Ukuvuna Urban Farming presents Food Gardening Webinar for
Ukuvuna (Urban Farming) presents Food Gardening Webinar for SAFCEI: Webinar 5: 20 October 2020 Topic: Soil Improvement (making soil health) By: John Nzira Cell: +27836653356 Email: [email protected]. com
Soil Improvement Permaculture focuses on building a healthy soil . A healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy animals and healthy people The process is about creating beneficial microbes in the soil.
Dead or Live soils Dead soils (no microbes) Live soils with microbes Poor crop growth and Low productivity Has lots of nutrients Less micro organisms Dark in colour Low nutrients High organic matter content Dry and easily eroded soil Holds water Dusty soils Lots of micro organisms (like earthworms) Bare soil High O 2 level Water stagnating Covered soil and high water infiltration
Methods to create soil microbes • Cover ground all the time (dry matter mulching or green manure cover crops) • Make own biofertilizers (bokashi, compost, liquid manure etc. ) • Set a vermiculture (earthworm farm with kitchen waste) • Practise minimum or zero tillage/ sheet mulching • Farm alley cropping / intercropping / mix farming style • Make trench bed, pit beds for specific crops
Microbes provides plant nutrients in soil Type nutrient How you can tell if its missing Sources of nutrients Nitrogen Yellowing, paleness of all leaves and new growth Early maturing and small size of fruit or flower Legume, fish, green leaves, animal manure, mulch and coconut Potassium Leaves are small, darker in colour than normal Older leaves blue/purple colour with yellow edges, Plant growth is slow Wood ash, fires, green leaves, mulch (comfrey, yarrow, amaranths) Phosphorus Fruit size is small and poorly coloured Burnt leaf edges and yellowing of old leaves Animal bone ash, mulching and compost Magnesium Edges of leaves yellow, yellow spots, veins green Brown spots on leaves can also occur Old leaves drop off trees early Spinach, whole grains, nuts (especially almonds) Sulphur Dull colour of all leaves Earth worm manure, urine, kitchen waste Calcium New leaves and new shoots grow badly and are underdeveloped, Fruit growth can be unusual Animal bones, egg shells, liquid manure, compost, kitchen waste
Microbes provide right nutrients for plant growth. Plant minerals are found in well decomposed biofertilizers, that is made of dry grass or leaves, green grass or leaves, animal manure, wood ash, kitchen waste, sweepings and little bit of top soil or old compost.
Compost making for feed the soil
Earthworms • Nature’s ploughs that aerate and drain the soil. • Earthworms excreta and secretions are high in organic matter and soil bacteria, which makes growth stimulants available to plants. • They are accessible to the plant in a slow-release formula. • The castings builds soil structure and improves aeration. • The castings have bacteria and microbes that suppress pathogens • Earthworms reduces the numbers of harmful eelworm (nematodes) in the soil.
Liquid manures or fermented animal manure • Fill the drum with water to 75% • Add a 50 kg grain bag full of animal manure or mixed composting plants to the water • Cover the drum with a lid or stretch plastic over the top to prevent fumes escaping • After 4 -6 days the liquid manure will be ready for application. • The raw liquid manure can then be diluted 1/3 for field crops and 1/5 for the nursery
Mulching §“dead mulch”, which is dried out decayed, or dying (straw, and leaves) §“live mulch”, which spread on the ground and cover the soil e. g. Pumpkin, cow peas, runner beans etc §Mulch acts as a blanket for SOIL to prevent soil erosion, add organic matter and nutrients to the soil, §Buffer soil from extreme of heat and cold §Protect soil water from evaporation. How do you create your own mulch materials?
Cover the ground for better yield About 18 kg Pumpkin Mulching in Swiss chard bed
Green Manure and Cover Crops §It is a ground cover technology / a blanket of the soil §Promotes the use of legumes (soil health and fertility) §Plant densely for large quantities of nitrogen §Provides lots of biomass to the soil and builds up topsoil depth and texture, §Helps in the building of nutrient content in the soil §Improves in the water-holding capacity §Protects soil from wind and water erosion. §Provides nutritious human food §Provides bee forage and animal fodder. §Controls weeds hence eliminating cost of weeding §The process help in carbon sequestration §It is a climate change adaptation tool
Use of plants (Gliricidea, Pigeon peas, moringa etc) for green manure
Green Manure and Cover Crops