Category: Soil

Using Weeds to Read the Soil: Some Basic Concepts to Get Started

Weeds are becoming a more and more appreciated component of gardening. We have been reintroduced to eating the weeds, with things like dandelion leaves becoming a niche crop. Also, we are encouraging plants that, up until recently, were viewed as weeds (dynamic accumulators like comfrey and pioneering legumes) to revitalize our soils. And, many gardeners are once again celebrating weeds as a means of reading the soil. Geoff Lawton says […]

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Soil Contamination: Its Causes, Effects, and Solutions

What is Soil Contamination? Soil contamination refers to the destruction of land that could be used constructively by human activities, either directly or indirectly. Presently, 300,000 ha of UK land is thought to be contaminated by toxic elements such as lead and arsenic. The same goes for the other industrialized nations which are the worst hit. The developing countries are also steadily but surely moving toward this direction.This should be […]

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Aggressive Fungus Found Growing in Outer Space

Scientists are considering the implications of an “aggressive space fungus” identified on the outside of the Russian space station Mir. Patches of the green and black fungus have been discovered behind control panels, in the ship’s air conditioner, communications unit, and on many other surfaces. Not only was the fungus growing everywhere, the patches proved difficult to eradicate. According to Russian microbiologist Natalia Novikova, there is the potential that in […]

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The Secret Under Your Feet: Soil

If you’re new to organic homesteading, you might have the romantic idea that since you are growing food the “natural” way, all you need to do is sow some seeds and Mother Nature will take care of the rest. Sadly, this isn’t true. If you’re planning to turn your yard into a permaculture paradise, don’t waste all your hard work by ignoring a vital step: improving your soil. You can’t […]

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Soil Temperature and Seed Germination

A few days ago we sowed the tomato seeds for this season’s market and home garden. It never ceases to amaze me what little indoor space you need to rear thousands of seedlings. We use two 50 cm x 30 cm x 15 cm trays to germinate approx 150 seedlings from 10 cultivars. When they get bigger we move them into two 1.3 x 8 m beds covered with polythene to rear them before they take their permanent positions in the gardens in early – mid April.

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The Importance of Trees in the Garden

In permaculture, forest gardening is high on our list of priorities. While the production value of certain trees, specifically fruit and nut species, is an obvious positive, there are many more reasons trees should be featured often and prominently in our designs. When considering them carefully, we can find a bounty of benefits to enjoy. Trees play a vital role in eco-systems, in the planet’s atmosphere, in our water systems, […]

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Compost or Mulch

I was talking to a person about planting this year’s garden and told them to compost the garden, then mulch heavy. He looked at me like I had 3 heads and asked, “isn’t compost and mulching the same thing?” It hit me that the 2 processes may not be understood by all. So, let’s talk about mulch (mulching) and compost (composting). Compost is nutrient rich and full of life that […]

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Ding Dong Monsanto’s Gone

We may finally have a solution to the plant killer Monsanto: MycoPesticide, a super spectacular amazing natural pesticide created, or better said, realized by Paul Stamets. This special man that is king of mushrooms has found a possible way to bring down Monsanto that carelessly tests chemicals on you, me, your children, and the planet! Paul Stamets should be a household name because he just may have saved all of […]

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Toxic Oilsands Tailings Could Be Cleaned Up With The Help Of Dandelion Fungi

Upon noting the weed’s unique ability to grow anywhere, Edmonton scientist Kelcie Miller-Anderson started investigating what makes dandelions so hardy. Her findings may provide a solution to one of the oilsands industry’s greatest concerns – the noxious tailing ponds created by bitumen mines, which are releasing “toxic and potentially cancer-causing chemicals into the air.” According to Environment Canada scientist Elisabeth Galarneau, preliminary results from testing done in 2014 revealed that […]

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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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