Check out this incredible talk that took place in March at the ‘Permaculture Voices 2 (PV2)’ conference. This is a free talk shared by Diego, the creator and host of the event, he shared it to promote the talks done by the other speakers.
Paul’s central premise is that habitats have immune systems, just like people, and mushroom forming fungi are the foundation of the foodwebs of land based organisms.
Our close evolutionary relationship to fungi can be the basis for novel pairings that lead to greater sustainability and immune enhancement. As we are now fully engaged in the 6th Major Extinction (“6 X”) on planet Earth, our biospheres are quickly changing, eroding the life support systems that have allowed humans to ascend. Unless we put into action policies and technologies that can cause a course correction in the very near future, species diversity will continue to plummet, with humans not only being the primary cause, but one of the victims.
Fungi, particularly mushrooms, offer some powerful, practical solutions, which can be put into practice now. Paul will discuss his groundbreaking research utilizing their cellular networks to create molecular bridges governing the evolution of sustainable habitats. The implications of his research are far-reaching and could spark a paradigm shift to a better future.
A biochar-based soil improver, enriched with species of mycorrhizal fungi, actinomyces bacteria and trace elements is helping to combat the root-knot nematode – significantly increasing yields for organic tomato growers in Portugal.
Biochar is a highly porous, high carbon form of charcoal used to improve soil nutrition, growing conditions and soil structure. It is made from any waste woody biomass that has been charred at a low temperature with a restricted supply of oxygen, a process called pyrolysis. This process results in a stable form of carbon that is removed from the atmospheric carbon cycle when added as a soil amendment.
“Where we have incorporated Carbon Gold Soil Improver in the very sandy soil at our Portuguese nursery we have seen a 7% yield increase and a lower level of nematode infestation than areas that were not treated.” – Paul Howlett, Head of Agronomy at Vitacress Tomatoes
Vitacress Tomatoes (formerly Wight Salads) trialled Soil Association and SKAL approved enriched biochar from UK biochar company, Carbon Gold, from June 2013 to April 2014 in order to improve the sandy soils at their Portuguese nursery. They applied 2kg per square meter to a 5 hectare trial plot taken to a depth of 30cm, analysing the outcomes against a 5 hectare control area with the same crop.
The increase in crop yield was significant. By week 24 they realised a 7% higher yield, (an additional 0.9kg per m2) compared to the 5ha control plot. This equated to an additional 2,600kg Piccolo Cherry on the Vine tomatoes.
In the Vitacress trial plots it became evident that the colonies of mycorrhizal fungi, using biochar as a refuge in the soil, were able strike out at parasitic Meloidogyne nematodes, enticing and devouring the microscopic pests and protecting the plant roots from attack.
Continue reading “Biochar Helps Combat Nematodes And Increases Yields”
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.
DIRECT DOWNLOAD: https://planetpermaculture.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/soil-biology.pdf
I found this a really interesting video showing how bacteria and fungi, along with the rest of those little critters from the soil food web work together to create humus (soil/compost) from just a sand substrate. This captures the process over a one year period in a time-lapse video showing the formation of algae and moss on top of the inoculant and then seeding it to create plants, as the process develops it results in the creation of a soil layer. It also details the process she went through to get to this point and at the end shows us some microscopy sequences of the organisms in this soil food web. There is also another video below which briefly shows a little more details. Seeing this makes me want a microscope even more now.
MORE INFORMATION: https://vimeo.com/117682077
EBOOK (GERMAN): http://www.boku.ac.at/seiten-ohne-oe-zuordnung/humusplattform/humusbuch/
DIRECT VIDEO DOWNLOAD: https://vimeo.com/122856716/download?t=1427851098&v=348742480&s=e938bd1055c8c0714e5b837fefae97e2
Herbicides containing glyphosate are widely used in agriculture and private gardens, however, surprisingly little is known on potential side effects on non-target soil organisms. In a greenhouse experiment with white clover we investigated, to what extent a globally-used glyphosate herbicide affects interactions between essential soil organisms such as earthworms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). We found that herbicides significantly decreased root mycorrhization, soil AMF spore biomass, vesicles and propagules. Herbicide application and earthworms increased soil hyphal biomass and tended to reduce soil water infiltration after a simulated heavy rainfall. Herbicide application in interaction with AMF led to slightly heavier but less active earthworms. Leaching of glyphosate after a simulated rainfall was substantial and altered by earthworms and AMF. These sizeable changes provide impetus for more general attention to side-effects of glyphosate-based herbicides on key soil organisms and their associated ecosystem services.
DIRECT DOWNLOAD: https://planetpermaculture.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/srep05634.pdf
“Bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, earthworms, and what lies between—a healthy ecosystem underfoot is key to the vigor of life above ground. A leader in soil microbiology and author of the USDA’s Soil Biology Primer, Dr. Elaine Ingham will detail the complex interactions within the soil that make clean water, clean air, and life for higher creatures possible. Learn to foster and sustain the proper balance of soil organisms, and hear how compost tea can stimulate plant productivity and stave off disease. Dr. Ingham is also the founder of Soil Foodweb, Inc. and the former chief scientist for the Rodale Institute.”
I found this to be an excellent and completely fascinating introduction to the soil food web, I’d highly recomend it. This comes in 5 parts and is around 3 hours long in total, I know I’ll be listening to this one more than once thats for sure, check it out and be prepared to learn a lot from this fasinating woman.
PART 2: https://vimeo.com/90902847
PART 3: https://vimeo.com/90908150
PART 4: https://vimeo.com/90913699
PART 5: https://vimeo.com/90913700