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Posts Tagged ‘Soil’

Common Applications for Composting with Animals

hens eating food scraps

When you think of a typical farm, you probably think of going out to feed the animals with a bucket of scraps. This has been one of the most common ways to recycle food for many years and helps reduce your waste footprint. However, composting with the help of animals is another technique used on…

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The Phases of Composting

compost in a community garden

Although the stages of composting are very closely intertwined, each separate one has its own value and needs to be nurtured accordingly. The materials used go through several transformations: physical, biological, and chemical. Understanding each phase of this process is the first step in creating the best nutrients for your plants. The following is an…

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Breaking Down the Core Principles of Composting

Garbage truck with caption "What if everything could be used again?"

Composting is about more than just flinging your food scraps into a heap in your backyard. It’s about figuring out a way to give your unwanted food a new purpose while also helping the environment. And the best part is, the fundamental building blocks of composting systems are the same regardless of scale. The following…

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A Simple Way to Grow Fresh Greens Indoors This Winter

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until spring. No matter what size home you live in, there’s room for a garden of soil-grown sprouts to carry you through the depths of winter. You just need a little guidance from someone who understands the struggles…

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Worm Real Estate: Vermicast Structures

When you were little, you may have created homes for worms using twigs and leaves. It might surprise you then to learn that farmers all over the world are still doing that but on a much bigger scale. Farmers rely on earthworms to create vermicomposting systems and where the worms live and grow are the…

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How to Make Your Own Mulch With Fallen Leaves

As the last of the leaves fall from the trees, the time has come for countless hours of raking and hauling before the first snowflake falls. While this may be a nuisance for some, for Will Bonsall, this time of year is his “mulching bonanza.” Though the conventional wisdom about tree leaves is that they…

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How Vermicast Benefits Soils and Plants

Worms aren’t just the squiggly, pink creatures found on the sidewalk after it rains. They are so much more than that. These highly regarded specimens play a vital role in enhancing our soils and revitalizing the health of the plants we need to survive. But how do we get them to work their magic? Through…

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Farming Against Nature

When you’re walking around the grocery store looking at all of the different vegetables, it’s probably hard to imagine that a century ago there was twice the amount of options to choose from. Hundreds of years of growing crops and infusing the soil with chemicals have depleted the dirt of the essential nutrients needed to…

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Why Venture into Vermicomposting?

If you’re at all in tune to the agricultural news of late, you’re well aware that soil health is in decline all over the world –  an issue that is having a disastrous impact on our food systems. The answer to this international problem? Worms. And lots of them. But how, you ask? Well, vermicomposting,…

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The Importance of Planting Cover Crops

If you want to improve your soils, one of the most important things you can do is to plant cover crops. Not only do they provide diversity they also help to increase the amount of carbon in your croplands – an essential component of stimulating photosynthesis. But to understand which crops to plant, and when,…

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5 Principles of Soil Health

Soil is all around us. We walk on it every day. We dig and play and plant in it. We harvest from it and nourish ourselves thanks to it. And yet, many of us aren’t aware just how critical a resource it is for our future. It’s the basis for healthy food production, is a…

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What Is “Good” Silvopasture Grazing?

If you’re not familiar with silvopasture, you should be. The integrated system, which combines aspects of forestry, animal husbandry, grazing, and ecology, offers both the promise of land regeneration and economic livelihood. In order to succeed, however, you need to understand a key component of the system: the art of grazing. While it may seem…

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Focusing on Soil Remediation with Fungi

Nature does what needs to be done if we let her. Many people will step up to the task once provided with accurate facts and inspired by possibility. It really comes down to two simple concepts to take forward. One: Promote healthy plant metabolism as the guiding paradigm in growing anything. And two: Think and…

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The Perfect Mix: All Purpose Potting Soil Recipe

Potting Soil Annual plants require an early start to bear fruit in the short growing season of New England. The planting medium, daylight length, and temperature conditions are crucial factors for a healthy nursery of seedlings. In an attempt to localize our annual production we start seedlings on-site. This production requires specific timing and appropriate…

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9 Things to Consider When Building Your Own Greenhouse

Daydreaming of extending your growing season and building your very own year-round greenhouse? It’s easier, more affordable, and will provide you and your family with more food than you might think — thanks to one of North America’s most accomplished permaculture designers, Jerome Osentowski. In his groundbreaking book, The Forest Garden Greenhouse, Osentowski provides growers of all skill levels in-depth…

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The Ultimate Guide to Sheet Mulching

Sheet mulching is a layered mulch system that nurtures the soil. You start with a biodegradable weed barrier like cardboard, and from there build a thick, layered substrate for your garden with compost and mulch. As the materials break down, worms move in, softening the soil below, and creating a healthy, aerated planting bed where…

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The Secret Life of Fungi: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility

Did you know that our collective future could well pivot on people coming to understand that soil fungi matter? Or that there’s such a thing as fungal consciousness?  Fungi have intricate lives, behaviors, and uses most people are unaware of. Mychorrizal fungi form symbiotic relationships with the root systems of other plants. The crucial, symbiotic role…

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Good Enough is Perfect: How to Pick Land

There is a lot to consider when searching for farmable land— location, size, price, soil quality, water access, etc. When considering such factors, it is important to look beyond what a plot of land has at face value and consider its potential. Land quality is not stagnant, but can be shaped over time. With a…

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Organic No-Till: Farming like the Earth Matters

If we could do one thing for the planet it would be to ditch the plough. When we turn over soil, the air and sun wreak havoc on the microbes, which is why we need chemicals to bring the fertility back. No-till creates thin furrows in the soil and drops seeds in. It’s difficult to…

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Soil Blocks vs. Pots: Two Ways to Start Seedlings This Spring

When it comes to starting your first seedlings, are you a pothead or a blockhead? We’re talking about using pots versus soil blocks and no matter which you choose, our authors offer step-by-step methods and troubleshooting advice. Master gardener Eliot Coleman is an advocate for soil blocks. In the excerpt below from The New Organic Grower,…

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How to Manage Invasive Thistle and Improve Your Soil

As Invasive Species Week continues, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, are sharing alternative approaches to managing and using plants considered to be “invasive.” Take a look through today’s profile on two variations of Thistle and check out tips for working…

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Save Your Soil with the Power of Pee

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down into the dirt – but you may want to grab a bucket, especially first thing in the morning. Nutrient loss in our soils is an ongoing issue for some gardeners, and you may find help in an unexpected—liquid—form. Carol Deppe, author of The Resilient Gardener…

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Woody Tasch Talks Slow Money on YouTube

One day you’re riding high on Madison Avenue with a seven figure bonus and a mistress on the side, the next day you wake up in a Thai prison with no wallet, no passport, and a broomstick broken off in your leg. With the stock market gyrating like it is these days, you never know…

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The Slow Money Interview: Can capitalism and socialism be bosom buddies?

This isn’t your grandfather’s socialism. Yes, as we saw in the presidential election, the word “socialism” has become a slur: code for “anti-American.” But let’s get this straight. Woody Tasch (author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered) and the “holistic investors” like him aren’t trying…

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