Solutions for Self-Reliance

What I Found Interesting This Week — May 4, 2013


The weather this week was cool, dry, and sunny in my corner of New England.

So, naturally, I spent lots of time outside, getting my mind and body in shape doing real, meaningful work to improve my home’s resilience (this stands in stark contrast to the make work people do in gyms).

The bulk of my time was spent on building some foodscaping prototypes:

  • A new raised bed design that I’m experimenting with.   
  • An innovative potato tower — the tower that I introduced in last month’s Strategies report — that promises to deliver superior results.
  • An aerated pot design that an aspiring entrepreneur sent me.

Of course, since my mind was focused on growing a diverse variety of organic food, here’s what I found interesting this week.

Pyramid Gardens

My local community gardening group has been looking at ways to help older gardeners more.  One good way to do this is to build vertical gardens at and around retirement homes.

Here’s a pyramid garden from France that is interesting.

Pyramid garden

As you can see, vertical bins increase the accessibility of the beds.

If you don’t have that much space, here’s another version of a pyramid garden.


This site has some details on what it takes to build one of these.

Wicking Gardens

Wicking gardens are a cross between hydroponics and irrigation.

Essentially, you water plants from the bottom up.

The benefit of a wicking garden is that it can reduce water use considerably, which makes them interesting for drier climates (you can find them in Australia).  The downside is that they require a pump mechanism/electricity.

There’s lots to how this works and I’ll dive into it more in a future Strategies report.  Here’s an example of a wicking garden that uses fibrous pots to wick water that flows along a sheet.


Solar Herb Drier

Here’s a pretty cool system for saving herbs from your garden for the winter months.

It’s a solar herb drier.  You put herbs on a screen tray.  The sun heats the air inside drying out the herbs.  The hot, moist air flows out the top of the container, fresh air from the bottom.

Here’s a nice design from Sepp Holzer:

Solar Herb

Well, the day is still young.  I’m back to work outside.

Take care and stay resilient,



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