zondag 13 oktober 2013


(permanent agriculture)

Permaculture is a branch of ecological design, ecological engineering, and environmental design which develops sustainable architecture and self-maintained horticultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.
The core tenets of permaculture are:
Take care of the earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply. This is the first principle, because without a healthy earth, humans cannot flourish.
Take care of the people: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.
Share the surplus: Healthy natural systems use outputs from each element to nourish others. We humans can do the same. By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles.
Permaculture design emphasizes patterns of landscape, function, and species assemblies. It asks the question, "Where does this element go? How can it be placed for the maximum benefit of the system?" To answer this question, the central concept of permaculture is maximizing useful connections between components and synergy of the final design. The focus of permaculture, therefore, is not on each separate element, but rather on the relationships created among elements by the way they are placed together; the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts. Permaculture design therefore seeks to minimize waste, human labor, and energy input by building systems with maximal benefits between design elements to achieve a high level of synergy. Permaculture designs evolve over time by taking into account these relationships and elements and can become extremely complex systems that produce a high density of food and materials with minimal input.
The design principles which are the conceptual foundation of permaculture were derived from the science of systems ecology and study of pre-industrial examples of sustainable land use. Permaculture draws from several disciplines including organic farming, agroforestry, integrated farming, sustainable development, and applied ecology. Permaculture has been applied most commonly to the design of housing and landscaping, integrating techniques such as agroforestry, natural building, and rainwater harvesting within the context of permaculture design principles and theory.

Natural World: Farm for the Future

Permaculture In Practice

This video, whose aim is to inspire people to start their own permaculture projects, shows how permaculture is practiced in four very different settings: a Hampshire back garden belonging to the editors of Permaculture Magazine, including fruit trees, vegetables, bees, chickens, and ducks; a City Challenge project in Bradford close to a housing estate with 10,000 residents, tackling the problems of unemployment, environmental awareness, and backyard food growing; a community co-op in Devon, which involves a café, allotments, and local composting scheme; and a small farm in the Forest of Dean where innovative marketing schemes ensure a close link between producer and consumer, including meat production, a vegetable box scheme, and locally produced charcoal.

Redesigning Civilization -- with Permaculture

Modern agriculture, industry and finance all extract more than they give back, and the Earth is starting to show the strain. How did we get in this mess and what can we do to help our culture get back on track? The ecological design approach known as permaculture offers powerful tools for the design of regenerative, fair ways to provide food, energy, livelihood, and other needs while letting humans share the planet with the rest of nature. This presentation will give you insight into why our culture has become fundamentally unsustainable, and offers ecologically based solutions that can help create a just and sustainable society. This is the sequel to Toby's popular talk, "How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and The Planet, but not Civilization." A related article is at http://www.patternliteracy.com/697-th...

 Forest Gardening

Locally Abundant

 In the summer of 2011, two young Maritimers, Justin Cantafio and Ryan Oickle, departed on a journey that would take them across Canada and back in just under four months. We left from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and traveled as far as the Discovery Islands Archipelago of British Columbia, before heading back on our return. Along the course of our travels we lived and volunteered on 10 small-scale organic farms using Canada's World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) network. Our objective was to connect with the individuals on the front line of sustainable food production and distribution, in a country whose agricultural policies are favorable towards the large-scale and unsustainable production of market commodities. During our travels we became working and living members of the farms we visited. In addition, we wrote blog entries for friends and the WWOOF network, collected scientific data for the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada, and filmed footage of our experiences.

Our hypothesis going in to the trip was that not only is small-scale organic agriculture a biophysically viable alternative to the dominant yet unsustainable form of industrialized conventional agriculture and food distribution so common today, but that it also serves as the foundation for truly happy and healthy people, communities, and ecosystems. We filmed our experiences with the hopes of creating an educational documentary film while paying homage to the 10 farms and hosts that made our journey possible in the first place. It's been a year since the conclusion of our journey, and we can both say with absolute confidence that we confirmed our hypothesis, while producing a film that we are proud of. We hope that our film lends itself to be a tool for opening eyes, spreading awareness, and reconnecting individuals and communities through the one thing that binds us all. Food.

