PermaDesign: Commentary
 
 

Commentary


 
 

Articles by Nate Downey and Melissa McDonald.

Special thanks to the West's oldest newspaper, the Santa Fe New Mexican, for publishing 'Permaculture in Practice,' Nate's monthly column, since December 1998.


May, 2017

Permaculture in Practice — The 31 flavors of landscape design

We need to be aware of the land-oriented characteristics that the client has already observed, as well as what has not yet been observed.
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April, 2017

Permaculture in Practice — Salman's back, spawning passion, plants

On a recent tour of Salman’s Waterwise Gardening facility located in the back portion of the old Santa Fe Greenhouses property, subtle explosions of crimson and orange beckoned me from deep inside the wide-open door of a newly built greenhouse.
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March, 2017

Permaculture in Practice — The future is bright -- and fishy

Shultz teaches with Ivy League authority, southern hospitality, and an enchanting and creative open-mindedness that fits in well with New Mexico.
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February, 2017

Permaculture in Practice — Santa Fe honored as desert lab rat

It’s significantly less expensive to prevent urban runoff from picking up dirt upstream than it is to remove those same pollutants downstream.
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January, 2017

Permaculture in Practice — Make America smart again

America has been made great by its commitment to serious problem-solving.
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December, 2016

Permaculture in Practice — Following Michelle's example

If a super-busy first lady can do it, you can, too.
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November, 2016

Permaculture in Practice — Death is the father of duty

Like any paradigm-shifting bloke, Mollison was a profound thinker and a charismatic communicator.
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October, 2016

Permaculture in Practice — Native challenges and gardening wisdom

As corporate America and indigenous America openly clash, I’d like to honor the Native people of this land by sharing with you one of my favorite practical gardening techniques.
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September, 2016

Permaculture in Practice — Picture perfection with Charles Mann

Beauty isn’t everything unless you see it in its pure Platonic form.
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August, 2016

Permaculture in Practice — Biophilia? I feel ya

As it turns out, the science is pretty clear: People heal faster, work more effectively, learn more, and feel better when nature is used to soften our homes, workplaces, civic spaces, and landscapes.
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June, 2016

The Santa Fe New Mexican — Adaptive design conference set for Santa Fe

As a fan of words and ideas, the conference’s theme, The Art of Adaptive Design, was big a draw.
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May, 2016

Permaculture in Practice — Backyard chickendom advances

Two score and seven years ago, real-estate developers broke ground on a new subdivision.
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April, 2016

Green Fire Times — COULD RAINWATER HARVESTING SOLVE FLINT'S WATER CRISIS?

What about all those people that are last on the list for new pipes?
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April, 2016

Permaculture in Practice — Slow it. Flow it. Grow it.

We also need to take seriously our responsibility to heal our challenged soils.
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March, 2016

Permaculture in Practice — The soil likes compost, and sweat

Double digging typically starts with several good-sized piles of homemade compost, and it ends with that same compost mixed 24 inches deep into the soil.
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February, 2016

Permaculture in Practice — Bring back the wolf

We leave the fifth zone mostly alone. Here, nature runs wild.
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January, 2016

Permaculture in Practice — Oh, no! Nate's gone paleo!

Inspired by a friend’s five-minute Toastmasters presentation, for the next 30 days I ate like a caveman: eggs, meat, fish, fruits, nuts, seeds, and lots of veggies.
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December, 2015

Permaculture in Practice — Harvest the rain with a garden

In large rain events, water fills the dissipater and overflows into a meandering, rock-lined dry-creek bed.
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November, 2015

Permaculture in Practice — Property boasts a nurtured vitality

My mind was fully blown there in 1992 when Bill Mollison, the charismatic first prophet of permaculture, taught a two-week intensive class about how to save the world.
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October, 2015

Permaculture in Practice — State's book freed by Patti's tenacity

As humans wake to the challenging water situation we face, I’m happy to report that Roof-Reliant Landscaping has stood the test of time.
Read this article.

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October 2015

Green Fire Times — A RIVER RUNS THROUGH US

There are many ways that the public can contribute to the revitalization of the river.
Read/download this article.


