Full-season, low-maintenance, part-shade flower garden

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Mon, 09/27/2021 - 11:31

A client contacted me last year to design a permaculture garden for her. A sector analysis showed that she had a lot of sunny spots that were just grass and a lot of rain runoff converging on her driveway in a problematic fashion. However, she wanted me to focus instead on designing a flower garden for the shaded southern end of the property, just north of the neighbor's row of arbor vitae.

Finding a New Niche

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Wed, 04/28/2021 - 09:43

Since moving to Omaha in 2018, I've been slow to re-establish my permaculture consultancy here. On the one hand it's frustrating: I'm eager to make a difference! But on the other hand, there are a number of good reasons to take it slow. Here are some of them.

I'm not a rancher! What can I do to rebuild soil?

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Fri, 02/12/2021 - 17:40

I've decided to release the 2018 print edition of my 2017 book, I'm Not a Rancher! What Can I Do to Rebuild Soil? into the Creative Commons at archive.org.

At just 34 pages plus endnotes, the book is a primer intended to address the frustration of home gardeners who have just learned that the best way to build soil is to intensively graze livestock on it. While that remains true, there are still plenty of things that can be done on the home scale!

Share and enjoy.

The Phosphorus Paradox with Dr. Christine Jones

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Thu, 12/10/2020 - 17:53

Dr. Christine Jones gave another mindblowing talk on Tuesday for the Green Cover Seed conference, this year via Zoom. Her topic was how phosphorus cycles in healthy and unhealthy soils, and why most farm soils already have more than enough phosphorus to last a century.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv288F4TXbo

Mixed Vegetable Polyculture Trials

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Sun, 03/29/2020 - 19:37

This 2015 study by Naomi Van der Velden mobilized citizen scientists from around the UK to compare the productivity of highly diverse garden beds to less diverse ones. The results suffer from small sample size (n=50 to start, but only 24 completed the trial): no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Participants felt that the more diverse plots were harder to tend and had more damage from pests and disease than the less diverse plots.