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The Secrets of Soil Building

The Secrets of Soil Building

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The Secrets of Soil Building

4/5 (2 peringkat)
107 pages
1 hour
Aug 22, 2015


The Secrets of Soil Building are practical how-to tips and practices, well-tested and evolved over years of experience in high-yielding community gardens and home gardens. Expained in straightforward, matter-of-fact style, these Secrets are easily accessible even if you are a newcomer to organic gardening. If you are a garden veteran working urban-scale vegetable gardens, particularly if you are growing year-round or nearly year-round, these are the Secrets that will boost your productivity and yields.

Reaching far beyond "no chemicals," this book considers localized inputs, the post-petroleum era, and what it takes to grow your own soil fertility. With this approach you can participate in soil sequestration -- carbon capture within live organic soils -- which cutting-edge soil science is now proving may be the cheapest, easiest, and largest-scale solution to global warming. The Secrets of Soil Building shows you how to build long-term resilience into your garden.

Author Joanne Poyourow runs a high-yield, charity-style community garden in Los Angeles, where vegetables are harvested every week of the year. The ultimate secrets, she says, are the "soil critters" -- the earthworms and the millions of soil organisms which work within organic soil to feed your plants. Take good care of those soil organisms, and you'll be an awesome gardener.

Aug 22, 2015

Tentang penulis

Joanne Poyourow explores sustainable solutions. Her home garden is an edible landscape and an urban wildlife habitat. In 2004 she co-founded the Environmental Change-Makers community group in Los Angeles.With the change-makers she has built two community gardens and a community-scale, wood-fired bread oven. And since 2008 she has managed the plantings at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity, which grows vegetables for the local food pantry.Joanne finds delicious ways to cook those abundant vegetables. She is a passionate seed-saver, and for relaxation she knits insanely complex lace patterns.She is on Instagram @ecmJoanne

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The Secrets of Soil Building - Joanne Poyourow

The Secrets of Soil Building

Booklet #2 in the Abundant Harvests series:

High-Yield Vegetable Gardening for Southern California


Joanne Poyourow

published by Smashwords

Copyright 2015 by Joanne Poyourow

All rights reserved.

ISBN 9781311943750

Publishing history: Smashwords ebook August 2015. Paperback booklet November 2012 (second edition).

Additional copies are available via www.Change-Making.com

Table of Contents


How to Build Great Soil

The Law of the Return

Life Lessons: Smooth or Chunky


What do you use for mulch?

How Much Mulch?


Compost Happens

What Goes Into Your Compost Pile?

Life Lessons: Moving the Compost

As Close to a Closed Loop as Possible

More Compost!

Compost Crops

Life Lessons: Compost Sorting

Compost Tips for Southern California

Worm Composting


Your Garden's Geologic Origins

Your Garden's Recent History

Soil pH


What Your Weeds Can Tell You

What to do about your Results


The Bad and the Ugly: Bermuda Grass

About Roundup

Bermuda Grass Containment in a Frost-Free Area

Raised beds vs. Sunken beds

Preparing a New Garden


Good Soil Workhorses

The Legume Family

A Fungus Among Us

Soil Critter Care


Vegetable Crop Rotation

Cover Crops and Nurse Crops

Phosphorus: The New Frontier



Healthy garden soil is ALIVE.

One teaspoon of compost may contain:

1 billion invisible bacteria

(20,000 to 30,000 species of them),

400 to 900 feet of fungal hyphae (thread-like structures),

10,000 to 50,000 protozoa, and 30 to 300 nematodes.

Then there are algaes and slime molds,

and arthropods (insects or bugs),

both visible and microscopic.

--Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis (1)

Soil Building

The gooey brown earthworms are as fat as my fingers and about 6 inches long. When I pull them out of their box, I make certain to jiggle them, just so. Invariably someone in the audience shrieks. Are they REAL!?

They’re oversized jelly-plastic earthworms left over from a friend’s Halloween display, but my wiggly little friends make a great visual at my organic vegetable gardening classes.

I also bring a copy of Bianca Lavies’ book, Compost Critters.(2) Lavies took her magnifying camera out to her compost pile and photographed everything she found there – arthropods, slime molds, pill bugs, fungi. Her in-depth photos (eew, I won’t say gorgeous) remind us that the earthworms we love and squeal away from are only the visible part of a vast spectrum of life.

And to be a successful organic vegetable gardener, we must learn how to take care of that vast spectrum of soil life. In a nutshell, that's what this ebook is about.

John Jeavons tells us:

Feed your soil.

Your soil feeds your plants

and your plants feed you.

I might amend that ever-so-slightly to say: feed your soil critters. They are the ones that feed your plants.

It turns out that millions of soil critters – worms, bugs, fungi, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes – work in symbiotic relationships, in productive partnership with your plants. The soil critters help break down particles within the soil into nutrients your plants can access. Without lively and active soil life, your plants will starve.

How to Build Great Soil

1. Take care of your soil life – provide food, water, air, shelter and protection.

-- FOOD: Use compost – fold it into your soil. Meanwhile, start making your own homemade compost.

-- WATER: Prevent runoff and erosion. Infiltrate rainwater. Irrigate long, slow, and deep.

-- AIR: Keep your feet on the paths to avoid compacting your growing beds.

-- SHELTER: Use mulch like a quilt on top of your garden bed.

-- PROTECTION: Quit the chemicals – all of them.

2. Plant legumes to capture nitrogen.

3. Rotate your crops to break the chain of soil-borne pests and nutrient depletion.

4. Compost everything you possibly can. Consider growing carbon crops and green manures to provide raw material for your compost pile.

5. Use nurse crops and cover crops to maintain an ongoing home for your homegrown soil populations.

We didn't know all this when we started our garden, the Community Garden at Holy Nativity in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles. Perhaps we had a general idea, or maybe it was mere intuition. But it has taken time (years) and lots of study and observation to bring these ideas to fruition in the current form – both as the ebook you are reading, and as a richly-alive, beautiful, and highly-productive urban garden.

The Community Garden at Holy Nativity was founded in 2008 in the narrow urban spaces of a small churchyard. Because the food grown in the Garden feeds needy people via the local food pantry, our team of volunteers has always been focused on productivity and pushing for high yields.

But the Community Garden at Holy Nativity serves multiple missions: sustainability education and community-building, in addition to social justice. Although we started with a small area – a little less than 2,000 square feet of what used to be scruffy Bermuda-grass lawn – today the Garden wraps the entire property. It now includes on-site composting, rainwater harvesting, mini-orchards, a cob bread oven, live bunnies, murals and sculpture, and much more.

In 2009, we were asked to help build another garden, on a Los Angeles

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