Peas, Poppies, Potatoes: the 3 P's of Spring

by Heather Jo Flores Growing a garden is one of the best ways to get exercise, spend time outdoors and improve your diet and sense of food security, but sometimes it can be difficult to find the motivation.

Plant a Living Playhouse

It's the middle of May and time to plant sunflowers! There are many beautiful varieties to choose from, and they are easy to grow - just work up a spot in the soil, poke some holes with your fingers, and toss the seeds inside.

Decolonizing Permaculture: Bridging the gap between privilege and oppression

by Heather Jo Flores As Published in issue #98 of Permaculture Design Magazine, November 2015 First of all, I want to say that I do not represent anyone but myself, and though I have vetted this article with several peers and mentors, I do not presume to know the needs and desires of anyone else.

Fruit Tree Pruning 101

Should I Stay or Should I Go? The main reason for fruit tree pruning is to increase air circulation, which protects against insect infestation and disease. An air-congested tree will also stop fruiting, so it generally makes sense to remove anything that is growing toward the center for a better flow.

Do you want to teach permaculture? Here's what you need to know.

Teaching permaculture design courses, for money, might seem like a fun and easy way to develop your right livelihood but believe us, months and months of background thought, planning and hard work go into designing and implementing a permaculture design course whether it is online, on the land, or some combination.

10 Reasons you need a greenhouse

Ten reasons to build a greenhouse: Start seeds early (and late!) Many seeds need warmth to germinate and develop into healthy seedlings. If the growing season is short, getting ahead can make a big difference.​ Protect tender perennials and grow exotic plants.

Big yields From a Small Garden

There are plenty of good reasons to develop a skill set for growing food in small spaces. Maybe you only have a tiny balcony with sun for half the day? Or a hot, paved driveway but no other yard? Perhaps you're in student housing?

How to Organize a Community Seed Swap

But don't limit yourself to just seeds! I have been organizing events like these for close to 20 years and folks have brought surplus plants, trees, garden supplies, food preserves and homebrews. A seed swap attracts more than just the local permaculture crowd.

How to Ripen Homegrown Tomatoes in a Marginal Climate

In a foggy, temperate climate, most of us know the drill: Start seeds indoors in early spring and use grow lights if you have 'em. Plant in fertile soil with plenty of space in mid-June.

Seed saving made simple

This old-world skill is best learned experientially, and within a community of fellow seedpeople. But here are some tips to get you started, even if you only have a small garden. Selection Some plants are much easier for beginners.

Ten Things You Can Do to Save Water (and Yourself)

an excerpt from Food Not Lawns, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighbourhood into a Community, by Heather Jo Flores. Here are ten top strategies for saving our water and ourselves.

Design anything with the GOBRADIME permaculture design process

(excerpted and fully revised from my 2006 book, Food Not Lawns, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community.) Whether we realize it or not, all of us are designers; for good or ill, much of what we do is design work.

Front Yard Gardens: Rules for Growing Food Out Front

The transformation of any lawn to a garden is always a good thing. But growing food in the front yard isn't just about you. A front-yard farm is a statement to your community, telling them that you value homegrown food more than mainstream conformity. And that can ruffle some feathers!

Mulch Much? The Benefits of Mulch

Mulch builds humus. The word human comes from the same roots as humus, meaning earth, and in fact our bodies do contain many of the same elements and microorganisms as fertile organic soil. Soil health is linked to our own health, and soil communities bear remarkable resemblance to the flora and fauna in our own guts.

On permaculture, entitlement, and that pesky third ethic: all aboard the elephant in the room

Contact with the soil reminds us that we are an integral part of nature, rather than feeling shut out and excluded. The simple acts of growing and eating our own food, recreating habitats in which nature's diversity thrives, and taking steps to live more simply are practical ways of living which connect us to an awareness of Nature's seamless whole.

Not Your Grandma's Marigolds

What do you think of when you hear the word marigold? Maybe you imagine those 6-inch-high borders of orange and yellow flowers that your grandmother planted around her rose beds. Did she buy them by the flat, already blooming? Maybe she knew they helped repel insects from the roses.

Homemade Sauerkraut: the Gateway to Home Ferments

And whether you are a devoted foodie with a well-stocked fermentation station on your kitchen counter or just somebody who loves a Reuben sandwich, one of the simplest and most satisfying fermented foods to make at home is good, old-fashioned sauerkraut. If you've never experimented with home ferments, homemade sauerkraut could be the gateway.

Eat the Weeds!

Take a moment to ponder your relationship with the wild plants in your garden. Chickweed, thistle, pigweed, plantain. Cleavers, lemon balm, nettle. These not only provide forage for insects, birds, and animals, they also provide food for you.

Gaining Ground: 8 places to grow food if you don't have access to land

The number one reason I hear for why people aren't growing food is that they don't have access to garden space. For people who have their own yard, starting a garden is easy. But for those who don't have easy access to land, starting a garden takes a little more effort.

Growing gorgeous Garlic

It is one of the oldest cultivated crops, and all around the world people still rank garlic among their favorite foods. And it's not just food - it's medicine, too. Garlic is used as an antibiotic, antiviral, heavy metal detox, and to fight colds, high blood pressure, Alzheimers, diabetes and cancer.

Food Not Lawns! How and Why to Turn Your Yard into a Garden

​ Lawns use more equipment, labor, fuel, and agricultural toxins than industrial farming, making lawns the largest (and most toxic) agricultural sector in the United States, so grow food, not lawns.​ Growing food at home is hardly a new idea.

Homegrown Gazpacho

Here is a quick rundown of everything you will need to make homegrown gazpacho, followed by a recipe I learned from a Native Andalusian chef. The varietal recommendations are my own, based on my experience and the flavors that I find work best. Tomatoes.

Bring us a Shrubbery! Best plants for an edible hedge

No garden is complete without a yummy patch of edible, perennial shrubbery! Even a small garden can squeeze in a few brambles, berries or 'chokes. To create a low-maintenance food forest with a year-round harvest and multiple layers of plants, a mid-sized perennial understory is an essential piece of the design.

How to Learn Permaculture for Free

My goal with these projects is to give people access to the resources I wish had been available when I first started learning about this stuff, way back in the 1990's. We didn't have much in the way of internet then, and Facebook hadn't even been invented yet.

Best Permaculture Books Written by Women

Women have a high rate of participation throughout permaculture, but aren't proportionally represented in leadership roles. The spotlight often goes towards men while women who are organizing and farming get overlooked. This can make it more difficult to find the work out there that women have done.

If You Guild It, They Will Come: How to Grow a Permaculture Food Forest

You probably know the classic Three Sisters example. Native Americans grew corn, beans and squash in a shared space because together they repelled pests and provided a successional yield. I have heard from some old-timers that there was actually a fourth Sister: lupine, a self-seeding, nitrogen-fixing biennial that was planted all around the corn patch to repair the soil.

Tips and tricks for success with melons

a little ingenuity goes a long way. Tips and tricks for success with melons is published by Heather Jo Flores in PermacultureWomen.

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