Category: Soil Composition

Tiger Hill Permaculture: Phase 1, Water Harvesting Earthworks

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 of an educational community and demonstration site based on Permaculture design.

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How to Increase the Rate of Biological Nitrogen Fixation

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 are myriad. Starting with: higher general productivity richer and more diverse soil life more available […]

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

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 after year. First we will take a look at natural patterns, weeds and learn about […]

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

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 soil with which to contend. Much of the space was steep hillsides, but at the […]

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How to Permanently Improve Your Sandy Soil

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Size of a pumpkin leaf: 42 cm, that’s 16.5″. Not bad for a sandy soil! One of the problems a lot of people have is how to improve the fertility of sandy soil. One solution is to add more organic matter (compost, manure, wood chips), but unfortunately if you live in a hot and humid climate the stuff you put in the soil is going to decompose quickly, since microbial […]

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Low-Tech Natural Nursery Strategies (Washington, USA)

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 has been proven to be the healthiest and most energy efficient means of mass propagating […]

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

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 door was thick with leaves, and having seen the groundskeeper over there laboring with a […]

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Soil Science Basics for Beginners

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. Cover cropping, mulching and composting are three great ways to build soil. In this photo […]

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

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 perennial in orientation, enriches the soil, promotes healthy microbiology, sequesters carbon, fosters more effective hydration […]

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Designer Resource: Getting Soil Data from the USDA Web Soil Survey (USA)

Soil is one of the basic resources that we have when beginning to work with land. Along with water, climatic patterns, and existing ecosystems, soils form the canvas on which we paint our agro-ecological life support systems. In the US the Web Soil Survey (WSS) managed by the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service operates one of the largest soil resource information systems in the world. Soils of […]

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Dung Beetles – The Underground Army Enriching the Soil

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 them directly. In a way they are also providing food for the earth worms. When […]

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Grow Food and Soil With A Food Forest

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Soil before and after After ten years of learning from and collaborating with a mega-diverse, globally inspired, edible forest garden, new wonders are under foot. Paradise Lot, here in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA, has a soil story to tell, and we are finally getting around to deciphering its wonders. Since 2004, each year we installed a portion of our design of perennial polycultures of multi-purpose plants into sheet mulched garden beds. […]

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