Contact us directly at local.abundance1@gmail.com

green gold 


Attracting Beneficial Insects to Your Garden

In previous Eco-Logicals, we've talked about the problem of chemical pesticides around the house and yard. We don't want our kids and pets being exposed to these toxic substances. We've also talked about "adaptive pesticides," otherwise known as beneficial insects that prey on pest insects. This approach helps reduce or eliminate the need for toxic pesticides by providing natural pest control for your garden. Doing this also avoids the issue of pests developing resistance to pesticides since the beneficial insects evolve right along with the garden pests.
cartoon of insect sitting on a flower with full, satisfied look on his faceToday's article will further explore the topic of natural pest control using beneficial insects and give specific tips about how you can add certain plants to your yard to create a haven for the good little buggers that can help you fight the bad little buggers. The information comes to us from the good folks at Eartheasy.com, a site that is chock-full of handy tips about how to live naturally and sustainably.
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Garden Insectary — Natural Pest Control
by Eartheasy.com

Creating A Home Base for Beneficial Insects

A garden insectary is a small garden plot of flowering plants designed to attract and harbor beneficial insects. These "good insects" prey on many common garden insect pests and offer the gardener a safer, natural alternative to pesticides.
The garden insectary is a form of "companion planting," based on the positive attributes plants can share in deterring pests, acquiring nutrients, or attracting natural predators. By becoming more diverse with your plantings, you're providing habitat, picture of predatory waspshelter, and alternative food sources (such as pollen and nectar something many predators need as part of their diet.

Here's an example. You can control aphids with an aphid predator like aphidius, and you can encourage aphidius to set up shop by planting sunflowers or lupin. Of course, the aphid predators need the pests to be present in order to eat, thrive, and reproduce—that is, they need aphids to be found in and around the general area you're trying to protect from the aphids. But that's where stocking your insectary with the appropriate plants comes in.
The idea of inviting the pests in to munch on plants in your insectary may seem alarming, until you understand that you are doing so to encourage host-specific pests. The pests remain on the desired plant in your insectary yet provide an ideal breeding ground for the associated predators and parasites.
Your insectary plot does not have to be large, just big enough to hold six to seven varieties of plants that attract insects. Once the garden has matured, you can watch your personal security force of beneficial insects do the work for you.

Natural Pest Control by Species

Use Table A to figure out which beneficial insects you want to attract, based on your particular pest problems. Then use Table B to see what you should plant to attract the beneficial insects (predator insects). Note that in Table A, pest species may occur in more than one row. Similarly, in Table B, predator species may be listed in more than one row. Find the combination of predators and insectary plants that maximizes the benefit to your particular pest problem.
Table A.
Natural Pest Control by Insect Species

Pest Insect Predator Insect
Aphids Aphidius
Aphids Aphidoletes
Thrips, spidermites, fungus gnats Beneficial mites
Eggs of many pest insects Damsel bugs (Nabidae)
Whiteflies, aphids, thrip, spider mites Dicyphus
Slugs, small caterpillars and grubs Ground beetles
Grubs Spring Tiphia wasp
Aphids, mealybugs and others Hoverflies
Scale, aphids, mites, soft-bodied insects Lacewings
Aphids, mites Ladybugs
Thrips, aphids, mites, scales, whiteflies Pirate bugs
Caterpillars; beetle and fly larvae Tachinid flies
Whiteflies; moth, beetle and fly larvae Parasitic wasps
picture of predatory insects, list follows in h t m l
From left to right: ichneumon wasp, lacewing, pirate bug, hoverfly, damsel bug
Table B.
What to Plant to Attract Beneficial Insects (Predator Insects)

