A banana circle design for a permaculture site in the Dominican Republic.
A banana circle is a valuable permaculture idea. In warmer climate zones where banana trees grow, it is one of the best ways to create a sustainable edible garden. A banana circle incorporates a number of different organic gardening ideas. It is a kind of guild, or polyculture of plants that aid one another in various ways. It also allows gardeners to grow food sustainably, and makes it easier to return surplus to the system and maintain fertility in the ecosystem.
Song thrush with a snail. Flickr
Birds are important in an organic garden. No matter where you live, bird species play a vital role. They help us in our gardens in a wide range of different ways. So let's take a look at why we want birds in our organic gardens, and how we can make sure they visit and stay there throughout the year.
Acacia Saligna – one example of a good nitrogen fixer, fast growing and very drought tolerant. photo from flickr
Pioneer plants are key in establishing new gardens. They play an important role in building fertility, stabilising the soil, and providing the environmental conditions that allow a biodiverse ecosystem to develop. Pioneer species are typically fast growing, and are ideally suited to the climate and conditions of a site. Choosing the right species for where you live can speed up and aid the development of a new organic garden, or in restoration of degraded land.
From ancient times until the end of the 19th century, unique fibers for the production of textile materials have been created. These were fibers of wild plants. They are mostly coarse, strong, tough and produced from kenaf, jute, hemp, and other plants.
Did you know that the air within your home could be eerily similar to that of a space station? The connecting factor is this – the stagnant air, both in your home and the space station, can be a breeding ground for sickness. And seeing as how most people spend about 90% of their time inside, it’s easy to see how this could be a problem! Breathing contaminated air can not only irritate your nasal passages, but it can also cause headaches and sleeping problems.
Stevia rebaudiana is a tender perennial which is considered to be native to Brazil & Paraguay in the genus Stevia of the sunflower family and is commonly known as Sweet herb or sugar leaf.
Stevia is grown for its sweet leaves that contain Steviol glycosides e.g Stevioside & rebaudioside and is considered to have 300 times more sweetness than sugar & declared non-glycemic that do not affect the blood sugar level in patients having diabetes. The name Sweet herb was given by South Americans who had long been using its leaf to sweeten teas & medicines since years.
One of the challenges for cool climate gardeners is the short growing season. It can seem like a race to get plants to maturity and ready for harvest in time before the frosts descend once more. One way to extend the growing season is to start crops indoors, on your windowsills, early in the year. That way, you can sow certain seeds long before your last frost date and improve your chances of a viable harvest. But plants grown inside require hardening off before planting out in your garden. Making a cold frame for your garden could be the perfect solution.
Medusomyces gisevii – this is how scientists call Kombucha or tea fungus. It bears a resemblance to a medusa with its dense light brown, sometimes pinkish jelly-like structure. From a biological point of view, it is not a fungus, not a medusa, or even a single organism, but it is a culture of bacteria and yeast.
In this guide, you can learn a little more about bees and the problems they face, and discover what you can do in your garden to help them (and yourself). You will learn about why natural beekeeping could be part of the solution for our honey bees, and some of the basics to help you get started with this useful and sustainable garden activity.