Links to Perm. Sites
Temperate Climate Permaculture
Food Forests

Goji Berry
Paw Paw Tree

Sea Kale
Silk Tree

SA Permaculture Facebook page

SA Permaculture Regenerative living in SA

CTG San Antonio Wonderland garden in San Antonio|Ragna & Bob Hersey|Central Texas Gardener

Permaculture Movement Community Facebook page

Sustainable SA Leslie Provence is a founding member and VP of the Food Policy Council of San Antonio. whose vision is "Fresh, healthy, affordable food available to all in a vibrant local food economy." On January 1, 2016, the City Council adopted Food Policy Council amendments for the Unified Development Code. Leslie will explain what the amendments cover and how folks can take advantage of them. They include the ability to grow and sell fruits, veggies, and cottage foods from your home garden or greenhouse, and the ability to farm on property other than your home. The topic of water use in sustainable versus conventional agriculture is also part of the discussion.

Desert Permaculture Research Institute

SA Permaculture in Practice meeting monthly


Austin Permaculture Guild

Financial Independence and Permaculture My favorite definition: permaculture is the opposite of disposable culture.

Edible Flowers arugula, borage, broccoli, calendula, white mallow, nasturtium, oregano, oxalia, chamomile, chives, comfrey, dill, ox-eye-daisy, sugar snap pea, evening primrose, elderberry, gladiolas, hens and chicks, black hollyhock, black rose, white rose, sage bergamot, squash, St. john's wort, white hollyhock, lavender, pink mallow, purple mallow, sweet rocket, thistle, violet, day lily

Bullock Brothers Homestead – A 25-Year Permaculture Project “A kind of a common premise in ecology certainly, and in permaculture as well, is that the edge, where two different distinct environments meet, is the richest interface, whether it’s between forest and field, whether it’s between land and sea, an estuary, and most major cities of the United States exist in such places. Port towns. Humans basically lived in wetland edges.”

Video: Orcas Island. Didn't like controlled environments like schools.

Paradise Lot: Food Forest Farm sell plants; but located in NE. Holyoke, MA.

Pawpaw Seedling 'improved' 14.95. Medium native tree, suckering to form colonies. Large, delicious fruit, sweet and custardlike with a tropical flavor. Delicious in cream pies and fruit desserts or out of hand. Fruit ripens late Septemer into October in Massachusetts. Very pest resistant. Need two for pollination. The seedings are from hardy, delicious, large fruiting stock. Light: Sun to Shade; Soil Composition: Loamy, well-drained; Soil Moisture: Prefers cool moist

Sea Kale $12.95 Clumping perennial vegetable, suckers if roots are broken by digging. Beautiful honey-scented flowers, fantastic edible broccolis. Ours are more than 10 years old. Tender tasty leaves can be harvested in fall without weakening plant.

Welsh Onion $8.95 This perennial scallion forms clumps, which can be thinned for harvest once or twice a year. Mild flavor with just the right amount of oniony zing. Lovely flowers too!

Korean Celery $11.95 Self-sowing perennial herb, attracts beneficial insects. Native to Korea. Celery-flavored leaves and stalk are tasty in soups, good for animal fodder too. Much more mild then it's cousin lovage.

Sunchoke $8.95 Very large native herb, running to form colonies. Produces sweet, nutty-flavored tubers, highly productive. Flowers attract beneficial insects. Cultivated by Native Americans for centuries. Soil Composition: Suitable for all soil types

Sweet Cicely $9.95 Medium-size perennial vegetable with beneficial insect-attracting flowers. Tender green seed pods taste like licorice jellybeans. Great for snacking. Roots traditionally used as sweetener. Leaves used as sweet potherb. Seeds disperse widely, deadhead seeds before ripening. Looks like a fern.

Turkish Rocket $9.95 Light: Full sun to partial shade; Soil Composition: Suitable for all soil types; Moisture: From moist to very dry, takes drought well. Robust, long-lived plant. Spreads by seed, roots will sprout when damaged. Beautiful yellow flowers, young broccolis are much like broccoli raab - nutty and mustardy.

Wild Leek (Ramp) $9.95 Native woodland wildflower, emerges in spring and then dies back for the summer. Leaves have a fantastic onion flavor and bulbs are strong like an onion-garlic mix. Great perennial vegetable for full shade. Popular vegetable for omelets, pastas - the sky's the limit! Light: Full shade to part shade; Taste: Sweet leek; Years to bear: 3 to 5

Temperate Climate Permaculture: Goumi goji berry

General insect (especially bees) nectar plant

Food source for wildlife... fruit may stay on the plant through the winter if not harvested.

Nitrogen fixing (i.e. it puts nitrogen back into the soil)

Hedges - leaves seem to shimmer in the breeze

Tolerates salt water, so can be used in maritime environments

Flowers are strongly scented... reminiscent of lilac

Used medicinally for hundreds (or more) years, but no reliable information

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9, not frost tender

Forest Garden Use: Shrub Layer

Cultivars/Varieties: Multiple varieties, but many are not available in the U.S.

Pollination: Typically Self-Sterile; should be planted with two selections for cross-pollination and best crop yields

Flowering: Spring (April-June)

Years to Begin Bearing: 3-4 years, Years to Maximum Bearing: 5-10 years

Light: Prefers full sun

Shade: Tolerates moderate shade

Moisture: Medium, however will tolerate dry soils

pH: tolerates a wide range of soil conditions (5.1 - 8.5)

Special Considerations for Growing: Goumi is an actinorhizal nitrogen fixing plant... it will grow best if inoculated with actinobacteria from the genus Frankia.

Maintenance: Minimal.

Temperate Climate Permaculture What's a Temperate Climate?

A Temperate Climate is often difficult to define, and then often, by default, it is defined by what it is not. It is not tropical. It is not polar. It is just in between. It is a place where there are typically four well defined seasons.

My name is John Kitsteiner. Please follow along as I share as much as I can about Permaculture, gardening, farming, homesteading, and self-sufficiency. This website is the product of a lot of research and some opinions.

I came across a book, “You Can Farm” by Joel Salatin. At first glace this was the exact book for which I was looking. However, as I read into it, I realized the author was anything but a typical farmer. As someone who never quite considered himself “ordinary”, I immediately identified with his anti-establishment attitude. But what I truly loved about Joel Salatin’s writing was that it just plain made sense. He wrote about minimizing work through intelligent design of farming systems, all with using almost no chemicals, and still producing a superior (e.g. better tasting) product.

This was my first exposure to alternative farming and food production. While he didn’t use the term, Joel Salatin was practicing Permaculture.

I continued to read as much as I could on the subject of alternative food production. This led me to books on hobby farming, self-sufficiency, and home gardening. My growing love of cooking dovetailed nicely with the growing options for superior tasting organic foods. Gone were the days of hippy, tree-huggers and their worm filled “organic” foods that tasted worse than what you got in the grocery store but weren’t “filled with no chemicals from the Man, man!” Organic food was being produced scientifically by people who were outside the norm but were not abnormal. And the food was better!

I had seen a few book titles for Permaculture during this time, but the covers of the books looked a bit odd. At first glance I dismissed these books, because they seemed a bit too hippy and “way out there” to me. There seemed to be an almost religious aura around these books that turned off my more logical mind. They also seemed to be dealing more with Australian agriculture, which it turns out they were since that is where Permaculture was developed.

