Creating and maintaining fertility


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An overview of how to create fertile soils

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Creating and maintaining fertility

  1. 1. Creating and Maintaining Soil Fertility garden scale
  2. 2. Soil fertility requires: Good • Enough Air • Enough Water • Enough nutrients • Living material • Beneficial relationships ….so…. • No bare soils • Mulching Bad • Not enough/too much air • Dry/waterlogged • Nutrient poor • ‘Dead’ • Lack of beneficial relationships ….so…. • Minimise tillage
  3. 3. First signs of soil Nature produces soils through deposition, erosion and the action of living and dying plants and animals. Technically soil is a ‘rock’.
  4. 4. Spotted flycatcher Feeds young in a nest in a hole in the fall, and leaves droppings under its perch. Birds also carry and drop seeds.
  5. 5. …And Starts a Forest On a bare basalt driveway first clover appears. Then pampas grass grows. Out of that a hazel takes root. All in three years…
  6. 6. From Birnham Bridge… Even a bare stone parapet supports life…
  7. 7. Mineral content Varies according to base rock -Volcanic -Sedimentary -Metamorphic -Conglomerates And may be built through the action of: -wind -water -weather
  8. 8. The rock helps define the landscape West of Ireland
  9. 9. Israel Berber fields in the Negev Desert
  10. 10. Humus helps create a living soil Seaweed traditionally added to sand on the Machair
  11. 11. Machair, Lewis 2006
  12. 12. Machair Benbecula 2006
  13. 13. Humus in soils Can be from • Compost • Leaf fall • Mulching • Animal wastes • Run off Benefits • Brings nutrients • Increases soil life • Enables nutrient availability • Holds on to water • Reduces run-off
  14. 14. Willing workers on organic farms Earthworms are people too…
  15. 15. Call Ducks Pest control officers (sideline- aiding soil fertility)
  16. 16. The Sleat Chicken Tractor Work free ground clearance, fertiliser and pest reduction
  17. 17. How do you know how fertile the soil is? - You can measure soil acidity. - You can use your senses. Any others?
  18. 18. Plants as soil indicators What do these tell you about the soil: Buttercup? Dock?
  19. 19. Laburnum Different plants improve the soil in different ways. Leguminous plants fix nitrogen.
  20. 20. Comfrey Plants can be dynamic accumulators.
  21. 21. Bracket fungus Fungi are important to soil fertility. Which part of a fungus is this? Where is the rest of it?
  22. 22. Red Alder and Flammelina Velutipes 3Jan2010 Even in the snow…
  23. 23. Tomatoes in the Arava, Israel Under 10mm of rainfall per annum! How did they get here?