Compost, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Structure — by Rob Avis May 28, 2012
A few weeks ago we had our amazing interns prepare a soil sample to be sent off to the Soil Food Web Lab in Vulcan, Alberta. (See the blog, Testing Our Soil for a Nutrient Dense Garden). A few quick weeks later, our analysis came back, and we were told by the lab that our “sample’s biology numbers were one of the best we have seen for garden samples”.
We’ve been telling people for years now that compost is the most effective way to improve soil texture, nutrient density, tilth, carbon content and overall health, and now the results are in.
When we started our garden almost four years ago, growing anything in our backyard seemed hopeless. You can see (top right) what our soil looked like when we started. It was basically chunks of sand and clay with the consistency of concrete. Not a very welcoming home for new seeds.Comments (5)
Compost, Fungi, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Doug Weatherbee May 17, 2012
Learn how beneficial soil microbes can provide soluble nutrients and plant disease suppression to your farm or garden.Comments (10)
Conferences, Courses/Workshops, Fungi, Presentations/Demonstrations, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Structure — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 3, 2012
Albert Bates talks about biochar at APC11 (Turangi, New Zealand)
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
I’m personally unsure about biochar. This is not because I have anything significant to say against it (at the small, localised scale, at least), but rather just because I find it hard to promote a technique I’ve never, myself, seen developed and applied in real-world circumstances. Albert Bates‘ presentation was very interesting, as you’ll see, and Albert is obviously well versed with the topic, but like most conference situations, it’s rather impossible to talk and also showcase the practical application — and this gap in my own knowledge and experience is one that I’d dearly love to see filled! It would be excellent to receive on-the-ground reports from Albert and others who are working with biochar systems and who have tangible data to share on its EROEI, its general impact and benefits — and, of course, on how to actually make the stuff! (Those interested in sharing their biochar experiences can send photos and text to me on editor (at) permaculturenews.org for potential publishing.)Comments (25)
Compost, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination — by Nico Snyman April 4, 2012
by Nico Snyman: B.Sc. Agric (Agron.)Pret.
Six years after we started farming in the tropics, in the upper catchment areas of the Congo basin, North Eastern Zambia, we discovered why farming in the tropics always goes along with constant deforestation. With cultivation, the nutrients are lost because everything captured in the biomass is removed. What we did not realize, was that the soil which is poor in nutrients is very rich in microbial life — and that is the important part.
With hindsight we now know that the first items you lose with cultivation of the soil are the different fungi, and then the bacteria. These fungi colonise the roots of the plants and help with the nutrient and moisture uptake by the roots and they have a tremendous effect on plant growth. These fungi are also the easiest to propagate and research. So that is why most firms that sell biological products sell fungi to farmers.Comments (1)
Compost, Fungi, Land, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition — by Sunny Soleil March 23, 2012
I’ve been wanting to do a hugelkultur bed ever since I saw an article about a village store garden where people could walk around these really tall raised beds picking their veggies without bending.
Hugelkultur is a Central European-style raised bed which uses rotting wood as its foundation. Toby Hemenway mentions it in Gaia’s Garden, offering the hot tip that he can start potatoes a month early in this kind of bed. The hugelkultur raised bed can be built in many different ways, towering as high as you can reach or in a deep trench so that the planting surface is more or less level with the ground.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Compost, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Richard Higgins February 23, 2012
In January 2010 Richard Higgins, founder and CEO of Well End Permaculture International, arrived at the epicentre of the Haiti earthquake in Port au Prince.
We sat the visiting NGOs down to lunch just to the left of this picture
(see next picture, below). Each double pallet contained 1,200 fresh
human wastes and nobody had any idea they were there
After arrival in Haiti I presented my researched technology at various WASH cluster meetings at the UN information site, near the airport. After the third presentation — made before the meetings had started, I was spotted by the regional director for Water and Sanitation for Latin America of the NGO giant CRS (Catholic Relief Services).
One week later I began work in a contracted position to set up a pilot project at the Sainte Marie Community Convent for the remediation of the toilet waste and other refugee camp generated wastes, into fertilizer, for 200 people.Comments (5)
Compost, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation — by Niva Kay February 4, 2012
Many have heard of EM mixtures, sold worldwide with cultures of effective microorganisms, that due to their symbiotic relationships with each other can benefit the microorganisms’ ecosystem in our soils, compost piles and toilets. They are known to boost yield and speed the composting process and are sold worldwide for their positive effect.
You can read more about the commercial brands of EM and the process of their discovery by Dr.Teruo Higa from Japan in Wikipedia.