Eventually, I read a book called “How to Make a Forest Garden” by Patrick Whitefield. This was truly the first Permaculture book that I read, although that term was rarely used in the book. The basic premise was designing a forest of plants (trees, shrubs, vines, etc.) that are useful to humans in a way that mimicked a natural forest. It was a simple concept, but it was, and still is, revolutionary to me.

From there I read the two textbooks on temperate climate forest gardening in North America, “Edible Forest Gardening” volumes I and II by Dave Jacke, then Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway, and finally “Introduction to Permaculture” by the creator of Permaculture, Bill Mollison.

I finally realized what Permaculture was not. It was not a tree-hugger, hippy, pseudo-religious idea. It was not about a militant, eco-fanatic approach to conservation. It is not “way out there”. However regretable, you will find many who treat Permaculture in this way.

Permaculture is truly a scientific approach to land, plant, and animal management that still treats the natural world with a sense of awe and respect. Permaculture is about practical sustainability on an individual as well as societal basis. The science of Permaculture has a lot of breadth and depth, but basically, I think it is how I expected God wanted us to treat the land back in the Garden of Eden.

New tcpermaculture site

Udo USDA Hardiness Zone: Zone 4-9. However, there are a number of reports that this plant is only hardy to Zone 7 or 8. It is possible that there are some varieties that are more cold hardy. It is also possible that there is a lot of bad information being propagated on the internet and in books. There is not a whole lot of authoritative information available for this plant.

produce dark berries that are toxic to humans, but the birds love them! (note the ladybug/ladybird beetle on the stem)

Can grow in partial to full shade
Moisture: Prefers moist soils.
pH: 5.0-7.5

This is a great plant for the deep shade areas of your gardens or behind structures.

Many growers recommend wind protection for this plant as the large leaves are susceptible to wind damage.

Crown Vetch

Vetch Yarrow is a small herbaceous plant that is currently used decoratively for its pretty flowers; however, in traditional times Yarrow was used as a food source and a medicinal plant (hence the name "soldier's woundwort"). It also happens to be drought resistant, a great groundcover tolerant of foot traffic, an attractor of beneficial insects, and much, much more. One of the most versatile plants in the food and Forest Garden.

The genus (Achillea) is named after the Greek mythological character Achilles whose soldiers used yarrow to staunch their wounds.

Other names for Common Yarrow was herbal militaris, staunchweed, soldier's woundwort, knight's milefoil, carpenter's weed, nosebleed weed, and many more... a plant used to stop bleeding at home, in the shop, or on the battlefield.

Leaves - raw or cooked. The young, tender leaves are much more palatable and are a great addition to a mixed greens salad. Cooked leaves are also good, with a sweet and bitter flavor combined - a good spinach substitute

Secondary Uses:
General insect (especially bees) nectar plant - Plant for beneficial insects
Shelter plant for beneficial insects (bettles, lacewings, parasitic wasps, spiders)
Lacewings prefer to lay eggs on this plant
Aromatic Pest Confuser
Drought Tolerant Species
Groundcover (space plants 6-18 inches apart), quite tolerant of foot traffic
Dynamic Accumulator (Potassium, Phosphorus, Copper)
Liquid Plant Feed - soak leaves in water for a few weeks, dilute with water, apply to plants
Dye (yellow and green) from flowers
Aromatic oils from seeds used as fragrance
Flavoring/preserving component to beers - Part of the traditional herbal mixture, Gruit (sweet gale, mugwort, ground ivy, horehound, heather, and yarrow, plus additional local herbs), much more common before the widespread use of hops
Tea Plant - leaves and flowers
Traditional medicial plant

USDA Hardiness Zone: 2-10

Light: Prefers full sun
Shade: Tolerates moderate shade
Moisture: Can tolerate dry to medium moisture soils
pH: can tolerate a range of soils (5.1 - 7.5)

Special Considerations for Growing:
Spreads easily. Keep this in mind in choosing a location. Can often be planted in a grass lawn (on purpose!) as it can be cut low, tolerates foot traffic, and stays green later than most grasses.

Spreading habit - the roots are quite vigorous and can send up/out shoots extensively. Be sure to plant in an area where this is tolerable.
Poisonous (?) – Some people will develop an allergic rash, develop photosensitivity (skin becomes sensitive to sunlight), or can develop gastrointestinal discomfort when eating this plant or even coming into contact with it. I recommend sampling small amounts of this plant to determine personal tolerance first; if you can handle it, then enjoy!

Welcome to the Temperate Climate Permaculture Plant Index! Plants are categorized by their place in the Forest Garden and then listed alphabetically by common name. Please check back often as a new species is researched and added to the listing on about a weekly basis. To find out a bit more about Edible Forest Gardens, click here, and for more information on the nine layers of the Forest Garden, click here. I am also including links to my specific use listings of plants here:

Aromatic Pest Confusers for a Temperate Climate

Dynamic Accumulators for a Temperate Climate

The Facts Behind Dynamic Accumulators

Nitrogen Fixing Plants for a Temperate Climate

Pioneer Species for a Temperate Climate

Windbreak Plants for a Temperate Climate

Plants for Beneficial Insects

Trap Plant Species

Hugelkultur Permaculture Projects: Hugelkultur

Permaculture Sectors This is another core concept in Permaculture. A sector is a path of energy into or out of your Permaculture System. I mean energy in its true sense (not a quasi-spiritual one). There are many potential energies that can enter and leave your land. Let's look at a few of them:

Sun Energy
Consider the path of the Summer Sun and Winter Sun. The further from the equator you are, the bigger the difference in path, angle, duration, and intensity. Is your home facing the early morning sun? Does your garden get the western setting sun?

Wind Energy
Do you live in an area that has Summer Winds? Do you have Winter Winds that come from a different direction? How about a salty sea breeze? Do you have seasonal storms? Does the wind always/usually blow from east to west or from south to north?

Water Energy
From which direction does the rain come?

Where do vehicles enter and leave your property? Do you have trails accessing your land? Where does wildlife come and go? Where would a burglar try to enter and leave your property? These are paths that can carry energy on and off your land.

Not quite an "energy", but still important. Don't discount how much a view (positive or negative) impacts your mood and how some privacy can create a stronger sense of peace.

Designing with Sectors

Viewing sectors on a map can be a bit confusing at first. Just remember that the home is the center of the circle, and all the other sectors radiate out from it. For example, using the Sector Map below, from the 10:00 position to the 2:00 position is an "Undesirable View..." (this is also from WNW to ENE if compass readings are your thing). Some sectors overlap, for instance the direction of the Winter Sun and Summer Sun.

The map below also shows the Permaculture Zones overlaid in shades of yellow and orange.

Sector Design is a vital part of planning your Permaculture System. Every place is unique, so take some time to consider how energy enters and leaves your location.

