Category: Structure

Anaerobic Soils – What You Need to Know

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Anaerobic soils are found on natural wetlands, floodplains, swamps, peatlands, and disturbed crop lands or even in our back gardens. Aerobic soils have particle arrangement which allows for free movement of air within its pores (open spaces between soil particles). On the contrary, anaerobic soils have restricted flow of air within its soil pores, owing to a high moisture or water table level. Soils can be temporarily anaerobic- like water […]

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How To Know When Your Soil Needs Nitrogen

green winter wheat growing

Nitrogen deposited in the soil may undergo mineralization; this is the conversion of organic nitrogen to inorganic plant available forms (nitrate (NO3-) and ammonium (NH4+)).1 Nitrate is a highly mobile nutrient in the soil. It is negatively charged and so cannot be held on to by negatively charged soil (clay and silt) particles. This is why it is vulnerable to being leached down the soil profile. Nitrogen is a necessity […]

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Peat Soils

Peat Soils feat

Peat soils are formed from partially decomposed plant material under anaerobic water saturated conditions. They are found in peatlands (also called bogs or mires). Peatlands cover about 3% of the earth’s land mass; they are found in the temperate (Northern Europe and America) and tropical regions (South East Asia, South America, South Africa and the Caribbean) 1. Peat soils are classified as histosols. These are soils high in organic matter […]

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Soil

green soil

What is soil? There is more than one definition for soil the most common is that soil is a natural medium on which plants grow. A more broader definition is one by Gerard (2001) “ soil is a natural body composed of minerals, organic compounds, living organisms, air and water in interactive combinations produced by physical, chemical and biological processes” The soil around us can be so easily overlooked and […]

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Soil Formation

Colourful

Soil is formed through the process of rock weathering. Weathering is the breakdown of rocks into smaller particles when in contact with water (flowing through rocks), air or living organisms. Weathering can occur physically, biologically or chemically. Physical weathering: This is the disintegration of rocks into smaller particles with no alteration in their molecular structure. Air and water are agents of physical weathering. Windblown on rocks, heavy downpour of rain, […]

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Learning More on How to Think about Soil

Seedling & Soil

I don’t know why it is, but I’ve taken to waking up at about five every morning. I kiss my wife Emma on the head, creep downstairs from the loft of our apartment and spend the next hour or more watching Geoff Lawton videos from the PDC course. She knows I’m doing it. It’s nothing weird. But, for the most part, we don’t talk all that much about it. This […]

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A Guide to Simple Worm Farming Techniques

Happy Tiger Worms (Courtesy of Timothy Musson)

Even novice gardeners are aware of worms as a driving force in the garden, and this is especially so for those no-till beds so popular in permaculture plots. For most of us, it’s no great revelation that soil thick with worms is also likely to be thick with plant growth. The reasons are many, but in the most basic terms, earthworms are great for aerating soils and transforming organic material […]

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A Peep Into the Underground Biological Market

Ravindra Krishnamurthy feat

Symbiotic relationship between plants and mychorrhizal fungi has been in existence for over 400 million years. Fungi cannot survive on their own as they are incapable of producing their own food. Hence, they latch on to the plants roots to get essential food. Plants share a part of the carbohydrates produced during photosynthesis and in return, fungi supply phosphates and other minerals, by mining them from the soil. These natural […]

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Save our Soils

Save our Soils

All terrestrial life depends on soil, directly or indirectly. Although our understanding of topsoil has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decades, we are still losing this invaluable resource at a frightening pace. Less than thirty per cent of the world’s topsoil remains in fair or acceptable condition. The fragility of this vital layer can be illustrated through a simple comparison: if one imagines the earth as an […]

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PRI – Natural Fertilisers and Nursery

PRI – Natural Fertilisers and Nursery

Lori Morris takes you on a tour of Zaytuna Farm’s diverse fertiliser composting systems. Nursery Manager Laurie Duniam explains the number of different methods of composting that occur on the site and she also describes the process of implementing fertiliser into the nursery system at the PRI Zaytuna. This is an interesting look at some of the systems that we have running at the Permaculture Research Institute. Come and learn […]

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HOW SOIL AND CARBON ARE RELATED

IMG_8028Ingrid Pullen Photography

Carbon cycle is one of the fundamental requirement of life on earth. Soil organic carbon (SOC) can be described as the amount of carbon that is stored in the soil as one of the components of organic matter which comprises the animal and plant materials and different stages of decay. Organic carbon (OC) mainly enters the soil by the decomposition of the animal and plant residuals, dead and living microorganisms, […]

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Soil Degradation: Another Carbon Story

Soil degradation can be a depressing topic. It is generally accepted that the decline in soil quality across Australia following European settlement has been extensive, and extreme in some areas. Soil degradation involves a reduction in soil quality, and this can refer to a decline in physical, chemical or biological properties, or to the actual loss of soil through erosion and transport away from the land. And these are commonly […]

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