Category: Soil

The Secret Under Your Feet: Soil

Earthworms and soil in hand

If you’re new to organic homesteading, you might have the romantic idea that since you are growing food the “natural” way, all you need to do is sow some seeds and Mother Nature will take care of the rest. Sadly, this isn’t true. If you’re planning to turn your yard into a permaculture paradise, don’t waste all your hard work by ignoring a vital step: improving your soil. You can’t […]

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Soil Temperature and Seed Germination

Seedlings_Balkan_Ecology_Project

A few days ago we sowed the tomato seeds for this season’s market and home garden. It never ceases to amaze me what little indoor space you need to rear thousands of seedlings. We use two 50 cm x 30 cm x 15 cm trays to germinate approx 150 seedlings from 10 cultivars. When they get bigger we move them into two 1.3 x 8 m beds covered with polythene to rear them before they take their permanent positions in the gardens in early – mid April.

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The Importance of Trees in the Garden

Cranbrook Garden (Barbara Eckstein)

In permaculture, forest gardening is high on our list of priorities. While the production value of certain trees, specifically fruit and nut species, is an obvious positive, there are many more reasons trees should be featured often and prominently in our designs. When considering them carefully, we can find a bounty of benefits to enjoy. Trees play a vital role in eco-systems, in the planet’s atmosphere, in our water systems, […]

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Compost or Mulch

Compost bin and wheelbarrow

I was talking to a person about planting this year’s garden and told them to compost the garden, then mulch heavy. He looked at me like I had 3 heads and asked, “isn’t compost and mulching the same thing?” It hit me that the 2 processes may not be understood by all. So, let’s talk about mulch (mulching) and compost (composting). Compost is nutrient rich and full of life that […]

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Ding Dong Monsanto’s Gone

Protest against Monsanto, Zagreb, Croatia

We may finally have a solution to the plant killer Monsanto: MycoPesticide, a super spectacular amazing natural pesticide created, or better said, realized by Paul Stamets. This special man that is king of mushrooms has found a possible way to bring down Monsanto that carelessly tests chemicals on you, me, your children, and the planet! Paul Stamets should be a household name because he just may have saved all of […]

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Toxic Oilsands Tailings Could Be Cleaned Up With The Help Of Dandelion Fungi

Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) on tree

Upon noting the weed’s unique ability to grow anywhere, Edmonton scientist Kelcie Miller-Anderson started investigating what makes dandelions so hardy. Her findings may provide a solution to one of the oilsands industry’s greatest concerns – the noxious tailing ponds created by bitumen mines, which are releasing “toxic and potentially cancer-causing chemicals into the air.” According to Environment Canada scientist Elisabeth Galarneau, preliminary results from testing done in 2014 revealed that […]

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Soil Conditions You Need to Consider When Choosing a Garden Design

Earthworms and soil in hand

The properties of soils are crucial for the successful growth of plants. For plants to achieve their maximum potential, the soil must provide satisfactory conditions. The properties that influence plant growth are: ● Biological ● Physical ● Chemical 1. Biological Properties These refer to the living organisms that are found in soil such as earthworms. They differ in size ranging from slightly larger animals like moles to micro organisms like […]

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Healing Your Soil

Healing Your Soil feat

Sometimes soil needs our help. When we over-utilize our lands, kill them with chemicals or deforest them, they are made weak and can die. Soil is living and a lot like us. The top layer of soil is like skin that offers the first layer of defense that can be easily damaged. We have done this damage to our earth, but we can help undo some of that damage by […]

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Small Scale Composting

Compost pile with daisies

Organic waste comprises an estimated 20-40% of the solid waste stream that ends up in landfills. Organic matter breaks down slowly in landfills due to limited oxygen, which can contribute to methane gas production. Enter stage left: compost. Compost is the rich, black remnant of organic waste such as kitchen scraps combined with “brown” matter (i.e. soil, leaves); the result is beautiful fertilizer for your garden. Intentionally composting accelerates the […]

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Mycelium and Soil

Mycellium and Soil Feat

Life as we know it would be much different if it weren’t for the mysterious and miraculous mycelium. Such an impressive entity, so different than most life on earth. This fungus can destroy and give life simultaneously. I’m no expert on mycelium, but I love my soil and mycelium helps my soil by breaking down organic matter, keeping moisture in the soil, and helping to prevent erosion. I’m sure mycelium […]

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Restoring Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils Using Compost

Restoring Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils Using Compost feat

Metals become contaminants when their amounts in soil, reach levels that are toxic to human life, plants or other biological organisms. This creates a need for soil remediation. Remediation is the process of reducing the toxicity of contaminants or ridding the soil completely of toxic contaminants. Heavy metals (for example, arsenic, cadmium, lead and zinc) fall under the group of inorganic chemical contaminants (5). These metals are released into the […]

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Installing an Urban Food Forest – Updated

Installing an Urban Food Forest feat

Last year, the city of Pottstown, Pa., saw new growth and opportunity in the world of permaculture, as several local and broader groups came together to transform a dead, empty lot into a food forest. Biochar Bob from The Biochar Company and Soil Reef Biochar took viewers around the space, introducing them to participants and the project. The empty lot, situated perfectly in an urban space, near a busy street, […]

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