What is an Edible Forest Garden? Picture yourself in a forest where almost everything around you is food. Mature and maturing fruit and nut trees form an open canopy. If you look carefully, you can see fruits swelling on many branches—pears, apples, persimmons, pecans, and chestnuts. Shrubs fill the gaps in the canopy. They bear raspberries, blueberries, currants, hazelnuts, and other lesser-known fruits, flowers, and nuts at different times of the year. Assorted native wildflowers, wild edibles, herbs, and perennial vegetables thickly cover the ground. You use many of these plants for food or medicine. Some attract beneficial insects, birds, and butterflies. Others act as soil builders, or simply help keep out weeds. Here and there vines climb on trees, shrubs, or arbors with fruit hanging through the foliage—hardy kiwis, grapes, and passionflower fruits. In sunnier glades large stands of Jerusalem artichokes grow together with groundnut vines. These plants support one another as they store energy in their roots for later harvest and winter storage. Their bright yellow and deep violet flowers enjoy the radiant warmth from the sky. This is an edible forest garden.


Digging and turning over the soil exposes a very delicate ecosystem to the air which dries it out, and to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, which sterilize the soil – killing the soil organisms. The soil loses a lot of its nutrients, such as carbon and nitrogen. It also loses a lot of its organic matter, and as a consequence, does not retain water as well. The delicate soil structure is destroyed, compaction of soil occurs, leading to hardpan formation, and reduced water infiltration in the soil, and more surface runoff, which increases soil erosion. []

The Mollison Permaculture Ethics and Design Principles



**Keys To Building a Healthy Soil - Organic - Permaculture and Polyculture

This type of landscaping, therefore, is called terracing. Graduated terrace steps are commonly used to farm on hilly or mountainous terrain. Terraced fields both decrease erosion and surface runoff, and may be used to support growing crops that require irrigation, such as rice. The rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the significance of this technique.

Earthworms, Castings, and Farming

Castings for sale 10 lb bag for $20. Texas Red Worms has farms in San Antonio and Livingston, Texas. 210-310-2046 or email

Worms for sale European Nightcrawlers are now available at They can be used for composting just like the red worm, but are a bit larger, stronger and are deeper tunnelers than the top feeding red worm. Red Worms prefer piles of moist decaying organic matter (leaves, manure).

There are many different species of earthworm ranging in size and climate, most can be classified in one of two larger camps. The first being the deeper dwelling tunnelers (European Nightcrawler), and secondly the top feeding composters (Red Worm).

Care for both worms is similar and they can even co-habitate. The nightcrawlers are able to be added directly to your garden, flowerbed, or lawn, while the red worms would not fare so well. The red wigglers are more prolific smaller worm that will not scatter like the European nightcrawler, or Alabama Jumper. Both are well suited for composting and bin raising, and care is identical.

Texas Worm Farm located in Central Texas just outside Austin in Georgetown

Bragg: Worming his way out of ugly lawn Bad people will kill for money. Good ones will die for God and country.

On a related note, some guys will do really weird stuff to save their lawn.

For Kyle Harrell, that meant getting deeply into worms, or, to be more specific, what they eat, how they crawl and the poop they leave behind.

It's hard to make vermiculture - not worm culture, but the production of worms - sound attractive, but Harrell does a pretty good job. In a few short years, he has become an Annelid Evangelist.

Texas Red Worms is the name of his backyard worm farm, his blog, and they are the object of his affection. And by affection, I mean obsession. And by obsession, I mean it in a good way. He recently helped Texas State University, his alma mater, set up a composting and worm operation that uses scraps from the school cafeterias and food-service operations.

Worms, Harrell told me, are nature's gardeners.

When worms wiggle through the soil, they're aerating it, allowing air to mix with the dirt and make it healthier. And when they "do their business," the stuff they leave behind is the perfect fertilizer. In a show of deep affection, Harrell will add, "and they don't stink."

224 W Market, San Antonio, Texas 78211 (210) 219-5596

Earthworms enrich garden soils by composting Here's a promising get-rich-quick scheme for gardeners: It's called vermiculture, or worm composting, and along with super-sizing crop yields, it cuts water bills, conditions soils and repels troublesome insects.

"Vermiculture is a step up from working with the standard compost pile," said Dorothy Benoy, who with her husband, Al, owns the Happy D Ranch Worm Farm at Visalia, Calif. "It takes a bit more management, but the returns are greater."

Earthworms spend most of their time reproducing, eating and excreting, which is where their "vermicastings," or manure, comes in. Set them up for housekeeping in homemade tubs or specially made bins and you have the structure for a "wormery," where the creatures will turn table scraps into a highly enriched organic soil amendment while expanding their population many times over.

Worm castings contain five times the available nitrogen, seven times as much potash and one-and-a-half times more calcium than typical topsoil.

You can buy the product commercially (a little more than $1 per pound for castings and $15 per gallon for worm tea, plus shipping) or do it yourself. All you need is a well-ventilated container and some moistened bedding - usually shredded newspaper, computer paper or corrugated cardboard that can double as food. Add a pound or more of hungry worms (figure as much as $25 per pound, which works out to about 1,000 earthworms) and you're in business.

You can buy the product commercially (a little more than $1 per pound for castings and $15 per gallon for worm tea, plus shipping) or do it yourself. All you need is a well-ventilated container and some moistened bedding - usually shredded newspaper, computer paper or corrugated cardboard that can double as food. Add a pound or more of hungry worms (figure as much as $25 per pound, which works out to about 1,000 earthworms) and you're in business.

"One pound of worms can easily handle 3 pounds of waste per week," Benoy said.

Worm composting can be fun and easy, but it's not simply a matter of digging up a few garden-variety night crawlers from your backyard, she said.

"Night crawlers tend to be solitary and won't reproduce in bins," Benoy said. "Red worms (Wigglers or Eisenia foetida) are hardy, easy to handle and best for composting."

Worm bins can be placed in the home or out, but do best where air can circulate and temperatures are kept between 55 and 75 degrees. The operation is odor-free, but you can raise a stink by overfeeding or adding too much water. Worms like their surroundings about as damp as a squeezed sponge.

"There shouldn't be any smell coming from a worm bin except like from a rich, brown dirt," Benoy said. "The bin has gone anaerobic (without oxygen) if it stinks like rotten eggs. It's not properly draining. There's too much moisture. The bacteria will die."

Castings go farther when brewed up as worm tea. Scoop some into a net bag or pantyhose, drop that into a water-filled container, add a dollop of molasses to nourish the bacteria, and then mix it for a day or so using an inexpensive aquarium air pump.

"Worm tea is the strongest organic fertilizer there is," said Curtis Thomsen, program manager for the Los Angeles County Smart Gardening Program. "It has a ton of good uses, but primarily as fertilizer, herbicide and compost. Worm compost and worm tea are a great one-two punch. They add bacteria to the soil, aid in root development, help get rid of fungus and mildew, enable you to cut back on watering, and get rid of pests like aphids and black flies."

Worm castings and worm tea can increase garden productivity anywhere from 20 percent to 200 percent, Thomsen said. "I've personally seen 12 tomato plants grow to a height of 12 feet and produce 200 pounds of tomatoes per bush," he said.

8 Tips for Time Sequencing Your Garden for Continual Productivity When we dream of gardens, we tend to do so with enduring abundance in mind. We like to think of a summer of tomatoes or months of lettuce. Unfortunately, in our excitement over this prospect, we often forget about the importance of timing. Namely, if we plant everything at once, filling the garden to capacity in one weekend, our harvest won’t be long and continuous but abrupt and far more than we can handle.

