Permaculture and the Three Epochs Curriculum: SOILS

Posted on | August 11, 2010 | No Comments

III. THE SOILS AROUND US

Learning Objectives: In this unit you will experience the intricacies of soil, first hand, through lectures, hands-on tests, sensory exploration, work in the garden, and observation of plants and their growing habits in the landscape. You will use the soil at your site for study. From each segment of the outline document what you see in the soil at your site.

A. Function of soils in the ecosystem
1. Medium for plant growth
2. Regulator of water supplies
3. Recycler of raw materials
4. Habitat for soil organisms
5. Engineering medium
6. Soil as a natural body
7. The soil profile and its layers (horizons)
8. Topsoil and subsoil
9. Soil: interface of air, minerals, water and life
a. The hydrologic cycle
b. Temperature connection
c. Water requirements based on soil profile and needs
10. Mineral (inorganic) constituents of the soil
11. Soil organic matter
12. Soil water: a dynamic solution
13. Soil air: changing mixture of gases
14. Nutrient uptake by plants
15. Perform soil tests from exercises in Grace Gershunney’s book, “Soul of the Soil”
16. Soil as a Living Organism
a. Soil components
b. Unhealthy soils
c. Permaculture goals for sustainable soils
d. Repairing and improving damaged soils
e. Erosion control
17. Traditional soil classification
a. Individual soils
b. Soil taxonomy and nomenclature
c. Soil orders
18. Soil Phenomenology
a. How soils are created- formation of soils from parent material
b. Soil as a living organism
c. The earth organism
d. Earthworms
e. Care of the soil
f. Distribution of elements in the soil profile
g. Soil organic matter
19. Primary nutrients for plants: basic functions: what are these and what are their functions in the soil?
20. Soils and Science: how do these scientific studies play into a study of soils?
a. Chemistry
b. Biology
c. Physics
d. Energy as the basis of life
e. Microbiology
f. Clay chemistry
g. Photosynthesis
21. Soil composition: architecture and physical properties
a. Soil pores and crumb structure
b. Soil tilth
c. Gaseous content and processes in the soil: soil air
d. Soil biota
e. Difficult soils
f. Plant analysis for mineral deficiency
g. Biological indicators of soil and soil conditions
h. Soil erosion and the possibilities of organic no-till agriculture
i. Soil rehabilitation
j. Seed pelleting
k. Soils in house foundations, dam and pond construction, rammed earth and cob construction, pottery-making, road building, earth plasters, etc.
a. Earthworks and earth resources
b. The respiration of the earth
c. Soils and chemical pollution
d. Soils and the world’s food supply (the green revolution, GMO’s, pros and cons)
22. Cosmiculture
a. Biodynamic agriculture and Rudolf Steiner
b. Vortices of life
c. Chelation
d. Alchemy
e. Sonic Bloom
f. Heirloom seed banks
g. Weeds as guardians and indicators of soil health
h. Rock dusts and magnetism
i. Cosmic pipes, stone circles, pyramids, medicine wheels, towers, earthworks, masonry,
Hermetic sciences
a. Perelandra and Findhorn
b. Brix, dark field microscopes, sensitive crystallization

B. Practical Application: Soils (hands-on)
1. Build a compost pile
2. Soil tests and analysis in the field (see pre-ceding)
3. Tillage and cultivation techniques: discuss and use tools and techniques
4. Mulching: different types of mulch and what they are used for (mulch an area of farm)
5. Adding soil amendments: organic fertilizers- types and uses
6. Foliar feeding: seaweed, fish emulsion, etc.
7. Manure and herbal fermentations, seaweed and fish emulsion, using biodynamic soil and compost preps
8. Identifying and setting up microclimates: create a microclimate and understand the principles behind construction

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