Category: Soil

Restoring Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils Using Compost

Restoring Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils Using Compost feat

Metals become contaminants when their amounts in soil, reach levels that are toxic to human life, plants or other biological organisms. This creates a need for soil remediation. Remediation is the process of reducing the toxicity of contaminants or ridding the soil completely of toxic contaminants. Heavy metals (for example, arsenic, cadmium, lead and zinc) fall under the group of inorganic chemical contaminants (5). These metals are released into the […]

Read More >
10 Comments

Installing an Urban Food Forest – Updated

Installing an Urban Food Forest feat

Last year, the city of Pottstown, Pa., saw new growth and opportunity in the world of permaculture, as several local and broader groups came together to transform a dead, empty lot into a food forest. Biochar Bob from The Biochar Company and Soil Reef Biochar took viewers around the space, introducing them to participants and the project. The empty lot, situated perfectly in an urban space, near a busy street, […]

Read More >
3 Comments

Biochar-Mineral Complex and Compost Influences Soil Bacteria and Quality

Mineral Complex and Compost Influences Soil Bacteria and Quality feat

Biochar is a carbon rich substance produced from pyrolysis-a process involving thermal degradation of biomass (such as manure, leaves, wood) in the absence of oxygen. It is used as a soil enhancer in agriculture because it has the capacity to enhance crop growth by retaining nutrients in the soil for crop uptake (1,2,3). Biochar is also gaining popularity because it has the potential to reduce emission of nitrous-oxide a potent […]

Read More >
16 Comments

Biochar, A Brief History

Charcoal picture

Biochar, while boasting an ancient history, is actually just gaining popularity among many circles today. While it’s believed that ancient South American cultures would use biochar (or burning agricultural waste, covered in soil) to increase soil productivity, the term wasn’t coined until Peter Read did so in 2005, to describe a substance that looks almost like charcoal, but that is actually biomass carbonized and made into a solid material, used […]

Read More >
8 Comments

Humus: A 20-Minute Primer with Graeme Sait

Man digs a hole

Graeme Sait is the co-counder of Nutri-Tech Solutions, author of Nutrition Rules!, and founder of the Radiance Festival. His work focuses on the connection between soil conditions and nutrition, following the ancient wisdom of the adage “you are what you eat.” This short video is dedicated to the key component of our planet’s soil system: humus. Graeme begins by explaining the impetus behind this particular presentation, which he said was […]

Read More >
3 Comments

When Chlorosis is Caused by Nitrogen Deficiency

AlbinoPopcorn

Chlorosis is a condition in plants where the leaves have yellowish colouration due to insufficient amount of chlorophyll in their cells. Chlorosis can be caused by a number of reasons including; deficiency of nutrients (such as iron, nitrogen, manganese, zinc), disease infestation, damaged roots, high soil alkalinity and compacted roots (1). This article concentrates on chlorosis due to nitrogen deficiency in plants. Why does nitrogen deficiency cause yellowing? To understand […]

Read More >
3 Comments

Phytoremediation

Carafe of clean and dirty water

Phytoremediation is a biological technique used to restore polluted water and soil environments to their natural state. It involves the use of living plants and their related micro organisms to remove contaminants from the environment or to degrade contaminants to a lesser toxic form (1,2,6). Anthropogenic activities such as mine tailings, fertilizer applications, pesticides, heavy metal disposal, petrochemicals, animal manures and sewage sludges cause soil pollution (2,4,5). Heavy metals are […]

Read More >
3 Comments

Making Microbes: Fungal vs Bacterial Soil Life

Fungal vs Bacterial Soil Life feat

Organic gardeners and farmers understand the need to cultivate and protect soil microorganism life. The strategies to do this involve mulching, composting, and avoiding soil disturbance as much as possible. We know that these strategies, in addition to many others, encourage a healthy soil-food-web. The soil-food-web is the interconnected matrix of invisible (fungi, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes) and visible (earthworms, beetles, arthropods) creatures that have a whole host of functions which […]

Read More >
6 Comments

Soil Salinity and Management

Steppe saline soils. saline  salt  in salt.  steppe  prairie  ve

The problem of soil salinity has existed for centuries. History records that the collapse of ancient Mesopotamia was partly due to crop failure caused by saline soils (1). Saline soils contain high accumulation of soluble salts; which include sulphates, carbonates, chlorides and in some cases nitrates of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium (2, 3). When there is a high build-up of sodium salts the soil is said to be sodic. […]

Read More >
1 Comment

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 […]

Read More >
1 Comment

Soil Compaction II: Effects, Prevention and Control

Earth cross section

In the previous article about soil compaction we discussed briefly the causes of soil compaction, the different levels and various ways of detecting a compacted soil. In this article we will discuss the effects of compaction as well as methods of prevention and control. Effects of soil compaction • Soil structure: Soil is made up of sand, silt, clay and organic material. The way in which these particles are arranged […]

Read More >
1 Comment

Soil Compaction I: An Introduction

Soil Compaction I: An Introduction

Soil compaction occurs when the amount of open spaces between soil particles (referred to as porosity) is reduced, and soils become denser, physically hard, and more difficult to permeate.(1) Soil compaction can be induced by a natural cause (as with the case of heavy impact of rain drops) or by anthropogenic causes including; excessive machinery use, intensive cropping, short crop rotations, intensive grazing and poor soil management.(2,3) A compacted soil […]

Read More >
2 Comments