How to Grow Chickens Without Buying Grain – by Only Feeding Them Compost

Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Bird Life, Commercial Farm Projects, Compost, Fungi, Land, Livestock, Soil Rehabilitation.

Whilst on a tour of the US, Permaculture teacher Geoff Lawton was giving a talk at Montpelier, Vermont, when a young man suggested we film his boss, compost maestro Karl Hammer and his amazing system of feeding compost to his flock of 100-plus chickens, and without feeding them any grain. Chickens live off the compost… Read more »

Introduction to Naturalised Nursery Practice

Posted by & filed under Compost, Fungi, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Composition.

Applying the understandings of ecosystem mimicry to create alternative solutions to current nursery practices of disease control, fertilisation and sterile mediums. It is my belief that nature is our greatest teacher. By observing nature we can see that a tree in a forest is self-maintaining. It does not rely on fertilisation, irrigation, pesticides or fungicides… Read more »

Mohamed Hijri: A Simple Solution to the Coming Phosphorus Crisis (video)

Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Biologist Mohamed Hijri brings to light a farming crisis no one is talking about: We are running out of phosphorus, an essential element that’s a key component of DNA and the basis of cellular communication. All roads of this crisis lead back to how we farm — with chemical fertilizers chock-full of the element, which… Read more »

Soil, not Dirt – Dr Elaine Ingham Talks Soil Microbiology

Posted by & filed under Compost, Fungi, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Soil Salination, Structure.

Dr. Elaine Ingham talks about soil fertility and the role of soil microbial life. Dr. Ingham is a world-renowned soil biologist who pioneered many of the currently used biological soil amendment techniques and pioneered the testing of soil microbial life as an indicator of soil and plant health. Dr. Ingham is the Chief Scientist at… Read more »

Making Mushroom Growing Sustainable – Part 2, Planting Your Logs

Posted by & filed under Fungi.

Following along from the previous article (the set-up) we’ll now cover planting your oyster mushrooms into straw logs. Oysters mushrooms (from the genus Pleurotus) grow on dozens of different materials that we call substrate. Cereal straw is one of the most commonly used materials commercially but I’ve have had good success growing them on sugar… Read more »

Making Mushroom Growing Sustainable – Part 1, the Set-up

Posted by & filed under Fungi.

Oyster mushrooms Gourmet mushrooms are an excellent addition to a Permaculture farm. They are nutritious and delicious and they really stand out on your market stall table. Many farmers around the world grow them to add diversity to their produce range and to make use of the shadier areas where most plants won’t thrive. But… Read more »

Get Your Food from a Firehose

Posted by & filed under Compost, Fungi, Soil Biology, Soil Rehabilitation.

We have been delving into the dirty secret behind our food, which is that it comes from bacteria — primarily, with considerable assistance from a social network of fungi, nematodes, micro-arthropods and soil-dwelling microbes of various descriptions. Most people, asked what plants eat, answer something like, "sunlight, water and dirt." Water and sunlight play an… Read more »

A Computer Geek Starts a Garden, Part II – We Are Chlorophyll Managers

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Compost, Economics, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

Last night I ate a couple of dozen cherry tomatoes from my just-getting-started garden. A little pepper and salt and I was in tomato heaven. I was expecting them to taste a whole lot better than the supermarket ‘tomatoes‘ I’m otherwise forced to consume, and I was not at all disappointed. Indeed, every cell of… Read more »

Oyster Mushroom Production: Prosperity and Problems for a Small NGO in Tanzania

Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Fungi, Village Development.

The desire for sustainable projects for non-government organisations and the need of reliable sources of income for small scale farmers is ever increasing in Tanzania and the ‘developing world’. Within international development ‘sustainability’ is a buzz-word often bandied round, with many communities and organisations slowly helping to transform traditional top-down development models to investing in… Read more »