How to Plant an Iroquois Garden

Three sisters“According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters who only grow and thrive together. This tradition of interplanting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, widespread among Native American farming societies, is a sophisticated, sustainable system that provided long-term soil fertility and a healthy diet to generations.” 

“Corn provides a natural pole for bean vines to climb. Beans fix nitrogen on their roots, improving the overall fertility of the plot by providing nitrogen to the following years corn. Bean vines also help stabilize the corn plants, making them less vulnerable to blowing over in the wind. Shallow-rooted squash vines become a living mulch, shading emerging weeds and preventing soil moisture from evaporating, thereby improving the overall crops chances of survival in dry years. Spiny squash plants also help discourage predators from approaching the corn and beans. The large amount of crop residue from this planting combination can be incorporated back into the soil at the end of the season, to build up the organic matter and improve its structure.” Read more: 1 / 2 / 3.

Straw Bale Gardening

straw bale gardening

“Straw Bale Gardening is simply a different type of container gardening. The main difference is that the container is the straw bale itself and is held together with two or three strings.”

“Once the straw inside the bale begins to decay the straw becomes ‘conditioned’ compost that creates an extraordinary plant rooting environment. Getting the straw bales conditioned is an essential part of the process, and should be started two weeks prior to your target planting date wherever you are located.”

“This gardening technique works well anywhere in the country or the world for that matter.” Read more: here and here.

Self-Watering Planter From Porous Earthenware

Unglazed clay pot for irrigationIndustrial designer Joey Roth developed a self-watering planter for use indoors or out. It is made from porous unglazed earthenware:

“Soil and plants are placed in the outer donut-shaped chamber, and the center chamber is filled with water. The unglazed terracotta’s natural porosity allows the water to move from the center chamber and into the soil, based on the soil’s moisture (and thus the plant’s need for water). The terracotta wall both regulates and filters the water. A simple lid on the top of the water chamber prevents evaporation.”

The design is based on the Olla, a terracotta pot for irrigation that has been in use for 4,000 years. See also:

Solar Powered Garden Helper Machine

Solar powered garden machine“I really love gardening but I have a bad back and when it comes to staying bent over in the garden it gets rough. So I built this Helper Machine. I call it My P-Machine. Planting/Picking/Pulling weeds/Putting around the garden machine.”

More.

Hat tip to Rob De Schutter.

Sub-irrigated Planters

sub irrigated planters

Sub-irrigated planters are simple devices that allow low-maintenance, low-water consumption container gardening. Appropedia has DIY-instructions, using plastic buckets or bottles.

Previously: Water batteries for trees, How to make your own low-tech vertical farm.

The Agricultural Building and Equipment Plan List: over 300 Free Plans

The Agricultural Building and Equipment Plan List

“The University of Tennessee Extension maintains a collection of over 300 building and equipment plans, and all are now available in electronic format for download. The plans are primarily intended for use in Tennessee, but many are appropriate for other locations as well.

The plans came from many sources. Some were developed in The University of Tennessee Extension Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science Department, but most were developed in a cooperative effort with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Cooperative Farm Building Plan Exchange. The Plan Exchange no longer exists, but the plans remain on file and are available.”

Via The Survivalist Blog.