Experienced gardeners, though, know that the goal is the end result — the harvest — rather than the sowing. Instead, they plan and plant their veggies with a strong consideration as to when crops will be ready, using mental might before physically getting into the garden. Doing so can result in extended harvests through the season, plentiful picking in the garden and constant variety on the table. And, that’s the dream.

1. Sow in Succession

For plants that we know will do well and that we want throughout the season(s), it’s important to sow a small crop every two or three weeks. Then, there will always be something maturing instead of everything maturing at once. Of course, this technique will also require some responsible bookkeeping and devotion.

2. Use Seedlings

Some plants — beans, onions, root veggies — prefer to be sown right in the ground where they will grow, while others — tomatoes, peppers, lettuce — are quite happy to be started in pots and planted as seedlings. Using seedlings means cultivation can begin earlier in the spring, and it also means later that little plants rather than seeds can be waiting to replace expired crops, which will result in a faster turn around of production.

3. Get a Greenhouse or Cold Frame

Having a place that allows cultivating earlier in the spring, later in the fall, and possibly through the winter means that we can grow something to eat throughout the year. Plus, using the greenhouse or cold frame to get plants going before outside temperatures might allow means we can sequence them into the garden for more production.

4. Companion Plant

Generally, companion planting is approached with an eye towards beneficial relationships. For example, carrots repel moths from leeks and leeks deter carrot flies, making them great partners. This can also work on a time level. Radishes mature in about thirty days, while carrots take much longer. The radishes will loosen up the soil for the carrots and be gone in time for the later bloomer to spread out.

5. Plant Perennials

Perennial plants, those that regenerate themselves year after year, tend to work on a different time schedule than annuals. They are great for gardeners because they don’t require cultivation year in and year out, and they are great for cooks because they often stock the cabinets earlier in spring and later in fall than annuals.

6. Grow Crops for Continual Harvesting

Many vegetables, such as corn, carrots or cauliflower, grow one-time harvests, which results in the plant dying off, but others — tomatoes, green beans, loose-leaf lettuces, cucumbers, chard — can be harvested time and time again, often only increasing their production as a result. These crops keep the veggie bins full for longer while the others provide exciting influxes of something specific.

7. Always Add Something New

Experimenting is one of the great, exciting parts of gardening. It’s a good idea to keep a bed or two for hodge-podge planting, where an unfamiliar and different variety can be sown each week. This helps with discovering new things to grow en masse, as well as provides diverse flavors to enjoy amongst old standards.

8. Using the Moon

The moon can be a very simple and effective guide. Seeds like to be planted on the waxing moon, when the gravitational force of the moon is pulling things upward, which causes the seed to swell for faster germination. The full moon is well-suited for root vegetables, as it forces moisture back into the soil. The waning moon is the best time to transplant seedlings. Planning the succession of sowing to take advantage of this will have a positive impact.

Overlooked by many beginning gardeners, good timing can make a huge difference as to how a garden grows. Coming up with a thoughtful schedule can be the difference between having lulls in cucumber crops or missing out on an extra harvest of beets. In other words, it’s most definitely worth our time to time our gardens well.

Top 10 Reasons to Start a Garden

6. Expanding Horizons

Gardening is a great way to expand your horizons. Try planning a vegetable you have never tried and see what you think when it is in full growth. Actively meet other gardeners through garden clubs, plant organizations, and gardening websites to swap seeds and get informed. Share the successes and mistakes!

7. Personal Time

Gardening provides an outlet for your own personal time. It is not an arbitrary place or date (like: “I should go to the gym sometime”); it is real and in your face. Take the time for yourself to decompress and have a place to go to just let thoughts flow and your mind wander. If the butterflies can do that, so can YOU!

8. Back to Green Basics

When you have your hand in the dirt and take a small seed and gently nurture it to grow into food for your family, there is a heightened sense of connection with nature, and the planet. The fact that you are growing a garden is reducing huge carbon footprints, taking the GMO aspect out of the food chain and gives the soil a boost back of nitrogen when the compost is mulched in the fall. It also heightens the appreciation for how precious food really is and brings back an age old art (there are Egyptian tombs with gardening information on them!).

9. Healing Herbs

Did you know that there are now Horticultural Healers? Gardens play an important part in our well being and in fact horticulture has been employed as a staple therapy for many centuries. For example, many wounded soldiers, as part of therapy, are instructed to spend time in the garden for healing purposes. The beauty of nature can have an uplifting effect especially when combined with the physical stress release. Gardening has been proven to reduce stress, anger, depression and pain levels and enhance productivity and problem solving skills.

Companion Planting Another thing that good, and smart, gardeners do is plant with purpose. They pair plants that work well together, that can be beneficial to one another. Some plants are particularly well suited to repelling insects, others to fertilizing, others for providing shady respite, or aerating the soil or pulling up nutrients from deep below the earth’s surface. Plants do so much more than just producing food, and it’s wise to take advantage by grouping plants carefully.

1. Carrots and Onions--each acts as a natural pest repellent for the other. Carrot flies hate the smell of onions, and onion flies aren’t into carrots.

2. Tomato and Basil--Basil, a mosquito and bug deterrent, makes a great companion for nearly any plant in the garden, but it is particular good for tomatoes and lettuce. So, come to think of it, planting all three of these together might not be the worst idea, as the tomatoes would shade the lettuce a bit while the lettuce works as a ground cover.

3. Corn, Squash and Beans---Due to Native Americans, this may be the most famous of companion plantings, and it comes in three. Corn, squash and beans work splendidly together. Beans fix the nitrogen in the soil, acting as a sort fertilizer for the other two. Corn provides a living pole for the beans to climb up, and squash (or pumpkins or melons) crawl along the ground covering the soil, which protects it from erosion and drying out when the corn is young. 4. Broccoli and Beets--Broccoli and beets are both great sources of nutrients for our bodies, and in the garden, they work famously together because of nutrients. Broccoli loves calcium in the soil, but beets aren’t too concerned with it. Additionally, both of these guys benefit from a little dill added to the mix, as it will handle the insect situation. Broccoli also gets along with other dark, leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard.

5. Eggplant, Peas, and Peppers--Who doesn’t love stuffed eggplant? Who doesn’t love stuffed peppers? Well, both could be on the menu. These two work well together because they like the same growing conditions: hot and sunny. Plant them with some bush peas (or beans) to thwart the advances of Colorado potato beetles, which love eggplants. Throw some marigolds, a friend to most plants, in the same bed, and it’ll help with other insects.

6. Mint and Cabbage--Mint can be a quite invasive plant, running shoots all over the place. However, it is remarkably good a repelling pests, including ants, fleas, rodents, aphids and cabbage moths. It also attracts quality predatory insects like bees and hoverflies, as well as earthworms. What’s more is that, while it’s keeping the pests at bay, mint improves the health of cabbage plants. 7. Borage and Strawberries--Sure, this is a veggie patch, but if there’s a chance to grow, and to eat, some strawberries, why pass that up? Borage, for those unfamiliar, is a medicinal herb that is often used to make a tea that has a distinctive calming effect. In the (fruit and) veggie patch, these two team up splendidly. Borage is great for trace minerals and preventing pest problems, and it enhances the yield and flavor of the strawberries.

