Saturday, 22 March 2014

A Word on Humus and Compost.

These terms are used so often, yet the meaning of them and differences between them are generally not very well understood so here is a short post that "was" intended to provide some clarity.

Compost is the intentional accumulation and placement of organic matter, the aim being to accelerate the decaying process. The intentional part is important. Dead stuff on the ground is NOT compost, just decaying organic matter. It is the controlled, or semi-controlled conditions that make it compost.


But first just to let you know we've revamped our Online Store where you can find Forest Garden/ Permaculture Plants, Seeds, Cuttings, Bulbs, Rhizomes and Polyculture Multi-packs along with digital goods and services such as Online Courses, Webinars, eBooks, and Online Consultancy and finally we've added a Bulk Fruit and Nut Tree order form for Farms, Orchards, Nurseries, and Large Regenerative Landscape Projects. If there is anything in the store you would like to see but is not there, please let us know. We hope you enjoy the store and find something you like :) It's your purchases that keep our Project going. Thank you. Enter Our Store Here


Plants, Seeds, eBooks, Consultancy, Bulk Fruit and Nut Tree Orders for Permaculture, Polyculture, Forest Gardens and Regenerative Landscapes.
  • Compost, even if mature, is still breaking down and supplying nutrients. When applied in your garden it has the immediate effect of adding nutrients available to plants and bacterial components that contribute to a healthy soil food web. As the seasons progress and decay continues, it eventually converts to humus.



Humus is supposed to be a stable organic component, the result of the decay of organic matter whether that be natural decay or, as we see above, decay during composting.
  • Humus being stable cannot be penetrated by microbes and is greatly resistant to further decomposition. Thus stable humus adds few readily available nutrients to the soil, but plays an essential part in providing its physical structure.
  • Humus improves soil structure (and texture) and has remarkable water retentive properties. 
  • Humus  has a high cation exchange capacity (CEC), which means it acts as a storehouse for plant nutrients not allowing them to wash away (leach) from the soil with the water passing through the soil. High CEC is why humus is regarded as being fertile.  




Since writing this post it has come to light there is a debate regarding the existence of humus. Humus may be extinct.

Needless to worry it's still super easy to build great soil.
  • Add plenty of organic matter to the soil via chop and drop mulching, manures and composts 
  • Keep soils inhabited with diverse communities of living plants at all times and mow and prune these plants to encourage root shed that add to the soil organic matter. 
  • Avoid any compaction to the soils you are cultivating - by foot or machine. 
  • Keep soils well hydrated - like a moist sponge is perfect 
  • Don't waste your money on nasty products such as Roundup

Upcoming Forest Garden Courses 


If you would like to create a forest garden and gain some practical hands-on experience come and join us for our Design and Build a Forest Garden Course. We'll be covering site surveying, landscape design software, installing access, beds, irrigation channels, planting tree, shrub, herb and ground layers, and wildlife ponds. All in 3 days! And plenty of follow up material to take away with you to digest slowly.

Design and Build - Forest Garden Course  - Regenerative Landscape Design Course

Registration for our course is now open with a 15% discount on accommodation and food fees when you register as a group (2 or more). You can also take advantage of early booking discounts if you book 3 months before the course starts.


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Please Consider Supporting Our Efforts 


Our project grows with our desire to provide better quality information. Our overheads and demands on our time also grow along with our development and this presents a challenge for us to maintain the project and activities. We do not receive any government, institutional or NGO funding for our project and rely on revenue from sales of our courses, plants, consultancy, and design work along with the support of our amazing volunteers to develop and manage the gardens and are very grateful for this. So please consider joining us for a course or event, purchasing products and services from our online store or plants from our bio nursery, participating in our online educational platforms and support the project while we support you. Feeling super generous today? You can also support us directly with a one-time donation or become a sponsor of our project providing monthly support. With your support, we will continue to improve on producing quality information and data for the community, building a world-class demonstration landscape and progress on our mission to develop and promote practices that can produce food and other resources for humans while enhancing biodiversity.

 

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Would you like to be involved in the project next season?  1-6 month placements on our polyculture study are now open. 


Permaculture and Regenerative Design Internships


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We offer a diversity of plants and seeds for permaculture, forest gardens and regenerative landscapes including a range of fruit and nut cultivars. We Deliver all over Europe from Nov - March. - Give a happy plant a happy home :)


Our Bio-Nursery - Permaculture/Polyculture/ Regenerative Landscape Plants 


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Design and Create Webinars - Forest Gardens, Urban Gardens, Permaculture, Regenerative Farming   


We're hosting a range of online learning sessions including how to create habitat to enhance biodiversity, how to design and build a forest garden, polyculture design software tutorials, regenerative farm, and landscape design, urban gardening and much more. If you would like to be notified when our next sessions are coming up please add your email below and hit subscribe and we'll be in touch.




You can also register for our online training, services, and products directly here.

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