Category: Soil Biology

Does Comfrey Really Improve Soil?

All of us who have studied permaculture have heard some impressive claims about comfrey. It is a dynamic nutrient accumulator; it improves the soil; it is “a slow motion fountain” of nutrients, bringing them up from the subsoil to improve the topsoil. We’ve heard lots of anecdotal evidence, but where is the empirical data for these claims? Peter Harper’s article in The Land last summer, “Permaculture: the Big Rock Candy […]

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Bhaskar Save, the Gandhi of Natural Farming

Sage of a minimalist farming system based on non-violence and all of nature’s biodiversity that produces in abundance with no chemical inputs. by Bharat Mansata Bhaskar Save, acclaimed ‘Gandhi of Natural Farming’, turned 92 on 27 January 2014, having inspired and mentored 3 generations of organic farmers. Masanobu Fukuoka, the legendary Japanese natural farmer, visited Save’s farm in 1996, and described it as “the best in the world”, ahead of […]

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Earthworms at Work

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFpblBf1dfE The last post of Phillip Bradley was about no till farming practices, cover cropping and direct sowing. We have farmers in France doing this also. They are very active, always testing new cover crops and different ways to work. Here is their site, with plenty of videos — sometimes in English, usually in French. These French farmers are passionate about worms — because worms work for them all the […]

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Under Cover Farmers (videos)

While researching cover cropping, I came across the video above, featuring an explanation from the Rodale Institute (U.S.) of their “No Till Roller Crimper” which is used to lay down the cover crop in a no till farming environment. Another video I uncovered (below) may be of interest to those pursuing permaculture practice in the larger scale farming environment. It is called “Under Cover Farmers” and investigates the cover cropping/no […]

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Phosphorous Starvation Threatens the World

A fully referenced version of this paper is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here. The world is running short of phosphate ore for chemical fertilizers; recovering phosphate from waste and reducing phosphate use in phosphate rich countries can alleviate the shortage and simultaneously prevent environmental pollution. by Prof Joe Cummins Phosphorus a limiting nutrient Earth seems to be growing sicker every year along with […]

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Keyline Design as an Organizing Pattern for Permaculture Design, Part 3 (Sweden)

This is the third of a series of articles looking at design considerations for our Cold Climate Permaculture site using the Keyline Scale of Permanence as a organizing framework, as well as an informative read for anyone interested.

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A Simple Recipe for Fertiliser Tea

This is a very simple fertiliser tea recipe which all plants I have used it on have responded very well to. It uses wild plants which are generally abundant throughout Europe, although I am not sure about the rest of the world; you’ll have to look around for yourself. The ratio I used here is approximately 1kg of plants to 10 litres of water. Since you may not have scales […]

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Introduction to Naturalised Nursery Practice

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 to produce healthy growth. It’s only with today’s technology we are beginning to bear witness […]

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

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 plants are not efficient at absorbing. One solution? Perhaps … a microscopic mushroom. — TED […]

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Paul Stamets – Solutions From the Underground (Video)

Many readers of Permaculture News will be familiar with Paul Stamets and his amazing research with all things fungi. This video presentation by Paul is inspiring! It was recorded in Australia. If you have any interest in permaculture and the care of Creation and the amazing natural world of which we are a part, you will be inspired too. You will see that Paul gifts a patent to Australia towards […]

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Soil, not Dirt – Dr Elaine Ingham Talks Soil Microbiology

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 the Rodale Institute. She is the founder of the Sustainable Studies Institute and the Soil […]

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Healing the Planet Through Photosynthesis and Carbon Sequestration

If we implement wise geoengineering, even eating meat could help tackle the backlog of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. Carbon depleted soil, at left, compared to a carbon rich soil, at right. Eating meat is bad for the planet, right? That hamburger you’re contemplating for lunch comes from a cow that, most likely, was raised within the industrial agriculture system. Which means it was fed huge amounts of corn that […]

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