Archive for January, 2015

Although the audio is quite bad in this video (well the uploader did make the effort to use screen annotations when you cannot hear the details), I feel this is a great introduction video on the uses and possibilities of the Rocket Mass Heater systems that Permies have been altering the design of for years.

I am very new to Rocket Mass Heaters … and I am completely intrigued with the possibilities! The best part is, once the Heater has been running for about 7-8 min’s, the effect is zero pollution thereafter and only Steam & Co2 come out of the vent! Also, not to forget, they use up to 5 times LESS wood!


The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
–Chinese Proverb
We need to have patience in life, look to the future but enjoy the now, Decide if you are happy to wait for a tree or bush from seed or if you are willing to buy one (how quickly do you want fruit from it? – Do you have enough fruit from other trees and bushes and this one is just an addition?)
Do you own your land or are you a renter? Are you planning on moving soon? You can grow many tree varieties in containers for a few years until you up and move out, this prevents the need to dig out and risk killing them. If you speak to people who work in your local parks, council or municipality – they will tell you how trees that are already 10 meters high are delivered in containers or root balls about a half meter in height and diameter!

This is article #1 on Beneficial Plants, in this part we are bringing to you, the Wild Teasel ( Dipsacus fullonum ).

Wild Teasel Beneficial Plant in flower

There are quite a few benefits to including this plant in your system not only for you and your garden but also for wildlife! They are:

  1. Very Deep rooting ( Said to be as deep as 3 Feet! .. helping to cycle nutrients from lower levels of the soil structure ),
  2. Self Seeding ( Biennial Herbaceous plant, it will complete its lifecycle after two years but the seeds that drop will keep some plants going after the mother plant dies ),
  3. Water source for bees & other pollinators ( water and dew collects in the receptacles where the leaves are attached to the stem, bees use this as a water source ),
  4. Important food source for Birds ( Gold Finches use the dried seeds as an important Autumn and Winter food source),
  5. Good for pollinators and Attractive ( Nice Lavender / violet-ish coloured flower heads look good as well as serve the bees etc. )

Wild Teasel Dried Mature Flower head

Harvesting seeds from wild plants is quite easy, but bring Gloves!! All you do is cut or snap off a few dried flower heads and place them somewhere they can dry out for a week or so, once dry you just tap the heads into a container and watch allthe seeds fall out. This can be done early Autumn, seeds can also be bought online.

Some of you may have heard of a keyhole garden or bed and wondered what it is all about? Well, it is quite simple in concept, can be as dramatic or simple as you like! There is no fixed dictated design which we must All follow, it is up to you based on your time available, materials at hand,resources, space etc.

Basically, it is normally a raised bed (High enough as to prevent much bending over) encircled with recycled rocks / bricks or other materials, but with a little opening so that you can reach into the middle without stretching over the bed and plants. In the middle there is a ”basket” which reaches down into the depths of the compost / soil and is open top so you can throw in food scraps and water the bed from there too.
Keyhole gardens seem to be popular in Africa especially in the north and there is even a UK based charity (Send A Cow) Who help promote these in the countries that they operate in. From what I gather, they do originate in Africa, possibly Kenya.

Traditional Keyhole Garden in North Africa

Below is a good diagram image of the keyhole garden design and concept:

Side / Overhead View Keyhole Garden Design

The benefits are that the design prevents strain from bending or over reaching, the composting system is built-in so there is no need for a separate compost pile or area, watering through the compost system helps to draw nutrients into the soil and towards the root area, the compost system is warm thereby creating a better environment for the plants and root system – this increases the season length as well!! and finally, no risk of compaction by stepping on the beds / soil.

Further examples of how individuals used the concept to their own requirement/s:

Keyhole Garden made from Recycled Bottles

Normal Bed with keyhole points for ease of access


As always, I am trying to keep my cool followers up to date with regular ”Permaculture Site Tours” from all over the world! I am merely hoping to show that A: Permaculture is global and growing and B: hoping to inspire others when they see a great system somewhere in their country or city / town!

Today’s video tour is of a front garden in Denver Colorado USA, It really is quite a beautiful garden and system especially all of the colours and attention paid to helping out the pollinators!

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the video …

Worm farming to increase the nutrients in your garden beds is one of the best, most natural ways to supplement your garden’s needs! After all, worms are one of natures filters! their poop (Worm Castings) is nutritious and harvest-able for use.

