Soil can be created within permaculture farms by using a wide range of techniques including holistic grazing, adding compost and compost teas, using biochar, favouring perennial crops, avoiding tilling soil and practising crop rotation and crop residue mulching. These practices minimize biota disturbance and erosion losses while incorporating carbon rich amendments and retaining the biomass of roots and shoots, all of which contribute to building organic matter in soil and feeding a thriving soil community.
In this course we explore the tools and techniques used in permaculture to create healthy soil for growing resilient and nutrient dense plants, the different properties of soil and some common issues associated with soil health in agriculture. In each of these topics the following aspects are covered:
The following topics are covered:
- Creating Compost: Common methods to make compost - including hot compost, worm farms, blackfly farms and bokashie.
- Compost teas: How to test for nutrient deficiencies in plants and soils and create appropriate aerobic, pro-biotic sprays and apply them as broadacre foliar sprays.
- Biochar: How to create and inoculate biochar to improve soil health.
- Physical Properties: Explores the composition of soils and how to measure that composition and the impact of different soil types on drainage, porosity, humidity and nutrient availability.
- Chemical Properties: An investigation into important soil nutrients and their availability in soils, measuring soil pH and its importance, how the cation exchange capacity of soils impact nutrient availability and the influence of salinity on soils.
- Biological Properties: A detailed exploration of the processes associated with different organisms found in soils and how they contribute to building a healthy soil.
- Managing Water: Explores the impact of drainage of land in NZ.
- Compaction: Explore the impact of soil cultivation and farming on compaction of soils.
- Erosion: Explores the impact deforestation and conversion to farmland has had in NZ.