8. Radish and Cucumber--Radishes are well-respected members of the garden as they are powerful repellents for boring insects, such as squash borers, cucumber beetles and rust beetles. They work very well with cucumbers and the other members of that family (melons, squashes and pumpkins). Radishes could be thrown into the corn, bean and squash trio as a fourth component. Add some nasturtiums to help improve the soil conditions for the radishes, as well as add some spice to those salads.

Milkweed Bombs If you have garden space to plant it, great. You can start with seeds or cut straight to the chase and go with plugs. But those with no dirt of their own can do their part with some handy-dandy guerilla gardening and a handful of seed bombs. Seed bombs (or seed balls if you want to sound less militant) protect the seeds from scavengers and allow planting in hard-to-reach places. Abandoned lots, meadows, sides of the road, stream banks … anywhere there’s soil within the reach of a good toss that could host some milkweed?

Milkweed Seeds by county We encourage you to only plant milkweed species that are native to your area. The Biota of North America Program’s (BONAP) web-based North American Plant Atlas provides county-level distribution information for all Asclepias species in the lower 48 states (milkweeds are not native to Alaska and Hawaii).

Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation Butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, worms, starfish, mussels, and crabs are but a few of the millions of invertebrates at the heart of a healthy environment. Invertebrates build the stunning coral reefs of our oceans; they are essential to the reproduction of most flowering plants, including many fruits, vegetables, and nuts; and they are food for birds, fish, and other animals. Yet invertebrate populations are often imperiled by human activities and rarely accounted for in mainstream conservation.

The idea behind permaculture is simple: take care of the earth, and the earth will take care of you... turn your property into a sustainable ecosystem.

Over Grow the System Want to multiply the number of plants you can grow in a garden or on a patio or deck? Grow up! Vertical gardening, a technique to cultivate plants up surfaces or supports, is the perfect way to squeeze lots of plants into a small space. Growing up, rather than out, offers countless other benefits beyond higher plant yields.

Vertical Gardening- Save Space by Growing Up [INFO-GRAPHIC] Food Is Free

Vertical Gardening



Recommended Perm. Plants

Trees & Bamboos over 12'

Mimosa Rosea; Persian Silk Tree Albisia julibrussinZones 6 thru 9.

Nitrogen-fixing; hummingbird nectar.

Albizia julibrissin Albizia julibrissin (Persian silk tree, pink silk tree) is a species of tree in the family Fabaceae, native to southwestern and eastern Asia.

The genus is named after the Italian nobleman Filippo degli Albizzi, who introduced it to Europe in the mid-18th century, and it is sometimes incorrectly spelled Albizzia. The specific epithet julibrissin is a corruption of the Persian word gul-i abrisham which means "silk flower."

Seidenbaum (Albizia julibrissin) an der Karlstraße in Hockenheim / Closeup of Albizia julibrissin foliage, flowers and immature fruit
By Philmarin - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, / By "Eurema blanda laying eggs by kadavoor" © 2010 Jeevan Jose, Kerala, India is used here under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Albizia julibrissin is known by a wide variety of common names, such as Persian silk tree or pink siris. It is also called Lenkoran acacia or bastard tamarind, though it is not too closely related to either genus. The species is usually called "silk tree" or "mimosa" in the United States, which is misleading - the former name can refer to any species of Albizia which is most common in any one locale. And, although once included in Mimosa, neither is it very close to the Mimoseae. To add to the confusion, several species of Acacia, notably Acacia baileyana and Acacia dealbata, are also known as "mimosa" (especially in floristry), and many Fabaceae trees with highly divided leaves are called thus in horticulture.

Its leaves slowly close during the night and during periods of rain, the leaflets bowing downward; thus its modern Persian name shabkhosb means "night sleeper". In Japan its common names are nemunoki, nemurinoki and nenenoki which all mean "sleeping tree". Nemu tree is a partial translation of nemunoki.

There are two varieties:

A. julibrissin var. julibrissin. The typical variety, described above.

A. julibrissin var. mollis. Differs in the shoots being densely hairy.

The seeds are used as a food for livestock and by wildlife, and the sweet-scented flowers are a good nectar source for honeybees and butterflies.

Flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The fruit is a flat brown pod 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) long and 2–2.5 cm (0.79–0.98 in) broad, containing several seeds inside.

This tree is allelopathic to its neighbors and undergrowth (although Miner's Lettuce seems to thrive in its shadow in cool moist climates). Its seeds are numerous and they are fertile even over long periods of drought. Each pod, which resemble a flattened bean pod made of paper, contains an average of 8 seeds. The pods burst in strong winds, and the seeds carry over surprisingly long distances.

Pawpaw Tree

Pawpaw Asinina [Asminia?] triloba spp. Rappahannock, Shenandoah, et al. Zones 5 thru 9

edible fruit; native

Layered Espalier Food Forest / fanned gooseberries and strawberries

Forum: How much more work is a lawn As an englishman I know how much hard work it is to get a good lawn And how much toxic gick you have to put on it . So any suggestions how to convince my landlord to change to a food Forest... Will it increace the value of the property?

Permie for Pennies in France

Layered Espalier Food Forest / South Carolina Forest

Permaculture on already forested land I'm interested in an establishing a permaculture, perennially/tree based farm on 1-2 acres of an 18 acre lot in South Eastern South Carolina. The land is pretty heavily wooded and I want to focus on maintaining the current system as much as possible while implementing a greater number of productive trees.

Small yard food, flowers, art |Lisa LaPaso & Cavin Weber |Central Texas Gardener

How to keep bougainvilleas blooming |John Dromgoole |Central Texas Gardener

SA Courtyard garden design|Central Texas Gardener

Spanish courtyard garden San Antonio |Claire Golden |Central Texas Gardener

Wonderland garden in San Antonio|Ragna & Bob Hersey|Central Texas Gardener

Lucinda Hutson's Life is a Fiesta Garden |Central Texas Gardener

Gail & Don Clowe San Antonio garden design: Central Texas Gardener

English Garden on Texas Soil | Jennifer & David Stocker | Central Texas Gardener

Turn lawn into food on a budget|Meredith Thomas|Central Texas Gardener

Analogue Climates - a design tool

Koppen Climate Classification

Csa = Temporate/mesothermal

Group C: Temperate/mesothermal climates:

Dry-summer or Mediterranean climates (Csa,Csb)

s = dry summer

a = hot summer

Mediterranean climates

These climates usually occur on the western sides of continents between the latitudes of 30° and 45°.[6] These climates are in the polar front region in winter, and thus have moderate temperatures and changeable, rainy weather. Summers are hot and dry, due to the domination of the subtropical high pressure systems, except in the immediate coastal areas, where summers are milder due to the nearby presence of cold ocean currents that may bring fog but prevent rain.