Not only the castings though, you can also obtain a liquid ”worm tea” which is diluted with water to make an organic, Natural plant liquid feed (Yes, you can now stop buying tamorite from your garden centre).

One method Permies like to use when looking for a container/s keep the worm farm in, is simply to find a disused, thrown out bathtub!
Whilst people in smaller properties such as Flats (Apartments) and smaller houses may prefer to use containers, a bathtub can be kept in a greenhouse / polytunnel (If the greenhouse is big enough) and all soluble green waste even from your garden can be used, not only kitchen scraps! If kept outside exposed to the elements, you will need to construct a roof structure to prevent rain going in.

Bathtub Worm Farm Cross Section / Instructions

Once you have a suitable container for your worms, you will need:

  • Shredded Newspaper and brown cardboard (Both soaked in water, also horse manure if you can get any,
  • Order or get worms (Red Wigglers for UK),
  • Lid to protect from rain / sun

Step #1:
Place the horse manure, shredded newspaper and cardboard in the bottom of the tub / container and make sure it’s moist enough to house worms… (This is their bedding)
Add the worms.

Step #2:
Place vegetable / fruit matter, egg shells and tea bags (veg / fruit skins etc. but no seeds!) in a blender and blend until smooth / chunky – pour on top of the bedding. Repeat every few days. (you can just throw the scraps in there, but it takes longer and rots / gets fungusy)

Step #3:
After 3-4 months of continual feeding and if you need compost, merely shove all matter to one side of the container and put new bedding on the other half, don’t feed them for 2-3 weeks and start putting the scraps on the new bedding in the last week – they will naturally migrate to the food source then you can just harvest the ”Vermipost” there!
Don’t forget to also keep a tray / container to catch the ”worm tea” to be used as a liquid feed for your plants

Worm Composting – known as Vermiposting

Bathtub Worm Farm in Greenhouse

The below system is great for smaller homes such as Blocks of Flats / Apartments etc.

Stacking Worm Farm / Bin

The people at Growing Power Wisconsin are said to make use of 300 yards of worm farm beds, this supplies nutrient rich compost for their 3 acres of organic farm which, in turn, produces 450 Tonnes of crops per year of which, they make USD200,000 from each acre! …. who needs GMO’s to ”feed the world” ?

Bathtub used as a raised bed

Finally, here is how to get the right kind/s of worms for Free!

Step #1: Get brown cardboard, place it in water for 20 minutes then lay it on a garden bed for a few days, if it is hot / sunny, provide some shade for it and keep moist!

Step #2: Lift it up every few days and the type of worms that you will find on / under it are the types that process (eat) organic materials, keep them in a moist container full of bedding – keep repeating

Get Gardening and Vermiposting !!!

I came across this information perhaps around 4 – 6 months ago, when I first started reading some snippets online regarding people being raided, often by tactically equipped, militarised police (USA) for merely growing food crops in their gardens or properties. We can dismiss one case but it seems to be a common theme. I feel, or know … that there is an agenda behind this. No longer are the politicians that society votes into power, serving the people! They now serve their own and the elitists interests … ie: Corporatocricy .

US Police with over the top toys – what is the Agenda ?

US Police with Military Grade Tactical Gear and very militant attitudes

Here in the UK, it is pretty clear that for example, the GMO Industry has politicians in their pockets as there doesn’t seem to be many members of Parliament who speak out against GMO’s and the corporate biotech giants or at least call for further Independent studies carried out over a long period, whilst a ban on GM is in place until we can ascertain whether or not they may lead to long term effects on us!
The last few Ministers of Food and Health have been big GM supporters.
In other words, a backyard farming revolution would put a quick end to the corporation’s globalist dreams of total seed domination! With politicians in their pockets, it seems one easy way to stop this is to put pressure on the public via ”drug raids” and then implement Laws which will inhibit the ability to freely grow whatever you like lawfully on your property!!

