Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Permaculture advices: water plants

Plants that favour a damp or wet environment. We can find several of these where we currently live in Iceland due to the wet climate, and peat soils.

A wetland for greywater treatment could consist in a first tank where sewage from a settlement tank flows in a tank filled with coarse gravel, and topped by fine gravel and sand, and Phragmites australis. The water sinks and at the bottom flows into another downstream tank, with aeration pipes, and Iris pseudacorus growing in that water, Clean effluent flows at the bottom.

First we list plants that grow in wet meadows and banks, then plants that grow around water edges, and finally plants that grow in the water:

  • Butomaus umbellatus, wet meadow
  • Meadowsweet, medicinal and aromatic, wet meadow, grows in Iceland
  • Blueberries, wet meadows, grows in Iceland
  • Pulicaria dysenteria, wet meadows
  • Ranunculus ficaria, wet banks
  • Giant rhubarb, rheum alexandrae, wet banks
  • Hemp agrimony, wet banks
  • Eucatorium purpureum, wet banks
  • Geum rivale, wet banks, grows in Iceland
  • Iris pseudacorus, wet banks
  • Liatrus spicata, wet banks
  • Lycopus europaeus, wet banks
  • Lythrum salicaria, wet banks
  • Soapwort, soaping plant, wet banks
  • Bistort, wet banks or edges, grows in Iceland
  • Angelica, wet banks, aromatic, grows in Iceland
  • Valerian, wet banks, powerful medicine for sleep, grows in Iceland
  • Levisticum, lovage, tasty aromatic herb, wet banks
  • Juncus, water edge
  • Acorus calamus, water edge
  • Scirpus, bulrush, water edge
  • Water mint, mentha aquatica, water edges
  • Tiger nuts, tasty edible tubers and grows in water edge
  • Veronica beccabunga, water edge or surface, some veronica species grow in Iceland
  • Caltha palustris, water edge and surface, grows in Iceland
  • Water cress, water edge or surface
  • Salix, willows, trees that grow near water edges, grows in Iceland
    • Water hyacinth, water surface
    • Lemma, water surface
    • Walfia, duckweed, water surface
    • Water lily, nymphae tuberosa, water bottom or surface
    • Water chestnut, edible, grows from water bottom
    • Common reed, phragmites communis, shallow water
    • Wild rice, zizania aquatica, shallow water
    • Althea officinalis, salt marsh
    • Menyanthes trifoliata, bogbean, acid bog
    • Myrica gale, bog myrtle, acid bog
    • Sphagnum moss, acid bog or wet woodland
    Some more edible plants that grow near water will be added in soon.

    Sunday, 27 November 2011

    Permaculture advices: fruiting plants

    An enormous range of plants!
    • Amelanchier candensis and lanarkii
    • Strawberry tree, arbutus uneda ("medronho" in Portuguese)
    • Uva-ursi
    • Berberis vulgaris
    • Ornamental quince
    • Hawthorn
    • Azerole, crataegus azarolus
    • Quince, cydonia
    • Russian olive, Eleagnus
    • Fig
    • Alpine strawberry
    • Gaultheria
    • Huckleberry, gaylussacia
    • Sea buckthorn
    • Japanese raisin tree, hovenia dulcis
    • Mahonia
    • Apples
    • Medlar
    • Mulberry, morus nigra
    • Cape gooseberry, physalis
    • Cherry, Apricot, Plum, Peach, Sloe (Prunus, domestica, persica, spinosa)
    • Sumach, Rhus
    • Roses
    • Gooseberry, Black, Red, White Currant (Rubus grossularia, nigrum, rubrum, sativum), cloudberry, blackberry, raspberry, loganberry, arctic brambleberry, japanese wineberry (chamaemorus, fruticasus, idaeus, loganobaccus, arcticus, phoenicolasius)
    • Rowan, sorbus and checkers
    • Elderberry and red berried elder (sambucus racemosa)
    • Vaccinium (blueberry, bilberry, cowberry, cranberry)
    • Pears
    • Orange, lemon, manderin
    • Persimmon, diospyrus
    • Grapes 
    • Pines (some species have good edible seeds)
    • Carob (to make chocolate substitute), ceratonia siliqua
    • Kiwi (in warm climates, stands some hard frosts)
    • Passionfruit (in warm climates, stands some hard frosts)
    • Chestnuts, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts (in warm climates, stands some hard frosts)
    • Peanuts (warm climates, no frost)
    • Bananas, mango, pomegranade (in warm climates and with little to no frost)
    • Pineapple (in greenhouses)
    Come later, as more species will be added in soon

    Carob has fruits that when powdered can be used in cakes as a chocolate substitute. It is really tasty.

