Organic Gardening Lessons From The Amazon Jungle

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Phil: Hey, guys, its Phil from and as you may be able to tell by the vegetation around me, I’m not where I usually I am. I am in the jungle in the Amazon. Heather and I are in Peru for about three months and we’re basically kind of working away as usual. We always have plenty to do, but we’re doing it from Peru for a little while. And while we’re here, I’m trying to learn a little bit more about growing food in the tropics. But as while we’re in the Amazon here, I’m mostly just trying to pay attention to the jungle around me to the nature around me, you can learn a lot about gardening by paying attention to nature.

Over the next week or so, I’m going to be making three videos for you to show you how we can take some lessons from the jungle here and bring them into our organic gardens to grow healthy plants, plants that are pest free and especially if you’re growing food, plants that are really nutrient, dense and full of nutrition for you. And well it happen to be in the Amazon jungle here, I could just as easily be in a temperate forest or even in a grassland and all the lessons that I’m going to be talking about here, really apply to every one.

I could certainly make a lot more than three lessons about looking in to nature for design tips that’s very much for permaculture culture is interested in as learning from nature, talking about maintenance, there are all kinds of things I could talk about. But what I want to focus on for these three videos are how to create really healthy soil and what we can learn from nature about creating healthy soil in our gardens. So I’m going to be filming these over the next few days and sending them to you as I make them that you happen to be in the middle of my other lessons right now that means you’re going to get a lot of e-mails from me this week. So I hope that’s okay. But I just really want to film these this week and send them off to you. So I hope you enjoy them.

Hey guys, guess where I am?

Okay, I gave it away in the title. I’m in the Amazon jungle!

Heather and I are living in Peru for 3 months. While we’re here I’m learning a few things about growing food in the tropics.

But while we’re in the jungle I’m mostly just trying to pay attention to the nature around me.

You can learn a lot about organic gardening if you take the time to observe nature.

This week I’m going to share with you 3 posts about how we as organic gardeners can learn from nature and use that wisdom in our gardens in order to grow healthier plants that are free of pests and diseases, and if you’re growing food, how to grow foods that are exceptionally nutritious.

Monkey In The Amazon Jungle
Heather spent a day hanging with rescued monkeys.

And although I happen to be in the jungle in the tropics, I could just as easily be in a temperate forest or grassland. The lessons in this little series apply to everywhere.

While I could easily make a dozen videos on what we can learn from nature to inform the design and maintenance of our gardens, what I’m going to be discussing are the 3 main things I think about with regards to soil health pretty much whenever I’m in my organic garden, whether I’m designing a new bed or harvesting from a 5 year old garden.

So I’m going to be filming these videos over the next few days and sending them to you as I go.

Indeed, vegetable gardening season has started for many of you and is just around the corner for many others, so I think the timing is right to give you some important tips for how to improve your garden this year.


  1. Donny on February 25, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Looks great Phil! If you find yourself up in Ecuador we have started a permaculture farm in a rural area on the coast (about 5 miles south of the equator) called Finca Mono Verde. Check out the website and then the farm if you would like to see how we have incorporated some of your lessons into tropical agriculture. We would love to have you!

    • Phil on March 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      A belated thanks Donny – didn’t see this come through before. I’ll keep a note to look you up whenever I make it to Ecuador (not this trip, but another time).

  2. Africanaussie on February 25, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Oh it is my type of area! I just laid a whole bunch of half completed compost onto my veggie beds, then covered with a thick mulch. Hopefully all this rain we are having is going to attract earthworms to do their job, and I can plant out in about a month. You look like you are having fun! Heather looks as though she is working hard.

  3. Ramani on February 26, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Hi Phil,Looking forward to your insights about organic gardening in the tropics as thisy would be very useful for me in Colombo.

  4. Amy on February 26, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Extremely excited about this upcoming venture since I live in Trinidad! I would also love to hear your thoughts about growing cooler weather crops like lettuces in the tropics.

    • Phil on February 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      It can be pretty tricky to grow things like lettuce in the tropics. Obviously shade is important (although morning or evening sun is probably necessary), position in the coolest part of the yard, and lots of water. Grow the leaf types instead of the head types and try to find varieties that are heat tolerant, or even better would be to grow greens other than lettuces that can take the heat, like mizuna and arugula.

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