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June 28, 2014 / Burgess Park Food Project

Soil – magic and mystery beneath our feet.

Our soil and compost enthusiasts gathered under dark skies to reveal the mysteries of the soil – about the life within soil and how it enhances plant growth.

Topics covered included soil composition and structure, the role of bacteria and fungi in soil, natural succession and soil creation, composting and aerated compost teas.

At the garden, most soil was bought in so we are  working to regenerate the soil and build healthy and sustainable soils.

Thanks to Kevin of Natural Flow for the course.

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The chicories glowed in the half light before the storm…..P1030046

We moved on to the hot composting bins to feel the garden compost.

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Lovely, luscious, rich and brown. This is made of garden waste (browns) so has a high fungal content (breaking down cellulose).

Kitchen waste (greens) will be rich in bacteria.P1030048

The more enthusiastic students had a good sniff. Good compost should smell fresh and clean, like the earth after rain.

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Intense listening. Forget the water cooler, compost bins provoke much more interesting discussions.

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A nitrogen fixing bacteria nodule on a broad bean root.

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A bubbling aerated compost tea. Oxygenising water to increase surface area and breed garden friendly fungi and bacteria. The resultant liquid can be used as a root drench or leaf spray. We’ve used a solar 2 stone pond pump. Not ideal as it needs to brew for 24 hours but it seemed to be doing ok.

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Typical soil composition.

soil_composition

A version of the soil food web.

Soil Web 600px

 

A little more info here;

Paul Stamets

Compost tea

Gardening with microbes

regenerative agriculture

 

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