September, 2015

Permaculture in Practice — A mine is a terrible thing to waste

Let’s remember that water harvesting could be seen as localized infrastructure development.
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August, 2015

Permaculture in Practice — A glossary of liquid assets

Words for Water in the Southwest
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July 15, 2015

Permaculture in Practice — Confessions of a Reformed Pumice User

I used to rationalize that using pumice was worth it because of the efficient and productive ways that it harvests rain — with no moving parts and at an affordable cost. Now, for the last few years, I have replaced pumice with Growstone and have found it to be equally effective and much more conscientious.
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June, 2015

Permaculture in Practice — It was a wild day for kids' fishing

All anyone needed was an adventuresome child under 12 and a willingness to troll along at dawn on a Saturday.
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May, 2015

Permaculture in Practice — Springtime and necessary tarp shenanigans

My favorite technique for preventing frost-burnt blossoms comes from the opening scene of a Chekhov short story.
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April, 2015

Permaculture in Practice — Reading land in New Mexico

Although my 2015 lineup is still in its formative stages, I know that I will be fostering an ecological theme starting with Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac.
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March, 2015

Permaculture in Practice — It's morning for a living river

In a sense, our river died for all three reasons, but we can bring it back to life.
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March, 2015

Green Money Journal — Water Harvesting is Poised to Invigorate the Job Market and Save the World

Looking west, I could distinguish the dwindling rivers, disappearing reservoirs, and declining aquifers of Texas.
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February, 2015

Permaculture in Practice — ‘Damriddle’ planned for Gila River

Although the term is derived from the aforementioned boondoggle, “damriddle” does not have to be used in the context of a dam project that threatens New Mexico’s last wild river.
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February, 2015

Letters to the editor — Burns needed

Ours is a fire-dependent environment, and Aldo Leopold knew it.
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December, 2014

Permaculture in Practice — Bounce back better, 2015 and beyond

The quick and easy read covers the complex subject of “investing” with clarity, structure, wisdom, and humor.
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November, 2014

Permaculture in Practice — Focus on water for a secure future

The problem with the water-harvesting industry is that the price of a cistern is often compared to the price of tap water from community water systems.
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October, 2014

Permaculture in Practice — The reign of rain

Water harvesting provides a perfect storm of economic activity in which a vital and relatively clean resource is easily tapped.
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September, 2014

Permaculture in Practice — Get active. Think passive.

In this age of inexpensive apps, strong plastics, and easily overnighted technology, passive water harvesting would seem almost anachronistic if it were not for its relatively low cost and high yield.
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June 2014

SF GREEN — Loving Water: Preserve, Protect and Drink

The City Different happens to be four years into a drought ranging from Texas to California, but unlike other places this town already has a long history reflecting a deep respect for the elixir of life. Read/download this article.


May, 2014

Permaculture in Practice — Ramifications of the no-hens rule

Fortunately, the three families who are being sued by Eldorado’s current board are continuing to fight against one magistrate’s myopia, but they need our help.
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May, 2014

Bienvenidos 2014 — Water Conservation: A Practical Guide

It’s hard to absorb important information if you’re dehydrated.
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April, 2014

Permaculture in Practice — Pumping water for plants, exercise

Let’s remember that water harvesting could be seen as localized infrastructure development.
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March, 2014

Permaculture in Practice — On water, time’s running out for Texas

The problem is that in most cases, aquifers are slow to recharge, so neighbors pump against neighbors in an ugly race to the bottom.
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February, 2014

Permaculture in Practice — Water wisdom brewing in New Mexico Senate

You never know when your well will run dry or when your community water system is going to be rationed — or worse.
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January, 2014

Permaculture in Practice — Some nights before solstice

‘Twas some nights before solstice when all through the beds, The creatures were stirring. Some soon could lose heads!
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December, 2013

Permaculture in Practice — A tale of two drought strategies

One measure would create a tax credit for residential and commercial property owners who install cistern systems.
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November, 2013

Permaculture in Practice — Cheat sheet for the next mayor

Wouldn’t it be great if our next mayor and city council became intensely committed to such a water-stimulated economy?
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October, 2013

Permaculture in Practice — Synergistic living near SFCC

All friends of Jen and Diego are welcome to come as well as anyone who may be interested in renting this magical place.
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August, 2013

