Gardening

Where to Buy Your Trees and Seeds in Costa Rica?

Where to Buy Your Trees and Seeds in Costa Rica?

Ever have a challenging time finding your favorite plant in Costa Rica? Or wonder where to get supplies for a new greenhouse? What about organic pesticides?  After nearly a decade working in country, our team has compiled a comprehensive list of nurseries, seed banks, botanical gardens, and farm/garden suppliers. 

Salak Palm: A Guide for Tropical Permaculture

Salak Palm: A Guide for Tropical Permaculture

This article was originally published at the Porvenir Design blog.

Salak palm or snake fruit (Salacca edulis or Salacca zalacca) is a high value understory species for tropical agroforestry plantings. Salak palm is native to southeast Asia, where it is commercially cultivated in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Java, in their wet tropical lowland climates. At higher elevations the "Bali" variety can be grown. It produces a delicious fruit, eaten out of hand, with a taste similar to strawberry with an apple-like texture. The fruit transports well and can be stored at room temperature for a week with little degradation in quality. 

8 Tips for Starting your Tropical Homestead

8 Tips for Starting your Tropical Homestead

You’ve just purchased your dream property in tropical Costa Rica. You want to grow your own food. You are anxious to get to work now, have bought some plants from a nursery you randomly drove by, and have a shovel in hand, but...where to start?

Most of our clients fall on either side of a spectrum of project implementation. Either they experience paralysis by analysis, overthinking every step, their confidence slowly eroding, or they dive in head first without any planning. Either way they hire our team at Porvenir Design to bring them to the middle. How can we take our time and plan while simultaneously moving forward with the energy and confidence that is required to see a project to completion?

5 "Grow-Your-Own" Mulch Plants for the Tropics

5 "Grow-Your-Own" Mulch Plants for the Tropics

This post was originally published by the ECHO Community newsletter and was reposted from the Porvenir Design blog.

The tropical forest is constantly self-mulching. After a walk in the woods I usually return with bits of leaves and twigs caught in my hair. Lying in bed at night, my partner and I often hear branches and even whole trees tumbling toward the great soil food web below.

Making Microbes: Fungal vs Bacterial Soil Life

Making Microbes: Fungal vs Bacterial Soil Life

Organic gardeners and farmers understand the need to cultivate and protect soil microorganism life. The strategies to do this involve mulching, composting, and avoiding soil disturbance as much as possible. We know that these strategies, in addition to many others, encourage a healthy soil-food-web.

The Art of Stacking Functions

The Art of Stacking Functions

Stacking functions. What does this phrase mean to you? It could mean any number of things depending on what you apply it to. In this case I'm referring to the term as it's used in permaculture. It is one of the primary principles of permaculture design. Here at the Ranch we employ as many of these principles as we can in our work and in our daily lives.