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The Fallacy Of Native Plants – Martin Crawford

A common rallying cry of environmentalists these days is the danger of invasive species and the primacy of native ones. Especially in terms of the plant world, it’s easy to get a group of nature lovers worked up over an infestation of Japanese Knotweed or Garlic Mustard (one ingenious way to deal with the former is to eat it! And to help you we’ve got a fantastic new cookbook called Wild Flavors…more on that in future posts!).

But what makes a species native to a place? Is it the soil structure or nutrients? Is it the typical weather pattern of a place? Does it thrive because of a certain ecological community that supports it (other plants and animals that are interdependent)? And what happens when some or all of these factors change, causing that formerly native creature to feel quite out of place?

These and other questions lead many permaculturists to doubt the rationale of favoring so-called native species over non-native ones that can thrive in what may end up being completely new conditions. What with climate change and development altering habitats, it’s hard to insist that only certain beings can live in a place, as if it were an exclusive club you need a membership card to access.

Author Martin Crawford is one such native plant skeptic. Watch this video to learn more about why, and check out his lovely book, Creating a Forest Garden for inspiration as to planting your own lush Eden (native or not)! The Fallacy Of Native Plants – Martin Crawford by 5minKnowledge


Radical Ruminations of a Home Gardener

The editors here at Chelsea Green are constantly seeking out what’s new and important in the world of sustainable living. As part of an occasional blog series, our editors are sharing what they’ve been reading, researching, or just plain pondering. Below Senior Editor Fern Marshall Bradley daydreams about the coming growing season and reflects on some radical gardening ideas inspired by Maine farmer […] Read More

Not Level? No Problem. How to Build a Greenhouse on a Slope

Have you ever considered building a greenhouse on sloped terrain? It may not seem like the “perfect spot,” but as permaculture designer and farmer Shawn Jadrnicek points out, a sloped site for a greenhouse offers a bonus that a level site does not—the ability to use gravity to harvest rainwater.In his groundbreaking new book, The Bio-Integrated Farm, Jadrnicek offers in-depth information […] Read More

Ask the Experts: Submit Your Permaculture Questions Now

Attention all growers, food-lovers, and green-living enthusiasts, we are once again celebrating Permaculture Month by putting our pioneering permaculture authors to work for you. Chelsea Green is proud to publish and distribute some of the most recognized, and award-winning, names in permaculture, and we’re making several of them available to our readers to answer any and […] Read More

Hands-On Learning: School of The New American Farmstead

This summer, twelve of our authors (plus Chelsea Green’s own President and Publisher) will be leading hands-on intensive courses at Sterling College in Craftsbury, Vermont.These workshops, classes, and certifications will inspire you, equip you with marketable skills, and provide you with new perspectives on integrated, community-centered farming and food production.Engage your SensesThe hands-on courses will […] Read More

Q&A: Eric Toensmeier, author of The Carbon Farming Solution:

A Q&A with Eric Toensmeier, author of The Carbon Farming Solution: A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food SecurityQ: “Carbon farming” is a term that isn’t yet widely recognized in the mainstream. And even among people who are familiar with the term, not everyone agrees on what […] Read More
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