Monday, November 15, 2010

Jacksonville Permaculture by Eli and Valerie! Wow!

Eli and Val's Permaculture Haven
Eli and Val opened their yard for a group of permaculture fans here in Jacksonville yesterday.  It is amazing how much food they grow on a small plot.

The entire ground area is dedicated to food production and fiber and medicine plants.

They have also embraced growing plans vertically.

Yard Long Beans hang from the wall over the front door and cover the camellia bushes.

There are small, winding paths throughout the front yard, down the side yards and across the back yards.

Eli and Val's Edible Yard
They start most of their plants from seed and have constructed a beautiful seed sprouting area in the side yard.

Amazingly, they have grouped together plants to repel pests and the entire permaculture operation is pest-free - a creative integrated pest management system in itself!

Eli runs an Urban Gardens business and you can watch his Urban Permaculture Video by clicking here (opens in a new window).

As always, email us with your permaculture questions!  Kevin

Seed Starting Area

Sunday, November 14, 2010

DIY Greenhouse Design 12 x 25 for less than $25.00!

Cheap but functional greenhouse for permaculture!
Used Scrap electrical conduit, fence posts, plastic Judy had and large office paperclips.

All available in your neighborhood trashpiles usually.

Look forward to hearing about your designs!

Judy's Seedlings in the new greenhouse

Fence posts, rails and conduit make up frame.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Inebriated Bees

Probably more exhilarated or stupefied than inebriated, the bees Judy was referring to were all congregating around her Backyard Urban Permaculture Garden growing the tall and glorious sunflowers.

We all laughed.  But she was on to something.

The sunflowers were actually loaded with pollen.

WE didn't know just HOW MUCH until she brought one into the house and we placed it in the kitchen windowsill.

WOW!  Check out the photo to see how much pollen fell off overnight....

Happy Urban Gardening!


Restoring volumetric Green to the Urban Core.

Urban Permaculture, Pollen, Bees and Sunflowers

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bat Houses for Urban Permaculture - Free Fertilizer and Pest Control

Bat House at University of North Florida
Bat houses are an excellent choice to add to any Urban Garden.

Bats are voracious devourers of pesky mosquitoes, gnats and other flying fierceities.

Guano's reputation for premier fertilizer ranks high among all the organic nitrogen and nutrient choices.

Bat houses need to be out in open fields.  A bat house nestled in a wooded area may never be used.

According to the USFWS, a colony of 100 bats can eat over 2,200 pounds of insects during a smmer feeding season - and make alot of good fertilizer!

Click here for a link to 22 Free Bat House Designs and

Happy Urban Gardening!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Exporting Urban Permaculture Technology as a Mission

Check out Echo Gardens in Ft. Myers, Florida.


You can view their website by clicking above.

ECHO stands for Educational Concerns for Hunger Organizations

When visiting or traveling through the Ft. Myers area, a visit to Echo is a must.

Well System at Echo
Growing Vegetables at Echo Inc in Ft. Myers
Urban Permaculture at its finest!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Growing Organic Kale in the City Garden

Fresh Organic Kale is easily grown in the backyard garden during the cooler seasons.

Growing your own winter vegetables ensures you get the organic quality you deserve.

Now is the time to plant!

Fresh October 2010 Organically Grown Kale from Judy's Urban Garden!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Urban Permaculture where? Roof Crops? COOL! Can't Wait...

Came across this cool site on Twitter this morning - check out,,,,   and then check out my Twitter page for more great Urban Greenery. 



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Urban Permaculture Pests - Nematodes in the Garden

Here in the hot, humid southeastern United States we have sandy soils in many places.

This combination of sandy soils and warm weather makes a perfect environment for nematodes to thrive.

Nematodes love warm sandy soils.  So here in Jacksonville we struggle to keep them at bay each year in the Urban Garden out back.

Their presence is not so bad in the raised beds filled with organic compost.

However in the garden beds tilled into the ground directly, they are a problem.

Jud pointed out yesterday the serious damage nematodes can cause a plant when she pulled up the peppers to make way for winter vegetables.

The following photos show one pepper plant only somewhat infested with nematodes and another badly infested with the parasite.

Pepper plant roots infested with root-knot nematodes.
Urban Permaculture - Organic Matter Reduces Nematode Impact

Judy is a master gardener and volunteers at the local agricultural extension agency.  Her training is important and she points out that the fungal associations in organic matter will strangle nematodes - and serve to keep the pests at bay.

Many times I think we look at a poorly preforming vegetable plant and wonder if we'd applied to correct fertilizers or not - because it may be doing so poorly - or maybe watered it enough or too much.

