Info, news & debate

Soil management posts

Composting: explaining the carbon-nitrogen ratio

Dave Darby of Lowimpact.org | 29-Sep-2021 | 0

If you read much about composting, you’ll soon come across the terms carbon:nitrogen ratio (often shortened to C:N ratio). Everything you put in your compost has a different C:N ratio. Materials such as grass and manure, known as ‘greens’, have a higher level of nitrogen, and ‘brown’ materials, such as paper, have a higher level… Continue reading Composting: explaining the carbon-nitrogen ratio Read more

Building your own sustainable future

Andy Reynolds of the Ecolodge | 14-Jul-2021 | 2

Hi. I’m Andy Reynolds – author, instructor, forester, promoter of self-reliance, and for the last few years I have been reflecting on our project’s progression, as it seems to have reached the stage of early maturity. The project – rebuilding a home, and changing the surrounding fields from dead agricultural land into an oasis of… Continue reading Building your own sustainable future Read more

Can organic farming feed the world?

Chris Smaje of Vallis Veg | 16-Jun-2021 | 2

Now there’s a question – posed by Chris Smaje of the Ecoogical Land Co-op. Chris joined the board of the ELC as Dave of Lowimpact left, and since then Chris has produced a book called A Small Farm Future, which we review here. Members of Lowimpact have become involved in the world of mutual credit,… Continue reading Can organic farming feed the world? Read more

Neonicotinoids and climate change

Nick Mann of Habitat Aid | 21-Jan-2021 | 3

With neonicotinoids back in the news this month, Nick Mann of Habitat Aid shares his views on the growing threat they pose in combination with climate change. Read more

Pushing up the veggies: human composting, coming to an end-of-life facility near you soon

Natural organic reduction, a technique for turning human remains into “soft, beautiful soil” is being billed by its American developers, Recompose, as the greenest of green funerary practices. A licence was granted in March 2019 by Washington State and the company hopes to open for business in 2021. Read more

A guide to composting: methods for composting outdoors

Sarah Young of Ethical.net | 04-Mar-2020 | 0

Are you ready to make compost in your back garden? From hot to cold composting and more besides, our friends at Ethical.net share how you can make the most of composting outdoors. Read more

A guide to composting: methods for composting indoors

Sarah Young of Ethical.net | 12-Feb-2020 | 4

Thought not having a garden meant there was little point in composting? Think again! Having covered the basics of composting in Part 1 of the series, Ethical.net take a look at different ways of composting indoors. Read more

A guide to composting: the fundamentals

Sarah Young of Ethical.net | 13-Dec-2019 | 1

We share the first part of Ethical.net’s guide to composting, covering the fundamental principles of turning your food waste into a wonderful soil fertiliser. Read more

Biochar on trial: what scientific research tells us so far

Working wonders or potentially harmful? Dr Andrew Rollinson examines the scientific research surrounding biochar to date, including his own personal experiments. Read more

Should we be reliant on cheap foreign labour to work on our farms, or is there a better way to feed ourselves?

Recently The Guardian ran an article by John Harris called “They say after Brexit there’ll be food rotting in the fields. It’s already started.” To summarise, John is saying Brexit has made the UK look an unfriendly place to our European neighbours and with the increasing financial fortunes of eastern European nations, farm workers are… Continue reading Should we be reliant on cheap foreign labour to work on our farms, or is there a better way to feed ourselves? Read more

Fruit & vegetable growing guide for September

September is the end of summer although we’re often lucky to have an Indian summer with blue skies and sunshine, nothing is certain with the weather. The bulk of the harvest comes home now and as crops come out the plot begins to empty. Read more

Fruit & vegetable growing guide for August

August with a little luck brings us the best of the summer weather but being the traditional holiday month it can be hard to keep on top of the vegetable plot growing with a fortnight away, even if a neighbour can be persuaded to water as required. Read more

A tale of two greenhouses: in praise of the solar greenhouse

Asked to describe the average greenhouse, many readers might picture a mainly glass structure. There is, however, an alternative which offers even greater growing potential across the seasons with far less energy consumption: the solar greenhouse. Particularly popular in China since the late 1970s, solar greenhouses make use of passive solar energy to retain the… Continue reading A tale of two greenhouses: in praise of the solar greenhouse Read more

Fruit & vegetable growing guide for July

July is usually one of the hottest and driest months so a lot of time may be spent watering. You can reduce water loss and so save yourself some time. Mulching with a layer of organic matter will help preserve moisture but may encourage slugs so you will need to take action against them. Read more

Groundswell: an agricultural show for no-till, organic farming with cover crops and grass-fed animals

A groundswell of farmers around the world are working out how to farm in a more ecologically-friendly way. One of the farmers leading the farming revolution in the UK is John Cherry, who has set up a 2-day conference on his farm in Hertfordshire, 28th and 29th of June. Read more

Fruit & vegetable growing guide for June

Flaming June should bring us a hot sunshine-filled month with the risk of frost passed and those in more northerly parts should be able to catch up with those in the south. We’re also moving towards the longest day, June 21st being the summer solstice so there is plenty of daylight to let you get… Continue reading Fruit & vegetable growing guide for June Read more

Fruit & vegetable growing guide for May

Generally one of the busiest months on the vegetable plot, here John Harrison shares his fruit and vegetable growing guide for May. The soil is warm and the plants growing well. But watch out for a sneaky late frost. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and be prepared for frantic last minute wrapping of… Continue reading Fruit & vegetable growing guide for May Read more

Fruit & vegetable growing guide for April

By April spring should be well and truly underway, the soil warming up nicely and everything growing away. Don’t be complacent though, it’s been known for a cold snap with snow to strike even in the sunny south of England. Read more

Fruit & vegetable growing guide for March

March is the month when things really start to move in the growing season. In fact the start of the year used to be Lady Day, the Feast of the Annunciation, 25th March until 1752 in Britain when we adopted the Gregorian calendar and started our year on the 1st January. Read more

Fruit & vegetable growing guide for February

February, being the last of the winter months , often has a sting and ends up being the coldest month. So, more than any other month, this one you need to play according to local conditions. It’s best to hold off than try to sow in waterlogged, near frozen ground that will most likely rot… Continue reading Fruit & vegetable growing guide for February Read more

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The human impact on nature and on each other is accelerating and needs systemic change to reverse.

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