In this intensive 2 day course you will learn the principles of nutrient cycling, water conservation and waste water management through the on site construction of a Farralone composting toilet and adjoining gray water system. The course will take place on Atsas organic farm in sunny Cyprus.
An international Permaculture Design Course (PDC) is being hosted by Nawaya in a rural area close to Cairo in Egypt. It is a great opportunity to learn about permaculture in a country like Egypt during such dynamic times of change. This is the first time a PDC is held in Egypt, bringing in a diversity of local knowledge to be merged with internationally renowned instructors: Rod Everett and Mill Milichap. The PDC will take place in Giza, Egypt from February 14th to 25th 2013, at Nawaya’s permaculture demonstration site at the Fagnoon Art School near the town of Abusir (35 km from Cairo; 20-minute drive from Cairo) near the Sakkara plateau necropolis. The PDC is a 72-hour intensive hands-on course that equips students with the practical skills to design and regenerate any site or landscape, regardless of the size or purpose, be it a farm, a home, a flat, a neighborhood, or a city, using the ethics and principals of permaculture.
You can turn a small yard, a corner in a community garden or an unused space in your home into a thriving vertical farm for vegetables and fish.
Greywater is water from your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines. It is not water that has come into contact with feces, either from the toilet or from washing diapers.
Greywater may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products. While greywater may look “dirty,” it is a safe and even beneficial source of irrigation water in a yard. If released into rivers, lakes, or estuaries, the nutrients in greywater become pollutants, but to plants, they are valuable fertilizer. Aside from the obvious benefits of saving water (and money on your water bill), reusing your greywater keeps it out of the sewer or septic system, thereby reducing the chance that it will pollute local water bodies. Reusing greywater for irrigation reconnects urban residents and our backyard gardens to the natural water cycle.
The modern day sewer system has failed. In the United States, our clean water infrastructure was rated a D- from the American Society of Civil Engineers (2007). Sewage overflows cause beach closures, spread illnesses, and contaminate the environment. And this is happening in places that actually have sewage treatment… most of the world does not and untreated sewage more quickly contaminates the environment, and is the source of illness and death for millions of people, 6,000 children die each day as a result of inadequate sanitation.
On Sunday 6th May 2012, we launched the first International Permaculture Day and were honoured to interview world-renowned environmental activist and seed defender Dr. Vandana Shiva. Dr. Shiva spoke to us about the importance of seed sovereignty as the basis for permanent (sustainable) agriculture and about the grave and growing threat of patented seeds to life, diversity and freedom. In response, she’s started a global campaign to “Occupy the Seed” and is calling on permaculturalists and others everywhere to join. For more information about the initiative, see her Invitation to join the Global Citizens Alliance for Seed Freedom below.
Some common herbs
Basil flowers are insect pollinated, and different varieties flowering within around 150’ of one another may cross. On a garden scale, if you want to grow several types of basil, just keep picking the flower stalks off of all the varieties apart from the one that you want to grow for seed. Once several flower spikes have set and the flowers have started to wither, mark those spikes for saving seed from, and you can then allow the other varieties to flower. The seeds are ready to collect when the spikes turn brown and dry out. Don’t worry about the seeds dropping out – they are well attached, and actually need quite a lot of rubbing to free from the dead flower heads.
These sheets are designed to be a very basic introduction to seedsaving. Hopefully they should help you to grow good quality pure seed that will grow true to type for year after year. Seedsaving is easy; people have done it for thousands of years, in the process breeding all of the wonderful vegetables that we eat today. Only in the last century has it been taken over by professionals. With a little care you and all your neighbours can grow better seed than you could ever buy; ideal for your own conditions, with better germination, and growing stronger, healthier plants.
If these sheets encourage you to develop your seedsaving further, try & get hold of one of the books listed at the end, which will cover all of the species not listed here & give you fuller instructions for everything.
Happy seedsaving! Kate & Ben (www.realseeds.co.uk)
Broad beans will cross with other varieties that are growing nearby. So if you want to keep your variety pure, you need to isolate them in some way. Theoretically you should aim for at least half a mile between varieties. In practice, in a built up area, fences, trees and houses will all reduce insect flight. This means you should have minimal crossing even with beans much closer than half a mile so long as none of your immediate neighbours are growing different varieties of bean.
In an open situation like an allotment, you can physically isolate plants. Broad bean pollen is transferred by insects working the flowers, but the plants will also self pollinate, so if you can exclude insects at flowering time, say by a covering of fleece, your seed crop will be pure.
Rob Avis is Director of Verge Permaculture.
Wicking beds are a unique and increasingly popular way to grow vegetables. They are self-contained raised beds with built-in reservoirs that supply water from the bottom up – changing how, and how much, you water your beds. In this article, we’ll talk about how wicking beds work and why we love them. We’ll also show you some great examples and leave you with ideas and instructions for creating your own.
How Wicking Beds Work
A wick works through capillary action – the same force you observe when you dip a piece of tissue paper partially into a glass of water and watch the water climb the paper. Wicking occurs in many materials; cotton, wool, geo-textile, soil, gravel and even wood to some degree. Every material has different wicking properties which you can test by placing that material into a glass of water and watching the water “climb” up. When one end of the wick is saturated and the other end is dry, it creates a moisture gradient, which drives the wick until the gradient no longer exists or you run out of water.
A group of community-minded gardeners have turned a former Athens airport into a blooming vegetable plot, showing how Greece’s eroded soil holds the keys to a revival in farming and a way to buck the jobless trend.
‘If we want to survive on this land we must first help to heal the earth,’ said Nicola Netién, agro-ecologist, teacher and co-creator of the NGO Permaculture Research Institute Hellas. He was talking to a group of some fifty people of all ages who had gathered for two days of workshops on self-sufficiency, how to self-organize, agro-ecology and composting. This small gathering was taking place on a beautifully sunny autumn day at the former Athens airport, Ellinikon.