The Santa Fe New Mexican — The City Different is also redundant

Finally, and perhaps most important, is that our population is generally very conscious about the need to respect water on many levels.
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August, 2013

Permaculture in Practice — SFCC offers homegrown buffet of wisdom

Now, in less than a year, a bountiful garden has produced 100 pounds of chard and kale, two crops of lettuce, and all sorts of edible alliums, greens, herbs, and root crops.
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July, 2013

Permaculture in Practice — The Journey Home came too soon

He was a connector of people and ideas and on this interconnected globe our mainstream culture needs to stumble across the crazy places like Santa Fe.
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June, 2013

Permaculture in Practice — A no-pest proposal

For too long the company has been paying out fines for damages.
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April, 2013

Permaculture in Practice — Francis gives us a chance for hope

For too long the company has been paying out fines for damages.
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April, 2013

The New York Times — To the Editor:

Rather than allowing rain and snow to evaporate or cause pollution from runoff downstream, we can use these wasted resources in a variety of ways.
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March, 2013

Permaculture in Practice — Mulching? There's an app for that

For too long the company has been paying out fines for damages.
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February, 2013

Permaculture in Practice — Happy B'day, Santa Fe Permaculture!

Santa Fe Permaculture (SFP) turns 20 this spring.
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November, 2012

Permaculture in Practice — Losers win fowl war

Thanks to the 1,000 people who choose not to vote, Eldorado's bylaws will remain sloppily written and completely unchanged.
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October 2012

Permaculture in Practice — Credit union flies coop, lands on bank

As a financial institution created by and for the people who "believe' in the ethics of permaculture, the PCU has loaned over $15 million during the course of its 12 year history.
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September* 2012

Permaculture in Practice — St. Michael's Drive wants you!

What would you do with 50 million gallons of water?
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August* 2012

Permaculture in Practice — Grass can be greener on your side

One of the interesting characteristics of high-desert storm events revolves around how localized their epicenters can be.
Read/download this article.


July 2012

Permaculture in Practice — New roofwater calculator aids design plans

With your last click, an estimated number of gallons will instantly pop up at the bottom-left side of your screen.
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May 2012

Permaculture in Practice — Chickens can be pets and much more

Our feathered friends provide healthy food, free fun, fascinating beauty, great soil, and a sense of purpose in life.
Read/download this article.


April 2012

Permaculture in Practice — Save thousands with site selection

Today, I have a story about a pernicious weed.
Read/download this article.


February 2012

Permaculture in Practice — 'Gather your people and plant the fields'

The political landscape seems much more open to positive political change than at any point in my adult life, but how will this energy be taken to the next level?
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January 2012

Permaculture in Practice — Wintertime gardening activities

In a way, you need community to grow a garden.
Read/download this article.


December 2011

Permaculture in Practice — Perfect gift certificate for local nursery

In addition to plants, most of the nurseries also sell garden tools, organic soil building products, and - my favorite - books.
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October 2011

Permaculture in Practice — Permaculture Credit Union an earth-friendly alternative

Permaculturalists often say that you can’t care for the Earth without caring for people, and you can’t care for people without caring for the Earth.
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September 2011

Permaculture in Practice — Slow Money picks up pace

Since the turn of this century, the alternative-banking institution has slowly and steadily grown.
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July 2011

Green Fire Times — POWER TO THE PATTERN

In space, patterns denote constants that move, store and produce energy.
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July 2011

Permaculture in Practice — Parade of Coops planned for July

There’s a couple with a two-story chicken coop all decked out with a skylight, canales, vigas, a flagstone patio, and a “poultry promenade.”
Read/download this article.


June 2011

Sustainable Santa Fe — FOR THE LOVE OF BIKING

Wear bright colors, employ hand signals, and always use lights at night.
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June 2011

Edible Santa Fe — Relationship Skills

Guild members perform more than one function, increasing the overall productivity dramatically.
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June 2011

Permaculture in Practice — A sad song for New Orleans

The Biloxi, Chickasaw, and Mississippi Delta natives knew not to establish permanent residence.
Read/download this article.


