Nitrogen: the Double-Edged Sword

Posted by & filed under Fungi, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Dutch clover cover crop between cabbage rows Nitrogen is a component of protein and DNA and as such, is essential to all living things. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, around 97% of the nitrogen supporting life on earth was fixed biologically. Over the last century, intensification of farming, coupled with a lack of understanding of… Read more »

The Secret Of El Dorado – Terra Preta

Posted by & filed under Compost, Deforestation, Fungi, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

In this documentary a legendary civilization thought to be too good to be true on the basis of the stories told by the Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana, is found to be a real part of history. We can separate fact from fiction here, in that the golden riverbanks the Spaniard told of were not… Read more »

Black Magic: The Secrets of Amazonian Fertility

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

The great Amazon rainforest. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Bones. Charcoal. Ash. Blood. Feces. Food waste. Pottery shards. Before I began my journey into permaculture and regenerative ecology, if you asked me why someone would gather and bury these things together, I would have guessed at some kind of disgusting voodoo magic ritual. But for… Read more »

Report on 5-Day Permaculture Workshop for the Etse Fewus Herbalists Association in Fitch, North Soha, Ethiopia: Part 1

Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Soil Biology, Soil Rehabilitation.

Several years ago we were visited at our project site in Konso, South Ethiopia by an Australian lady called Elizabeth D’Avigdor and her daughter, May. We gave her a tour around our site and showed her what we were up to at the time. I vaguely remember her mentioning that she was working on a… Read more »

Mycelium Running: How Fungi Can Help Save the World

Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books, Fungi, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

by Paul Stamets. Review by Sher June. When research biologist Paul Stamets suggests fungi can help save the world, he is absolutely serious. In fact, he contends they can rescue it in several different ways. There are the medicines to be derived from fungi, probably more than we can yet imagine. Fungi for insect pest… Read more »

How to Increase the Rate of Biological Nitrogen Fixation

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

This short article is a chapter from my book “Fertilizer for Free: How to make the most from Biological Nitrogen Fixation”. One important question permaculture designers should ask themselves: Is there anything you can do to increase the rate of biological nitrogen fixation? The benefits of having more nitrogen rich organic matter in the soil… Read more »

Low-Tech Natural Nursery Strategies (Washington, USA)

Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Compost, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Nurseries & Propogation, Seeds, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Trees.

When most people think about nurseries and plant propagation, they conjure up rows and rows of black pots and the smell of moist palettes of artificial fertilizer. But there is no natural law which dictates this to be the only, or even a preferable way in which to propagate plants. While in-situ propagation from seed… Read more »

Soil Science Basics for Beginners

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

by Aaron Jerad It’s dark. You are surrounded by giant flesh eating amoebas. You can’t move very fast…. Welcome to the world of the bacteria, the smallest but most abundant member of the soil food web. Often feared but essential, whether directly or indirectly, for the survival of almost all other living organisms on earth…. Read more »

Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming

Posted by & filed under Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Water Conservation.

There is a powerful means of addressing the challenges of carbon capture and climate change — promoting photosynthesis! This means good old fashion farming and gardening — covering the earth with a vast range of trees, flora and crops. Amongst other benefits, a rich diversity of plant species and agricultural practice that is poly-cultural and… Read more »

Soil Carbon Cowboys – Case Studies in Holistic Management (video)

Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land, Livestock, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

Meet Allen Williams, Gabe Brown and Neil Dennis — heroes and innovators! These ranchers now know how to regenerate their soils while making their animals healthier and their operations more profitable. They are turning on their soils, enabling rainwater to sink into the earth, rather than run off. And these turned on soils retain that… Read more »

Dung Beetles – The Underground Army Enriching the Soil

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

This video gives an overview of the benefits of establishing and managing dung beetles. Dung beetles are fascinating insects, working tirelessly to bury dung around the country. One cow per day produces approximately 18kg of dung. These beetles process the dung by burying it deep into the soil and helping the plant roots to access… Read more »