Beirut, Lebanon (Csa)
Latakia, Syria (Csa)
Tel Aviv, Israel (Csa)
Duhok, Iraq (Csa)
Los Angeles, Californa, United States (Csa)
Sacramento, California, United States (Csa)
Perth, Australia (Csa)
Adelaide, Australia (Csa)
Khorramabad, Iran (Csa)
Ilam, Iran (Csa)
Rome, Italy (Csa)
Seville, Spain (Csa)
Madrid, Spain (Csa)
Marseille, France (Csa)
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (Csa)
Athens, Greece (Csa)
Antalya, Turkey (Csa)
Santiago, Chile (Csb)
Essaouira, Morocco (Csb)
Porto, Portugal (Csb)
Vigo, Spain (Csb)
San Francisco, California, United States (Csb)
Cape Town, South Africa (Csb)
Seattle, Washington, United States (Csb)

Video on Global Oneness Project a design system based on nature. The three ethics are:

1. Care of the earth.

2. Care of people.

3. Setting limits to population and consumption. And reinvesting surplus back into the system.

Growing Up: Vertical Farms Evolve to End Hunger

Turn lawn into food on a budget|Meredith Thomas|Central Texas Gardener KLRU--sheet composting & hugelkultur

Okra is good raw in a salad. The leaves are also edible in salads or cooked. Pickled okra is great.

How to Grow a lot of Food in a Small Garden - 9 EZ tips OneYardRevolution | Frugal & Sustainable Organic Gardening

1. Grow in raised beds, not rows.
2. Use keyhole beds to allow access
3. Optimize spacing between plants and paths.
4. Grow vertically. Winter squash, malabar spinach and obvious on trellises.
5. Succession planting to keep a bed continually producing.
6. Interplanting.
7. Grow in partial shade: greens, herbs, rhubarb, mushrooms.
8. Grow food in your front yard.
9. Grow microgreens. You can plant them really close together. Cut and come harvest.
10. Grow in pots and containers.

Ideas from viewers

1) Interplant sweet peas with sunchokes. The sweet peas fix nitrogen, the sunchokes act as trellises for the peas, and both attract beneficial insects.

2) 3 sisters garden

3) Grow dwarf trees and plant shade tolerant crops underneath

4) Grow in window boxes

5) Optimize use of space by growing food you like the most

Vegetable/ornamental no-lawn makeover|Ann & Robin Matthews|Central Texas Gardener

Amazing EDIBLE GARDEN & TREES Using WOOD CHIPS Egyptian spinach loves the heat. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha Annie huge in India.

Top 9 Easy Tips On How To Gardening With WOODCHIPS Morning Gardener's Show

Food and flowers vegetable garden design|Ellie Hanlon|Central Texas Gardener

Edible paradise on only 30 square metres: Marie Manning's Super-productive home garden

**Permaculture Paradise: Unity Garden Permaculture Garden Delights! Allow all life to flourish. Honor all life. johnny mars

Polyculture: plants help other plants. Permaculture Paradise: Val and Eli's Garden!

Permaculture Paradise: Unity Garden Permaculture Garden Delights!

Creating your own urban farm is as simple as planting your flowerbeds with edibles. ~Greg Peterson, My Ordinary Extraordinary Yard: The Story of the Urban Farm, 2009,

Video: My Permaculture Garden - Morag Gamble Australia. lemon myrtle tree, cranberry hibiscus, Society garlic [Tulbaghia violecea]--flowers are eatable. Mustard spinach [Brassica juncea].

Never Enough Dirt: blog

Video: GARDEN TOUR: Front Yard Permaculture Garden Never Enough Dirt

Video: GARDEN TOUR: Backyard Garden July 2016 Never Enough Dirt

Video: Establishing a Food Forest the Permaculture Way (2008)

Video: Cold climate permaculture design and farming / Zarifa

Permaculture Research Insitute articles, forums, global, courses.

*Video: Permaculture Design Intro Geoff Lawton [Australia, his website. Ethics = 1. Earth care: all living things have an intrinsic worth. 2. People care: supply our needs in a sustainable way. 3. Return of surplus; anything which is in surfeit should be returned to the first two [fair share]. Thus an abuntance world. Permaculture leads to absolute abundance.

Sustainability produces more energy than it consumes. Endless resources as long as the sun shines.

Diversity is about interactivity. Our designs focus on thise models. Our teacher is the natural system. Stacking diversity stores and creates a surplus. Stacking through time, through succession, nature's reparative functions. We can stack in space and time: exciting.

We need to design how nature works, but improve on those functions: that's permaculture. Yield, through diversity, is not about trophy hunter mentality, about what's the biggest crop we get, it's not about monoculture.

Geoff Lawton online many permaculture videos handpicked by Geoff


Watercress is among the most highly nutritious vegetables, many of the great herbalists wrote of the revitalizing power of watercress. The health benefits of watercress are attributed to its nutrient content. Watercress is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E, manganese, and carotenes.

Victorian watercress garden in Oxfordshire /

It also a good source of calcium, fiber, iron and copper. Watercress livens up raw salad... For optimal health benefits, eat watercress raw and as fresh as possible.

It's got more vitamin C than oranges, more iron than spinach, and more calcium than milk. Enjoying a renaissance as a health food. Requires very fresh water. You can grow it indoors. Use bowl, fill 1/2 with gravel. Buy some watercress with roots and plant. Add mineral water to top of gravel and keep level at top. Keep picking leaves to keep it from flowering as then the leaves will taste bitter. See video for soup recipe.

The watercress tastes sharp and peppery.

Watercress is a powerful cleanser of the body, especially the bloodstream.

Watercress is low in calories and high in potassium which is valued for weight loss, as its diuretic action draws excess fluid down and out of the body.

Watercress helps improve digestion by regulating the flow of bile.

The chlorophyll-rich leaves are chewed to absorb breath odors.

Watercress leaves are used as a poultice for the relief of enlarged prostate gland. The poultice can also treat swollen feet and sprained ankles.

Watercress is a good source of iodine, which is important to the function of the thyroid gland.

Watercress Upland Cress is both delicate and petite geometrically shaped lime green leaves and razor thin stems' featherweight composition is married with flavors full of pepper and spice. Upland Cress becomes more pungent, often acrid and less succulent with maturity. Maturing plants will produce fragrant yellow flowers with the same delicate texture and overt flavors. The entire plant is edible.

Seasons/Availability: Upland watercress is available year-round.

Upland Cress is known as a European green though its parentage can be traced to China. It is a cool season crop that is both cultivated and grows wild and weed-like. It prefers moist sandy clay soils rich in nitrogen and organic matter. Like most greens, Upland Cress prefers full sun to thrive, though the plant will bolt in hot climates.

CONVERT YOUR ECO-UNFRIENDLY SWIMMING POOL INTO A BIOLOGICALLY ACTIVE AND ATTRACTIVE FISH FARM! Swimming pools get a bad rap in enviro-circles, and for good reason. They cost a great deal to construct – using a lot of CO2 intensive materials in the process – they waste huge amounts of water and energy for maintenance, use chemicals to keep them clear and ‘safe’, and they take up a lot of space that could be utilised for more productive purposes (like growing veggies!). Many people also just find them a lot of work to look after, which is especially annoying when their usage is often only seasonal at best.



Eating from the pool didn’t seem to be the primary goal for Vanessa and Justin, but rather to create a closed loop biological system that would add beauty and diversity to the rest of their Permaculture system.

