Neem Cake Reduces Alkalinity In Soil (PH Down)

Neem-Cake

“Neem seed cake also reduce alkalinity in soil, as it produces organic acids on decomposition. Being totally natural, it is compatible with soil microbes, improves and rhizosphere microflora and hence ensures fertility of the soil. Neem Cake improves the organic matter content of the soil, helping improve soil texture, water holding capacity, and soil aeration for better root development.”Wikipedia

There it is, another added benefit of the Neem Cake is its ability to create a favourable growing environment on the more alkaline soils. So not only are you getting an excellent source of organic nutrients and the “pest and disease resistance” it’s also working as a soil conditioner too.

The below shows how soil PH affects the availability of nutrients to the plants, it’s useful as a general guide.

Microscopy Photos Showing The Hidden Life Within The Soil

Soil_Food_Wed

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

Water Movement In Soils

A good little video showing different aspects that affect how well a soil manages the water that falls on it,  will it run off or move down into the soil. Will it have a negative impact with run off and flooding or will it have a positive impact on plants and aquifers.

Altough only an introduction it touches on things such as soil compaction, drainage, leaching, capillary action in unsaturated soils, gravity as the dominant force that moves water downward in saturated soils. The soils texture and structure, platy, prismatic, columnar, granular, and blocky soils. Percolation rates and pore sizes etc

LINK: http://www.rienvirothon.org/Soils/Water_Movement_V2.wmv

Guide To Sustainable Soil Management

BuildingSoilsOriginal 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

Demonstration Of Humus Formation From Sand Substrate

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

Soil Alive: Understanding And Managing Soil Biology

SoilLife

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.

Soil health requires a balance between the physical, chemical and biological components of the soil.
This book aims to support soil health by promoting improved understanding of soil biological characteristics. It describes soil as an ecosystem, helps identify the beneficial organisms in your
soil and provides guidance on how farmers can adapt their management practices to extract maximum benefits from a thriving soil biological community. With clear photographs and illustrations, this book will be of value to anyone with an interest in growing healthy and vigorous plants on healthy and fertile soils.

You can also find other free things on the link below.

LINK: http://farmingsecrets.com/store-2/free-gifts/
EBOOK: http://farmingsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Soils-Alive-.pdf
DIRECT DOWNLOAD: Soils Alive eBook

Fungal Networks Play Role In Plant To Plant Communication

mycorrhizae_on_a_soybean_root-spl
Plants can communicate the onset of an attack from aphids by making use of an underground network of fungi, researchers have found.

Instances of plant communication through the air have been documented, in which chemicals emitted by a damaged plant can be picked up by a neighbour.

But below ground, most land plants are connected by fungi called mycorrhizae.

The new study, published in Ecology Letters, demonstrates clearly that these fungi also aid in communication.

It joins an established body of literature, recently reviewed in the Journal of Chemical Ecology and in Trends in Plant Science, which has suggested that the mycorrhizae can act as a kind of information network among plants.

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen, the James Hutton Institute and Rothamsted Research, all in the UK, devised a clever experiment to isolate the effects of these thread-like networks.

The team concerned themselves with aphids, tiny insects that feed on and damage plants.

Many plants have a chemical armoury that they deploy when aphids attack, with chemicals that both repel the aphids and attract parasitic wasps that are aphids’ natural predators.

Continue reading “Fungal Networks Play Role In Plant To Plant Communication”