May 2011

Permaculture in Practice — Veto crushes bike-safety bill

Senator Peter Wirth’s bill would have made it illegal for motor vehicles to pass bicycles without providing a five-foot buffer.
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April 2011

Sustainable Santa Fe — A trip down Greywater Lane

The most critical step is to make sure that greywater is not stored and pumped.
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February 2011

Permaculture in Practice — Let’s get that ol’ river running

Permaculture philosophy states that, in nature, the user must pay for resources consumed.
Read/download this article.


January 2011

Sustainable Santa Fe — For the Love of Biking

Solutions Rising — Sustainability and Cycling
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December 2010

The Buckley Letter — Gradual Greening

Aristotle warned 2,300 years ago that habits are difficult, almost impossible, to change.
Read/Download this article.


November 2010

Permaculture in Practice — Greenhouse bust backfires on cops, us

The solution simply depends on when will we grow up and admit this.
Read/download this article.


October 2010

Permaculture in Practice — Oh, boy. Sunflower tunnels!

Wind protection can also be a critical factor in establishing a successful tunnel, and it is helpful if your rows are lined up on level ground.
Read/download this article.


September 2010

Permaculture in Practice — Think globally, read locally

From this perspective, I have no choice but to suggest that readers of this local column read my locally written, locally focused, and locally published book.
Read/download this article.


August 2010

Permaculture in Practice — Grass can be greener on your side of fence

One of the interesting chacteristics of high-desert storm events revolves around how localized their epicenters can be.
Read/download this article.


August 2010

Edible Santa Fe — compost this

A place in the shade near a water source with enough room to turn the pile is best.
Read/download this article.


June 2010

Permaculture in Practice — Uncle Sam wants you to garden

Compared to the average Afghani, very few of us a clue as to how to grow food and produce useful things - let alone energy.
Read/download this article.


June 2010

Sustainable Santa Fe — HARVEST FROM THE SKIES

You can generate life wherever you roam.
Read/download this article.


May 2010

Fine Gardening — focal-point-plants

Red-hot poker might be the most arresting focal-point plant for the Southwest
Read/download this article.


May 2010

Permaculture in Practice — Rethinking ye olde swale strategy

However, based on my experience, my opinion of earthen swales is evolving.
Read/download this article.


May 2010

Alumni Horae — Right as Rain

Right as Rain — Harnessing the Power of Precipitation
Read/download this article.


March 2010

Permaculture in Practice — Happy Birthday Earth Day (Part 1)

The best part of the expo will be the two-day water-harvesting course taught by a highly charismatic and knowledgeable extension-service agent from central Texas named Billy Kniffen.
Read/download this article.


February 2010

Permaculture in Practice — Water lovers, unite!

Our Economy requires growth, and our aquifers and rivers can provide only a limited supply of water for this growth.
Read/download this article.


January 2010

Permaculture in Practice — Both slips and gains in 09

Closer to home, policies to be proud of actually gained ground.
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January 2010

Sustainable Santa Fe — A Resource Guide

Harvest from the skies — Anyone can harvest rain.
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December 2009

Santa Fe Reporter — The biggest sleeper story of 2009

-so to bring in plumbers at $85-an-hour wages as opposed to cistern guys, who are paid more like landscapers, wouldn't be prohibitively expensive.
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December 2009

Permaculture in Practice — Water, not space, is next frontier

Although Ransom has taken great pains to keep the program simple, one important exception complicates matters.
Read/download this article.


November 2009

Permaculture in Practice — When crisis happens, use it

In permacultural philosophy, we also recognize the relationship between crisis and opportunity.
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October 2009

Permaculture in Practice — Tangled up in blue skies

Perhaps the best reason to bike revolves around the experience itself.
Read/download this article.


September 2009

Permaculture in Practice — Go forth and synergize

Community water harvesting recognizes the power people have to harvest water in groups.
Read/download this article.


August 2009

Permaculture in Practice — The many-hued character of water

Fortunately, we live in a great place for developing these technologies, and we live at a perfect time to be carving out new and desperately-needed niches in the marketplace.
Read/download this article.


July 2009

Permaculture in Practice — A bridge to somewhere

Now, I’ve got mountain bluebirds, house finches, sparrows, a couple of orioles and a number of other avian friends I can’t identify.
Read/download this article.