How they did it

After draining the pool, they set to cleaning it of contaminants by scrubbing the inside with vinegar and rinsing it clean. This is important or the fish you introduce could die. Before introducing fish, however, plants need to be established, as well as the all-important oxygen-generating algae. Algae forms on its own when allowed, and the best plants to introduce are those you’ll find in natural freshwater environments in your area (lakes, ponds, rivers) as these are best suited for your climate.

Justin and Vanessa even introduced a couple of plants that are regarded as ‘pests’ by many government authorities – like salvinia, a fast spreading floating fern. Rather than a pest, the plant serves a purpose here as chicken feed, and its characteristic of spreading fast just means the chickens have a good supply of it!

Another plant introduced is azola – which is very high in nitrogen due to its special relationship with a nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium. This makes it an exceptionally good mulch (azolla is said to increase rice yields significantly – "as much as 158 percent per year"). Of course, they also introduced plants that are great for human consumption – like kangkong, water chestnut and watercress.

At the moment the pool is essentially a closed loop biological system. The plants feed off the nutrients supplied by fish and bird droppings, the fish feed off the plants and insect larvae (like dragonflies, etc.), and the algae regulates the CO2/oxygen levels. Zooplankton and mollusks (snails) feed on the algae, the crustaceans (shrimps) feed on the zooplankton, and the fish feed on the mollusks and the crustaceans.


Oh, speaking about snails, if anyone spotted the blue hoses at top and thought I really should have pulled them out before taking any pictures, let it be known that I was going to do just that, but got stopped in my tracks. These hoses also serve a purpose – snails cling to the outside, and also live inside the hose, and it’s from these hoses that the fish like to feed.

As mentioned, algae is very important for the health of the pool – but you can have too much of a good thing. Algae blooms are to be avoided as they can suffocate life in the pool. A balanced algae population can be regulated in three ways: 1) reducing nutrient input (i.e. harvest some fish), 2) reducing light (i.e. add a translucent shade, or a living vine, over part of the pool), or 3) simply scoop some algae out if you get desperate and use it for mulch or compost.

The biggest thing stopping a decent increase in the fish population is oxygen. To regularly eat from the pool, Vanessa and Justin would need to incorporate a water filter/oxygenation system – which is something they’re looking at doing next. As you can see from the pictures, the water in this particular pond is rather ‘natural’. A biological filter would make the water clearer – so, if you wanted, it could still retain the pool’s original purpose (swimming!). Increased oxygenation also tends to keep algae from getting out of hand.

A bio-filter doesn’t need to be too complicated or expensive. Water could be pumped out of the pool and through a gravel trench, and then back into the pool (a solar pump could be utilised). As the water passes through the gravel it gets filtered/cleansed (by the algae that will develop there) and oxygenated. Reeds growing on the gravel aid in making the biological filter itself a closed system.


As well as the general aesthetic and the potential for increased food security and health, pools like these also contribute to the health of the garden in general as they attract a greater diversity of wildlife. Vanessa and Justin now have regular visits from predatory creatures, including white-faced herons and even the australasian bittern, a threatened species.

Essentially, a pool like this is a great example of the very essence of Permaculture – working with natural synergies, and finding ways to make them work for ourselves and the environment. Where modern agribusiness concentrates on chemistry, Permaculturists deal in biology. Instead of reductionist science, which would take just one element and pull it apart to its base chemical ingredients before we look up thinking we understand something, this kind of management takes a broader view.


UTILIZATION OF MACROPHYTE BIOFILTER IN EFFLUENT FROM AQUACULTURE: I. FLOATING PLANT "water hyacinth is one of the many plant species we use as a low impact bio filter. When we harvest it, it makes a fine fungal based compost. We use azola as well."

Permaculture Magazine

cNorth America

Permaculture Design Magazine Sunnyvale, CA

Permaculture Magazine on Facebook

Permaculture Activist

Pip Magazine, Permaculture in Australia


Milorganite & Straw Bale Gardening Be sure to purchase straw bales made from alfalfa, wheat, oats, rye or other cereal grain that have less weed seeds than hay. Start a few weeks before the designated planting date.

Place the bales in their permanent location with the cut sides up and twine parallel to the ground.

Hose end timer Orbit 62061N-91213 Single-Dial Water Timer. $18.99 + Free Shipping.

Video: Stunning Tour of my Permaculture Backyard! Rick Larson

My Permaculture Garden - Morag Gamble winter in the garden

How to Make a Worm Tower: by Morag Gamble add tissues, kitchen waste, shredded newspaper, coffee grounds

9" PCV pipe, 2.5 ft. long. Drill 5mm holes in bottom 2/3 of pipe [will be buried]. Dig holw and bury. Put compost at the base. Add big handfull of composting worms: red worms, tiger worms, blue worms.

Make sure the holes are below the soil. Backfill but don't compress it. Mulch the top of the soil. Put a handful of mulch on top of the worms. It helps to discourage flies and keep a nice stable temperature. Place a plastic pot on top of the pipe upside down to keep animals out and keep too much rain from getting in.

How To Make A DIY Worm Tower GreenShortz DIY. More, bigger holes. Use replair coupling for lid. Add a little grit, sand, on top of worms to help them process.

Three winter gardening shortcuts from Graham Ross

Graham Ross: Winter Vegetable Garden, Ep 22

Graham Ross: Vegie Garden Tips, Ep 16 Fall chores

Gardening: Vegie garden, Ep 1 Fall

Graham Ross: Graham's Vegetable Garden #2, Ep 7 (14.03.14) Fall

How To Build Beautiful Self-Sufficient Gardens For Any Climate: Keyhole Gardens | Amazing Earth

PERMACULTURE / high-yield production in limited space / The raised bed hugelkultur

Backyard Permaculture: Starting at home... Peter Cundall.

Permaculture and NoTill Gardening


Urban Agroecoloy: 6,000 lbs of food on 1/10th acre - Urban Homestead - Urban Permaculture

Secrets to a successfull urban garden with little work.


LearnHowToGarden youtube

Growing Winter Salads

HOW TO GROW FIGS IN A CONTAINER OR POT Morag Gamble : Our Permaculture Life youtube

What to look for when you're buying land for permaculture

Geoff Lawton videos

The evolution of a backyard food forest - the first three years two great videos.

Food Forests

How We Went from Desert to Food Forest source--trees $1.49 good roots, quality. Zone 4 Cold High.

Cold Stream Farm located in Michigan is a wholesale shrub nursery and bare root tree nursery.

Black Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) - 6-12" $4.39
Chinese Wisteria [Wisteria sinensis] - 6-12'' $5.20
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) - 6-12" $4.39
UPS Ground $12.96 Your order # is: 100152418. Ordered 3/6/17

From Gotham to isolated, code & debt-free West Texas estate S. Brewster county. Really cheap to buy land and live. Did because of debt.

Jagannath K The Natural Farmer - Mediterranean - #1 20 Year Old Food Forest in Italy

Jeff Lawton Intro to Permaculture

Thriving 23-Year-Old Permaculture Food Forest - An Invitation for Wildness

The principles behind designing a backyard food forest Treehugger

Remember that awesome video showing the first three years of a backyard food forest? Even with the slideshow explaining how Dan from Plant Abundance turned a litter-strewn yard into an urban oasis, I have to admit that a Lazivore like me was still intimidated.

