Lead is a toxic heavy metal that poses a significant risk to humans, wildlife and natural habitats, as heavy metals are not degraded in the environment and consequently accumulate in soils. The lead-contamination of soil and its circulation in the soil–plant–animal–human biological food chain can cause chronic disease in humans and other living organisms. LeadContinue reading “Lead Contamination in Soils and How to Treat It”
Category Archives: Soils
Why Herbicide Use is Not Compatible with Healthy Soils
Herbicide use is very common in mainstream agriculture. Despite the documented environmental harm caused by herbicides, and the findings by the World Health Organisation (WHO) International Agency on Research on Cancer (IARC) that glyphosate (Roundup) causes cancer, herbicide use remains rampant and unabated! In 2020 the global use of herbicides reached nearly 1.4 million metricContinue reading “Why Herbicide Use is Not Compatible with Healthy Soils”
Seven Good Reasons Why You Should Mulch Your Garden!
If we look at a healthy natural environment that hasn’t been damaged or subjected to human disturbance, we find that nature goes to some effort to protect the soil, which is not ‘dirt’, but a complex living ecosystem, known as the soil-food web. Layers of natural materials are laid down on the ground over time, creatingContinue reading “Seven Good Reasons Why You Should Mulch Your Garden!”
What is Soil Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC)?
The soil cation exchange capacity (CEC) is the ability of soils to bind and store a particular group of nutrients by electrical attraction, those that form positively charged cations, such as calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), potassium (K+), and nitrogen in the form of ammonium (NH4+). Soils are composed of a mixture of sand, silt, clayContinue reading “What is Soil Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC)?”
Three Useful Herbs Which Can Be Used as Natural Compost Activators and Much More
Comfrey, nettles and yarrow are herbs that are dynamic accumulators, plants capable of concentrating nutrients at much higher levels than the surrounding soil. When added to compost, these herbs break down, releasing their concentrated nutrients, helping initiate the composting process in a new compost pile, or restarting it in an existing pile that has slowedContinue reading “Three Useful Herbs Which Can Be Used as Natural Compost Activators and Much More”
Can Biodegradable Foam Packing Peanuts Be Composted?
Foam packing peanuts are a lightweight packing material which is used to fill the empty space in boxes and containers, to cushion the contents and protect them from damage during shipping. They’re a welcome addition in freight packaging for the additional protection they provide, but the problem is what to do with this packing materialContinue reading “Can Biodegradable Foam Packing Peanuts Be Composted?”
The Definitive Guide on How to Compost Everything from the Garden and Kitchen
Just about everything can be composted using cold (slow) composting, hot (fast) composting, worm farms (vermicomposting), bokashi composting and Hügelkultur composting. The table in this article lists how to compost just about every garden and kitchen material that can be recycled, and which composting systems can be used to compost it. One of the mostContinue reading “The Definitive Guide on How to Compost Everything from the Garden and Kitchen”
What Are the Little White Insects Floating in Worm Farm Liquid?
Everyone gardener with a worm farm has probably seen little white insects wriggling around on the surface of the liquid that drains out of the drainage tap at one time or another. Many gardeners wonder what they are, whether they’re harmful, and if it’s safe to pour them into the garden. In this article, we’llContinue reading “What Are the Little White Insects Floating in Worm Farm Liquid?”
Why You Shouldn’t Fertilise Gardens in Winter in Cool and Temperate Climates
For adequate plant nutrition, gardens should be fed with fertiliser twice a year at the very minimum. Once at the start of spring (September in the southern hemisphere, March in the northern hemisphere) for warm season crops, and then again at the start of autumn (March in the southern hemisphere, September in the northern hemisphere)Continue reading “Why You Shouldn’t Fertilise Gardens in Winter in Cool and Temperate Climates”
Manure Application Rate, How Much Should We Use in the Garden?
When feeding the garden it’s best to use natural fertilisers, such as manures, blood & bone, fish emulsion or blended organic fertilisers. No matter what kind of fertiliser we choose to use, it’s important to apply the right amount, and no more! For plants, over-fertilising is as bad as under-fertilising, and for gardeners, using moreContinue reading “Manure Application Rate, How Much Should We Use in the Garden?”