June 2009

Permaculture in Practice — Big dams suck

We’ve always known that myriad faunal species are affected negatively by big dams, but it turns out such structures are one of the primary causes of fish extinction.
Read/download this article.


May 2009

Permaculture in Practice — I’ve got your TARP money right here...

But keep in mind that at least 51 percent of your precious life should be spent looking for ways to improve your state of affairs, not to protest it.
Read/download this article.


April 2009

Permaculture in Practice — Roof-Reliant Landscaping:

In order to accomplish this, we needed sections on appropriate landscape design, careful cost estimating, conservative water budgeting, and step-by-step information about the collection, conveyance, storage, and safe and efficient redistribution of precipitation.
Read/download this article.


September 2008

Permaculture in Practice — Holy precipitation, Eco-Man!

Given expected increase in human populations worldwide and our propensity to overuse conventional water supplies, human beings seem to be running out of water at a dangerous pace.
Read/download this article.


June 2008

Permaculture in Practice — Healing ourselves, healing our planet

The question then becomes: how do we get to that place of “reorganization/recovery”?
Read/download this article.


June 2008

Sun Monthly — Nate Downey

Simultaneously, I became addicted to bicycle transportation, so I'm happy about no longer being a 36-inch waist.
Read/download this article.


April 2008

Permaculture in Practice — Gradual greening

Gradual greening’s challenge, of course, is to incentivize approximately one billion 10-minute donations over a 30-year period, which brings us back to stories about our increasingly medicated drinking water.
Read/download this article.


March 2008

Permaculture in Practice — Dissecting tank species

A second benefit of unseen cisterns is that they provide more useable real estate.
Read/download this article.


January 2008

Permaculture in Practice — Oil and gas deal could come up as aces

We can force Tecton to fold its cards and go home, or we can sit back and watch our property values take a major dive. It’s your call.
Read/download this article.


December 2007

Permaculture in Practice — Local shopping produces ripple effects

Whenever we spend our hard-earned cash on products and services that are provided by non-local companies, a significant percentage of that money leaves town.
Read/download this article.


November 2007

Permaculture in Practice — Get fit, grow rich, find bliss while saving planet

It wasn’t until five years after moving here that I discovered my innate love for gardening.
Read/download this article.


September 2007

Permaculture in Practice — Smith cuts emerald in parade crown

Under the noonday sun, its thick walls and Puebloesque rooflines almost hummed in harmony.
Read/download this article.


August 2007

Permaculture in Practice — Homewise is where the heart is

But the most wonderful aspect of the proposed Homewise project is its affordability.
Read/download this article.


July 2007

Permaculture in Practice — Buzz heard' round world might save it

With all the air holes on the sides of the carton, I fully expected to hear something.
Read/download this article.


June* 2007

Permaculture in Practice — Be different: water wisely

I'm not sure why people insist on buying economic boondoggles and environmental disasters, but it doesn't have to be this way.
Read/download this article.


June 2007

Permaculture in Practice — Anti_war? Take to the streets!

Cycling on the sidewalk is unsafe even where visibility is not an issue.
Read/download this article.


May 2007

Permaculture in Practice — School cultivates crops, conscientiousness

Horses, sheep, goats, turkeys, and chickens are among the teachers, as are the large greenhouses and manifold rows of vegetable crops, legumes, berry bushes and fruit trees.
Read/download this article.


April 2007

Permaculture in Practice — Words carve space for permanent culture

This column landed under my lintel seven years ago when Christopher Peck, one of the Southwest’s most talented permaculture teachers, took wing for greener pastures. Read/download this article.


March 2007

Permaculture in Practice — Beware! The child of golf has come!

That's because desert golf is a vice that robs water from future generations for the purpose of temporarily gratifying a privileged few.
Read/download this article.


February 2007

Permaculture in Practice — Can we save us from ourselves?

The reason for this is that nagging second law of politics.
Read/download this article.


January 2007

Permaculture in Practice — Head-up Dept.: Keep a lid on it

Amsterdam (pop. 1.2 million), it is said, has more bicycles than people.
Read/download this article.


