Category: Structure

Fungal Soil: What Is It and Why Do We Want It?

Look at all those Fun Guys! Do not eat! Little brown mushrooms can be poisonous… and extremely whimsical. Wood chips make a good mulch for woody plants. To go a step further, you want to use ramial wood chips, which are wood chips made from the outer reaches of a deciduous tree. That means the smaller branches, including the leaves if possible, and not so much the trunk and thicker […]

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Omaha Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health – Presentation Resources

Recently, I had the honor of attending a national conference on cover crops and soil health. The conference was held in Omaha, Nebraska on February 17th to the 19th, sponsored primarily by the Howard G Buffett foundation and SARE (Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education). The attendees represented university specialists, seed vendors, farmers, non-profit groups, and government organizations focused on how to improve the health of our nation’s soils.

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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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Hill Country Permaculture: The Way of the Fox (Central Texas)

Foxes are renowned for being clever and nimble — elusive when sought as prey and very hard to keep out of a chicken coop when on the prowl. Many years ago, sitting at dinner with some long time "Hill Country" (AKA central Texas USA) farmers, I learned something about foxes that’s stuck with me ever since. A fox’s tail weighs as much as the rest of its body and thus […]

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OrBio – a Cover Crop Strategy for Market Gardens

A bug’s eye view of the sky, from a stand of cover crop Photo © Craig Mackintosh A recent post by Australian permaculture aid worker, Miles Durand, writing from Lesotho, reminded me to share a method of growing vegetable crops alongside cover crops that I learned when I studied organic biological horticulture many years ago. In the context of the holistic soil science and natural pest control studies I was […]

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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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Wildlife Friendly Gardening Begins Beneath Us

Why dig? Why turn over tonnes of topsoil year after year. We know permanent soil has properties that annual crops need and which sustains bio diversity. Why disturb and destroy the goodness that nature provides? Salad, herbs, onions, garlic, brassica, peas, beans, and ornamentals are examples of plants that can be cultivated without digging. One simple method to achieve surface drainage and root development with minimal soil disturbance is to […]

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A Computer Geek Starts a Garden, Part II – We Are Chlorophyll Managers

Last night I ate a couple of dozen cherry tomatoes from my just-getting-started garden. A little pepper and salt and I was in tomato heaven. I was expecting them to taste a whole lot better than the supermarket ‘tomatoes‘ I’m otherwise forced to consume, and I was not at all disappointed. Indeed, every cell of my body almost seemed to shout "thank you!" The difference was like night and day. […]

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Cover Crops Solutions Chart

Click pic to download PDF As most readers of this site will recognise, nature always works to protect the soil from from wind and water erosion — by covering it with living foliage. In doing so, the cycle of life and death continues, increasing the soil’s fertility over time. Alas, many ‘modern’ gardeners have allowed themselves to become indoctrinated into trying to maintain a ‘tidy’, foliage-free garden bed — they […]

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Tree Care Videos (California)

Chuck Ingels is a master teacher on schoolyard-scale orchards. In this 2-hour segment he goes through the basics of fruit tree care. Below the videos we have outlines that break down the subjects so you can skip to the sections you need.

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