Saturday, April 02, 2005

Allium Sativum

Allium sativum (garlic)
Repels: Japanese beetle, aphids, fungus, root maggots, snails, carrot root fly, red spider mites
Guild: Roses, raspberries, tomatoes, peach
Dislike peas.
Propagation: cloves planted in 3~5cm deep soil. Chill cloves in fridge for several weeks before planting. Bend flower and foliage to the ground or cut them off to cause plant to focus energy on the bulbs.
5 months to maturity. Harvest when leaves dry.
Accumulates sulfur

Grows best in pH 6.0 to 7.0. Needs irrigation in summer when bulbs are forming.

Garlic is prone to onion maggots. Sprinkling a fair amount of cayenne pepper, ginger, dill or chili powder on the ground around the plant is reported to be effective against these pests.
Garlic juice can be used against some plant pests and diseases. Some recommend mixing it with mineral oil and pure soap as an insecticide. It’s effective against aphids, cabbageworms, leafhoppers, mosquito larvae, squash bugs and whiteflies. It works on some fungi and some problem nematodes. To prepare the solution, set 1/3 cup of minced garlic in 2 teaspoons of mineral oil for 24 hours. Add 500ml of water and about 5-6ml of liquid dish soap. Mix the solution and strain it. Add one or two tablespoons of this solution to 500ml of water to make an insecticidal spray.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Some Thoughts on Edge

For those not familiar with permaculture, edge is the boundary between two elements. Examples of edge include the boundary between land and sky, water and sky, or water and land.

Edge is where all the action takes place. Fish congregate around structures in a lake and not at some neutral middle point in a lake (if they do, it is always around a temperature boundary). Deciduous trees generally lose their leaves from the outside edges first where the wind gets at them and knocks them loose. The nutrients from your food are absorbed into your body via the stomach wall and intestinal walls – ie. an edge. Gas exchange in hemoglobin occurs via the cell wall.

However, the importance of edge is not limited to the biological world. If one looks, the same patterns are found in the social world, for better or for worse. Health insurance did not arrive in Germany in1883 via a sudden kind-hearted decision of policy-makers. It came from a movement that started as a fringe and came to define the course of that nation’s history. Similarly, when universal suffrage was guaranteed in the United States in 1965 (ie. guaranteeing voting rights for Black voters), it again was not the result of the kind acts of powerful elites. It was the result of a “fringe” that spread its ideas; and those ideas came to define the society as a whole. (The same can also be said of regressive elements in society – eg. fascism.)

With this in mind, the permaculture “fringe” can understand its role in its attempt to change the structure of our societies. This “fringe” has reached its its tipping point in Australia and is now mainstream. In the world of international development aid, permaculture (or permaculture systems operating under a different name) are now recognised as the only design systems that can yield a truly sustainable result, and, as such, are right on a tipping point in that sphere.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Getting started...

This blog will be an organic outpouring of ideas, observations and plans relating to permaculture. The problem with such an endeavor is not finding material. Rather it is where to begin with a field as vast as permaculture.

As such, chaos is inevitable. Not everything can be placed into neat little categories. However, I shall do what I can to maintain some semblance of order for the readers (assuming there are any).

With that said, let’s get this ball rolling…