July 2006

Permaculture in Practice — A most wet proposal

A solution to the so-called water "problem" might be staring us straight in the face.
Read/Download this article.


June 2006

Permaculture in Practice — A watershed of info in new book

In fact, as water resources become increasingly scarce, "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands" may prove to be one of the seminal books of our time.
Read/Download this article.


May 2006

Permaculture in Practice — A revolution by any other name...

Roof-reliant landscapes are beautiful places that use appropriate plantings.
Read/Download this article.


April 2006

Permaculture in Practice — Cisterns are heart of water conservation

Any impervious surface(and even many partially permeable surfaces) can be considered as a water collection or catchment area.
Read/download this article.


March 2006

Permaculture in Practice — Landscape design is a scientific art

Landscape design is the illustrated component of the plan.
Read/download this article.


February* 2006

Permaculture in Practice — In wake of flood, plan regional exodus

Ironically the problem is about having less water in the river, not more.
Read/download this article.


February 2006

Permaculture in Practice — On water-wise landscape design.

Water-wise landscape design starts with water budgeting.
Read/download this article.


January 2006

Permaculture in Practice — Compost, burn dead tree in your living room

In the past, if we weren't enjoying the tress that my parents or in-laws had, we'd either get a live one or use a houseplant.
Read/download this article.


November 2005

Permaculture in Practice — Vital Valley worthy of preservation

Much of New Mexico's wealth comes directly from our reputation for pristine wilderness.
Read/download this article.


September 2005

Sun Monthly — Beam Us Up, Kenny!

For the last three years the conference has sold out three weeks in advance, and conference organizers say that 2005 will likely break previous records.
Read/download this article.


August 2005

Permaculture in Practice — Beam me up - bioneers coming to NM

On the frontier of the movement to save civilization from itself, bioneers demonstrate practical solutions to our planet's problems.
Read/download this article.


July 2005

Permaculture in Practice — Noble lie in the desert: plastic grass

By the time you consider all the above factors, you'll see that faux turf, at about $10 per square foot installed, is a bargain.
Read/download this article.


June 2005

Sustainable Santa Fe — A Permacultural Paradigm

In order for our food systems to be sustainable, we need to produce a supermajority of our food locally.
Read/download this article.


June 2005

Permaculture in Practice — Summer offers variety of eco-activities

Here's a smattering of worthwhile, permaculture-oriented events taking place in northern New Mexico during the next few weeks.
Read/download this article.


May 2005

Permaculture in Practice — Exploring the edges of things

Make sure that you provide east- or north-side access to the wonderfully shady microclimate that you will create inside the teepee.
Read/download this article.


April 2005

Permaculture in Practice — Squeeze water from stone this summer

What tourists and hypothermia-prone locals might not know is that daily temperature extremes swing outrageously here.
Read/download this article.


March 2005

Letter to the Editor — PASSING THE TEST

The recent questionnaire was not unlike your precious questionnaires in which we learn about the candidates via their answers to mostly non-essential trivia questions.
Read/download this article.


March 2005

Permaculture in Practice — On water and the meaning of mud

The good news is that there are numerous ways of to reduce mud, while controlling erosion and harvesting precipitation.
Read/download this article.


February 2005

Permaculture in Practice — Lots to learn at Xeriscape Council forum

The extensive lineup of exhibitors and seminars will be free on Saturday.
Read/download this article.


January 2005

Permaculture in Practice — Warm your table with year-round garden

Yet the fact remains that our food supply is threatened on many fronts, simply because a couple of generations ago we lost our ability to grow our basic needs locally.
Read/download this article.


December 2004

Permaculture in Practice — Add life to old pane

For most folks the best first step toward providing a family's worth of fresh vegetables in every season is to build a few cold frames.
Read/download this article.


November 2004

Permaculture in Practice — Good news: free press means mulch!

The good news is that this newsprint makes wonderful mulch and weed barrier.
Read/download this article.


September 2004

Permaculture in Practice — Patriots buy at local-based markets

This means that making regular trips to farmers' market throughout the year should be seen not only as something good for you and your family and a practical way to act ethically, but as an easy way to be patriotic.
Read/download this article.


