young traveller has seen a lot on his escapades but nothing quite compares to what he experienced during a three-month trip to the Philippines, and he is about to do it all again.

Mr Martin made the last-minute decision to join an organisation called Earthship and headed over to the country to volunteer with a building project in March last year.

“The basic premise is an alternative to mainstream housing that uses society’s waste to create an off-grid house for a very reasonable price,” he said.

“The Earthship crew focus heavily on sharing these revolutionary construction techniques with people in the third world.

“At that time, they were calling for volunteers to help with a build in the Philippines in response to the Super Typhoon Yolanda.”

Read more here:

Can permaculture save the world?

A futuristic article by Kim Stanley Robinson, “How Science Saved the World,” can be found in the February 2000 issue of the prestigious journalNature (Vol. 403, p. 23). Looking 1,000 years into the future, Robinson reviews two books written around 3,000 AD: Science in the Third Millennium by Professor J. S. Khaldun; and Scientific Careers 2001-3000, written by a computer named “Ferdnand.”

Professor Khaldun propounds an ambitious theory of history as a clash between feudalism, capitalism (with its lingering feudal elements), and permaculture. He gives particular attention to the dangerous “overshoot” period of global warming and extinction, during which humanity’s reproductive success and primitive technology severely damaged Earth’s carrying capacity.

According to Khaldun:

“Capitalism attempted to maintain a hierarchy in which science would serve as pet monkey, cranking out new commodities and increasing lifespans. Science resisted this impulse not only because of the practical danger of the overshoot to the progeny of scientists, but also because science itself would be threatened if the residual elements succeeded.”

Scientists eventually transformed capitalism into a more rational, universal, lawful and pragmatic set of practices that came to be recognized as “permaculture.” Scientific Careers 2001-3000 provides extensive graphs and tables documenting the careers of scientists who worked during the “overshoot”: those who contributed to humanity’s survival, and those who did not. In this statistical work, the ultimate triumph of permaculture is seen as the sum of small individual positive actions, rather than as the grand battle envisioned by Professor Khaldun.

Fifteen years into the Third Millennium, what is the current state of the relationship between permaculture and science?

Permaculture — agriculture based on natural systems, with a strong emphasis on tree crops and water management — has come a long way since its debut at a call-in program on a public radio station in Melbourne, Australia in 1976. The crusty and entertaining views of one of its founders, Bill Mollison, are enshrined in a series of pamphlets (the Permaculture Design Course Series) still available online. These pamphlets offer Mollison’s personal history of the back-to-the-land movement, interspersed with startlingly incisive observations about successes and failures in applying ecological principles to the growing of food. Permaculture, with its links to intentional communities, may represent the most enduring legacy of the counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s.

Read more here:

Head of Tide project manager to discuss permaculture

BELFAST — Karin Wittman will speak about permaculture as an important part of growing food in a presentation at Belfast Free Library on Thursday evening, Jan. 15. Whittman is the project organizer of an experimental permaculture site in Belfast’s …


22 June 2014


US sets up plan to save pollinators. From the BBC Click here and The China Post Click here


Author talks about the Permaculture revolution. Click here

Integrating ecology and food production. Click here

Empty lots redesigned as food forests. Click here

Alternative Energy

Don’t rely upon Big Government, do it yourself! Click here

Climate change prompts creative use of solar power. Click here

A one blade turbine ready for the market. Click here

Alternative energies from ancient sources. Click here

Urban Farming

A US city sees the benefits of urban farming. Click here

A Vertical urban farm designed for the Koreans. Click here