Check the roots!  The problem may be nematodes.

If you see swollen knots on your vegetables then add organic matter to the soil and practice crop rotation.

For more information on root-knot nematodes see -


Monday, October 11, 2010

Urban Permaculture - Cajanus cajun, Pigeon Peas - Amazing Plants

Judy bought a pack of Pigeon Peas at Echo in Ft. Myers earlier this year and planted them in our backyard garden.
I was not really aware  - or didn't pay any attention to the plants until recently.

Once I did a little research on the I found myself impressed.

Not only are they an excellent bulk food plant and medicinal herb, they are a superb nitrogen fixer - fixing up to 40kg per acre of N!  Good for soil.

They grow in the worst of soils and possess thick, strong roots so the species can be used for erosion control.

Some species are hardy to frost.

Grown in the islands, India and Africa - you can find a really delicious Bahamian recipe here -   

Urban Permaculture - Pigeon Peas 10' tall

Plant Pigeon Peas!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Growing Winter Vegetables in the City - Urban Food Permaculture

Winter vegetables, especially greens are special and are one of the reasons many gardeners look forward to cool weather gardening.

Turnip greens, collards, mustards, arugula, Swiss chard, sugar snap peas, onions, chives and more grow vigorously, adding color, taste and health to any meal.

Now is the time to make sure your cool weather garden is started. 

You can purchase winter vegetables seeds at all the home improvement stores and nurseries now.  Be sure to take home a bag of potting mix and within a few days of planting you will have hundreds of small vegetable starts.

Water the seedlings appropriately, thin when large enough and transplant into your backyard raised bed.

Enjoy the winter vegetables!

Winter garden - Judy's Urban Permaculture Garden - October 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Urban Permaculture - Growing Food in the City - Cranberry Hibiscus

Hibiscus acetosella, or Cranberry Hibiscus is an important plant for Florida Urban Permaculture.

Below are two photos of the shrubby and delicious plant in Judy's garden.

Florida Urban Permaculture, Hibiscus acetosella, Cranberry Hibiscus
Florida Urban Permaculture, Hibiscus acetosella, Cranberry Hibiscus 
University of Florida, IFAS recommends the Cranberry Hibiscus as a plant resilient to hurricanes and an excellent screening plant.  See 

Cranberry hibiscus makes great tea - use the leaves - and is a wonderful addition to any salad, including tuna salad.  Children love the sour taste.

Finally, the cranberry hibiscus is a beautiful addition to any landscape.

As always, email us with your questions here.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Community Gardens - Urban Permaculture Florida - University of North Florida

Over the past year or so the University of North Florida here in Jacksonville has been slowly transforming their parking registration and campus vehicle welcome center into a massive Urban Food Garden.

Using sustainable agriculture practices the students have created a beautiful vegetable patch.

Check out the pictures below!

Urban Community Garden University of North Florida, Jacksonville

Urban Community Garden University of North Florida, Jacksonville
Urban Community Garden University of North Florida, Jacksonville
Kudos to UNF!

For more information you can contact AyoLane -
AyoLane Halusky
Chief Ranger of the Wildlife Sanctuary
Eco-Adventure Coordinator
Eco-Camp Director
University of North Florida
Work: 904-620-1810

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Urban Permaculture - Harvest Time - Fall Gardens for the City

Tonight the predicted low is 53 degrees F.

Judy has begun removing many of the summer vegetables and food crops and planting cooler weather greens and vegetables.

The hot peppers are always beautiful - growing in our Urban Core garden, Hanging to dry on the porch or in a hot sauce container.

There is not limit to what you can grow in the Urban Core.....
Urban Core Crop - Hot Peppers Grown in Judy's Garden

Friday, September 24, 2010

Planting Seeds for Urban Gardens - Food Starts for Urban Permaculture

A good start to any Urban Garden and Urban Permaculture project includes healthy seedlings.

Seeds scattered on or planted in the ground can be affected by birds, small animals, heavy downpours, wind and or other external environmental influences.

We have found using seed trays - especially the 60 count and 72 count per tray - kept on a sunny window ledge, under a patio cover or in a small row tunnel or greenhouse - helps the seeds grow rapidly, develop good, solid root structure and strong first true leaves.

Judy like to mix her own soil for starting seeds, but any reputable potting mixture that is relatively consistent in texture (no lumps), contains dark, organic matter and possesses enough structure to facilitate drainage (you don't want the potting mix to hold too much water), will work.

Urban Garden Vegetable Starts in 72 Count Trays
These trays are available at your local nursery, can be ordered over the internet or found on your local internet trading sites.