July 2004

Permaculture in Practice — 'Russian Summer' and counterintuition

As Mollison explains in Permaculture: A Designer's Manual, it is not the number of diverse components in a system that leads to stability it is the number of beneficial connections among the various components that does so.
Read/download this article.


June 2004

Permaculture in Practice — How to select a building site

When buying a property, the characteristics of an ideal building site should be understood.
Read/download this article.


May 2004

Permaculture in Practice — Pig-out! Observation can be feast for senses

Due to our busy lifestyles it's easy to impose preconceived notions on systems that are calling for design (or redesign).
Read/download this article.


February 2004

Permaculture in Practice — Erosion control: Start small, start now

Revegitation, increased biodiversity, the recharging of the aquifer and deceased sedimentation downstream are all positive effects of any successful erosion-control project.
Read/download this article.


January 2004

Permaculture in Practice — Fireproof promptly with proper pummeling

It doesn't matter if your tress are currently desiccated or just waiting patiently to be moved forward from the bark beetle's back burner.
Read/download this article.


January 2004

El Dorado — Dead Piñons Beget Opportunity for Creativity

Observation of tree rings shows that drought cycles are surprisingly predictable.
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December 2003

Permaculture in Practice — On saving water with cisterns and barrels

In average years this should translate into savings of about 20,000 gallons of water per year per structure on the small side of the scale.
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October 2003

Permaculture in Practice — Grass to reclaim New Mexico circa 2050

One of the best ways to build soil in the desert is to contour your land in order to harvest precipitation.
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September 2003

Permaculture in Practice — Blame sheep, not beetles, for dying trees

No, the story of the piñon demonstrates why it is important to consider the unintended effects pf technology.
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July 2003

Permaculture in Practice — Compost will bring some life back to your land

Cold Composting is best started whenever large quantities of materials ate available.
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June 2003

Permaculture in Practice — Water budget is a logical middle ground

The power of both these arguments simply points back to the fact that our"water emergency" system has served its purpose but is now no longer useful.
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April 2003

Permaculture in Practice — A bit about EcoVersity; graywater bill OK'd

Classes ($45 to $220) range from one-day workshops to 10 week courses.
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March 2003

Santa Fe Reporter — All in Favor Say Gray

We are very close to having an excellent opportunity to start using gray water safely and efficiently.
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March 2003

Santa Fe Reporter — Nate Downey - Local Expert

The most fundamental system is a precipitation collection system that catches the water that cascades off of your roof during and after every storm.
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March 2003

Permaculture in Practice — Peace is patriotic - and permacultural

We find ourselves at the most decisive point in the evolution of both culture and human consciousness.
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February 2003

Permaculture in Practice — Graywater legislation good for growth

One such solution, which would ease regulations on residential graywater re-use, is pending in the Legislature.
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December 2002

Permaculture in Practice — Harvest a sustainable loan at the PCU

Holiday hangover or not, in this economic climate you might need a loan.
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September 2002

Permaculture in Practice — The pitch for pitched roofs: water catchment

First, when rain and snow hit a pitched roof, water immediately slides down the slope.
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July 2002

Permaculture in Practice — Declaration of independence - from aquifer

We have refused to consider the awsome potential of the resources that fall from the sky and run down our drains.
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June 2002

Permaculture in Practice — Let's not be bird-brained about rainwater

A big advantage to above-ground cisterns is that, in many cases, it is not necessary to use a pump to deliver water to plants.
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May 2002

Permaculture in Practice — Bury pipes to save plants during drought

All you have to do is "plant" small-diameter perforated pipes next to roots of plant material and fill the pipes with gravel.
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April 2002

Permaculture in Practice — Water conservation - we can do more

Onsite treatment systems are safe and efficient, especially if designed and installed properly.
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February 2002

Permaculture in Practice — Analyze these: the forces flowing through your land

First, brainstorm a site-specific list of all the potential forces on your property.
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November 2001

Permaculture in Practice — Zonation: designing your personal ecosystem

Picture a pattern of concentric circles, as the waves that radiate from a pebble dropped in a pond.
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October 2001

Permaculture in Practice — Brother, can you shift your paradigm?

