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EDIBLE LANDSCAPES – a viable design option

EDIBLE LANDSCAPES
– A VIABLE DESIGN OPTION

Imagine entering a resort or a hotel and walking into a beautiful, bountiful and a productive edible garden with a wide array of textures, colours, sizes and shapes that not only provide scrumptious food but also saves money whilst providing a multitude of other benefits.
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A landscape that triggers a rethinking of the false distinctions between beauty and utility, that beautiful gardens need to be solely ornamental and edibles are restricted to vegetable gardens.

I’m beginning to believe that, in addition to being a viable design option and, if can be maintained organically an edible landscape is the most compelling landscape concept for the future.

I’m encouraged to have more of perennials and annuals (permaculturist, that I am) and a few seasonal varieties thrown in. A combination of hedges, vines, flowers, medicinal plants, ground covers, bushes, trees, aquatic plants – options area abundant and limitless. These edible landscapes become even more interactive and aesthetically appealing by integrating ponds, bird baths, pergolas, herb spirals and other static and dynamic hardscape features.

Watch this space for an exclusive list for south of India (sub-tropics), including a list of companion plants, growing seasons and related details..

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AQUATIC PLANTS and water loving plants

lotus
water chestnuts (trapa natans)
azolla
zizania (wild rice)
bulrushes (typha latifolia)
canna
Acorus calamus (sweet flag)
water lilies (nymphaea)
Euryale ferox
Fox nuts
Ipomea aquatic
Bacopa monnieri (JAl brahmi)
Aquatic mint
Watercress
Papyrus
Hostas
Sholapith (Aeschyomene aspera)

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GROUND COVER

sweet potato varities
straw berries
varieties of mint
coriander / cilantro
Pursalane
Creeping thyme
Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa)
Centella asiatica
Chamomile benghalensis
Alternanthera varieties
Nasturtiums
Ground nuts
Most greens
Salad greens
parsley

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OTHER GOOD LOOKING EDIBLE PLANTS

Turmeric
Ginger
Collocasia 
Elephant yam
Jicama (tuber)
Asparagus
Zucchini
Varities of peppers
Cherry tomatoes
Varieties of okra
Varieites of brinjal
Buck wheat
Herbs – rosemary,
basil
thyme
sage
lavender
tapioca
corn
sunflower
biryani leaf
cardamom

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BUSHES AND SMALL CANOPY TREES

Moringa
Curry leaf
Citrus varieties
Sweet leaf
Tree spinach
Varieites of Banana
Varieties of Papaya
Tree tomato/tamarillo
Cocoa
Coffee
Mandarin Orange
Kumquat
Citurs varieties
Adathoda vasika
All spice
Cardomam
Breadfruit
Fig
Mulberry
Phalsa
Strawberry guava (psidium cattleyanum)
Surinam cherries
Barbados cherries
Pomegranate
Celosia argentea
Chaya leaf / tree spinach
Tejpatta (cinnamon tamala/bay leaf)
Clove plant
Kalanchoe

PERGOLA – FLOWERING AND FRUITING VINES

Passion fruit
Lab lab
Ivy gourd
Jasmine varieties
Clitoria ternatea/ butterfly pea
Basalle spinach
Grape
Chayote squash
Dragon fruit
Rambling roses
Sweet pea
Betel leaf
Pepper
Balloon vine

HEDGES / BORDERS

Hibiscus
Marigold
Geraniums
Lavender
Chamomile
Vetiver
Lemon grass
Citronella
Liquorice
henna
pirandai
aloe vera
Carissa carundus
Jute
Corchorus capsularis ? C. olitorius (edible leaves)
Indigo
Tropical cherries
Vitex negundo
Mulberry
Sansevieria varieties
Lemon grass
Rosemary
Vetiver
Pineapple
Sugarcane 


FLOWERING AND MEDICINAL PLANTS/SHRUBS

Marigold
Cosmos
Calendula
Geranium
Mustard varieties
Pansy
Shatavari
Ashwagandha
Ornamental cabbage
Ornatmental peppers
Poppy
Violets
Gardenia pandanus
Basil varieites
Indian borage
Chives
Colourful chards
Celery

References:
The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping – Rosalind Creasy

http://www.rosalindcreasy.com/edible-landscaping-basics/

https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/gardening-techniques/edible-landscape-zmaz10onzraw

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all about soapberries - natural laundry, dish, body and hair wash

SOAPNUTS!!!

soapberries

Generally called saopnuts, but truly it’s a berry. It’s called reetha in hindi.

We got a generous gift from a dear friend of two varieties and are on our way to making some saplings of them. We already have both varieties growing on our land and we would want more and more to share with friends and farmers around us.

They’re excellent to use for laundry including in washing machines. What’s best is the greywater can go into your plants without a worry… use this to wash your hair, body and even dishes…

Soak the shelled seeds overnight or in hot water for 10-15 minutes and tie them in a small pouch and put them into your washing machine or bucket to soak dirty laundry. You could also make a coarse powder of them thus reducing the time for it to be used actively… I love the smell the clothes washed with these…Use the liquid as dishwasher liquid, to wash hair, body or anything. Traditionally these were used to wash delicate silk. The wash water is bio-degradable and eco-friendly. We let our greywater directly into our mulch pits that grow bananas, basalle, collocassia and papayas…

a Gorgeous beautiful large tree, hardy and drought tolerant.

Sapindus Trifoliatus is the Soapnut tree that grows in South India. Their fruits and seeds are slightly smaller than the North Indian soapnuts. The shell is of a red colour and become darker after they are harvested and dried. The tree grows upto a height of 12 meters. Flowering and fruiting occurs between the months of October to January.