There are three types of microbial life that come together to form the mixture. It is not a certain strain of microbes that holds the key, but rather the combination of the different groups that gives the positive effect we are looking for.Comments (5)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Economics, Food Shortages, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Salination, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Beatrice Yannacopoulou January 13, 2012
A group of community-minded gardeners have turned a former Athens airport into a blooming vegetable plot, showing how Greece’s eroded soil holds the keys to a revival in farming and a way to buck the jobless trend.
by Beatrice Yannacopoulou. Article originally published on The Ecologist
All photographs courtesy: Dimitris.V.Geronikos
"If we want to survive on this land we must first help to heal the earth," said Nicolas Netién, agro-ecologist, teacher and co-creator of the NGO Permaculture Research Institute Hellas. He was talking to a group of some fifty people of all ages who had gathered for two days of workshops on self-sufficiency, how to self-organize, agro-ecology and composting. This small gathering was taking place on a beautifully sunny autumn day at the former Athens airport, Ellinikon.Comments (3)
Compost, Conservation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Trees, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Harvesting — by Mark Feineigle January 4, 2012
What is it?
Hugelkultur is a composting method that uses large pieces of rotting wood as the centerpiece for long term humus building decomposition. The decomposition process takes place below the ground, while at the same time allowing you to cultivate the raised, or sunken, hugelkultur bed. This allows the plants to take advantage of nutrients released during decomposition. Hugelkultur, in its infinite variations, has been developed and practiced by key permaculture proponents such as Sepp Holzer and Masanobu Fukuoka for decades.
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Forests, Fungi, Irrigation, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Salination, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Swales, Urban Projects, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 2, 2011
Many thanks to Jeremy, Christina, Erik, Lamia and Kristen for all the work that went into creating the French translation subtitle file for both Parts I & II of the Greening the Desert video below. As a result, I’ve been able to upload a version suitable for your French-speaking friends and family, should you have some.
After clicking play, click on the ‘CC’ button at bottom
of the video to enable the French subtitles
And, a big thanks must also go to Frank Gapinski for the Greening the Desert Part I video that has turned so many on to permaculture concepts. It’s amazing the impact a few minutes of video can have on the world!
P.S. Because of the hard-coded English subtitles in the original version of the video embedded above, English speakers would be better to watch it instead.Comments (1)
Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Markets & Outlets, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Structure, Trees, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Kenneth Gronbjerg November 17, 2011
A holistic and most outrageous concept being turned into reality in Denmark.
From: Sepp Holzer’s Permakultur, Leopold Stocker Verlag, 2008
Fresh is the concept for an organic, living supermarket in cities and villages, where instead of taking the items off the shelf, the customer harvests the produce directly from raised beds!
It is a system that works with nature rather than against it.
By harvesting, the customer contributes to the work of producing to such a large extent that the produce can be offered at a never before seen quality and price. It’s almost for free. This is what you may call a win win win situation!Comments (7)
Compost, Courses/Workshops, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Bonnie Freibergs November 1, 2011
Zaytuna Farm Crop Garden
On the 21st of this month Zaytuna Farm will be hosting a Compost, Soil Biology & Natural Fertilizer one-week course. Participants will learn beneficial soil biology — how to make it and how to manage it. They will benefit from classroom and hands on experience, applying supportive soil microbes as compost tea to achieve sustainability and profitability in a simple and effective way.Comments (1)
Animal Forage, Biodiversity, Commercial Farm Projects, Compost, Conferences, Courses/Workshops, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, GMOs, Health & Disease, Plant Systems, Presentations/Demonstrations, Rehabilitation, Seeds, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure, Trees, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 25, 2011
If you didn’t catch it already, be sure to check out the previous post with Dr. Maarten Stapper’s first IPC10 convergence presentation. And, after several attempts, I finally managed to get his second presentation uploaded — you can click play above to watch this as well. With decades of experience in the farming industry, Dr. Stapper has a great deal to share, and a lot of insight to go with it.Comments (1)
Compost, DVDs/Books, Dams, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Seeds, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Swales, Trees — by Paul Wheaton October 8, 2011
Click play to hear the talk!Review of Geoff Lawton's Food Forest DVD, by Paul Wheaton and Helen Atthowe
Paul Wheaton and Helen Atthowe (www.veganicpermaculture.com) watch Geoff Lawton‘s Food Forest video and Helen really loved it. It shows a food forest as they start it, at 6 months, a year, 3 years, 10 years.
Paul thinks it is one of the best permaculture videos. Lawton starts by talking about three concepts: the layering of systems (there are 7-10 layers of a forest), succession of systems (how nature repairs itself), and time (working with different events — eg: sun, shade, flood over time). Paul shares Helen’s hesitancy using the word “permaculture.” They also talk about the word “science” and “studies.” Lawton has 1st, 2nd, and 3rd recovery plants. The first are: annuals, nitrogen fixers, ground covers and leguminous shrubs. The second are medium size nitrogen fixing trees (later to be chopped at head height in order to nurture the longer term trees). The third are longer term nitrogen fixing trees.Comments (1)