Category: Soil

Soil Conditions You Need to Consider When Choosing a Garden Design

The properties of soils are crucial for the successful growth of plants. For plants to achieve their maximum potential, the soil must provide satisfactory conditions. The properties that influence plant growth are: ● Biological ● Physical ● Chemical 1. Biological Properties These refer to the living organisms that are found in soil such as earthworms. They differ in size ranging from slightly larger animals like moles to micro organisms like […]

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Healing Your Soil

Sometimes soil needs our help. When we over-utilize our lands, kill them with chemicals or deforest them, they are made weak and can die. Soil is living and a lot like us. The top layer of soil is like skin that offers the first layer of defense that can be easily damaged. We have done this damage to our earth, but we can help undo some of that damage by […]

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Small Scale Composting

Organic waste comprises an estimated 20-40% of the solid waste stream that ends up in landfills. Organic matter breaks down slowly in landfills due to limited oxygen, which can contribute to methane gas production. Enter stage left: compost. Compost is the rich, black remnant of organic waste such as kitchen scraps combined with “brown” matter (i.e. soil, leaves); the result is beautiful fertilizer for your garden. Intentionally composting accelerates the […]

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Mycelium and Soil

Life as we know it would be much different if it weren’t for the mysterious and miraculous mycelium. Such an impressive entity, so different than most life on earth. This fungus can destroy and give life simultaneously. I’m no expert on mycelium, but I love my soil and mycelium helps my soil by breaking down organic matter, keeping moisture in the soil, and helping to prevent erosion. I’m sure mycelium […]

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Restoring Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils Using Compost

Metals become contaminants when their amounts in soil, reach levels that are toxic to human life, plants or other biological organisms. This creates a need for soil remediation. Remediation is the process of reducing the toxicity of contaminants or ridding the soil completely of toxic contaminants. Heavy metals (for example, arsenic, cadmium, lead and zinc) fall under the group of inorganic chemical contaminants (5). These metals are released into the […]

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Installing an Urban Food Forest – Updated

Last year, the city of Pottstown, Pa., saw new growth and opportunity in the world of permaculture, as several local and broader groups came together to transform a dead, empty lot into a food forest. Biochar Bob from The Biochar Company and Soil Reef Biochar took viewers around the space, introducing them to participants and the project. The empty lot, situated perfectly in an urban space, near a busy street, […]

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Biochar-Mineral Complex and Compost Influences Soil Bacteria and Quality

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

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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Humus: A 20-Minute Primer with Graeme Sait

Graeme Sait is the co-counder of Nutri-Tech Solutions, author of Nutrition Rules!, and founder of the Radiance Festival. His work focuses on the connection between soil conditions and nutrition, following the ancient wisdom of the adage “you are what you eat.” This short video is dedicated to the key component of our planet’s soil system: humus. Graeme begins by explaining the impetus behind this particular presentation, which he said was […]

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When Chlorosis is Caused by Nitrogen Deficiency

Chlorosis is a condition in plants where the leaves have yellowish colouration due to insufficient amount of chlorophyll in their cells. Chlorosis can be caused by a number of reasons including; deficiency of nutrients (such as iron, nitrogen, manganese, zinc), disease infestation, damaged roots, high soil alkalinity and compacted roots (1). This article concentrates on chlorosis due to nitrogen deficiency in plants. Why does nitrogen deficiency cause yellowing? To understand […]

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Phytoremediation

Phytoremediation is a biological technique used to restore polluted water and soil environments to their natural state. It involves the use of living plants and their related micro organisms to remove contaminants from the environment or to degrade contaminants to a lesser toxic form (1,2,6). Anthropogenic activities such as mine tailings, fertilizer applications, pesticides, heavy metal disposal, petrochemicals, animal manures and sewage sludges cause soil pollution (2,4,5). Heavy metals are […]

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Making Microbes: Fungal vs Bacterial Soil Life

Organic gardeners and farmers understand the need to cultivate and protect soil microorganism life. The strategies to do this involve mulching, composting, and avoiding soil disturbance as much as possible. We know that these strategies, in addition to many others, encourage a healthy soil-food-web. The soil-food-web is the interconnected matrix of invisible (fungi, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes) and visible (earthworms, beetles, arthropods) creatures that have a whole host of functions which […]

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