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Make More Life in the Soil

with Old Man Saltbush as Fertiliser and Mulch

Saltbush is a source of nitrogen that was once in the atmosphere. It is only protein that contains nitrogen.

Saltbush leaves are 20% protein.  READ MORE at BOTTOM of PAGE

Make More Life in the Soil

SALTBUSH MULCH: Cellulose is a complex carbohydrate that fungus breaks down in the soil to form stable organic compounds that you find with “scrub and rainforest soils”. Stalks of Saltbush are a source of cellulose. Beneath this mulch it is not unusual to find 20 or more small burrowing frogs per square metre. Saltbush leaves contain trace amounts of salt and minerals drawn from the subsoil that absorb moisture that in turn seems to attack the frogs that then consume insects living in the mulch. Saltbush is one method of re-mineralising your top-soil.

Make More Life in the Soil

Hedge of Saltbush in Long Yard Garden. Everything is competing for moisture.  Most efficient method of irrigation is the garden sprinkler into mulch. Pumpkin has an extensive network of surface feeder roots. Water can also be applied by trickle soak to tap root zone. This is a Part of Double Hedge Row with hedges 4 metres apart – creating a micro-climate on other side of hedge for Chillies + Capsicum + Tomatoes + Celery. Logs provide refuge for frogs and lizards. Saltbush Hedges are well suited to Winter Food Crops with regular sprinkler irrigation to conserve moisture. Some Crops only need moisture in top 200mm of soil.

Make More Life in the Soil

Yields vary according to variety + available water + season. This pumpkin was established early Dec. ’22 to ensure optimum Autumn production with the least amount of water going into the cool season. Late pumpkins can yield up to 100kg. Ideally each vine needs 20 square metres of garden bed plus 600 mm of rainfall equivalent over its growing season of 5 months. This varies according to available to soil type and organic soil matter from mulch. Saltbush mulch breaks down rapidly and can be built up before and during the growing season with multiple applications.  DATE of PHOTO: Jan. ’23 .

It is only protein that contains nitrogen. Saltbush leaves are about 20% protein. All carbohydrates and fats are devoid of nitrogen. Fungus and bacteria transform all parts of mulched saltbush into available plant food (including carbohdrates in the form of cellulose). Earthworms + insects + frogs + lizards + multitudes of micro life forms are all part of this process. More life in the soil equals more life above the soil in the form of plants and animals. You increase food crop yields by feeding life forms in the soil that in turn feeds the plants. Nutrients absorbed by fungus are then absorbed by plants via the fungus. Fungus needs food. BALANCED available plant food needs about 10 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. You select the type of food to feed plants to obtain the perfect balance of carbon to nitrogen. Pumpkin below has also been fed “no waste kitchen waste” + animal manures + offal.  <> Excess nitrogen makes plants weak. Excess carbon locks up nitrogen. Saltbush Leaves are close to perfect in carbon to nitrogen. <>  All parts of all living things have different ratios of carbon to nitrogen. Organic matter alters soil PH. Add enough organic plant matter to soil and you will have neutral PH soil.      

Most available plant food is bound up inside living organisms and becomes available to plants via mutually beneficial exchanges between fungus and the plant.

To feed plants you feed the fungus and all of the little creatures of the soil. Then just add water. 

THE ROLE of FUNGUS is Fully Explained in STORY (3) Drought Buster Bunya Pine and Fungus that you will Find in STORIES SECTION of This WEB 

Whilst recipes for gardening are numerous, the processes of soil fertility are constant and simple to understand.

To the un-initiated, observing natural processes at work is a good place to begin.

Natural Process # 1: The soil breaths. Gases of life and decay from within the soil are in part absorbed by the soil, and partly released into the atmosphere to be replaced with fresh air. Natural Process # 2: Grasslands and Forests make mulch. Insects, beetles and earthworms aerate the topsoil as they consume this mulch. Natural Process # 3: As plants die, roots in the soil are consumed and absorbed, creating capillaries in the process. Soil capillaries are maintained and enhanced by the entry of water. NB: The topsoil on the worlds old growth grasslands and forests is so well aerated by these processes that rainfall can only become runoff when the topsoil is saturated with water. With compacted hardpan country little rainfall actually makes it into the soil. In Australia, 80% of all rainfall is lost to evaporation and runoff. Natural Process # 4: Animals die and are returned to the soil. Birds, insects, reptiles and mammals all work to spread other dead animals over much wider areas. Insects, beetles and earthworms aerate the topsoil as they consume and drag dead animals and manures into the subsoil. Natural Process # 5: Multiple orders of life found only in the soil consume everything from above that was once living. These life forms are so numerous that they cannot all live at once. Some are constantly active if moisture is available, others are non-active, waiting for cyclical opportunities. Nobody actually ever really fertilizes a plant. You are in fact, feeding the biology of the soil, that in turn provides nutrients, either directly via certain species of fungi, or as soluble plant food from the soil via excretions of micro life forms. 

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