Predator Insect What to Plant (Insectary Plant)
Lacewings, aphidius, ladybugs Achillea filipendulina
Hoverflies Alyssum
Ground beetles Amaranthus
Spring Tiphia wasp Peonies, firethorn, forsythia
Ichneumon wasp, ladybugs, lacewings Anethum graveolens (dill)
Lacewings Angelica gigas
Ladybugs, hoverflies Convolvulus minor
Hoverflies, parasitic wasps, lacewings Cosmos bipinnatus
Dicyphus Digitalis
Lacewings, ladybugs, hoverflies Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Damsel bugs, ladybugs, lacewings Foeniculum vulgare (fennel)
Pirate bugs, beneficial mites Helianthus annulus
Hoverflies Iberis umbellata
Hoverflies, parasitic wasps Limonium latifolium (Statice)
Aphidius, aphidoletes, hoverflies Lupin
Parasitic wasps, tachinid flies Melissa officinalis (lemon balm)
Parasitic wasps, hoverflies, tachinid flies Petroselinum crispum (parsley)
Pirate bugs, beneficial mites Shasta daisy
Pirate bugs, aphidius Sunflowers
Ladybugs, lacewings Tanacetum vulgare (tansy)
Dicyphus Verbascum thaspus

                           picture of insectary flowers, list follows in h t m l
From left to right: Statice, Lupin, Tansy, Queen Anne's Lace, Sunflower

Tips and Suggestions for Your Garden Insectary

1. Intersperse vegetable beds with rows or islands of insectary annuals.   This will add decorative elements to your vegetable beds while luring beneficial insects toward prey.
2. Allow some of your salad and cabbage crops to bloom.   Brassica flowers (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy) are also appreciated.
3. Include plants of different heights in your insectary.   Ground beetles require the cover provided by low-growing plants such as thyme, rosemary, or mint. Lacewings lay their eggs in shady, protected areas, so providing such places near crop plants is a good idea.
4. Tiny flowers produced in large quantity are much more valuable than a single, large bloom.   Large, nectar-filled blooms actually can drown tiny parasitoid wasps.
5. Members of the Umbelliferae family are excellent insectary plants.   Fennel, angelica, coriander, dill, and wild carrot all produce the tiny flowers required by parasitoid wasps.
6. Composite flowers (daisy and chamomile) and mints (spearmint, peppermint, or catnip) will attract predatory wasps, hover flies, and robber flies.


A garden insectary should be thought of as a long-term permanent component of your garden. Results are not instant and conclusive; rather, the benefits to your garden are cumulative. As your plantings mature and resident populations of beneficial insects are established, the need for chemical pesticides and other aggressive insect control techniques will diminish. Your garden will become a more natural and balanced environment for the healthy production of vegetables and flowers.

Allan Savory: How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change

No-dig Gardening

Andrew looks at the benefits of no dig gardening on the soil and the health of crops.

collated particles.jpg

A method of gardening without digging occurred to me when I visited an arable farmer. He drilled crops with a Claydon direct drill. This machine drills seed in one pass. No ploughing or further tillage required. It cultivates narrow drainage channels. The method provides higher yields especially noticeable in a dry year.
Bill Mollison's Permaculture by design identifies that soil can be over cultivated leading to erosion. Uncultivated soil contains far more humus that retains moisture and nutrients. Nearly all the soil remains in its original position when narrow drainage channels are cultivated. The crop enjoys constant moisture and a comprehensive list of available plant nutrients. These are provided naturally by the bacteria and fungi present in undisturbed earth.
We dug a few plants and the root systems were full and deeply established. I have tried minimal cultivation in the past with disappointing results. When seed is broadcast onto hard ground, the roots of surviving seedlings can be stunted. Stunted roots give stunted plants. The narrow drainage channels cultivated by this type of direct seed drill are 7 inches deep and ¾ inch wide. The seed is broadcast in a band 6 inches wide above the channel.

In the garden we can replicate the minimal cultivation technique. Seed needs a fine tilth and surface drainage to successfully establish into a crop. Loose soil is brought to the surface when a narrow drainage channel is cultivated. It can be worked, sown and firmed; giving seeds the best chance of germination. Roots develop looking for moisture lower in the soil profile. They can break into the surrounding top soil that is uncultivated. Here they find worm burrows or cylinders of air left by a previous crop that has decayed. The plants get the best of both worlds. Narrow channels drain excess water; on the whole the soil profile is undisturbed.

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