Found this book on soil biology which highlights the importance of this soil food web. Excellent microscopy photos here, well worth checking over if you’ve never seen them before or if your thinking about looking at soil under a microscope. It also covers several other things like Seasonal Microbial Activity, Typical Numbers of Soil Organisms in Healthy Ecosystems, Methods for Measuring the Food Web etc. I loved reading this, I’m sure anyone who’s interesting in anything plant/soil related would too.
A thorough, free, easy-to-read guide for ecological soil management which includes nutrient management, nutrient cycles, cover crops and other soil-improving practices. “Building Soils for Better Crops is a one-of-a-kind, practical guide to ecological soil management, now expanded and in full color. It provides step-by-step information on soil-improving practices as well as in-depth background—from what soil is to the importance of organic matter. Case studies of farmers from across the country provide inspiring examples of how soil—and whole farms—have been renewed through these techniques. A must-read for farmers, educators and students alike.” LINK: http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Books/Building-Soils-for-Better-Crops-3rd-Edition DIRECT DOWNLOAD: https://planetpermaculture.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/buildingsoilsforbettercrops.pdf
I found this “resource for instructors” when browsing the net and thought it would be useful for all, teacher or not. The document is 700 pages long so I’ve not had a chance to review it all yet but it’s an outstanding free resource, it also proives a good structure for those to test their knowledge on organic growing. They are also pointpoint presentations and videos on the link below so be sure to check those free resources out too.
DIRECT DOWNLOAD: https://planetpermaculture.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/teaching_organic_farming_pdf.pdf
“Our step-by-step guide is the ideal resource to assist you in the creation of your own rooftop garden, and to ensure its continued horticultural and social success! The guide is written for groups, individuals and establishments that would like to create an urban edible rooftop garden for educational, social, therapeutic or environmental reasons by may not have access to the necessary space to do so in soil. Our objective is to facilitate the process of creation of these edible natural urban oases so that more and more people will learn about rooftop gardening to discover its benefits.”
PDF BOOK: http://www.rooftopgardens.alternatives.ca/sites/rooftopgardens.alternatives.ca/files/ready_to_grow.pdf.pdf
DIRECT DOWNLOAD: https://planetpermaculture.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/ready_to_grow_rooftop_gardens_pdf.pdf
Excellent free ebook (technical paper) I found when searching around yesterday, looks like a wealth of info to tap into for those wishing to test out the benifits of Aquaponics. For those who don’t know is a symbiotic integration of two disciplines: aquaculture and hydroponics. A symbiotic relationship between plant and fish, the waste from the fish feeds the plants and the plants in turn clean the water for the fish.
The growing technique is excellent for those hoping to avoid lots of expensive chemicals, it’s also a labour-saving technique too. In times of dwindling supplies of water and arable land worldwide this production system can really help us reduce water consumption on food production and enhance our food security.
The book discusses three groups of living organisms (bacteria, plants and fish) that make up the aquaponic ecosystem. It presents management strategies and troubleshooting practices, as well as related topics, specifically highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of this method of food production. The publication discusses the main theoretical concepts of aquaponics, including the nitrogen cycle, the role of bacteria, and the concept of balancing an aquaponic unit. It considers water quality, testing and sourcing for aquaponics, as well as methods and theories of unit design, including the three main methods of aquaponic systems: media beds, nutrient film technique, and deep water culture.
PDF BOOK: http://www.fao.org/3/contents/362f364a-b0d1-4b3b-8aa6-a725dac6515e/i4021e.pdf
DIRECT DOWNLOAD: https://planetpermaculture.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/aquaponics_guide_pdf1.pdf
The creatures living in the soil are critical to soil health. They affect soil structure and therefore soil erosion and water availability. They can protect crops from pests and diseases. They are central to decomposition and nutrient cycling and therefore affect plant growth and the amounts of pollutants in the environment. The soil is also home to a large proportion of the world’s genetic diversity.
The free online Soil Biology Primer version is an introduction to the living component of soil and how it contributes to agricultural productivity and air and water quality. The Primer includes chapters describing the soil food web and its relationship to soil health and chapters about soil bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, and earthworms.
The online Primer includes all of the text of the printed original, but not all of the images of the soil organisms. The full story of the soil food web is more easily understood with the help of the illustrations in the printed (or PDF) version.
Elaine R. Ingham
Andrew R. Moldenke, Oregon State University
Clive A. Edwards, Ohio State University
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/soils/health/biology/ (free online version)
http://urbanext.illinois.edu/soil/SoilBiology/soil_biology_primer.htm (also sell phyical copy $16+shipping)
http://www.nofanj.org/LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=104155 (online version in PDF format)
I came across a fantastic free ebook today, found on a website called Farming Secrets. It originally appears to be from the Sustainable Land Use department within the State of Tasmania. The full title is “Soil Alive: Understanding And Managing Soil Biology on Tasmanian Farms”. It looks extremely useful, I’m going to be printing it out to digest over the coming days, it’s a short one at 76 pages but looks jam packed with knowledge.
You can also find other free things on the link below.