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An important factor influencing the productivity of our planet's various ecosystems is the nature of their soils. Soils are vital for the existence of many forms of life that have evolved on our planet. For example, soils provide vascular plants with a medium for growth and supply these organisms with most of their nutritional requirements. Further, the nutrient status of ecosystem's soils not only limit both plant growth, but also the productivity of consumer type organisms further down the food chain. Figure 1: Most soils contain four basic components: mineral particles, water, air, and organic matter. Organic matter can be further sub-divided into humus, roots, and living organisms. Soil itself is very complex. Organic Activity A mass of mineral particles alone do not constitute a true soil. Humus is the biochemical substance that makes the upper layers of the soil become dark. It enhances a soil's ability to hold and store moisture. Translocation Soil Texture Soil pH Soil Color

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Soil Soil is the mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids and a myriad of micro- and macro- organisms that can support plant life. It is a natural body that exists as part of the pedosphere and it performs four important functions: it is a medium for plant growth; it is a means of water storage, supply and purification; it is a modifier of the atmosphere; and it is a habitat for organisms that take part in decomposition and creation of a habitat for other organisms. Soil is considered the "skin of the earth" with interfaces between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.[1] Soil consists of a solid phase (minerals & organic matter) as well as a porous phase that holds gases and water.[2][3][4] Accordingly, soils are often treated as a three-state system.[5] Overview[edit] Soil is a major component of the Earth's ecosystem.

Phytoremediation Phytoremediation Description Phytoremediation is a bioremediation process that uses various types of plants to remove, transfer, stabilize, and/or destroy contaminants in the soil and groundwater. rainwater harvesting printable version of this factsheet (pdf) the simplest way to collect rainwater is in a water butt, with a diverter in the downpipe table 1: above are the average annual rainfall figures for the last 30 years; use these figures in conjunction with table 2 below to find the volume of water you can expect to collect source: Met Office Soil Structure & Composition Sunday, 06 June 2010 07:35 The Plant Lady Living Matter Mostly in the top 4" of the soil. Good guys & bad guys...but large volume & diversity control the trouble makers by making it a competive environment for resources.

New HandHeld2 - Portable and Precise - PPC The FieldSpec HandHeld 2 and HandHeld 2 Pro are the latest introductions to the FieldSpec® line of premier spectroradiometers from ASD Inc., the global leader in remote sensing spectroscopy instrumentation solutions. The HandHeld 2 is perfect for performing research for crops and soils, forestry, ecology, plant physiology, oceanography, inland water bodies and other remote sensing applications. Benefits of the HandHeld 2

Video: DIY Rainwater Collection System Here’s a great video from MrNativeTexan that will show you how put together a simple-to-construct rainwater collection system for your garden! There are a couple of neat ideas going on here – connecting the barrels with a manifold not only makes them fill at the same rate, but there’s also only one tap needed. Four barrels leads to an increased pressure at the tap and the barrels drain from below so they can be fully emptied. Water is synonymous with life, it’s a precious resource and we need to reduce our demand wherever possible to save trouble for future generations. If we don’t act with this in mind it’s easy to see that people could be fighting over clean water in years to come. A project like this is one easy step in the right direction!

The secret to richer, carbon-capturing soil? Treat your microbes well Imagine if someone invented machines to suck carbon out of the atmosphere — machines that were absurdly cheap, autonomous, and solar powered, too. Wouldn’t that be great? But we already have these gadgets! DEPI - Orchard nutrition 2: Soil and leaf analysis Chemical analyses of soil and leaf samples give an objective guide that helps us to choose the most appropriate orchard fertiliser. If a fertiliser program is based on analytical results rather than on routine applications of NPK fertiliser every year irrespectively of the trees' needs, then it is likely that money can be saved and the quality of fruit will improve. For example, a survey of 20 apple growers from southern Victoria showed that growers often used too much nitrogen, to the detriment of fruit quality. Data from analysis of soil is not used for the same purposes as that from leaf analysis. Soil analysis is best used before planting. The soil pH, its salt content, and the phosphorus and potash content are more easily manipulated before planting than they are once the block is planted.

The heifer rearing system The RuralNI website is no longer a website in its own right. It has become part of the DARD website. We have moved most of the content from RuralNI across to the new DARD website and you should be able to find what you are looking for by clicking on the link below: For access to DARD Online Services go to the new DARD website and click on the green Online Services link at the top of the page. Services like APHIS Online and Online Maps are unaffected by this change.