Compost, Courses/Workshops, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Salination, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Paul Taylor June 21, 2012
Paul Taylor, the main teacher of our ‘How to Make Your Own Natural Fertilizer’ biological soil science course, is the managing director of Trust Nature Pty Ltd. Paul has been working as a recognized educator and sustainable design consultant for the past 30 years. Paul has Australian Federal Government FarmReady approval as an educator, is a recognized Permaculture Teacher and organic soil management specialist and has completed his Certificate IV in Education, Training and Assessment, qualifying him as an educator under the Australian Federal Government VET (Vocational Education and Training) guidelines. Paul has worked extensively as a consultant and educator in Australia, India, the Middle East and the U.S.A.Comments (0)
Conservation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Salination, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Angelo Eliades June 6, 2012
Currently, approximately 80% of the food crops grown in the world are annual plants, and it’s been this way for quite some time. Perennial plant food crops are pretty much in the minority in terms of how the human race derives its nutrition.
Permaculture strongly emphasises the importance of using perennial plants in our food production systems. When we consider the permanent agriculture aspect of permaculture, it should be apparent that we would need to utilise perennial plants to construct a permanent system, rather than using annual crops to create temporary systems, which are there one season, and return to bare earth the next.
The preference for perennial plants is stated explicitly in the seventh permaculture design principle — Small Scale Intensive Systems. It describes the use of perennial plants instead of annual plants as one of the features that differentiates permaculture small scale intensive systems from either conventional commercial or peasant farming systems.
To many people, the reason we use perennial plants is simply because they don’t need to be replanted each year, and don’t die down each year, saving us a lot of effort digging, sowing seeds, and cleaning up at the end of the season — and then they simply leave their understanding at that.Comments (69)
Compost, Energy Systems, Fungi, Livestock, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Christopher Nesbitt
Maya Mountain Research Farm (MMRF) is a small NGO and working farm located in southern Belize. The farm has about 20 acres of managed land, with the remaining 50 acres managed for limited extraction of timber, fuel wood and medicinals and as a wildlife corridor between the Columbia River Forest Reserve and the Columbia river. We are a working demonstration farm, focusing on agroforestry and the intersection between agriculture and ecology. One thing we have done is to provide a working example of an alternative to raising pigs with corn, which is a local practice amongst Kekchi and Mopan Maya farmers, and combine that with the making and applying of biochar while cooking the pig food.Comments (20)
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)
Compost, Education, Food Plants - Annual, Medicinal Plants, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition — by Anthea Hudson March 7, 2012
Pizza making with home grown produce
Gardening can be an invaluable tool for helping children explore all kinds of things — from chemistry to botany, healthy eating to interactions within a natural system. It also promotes a connection with the earth and an understanding of where food comes from and what is involved in producing it.
Kids love to eat what they have grown, so why not combine that with another kid’s favourite — pizza! Let your children try growing all of their favourite veggie pizza toppings.Comments (2)
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)
Land, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure — by Sunny Soleil February 3, 2012
Carbon pirates bury black gold… so future generations will be richer. – John Rogers
Biochar is being promoted as the soil saving miracle of the century promising outrageously high yields of crops as well as removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The first video ‘The Promise of Biochar’ explains what biochar is, how valuable it is and how the Amazonian Indians used it to enhance fertility of the soil and promote carbon sequestration.
200 year old Brazilian soil [Terra Preta] which has been treated in this way was found to be ultra fertile and bio-diverse even centuries later. Also shown is an in-field experiment comparing the vast increase in crop production through using biochar techniques versus slash/burn or mineral fertilizer methods.
Deforestation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Seeds, Soil Composition, Structure, Trees — by Chris McLeod January 24, 2012
As people become urbanised, they start looking at the world in urban ways. What does that car or house say about that person? How does that person’s occupation affect their social standing? People may not admit it, but they understand the answers to these questions intuitively. As permaculturalists, we need to apply these same observational skills to our permacultural adventures.
These observational skills are important for permaculture because they allow you to read a landscape. No two pieces of land are ever the same! Whether that land is in an urban area or a rural area you can gather a huge amount of information as to its suitability for your next permaculture project simply by observation over a period of time. These skills will also allow you to identify ways to adapt your land to your particular purpose.
Reading a landscape is an observational skill so I have decided to take you on a virtual tour of the mountain range that I live in and tell you what I see in the different spots that we stop off at. I will highlight things at each location that I have learned on my food forest permaculture journey, and that I hope to impart to you the reader. I hope you enjoy the tour!Comments (16)
Conservation, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition, Structure, Swales, Trees, Water Harvesting — by Greg Bell January 20, 2012
Editor’s Note: It’d be great if more people would share their successes and failures in similar fashion as Greg has below. The reason I say this is three-fold — 1) you get valuable feedback from readers on how to overcome your challenges, 2) readers can learn from your mistakes and thus hopefully avoid them, and 3) people new to permaculture will have a decent dose of reality as they start their on-the-ground work, and so won’t give up in despair the moment things don’t immediately pan out as anticipated! Send your articles to editor (at) permaculturenews.org !
Incredible results from the master after just three months
in the same temperate climate as us.
Did you and our family have the same experience? Did you watch
Geoff’s Food Forest DVD with mouth agape, saying “wow” to yourself at
least a dozen times?
You saw it — plan, excavate, mulch, plant. Stand back and be amazed as your planned accelerated succession of productive plants unfolds.
We were lucky enough to have the property and funds to give it a try. I think we’ve failed. Here I’ll explain what we did, mistakes we know about, and the results. Maybe you can spot more mistakes and give us some ideas of where we can go from here.Comments (38)
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.