The EU has recently implemented into law, restrictions on Heirloom seed sales and below are a couple of videos regarding unlawful raids on properties that were not involved in any illegal activity, In the US they are wanting to outlaw backyard farming with the excuse that they want to ensure food safety for citizens …

Now ask yourself, which is safer?
A: yourself growing your own organic produce from heirloom seeds that have been bred for hundreds of years and are natural to your local environment, no pesticides involved, only good organic compost feeding the plants and crops?  – or
B: purchasing pesticide / herbicide and fungicide Saturated Genetically Manipulated Organisms that were artificially fed with chemical nutrients, coated in waxes to preserve them in transit and wrapped in plastics – shipped thousands of miles around the planet to reach your store shelf??

Garden Of Eden (Texas USA) Organic Farm Raided by SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics), legal plants Destroyed in process, Unmanned surveillance Drones used to spy on the property days before raid – Full interview with site tenant:

John Kholar
(Popular Youtube Vegetable Garden Personality, vegetarian and complete enthusiastic gardener), giving a recount of when police unlawfully searched his home because of an apparent complaint from neighbours saying there was Cannabis being grown in or on the property:

I hope you watch these videos with an open mind, what has happened here is simply not right! Whatever other countries this happens in, they have no right to call themselves a Democratic Nation if this is going on!

US police, who do they think they will be fighting ?

US police, who do they think they will be fighting ?

Albert Einstein Quote

This is a very interesting and inspiring video from a South African based Bio Diesel manufacturer, includes a tour of their facility and explanation of how the fuel is made:

Here is a 6 Minute tour of a Permaculture site in Ireland (Early Spring), I suggest you also take a look at the owners youtube Channel as there are over a hundred permaculture related videos available for viewing.

BEWARE! If you are an urban city dweller like I am, you risk severe jealousy watching this video or, severe inspiration …

she takes you across the site including in the polytunnel, it’s great to see a permaculture tour in early spring, there’s just something about seeing all the new buds on the woody branches of fruit bushes and trees

Here I will be discussing High Value Perennial Vegetables that are also, low maintenance! This will be just a quick article as we can all go into loads of detail later on in another related article where I may discuss more / related plants.

Right now, in England we are experiencing another mild winter (no complaints here!), with the odd cold day here and there and, the inevitable frosts in the mornings, I cannot stress how valuable it is, knowing that right outside in my garden, there are Artichoke Tubers sitting underground waiting to be harvested.
I unfortunately didn’t weigh my bounty (last year was the first year that I tried growing Jerusalem Artichokes) and I can only estimate that I got more than 3 kg worth with still the tubers from Two plants sitting underground so, possibly all together, provided that the last two produced as much as the others, I reckon I may have grown around 5kg’s of Tubers!!
The fact that you can leave tubers such as these in the ground until they are needed, is incredibly valuable to me and hence why, here  I am appealing to my readers to get hold of a few varieties of various tuber species such as Oca, Chinese Artichoke, Jerusalem Artichoke etc. Designate a place in your garden especially for these!

Jerusalem artichokes 3

Freshly Harvested Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes are members of the Sunflower Family and so, they do grow quite large (Up to 15 feet!) and work very well to provide privacy or as a wind break ( If you live in a high wind area there may be a need to stake them as a precaution ). Their stems and foliage make great material for composting or chop and drop as the leaves mostly still stick to the stem even after they are black and completely dry, the stems would serve very well in the middle to higher layers of a Hugelkultur Mund. Once harvested, merely keep a few smaller tubers and replant them where you want the next years batch to grow, about 10cm (3 /16th inch) deep , each tuber will produce at least one plant, medium to large tubers can be sliced into half or thirds to create seed tubers too. Check out my own Jerusalem Artichoke Soup Recipe Here

Harvested Chinese Artichokes

Chinese Artichokes are smaller bush type plants (Compared to the Jerusalem Artichokes) and according to this blogger, 1kg of tubers come from one seed tuber.

Large Oca Tuber – UK Grown

OCA (Oxalis Tuberosa) aren’t as vigorous as the above two, they look more like a bush and the tubers are still a bit rare due to being from South America originally, for this they are some of the most expensive tubers after Yacon.

Freshly pulled Yacon Tubers

Yacon are a larger tuber but also quite more expensive, my contact will sell a growing tip which will have about 3 shoots coming out for a hefty price, they do guarantee at least one plant from the growing tip and you can also always just cut out the growing tips next harvest to build your Yacon population!

These plants require almost zero maintenance once established and, again, their edible roots can be left underground until you want to harvest them! Not to forget that you will never need to buy the seed tubers again unless you eat them all!