There’s no reason we can’t bring the best of nature and country life to the city, instead of fleeing the cities as though they’re monstrosities. Cities have many benefits of culture, diversity, access to resources, collaboration, etc. which make them … Continue reading Relaxed evening in a Urban Permaculture Forest Garden
LILLIE HOUSE POLYCULTURE Here’s the mix that Kim and I came up with for Lillie House, and I’ve now used it in gardens around the region. What’s different about this mix is that it uses “ecological succession,” mixing annuals (plants … Continue reading The Lillie House Polyculture Seed Mix
Because polyculture, growing many plants together, instead of just one alone (monoculture), can reduce pests, disease, and weeds, conserve water, improve soil health and fertility, eliminate the need for tilling and reduce our dependence on chemicals, fossil fuels and poisonous biocides, polyculture is one of the most important elements of Permaculture. It can certainly be the key to a much easier way of gardening! And yet, because it’s an advanced kind of gardening that requires detailed plant knowledge, experience, observation and experimentation, it remains one of the most mysterious, and least discussed. Time to de-mystify polyculture! Because this type of … Continue reading Designing Polycultures
In foraging circles, you often hear of concepts like “hamburger bushes,” because, alas… they do not exist. There are no plants that produce fruits or vegetables that are easy and convenient, and provide a full balanced meal without any kind of processing. You can’t just go out into the woods and pick a hamburger off a tree. I was chatting about this with a foraging friend of mine on a drive across state, and he had a vegan chocolate chip protein cookie, that was basically a very tasty balanced meal. Even for those of us who are pretty resilient and … Continue reading The Search for the Holy Hamburger Bush: Plants for an Easy Fast Food Garden
Why didn’t the Victory Gardens last? Honest, controversial answer: Because they were stupid. Everyone is saying “Americans were so stupid to give up their victory gardens!” No, our grandparents were actually really smart about this sort of thing! That’s why they quit! In Permaculture Design, we look for “type 1 errors” systems designed to fail. Victory gardens were full of type 1 errors. The classic Victory garden was based on an American type of horticulture that was based on slavery, agrochemicals, plastics, and fossil fuels, in a time before anybody cared at all about ecology or biodiversity, not to mention … Continue reading Why Didn’t Victory Gardens Last? They weren’t Meant To.
As a promoter of home and community herbalism as a holistic way of enhancing health, I wanted to weigh in on a general home herbalism program for dealing with coronavirus, as well as a few controversies going around, especially the elderberry controversy (some folks on social media are issuing dire warnings against taking it at this time.) So I would like to share and summarize a few resources that I have found helpful, which others more qualified and really know their stuff have already put together. So to start with, it is a good idea to know and follow the … Continue reading Holistic Health for Coronavirus and the Elderberry Controversy
If you spend much time on this site, you’ll notice I spend a lot of time talking about failure. I’ve written about how most gardens fail, most action organizations fail, most community gardens fail, most businesses fail, 90% of intentional communities fail, and farms fail at a higher rate than any other business! This site is a total bummer! Good thing I post all those pretty pictures from our garden! That’s because I am a Permaculture designer, and Permaculture is all about solving problems by DESIGN. That means recognizing that a lot of our problems come because we have systems … Continue reading The Social Type One Errors that Cause Projects to Fail
The core of the Transformative Adventures approach is to create gardens that return super high value for minimal effort and cost, and that starts with good crop selection. If we want gardens that are easy and high value, we need to start with rock star powerhouse plants! So, here’s a list of absolute top-performing powerhouse temperate perennials to build a garden around. These are perennial plants (meaning they return year after year without replanting) that are so easy to grow they’re actually hard to kill and may even become “weedy.” But they’re also great ecological performers, improving the health and … Continue reading Ten Powerhouse Perennial crops for your Garden
As a teacher, trainer, speaker and author on homesteading, sustainable living, activism, art, and farming there is one key “complaint” I have heard from people literally hundreds of times: They get stuck. They can’t figure out what they want, or … Continue reading How to ACTUALLY Transform our Lives and Achieve our Dreams
(This is a re-formatted edition of one of our first major pieces on life design, regenerative finance and Transformative Adventures, originally published to our old site in 2013, then transferred to blogger in 2015, and now reposted here. I’m thankful that I’ve probably had nearly 100 people write to me or comment on this article over the years.) This is going to be a sensible, practical dispatch about making a living and learning to thrive in the modern world, but it starts with a journey into the deep, dark heart of the wild woods, under old growth forest, with cool, … Continue reading Practical Permaculture: Catching and Storing Energy. And Fighting Vampires.