    Friday, 25 November 2011

    Permaculture advices: Unusual roots

    Some less common roots:
    • Jerusalem artichokes
    • Garlic mustard, alliaria: horseradish substitute
    • Greater burdock, arctium lappa: boil as vegetable
    • Pleurisy root, asclepias tuberosa: lung tonic
    • Red valerian, centranthus: for soups
    • Chicory: coffee substitute
    • Tiger nuts: dessert/coffee
    • Gentiana lutea: bitte tonic
    • Bog bean, menyanthes: edible root
    • Oca, oxalis tuberosa
    • Evening primrose
    • Common reed, oenathera
    • Chinese artichoke
    • Dandelion: coffee substitute
    • Trapaeolum tuberosum
    • Reed mace, typha latifolia, boiled or grated vegetable
    • Skirret
    • Yacon (very high yields, grow in warm climate, but survive some cold)
    • Sweet potato
    • Air potatoes (warm climates, tubers grow in branches)
    Come later, as more species will be added in soon.

    Oca is a peculiar and colorful tuber from South America

    Wednesday, 23 November 2011

    Permaculture advices: Animal fodder

    Chicken fodder:

    • Bamboo, arundaria macrosperma
    • Shepherds purse, bursa-pastoris
    • Siberian pea tree
    • Carex
    • Chenopodium album
    • Good King Henry
    • Hawthorn
    • Cytisus
    • Fagus, beech
    • Gallium aparine
    • Jerusalem artichoke
    • Lupin
    • Medicago
    • Milium effusum
    • Morus nigra
    • Plantain
    • Oaks
    • Elderberry
    • New Zeland spinach
    • Ulex europaeus
    For chicken, make a circle for forage area, divided in 10 segments. The chicken forage in each area for 6 weeks, then you lime, rake and sow, while moving the chicken to the next circle segment.This circle should have also a shrub/tree wind protection around.

    Animal fodder:
    • Horse chestnut
    • Alnus, high protein
    • Anthoxanthum
    • Bamboo, arundaria racemosa
    • Siberian pea tree, high protein
    • Carex
    • Chestnut
    • Chicory
    • Pampas grass, cortaderia
    • Hawthorn, horses like this
    • Cytisus, high protein
    • Fagus, beech
    • Galega officinalis, milk booster
    • Walnuts
    • Lespedeza
    • Lupin
    • Medicago
    • Melliotus
    • Morus nigra, mulberry
    • Sainfoin, onobrychis
    • Prunus avium
    • Prunus spinosa
    • Oaks
    • Elderberry
    • Comfrey
    • Ulex, gorse

    Monday, 21 November 2011

    Permaculture advices: Soap plants

    Plants that have a high saponin content make a lather with water. But don't expect as much lather like a soap or shampoo. Other plants are healthy washes for various purposes.
    • Horse Chestnut (aesculus hippocastanum)
    • Agaves (agave americana)
    • Fat hen (chenopodium album)
    • Soap lily (chlorogalum pomeridianum)
    • Ragged robin (lychnis flos-cuculi)
    • Pokeweed (phytolacca americana)
    • Poplar (populus trichocarpa)
    • Soap-bark tree (quillaja saponaria)
    • Soapwort (saponaria officinalis)
    • White and red champion (silene alba and dioica)
    • Soapweed (yucca glauca)
    • Shikakai (acacia concinna)
    • Soap nuts (sapindus)
    I am actually working as a soap maker, and making soap out of lye and organic vegetable oils. But naturally I am very much interested in soap producing plants. I have tried shikakai and soapwort, and they foam just a bit, nothing compared to a soap. However they do clean your skin or hair, even without the foam effect, due to their saponins. Below are some herbs useful to use on the hair. I will also post in the future on how to make natural shampoos.

    Hair washing
    • Nettles
    • Horsetail
    • Yarrow
    • Sage
    • Calendula
    • Thyme
    • Amla
    • Henna
    • Hibiscus
    • Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis)
    • Chamomile (chamamelum mobile)
    • Honeysuckle (lonicera ciliosa)
    • New Jersey tea (ceanothus americanus)
    • Ivy (hedera helix)
    • Dwarf mallow (malva pusilla ) tooth cleaner
    Soapwort is a plant that when boiled produces some lather and cleans

    Saturday, 19 November 2011

    Permaculture advices: Acid soil tolerant plants

    All these plants are tolerant of acid soils:
    • Abies
    • Alnus
    • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
    • Betula, Birch
    • Calluna, Heather
    • Carex
    • Cytisus
    • Erica
    • Fragaria, strawberry
    • Gaultheria
    • Genista
    • Juncus
    • Juniperus
    • Larix
    • Liquidamber styraciflua
    • Menyanthes trifoliata
    • Myrica gale
    • Marjoram
    • Wood sorrel
    • Pines
    • Potentilla
    • Primula
    • Rubus
    • Salix
    • Thymus
    • Sorbus
    • Trapaeolum
    • Vaccinium