We build a bench out of fencing and scrap wood or metal and there you have it!

Growing your own vegetables is one way to make sure your food is free of pesticides and other poisons that may cause cancers.

Urban Permaculture!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Small Raised Beds Grow Lots of Food in the City - Urban Permaculture

Urban Garden - Raised Beds
Amazing, simply amazing.  You can grow so, so much food in a small raised urban garden bed in the middle of the city!

A couple important things to remember though - are:
  • Use untreated wood for the walls - I like 2 x 10 pine from the local building store - try and use wood that has been certified as being raised sustainably, such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).
  • Make sure you incorporate a well drained material for the base (rock, gravel or sand)
  • Wash your base down real good before adding your growing soil or topsoil to remove any lime or high pH material
  • Add your organic matter, including,
    • mulched leaves (don't use yard waste from yards that spray chemicals)
    • kitchen compost
    • cow or horse manure
    • worm casings
    • and other good organic compost
  • Add your mulch, and 
  • Plant your veggies!
Keep the critters out with a small wire or twine fence and before you know it your raised bed will be producing volumes of greens, peas, beans, okra, eggplant and more!

Happy Urban Gardening!


Feel free to email me your questions here...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Growing Herbs in the City - Urban Permaculture

Many herbs do well in terra cotta pots on a small patio.   Many of the culinary species we are used to cooking with, originally grew in rocky, arid soils of the Mediterranean.

Growing Herbs in the Urban Core - Permaculture in the City
Thyme, marjoram, rosemary, oregano and others can easily be grown in small spaces, providing sunshine, water and compost are provided.

Happy Urban Gardening!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Time to plant Winter Vegetable Gardens here in Florida

I love the winter garden.  Though Judy tells me it is hard to determine just when to plant the winter veggies - the hot and humid dog days of September can really hurt arugula and winter mix lettuces-greens - I always look forward to the stretch of year where  a good batch of tasty, organic greens is just outside the back door.

Check out Judy's latest raised bed planting - a whole new set of Winter Greens!

Winter Gardening Starts in Florida, Judy's Garden (September 2010)

You can grow an amazing amount of food in a very small, Urban Core plot.

Be sure to use non-treated wood for raised beds - we use standard 2 x 10 pine boards for one of the home improvement stores.

Lots of organic compost to keep the nematodes at bay.

Happy Urban Gardening!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Urban Food Gardens - Hanging Planters - Porch Gardens for the City

Rob Overly, the renown Jacksonville sustainable and green architect - and Rotary Water Congress man is always looking for simple yet effective ways to be 'green'.

Growing food is one way.  He has a huge orange tree - special orange tree - in his front yard (must try) - and is now talking about terracing the front lawn from his door to the road and planting blueberry bushes all the way down the slope.

Back to the food growing.Not only does Rob think about growing food, he thinks about the topic in a sustainable manner.

Rob is into vertical green - you can see the green screen he planted in front of his west facing window (shades during summer and allows for sunlight penetration during winter).

So it was natural he thought about growing vegetables vertically in his front patio area.

Leave it to Rob to design a cost-effective replacement to $ 20.00 upside down topsy turvey tomato growing hanging basket

Using 2 liter plastic soda pop bottles he cut the bottom section off (bottom section becomes the top), installed a couple holes for the hanging rod, added soil, twine and plants and hung the vegetables along his porch roof.

Great job Rob! 

Check out the photos.

Rob's Hanging Planters
Urban Food Gardens - Rob's
Hanging Food Planter

Urban Permaculture the new paradigm in Urban Survival thought.

As always, comments and ideas should be shared.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

9 Best Food Plants, Foolproof and Easy to Grow in the Urban Core

Growing your own food is a path to independence and true freedom.

Urban Foodfare is the take control counterpart to Urban Warfare.

With Urban Foodfare your body is healed.

Urban Foodfare creates community.

Urban Foodfare offers freedom form bondage to those who would control what, when and how much you eat.

Today is the first blog of hopefully many.

The nine Urban Core Food plants to start with are:

1. Lemongrass
2. Rosemary
3. Garlic Chives
4. Banana Peppers
5. Greens
6. Mint
7. Broccoli
8. Eggplant
9. Okra (Quimbombo)

Look what I picked out of our backyard garden in the span of 5 minutes the other day!

Judy's Urban Permaculture

We will be talking about how to cost-effectively grow much of the food you need, teaching you about organic methods of raising your own - be it a small patio garden, an edible landscape or larger garden.

Looking forward to sharing the journey with you!

Email us with your questions.