Category: Soil Composition

Biochar-Mineral Complex and Compost Influences Soil Bacteria and Quality

Mineral Complex and Compost Influences Soil Bacteria and Quality feat

Biochar is a carbon rich substance produced from pyrolysis-a process involving thermal degradation of biomass (such as manure, leaves, wood) in the absence of oxygen. It is used as a soil enhancer in agriculture because it has the capacity to enhance crop growth by retaining nutrients in the soil for crop uptake (1,2,3). Biochar is also gaining popularity because it has the potential to reduce emission of nitrous-oxide a potent […]

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Biochar, A Brief History

Charcoal picture

Biochar, while boasting an ancient history, is actually just gaining popularity among many circles today. While it’s believed that ancient South American cultures would use biochar (or burning agricultural waste, covered in soil) to increase soil productivity, the term wasn’t coined until Peter Read did so in 2005, to describe a substance that looks almost like charcoal, but that is actually biomass carbonized and made into a solid material, used […]

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Soil Compaction I: An Introduction

Soil Compaction I: An Introduction

Soil compaction occurs when the amount of open spaces between soil particles (referred to as porosity) is reduced, and soils become denser, physically hard, and more difficult to permeate.(1) Soil compaction can be induced by a natural cause (as with the case of heavy impact of rain drops) or by anthropogenic causes including; excessive machinery use, intensive cropping, short crop rotations, intensive grazing and poor soil management.(2,3) A compacted soil […]

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The Soils Cation Exchange Capacity and its Effect on Soil Fertility

Carrying out a soil analysis

Cation exchange capacity. Soil nutrients exist as positively charged or negatively charged ions when dissolved. The positively charged ions are known as cations and the negatively charged ions are known as anions. The nutrients which exist as cations are calcium (Ca2+), Magnesium Mg2+, ammonium (NH4+), potassium (K+), hydrogen (H+), sodium (Na+) aluminium (Al3+), iron (Fe2+), manganese (Mn2+), zinc (Zn2+) and copper (Cu2+). Some of the nutrients which exist as anions […]

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Peat Soils

Peat Soils feat

Peat soils are formed from partially decomposed plant material under anaerobic water saturated conditions. They are found in peatlands (also called bogs or mires). Peatlands cover about 3% of the earth’s land mass; they are found in the temperate (Northern Europe and America) and tropical regions (South East Asia, South America, South Africa and the Caribbean) 1. Peat soils are classified as histosols. These are soils high in organic matter […]

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Soil Formation

Colourful

Soil is formed through the process of rock weathering. Weathering is the breakdown of rocks into smaller particles when in contact with water (flowing through rocks), air or living organisms. Weathering can occur physically, biologically or chemically. Physical weathering: This is the disintegration of rocks into smaller particles with no alteration in their molecular structure. Air and water are agents of physical weathering. Windblown on rocks, heavy downpour of rain, […]

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A Guide to Simple Worm Farming Techniques

Happy Tiger Worms (Courtesy of Timothy Musson)

Even novice gardeners are aware of worms as a driving force in the garden, and this is especially so for those no-till beds so popular in permaculture plots. For most of us, it’s no great revelation that soil thick with worms is also likely to be thick with plant growth. The reasons are many, but in the most basic terms, earthworms are great for aerating soils and transforming organic material […]

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Save our Soils

Save our Soils

All terrestrial life depends on soil, directly or indirectly. Although our understanding of topsoil has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decades, we are still losing this invaluable resource at a frightening pace. Less than thirty per cent of the world’s topsoil remains in fair or acceptable condition. The fragility of this vital layer can be illustrated through a simple comparison: if one imagines the earth as an […]

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PRI – Natural Fertilisers and Nursery

PRI – Natural Fertilisers and Nursery

Lori Morris takes you on a tour of Zaytuna Farm’s diverse fertiliser composting systems. Nursery Manager Laurie Duniam explains the number of different methods of composting that occur on the site and she also describes the process of implementing fertiliser into the nursery system at the PRI Zaytuna. This is an interesting look at some of the systems that we have running at the Permaculture Research Institute. Come and learn […]

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HOW SOIL AND CARBON ARE RELATED

IMG_8028Ingrid Pullen Photography

Carbon cycle is one of the fundamental requirement of life on earth. Soil organic carbon (SOC) can be described as the amount of carbon that is stored in the soil as one of the components of organic matter which comprises the animal and plant materials and different stages of decay. Organic carbon (OC) mainly enters the soil by the decomposition of the animal and plant residuals, dead and living microorganisms, […]

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Food Sovereignty

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‘Food sovereignty’ is fast becoming a lost concept; the right to have the knowledge and resources to grow our own food is an essential right. If we don’t have access to nutrient dense organic food, then where do we get the essential energy to heal our body, mind and spirit certainly not from the supermarket where the average ‘fresh food’, in Australia food often travels more than 1000klms from farm […]

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Soil Degradation: Another Carbon Story

Soil degradation can be a depressing topic. It is generally accepted that the decline in soil quality across Australia following European settlement has been extensive, and extreme in some areas. Soil degradation involves a reduction in soil quality, and this can refer to a decline in physical, chemical or biological properties, or to the actual loss of soil through erosion and transport away from the land. And these are commonly […]

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