Let´s list, without big fuss, all the possible ways we know to enhance soil fertility, or avoid soil depletion.
I think everyone desires that.
- adding kitchen compost, plant leftovers, etc
- adding tree leaves
- adding green manures cut and lay (alfalfa, buckwheat, mustard, broad beans, etc)
- adding liquid compost
- adding liquid feeds containing comfrey, nettles, yarrow
- adding mulching
- adding diluted urine - ground covers
- grow carbon rich crops (corn, grasses, amaranth, trees...)
- Huegelkultur (bury wood)
- add fish meal, egg shells, blood meal, bone meal, alfalfa meal, ashes, rocks, sand, clays
- make soil aerated, with a good light structure
- dense planting?
- add animal manures
- n-fixing crops (elaeagnus, lupins, etc)
- dynamic accumulators (cornflower, dandelion, yarrow, etc)
- intercropping, polycultures, companion planting
- grow harvestable green manure to the lowlands of your property (where nutrients leach)
Please feel free to add to list.
in Portugal, sheltered terraces facing eastwards, high water table, uphill original forest of pines, oaks and chestnuts. 2000m2
in Iceland: converted flat lawn, compacted poor soil, cold, windy, humid climate, cold, short summer. 50m2
Terra preta - "made by adding a mixture of charcoal, bone, and manure to the otherwise relatively infertile Amazonian soil". So much wisdom came from the Americas...such a pity that the west was able to conquer them.
Biochar....building on the terra preta mentioned above. Lots of info on line about this. I took a couple of old metal barrels and trash cans and started charring all the paper and woodchips I could find when I lived in GA. Charged it with urine.....wonderful results.....
You forgot kelp meal. Also, rock dust if your soil is mineral poor.
Soil inoculant doesn't necessarily make your soil richer per se, but it does help plants grow about twice as large which means more biomass and thus faster soil building.
Location: northern California
posted 8 years ago
And don't forget wood ash! Especially in acid-soil areas....might have to beware of it in alkaline zones. It makes intuitive sense....a fire liberates the water and carbon that were put together with solarenergy to make the wood, plus much of the energy itself. The residue leftover constitutes in large portion the minerals the trees originally drew up out of the soil....calcium, potassium, magnesium, etc.
Encouraging ant nests on your property. The ants tunnel deep into the soil and bring soil particles (with their respective nutrients) up and deposit them on the surface making them available to plants. Before, they may have been out of the reach of the roots.
Great list! I have a little fish pond (it's actually a molded plastic baby pool that I got for free) and I periodically water my plants with the water, either hauling it around the yard in jugs, or using a small electric pump and hose if I want to deal with the hassle of setting it up. I drain it half way like this, watering my plants, then refill it with fresh water. My plants get nice, de-chlorinated water full of algae, rotting leaves that fell in, and fish waste, and the fish get their water cleaned a bit. My guppies maintain themselves on algae and stuff in the water and the occasional treat from me. I guess different fish would be needed in a cold climate, and a deeper pond too, I'd imagine. I don't think this probably counts as permaculture, but it's something that I think has helped me grow more of my own food in my little yard without purchasing other fertilizers.