Water & soil are the foundations of any productive growing system. This weekend brings a broad view of the nature and importance of water and soil, their sources, cycles & potential for human management, along with the importance and structure of the soil food web.
8:30 - 10:15 Design Elements
Observation and Catch & Store Energy are the themes for this session.
10:30 - 11:30 Pedogenesis In this session we'll cover the origin of soil and understand how it differs from dirt, how it grows, and how to protect it from a broad perspective. We'll cover infiltration & percolation of water through soil, and how different land management techniques can influence water absorption or run off / erosion. We'll then test a range of soils with different structures and management regimes across our site to see first-hand these affects on infiltration rates. These simple observational tools can be used by those doing land-based designs within the PDC course to map the water absorption rates of your site's soils.
12:30 -1:30 The Soil Food Web In this session we'll dive deeper into the building of soils, learning about each of the kingdoms and domains of life and how they interact and support each other. Along the way we'll discuss how to build populations and diversity within each of these realms to enhance your soil communities and get them working to grow plants and support animals such as ourselves. Soil building topics briefly covered are: biogas, compost, compost tea, sacrificial legumes, mycorrhizal & endophytic fungi, compost extract, worm farms, and the role of protozoa and predator populations in plant available nitrogen. With any time remaining, we'll brainstorm ways we can automate these systems for soil to regenerate with minimal human input.
1:30-2:30 Soil Succession In this session we'll dive into the fine details of soil regeneration & succession, and how to determine/observe where your soils are within this continuum. We'll discuss Fungal to Bacteria ratios, pH, Nitrogen & Carbon cycling, predator support, water holding capacity, soil stability, and the types of plants & animals that like to live and grow in each of these different succession levels of soil, and how these align with the plant species we humans like to grow. Then we'll break into groups and plan land management techniques to identify a current soil's succession level, and determine a management plan to shift soils from one succession level to another for our intended goals (each group will have a different scenario). At the end of this session you should have a strong understanding of soil and to manage it for the optimum health of your intended soil community.
3:00 - 4:30 Soil Types & Chemistry
How soil formed as life moved onto land; Mineral components & Structure of soil - Sand, Silt & Clay; Biological components, how they affect the structure of soil & plant communities; Interactions between living soil, plants, animals & climate; pH, heavy metals, soil tests and other considerations
9:00 - 10:30 The Nature of Water In this session we'll cover the nature of water, and why it is unique and important to life on earth. We'll then discuss what happens when rain meets soil communities, and how different plants collect and distribute water. We'll cover the impact of those techniques on the communities who live near them, and how we can use this knowledge to design positive systems. We'll then discuss earthworks for water collection & storage learning about swales, keypoints, keylines, soil ripping, and terraces. We'll follow this discussion session with small group observations on how plants in our area collect water, so we can identify different species who may or may not enjoy living near each other.
10:45-12:15 Earthworks In this session we'll take the knowledge from the rest of the weekend and with shovels and watering cans head to the beach to build example sites upon which we will design earthwork patterns to catch and store water as high on the landscape as possible, and direct our overflow in a series of holding ponds as the waterworks it's way down through our sandy landscape. This knowledge can then be applied in our own landscapes at any scale - afterall, our example sand mountains will only be about a metre in diameter and will include many different types of water features in a very small space. Bring shovels, watering cans, and beach gear (towels, sunscreen, rain gear if appropriate, etc) for this fun, wet, and sandy session.
1:15 - 2:45 The Journey of Water
Where does our city's water come from? How does it flow? Why is it different from the drinking water systems of many other areas of New Zealand?
Water Management & Irrigation Systems
Irrigation Systems, Quantity, Catchment - How can we catch, store and use our water in the most efficient manner?
Grey Water, & Black Water Systems
Solutions to pollution. Water purification, Gray water, black water, wetlands, compost toilets
3:00 - 4:00 Round-Up
136 Shaw Avenue, New Brighton, Christchurch 8083