What Happens If You Don’t Turn Your Compost?
Many gardeners compost their garden waste, but quite a few don’t make the regular effort to turn their compost! Composting is a process where microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and protozoa are utilised to break down plant matter and other biodegradable materials into a dark, crumbly, decomposed organic matter that resists further breakdown, known asContinue reading “What Happens If You Don’t Turn Your Compost?”
How to Neutralise Glyphosate (Roundup) Herbicide Contamination in Soil
Glyphosate (chemical compound N-phosphonomethyl glycine), also known by the trade name of Roundup, is a non-selective, post-emergence, broad-spectrum systemic organophosphate herbicide used for control of annual and perennial plants. This weedkiller is the largest selling herbicide chemical in the market today, and the most used herbicide in human history. From 1994 to 2014, 825.8 millionContinue reading “How to Neutralise Glyphosate (Roundup) Herbicide Contamination in Soil”
Can Eucalyptus Leaves be Composted or Used as Garden Mulch?
In Australia, one of the most common trees are eucalyptus trees, also known as eucalypts or gum trees. These evergreen trees manage to drop a decent amount of their leaves, branches, twigs and gumnuts below their canopy. Since this debris doesn’t rot very easily, it can persist for a very long time. It’s tempting forContinue reading “Can Eucalyptus Leaves be Composted or Used as Garden Mulch?”
Why Do Earthworms Gather at the Top of Compost Bins or Worm Farms and Try to Escape?
Compost worms in worm farms and earthworms in compost bins can often be seen gathering in large numbers inside the lid, often trying to escape. This usually happens when it’s about to rain. Before it begins to rain, the air pressure (barometric pressure) in the atmosphere drops, and the worms can sense this, so theyContinue reading “Why Do Earthworms Gather at the Top of Compost Bins or Worm Farms and Try to Escape?”
How to Identify and Treat Herbicide Contamination of Commercial Soil, Compost and Manure
Over the last decade, there have been increasing reports from gardeners that their vegetables and flowers have been damaged or killed after adding manure or compost to their gardens, or when they’ve planted into new soil they had delivered. In fact, the problems of contaminated composts adversely affecting horticultural crops first surfaced in 1999. TheContinue reading “How to Identify and Treat Herbicide Contamination of Commercial Soil, Compost and Manure”
Can You Put Earthworms in the Compost Bin?
In nature, earthworms consume decomposing plant matter, and if a compost pile is constructed, they will often move into it on their own when the plant material is broken down and the compost is completed. When compost materials are piled up, or a compost bin is filled, bacteria will begin the breakdown process, which canContinue reading “Can You Put Earthworms in the Compost Bin?”
Can You Use Shells for Drainage in Houseplant Pots?
Sea shells should not be used in plant pots because they are made of calcium carbonate (chemical formula CaCO₃), which is exactly the same substance as limestone and garden lime. They will make the potting medium extremely alkaline. Some plants don’t grow well in alkaline soils! Any material that is added to improve drainage shouldContinue reading “Can You Use Shells for Drainage in Houseplant Pots?”
How Many Trays to Use When Starting a Worm Farm?
Start with only one tray, it takes a long while to fill a single tray, as the food that’s added disappears in a few days, and the level drops back down. When the food is converted to worm castings, the level in the tray doesn’t go down anymore, and that’s when a new empty trayContinue reading “How Many Trays to Use When Starting a Worm Farm?”
How to Improve Drainage in Plant Pots, The Proper Way to Do It!
When growing plants in pots, it’s sometimes necessary to increase drainage because some plants are sensitive to excessive moisture around their root zone, and stagnant water at the bottom of the pot can lead to root rot. The old garden myth of putting a layer of rocks in the bottom of a pot to increaseContinue reading “How to Improve Drainage in Plant Pots, The Proper Way to Do It!”
What Are the Small Flies in Compost Bins and Are They a Problem?
Many gardeners are familiar with the experience of lifting the lid off a compost bin and seeing a cloud of small flies rise into the air in front of them. These little flies are vinegar flies or drosophila, and the reason why they’re found in the compost bin or worm farm is because they feedContinue reading “What Are the Small Flies in Compost Bins and Are They a Problem?”