Recently I attended a regenerative Ag course with Gabe Brown, author of ‘Dirt to Soil’ and his team from Understanding Ag.
It was incredibly insightful, I learned so much, I thought I would share some things I was taught over a few posts. Would love to hear your thoughts and experience of this too.
Aggregates; Did you know they only last 28 days without a living root? This blew my mind.
Fungal networks build aggregates with a glue like substance to keep it bonded. The plants feed the fungi by using 5-50% of their carbon stores.
Aggregates are the key to the soil being functional, for good drainage, preventing slaking and compaction forming.
I have compacted soil so poor aggregation. I learned that roots can break through 300psi of compaction. But when the roots are covered with mycorrhizal fungi they can break through a whopping 1000psi of compaction.
For me this means focusing more on raising the fungal content of my soil. I’ve been doing this with my vermicast liquid, but I learned that selecting a higher C:N ratio plant will build mycorrhizal relationships too, eg. Oats and flax.
I will also be looking to add plants with big fibrous roots to break through my compaction and build soil aggregates.
AND the deeper the aggregation of the soil, the more the latent seedbed can express itself - for free!!
Anyone knew this and been working on it already? Tell me more!
Yeah cocksfoot was in my wish list too! This year when I let the grass go to seed head I noticed it pooped up around the hedges of the field so I think it must be there in the latent seedbed. I’m trying to come up with a seed mix with big fibrous roots to break through the compaction. But I need them heathy to do this so that’s where my vermicast solution comes in to add lots of microbial life into the soil. I’m still exploring my best option for sowing the seed without ploughing everywhere. I do feel it might be my best solution for getting air into the soil at time of reseeding to give them best start though. But from doing it in one field this year it was a lot of work and a lot of diesel used !!! If anyone can give me some advice on getting air in the ground and direct drilling successfully I’d really appreciate it. 😁
Amazing what plants can do! What are you thinking in terms of establishing plants with these properties into your system Bronagh? I.e. how do we get more big rooting pan busting plants in without having to reseed the whole job. I was thinking we need more cocksfoot and might get that included in future mixes.