Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

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


The New Farmers’ Almanac: A Collection of Essays for Beginners

What agrarian future can we realistically build together? This is a question the Greenhorns hope to answer in their latest book, The New Farmers’ Almanac 2015. Greenhorns is an organization for young farmers—a non-traditional grassroots network with the mission to promote, recruit and support the entering generation of new farmers. It exists to celebrate young […] Read More..

How to Achieve Resiliency Through Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

In today’s world the marketplace distorts our values and our dependence on petroleum keeps us from creating truly sustainable agriculture. So, how can we achieve true wealth and at the same time make society around us more resilient? The answer, Will Bonsall believes, is greater self-reliance in both how we grow our own food, and […] Read More..

Bramble On: The Ins and Outs of Growing Raspberries

Fresh, ripe raspberries picked straight from the garden in the morning. What could be a better start to your day? According to Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard, growing your own berries is entirely possible for anyone with a bit of space and a passion for the fruit. Brambles grow from the north to […] Read More..

Turning Meat into Money: How to Raise and Sell it Ethically

The consumer demand for grassfed, pasture-raised, and antibiotic-free meats is on the rise, putting farmers and ranchers in a unique position to make a decent living on meat that is produced ethically. But, how exactly do you turn meat into money without resorting to the large-scale industrial techniques of today’s confinement-operations? Look no further than […] Read More..

How to Grow Strawberries Indoors

It’s strawberry shortcake season, which means strawberry harvesting season. But for those of you with no outdoor space for gardens, fear not—you can plant, weed, and harvest all from the comfort of your own home! That’s right: it is possible to grow strawberries indoors, from small spaces. According to R. J. Ruppenthal, author of Fresh […] Read More..