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 »

Phayao Permaculture Center – Soil Building Strategies (Thailand)

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

The Phayao Permaculture Center (PPC) is a two acre permaculture design implemented to be the retirement farm for myself and my Thai family. It is located in the wet/dry tropics at 19 degrees north latitude in Northern Thailand. Having taken the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course with Bill Mollison on Maui, Hawaii in 1982, it… 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 »

Tiger Hill Permaculture: Phase 1, Water Harvesting Earthworks

Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

In February 2011 I took over the farm, ‘Tiger Hill’, in Tasmania, Australia. The planets aligned at that time in my life as I had a deep desire to find a property that I could develop to get all of my experience and ideas toward Permaculture on the ground and create my long term vision… 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 »

How to Prepare and Take Care of a No-Dig Vegetable Garden (Slovenia)

Posted by & filed under Compost, Food Plants - Annual, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure, Urban Projects.

Welcome to no-dig gardening. This is a tutorial which is written in a form of questions and answers. Questions will lead you on a path, and answers will give further directions. I want to share with you seven years of experience with no-dig gardening which gives abundant yields and improves soil life and quality year… Read more »

Oh, The Beds I’ve Made: No-Till Gardening in Tropical Panama

Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation, Trees, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

One of the most exciting parts of taking the reins to a hectare of lakeside land in Panama was planning just exactly what kind of experimenting was going to be on order. We knew there would be a food forest. We knew there’d be a vegetable garden, fresh herbs, and lots of very dense clay… 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 »

How to Steal from Your Neighbors and Have Them Love You For It (Panama)

Posted by & filed under Compost, Demonstration Sites, Processing & Food Preservation, Recipes, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation.

Stolen leaves over yucca plants with banana circle backer The first time I did it I did so on the sly. I needed some mulch for a piece of dried up clay I was hoping to convert into a forest floor upon which I planned to grow a food forest. The piece of land next… 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 »