Water is life!
Hi Guyra, it’s Rattling Owl
I endeavour to alleviate our regions water concerns over the coming weeks with information and diagrams that are easy to implement on any scale. I have training in the following areas:
*Rehydrating the Australian landscape (Peter and Stuart Andrews)
*Permaculture Design (Geoff Lawton)
*Soil food web- Soil Organisms and Compost (Elaine Ingham)
*Biodynamics and Bio-fertilisers
My education over the last 20 years has taught me how we absolutely can say goodbye to soil compaction, repair our soil naturally to make it fertile and friable without expensive inputs, save a load of money, improve our pastures and crops, improve our livestock health, build community resilience, grow a garden easily, rehydrate our landscape, hold water in our soil, have clean perpetually flowing creeks and recharge our aquifers.
Over the coming weeks I will share information and diagrams with you that can be easily understood and easily implemented whilst working towards a drought proofed community with an abundance of water for all.
Soil food web
As the first topic in this column let me introduce you to the Soil Food Web. The soil food web is the number one, most crucial thing to understand for future water security. A vast diversity of organisms in the soil make up the soil food web. Organisms eat and excrete nutrition for plants in a plant available form. Bacteria and fungi create the glues and slime layers that form soil aggregates and are what naturally keeps soil open and friable. When the soil food web is functioning with bacteria, fungi, protozoa and beneficial nematodes which are all required for nutrient cycling, we don’t need to spend money on artificial fertiliser. A healthy soil food web feeds your plants for free and absorbs, holds and sinks water which mitigates flooding, mitigates drought, reduces fire risks, recharges our aquifers, sequesters carbon and guarantees clear flowing perpetual creeks. Organisms decompose plant and tree litter, manure and pesticides preventing them from leaching into our waterways and becoming pollutants. Soil organisms fix and store nitrogen and other nutrients that your plants require. Organisms prey upon crop pests and are food for above ground animals. All plants, shrubs, grasses and trees rely upon a healthy diverse and active soil food web to thrive.
Have you ever tested your soil for organisms? If not you are really missing out!
If your soil is hard and compacted there is no doubt you have important nutrient cycling organisms missing and the good news is you can put them back into the soil yourself. When you put the missing organisms back into your soil you will be rewarded with water infiltration, friable soil, healthy plants, no soil erosion, money in your pocket normally spent on fertilizer, up to 200% increase in crop growth, less vet bills, drought resilience and pest and disease resilience. If we focus on the soil as a gardener, a farmer, a region, a nation we also halt climate change. How great is that!
You can test the soil yourself to see if you are missing vital organisms. This is a way to do that.
Grab a straight stick, a piece of wire, a metal rod or a soil penetrometer. Push it into the soil as far as you can.
When it will go no further measure the length that went into the ground and write it down. That is where your compaction layer is and where disease-causing organisms live, the water cannot penetrate below that point to recharge aquifers.
Next week I will give information on how to return the crucial soil organisms back into the Earth and open the compaction layer to let the earth breathe and rehydrate.
Enjoy your week and give a bit of thought to the soil beneath your feet.