That's why I was delighted to see that Dan just posted a new video explaining the simple principles behind his method of gardening. Here's a summary:

video: The Basic Premise Behind Developing A Food Forest

Video screen capture Plant Abundance

1) He doesn't like to be too restrictive: That's why he hesitates to label his work "permaculture", "organic gardening", or "forest gardening", for example—instead taking inspiration from all of these disciplines and more.

2) Layering is central to everything: The most basic premise behind any food forest is the idea that we can maximize our yield if we learn to use all layers of the garden—using the vertical space above and below ground to cram in a much larger harvest than if we only rely on what grows at ground level. By using root crops, ground cover crops, herbaceous plants, shrubs, small trees, canopy trees and vines, Dan is able to more efficiently take advantage of all the space available to him.

3) Symbiosis doesn't necessarily mean self-sustaining: Dan points out that he's growing in a small urban yard, and manages the land accordingly. While a multi-acre food forest might be—by both necessity and design—largely hands off, Dan has to regularly prune back his trees and perform other management in order to maintain an optimal yield. He could let it go and it would probably still thrive, but his yield wouldn't be quite so large nor so diverse.

4) Understanding sunlight is crucial: The downside of layering your plants is that you now have to manage which plants shade what. (This is one of the main concerns folks have about vertical farms too.) So first understanding how sun falls on your property, and then designing your garden with spacing in mind, is critical to success. As Dan showed in his first three years video, though, it's OK for some plants to eventually get shaded out. You just need to plan for that—perhaps planting more annuals in the early years, until your shrubs, small trees and canopies really start to mature.

Obviously, there's more to all this than these four simple principles—and as someone who has dabbled and failed at much of what's here, I am still in awe of what Dan has achieved. but this seems like a useful primer for anyone interested in giving this a go.

Plant Abundance the video

LATER: Harvesting Rosella & Sowing Seeds on our Urban Farm Rob Bob's Backyard Farming & Aquaponics. Rosella/sorrel/edible hibiscus.

Roselle [Hibiscus sabdariffa] a species of Hibiscus native to West Africa,[1] used for the production of bast fibre and as an infusion, in which it may be known as carcade. It is an annual or perennial herb or woody-based subshrub, growing to 2–2.5 m (7–8 ft) tall. The leaves are deeply three- to five-lobed, 8–15 cm (3–6 in) long, arranged alternately on the stems. The flowers are 8–10 cm (3–4 in) in diameter, white to pale yellow with a dark red spot at the base of each petal, and have a stout fleshy calyx at the base, 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) wide, enlarging to 3–3.5 cm (1.2–1.4 in), fleshy and bright red as the fruit matures. They take about six months to mature.

Rosella Growing Information Botanical Name:Hibiscus sabdariffa

Common Names: asam balanda, bissap, edible hibiscus, flor de jamaica, grosella, karkade, lumanda, luo shen hua, meshta, omutete, paya, queensland jam plant, rajeab, rosela, roselle, saril, sorrel, susur. Plant Family: Malvaceae.

Plant Description
A native of tropical West Africa, it prefers warm climates. Rosella is an attractive annual shrub to 1.5 m high with large, lobed reddish leaves and attractive yellow hibiscus-like flowers. Rosellas are easy to grow, with few pest problems, hardy and productive. Most soil types are suitable, provided they are rich and well-drained. Plenty of water is needed to maintain growth, flowering and fruit development, mulching is beneficial. Three to four plants is all that is needed to produce a good crop. Plants normally begin to crop when about 3 months old and cropping may continue for 9 months or until the first frost. The fruit is ready to pick about 3 weeks after flowering, when they'll be 2 - 3 cm across at their widest part.

Planting Details
Sow When: Sow in early spring in tropical areas, rosellas need at least 5 months frost-free to bear. Rosellas need a very warm soil to germinate, preferably over 25°C. In southern areas of Australia this would be as late as October outside. Some years the soil might take even longer to warm up. So gardeners in cooler areas need to start seed indoors using a small bottom-heat unit, or the top of the water heater.

Planting Depth: Cover seed with 12 mm of fine soil.
Spacing: Plant several seeds 50 cm apart and thin seedlings to the strongest.

Food: the fleshy calyx is used in salads, jellies, cranberry-like sauces, jam and cordial, syrups and wine. Dried the red calyx is used for tea and it is an important ingredient in the commercial Red Zinger, Hibiscus and Fruit teas. The tea is very similar in flavour to rose-hips and high in vitamin C. Seeds are roasted and ground into flour. Young leaves can be steamed or stir-fried and are known as Red Sorrel in the Pacific.

Hedge: Rosella is an attractive annual hedge or windbreak for the summer garden.

Available as seed: Rosella

How To Grow Rosella & Make It Into Jam?

Why We Should Be Urban Farming

HOW TO: Turn your lawn into an urban farm

Homegrown Revolution (Award winning short-film 2009)- The Urban Homestead
Urban Homesteading

Profile of an Urban Homesteader

Treating the Farm as an Ecosystem with Gabe Brown Part 1 The 5 Tenets of Soil Health Later

Companion Planted Food Forest the Permaculture way. Permaculture Homestead--later

Companion planting in a small productive urban garden. Sustainable Gardening Australia SG Aust--later

Companion Planting! Chemical Free Pest Control and Plant Created Fertilizer Later

What is Companion Planting, Food Forest Examples. Later

Companion Planting Made Easy Later

Companion Planting, 200 best videos Top five companion plants:

1) beans or peas, nitro fixers, in container with chard, lettuce, spinach.

2) Alliums--onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives, et al. repel pests with brassicas like cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, also tomatoes, carrots, celery, peppers in containers.

3) Marigolds "the wonderdrug of companion planting" french marigolds in particular produce a pesticide which lasts for years; plant with brassicas and cucurbits like squash, cucumbers, melons; even put in small pot and move around the garden to keep pests at bay.

4) Herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme, and sage; enhance the flavor of tomatoes and repel pests; plant at base of tomato plants.

5) Radishes, plant with plants which will be tall or slow growing like eggplants [slow until summer heat], peppers [same], and good with squash [prevent squash borrers]

Dynamic accumulator

= Dynamic accumulators are plants that gather certain micronutrients, macronutrients, or minerals and store them in their leaves. These plants can be used either for detoxifying soil or for gathering a certain nutrient or mineral from an area. For instance, clovers will mine great quantities of nitrogen out of the air via a symbiotic relationship with bacteria. These bacteria convert gaseous nitrogen into a form available to the clover, and exchange this nitrogen for exudates/sugars given by the clover. When the clover dies or is cut down, the green matter breaks down and releases the nitrogen into the soil.

These plants become rich in a certain substance and can then be cut down. This can be used as a fertilizer or as part of a fertilizer mix for other plants that may be deficient in those particular nutrients. The use of a nitrogen dynamic accumulator, such as a clover patch, could potentially replace nitrogen-rich fertilizers. These types of plants play an important role in many permaculture guilds. [Wikipedia]


V Permaculture Garden Design: Suthi and Sanjay Nagar