Category: Soil

Trees Giving Up Battle, But Sustainable Farming Offers Hope

The silver bullet solution to climate change in many people’s book is to simply ‘plant a tree’. A recent study indicates that it might not be quite that simple… The ability of forests to soak up man-made carbon dioxide is weakening, according to an analysis of two decades of data from more than 30 sites in the frozen north. The finding published today is crucial, because it means that more […]

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Nitrogen Fixing Trees – The Multipurpose Pioneers

The myths about the wonders of nitrogen fixing trees are many. Craig Elevitch (see bio at bottom) and Kim Wilkinson explain how to use them effectively. Nitrogen Fixing Trees for Permaculture Flowers of the leguminous tree, Kowhai, the national flower of New Zealand Nitrogen fixation is a pattern of nutrient cycling which has successfully been used in perennial agriculture for millennia. This article focuses on legumes, which are nitrogen fixers […]

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Humanure Handbook – Free Download

With chapters like ‘Crap Happens’, ‘Deep Shit’ and ‘A Day in the Life of a Turd’, this is sure to be an interesting book, albeit possibly not one to read over lunch? With this wonderful substance piling up in all the wrong places (after all, we’re running out of clean water, and yet we’re crapping in it…), this taboo topic deserves a lot more attention than it gets. The book […]

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Water Worries

Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink. – Samuel Coleridge (1772-1834). The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, II If you look down on our earth from space, the predominant colour is blue. The surface of our earth is approximately 70% water. In that respect, perhaps our planet would have been better called the Ocean, than the Earth. Yet, […]

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Soil – Our Financial Institution

Soil — the substance you walk on, build on, and live from — provides your food, clothing, and even the air you breathe. It gives warmth, shelter, and the goods you possess. Soil is, I believe, a substance that is under-acknowledged, and also under attack, and its misuse is contributing greatly to the excessive release of CO2 into our atmosphere – making it a large contributor to global warming. Therefore, […]

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Small is Bountiful

by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist. Originally published in the Guardian, 10 June 2008 I suggest you sit down before you read this. Robert Mugabe is right. At last week’s global food summit he was the only leader to speak of “the importance … of land in agricultural production and food security”.(1) Countries should follow Zimbabwe’s lead, he said, in democratising ownership. Of course […]

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18-Day Compost – the Appliance of Science

Composting puts carbon back where it belongs – in our soils! You may have got beyond the ‘heave it in and hope’ stage of composting, but the average heap or bin still involves a lot of trial and error. This 18-day compost system takes the guesswork out of your heap and turbo-charges the whole process. But, it does require consistent effort for two weeks and careful monitoring to work properly. […]

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Fungi help some trees weather acid rain, but not all

A discovery reported in the latest edition of the journal Nature (June 13, 2002) — that fungi on the roots of some trees in the Northeastern United States help supply much-needed calcium in forest soils battered by acid rain — would seem to ease worries about the worrisome form of pollution. But don’t stop worrying just yet, warns Timothy J. Fahey, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Natural Resources at […]

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Compost miracles

Excerpted from the Humanure Handbook by Joe Jenkins. Compost microorganisms not only convert organic material into humus, but they also degrade toxic chemicals into simpler, benign, organic molecules. These chemicals include gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, oil, grease, wood preservatives, PCBs, coal gasification wastes, refinery wastes, insecticides, herbicides, TNT, and other explosives. (59) In one experiment in which compost piles were laced with insecticides and herbicides, the insecticide (carbofuran) was […]

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Fast compost – Soil Permaculture Design and Maintenance

What is Compost? Compost is humanity’s version of the humus found in nature, and the compost heap is a ‘digester’ – our tool used to produce it. Humus is made of broken down vegetation which releases nutrients back into the soil for healthy plant growth. Similarly, under the direction of the careful gardener, the composting process breaks down a rich mixture of ingredients to produce a potent humus which will […]

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Use of permaculture under salinity and drought conditions

Jordan is an arid country with limited water resources. The available renewable fresh water resources dropped drastically to an annual per capita share of 155 m3 in recent years compared to 3400 m3/cap/year in 1946. It is considered also as one of the 10 poorest countries worldwide in water resources (Countries with less than 500 m3/capita/year are regarded as having “absolute scarcity”). In 2004, the total water use in Jordan […]

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