Sapindus Mukorossi (Himalayan) is the Soapnut Tree that grows in North India. Their fruits and seeds are slightly bigger than the South Indian Soapnuts. The shells are a golden colour when harvested but become a darker red colour once dried. The trees grow upto heights of 20 meters. Flowering and fruiting occurs in the months of May to February.

Generally propagated by seed. Its easy if you have the seeds!!! Soapnut seeds germinate quite easily. Just soak the seeds for 24 hours in warm water. Then sow them about an inch into the soil. A sunny location with well drained soil is ideal. Transplant the germinated saplings when they have a few leaves into pots/nursery bags till they are ready to go into their permanent location on the land.

Be patient however, the tree starts flowering after 8-9 years.

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. . . . . the Mountains are calling and I must go ....

…..  I only went out for a walk into the wilderness, and finally concluded to stay out on the land, for going out, I found, was really going in. In every walk with Nature I have received far more than I sought…..

view 1 (more…)

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…the Tiger roars…

our small village home is being set up for our dwelling…. planting moringa, curry leaf, pomegranate, neem trees and some flowering bushes; planning for a hammock space in the backyard; locating the papaya pit circle and the trelise crops on the fence in the frontyard; fixing the laundry wash stone and so on ans so forth…

as usual, and, I guess that is what I will need to get used to – slowing down, big time, people take their own sweet time to finish work – a quality that is good mostly and a little bad at times! So, finally after a 2 month wait we have a place to cook, sleep and work from.. (more…)

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the journey begins

IMG_2807After a year long rendezvous with the paper-work and associated legalities we finally have the legal ownership of the land that we start our project work on. The process of procuring land, especially in Karnataka can be daunting, wanting a weak-hearted to give up eventually.

The entire experience with ‘land’ has been insightful and has revealed very many aspects of my own deeper being. (more…)

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buying land in India

.. if there is one teacher to patience, it is this..Try buying land in India, and as a single woman.  It teaches you tolerance, patience and optimism and so much more…

While you think you finally can start living and working on the land, there comes the next hurdle.. legal titles, division of property between brothers, papers that were never updated, exact measure and extent of the land, failed negotiations – name it!

 

 

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rangaayana

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rangaayana is an effort in reviving dying Indian traditions of folk-lore, music and dance – our ancient ways of passing wisdom & knowledge.
Not just India, but with the rest of the world, we are witnessing a dying of our traditions; music, story telling, poetry, folklore, dance, and more. This was culture; this was community; it binds people with life. With growing culture of alienation, a result of modern competitive consumerist living, all of this and much more is being lost to the big game. No one has time for leisure, unless, of course, earned.
These ancient traditions were not just activities of leisure, but held a deeper relevance. These traditions are of indispensable value as one of the sources of information. Records, not just of facts, but beliefs, that are not entitled to much credence for historical purposes in the form of stories were handed down, chiefly, by oral tradition. These have been passed from generation to generation, creating a bond of traditional values with the present-day generation.An antiquarian can trace folklore parallels between, not only, those of different parts of the same country but also of the countries of the world.With communities divided, we are at a risk of losing our ancient wisdom and ancient ways of education which charms the listener while passing the message from generation to generation bringing people together.rangaayana is an effort towards reviving our dying traditions of art forms.

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eat Your Yard

eat Your Yard San Antonio (eYY) is a south Texas based initiative of swaYYam, that helps with edible landscaping.

eYY works with the premise that ‘Food connects us to everything else’. Today, there is a growing disconnect, with our basic resources that sustain life – water, soil, air, forests, and food. EYY promotes and supports conscious low-impact- living choices starting from taking charge of our food.

“Eating is an agricultural act. It is also an ecological act, and a political act too. Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world – and what is to become of it. To eat with a fuller consciousness of all that is at stake might sound like a burden, but in practice few things in life can afford quite as much satisfaction.”  -  Michael Pollan, ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’

eYY currently seeks to replace unproductive designer lawns and landscapes with edible, fruit bearing, native, beneficial trees, bushes, vines and ground-cover, while working on water and soil conservation, composting of kitchen wastes, rain water harvesting, using efficient irrigation systems that minimize evaporation and using as many as recycled materials as possible. eYY helps with the design and installation of such holistic edible systems and offer training workshops, volunteering and interning opportunities to learn and build skills.

eYY also fosters resource sharing – as a forum where like-minded people can come together to share, teach, learn and spread the knowledge creating the ripple effort of goodness.

 

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open shell permaculture

open shell logoWith Open Shell Permaculture site, we begin our work in ecological regeneration of a small piece of barren and degraded land located next to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in the hills of the Western Ghats. The site is located close to a village which in an idyllic location with overlooking mountains. The sight of cowherds and shepherds driving their animals to the nearby forests, the curious village children, the intermittent bus service, the temples and the village life is something to  experience.

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Open Shell is a  demonstration & an education site for  social transformation through regenerative design that works towards creating harmonious relationships that already exist in nature.

The project will elaborate on methods of applying permaculture principles is restoring the fertility of land by preventing soil erosion, water run-off, overgrazing, burning, and use of chemicals, followed with restoration of native vegetation that was. This will be steered by long-term interns and volunteers along with the team. We would also build capacities through workshops and study in Permaculture and courses that will draw the community into informed collective action.

Simply put – we  want to lead by example. If you connect with this area of our work and want to be involved, contact us and let us know. We will be happy to share our space with you and learn from each other.

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