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Archive | Permaculture

Stories, photos and podcasts about permaculture techniques, including information about healthy pollination tactics. Permaculture is defined as the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

Healthy Pollination: Horizontal Hives Support Natural Beekeeping

A bee pollinates a flower.

A bee pollinates a flower.

Healthy pollination is the goal almost every beekeeper starts with, but it is often easier said than done.

If you have ever dreamed of keep­ing bees but found the process com­plicated, expensive, or the potential for losing your investment to disease and pests all too real, then you have never met Dr. Leo Sharashkin. He is a prominent wild bee enthusiast, edu­cator and apiarist who practices an ancient method of catching and keep­ing wild bees in specially designed horizontal hives.

If you have had the good fortune to meet Sharashkin or to hear him speak to a room full of enthusiastic beekeep­ers or the crowd that inevitably gath­ers around his Horizontal Hive booth at growers’ conferences across the country, you already know that his knowledge of bees is boundless and the methods he uses to keep them, truly inspiring. Whether you are a budding beekeeper or an experienced apiarist, you can keep happy and productive bees with less work and money than you ever imagined pos­sible and do so in a sustainable way.

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Seed Selection: Starting Your Corn Seed Management System

GEM2008_FieldDay_RowsSeed selection is one of the most important tasks a sustainable farmer takes on every year, but knowing what seeds to save takes some experience and expertise.

First, one note: We are entering the science of genetics when selecting seed. Every trait of a corn variety is genetically driven.

Now, we know are primarily interested in harvesting the largest yields possible and must not allow your seed variety selection to place limitations upon your fields. From experience, we know that corn variety numbers vary greatly under certain conditions, and even in identical conditions they may differ in yields as much as 10 to 50 bushels per acre.

Every farmer has his favorite seed corn numbers that consistently produce well. The problem develops when he wants to select some new variety of number to replace some that appear to be playing out. The question becomes, how should he select a new number for test purposes? Does he choose the new number at the recommendation of a seed salesman simply because he is a friend who farms and sells seed as a sideline? Does he take the advice of a part-time salesperson or go elsewhere for advice? Continue Reading →