Low Cost Worm Farm ‘Tractors’ For Small Spaces

Posted by & filed under Compost, Soil Rehabilitation, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling, Working Animals.

Worms may not have a backbone, but they are the backbone of our soil. In a suburban garden with no manure-providing animals, being able to dig into your composting worm farm for a handful of black gold is a real cost saver and loop closer. So giving some thought to how that worm farm fits… Read more »

Swales (Continuous Contour Trenches) Bring Water and Life Back to Maharashtra, India

Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Land, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Conservation, Swales, Water Harvesting.

This (unfortunately low-res) video shares the clear, practical benefits of bringing sensible low-tech Permaculture water harvesting techniques such as swales to our landscapes. In Maharashtra, India, swales are restoring the hydrological cycle, bringing dried up wells and springs back to life, and stopping erosion of the precious soils that subsistence farmers depend on.

Experimenting with Overflowing Circles and Slow-Flow Swales (Panama)

Posted by & filed under Biological Cleaning, Irrigation, Land, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Swales, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

The jungle garden I am not Bill Mollison or Geoff Lawton, they will both happily report; rather, I am but a humble novice when it comes to permaculture, experimenting my way through ideas, mimicking when I can, improvising when research falls short. And, it was somewhere in between mimicry and improvisation that I came up… Read more »

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Posted by & filed under Compost, General, Urban Projects.

I am always observing and making decisions on the run, doing a sequence of brief tasks and changing mid stream from what I had previously planned. Multi-tasking is the norm in a self-reliant way of life, so different from the specialisation and repetitive focus that characterises work in the conventional economy. When performing a long… Read more »

Fred Kirschenmann: Soil – from Dirt to Lifeline (TED video)

Posted by & filed under Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

Fred Kirschenmann has been involved in sustainable agriculture and food issues for most of his life. He currently serves as both a Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, and as President of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. He also still… Read more »

Permaculture for Pastoralists in the Jordan Valley – Part II

Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Building, Community Projects, Compost, Land, Plant Systems, Soil Rehabilitation, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Conservation.

Note: If you haven’t already, you can read Part I here. A Dead Sea Valley family home with their typical front ‘lawn’. Photo © Craig Mackintosh The title may lead you to think we are talking about people who manage pasture or have access to wide areas of rangeland. In fact, we are talking about… Read more »

Nitrogen: the Double-Edged Sword

Posted by & filed under Fungi, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Dutch clover cover crop between cabbage rows Nitrogen is a component of protein and DNA and as such, is essential to all living things. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, around 97% of the nitrogen supporting life on earth was fixed biologically. Over the last century, intensification of farming, coupled with a lack of understanding of… Read more »

Phayao Permaculture Center – Soil Building Strategies (Thailand)

Posted by & filed under Compost, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation.

The Phayao Permaculture Center (PPC) is a two acre permaculture design implemented to be the retirement farm for myself and my Thai family. It is located in the wet/dry tropics at 19 degrees north latitude in Northern Thailand. Having taken the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course with Bill Mollison on Maui, Hawaii in 1982, it… Read more »

The Secret Of El Dorado – Terra Preta

Posted by & filed under Compost, Deforestation, Fungi, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

In this documentary a legendary civilization thought to be too good to be true on the basis of the stories told by the Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana, is found to be a real part of history. We can separate fact from fiction here, in that the golden riverbanks the Spaniard told of were not… Read more »

Black Magic: The Secrets of Amazonian Fertility

Posted by & filed under Fungi, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation.

The great Amazon rainforest. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Bones. Charcoal. Ash. Blood. Feces. Food waste. Pottery shards. Before I began my journey into permaculture and regenerative ecology, if you asked me why someone would gather and bury these things together, I would have guessed at some kind of disgusting voodoo magic ritual. But for… Read more »