Students of permaculture often talk of "paradigm shifts" after which such an ethical decision is easily made.
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August 2001

Permaculture in Practice — A check from the IRS? Invest in your land

Unlike many investments(including most types of home improvements), the value of a landscape physically grows as plant material grows.
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July 2001

Permaculture in Practice — PC in the rail yard with diamonds

Picture yourself in a home on a small street where out your front door is a beautiful park.
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June 2001

Permaculture in Practice — Buzz on herb spirals: efficient elegance

Herb spirals are one of the most efficient, productive, beautiful and elegant of all permaculture pattern applications.
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May 2001

Permaculture in Practice — Developers could use new approach to water

One of the skills that permaculture tries to help hone is our power of observation.
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April 2001

Permaculture in Practice — Step off straight and narrow for your garden

Curved garden rows protect plants from the effects of our often brutal winds.
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March 2001

Permaculture in Practice — Credit union encourages permaculture ethic

Thanks to over three years of volunteer work by a group of local people, an alternative financial institution has opened in Santa Fe.
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December 2000

Permaculture in Practice — Banking on grass, cooperation in Northern NM

But instead of money grasslands are loaned.
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November 2000

Permaculture in Practice — A short course: How to make pumice wicks

Of course, the main function of pumice wicks is to harvest rainwater, but another function is that they control erosion.
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October 2000

Permaculture in Practice — Use pipe, saw and gravel for plant-watering aid

You can either follow the steps below or invent your own method using the basic concept of getting water to plants roots, a variety of materials and a little ingenuity.
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September 2000

Permaculture in Practice — Passive solar design works well in Santa Fe

Passive solar architecture applies appropriate site selection and solar orientation in combination with thermal mass, insulation and ventilation to control indoor temperatures.
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August 2000

Permaculture in Practice — Sowing Seeds: It's just like Being There'

Diversity is especially effective when mixes include warm- and cool-season species.
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June 2000

Permaculture in Practice — Keep fire in mind when selecting building site

We are oblivious to nature's power - just as nature is oblivious to whomever thinks he has the power to own her.
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April 2000

Permaculture in Practice — An Australian experience with cisterns

Compared to the efficient and sustainable roofwater-catchment systems of the Aussies and Kiwis, our water delivery system is and energy-inefficient process that borders on the ridiculous.
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December 1999

Permaculture in Practice — Recycle graywater to conserve water resource

For health reasons graywater should not be used above ground.
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November 1999

Permaculture in Practice — Developers's task; See solution in problem

Imagine how much more beautiful and comfortable our subdivisions would be if stormwater was given a chance to percolate into the local soil.
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October 1999

Permaculture in Practice — Microclimates make time travel easy, gopher deterrence

Here in our high altitude desert, extending our growing season usually translates into increasing the temperature of a place.
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September 1999

Permaculture in Practice — Try a hawk pole for rabbit, gopher deterrence

Hawk poles serve as the bird of prey equivalent of a drive-thru restaurant.
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August 1999

Permaculture in Practice — Beauty and ethics at play in landscaping

All edible plants that become part of the local landscape give us an attractive opportunity.
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July 1999

Permaculture in Practice — Mulch to retain moisture for your plants

The time to mulch is now.
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June 1999

Permaculture in Practice — Understanding fire sparks smart choices

Most people looking for a homes and land find it difficult to make fire damage prevention a high priority.
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May 1999

Permaculture in Practice — Trees useful in preventing wind damage

It would be a paradise here except for those almost unbearable April winds.
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March 1999

Permaculture in Practice — Control erosion to preserve property value

Every element in a system should be multi-functional
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February 1999

Permaculture in Practice — Reduce impact of dry winter

Of course, "nice weather is really a matter of perspective.
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February 1999

Permaculture in Practice — How to choose a Y2K-compliant property

What a Y2K Friendly" property might look like
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December 1998

Permaculture Drylands Journal — The Word on Edge

The Word on Edge
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Dec 1997

Permaculture Drylands Journal — New Mexico Grows Permaculture Politics

Permaculture and Green Politics
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September 1997

The Permaculture Activist — The Bunyip Level

You can easily make your own bunyip.
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April 1997

Permaculture Drylands Journal — Hoofing It Toward Sustainability

At best, we listen to our bodies, and talk with good nutritionist and holistic doctors.
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